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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Contest · #369123
A meeting between old friends turns into a perfect date. Contest:190463

The moment I laid eyes on him, I thought I'd seen the man of my dreams. Wavy dark hair, brown eyes, chiseled jaw and six feet tall. My heart jittered just to look at him. He looked so good in his leather jacket. I took a few steps closer to see if I could catch a whiff of his cologne. I always did have a nose for fragrance.

I blinked in surprise. Wait a minute. That's not Ron. That's a mannequin! Embarrassed, I turned around and tried to look busy at the photo counter.

I thought about last night. Ron had come back to the city and thought he'd give me a call. We ended up talking until morning. Finally, just before we hung up, he popped the question. "How about we meet at Macy's like old times? We'll take some pictures. Time to update those funny faces of ours."

I shrugged at the thought. Why'd I come so early? Why didn't I insist on meeting elsewhere? This was too much like old times. I'd forgotten how much I hated meeting people by the photo counter. There was nowhere to sit except on somebody's lap.

"Hey Bunny!"

Relieved, I turned around to greet him and came face to face with a nearly bald head.

"Your crew cut... It's so short!" I stammered.

He looked at me and frowned. "Your mini skirt... It's invisible!"

It took a second for his nonsense to sink in and then I couldn’t stop laughing. He always had that effect on me.

"I guess you don't like my hair or rather my lack of it," Ron said as he ran a hand over the fuzz that barely hid the skin underneath.

"No. It's not that. It's just, well, it's 50 degrees outside. Don't you feel cold?"

Giving me his most serious expression, he pulled out the knit cap from his pocket. I shrugged.

"How about we skip the pictures for another time? On my way, I passed by a new restaurant that had opened up while I was gone."

"Sure," I replied. I couldn't quite get over his new look. I tried hard not to stare. Despite my attempts, he caught my gaze a few times and just smiled back.

"You know, it's not a disease. It'll grow back someday."

"Well, you know how I remember you. Last time I saw you, you had a few feet of hair. When you told me about your haircut, I had no idea it was going to be this short!"

As we walked down Main Street, I wondered what new restaurant he'd spotted. I shopped this area regularly but I couldn't remember seeing anything fancy opening up.

I was wondering how far we had to walk when we stopped in front of the local White Castle.

"Have you any idea how addicted I am to those little burgers?" Ron breathed a heavenly sigh.

I took a deep breath to hold in my laughter. Ron held the door for me.

Taking our seats, I watched as Ron wolfed down a dozen of the little burgers. It was fascinating to watch. One burger. One bite. They were tasty little critters. I wondered why I never stopped by White Castle after it had opened up three years ago.

A bright flash lit up the streets for a second. Then came a crash. I looked worriedly outside as drops of rain spattered the window pane beside us.

The rain didn't seem to bother Ron. He started bringing back the old days, asking about old friends we both hadn't seen for some time. He brought back some amazingly zany times that I'd sort of forgotten. I found my nervousness slipping away.

"I don't suppose you have a car," I asked wistfully, still concerned with the unending pitter-patter outside.

My spirit lifted when he nodded his head. "It's in the shop." An image popped into mind. I was slapping that bald dome of his sideways.

We kidded some more but the rain kept falling. Soon, White Castle closed shop.

He took out his knit cap and tugged it over my hair. He opened the door and pulled out a compact umbrella.

I shook my head, mystified. Who was this guy? I remembered a clown from way back. Now Ron was like a magician pulling out what he needed from his pockets.

We walked to the edge of the sidewalk. He waved and a taxi stopped in front of us.

The rain had stopped by the time we arrived at my apartment. As Ron walked me to the front door, loneliness stirred my soul again.

"Oh, tonight was wonderful. Want to come up for some coffee?" I asked, wondering what he'd say.

"It's late. My new job starts tomorrow morning."

"Okay," I wondered if I was crazy but a sudden urge to kiss him came over me. His unnaturally bald skull was starting to grow on me. We used to be best friends in high school. Now we were just friends who hadn't seen each other in years.

Ron stood there silently for a moment. I held my breath waiting for his closing punch line to throw me into one last fit of giggles.

"Rachel, I spent the last six years in the Navy thinking about you. Of all the people I left behind, you're the one I missed the most."

My lips started trembling.

"It's been a long time since we hung out and I don't want to freak you out but I really want to see more of you now that I’m home again."

Before I knew it, my arms flew around his neck. He bent over and our lips locked.

I looked into Ron's eyes. "You always say the right words."

With a straight face, he uttered back, “And you always fall for them.”


Inspired by contest in:
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#190463 by Not Available.

The Perfect Date: Large Department store, Fast Food restaurant, and a rainy night. This is a Love Story without using the word of LOVE.
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