Hey, all, and welcome to another wonderful Wednesday! This week's prompt was "That came out of nowhere." Enjoy!
"So you work in advertising?"
"I sure do." Ashley picked at her salad without taking a bite. She was one hour into her date, and so far she was unimpressed by the bored-looking man across from her. Alan's shoulders were slumped. Always. And his brown eyes darted around the dining room of the cheap restaurant as if he was never really focusing on her.
"My mom worked in advertising," he commented.
"Yeah, she was the editor in chief of a big magazine."
For the first time, Ashley's interest was piqued. "Really? Which magazine?"
Ashley stared. "Bird?"
"Yeah, you must have heard of it."
"What kind of magazine is it?"
Alan looked at her as if she were crazy. Or stupid. But she preferred to go with crazy. "It's about birds. You said you were a bird enthusiast."
"I said I had a parakeet when I was nine."
"Oh." He glanced down at his soup, a disdainful expression wrinkling his nose.
Ashley shoved her lettuce aside, and her fork made a squeaking noise against the bowl. Alan looked up.
"What was that?"
Ashley opened her mouth to answer but then realized that she was about to throw away a golden opportunity.
"Oh, that was my phone. Sorry." She gave him an apologetic smile and pretended to look at a message. "Oh my gosh!"
"What is it?"
"My kid threw up! All over herself. My mother just texted me. She lives with us. She has to. She has dementia. But don't worry. I'd never leave her alone with my little girl. My brother lives with us, too. He's been doing really well since he started going to the A.A. meetings. Anyway, I guess I'd better go. I had a great time. I'm so sorry to leave like this."
"No, no. It's no problem. I'll call you."
Ashley was already half way out the door. Alan had picked her up at her apartment, but she had no problem with grabbing a taxi and getting far far away from his infuriatingly pompous attitude.
She stopped at a grocery store a few blocks away from her apartment. She needed milk, and her cat was low on food. It had all been a lie. A very unnecessarily elaborate lie.
Ashley lived alone with her cat in a tiny one bedroom apartment. Her advertising job paid well, but she just didn't need a lot of space. It just meant there would be more to clean.
Ashley was a woman on a mission. She was going to get in, get her things, and get out. But the way the store was organized forced her to walk right past the Doritos and Root Beer. She was a sucker for Doritos and Root Beer.
"Great product placement," she murmured, gazing at the prices and trying to decide if she wanted to blow the rest of the cash in her pocket.
But while she was pondering, she felt a pair of arms grab her and drag her sharply away from where she was standing. It happened so quickly. She didn't know how to react. Then she saw the cart slam into the spot where she'd been standing.
"Well. That came out of nowhere," a male voice said.
Ashley pulled away from her rescuer and straightened her skirt before turning to take a look at the man. She wasn't sure whether she should be angry or grateful. It had hardly been a life or death situation.
"Thanks," Ashley said, finally deciding on the simple and dismissive statement.
The man continued standing where he was, looking over the snack section as Ashley had been just moments before. Now she felt awkward. Should she keep standing there or should she just move along? She still kind of wanted Doritos. She glanced at the man again. He was very appealing: tall, strong build, dark brown hair, darker eyes. But weird. It was weird that he'd just grabbed her like that. She was going to just get her chips and go. But as she reached for the bag, so did the man, and their hands touched.
"You go ahead," Ashley said, pulling her hand away.
The guy grabbed a bag and grinned. "You're cute."
"You heard me."
Ashley eyed him. He couldn't be any worse than Alan.
"Want to split the cost?" she offered.
"Of the Doritos?"
"You eat half and I'll eat half. Or I'll decide you're a creep and leave you with most of the bag. It's a win-win."
The man smiled. "We can sit on the bench outside."
They began to walk to the front of the store together.
"I'm Ashley, by the way."
They shook hands briefly, and Ashley felt a stirring, a tiny breeze of butterflies in her stomach. This could be something. Or it could be nothing. But either way, her night was going to be a lot more interesting than eating a whole bag of chips by herself and watching a movie with her cat.
And be sure to check out the other Silver Flashers!
LM Brown (m/m)
AJ Jarrett (m/m)
West Thornhill (m/m)
Pia Veleno (m/m)
Freddy MacKay (m/m)
Elyzabeth VaLey (m/f)
Julie Lynn Hayes (m/m)