Mara stayed just long enough to inquire if there was anything she could help others with and being told no, prepared to leave. As she walked through the lobby, going towards the door, Eric came from Bonnie’s office and they both waited for the security guard to unlock the door so they could leave.
“So, how did the first day go?” Eric asked.
“It went well,” Mara responded, no more cordial than she was earlier and not really looking at him. She was fidgety, impatiently waiting for the security guard.
Eric took a really good look at her, appraising her from head to toe. He noted how sophisticated she looked in the navy blue suit she wore, with a red silk blouse and matching red heels. He wondered why she was so impatient and then it occurred to him, she might have someone waiting for her at home. Even that thought didn’t deter him from thinking about how much he appreciated her exquisite good looks.
“I’m glad. I hope every day goes well for you. I understand you’re from Atlanta. Why did you decide to move to Houston?”
“I needed a change,” Mara replied, exasperated with the question. “Is that good enough for you?”
“Whoa! I didn’t mean to offend you,” Eric apologized. “I was just trying to hold polite conversation while we wait.”
At that moment, the security guard returned from wherever he had been and unlocked the door. As they walked out into the early evening heat onto a bustling sidewalk of people, Eric turned to tell her good-bye, but she was walking in the opposite direction. For a second or two, he started to let her go without any further attempt to say anything to her, but then decided he wanted to know what was eating at her, so he followed her around the corner of the building.
“Mara,” Eric called after her, “Could you wait just a moment?”
Mara stopped and turned around, really irritated now. She couldn’t imagine what he could have to say to her and she certainly didn’t have anything to say to him. While she was pondering what he could want, he caught up with her.
“Mara, have I offended you by anything I said?” Eric asked as he stopped and stood in front of her.
“Not really,” she replied. “I just don’t like people asking me questions that are none of their business.”
“I wasn’t trying to be nosy, just friendly. That’s the way Texans are. We are very friendly people, you know,” he said smiling, sensing how uncomfortable she was and wanting to make her feel at ease with him.
Mara stood and stared at the man in front of her. Eric had a stocky, muscular build, was over six feet tall, and wore his dark wavy hair cut short. His smile revealed slightly imperfect white teeth and changed his demeanor from somber to playful. Listening to him make an appeal about Texans being friendly made her smile. She visibly relaxed, at least for a moment.
“Eric, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be rude. It’s just that moving here, finding a job, and being alone without friends or family has made me a little tense. I didn’t mean to take it out on you,” she apologized.
There was a lost sheep air about her that tugged at Eric’s heart. As she stood there looking up at him, waiting for him to accept her apology, he saw a wealth of wisdom that did not belong in the eyes of one so young—a wisdom that could only come from the experience of tragedy. He noticed her long mahogany hair framing her exquisitely shaped face—somewhere between being an oval and pear-shaped, her wide-set oval eyes and pert little nose. Her full lips were now almost turned down in the cutest frown he had ever seen. He wanted to get to know her.
“Let’s start all over again. Hi, my name is Eric Harrison and I’m very pleased to meet you Miss…,” he said holding out his hand waiting for her to fill in the missing name.
“Mara Mooring,” she responded holding out her own hand and smiling at him. I’m pleased to meet you.”
“Well, since we are so pleased to meet one another, would I seem forward if I offered to buy you a cup of coffee?” he asked, grinning now at their little game.
Available soon as an ebook on amazon.com. You’re going to love it–a bit of a departure from what I normally write–it is hot and steamy. Watch for it within the next 72 hours.