Another note: The book The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett is a very real book and a great read. I haven't gained permission to mention it in my story though and my opinion of the book's quality is just that. Opinion.
Violence Warning: I think some socks get strangled during spin cycle but other than that, no.
Language: Well it's in English and its rated G. No potty mouth here, sorry!
Sex: This is just a tiny little romantic first-time meeting between two women. There is no sex involved but there is a kiss between two women. If you are easily offended or two women kissing is illegal where you live then don't read any further. As for the rest of you, enjoy!
Underage Warning: Just to cover my butt, you should probably be eighteen to read this. All you kids out there know who I'm talking about so scat!
Personal Note: I'd like to thank both Chris and Helen. Chris, because she says she's my number one fan <g> then proves it with her support and Helen because she is the guiding force to my writing. Helen, you started as my beta reader and quickly became a friend and confidant. I told you I had writer's block and you told me to just sit down and write whatever came to mind. Well, that's what I did and this is the end result. Thank you both for believing in me.
I saw her again today; this made the third Sunday in a row that we were both at the laundromat at the same time. She smiled at me every time our eyes would meet and it made me wonder if there was interest there. She's slim and blonde, not really my type at all, but there was something about her that drew my attention. Maybe it's the way she always laughs softly while reading her book or the way she seems so friendly to everyone around her. She's so alive and vibrant that it makes me want to be near her.
When our eyes met, I was caught in deep pools of green. I have never been very confident where my self-image is concerned but around her I am unusually shy. Would she ever be interested in someone like me; was she even interested in women at all? I could only answer my own questions because I was too timid to ever ask her. Still, this was the third week in a row that I'd seen her here and she did look my way a lot.
My whole wash cycle went by while I sat and wondered about my latest fascination. We'd never even exchanged names and yet I hadn't been able to get her out of my mind since that first Sunday afternoon. She's not like the others; usually I go for the quiet ones, more like myself. As I sit in my orange plastic chair that looks like a leftover from the seventies, I occasionally glance over at her as she folds her laundry. I enjoy the unconscious smile on her face and the way her strong hands take the time to straighten every crease. My mind is drawn to the strangest things sometimes. I take pleasure from the simpler things and I'm often attracted to people who share my need for neatness. By the time my own clothes were ready for the dryer my fascination had turned into a classic case of infatuation. And still, she kept looking at me and smiling.
After I loaded my clothes into a dryer I found a nearby seat and pulled out my book; hoping to put her out of my head but knowing I wouldn't succeed. Suddenly she was there, sitting in the chair next to me.
She leaned towards me and glanced at my book. "What are you reading?"
Her voice isn't high or low but pleasantly mellow and in between. When she leaned near, I could just catch the faint scent of flower petals. Around me I could hear the sounds of machines in spin cycle, rumbling dryers and even a few low conversations between fellow patrons but the only person I was really aware of was sitting right next to me. Just as quickly I realized she was waiting for an answer.
I shut the book and showed her the cover. "It's uh, The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett." I hazarded a quick glance at her face while I inwardly cursed my nervousness.
She gazed straight back at me and gave me a breathtaking smile. "Any good?"
I smiled shyly back while nodding and replying with a quiet 'yes'. After a few seconds, I decided to take the initiative for once in my life. I looked back at her. "I was kind of surprised, it's not my normal genre so I wasn't sure if I'd like it." I think I startled her for a second when I started speaking but her smile never wavered.
"Really? What do you normally like to read?"
Now this was a subject I felt comfortable with. "Well, I usually prefer science fiction or fantasy but I'll read just about any kind of fiction. I'm not so much into horror or suspense but the rest I like."
She cocked her head to the side, "What about non-fiction? Do you ever read that?"
I grimaced, "Not if I can help it, I read to escape and imagine. If I wanted reality I'd watch the news or read the paper."
She laughed and I swear I saw her eyes twinkle. "I think that describes how I feel exactly."
I played with my book some more and glanced at my watch. I only had twenty minutes before my dryer was done. Without looking up from my busy hands I kept up the commentary. "So what do you do for a living?"
She settled back into her chair a little more before answering. "Well, as of last Friday, I'm the new assistant editor of the newspaper. I'm really excited because this is what I've wanted do for a while now."
My feelings just went from infatuation to a full-blown crush in an instant. There's just something about smart literary minded women that really attract me. She reads and is a newspaper editor. Gay or straight, I couldn't believe that she'd be single. She seemed so excited about her job and I just couldn't help myself, if she was happy, I was happy. "Assistant editor huh? Wow, that's great! So how long have you worked there?"
She chuckled, "Oh, about two years. I originally wanted to be a reporter but later decided I wanted more control over what was being printed so here I am." She waved her hand through the air as she finished speaking. "What about you, what do you do?"
I was so engrossed in watching the movements of those strong hands I almost missed her question. I cleared my throat, "Well, uh, I run BJ's Books; it's a little store across town. We specialize in used books but also sell music and movies."
She tilted her head at me again. "Really, I've been in there a few times and I don't ever remember seeing you there. Did you just start in the last few months?"
Suddenly I was back to being nervous so I started fidgeting with the book again as she sat quietly next to me. "You probably didn't see me because I work really odd hours. I fill in whenever my regular employees have the day off or can't work for some reason." I gave her a nervous laugh, realizing something important we never got around to doing. I leaned over a little and held out my hand, as a lock of my dark hair fell across my eyes. "I guess I should introduce myself. My name's BJ."
She took my hand and laughed softly. "My name's Sarah. So it's your store then? That's great!" She removed her hand from mine only to move it up and brush the stray lock of hair away from my face. I felt a slight pang as it trailed away again. It was then, while we were staring into each other's eyes that I felt something. It was a connection, strong and subtle all at once. I wondered what she saw when she looked into my eyes. Does she merely see black pupils ringed with blue, or does she see something more? Does she see my thoughts and emotions or maybe even my very soul? Then the moment ended with the buzzing of a dryer. I looked down at my watch and realized my load was done. When I looked back up, the spell was broken but I could still feel that vague connection. As I gazed into her sparkling green eyes I knew that she felt it to.
"Would you like to?"
"How about a?"
We laughed because we had started to talk at the same time. I nodded my head shyly. "Go ahead."
She smiled at me. "Would you like to go for some coffee?"
I felt giddy with relief. She had asked pretty much the same thing I was going to. I knew I had a goofy smile on my face but at the moment I didn't care. "Sure, I'd love to." I glanced back at my dryer. "I have to finish this up first though. You mind waiting?"
Again with the smile. "Nope, not at all."
I got halfway to my dryer when I remembered something. I turned around and caught her still looking at me. "Uh Sarah, what about your clothes?"
She gave me a strange look and pointed over near the door. There sat a basket of neatly folded clothing. When I looked at her in confusion she actually blushed. "I finished it right before I sat down to talk to you." We looked at each other with complete understanding and I had to smile at the whims of fate.
After I finished my laundry and we each took our baskets to our vehicles she met me at my driver's door. "How does the Jumping Bean Café sound?" When I nodded she went on, "You want to follow me there?"
I looked into those clear green eyes and knew I was hers. I could never deny her anything. "Sure, you lead and I'll follow." She smiled and turned away then, just as quickly, turned back and stepped in close.
It seemed like the natural thing to do as we leaned towards each other. The kiss was soft and sweet; everything I'd imagined it would be. It didn't end so much as fade away. When I looked down at her again I saw something new in her eyes and I knew the same thing was shining in my own. I saw the possibility of love and I saw our future. Slowly she backed away until just our fingertips were touching. When, at last, she broke that remaining contact, she gave me a quiet smile. "I'll see you in a few minutes then?"
I just smiled back. "I'll be right behind you." And that was the end of our beginning.