Part 2: Deviation

I wasn’t surprised to find David at the same table at Starbucks the next morning. I wasn’t surprised when he spoke to me. I was surprised when he gestured to the empty booth seat across from him.

“Will you join me for a few minutes?”

His eyes showed shyness his voice did not betray. I nodded, speechless, and sat, waiting for Shannon to call my order.

He looked down at his hands around his coffee cup. I looked down at mine, which I had spread on the table.

We both looked up at the same time. I blushed as he looked into my eyes.

“Do you run every morning?” He finally asked.

I nodded. “Every morning.” I tapped my fingers on the tabletop. Nervous habit. “Do you run?”

He gave me an odd smile. “I used to.”

“Used to?” I followed up. I knew lots of people had given up running in their 30’s thinking the stress on their joints was too much.

“Had to give it up. Injury.” He picked up his coffee.

“I am sorry.” I said, looking back down at my hands.

He shrugged and put down his cup. “Don’t be. I find other things to do.”

I nod dumbly and continue staring at the table. I am by no means a stellar conversationalist. Perhaps that is but one of the reasons why I find myself alone at the age of 35. Never learned the art of flirting.

“Kaida…” David says. I like the way my name sounds in his mouth.

I look up. Brown eyes study me.

“What does it mean?” He asks.

“Little dragon.” I answer and glance back at the counter. Shannon smiles and points to my waiting drink.

He chuckles as I stand up.

“Excuse me.” I say quickly and turn around to swipe my coffee off the bar.

He nods and watches me.

I stand behind the chair, coffee in hand. I want to stay, but I don’t know what else to say to him. And I have things to do.

He seems to sense my indecision.

“Thank you for joining me, Kaida.” He says politely, formally.

“You are welcome.” I mumble, flustered by his smile and the light in his eyes.

“Until tomorrow morning.”

He has an easy way about him that makes me more nervous somehow. I nod and head for the door, leaving him smiling as he turns back to his book.

My mile walk seems longer than usual as I puzzle over that brief exchange of words. David’s presence has rattled me and I find that I am still preoccupied when I meet Rebecca for breakfast at River City Diner at 10:00. Rebecca and I meet every Sunday unless one of us is away on business or vacation. We have done this for years now. She is probably my best friend in the world, single, too, not because she can’t find the right man, but because she can’t find the right woman. We have joked that we would have married years ago if I weren’t still looking for Prince Charming. Rebecca would make a great life partner. But I still want a man’s touch.

She notices I am off my game as soon as I order.

“Kaida, that is the first time in years you haven’t gotten the number 4 special. What is going on?”

I can see worry in her gray eyes.

“I want something different.” I say rather defensively.

“You never want something different.” She muses, still studying me with concern. “Spill.”

I sigh. Fidget with the red and white checked oilcloth that covers the table. It is a diner, after all. “Someone asked me to join him for coffee this morning.”

Rebecca’s eyebrows shoot into her hairline. “That is great. Who is this someone? And did you join him?”

“I sat down for a moment. Said some dumb things and grabbed my coffee and left. His name is David. That is all I know right now.”

Rebecca rolled her eyes. “You know more than that. What does he look like? What does he do?” Worry had changed to excitement.

“He is nice-looking. He has brown eyes and brown hair. I don’t know what he does, other than drink coffee at Starbucks early in the morning. I know he doesn’t run and I know he has spent some time in Japan.”

“Well, that is a start.” Rebecca smiled. “You are interested in him.”

I think I blushed. “Maybe a little. But what does it matter? I only see him for a few minutes at a time, then I have to go do something else.”

Rebecca shrugged. “Schedule him in for tomorrow morning. You set your own hours, Kaida, it isn’t like you are going to be late punching a clock. Sit down. Have coffee. Practice your Japanese.”

Her grin gave a different meaning to “Japanese.”

“I will think about it.” I said to let myself off the hook. But the idea did intrigue me.

To be continued...