It was a beautiful Sunday morning, the sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and Karmen was literally running in high heels because she was ten minutes late to meet her best friend, Miranda, at the Baker Street Bistro, their favorite spot to meet for breakfast every Sunday morning.
Karmen had decided to go shopping for sports bras since Miranda had to push back their time an hour. The heel of her black, Mary Jane pump caught in a crack in the sidewalk facing Pushaw Lake. Fortunately, a bench was there to catch her fall, so she didn’t bust her face on the sidewalk; unfortunately, a handsome man was also sitting on the bench. A handsome writer whom she recognized.
“I’m sorry.” Karmen blurted.
The handsome writer chuckled, “Don’t be,” he smiled at her, “It’s not every day a beautiful woman randomly falls next to me on a bench.”
Karmen chuckled, and the sound was music to the handsome writer’s ears.
“Atticus.” He finally introduced himself.
“Atticus Holmes,” Karmen responded, “I know, I’m a huge fan,” she replied as she wrestled with her shopping bags.
Atticus flashed her a million-dollar smile, and Karmen noticed how beautiful his brown eyes looked behind his square, black-rimmed glasses.
“Look, under normal circumstances, I would love to stay and chat with you, but I’m meeting a friend at Baker Street Bistro, and I’m running exceptionally late,” she confessed.
“Now, this I’m used to….”
Karmen arched an eyebrow in confusion.
“Beautiful women running away from me,” Atticus finished.
“I find that hard to believe,” Karmen flashed him a smile that created a sanctuary for butterflies in the pit of his stomach.
“You’d be surprised,” he confessed.
“Well,” Karmen paused, her cheeks blushing as red as her cotton sundress, “what if I ask for your number?” She finished as she typed his name under contacts in her phone before handing it to him.
Atticus flashed her another large smile as he took her phone and entered his number. “We’ll see if you actually call.”
“Oh, I’ll call.”
“Looking forward to it.” He tipped his Trenton Thunder hat to her before she turned and walked away.
Atticus took full advantage of the opportunity to check out the sway in her walk as she strode up the sidewalk before disappearing from his view.
Karmen made it to the bistro without any more mishaps. She walked in and found her friend sitting by the window with the perfect view of the lake.
“I’m so sorry,” she greeted Miranda before taking her seat.
“It’s alright,” Miranda replied, “You’re only twenty minutes late.”
“I know! I went shopping for sports bras and lost track of time, and then I met Atticus Holmes.”
“WHAT!?” Miranda shrieked.
“Shh,” Karmen hid behind her long, raven hair, hoping no one would notice her.
“The writer you’ve been crushing on for months?” Miranda asked.
“That would be the one.”
Karmen explained how they met, and Miranda listened with excitement. The girls giggled, and Karmen allowed herself to fangirl before taking a sip of her caramel latte.
“Any luck on the sports bras?” Miranda asked.
“Ugh!” Karmen sighed, “I hope so.” She took a long sip of her latte as if the drink had the cure to calm her frustration.
“Do you know how expensive sports bras are for big-breasted women?” She asked her B-cup friend rhetorically. “One was one hundred and twenty dollars!”
“That’s insane!” Miranda agreed.
“I know!” She took another long sip of her latte. “I don’t mind paying a little extra for something that supports the twins, but I refuse to spend triple digits for a flopper stopper!”
After she arrived home, Karmen put a chicken and vegetables in the oven so she could meal prep for the coming week. It was a habit she developed to keep herself healthy. Well, that and obsessing over the step counter on her fitness tracker.
She turned on the Orioles game and decided to give Atticus a call.
“Hello?” He greeted, sounding somewhat annoyed at being disturbed on a Sunday afternoon.
“Um, hi, It’s Karmen. You know the clumsy girl who fell this morning?” She replied.
The sound of her voice perked Atticus right up, “Oh, hi!” He replied with enthusiasm. “I had thought maybe you had forgotten about me.”
Karmen smiled, “No, I just wanted to get my chores done as soon as I got home.”
“You do chores on Sunday?”
“What can I say?” She replied, “I’m a creature of habit.”
“Just my type.” He replied.
“Do I hear cheering in the background?” Atticus asked.
“Yes.” She replied matter-of-factly. “I’m watching the Orioles game.”
“An Orioles fan in New England?” He feigned offense, “Say it isn’t so!”
Karmen chuckled, and the sound was quickly becoming Atticus’ favorite.
“I’m originally from Maryland,” she replied, “I moved here with my best friends, Miranda, and Carmen spelled with a C –”
“Wait,” Atticus interrupted, “You and your best friend share the same name?”
“Yes,” she replied, “just spelled differently.”
“Yes, and we’re basically the same person. She’s my blonde half.”
“Interesting,” he replied, not really interested. “Anyways, what brings you to Maine?”
“I was getting to that,” she retorted, somehow hearing Atticus smile through the phone, “We have always dreamed of owning a bookstore, coffee shop, and antique store all in one.”
“Did you open that quirky little place on the corner of Mason and Temple?”
“Mhmm,” she replied as she took a sip of her London fog, “Vintage Pages Café.”
“Anyways, all three of us were looking to start someplace new, hopefully for the last time, and we settled on Maine and chased our dream.”
“That’s very admirable,” he responded genuinely.
“Thank you,” she paused, “If I’m not mistaken, you were wearing a Trenton Thunder hat this morning.”
“What of it?” Atticus asked.
“Well, you gave me crap for being an Orioles fan in New England, but last time I checked, Trenton Thunder isn’t affiliated with the Red Sox.”
Atticus chuckled, “I’m from New York. You should know this, some fan you are!”
“Hey!” She retorted. “I know you’re from New York, I read your back cover bio, but my point is you’re hypocritical,” she tried to remain stoic, but her slight chuckle gave her away.
Although Karmen couldn’t see him, Atticus was smiling from ear to ear. He enjoyed feisty women. “Well, I don’t know anything about you, and that’s hardly fair, so I think you should go out with me so I can get to know you better.”
“Smooth,” she commended him.
Atticus chuckled lowly, and Karmen found the sound incredibly erotic.
“Would you be interested in getting ice cream with me one evening this week?” He asked.
“I would enjoy that very much,” she replied.
“Good,” he smiled, “How about tomorrow?”
“Ummm,” she stalled as she ran her planned day through her head.
Atticus could sense her hesitation, “I apologize for the short notice,” he paused, “it’s just that I thought getting ice cream with an attractive woman would be the perfect way to end what I know is going to be a dreadful Monday.”
“You flatter me, Atticus,” she replied, “tomorrow sounds great.”
“Let’s say 6:30?”
They finished making plans for the next day before Karmen jumped up and down like a child on Christmas morning. She started to text Miranda but decided this conversation was worthy of a phone call.
To be continued…