“Tell me everything. Start with why you are calling me thirty-two minutes after the start time of the date.”
Six months ago, as he opened the second bottle of wine and moved my stack of ‘Welcome to Our City’ guides that I had been collecting for years, I was in a rut. With my work’s project nearing its end, the six-week break compensation and the next project had turned into a bigger plan to reshape my life.
A smile spread across my face at the sound of his excitement. “Well, it was a major dud, but he was beyond gorgeous. Like made Ghost Guy look extra average–”
“Total asshole. He may have said six words the entire time I was sitting across from him. Plus, he kept looking at me like I wasn’t worth the time of day. To top it off, the waiter was rude. And you were wrong. He wasn’t wet at all. Apparently, only the Midwest girl, where we drive everywhere we go and don’t carry umbrellas, got caught in the rain.”
“Oh no. Again? Jurnee, I have told you a hundred times to pack the mini umbrella–”
“Seriously, you’re picking this moment to remind me of the importance of an umbrella?” I caught my reflection in the window of a store. “Actually, I do look like a soggy dog. An umbrella may have helped the situation. But that probably wouldn’t have helped his personality. It didn’t get rained on.”
“What’s his name? I’m Googling him.”
Stopping in my tracks, the person walking behind me bumped into me. “Sorry.” I replayed our brief conversation in my head. “We skipped introductions. Wow! He is an ass.”
Derrick laughed and resumed banging on his keyboard. “The first one didn’t pan out, not a problem, time to move on to candidate number two.”
“I’m lost again.” Staring at the mobile map app of my iPhone.
I stepped off to the side to allow the New Yorkers to speed walk past me. “14th and 9th.”
“Jurnee, street and avenue become extremely important in the City. Give me–”
“Sorry. Sorry. West 14th street and 9th avenue. The app says a subway train station is a three-minute walk from the restaurant–”
“The train or subway, Jurnee. Never both. Did you switch it from car directions to walking?”
“Oh. Woops. That made a difference.” I could feel his eye roll from a thousand miles away. “Ha. I’m close. Thanks?”
Crossing with the mass of people, I headed down the block to the train stop. “So, are you ready to hit up candidate number two? I’m going to hit send.”
“The meeting is tomorrow. I’m going to wait until that’s over before I give this blind dating thing another go.”
“Has my sister reached out to you yet?” His voice faded at the end of the sentence. He had a bad habit of moving around his house without his phone.
When Derrick mentioned my coffee shop idea to his sister, Avery, she suggested that I pitch the idea to one of the country’s most successful finance guys, Graham Morgan.
“Avery said she was tied up but would get a hold of me as soon as possible.”
“Are you ready?”
“Derrick, we’ve been over this. There is zero chance Graham Morgan will be interested in a coffee shop. Let’s not get our hopes up.”
His superpower was redirecting and guiding one to their next stepping stone, wherever it led. “Did you steam your outfit?”
“Maybe I shouldn’t stay after the meeting. I could spend the entire six-weeks at home in pajamas reading books. You know, and stuff.”
“Okay, Crazy Lady. I have no idea how we got here, but let’s dial back on the dramatics.” He didn’t wait for me to respond. “You have wanted to experience New York City since before I met you. Like, you have a New York sign in your bedroom. And I want you to know I’m using my air quotes.”
“I don’t think it’s your turn to speak. Think about all the Broadway shows you’ve talked about, visiting every bridge in all the boroughs, spending hours in museums, walking Central Park—which I don’t even think is a possibility—don’t even think about running away from this opportunity.”
“I’m at the subway train stop. Heading down the stairs. I’m going to lose you.”
“Really, Jurnee? You’re really using the ‘I’m losing you’ trick on me? I taught you that trick.”
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