A short story based on the image shown
from a prompt from Writers Unite! – July 2019
A Short Story by Lynn Miclea
Kelly’s stomach churned with nerves. She hated blind dates. She had no idea why she had agreed to this, but she had and now she was stuck. It didn’t matter how handsome he was, or how much money he had, she still despised blind dates. She knew she was always awkward and never knew what to say. It was a bad idea all around, and she would not do this again. This was the last one.
Besides, she felt ugly today, especially with her hair all frizzed up with the humidity. But it was okay — she was sure this guy wouldn’t like her anyway, the date would be over fast, and she could go home and read her mystery novel and be left alone in peace. In fact, speaking of mysteries, it was a mystery why she was even doing this at all.
On top of that, trying to find the coffee shop in New York City was crazy. There were way too many people. Threading her way through the crowd just made her even more nervous. The noise and crowd made her feel claustrophobic. Horns honking, people scurrying, taxis screeching … it all made her even more anxious than she already was. She couldn’t wait for this day to be over.
She checked her watch — twenty minutes early. Good. Maybe she’d have a chance to relax a little and calm her nerves before he got there. She knew she had her mystery novel in her purse, so she could always read it if he didn’t show, which sounded like a great idea. Glancing at the address on the bookstore she was passing, she realized she was just two blocks away. Maybe she would —
She gasped as her body suddenly jerked forward and her head snapped back. What the—? Someone had pushed her — hard! As she stumbled forward in shock, a skinny kid grabbed the purse off her shoulder and ran.
“Hey!” she called out. “Come back here!” She ran after him. “Stop him!”
The kid ran down the block toward an intersection. “Stop him!” she called out again as loud as she could, chasing after him.
A young man just entering the next intersection looked up toward her voice, saw the scrawny kid running toward him, and tackled the kid. The two stumbled and went sprawling into the street. The man got up, grabbed the kid by the arm, and hoisted him up. The kid struggled to get away, but the man held on firmly, and the kid could barely move. The man spun the kid around and saw a woman’s purse in the kid’s hand. He ripped the purse from the kid’s grasp.
“Did you just steal this?” he gruffly asked the kid.
The kid squirmed but did not respond.
Kelly rushed into the intersection out of breath. “Thank you,” she said gasping. “That’s my purse. You got it.”
The man looked up at her. “Did he steal this from you?” He held out the purse to her.
She looked up into his deep blue eyes. Now why couldn’t she meet someone like this? “Yes, thank you. He had pushed me and —”
The scrawny kid suddenly turned, twisted, and tried to run. The man lunged and grabbed his arm and pulled him back. “You’re not going anywhere,” he told the kid.
“I didn’t do anything,” the kid whined.
A cop car screeched to a halt in front of them. Two cops jumped out of the car and approached them.
“What happened?” one of the cops asked.
“That kid pushed me and grabbed my purse and ran,” Kelly told him in a rush of words.
“I stopped him as he ran toward me,” the blue-eyed man added. “He had her purse.”
The kid hung his head, stared at the pavement, and didn’t say anything.
One cop cuffed the kid as the other cop took additional statements from the two of them and from one other witness who had stepped forward.
“I’m sorry,” Kelly said, after answering a few more questions. “I need to go. I’m late for a date, and I don’t want him to think I’m standing him up.” She rubbed her neck. “And my neck is really hurting me now.”
The blue-eyed man looked at her, concern in his eyes. “Maybe you should go to a hospital and get checked out.”
She gave him a weak smile. “No, I’m okay. It’s not that bad.”
“Hey,” he said. “There’s an urgent-care center on the next block. You can go there and make sure you’re okay.” He hesitated and then continued in a soft voice. “And call the guy you’re meeting. If he’s the right guy, he’ll understand. If he doesn’t understand, he’s not the right guy.”
Kelly gave him a weak smile and rubbed her neck again. “You’re right. I think I’ll do that. My neck is getting worse.”
She gave her contact information to the cop, and he handed her a card. “Please call me later,” he told her. “We have a few more questions to ask you.”
“Okay,” she responded, her voice shaky. “Thank you. I have to go.”
With one last look at the handsome blue-eyed man, Kelly took off down the street toward the urgent-care center. She worried briefly about her blind date and decided the least she could do was call him and let him know. This was a horrible day and it was getting worse by the minute.
Kelly easily found the medical facility on the next block. She paused before entering, took out her cell phone, and called her blind date. No answer. She left a quick message and then turned off her phone as she entered the urgent-care center.
Going to the reception desk, she signed in, noting that there were four people signed in ahead of her. Wiping her damp hands on her jeans, she sighed and took a seat along the back wall, prepared for a long wait. What a horrible day. She wondered what her blind date was doing and if he got her message. Oh, well. Blind dates were a bad idea anyway.
She searched her purse for her book to read. Where was it? She knew she had put the book in there. Damn! It must have fallen out in the street during the scuffle. She would have to buy another of the same book — she had to know how the story ended.
Ten minutes later, a familiar man entered the facility. She instantly recognized him — the blue-eyed man who had tackled the skinny guy. What was he doing here? Was he that kind that he wanted to check on her?
He glanced at the few people sitting there and approached her. “Hi,” he said, smiling shyly.
“Hi,” she answered, a bit confused. “Is there a problem? Did I thank you? I wanted to thank you again for what you did.”
“No, no problem,” he said softly. “Can I sit with you for a few minutes?”
“Yes, sure.” She cleared her throat.
He sat next to her. “Were you meeting a blind date today? Is your name Kelly?”
She furrowed her brow. “Yes. Why?”
He hesitated. “I’m your blind date. I’m Bryan.”
“You’re Bryan?” Her eyes opened wide. “You’re my blind date?”
“Yes. I got your message and just called you back.”
“Oh — I turned my phone off when I came in here.”
He chuckled. “I’m sorry we had to meet this way. But I’m glad we met anyway.”
She stared back at him and licked her dry lips. This handsome blue-eyed man was her blind date? She was a mess.
“Are you okay? I know that had to be awful to go through.” His blue eyes held her gaze and he smiled. “Oh,” he added, holding up a book. “Is this yours? It was in the street, and I thought maybe it fell out of your purse during all that.”
Kelly gasped and quickly reached for the book. “Yes! That’s mine — thank you!”
Bryan smiled at her. “You’re welcome. And by the way, that’s my favorite author.”
“What? You read mysteries?”
“All the time. I love the suspense and trying to figure out whodunit.”
She bit her lower lip. “I love mysteries — I’ve read most of what she’s written.”
“Me too.” He laughed, his face crinkling with merriment and his blue eyes sparkling. “And I know this was a horrible experience for you, but I’m glad I was there at the right time. Sometimes things work out when we least expect it.”
Kelly felt her smile widen. “Yeah, I guess they do.” She looked at his face which glowed with caring and sincerity.
He chuckled. “So, tell me a little more about yourself…”
She started laughing and then quickly stopped as her neck contracted in a painful spasm.
“It’s okay,” he said. “You rest. You don’t have to talk now. I’ll stay here with you. I have nothing else planned today. Just this hot date with a beautiful woman.”
She giggled despite the discomfort it caused. She suddenly thought of a million things she wanted to say and share with him. How was that possible? She was injured, messy, in pain, and miserable. But she felt herself relax as warmth spread through her and her smile widened.
Well, maybe blind dates could work out after all.
Copyright © 2019 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.
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