Second Chance Layover — Part 5 (FREE Holiday Blog Serial)
Sandra Bunino and I have collaborated to bring you a FREE holiday blog serial that runs in 18 parts of usually less than 1000 words for each post—easy reading on your lunch break.
Prefer to read on a Kindle or Nook? No problem, just head over to Smashwords every Wednesday to catch up. Last week’s (Volume 1) is already posted for you. Alternatively…
Click to read parts: 1, 2, 3, 4
And now, PART 5 of Second Chance Layover (Click title to read a quick summary of the story.):
There were plenty of other lonely travelers at O’Hare to keep BroadwayBound occupied for a while. I was sure he was probably already scrolling through the list as I stood staring at my reflection in the mirror.
Holy crap, Cal Wheaton. How long since I’d last seen him? I closed my eyes and did the mental math. Ten years. He had changed so much, I barely recognized him. I had a crush on him when we were kids, even though I never let that fact on to him or Duncan.
Cal’s appearance had certainly changed over the past ten years. His chest and shoulders filled his button down shirt nicely, a hint of well formed biceps strained the fabric in all the right places. His year round, L.A. tan favored his dark features.
I examined my pale face in the glaring artificial light. I overslept and hadn’t enough time for my normal makeup ritual. I pinched my cheeks to bring some color to the surface. I’d seen Tiffany do the same before talking to Brock, the new hottie at the station. Pinching made me look like I had a weird rash. Great. I dug to the bottom of my purse for the emergency tube of cranberry tinted lip gloss and a stray Tic Tac. Thank goodness the breath mint gods were on my side. I found and popped a Tic Tac into my mouth. After giving my hair a good fluff, I headed back to the coffee shop.
I spotted him before he noticed my return. I used the couple of spare seconds to leisurely give him a good once over. His knee bounced under the booth table. His body wore a tense stress I didn’t recall him having. His eyes flicked from the menu to me, like he sensed me studying him.
Sadness peeked through the mask of his smile. His eyes still crinkled at the corners. Cal always smiled with his eyes, a look I’d never forget. He waved me over, and I rolled my ridiculously pink carryon to the table.
“Pink, huh? I don’t remember you as much of a pink girl, but apparently that seems to be the vogue color these days,” he said, handing me a menu.
I snorted. “Got it on sale. I can always pick it out at baggage claim when I check it during longer trips, when I can’t be without my favorite hair products.” I glanced over the menu filled with usual fattening coffee shop fare. “What are you having?”
“I already ordered you a latte, but you wanna split a cinnamon bun?”
My tastebuds went into overdrive, flooding my mouth at the thought of gooey goodness smothered with icing. Unfortunately, I may as well attach the bun to my ass because that was where it would end up. “Just the latte’s fine.” I smile and studied his face. “I can’t believe it’s been ten years.”
“I know. Seems like just yesterday your brother and I raced you to our clubhouse.” He chuckled.
“Yeah, you said if I beat you, you’d let me in. Do you remember what I used to ask?”
A grin passed over his lips, and he crossed his arms like I used to do. “Do I get a head start?”
I laughed. “You bastards never gave me one.”
His eyes met mine. “I was so stupid back then.”
A glint of wonder in his eyes made me lose my train of thought. I cleared my throat as the waitress stopped at the table to take our order. Cal rattled off our order, which gave my brain time enough to recover from its lusty hiccup. “I hear you’re a big time LA lawyer now. You must’ve traded your motorcycle for a shiny red convertible,” I said when the waitress left our table.
“You still remember that bucket of bolts?” His eyes widened, brows hiked up.
“Remember? How could I forget that summer you and Duncan got it running. I thought my father was going to kill Duncan for all of the grease stains on the driveway.”
The waitress brought the cinnamon bun wearing an extra few tablespoons of icing. She spent a little too much time refilling Cal’s coffee cup. The diversion gave me a chance to recall how I’d rush to the window every time the rusty motor chugged to a rest in front of my house, an almost daily occurrence. I used to fantasize about Cal swinging open the front door and taking my hand in his. He led me to the motorcycle where I straddled the seat and nuzzled my cheek against his back. I wrapped my arms around his waist. The heat from his body radiated through his thin t-shirt, touching me in places I had never been touched.
“Earth to Charli.”
A flash of metal from the fork he waved in front of my eyes returned me to the present.
“Want a taste?” He raised his eyebrows, forcing my brain down a more grown up trail of impure thoughts.
Want more? Be sure to come back tomorrow for Part 6!
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