She was a young english professor. Not many students or other professors took her seriously because she looked so youthful. She couldn’t help that she was a child prodigy of a famous author either.
Since not many took a liking to the professor, she didn’t have many friends. After classes she usually went to the tall four story library in the city. It’s big glistening stained glass windows always seemed to beckon and welcome her when no one else did. The novels inside took her to worlds she could only imagine and visit until she was forced to turn the next page.
One day after grueling classes with illiterate and ungrateful college kids, she walked to her sanctuary at the library. On her way there she stopped into the next door hole-in-the-wall eclectic coffee shop. She needed her routine brewed tea before she could continue her trek to the library.
She had her own little reading spot; a niche in the wall next to a giant window three stories up. But as she walked over to her usual reading spot she caught the eye of a man. In all her years coming here, not once has she ever noticed this man before. She concluded that he must be new.
The young professor couldn’t help but notice his distracting figure. A thin button up did nothing to conceal the muscles stretching underneath such a thin piece of polyester. His thick black rimmed glasses only magnified the green flecked twinkling eyes that were hidden behind the lenses. This man was too attractive to not at least glance at him a few times. Of course she would never be able to approach him, but she could at least have eye candy couldn’t she? No harm in that.
The next few weeks he seemed to always be there at the same time and days she was. Not once did he ever look at her in the way she found herself gawking at him. It came down to the point where she would have to literally force her nose into a book so she wouldn’t stare like an obsessed love struck teenager. He was too distracting! His sleeves were always rolled up and his dark brown hair was always tousled, as if from being windblown. Yet, there wasn’t much air and wind flow in the city so she always tried to imagine what made his windblown hair so incredibly sexy looking.
One sunny afternoon in the library, as she sat in her niche desperately trying not to ogle at him, she noticed something different about the man. As if she was seeing his face clearly for the first time, she noticed the scruff of a beard.
“Did he always have that?”
“My God, was he always this irresistible?”
This man was the perfect bad boy gone geek. So cliche. How could she be fantasizing about a movie stereotype like him?
Then suddenly her world flipped.
One particular early evening as the professor approached her reading niche, sipping her foamy chai tea latte, she noticed a figure in her spot. How dare this individual! Enraged, the smallish woman tromped up to the conspirator. Yet, when she got close enough she noticed that the person who stole her spot wasn’t just anybody… It was HIM.
Now just two feet away from the horribly alluring man, for once in her life she was at a loss for words. Her anger suddenly depleted, fear overwhelmed her whole being. And not just any fear. But the fear you had when you were little and you stood in front of your mom as she looked at you with disappointment in her eyes; you had to somehow explain how you bit another kid at school on the playground at recess.
As she began fumble around for what to say to this man, he looked up from his book. Just as his green sparkling eyes locked with her dull blue irises, he threw her a this smirk. He cast her such a mischievous grin so that when the right side of his mouth curved upward, she caught a glimpse of a boyish little dimple in his cheek.
“Um… Uh… excuse me… but you’re in my spot.” she stammered.
“I know,” and again he threw her that smirk while chuckling, “you have something on your lip.”
She touched her upper lip and noticed that when she pulled her fingers away there was white foam on them.
Of all the possible worst times in her existence, the universe had to pick this one to give her a foam chai latte mustache! As quick as she could, she wiped her sleeve across her upper lip trying to erase the embarrassment that had also flushed red across her whole face. It was at this moment that she felt like she was going to cry.
Noticing her defeat, “I’m so so sorry, I didn’t mean to offend or embarrass you. Please don’t cry princess.”
Princess? Oh hell no! This man. Correction… this STRANGER, did not just call her princess! She was NOT a child, no matter how small she felt at the moment. Quickly, her anger came flooding back with full force and she was ready to pounce this time.
“How dare you!” She screamed at him, “first you take my spot. Second you embarrass me. And now you call me ‘princess’ like a child!”
Startled at the sudden rage coming out of this tiny woman he began to apologize again, “I’m so sorry but this was the only way I could think of to try and get you to talk to me.”
“I see you here everyday at the same time with your nose buried in a book and I can’t help but notice the light from the window and the way it shine downs on you. It illuminates your golden hair and it makes it look like you have a halo… like an angel. I just need to know your name… please,” he finished.
Her cheeks flushed, “my name is Yelena.”
With that devilish grin, he extended his hand, “my name is Bryce. Nice to finally meet you Yelena. Hey, I’d like to take you somewhere because I think you’d appreciate it. I know I’m a stranger. But, seeing you here day after day hardly makes us strangers anymore in my opinion. What do ya say?”
She thought to herself, “come on Yelena. He’s right. You know his name now and he seems harmless. You’ve gawked at him for months now. Take a leap of faith for once.”
“O.K. I’ve got nothing to lose, I’ll come with you,” she stated nervously to Bryce, still unsure why she’s agreeing to this.
At her agreement, Bryce shot up and took her by the hand and rushed her outside the library. Parked on the sidewalk just outside the revolving doors was a matte black 848 EVO Ducati super bike. That would explain the tousled hair!
As they approached the motorcycle Yelena tried to act cool. But the whole situation was giving her heart palpitations. Rested on the bike was a ruby red flamed, full- faced helmet. Bryce handed Yelena the helmet because despite her amazement that she was actually doing this, he expected her to get on it tandem with him.
With only a second of hesitation, she grabbed the ruby red helmet and slipped it over her blonde hair as Bryce started up the motorcycle. Once it was fired up, he turned around and flashed her that award wining grin again and told her to hop on.
One leg at a time she swung her right thigh over the opposite side of the bike. Trepidation, exhilaration, and anticipation urged through her whole body as she asked where he was taking her.
Bryce voiced over the purr of the engine, “it’s a surprise. But I guarantee you’ll love it.”
Yelena could hear the grin in his voice. Suddenly, he reached behind and grabbed her arms as he wrapped them around his waist, “hold on to me. It’s impossible to go slow on this thing.”
Once again… CLICHE! Jeez Yelena, this is right out of one of your books.
With a soft twist, they were off. Her grip around Bryce’s waist tightened as she held on for dear life. This was her first time on a motorcycle. Let alone, on the back of a very fast one with a man she just met.
After a few minutes of her increasing death grip around Bryce’s waist, Yelena finally looked up at the road and loosened her grip. Pedestrians and cars zooming past her, she could feel the wind on her face through the helmet. The breeze blowing her blonde hair all over the place from where it escaped under the helmet Bryce gave her.
At a stop light, she couldn’t help herself anymore. She’s on the back of his bike after all, so she takes another leap. His shoulders so tense and muscular, she goes to touch them. Massaging every ripple and muscle, she hears a soft whimper escape from his lips before the light turns green again. And then they are off, bounding through street after street once again.
But then she opens her eyes and she’s no longer holding on to Bryce. There’s no cars or pedestrians flying by. No ruby red flamed helmet. The wind on her face is stronger now, more powerful. But there’s no black motorcycle in sight. One look below and the ground is over twenty five stories away.
People and cars look like glowing ants rushing and scattered about.
She’s not with Bryce…
She standing on the edge of a skyscraper getting ready to jump.
Realizing where she’s at, Yelena stumbles backward away from the edge gasping for air. “How did I end up here? It was all so real. I almost jumped!”
But maybe all it takes is a leap of faith after all…
The next day, Yelena follows her usual routine of a chai tea and the library. After the night she had, all she needs is her tea and her niche to escape the world. But someone is there and that someone isn’t a stranger…
Checking that she doesn’t have a foam mustache, she heads over to the man that is occupying her spot by the window. He looks up at her, “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to take your spot.” The man extends a hand out to her, “my name is Bryce. I thought I would join you.”
She shakes his warm gentle hand, “I’m Yelena. I would love the company.”
As she sits down next to Bryce she notices the ruby red, flamed motorcycle helmet resting next to him…