There’s nothing like hot chocolate on a stormy night. Michelle closed her eyes, sipped the delicious hot beverage and smiled. Nothing blithe about her response to her favourite beverage or the look on her face as she enjoyed it. “Heaven! Pure heaven!” Making hot chocolate was a lost art she decided. Too often people poured a packet in a cup added hot water and called it good. There was something to be said about the right temperature, the right amount of coco and sugar with a splash of vanilla and cream, then, then you had heaven in a cup. Ok, the thermos wasn’t great but it would do since she was travelling and had treated herself to her largest thermos for the trip.
Since her back was turned and her eyes were closed, the sudden jolt sent her reeling, her chocolate dumping down the front of her outfit on it’s way to the floor where she joined it after slipping and skidding on the spillage as she tried to preserve her cup and her dignity. Alas, she failed at both, sprawled as she was in the now mucky mess on the floor, that also covered her clothes and best shoes. A heart pounding thud followed that little electric shock that runs through your body when you know your unable to stop yourself and your headlong trajectory to the floor.
Pulling herself to a sitting position, shaking off the debris, a man hunkered beside her, “Here, let me help you up.” Without a second thought, he placed his arms around her and she was on her feet staring down at her clothes. She was momentarily speechless. “Um thanks?!?”
“I can’t tell you how sorry I am. I wasn’t looking where I was going…no excuse! I’m terribly sorry. Are you injured?”
“Only my pride.”
“In any other circumstance, I’d have laughed, sorry.” He tried valiantly to hide his mirth.
“Normally I’d shout obscenities at you but I can well imagine what I looked like and I’d have had a pretty hard time controlling myself if the tables were turned.”
“Listen, where are you headed? You can change and I’ll pay for the dry cleaning,” he offered.
“I was about to rent a car. I’m heading to Heartland.”
“What a co-incidence, so am I.”
“Why?” she asked perplexed.
“To pay for your dry cleaning, it’s the least I can do.”
“No, no, it’s fine. I might see you coming and run the opposite direction,” she laughed.
“Can’t say as I blame you, but it really was an accident.”
“Yeah, I get that. Ok. Gotta go. I’d say it’s been a pleasure, but it really hasn’t.”
“Ok.” He nodded before saluting, “Ah, take care?”
“Yeah, I’ll run if I see you coming.”
“I thought so.”
As she headed toward the restrooms, tugging her luggage behind her, she couldn’t resist a backward glance and a smile. He really was a handsome man and he was filled with remorse. Sigh. Just her luck!
The following day, Michelle arrived at her new job, pristinely dressed in a down to earth navy twill leggings, dark navy travel blazer and white tank top. For sparkle, she’d added oversized earrings and a modicum of make-up.
Walking through swinging front doors, she stopped and peered about, getting a lay of the land. As reception areas went, it was massive, clearly marked, clean and presentable. Good start, she decided.
Homicide = follow the blue line. Easy peasy. Michelle continued at an easy pace, taking note of everyone along the way, nodding in reciprocation to the few acknowledging her presence.
Entering the large gray coloured door, she’d only taken a couple of steps when someone barreled into her and she’d have gone flying if a set of arms hadn’t immediately wrapped around her and holding on.
Stunned, and shaking her head she looked up at a familiar face. “We have to stop meeting like this. It’s definitely becoming a habit!” She couldn’t help but laugh. “Is this a new greeting you have going on here? Am I missing something?”
He laughed. “God I can’t believe I’ve done this twice!”
“Third time’s the charm?”
“Let’s hope not!”
“Yeah, I agree. At least this time you caught me before I hit the ground.”
“Yeah, seems my technique is getting better!” His banter was cute. She liked it.
“Michelle Gray. I figure we should introduce ourselves at this point.”
“Well Harrison Macintosh, I’d say pleasure, but I’m really not that sure!”