You never know what something small can do for a stranger.
|Michelle sighed as she pushed the door open. Work had been rough but she wasn’t ready to go home. The scent of espresso beans and fresh brewed coffee mingled with those of new books and customer’s perfumes. She inhaled deeply and bought her usual caramel latte. The bookstore had always been her haven but this was especially true now that she knew no one in town.
Normally, she would wander through the shelves before selecting an interesting mystery and heading for her favorite little corner. For the first time since high school, however, she felt drawn toward the classics section. She ran her fingers over the spines of the greats. Austen, Bronte, Hawthorne, Twain…she remembered them like old friends. It was Shakespeare that called to her, though. He was her greatest love in high school but reality caused her to prefer mystery over the sappy, unrealistic romances, even Shakespeare’s. She pulled Romeo and Juliet from the shelf to flip through the pages but was surprised when a slip of paper fell out.
I love you more than you know. I know you do not feel the same about me, so this Is goodbye.
Still holding the note, she retreated to her corner with the overstuffed chair. She read and reread the note a few times more. It had fallen from the page where Romeo was watching Juliet on the balcony for the first time. The hours flew by as she reacquainted herself with the star-crossed lovers. Shakespeare knew what love was really like, a tragedy. At least all her experience with it had been. It wasn’t until her stomach growled that she decided it was time to go. She purchased the book, with its secret tucked safely inside, before leaving the store.
The house was silent and the driveway was empty when she arrived. No surprise there. She still wasn’t sure why she agreed to move away with Tony if he was never going to be around. Not that he was a joy to be with these days anyway. While she prepared dinner, she thought about this Adam guy. He was probably the type of man who would bring you flowers for no real reason. By the time she went to bed that night, he was a cross between Brad Pitt and Gerard Butler with Ryan Reynolds’ personality.
The next day wasn’t much better. She was already thinking about him as she put on her scrubs and brushed her long, blond hair. She even called several of her patients “Adam.” Mrs. Alverez wasn’t too happy with her new name. It had been a while since she had even thought about Tony that much.
Once again, she was spending the night alone. There wasn’t even as much as a phone call from Tony explaining his absence. She pulled the note out and toyed with it for a few minutes. Without really knowing why, she picked up the phone and dialed the number at the bottom of the page. It rang for so long that she started to hang up.
“Hello?” a deep voice finally answered.
“Um. Hi. I’m…well, you don’t know me really. My name is Michelle Crosmer,” she said, taking a deep breath. “I found your note. I guess I just wanted to say good luck and don’t let some girl get you down. There is someone out there that will appreciate a nice guy like you.”Her speech was followed by several moments of silence.
“Umm, thanks,” he said. She quickly said her goodbyes and was surprised to hear Tony coming in the door just as she laid the phone on the hook.
“What? You didn’t think to at least make me dinner?” Tony asked without even a hug hello. There was already an angry glint shining in his eyes. She didn’t waiver. She knew what she had to do.
“Tony, we need to talk,” she said.
* * * * * * *
Adam starred at the phone even after the line went dead. She found his note, that was unexpected. He didn’t think anyone read Shakespeare anymore, anyone other than him, of course. This strange girl with the sweet voice cared enough to call just to wish him luck? That was even more unexpected.
Without a moment’s hesitation, he put the gun away and threw the bullets in the trash. How on Earth did he sink so low? Did he really think his whole life was worthless without Allie? Sure she was pretty but what was he thinking?
Right then he made two decisions. Number one, he would schedule counseling the next day as soon as the offices opened. Number two, he was going to ask that sweet girl out to dinner. It was the least he could do for the person who unknowingly saved his life. He called her back and she picked up on the third ring.
“Hi, is this Michelle?” he asked.
“Yes, this is she.”
“Well, this is…I’m Adam Michaels, we just spoke a few minutes ago. I was wondering if you would like to go out for coffee sometime or maybe dinner?” He could hear a lot of banging around and a door slammed before she answered.
She said yes.