Running 15 minutes behind as usual, Leslie was in no mood for distraction but the freak summer storm was not letting up. She could hardly see street signs through the rain.
At the next overpass, she pulled over to the shoulder and turned on her hazard lights. She texted her friend an apologetic postponement and surrendered to the storm.
When she tucked her phone into her purse, she noticed someone huddled under the bridge. His face was lowered over his bicycle. The spandex from his uniform hugged his muscular curves, and Leslie wondered how long she had been staring when he looked her direction and waved.
He yelled something, but she couldn’t make out the words.
“What?” she yelled back.
“A phone,” he said as he put his thumb to his ear and pinky to his mouth.
He took the bike off of his lap and he started walking towards her truck. Leslie shifted uncomfortably in her seat, but as he walked closer, she saw something familiar in his twinkling blue eyes.
“I thought that was you,” he said as he moved within a foot of her open window.
“You look familiar.”
“I’m Mike,” he said as he extended his hand. “I’ve seen you at the singles game nights at the Y.”
“Mike! Yes, I remember seeing you there,” she said as she shook his hand.
“This storm kinda snuck up on me.”
“Me too, but then again, I’m not biking,” she laughed.
“Do you mind if I use your phone? Mine took a bath in my backpack.”
She handed him her phone and watched him dial. Every time she had seen him before he was in khakis and a button down shirt like he just left some stuffy job. She had never really given him a second glance. Looking at this more adventurous side made her second-guess her blow off.
“No one’s answering,” he said. “No big deal, I’ll just wait till the storm passes.”
“You can toss your bike in the bed and I can drive you,” she said.
“Really? I’m soaked, and you are dressed like you’re going out.”
She glanced down at her outfit. Denim skirt, brown leather boots, and button down white shirt. She had indeed been dressed for a night out on the town. She and her friend were headed to the only country club in town. Thursday was ladies night.
“I was meeting a friend, but I just canceled. I’m totally available.”
“Good to know,” he said as he flashed a blue ribbon smile. She felt herself blush.
“I don’t mean available like that, I mean like available to drive you home.”
He started to walk back towards his bike.
“I mean, I am available-available too but I wasn’t suggesting—“ she stuttered.
He tossed his bike in the bed and took his riding shirt off. “Don’t want to get your leather wet.”
He sat down and stretched the seatbelt over his well-defined chest. This was not the traditional city boy with a desk job. “I’m available-available too, by the way. And it looks like I owe you. Wanna grab a bite?” he asked.
“You mean tonight?”
“Well, after I get some clothes on,” he laughed. “Unless you prefer me like this.”
“Now that you mention it,” she said as she returned his smile.
“Not into the khakis, huh?” he asked. “I always wondered why you never gave me a second look. Then I saw you leave in a truck a couple of weeks ago and decided you weren’t exactly like most girls at the Y.”
“I’m still a country girl at heart,” she said. “Born and raised in small town. One day I’ll get back there. For now, I need the job.”
He continued to tell her where to turn until she realized she had no idea where they were anymore.
“Wow, I didn’t know this area was even out here,” she said. “It’s nice.”
He smiled a flirtation smile through glistening lips and said, “this next driveway is mine.”
“You live here?” she asked.
“All my life,” he said. “Believe it or not, you’re not the only one stuck in the big city. The city just built itself around my town. I didn’t choose it, it chose me.”
She smiled back. “I’m impressed.”
“Just wait,” he winked. “I haven’t even made you dinner yet. Trust me, there’s more to me than khakis.”
They spent the next two hours chopping vegetables from his garden, drinking wine from the local vineyard, and making an amazing dinner together while the freak summer storm rolled on outside.
She learned that he had taken over his father’s ranch after he died. The family-run business had steadily grown over the last four generations.
“So why the khakis?” she finally asked.
He laughed. “My friends tell me that’s the best way to meet a girl around here. I keep meeting them, but they aren’t what I want.”
She flinched at the thought of exactly what he might be looking for. Could this cowboy be the man she had waded through so many years of bad dates to get to? Her mom always said that it would happen when she least expected it.
She brushed her brown bangs from her forehead and smiled. “Stick with the blue jeans. The denim brings out your eyes.”
He took the hint, put down his cup and inched closer to her. When he leaned in for a kiss, her lips melted into his.
“Blue jeans it is,” he said.
© 2012 Jamie Anne Richardson The link to this site may be shared, but the story cannot be reprinted (in whole or in part) without the expressed written consent of the copyright holder.