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Monday, December 8, 2014

Romantic Meetings: Take 1

I love to read about the first time a pair of lovers meet, don't you? Maybe they spot one another across a crowded room, or she appears beside him in the moonlight. Or, okay, try this: he's got his gun in his hand, back to the wall, scoping out a darkened warehouse, when he hears a click in his ear and feels the press of metal to his temple. You got it—his dream woman.

Then there are the first meetings that are a little less, shall we say, auspicious? In my upcoming book Trust No One, our hero has just passed out on a city street, and our heroine has run over to pick him up.

"Are you okay?"
The voice floated toward him through a tunnel so bright he had to squeeze his eyes shut to keep from being blinded. He must be on a boat, that's why his stomach was in agony. Seasick. Oh, God, he hated to throw up. Just breathe, in and out, in and out…
"Are you okay?" The voice was closer now, more insistent.
A woman. His sister? Kat?
"I'm going to call an ambulance if you don't answer me."
Not his sister. He tried to say, "Okay," but the vibration made his head throb. So he sat there, silent, vaguely aware of a comforting hand on his arm.
Little by little, the fog cleared, the pounding eased up, and Nathan realized he was sitting on a sidewalk with his back to a hard, uneven wall, holding the sides of his head. He opened one eye. A brown puddle of coffee was running down a squiggly crack in the cement and soaking into the grass beside a parked car. It took another several moments for his vision to clear. Where the hell was he?
"You with me?" she asked.
He lowered his hands from his head and gripped his knees, which were pulled up almost to his chest. Holy shit. He'd gone down right in the middle of a sidewalk beside a busy street. The wall behind him was stone.
New Haven. Right.
He rotated his head slowly to the side and raised his eyes to the woman squatting beside him. Warm brown eyes shot with a gold rays gazed into his, the expression worried and a little wary. Her face was beautiful, with long black lashes, a full mouth and a strip of tiny freckles across the bridge of her nose. She was squeezing his arm. He glanced down at her hand and she loosened her grip, but didn't let go.
"Are you okay?"
Good God almighty. He recognized her. It was Fia.
"Have we…met already?" he asked.
She lifted one side of her mouth in a wry smile. "No, not yet. I saw you from across the street, and I ran over here to see if you were okay. Are you?"
"Yeah, I'm okay," he said, but he wasn't. His head felt like it had been cracked open, and his stomach was on the edge of spilling. He hadn't had a spell like that in over a year. What had set it off?
The girl.
Sophie hugged herself. "I saw you drop your coffee and start squeezing your head like you had a sudden pain, or a seizure or something. By the time I got outside you'd slid down the wall."
"What's your name?"
"Sophie," she said. "Seriously, are you okay to walk or drive or whatever? Do you work at the university?"
Nathan picked himself up off the sidewalk and leaned against the wall, willing himself not to puke. "Um… no," he said. "I'm here to—" He stopped abruptly, remembering. This was the woman who'd changed her name and disappeared without a trace. She didn't want to be found. If he wasn't careful he'd spook her.
"I'm looking at the graduate school." The minute he said that the wariness left her eyes. "And I'm very grateful to you for trying to help me." He examined his right hand, wiped it on his khakis, and offered it to her. "I'm Nathan Hunter."
She shook his hand with a firm grip. "Well, Nathan Hunter, my son will be finished with his O.T. before too long, so I'd better get back across the street. It was nice to—"
"I haven't had an episode like that in a long time," he said, anxious to keep her talking. "Can you describe to me what it looked like in more detail?"
Sophie turned her head to the row house. "I would, but… Well, are you okay to walk?"
He lifted one side of his mouth in what he hoped was a smile, but it could have been a grimace. "I'll start moving my legs and see what happens."
She hesitated just a second, then wrapped her hands around his arm. "Start by leaning on me, and then we'll see."
This time he was certain he smiled. "Where are you leading me? Not that I'm fussy."

Woo woo, sexy way to meet, huh? 
At least he didn't throw up on her shoes…
I love to hear about real first meetings, too. How did you meet your prince? Care to share?

-- Ana


Helena said...

He's travelling in time? Gripping opening! I'm still looking for my prince...

Elise Warner said...

Great Scene. I'm hooked. Met my real life prince in Chicago. He was dancing at the Palmer House and I was at the Conrad Hilton and studying dancing with his roommate. Engaged after three weeks.

Anne Marie Becker said...

My favorite part of reading or writing a book is figuring out those first sparks of attraction. Loved your sample!

I met my husband "kicker-dancing." I was meeting up with a high school friend at her university to go country-and-western dancing and my future husband walked in to join the group. I'm tall. He's tall. I thought, at least I'll have someone to dance with. ;)

We'll be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in 2 weeks.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Fun extract, Ana! As for me, ahem, I've had a few princes in my time...

Rita said...

We met on the beach. I was 14 he was an older man 16. After we were married he told me we'd really met much earlier. I was 9 he tried to kiss me and I clobbered him with a stick. Yes I always had a stick with my for just such an occasion.

Ana Barrons said...

These are great stories, Ladies! I've had a few princes in my time, too, Marcelle…but none that I've had to pick up off the street, literally. I love your question, Helena -- he's not traveling through time, just suffering an injury/PTSD-related reaction from when he was a cop.

Maureen A. Miller said...

Loved this excerpt, Ana! When I first started reading your post I began humming, "Some Enchanted Evening." LOL. I'm old. :)

Julie Moffett said...

Loved your sample! :)

J Wachowski said...

Very Fun, Ana!

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