I have several of these posted on my website (http://traceeford.com), but I thought I’d post a small excerpt here today. Enjoy!
At the end of the game, the team met at a sports bar in town. Matt drove Robin to the restaurant. In the truck, he complimented her on her performance in the game. He asked about her ankle and they talked about the upcoming concert Saturday.
In the cab of the truck, the aftershave Matt wore intoxicated her. She glanced over at him as he drove. Impressed by his good looks, she found it hard to take her eyes away from him. He felt her staring and turned his head slightly to smile. “What?” he asked.
Startled by his words, she jumped a little. “Nothing,” she answered with an innocent smile.
She took off her cleats before going into the bar and slipped on a comfortable pair of flip flops. Still sporting her ball cap and uniform, she knew she smelled of dust and sweat. She looked forward to tomorrow night’s bowling league when she could dress decently and put on perfume.
They walked into the restaurant and sat down with the team members. Terri and Wendy sat beside Dalton Carver, Terri’s best friend. Landon Phillips, an ongoing worker, Patricia Felix, the agency secretary, Carla Vincent, an ongoing worker in the delinquency unit, and Paul Riser, the intake supervisor, sat around the table. Laughter filled the room.
Matt pulled out a chair for Robin and suddenly the laughter stopped. The smiles continued.
“Everybody,” Robin began, “this is Matt.” Everyone greeted him warmly with hellos.
The police department’s team came and sat down with the children services team. Colin sat across from Matt, making Robin feel awkward. But, both Colin and Matt grinned cordially.
Pitchers of beer peppered the table and orders were taken. Cheers could be heard throughout the bar as patrons watched the ball games on big screen T.V.’s.
“You played like a champ tonight, Robin,” Colin said sweetly. “Looks like that ankle really is fixed.”
“She did play well, didn’t she?” Matt said as he looked over at her with an adoring smile. Gently, he put his arm around the back of her chair. “I was very impressed.”
She blushed at the compliment.
“So what is it that you do?” Colin asked Matt candidly.
“I’m an E.R. doctor in Oxford.”
“Cool,” he said. “At least if Robin gets hurt, she’s got someone to take care of her.”
“Oh God, here we go” Robin said softly.
Confused, Matt glanced at the faces around the table.
Everyone laughed, but still Matt looked around clueless of the joke.
“Robin has a real bad habit of tripping over her own feet,” Paul explained. “I’ve seen her literally trip on the carpet when there was absolutely nothing there.”
The laughter grew louder. Robin felt Matt’s eyes on her as she kept her head down bashfully.
“I will admit,” she began as she finally looked up, “I’m not the most graceful creature, but I try, damn it.” She turned her attention to him, “I told you I had two left feet.”
The night continued comfortably, but 9:15 meant Matt needed to leave. He leaned over in Robin’s ear. His breath against her ear lobe sent goose bumps down her arms. “I need to get going,” he whispered.
She turned her face toward his with his lips mere inches away. “Okay,” she answered. The lump in her throat almost made her mute. “I’ll… I’ll walk you out,” she stuttered.
When he stood everyone at the table sighed and booed. “Leaving already?” one of them asked.
“Unfortunately, yes. I have to be at work in about 45 minutes.”
Everyone said their good-byes and told him how happy they were to meet him, even Colin. Matt walked out with Robin following.
Standing on the sidewalk in front of the building, Robin dropped her head. “I’m glad you came,” she said.
“Me, too. I’m really sorry I was late.”
“Oh no, don’t worry about it. I’m just glad you made it.”
“It was fun. Your friends are hysterical, too.”
“They’re crazy, it’s true,” she said as her posture straightened and she looked into his eyes.
“I will see you tomorrow night, okay?”
He took her hand into his, but it was too soon for a kiss, so she turned her head to avoid his lips. To her surprise, he leaned in and kissed her cheek.
“I will be there,” she answered.