EmmaLynn Rose



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Cheese. Milk. Bread. Hamburger. Lettuce. Toilet paper. Can't have a grocery list without toilet paper. I studied the short list in my hand and dropped my purse in the basket of the grocery cart. I hated shopping. Wasn't there someplace on online I could pre-order weekly groceries and they show up on my front porch?

I pulled the cart out of the cart choral, feeling lucky that mine had all four wheels. Glancing down the isles, I couldn't believe the crowds. Why did I have to pick the day everybody and their cousin came to town? School let out a few weeks ago and the place was packed with tons of what I termed Mall Brats. You know the type; baggy pants down to their knees, a cell phone glued to one ear, a earphone from their IPod in the other, and brand name shoes that cost more than my monthly car payment. I sighed and got a grip on myself. I wasn't going get any groceries by standing around and complaining. If I wanted to get out of this mad house, I'd better get started.

I headed down the coffee isle. Coffee. Creamer. Coffee filters. I knew the minute I spied the neatly empty shelf this was not going to be my day. There were two cans of coffee left on the shelf, and ahead of me, some dude was making a beeline for them both. No way pal. Nobody comes between me and my coffee. With a quick glance around, I left my cart in the middle of the isle, darted down the side and around the dude, snatching a can of coffee from the shelf.

“Excuse me,” I mumbled politely, dancing out of his way. He looked up at me and smiled. He had a nice smile, and nice white teeth, a nice tan and dark, sorta curly hair. Not bad looking, actually.

“Sure, I know the feeling. Can't function till I've had my morning coffee, either,” he said and retrieved the last can from the shelf, dropping it in his cart. His accent had that New England twist, the 'o's a sounding a little rounder and the 'r' a little soft on the edges.

I smiled back, dropped my goods in my own cart and made my getaway. Alright. Three items down. Too many more to go. I rolled around the corner to the next isle, the man and his nice smile just a hazy memory as I contemplated the boxes of donuts. I needed chocolate donuts. You can't have coffee in the morning without chocolate donuts, right? Again, the fates seemed to be plotting against me as some tall Nordic looking dude stood right in front of MY donuts. I feigned interest in the snack cakes, hoping he would move, but he just stood there. This was not my day.

Finally he looked in my direction. He had nice eyes, a clear sky blue, and short wheat blond hair, nearly white. “Sorry, am I in your way?” he asked. I liked his voice, just a touch of Chicago in there somewhere.

“I just need a box of donuts,” I replied, tossing in a slight smile. He responded with a smile that I swore could have lit up the whole eastern seaboard.

“Chocolate. A girl after my own heart,” he replied as I added a box of donuts to my cart. Was this dude flirting with me? No way, not when I looked like something the cat dragged it. The tee shirt I was wearing still had paint splotches on it from painting the living room two weeks ago, and the jeans had one knee blown out. My hair I had simply pulled back in a pony tail, nothing fancy. This dude was way too cute to be flirting with me.

“Just one of my many vices. Nice talking to you,” I gave him a slight wave and pushed my cart down the isle, bypassing two grandmothers in a spirited conversation about their grandkids. I wheeled around to the next isle, dreading what I might find. But the canned vegetable isle was practically empty and I was able to grab what I needed and make a exit. I should have know this was too easy. The next isle was cookies. Who should I find standing there but the dude from the coffee isle. He looked up at me and gave me that smile, a little higher on the wattage this time. He was really cute, in a lean greyhound, kinda way.

“Fancy meeting you again,” he said with that smile. I felt something in the pit of my stomach flip flop. He was really, really cute. I did a quick glance at his hands, looking for gold. He wore a ring on his left hand, but it didn't look a wedding ring. Some kind of class ring maybe?

“Fancy that,” I returned, edging towards the soft marshmallow and devil's food cakes. I tossed two boxes into my cart. “We really should stop meeting like this,” I said. If some random Nordic dude could flirt with me, I could flirt back with tall, dark and handsome here. What he said next surprised me.

“Well, maybe we could met someplace else, later that is, if you're not busy.” His eyes sparkled and I felt my mouth go dry.

“Sounds nice, but I don't even know your name,” I replied.

“Sorry. I get carried away sometimes. Lee. Lee Crane.”

I rolled the name around in my head for a few minutes, certain that it was familiar, but I simply could not place his face. “Hi Lee. I'm Katrina. Katrina Morgan.”

Lee held out one hand and we shook, his fingers lingering in my palm for a just a fraction of a second longer than I expected. Did I mention this dude was really cute?

“Why don't I call you sometime?” he asked me. I kind of stood there before realizing he had asked me for my phone number. I snatched at my purse, dug through it until I found something I could write on. I scribbled my name and number down and handed it to Lee. He looked over it and stuck it in the pocket of his well fitting black jeans. Just then, a cell phone beeped, and Lee rolled his eyes and dug the phone out of his other pocket.

“Hang on, this won't take a second,” he said and stuck the phone to his ear.

“You're two isles over. What do you need? No peppers. I don't care if they're your favorite, the last time you ate those things you had heartburn for two days, and I had to listen to it. Stick to the list, that's an order!” He snapped the phone shut and turned back to me. “Sorry about that,” he apologized. “So, are you busy Saturday?”

After a few minutes, Lee and I had worked out a simple dinner date for Saturday. He promised to call later and made his excuses. I made mine, feeling like I was walking on cloud nine. I took me a few minutes to pull my head out of the clouds and focus back on my list. Rolaids. I needed to get some Rolaids, I was nearly out. I meandered to the pharmacy section, down the antacid isle, only to find tall, blond and Nordic had beat me to it. He looked up at me and grinned.

“Hi again,” he said.

“Hello. Nice meeting you. Again,” I replied. Two cute guys in one day. Who'd have guessed it?

He stuck out an hand and I couldn't help but notice the long elegant fingers. Musician maybe? With those shoulders maybe not.

“My friends call me Chip,” He said. I extended my own hand and we shook, his grip firm, but gentle. “Maybe we can get together some time? You a morning person? I know this little place that serves up a great breakfast,” he rattled. This time I was ready. I flipped over the back of my list, pulled out the pen I had tossed back into my purse and wrote out my name and number for him. I handed it to him and he looked over it quickly. He dug out a cell phone from a pocket, and while I stood there, he programmed my number into his phone, then shoved both back into his pocket.

“Katrina. I like that. What are you doing Saturday morning, Katrina?”

I could not stop the smile that came over my lips. Two dates in one trip. Was this my lucky day or what?

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