An excerpt from one of my finished short stories from a year-two years ago:
It was a rather cold night in November when my eyes met Victor’s in a lasting gaze. I watched Emme jump along the snow-laden grass, her leash whipping the cold air. He was walking home, bundled in a leather coat, and looked back at Emme. He smiled at the dog and then looked at me. I looked back and kept my eyes fixed on him. I smirked and watched how he glanced down at my lips. I licked them.
He approached me. “Hey, I think I always see you in the park,” he said. I could see the hot air rising out of his mouth. “Do you live in the area?” he asked. He had cocked his head to the side. A sure fire sign that he was interested. I told him I did live in the area. “As a matter of fact,” I told him, “I just moved into one of the Old West End mansions in this part of Toledo, not too far from this park.”
“Really?” he asked. I nodded. I knew I had him.
“Wow, that’s pretty cool. So, that means that you’re relatively new to the neighborhood then?” he asked. He was curious. I liked that.
“I guess I am. I haven’t really gone out much since I got here. I just stay at home or sit in the park with Emme,” I said, shrugging my shoulder in the direction of the dog. He looked at her and gave a light chuckle.
“So um, could I welcome you to the area, maybe with some coffee?” he asked me. He stood with his hands in his pocket, his shoulders squared off. I looked into his eyes. Those chocolate brown eyes. I wanted to invite him over immediately, but I knew I had him. And with the amount of waiting I did, a couple of days wouldn’t hurt. I asked him if he wanted to go right now, and he told me that we could walk to a quaint little coffee shop around the corner. I whistled for Emme, and she trotted towards me. I grabbed her leash and we walked over to the shop.
I tied Emme up outside, near the entrance. The sign said “No Paws Allowed.”
He sat at a little wooden table next to a window. Snow had mounted on the panes and I could smell the scent of maple trees. He had ordered his cup of coffee and asked me if I wanted anything to drink. I told him I was fine. He insisted. I liked it. I ordered a non-fat cappuccino with extra foam. He looked at me and parted his lips to speak.
“Watching your figure I see…” he said.
“You’re more than welcome to watch,” I responded. He smiled. As did I. We talked for a while as we waited for the coffee. I learned that he had grown up right here in Washington, D.C. Was the first in his family to graduate from college. He graduated from John Hopkins University in Baltimore, with a degree in English Literature and worked at a library part-time while working on a dissertation on Eighteenth Century literature emerging from the period of Restoration.
“That’s quite a handful to write about,” I told him. He nodded.
“Yeah it is. I mean, it was such a crazy time in literature…and the society, the rakes, the aristocracy, the rejection of morale and the approval of indecency…” he trailed.
“I know,” I said. “It was a nightly ball! Nothing but drunkards and prostitutes and very loose men.” He laughed.
“You have an interest in the Restoration period?”
“ Not really. I watched a lot of what was going on, you know documentaries, and that Johnny Depp movie ‘Libertine.’ Makes you feel like you could’ve lived there,” I responded.
“Yeah, I know what you mean. With all the studying I’ve been doing, it’s almost like I lived there.” We both chuckled a bit. I saw the waitress pass by and asked if she could put my cappuccino in a cup to go. I wasn’t too keen on letting Emme stand outside too long by herself, I told him. Maybe, I said, we could finish this conversation another night.
“Sure, what night’s great for you?” he asked me.
“How about tomorrow, at the movies. My treat,” I said.
“That sound’s grand. So we’ll meet in the park?”
“Sure! Perfect, that sounds like a date,” I told him. The waitress came back with my cappuccino. “It’s really hot,” she said as she handed the cup to me. I told her thanks and pulled two dollars out of my jacket pocket. Victor told me to put my money away.
“It’s the least I can do,” he whispered, then winked. He leaned over and touched my hand. I lowered my eyes and then looked up at him.
“Until tomorrow,” I said and then I waved goodbye.
I stepped outside and untied Emme. She was such a perfectly trained dog. I walked away from the shop, feeling his eyes on me. I turned back and raised my cup towards his figure in the window. I crossed the street and waited until I was out of eyesight to toss the drink into the nearest bin.