Marian clutched her Starbucks cup as the burning foam trailed down her throat. The morning was below freezing- but her insides now ached with heat. Her free hand clutched her jacket and pulled it tight around her neck, blocking the wind as she walked along the busy sidewalk, sun trying its best to peek through the dreary gray clouds. Head down, she didn’t even see him stopped in front of her, squatting low to pick up the folder he’d dropped.
Marian cried out as she stumbled into him. Her arms flailed wildly as she struggled to balance herself, coffee cup flying off to the left. Upon hitting the sidewalk, her latte splashed across the pavement in a dull brown pool. A hand shot out, grabbing Marian’s wrist and setting her to rights almost before she knew what happened. Stunned, she stood still, mentally taking stock of herself- black heels still in place, pencil skirt firmly hugging her body which meant it hadn’t risen or torn. Wiggling her fingers, she pulled off her left glove first and then her right before smoothing a dark brown curl away from her face and looking up into the most gorgeous gray eyes she had ever gazed into. The “thank you” dissolved on her tongue as her mouth dropped slowly open, hanging slack until his gentle laugh brought her back to the dirty sidewalk on the dirty street in the middle of the dirty city. She snapped her mouth closed and smiled awkwardly.
“Looks like you could use a bit more caffeine” he said, nodding towards her now empty Starbucks cup as it rolled with the wind down the sidewalk and out into the street. Tucking a manila folder under his arm, he reached out a hand “I’m Kevin.”
Marian took his hand and shook it gently. “Yes” she answered, dumbly, swallowing hard. After a moment she tugged her hand away and wiped it against her skirt. “I mean yes, I could use another cup of coffee.” She smiled. “My name is Marian.”
Hoping that this was the start of something good, she walked with this man back down the street from the direction in which she had come. Had she been paying attention, she might have noticed that the ordinary folder tucked up under his arm had her name written in black scrawl across the tab.