I love dialogue and I love first meetings. This scene has both. Quinn Hamilton is a park ranger. She's new on the job and just learning her way around. At the end of the week, she's sent on her first solo call. Something's wrong down near parking lot 5, but no one tells her what.
Seeing nothing untoward when I got there, I walked to the stout metal pipe barring the way. It was locked in place and I realized I had no key. I stood there trying to figure out what to do when someone spoke. It was then I noticed I wasn't alone. A man about my age stood partially hidden in the bushes, shirtless. He was the best built man I'd ever seen up close. He had the physique of a male model.
"Hi," he said, shuffling his feet shyly.
"Hi. I'm. . . ." For a moment I forgot my own name. I've seen shirtless men before. This shouldn't have taken me so much by surprise, but I was shocked speechless.
"Quinn—Hamilton. . . . Park Ranger. . . ."
"I thought all the rangers were men?" He shifted uneasily, ducking his head shyly as he combed his fingers through his walnut brown hair.
"I'm new, just started Monday. How can I help you?" I stepped forward expectantly.
The young man retreated further into the brush, wincing. "Uh. . . . could you get one of the men?"
"I assure you, I'm fully trained to handle any situation." I made to duck under the barricade.
"No! Don't!" he bellowed.
I stopped halfway under, puzzled. "Why not? Oh, I guess I should wait for you to unlock this." I stepped back, but he didn't move. "Well?"
"I'm naked," he blurted.
"What?" I shrieked. "Naked? Oh, my God!"
"This is a nudist colony. Didn't they tell you?"
I backed rapidly away, tripping over something behind me. Screaming, I fell in a heap, landing on my ass.
The young man leaped over the barricade and I saw he was indeed naked. And how! His entire body was a golden brown, his blond body hair catching the sun like burnished bronze. He landed beside me, strong hands checking to make sure I wasn't injured. Suddenly, he stopped, one hand on my left breast, the other on my ass.
"Oh, shit," he muttered. "Oh, shit!"
He scurried away, ducking under the barricade. The last I saw of him, he was a blur running through the brush in the opposite direction.
(Quinn takes care of the issue, with the help of another ranger, and prepares to leave.)
When we got back to the mule, the young man was waiting there, fully clothed in T-shirt, shorts and flipflops. Paul hopped in and took the raccoon back to the station. I lingered, feeling I needed to apologize. He spoke first.
"Sorry about all that." He made vague gestures toward the gate.
I know I blushed. I could still feel the touch of his hands on my body. It tingled invitingly.
"The guys set us up," I explained. "Don't know which of us it embarrassed more."
He closed one eye, biting his lower lip, hands shoved in the pockets of his shorts. "Well, I was naked. . . ."
"Good point. I'm Quinn Hamilton." I stepped forward, hand extended.
"Nice to meet you, now that I'm dressed. Dmitri Kolchesky-Bazan."
"That's quite a mouthful." I nearly choked on my words. The innuendos and double entendres that conjured up didn't bear thinking about. My turn to be horribly embarrassed.
Dmitri laughed. "Yes, well. I usually use only Bazan. Does that help?"
"Could have said that ten seconds ago."
"I could have," he admitted with a smirk. "I'd better get back. I just wanted you to know I'm not some kind of pervert and I do own clothing."
"I knew you weren't," I admitted. "You were even more upset by that episode than I was. It was mean of the guys to do that."
He shrugged. "On some level, I probably deserved it. I've done my share of practical jokes."
"Cool! Then you can help me plot my revenge."
"Over dinner? In a restaurant—fully clothed." He held out a hand, invitingly gesturing between us.
"I'd like that."
"Where and when?"
"How about the Cantina. Seven? I can meet you there."
"Sure. See you."
"No surprises, right? I mean, you've all ready seen me naked." Laughing, he vaulted over the gate leaving me alone once more.