Photo by Aung-Soe-Min on Unsplash
Janet perused the book spines on the library shelves. She searched for a suspense novel she hadn’t yet read.
Someone entered the aisle from the opposite end. From the corner of her eye, Janet examined the tall young man. His snug-fitting green t-shirt displayed his sculpted chest muscles as his biceps bulged beneath the short sleeves. His sandy-brown hair waved over the top of his head but was clipped close around his ears. Several waves rested on the top of his crew collar.
Janet turned her attention back to the books.
A few minutes later, she reached for a suspense novel on the shelf above her head. Another set of fingers touched her own, sending a jolt of electricity through her. She looked up into sapphire blue eyes. “Oh, excuse me.”
A dimpled smile spread across the young man’s lips. “Are you a Dean Koontz fan too?”
“I’ve read just about everything he’s written. His books are real nail-biters, but I love most suspense novels.” Heat crept into her cheeks at their close proximity.
He pulled down the book, they had both reached for, and handed it to her. “Have you read this one?”
She studied read the first paragraph on the back cover. “No.”
“Then you check it out first. I’ll wait until you finish it.” His eyes locked on hers. “After we’ve both read it, maybe we can get together and discuss it?”
Janet smiled. “That sounds like fun. I should be able to finish it within a week.”
He took a step back but kept his eyes on hers. “Maybe we could discuss other suspense novels we’ve read over coffee?”
“I suppose we could do that, but I’m not a coffee drinker. When were you thinking?”
He grinned, his dimples like too deep finger indentations in his cheeks. “How about as soon as we finish here?”
She nodded and moved toward the check-out desk.
The young man stepped up behind her in line. He held a suspense novel by Lisa Scottoline.
After checking out their books, they walked toward the exit together. “By the way, my name’s Matthew Stevens. You can call me Matt.”
“I’m Janet Brady.”
“Well, Janet Brady, it’s a pleasure to meet you. There’s a coffee shop around the corner. Shall we walk?”
They entered the coffee shop, and Matt turned toward her. “So, what is your drink of choice?”
“A chai latte topped with whipped cream.”
“Coming right up. Why don’t you grab us a table and I’ll get our drinks?”
Janet found a table for two by the window. She sat down, placed her hands in her lap, and, using thumb and forefinger of one hand, pinched her other arm just above the wrist. She flinched. No, she wasn’t dreaming.
Matt joined her, and they discussed their favorite suspense novels while enjoying their beverages. When their cups were empty, Matt looked at her for a few minutes. “Janet, I know we just met, but are you available to go out for dinner this evening? I’d like to talk with you about more substantial things.”
When her eyes grew wide, Matt hit his forehead with the heel of his palm. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for it to sound quite like that.” This made them both laugh. “It’s just … I think you’re beautiful, and I’d like to get to know more about you.”
Janet relaxed. “Yes, I’m available for dinner.”
They agreed on a time and place to meet.
After placing their orders, Matt said, “I work in construction. What do you do?”
“I’m a writer.”
Matt leaned forward. “Really? I’d like to read something you’ve written.”
The waiter set their food before them.
“Janet, what do you like to do for fun?”
“I like to take walks, go dancing, go to the movies or the theater.”
“Do walks include hikes in the woods?” Matt raised an eyebrow.
Dinner ended and Janet shared her address and phone number with Matt and agreed to see him again soon.
The next day, Janet couldn’t focus on writing. She couldn’t stop thinking about Matt. She took a break, and her doorbell rang. The postman handed a box to her. She placed it on the table and opened it. A hardcover copy of The Watchers, the book she and Matt had agreed was their favorite Dean Koontz novel lay open with several pages from either side curled inward and tucked into the seam, forming a heart. A note in the box read: I had a wonderful time last night. I look forward to spending more time with you. You’ve already captured my heart. Matt
She clasped the note to her chest. Her heart skipped a beat at the thought of him. She smiled, hoping Matt would prove to be her lifelong love.