I took a sip of my water set it down then began typing again. The busy sounds of cars passing by me, people chatting and the magpies screeching above me smoothed out my nerves. My fingers flew on the keyboard getting my story about my latest trip to London out. I noticed a few words underlined in red, some in green a couple in blue but I didn’t care. All I need to do in this moment was to get the story out. I could edit later. I bit my lip as I talked about my visit to the Tower of London. Of course I had to mention the eerie feelings I got from all the alleged ghost. I didn’t have to fudge my feelings on how Elizabeth I must have felt coming in from the traitor’s gate, or how her mother Anne Boleyn must have felt as she entered the tower. The explanation of chills and the pit in my stomach for these ladies was real. As it was for poor Thomas Moore. I could only imagine what it was like for him sitting in the dark with the rats waiting for his faithful death.
My back felt stiff but I continued to write. Even when the waitress came to my table asking me if I needed anything else. I smiled at her, and for some reason she thought I needed a pint. So she brought me one, and when I finished that one she brought me another. I was grateful the booze it made my fingers looser.
A hint of amusement flooded me as I wrote about my trip to Baker Street and how I felt about walking through the old stomping grounds of The Ripper. Ah London, filled with so much history and so much mystery. How could one not want to come and visit?
I was so deeply involved in my work that I didn’t even notice the sky had turned grey and the air grew crisp. It was the waitress who informed me right before the fat drops of rain began to fall.
I thanked her with words and a twenty pound note.
She smiled warmly at me while I finished packing my things inside the pub. I looked at my watch then did some quick math. I could do a quick edit and get my article on the blog before the United States went to bed. I smiled to myself as I made my way back to my hotel.
The rain doesn’t bother me, being from Portland, Oregon rain was no big deal to me. Still I valued my laptop. So I waved my hand in the air for one of the famous black cabs.
A man wearing a tan trench coat stood in front of me doing the same. Though he must have been doing something better than me cause a cab stopped for him. I scowled then focused my gaze behind them.
“Do you want to join me?” I looked over to the man in the trench coat.
He was tall, lean and strikingly handsome. Underneath his black umbrella his dark brown eyes looked almost like two pools of chocolate, and his lips blood red. I smiled feeling the blush creep up my neck and along my cheeks.
As he held the door opened for me he wagged his thick brown eyebrows at me.
“American?” he said getting in the cab. Then he leaned to the cabby. “The Dorchester.”
He then looked at me as though he wanted something from me. My mind was reeling as I took in his long nose and strong jaw. His cheekbones were nice too, soft not too defined, and his hair. Dark chestnut brown, a bit damp from the rain, but combed to the side with such precision.
“Where would you like to go love?” he said with a very soft hint of an Irish accent.
My mind snapped back into focus, and I realized I was glaring at him like a drooling idiot. Clearing my throat I said, “Um to the London City Hotel.”
The man in the trench coat slapped his hand on the back of the diver’s seat. We pulled into traffic as he sat back putting his seatbelt on.
“I’m Robert Evans.” he held a hand out for me. Ignoring my nerves I took it. To my surprise his hand was warm and soft.
“Nice to meet you I’m Aveline.” I purposely kept out my last name.
Not meeting his warm blue eye I laid my hands in my lap and said, “Thank you for sharing your cab.”
He snorted. “I stole it from you, it is I who should thank you.”
I silently cursed myself as I felt the blush burn up the sides of my neck and up my face.
“So, are you here attending University?”
I choked back a laugh, and when I saw that he wasn’t teasing that he was sincere with his question I bit back a retort.
“No, I’m past my University years.”
He nodded. “Really? You have such a young face.”
Without meaning to I smiled like an idiot. “Thank you.”
“So what do you do?”
“I’m am a travel writer, I write for a publication back in Oregon and for my blog.”
He nodded, curiosity danced in his eyes.
“What do you do?” I asked taking in his designer suit and Burberry Jacket. Which by the way I knew about because I had seen that very coat next to the one I wanted in the window commanding me to go into the store for a scarf. The only thing I could afford. My love for Burberry had to be sated and there was no way I was going to walk past the store.
He barked out a laugh, “I’m starting to feel like this is a first date.”
I snorted and then the car came to a stop. It was for me, the hotel glowed like a beacon in a dark storm. As I started to grab my things Robert placed a hand on my knee.
“Have dinner with me.”
I shook my head. “I don’t know.”
He smiled. “We are not getting off here.”
The driver pulled back into traffic. I felt alarmed. My choice had been snapped away from me, and I didn’t like that.
“Hey.” I squeaked. “I didn’t say I wanted to have dinner with you.”
Robert leaned in closer to me filling my nose with his soft woodsy cologne. I leaned back trying to keep my face from his. His breath smelled minty, his brown eyes laughing at me.
“Please, “ he said softly, “have dinner with me.”
“I can’t afford the Dorchester.” I admitted.
A four star Michelin restaurant at the Dorchester meant I would literally go into debt with just an appetizer. Swallowing hard I notice more amusement flare in his eyes. The close proximity of him, the feeling of his shoulder rubbing against mine and the warmth I got from his hand still resting on my thigh made me feel more than nervous.
Immediately I chastised myself for jumping into the cab with a stranger. Pushing off his hand I smiled, incase I hurt his feelings, then said, “I mean no thank you.”
“Please.” he said sounding and looking crestfallen. “I can hardly stand the company of others, yet you have both intrigued me and delighted me in such a small amount of time that I must get to know you better.”