(Change to first person?)
Her flight finally lurched to stop. She was still damp from the torrential downpour she got caught in trying to get to the airport. The last thing she wanted to do was get in an Uber and head in the opposite direction of home, in yet another storm. She was tempted to change her destination but the rain had started and there was no overhang. Oh my god.
Wet and riding in the back of the compact sedan Taryn wiped her wet hair off her face. Her beautiful leather pumps that had seemed like not such a terrible idea were for all intents, ruined. As the sheets of rain started dumping on the little car as it made its way over the Coronado bridge, the flip flops she kept in her suitcase didn’t seem like a great alternative either. Roxie better be damned glad to see her, and make her forget the haggard day she had. When the car pulled up to a tiny corner bar, it looked tired like any other neighborhood bar, definitely not tony or beachy. She got out on the street side to avoid the huge puddle at the curb, then jumped the puddle in the ruined heels and throwing her suitcase with the leap. This pedicure is long since trashed.
She thanked the driver, and rolled into the front door. It was not well lit, but there were large tv screens illuminating the place and it was loud. Her eyes moved quickly to take it all in. Lots of men, young, military types, a few women working there, and maybe a girlfriend or wanna-be girlfriend here or there but not much else. Their eyes said hello from across the room. He was older than the rest and had a clean face and bright clear eyes. Their stare lingers until he puts his drink down, says something to the woman behind the bar that seems maybe a bit more than familiar, and walks toward her.
Standing next to the table she has taken, he approaches, “You must be Roxy’s friend?”
She says nothing.
He pauses a moment, realizing that he’s being met with silence. Giving her a subtle disarming smile, “I apologize, I’m Spencer. I work at the base where she’s been doing the install. She thought she’d be done by now, but that’s consultants, they always underestimate how much will be involved.”
“She’s not even here?” Taryn hardly masks her irritation, the rain dripping from her hair and jacket.
“Afraid not.” Their eyes follow the sound of the bar erupting into cheers and emptly mugs of beer thudding against the worn wood table tops. Their eyes lock again. “Taryn….right?”
She nods, wiping the dripping water off her cheek. She groans, “Roxie! I should have gone home and met her for brunch tomorrow,” as she scans the bar, taking in the young testosterone thick in the air.
Bringing his focus back to her, “You live in San Diego?”
“Yes, about 40 min from here. I just flew in from Dallas. My flight was delayed because of weather—I feel like I’ve spent all day trying to get home. She thought our timing could work and we could have a “girls night”. Just then the sound of cheers and grunts of beefy, fit men interrupted her explanation….she cocked an eyebrow, “we may see girls night a bit differently.”
“How can I help?”
“Who are you? She questioned without a bitchy tone.
“Sorry. Spencer Watson. I’m the base commander, so I’ve been watching the rollout and implementation, but from afar. I told Roxie I’d meet you here so she wouldn’t worry about rushing. She said you’re an author.”
“OH. That was…thoughtful.” she replied ignoring his last comment.
“Lots of birds, one stone: my being here is a good reminder for the guys that this is not spring break; and Roxie’s team needs her. She has an infectious energy.”
“That’s Roxie. She’s always had a zest for life. Wants to do a good job and not let fun get too far away,” Taryn recounted, giving the feeling she was holding way back.
“Do you want me to drive you to the hotel so you can change and drop off your bag?” He offered in a non threatening way.
“Give me a minute, would you.” She eyed her bag, reluctant to leave it with the stranger, but still dripping. When she looked down at her shirt and saw that it was completely wet, hanging to her skin, the lace of her bra prominently outlined. Uggg
“It’s safe,” he says, without looking up. “Here, take my keys. It’ll make you feel better.”
She didn’t protest. He held the set of keys on his index finger. They touched briefly when she pulled them off, he looked up and their eyes locked making that twice in less than five minutes. “These could be stolen, “ she deadpanned.
“Could be…but they’re not. Go text her, she’ll confrim I’m real and then if you bring my keys back we can run over to the Del and I’ll bring you right back.” He had already looked away and was scrolling through his phone again.
A cheer erupted, and she looked around, “Maybe I don’t want to come back.”
“Understandable…but they do have a surprisingly good burger,” he replied without looking up from his phone, “but, I’ll take you wherever.”
Taryn nodded holding the keys up in her hand, finger in the ring before she grasped them and put them in her pocket, giving him a closed mouth smile, that he didn’t bother to look up and see. She left in search of the restroom and couldn’t tell, had he flirted with her or was he annoyed by her? Who was she kidding, if he was her age, or close to it, he was annoyed by her. At this point that’s how it worked.