Prose Writing Prompt of the Week: Someone is reading a book on their phone while walking on a city street. They bump into someone who is less than sympathetic…at least at first. How does the meeting end?
by Jamie DeBree
Abby glanced up briefly, her true attention still on the small screen in her hand. She didn’t normally read while she walked, but her lunch hour was so short, and the heroine was just about to meet the guy she’d been texting with on and off for weeks, and Abby was sure they were going to hit it off right away – well, after she forgave him for that whole misunderstanding several chapters ago – and declare their love and it was going to be so…sigh.
Looking up again as she reached the curb right before her block, she forced herself to make sure the light was green and the walk sign was on before she stepped out into traffic, forgoing the story long enough to cross. Safely on the other side, she eagerly looked back down at the screen. She might be able to finish the chapter before she got to her front door.
Someone – her text buddy, she assumed – tapped Maeve on the shoulder and she turned around, her smile falling as she realized just who she’d been communicating with…
And Abby gasped as her left shoulder slammed into a solid wall she was sure hadn’t been there just a second ago. Jarred, she looked up, her mind still half in the book as she clutched the phone hard to keep it from slipping out of her grasp.
“And that’s why you shouldn’t text and walk,” the tall blond suit said, his voice much deeper than she would have expected. “Are you okay?”
She nodded. “I wasn’t texting. I was reading.” She realized how stupid the words sounded the moment they came out, and felt her cheeks warming. “I’m sorry. I don’t normally, but I was just at the spot where…” she stopped again. He didn’t care what she was reading or why, just that she’d plowed right into him on the sidewalk. “Well, I’m sorry. I should have been paying attention. I…are you okay?”
He certainly looked okay to her. Annoyed, of course, but the frown lines looked good accenting his square, Calvin Klein-model jaw. The green eyes glaring at her reminded her a little of fresh leaves unfurling in spring. The tailored charcoal suit set his broad shoulders and strong lines well, and the cream button-down underneath made an unassuming backdrop for the surprisingly artistic abstract black and gray tie that pulled it all together.
“If I looked you up and down like that, I could get arrested for harassment.” He checked his watch, thick and silver. “And I’m late for an appointment in one of these buildings. Do you know which one the Hansen building is?”
Abby tried to ignore her flaming cheeks and nodded again, pointing around one of those big shoulders. “Right behind you – that’s my building, actually. Who are you meeting with?” She put her phone in her purse, stifling a sigh. Finding out if Maeve and Toby would get past their differences and fall into each others arms would have to wait until after work. Dammit. She started walking towards the building and charcoal suit fell in beside her.
“Anderson-Pearson. The law firm,” the man said, reaching out to pull the door open for her. “Which company do you work for?”
“Thank you.” She crossed the threshold and moved toward the elevators. “I’m at Eldrige DocuServ. We do legal document service as well as courier services for most of the firms in the building.” There was an elevator waiting, and she got in. Charcoal Suit followed. She pushed the buttons for three and seven, and watched the doors close.
“I’m Abby Eldrige, by the way.” She held out her hand, and smiled pleasantly. The man took it, and squeezed – a good, firm handshake. Always a good sign.
“Toby McIntyre,” he said. “Nice to meet you, Abby. You own the company then?”
She shrugged as the elevator doors opened on third. Her stop. “I might someday. For now, I’m just working my way up like everyone else.” Stepping out, she put a hand against the door. “Good luck with your meeting, and I’m sorry I bumped into you.”
He raised an eyebrow and gave her a smirk. “I’m not. Have a good afternoon. Maybe I’ll see you around.”
Abby nodded and stepped back, letting the doors close between them.
Toby was also the name of Maeve’s currently estranged love in her book. What an interesting coincidence.
Two hours later, she was sitting at the front desk wondering if she could sneak in a few more paragraphs of her book while things were quiet, and of course just when she reached for her phone, the door opened. She looked up and smiled, her cheeks warming again.
“Well hi there. What can I do for you?”
He handed her a thick envelope with a sticky note on top. “Pearson asked me to drop this off on my way out. He said to charge it his account.”
Abby took the envelope and nodded. “We’ll get that delivered for him before five. Anything else?”
He shrugged. Smiled. “Maybe later. You have a good afternoon.” He turned and left, and Abby sighed. Why couldn’t she find someone that good looking and potentially smart for herself?”
Looking down at the envelope, she read the sticky note and grinned.
Text me when you find out how the book ends. His number was scrawled below.
Well then. Maybe she would.
Check back next Sunday for more free flash fiction! And check the writing prompt on Monday’s blog too, in case you might be interested in writing something to submit for this weekly post as well…