Thursday, January 17, 2019

First Meeting from Over the Edge by Dellani Oakes

Natasha had been looking through every bin and basket in the music store for a specific CD. Just as she reached for it, a long arm attached to a large, male hand snagged it away from her.
"Hey!" she bellowed over the pounding heavy funk metal, post-grunge bass line. "That's mine!" Furious and fuming, she turned to face the owner of the offending member, her face nearly as red as her hair.
The tall, dark skinned young man looked somewhat abashed. "I'm sorry, I've been looking for this CD for over an hour."
"So have I. Close to two. Could I have it back, please?"
Reluctantly, he handed the CD to her. "Do you see another copy of it?"
"No, this is the only one."
"It's either very popular or very obscure," he complained. "I've been looking for weeks. This is the only store in town that carries it."
"What about a special order?"
He shook his head. "I haven't asked, I don't know." Shyness suddenly enveloped him and he ducked his head away from her.
"We can ask," she smiled, somewhat ashamed by her outburst.
"No, really, it's not necessary. I'll get it another time."
"It's no trouble, really. Come." She beckoned with her head for him to follow. "I'm here all the time. They know me well. If they can order it for me, you can have this one."
"Thanks." His face brightened slightly as he followed her to the desk.
Trying not to attract attention to himself, he walked behind her. He shot furtive glances around the crowded shop looking for hardened faces. So far he hadn't seen any, but it was only a matter of time before they caught up with him. Enjoying a few minutes of freedom, he followed the young woman to the counter.
* * *
She paid him for her CD while the dark haired man bought his from Beebe. He turned to her with a shy smile on his lips.
"Thank you." His voice was deep and melodic, a hint of an accent in his pronunciation.
"You're welcome." She smiled up at him. "I'm Natasha," she held out her hand to him. "But some folks call me Tasha."
"I'm Billy," his mouth had trouble with the unfamiliar name. "At least that's as close as most people get. I am forever in your debt, Natasha."
"No problem."
Getting a good look at him now, she decided he was quite possibly the best looking man she had ever seen. His dark hair fell nearly to his shoulders, framing a swarthy face. His eyes were so brown they looked black, giving them a depth of emotion she had never seen before. Deciding that he was probably not going to ask her out, she would have to do it for him. Determined to get to know him better, she grabbed his hand tugging him toward the door. Caught by surprise, Billy followed her, a worried frown on his face.
"Is something wrong? Where are we going?" They approached the door and Billy applied the brakes suddenly, nearly knocking her off balance. "I insist you tell me where you are taking me." His voice was strained, tight.
"For a cup of coffee, silly. What, did you think I was trying to kidnap you?"
A flicker of fear flashed in his eyes. Natasha eyed him warily. Maybe it was a bad idea, but she thought suddenly that Billy looked as if he needed a friend.
"A cup of coffee, Billy. I'm sorry, I've upset you."
"No," he looked out the front window, eyes never stopping as he searched for something. "A cup of coffee would taste good. It's very cold here." He shivered as the door opened. "I'm not used to the cold."
"Come on." She tugged his hand again. "I'll take you to my favorite coffee shop. My cousin owns it."
"Is there a back door?" he asked with another glance out the window.
"Here? Yes. Are you sure you're all right?"
"Perfect." He grinned, but there was worry behind it. "Let us proceed to the coffee shop, Tasha."
© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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