Silvia tiled her head back to glare at the sky. A fat raindrop pelted her eye. She cursed and wiped her face with her sleeve. Within moments, the torrential downpour had soaked through her dress and favorite cloth flats. Her curls had been perfect when she’d left her apartment that morning, thanks to Mother Nature, her hair hung in bedraggled, soaked dreadlocks.
No umbrella and no cash left her trudging through the rain toward her apartment. She grumbled as she walked, half temped to flip her middle finger to the dark clouds above her.
“Here, take this.” The man’s voice made her jump. He stood holding out his umbrella. She hadn’t seen him before, almost as if he appeared out of thin air. His perfectly tailored suit was protected by a trench coat. The fedora perched atop his head made him look like a detective from an old noir flick.
“Thank you, but I’m already drenched.” Silvia declined his offer with a smile.
“I own a shop just up the street if you’d like to come in and warm up a bit.” He offered his arm. As if sensing her hesitation, he added, “I promise not to bite…hard.” His laugh mingled with the sound of the rain soothed her frazzled nerves.
Taking his arm, she smiled. “What kind of shop do you own?”
The duo walked down the street beneath the umbrella. Being close to him lended a bit of warmth to her chilled skin. She leaned into him in a vain attempt to remain out of the rain.
“A bookshop,” he replied as they turned the corner. “Just there.” He pointed to a sign hanging in front of a brick storefront. Firefly.
As they stepped beneath the awning, he released her, closed the umbrella, and pulled a key from his pocket to unlock the door. Silvia stepped into the shop and he followed behind her, closing the door behind them. A glance around the small space nearly convinced her she’d stepped through a time portal and been transported to another age. A large fireplace stood along the wall with a well-tended fire blazing in the grate. The walls were lined with bookshelves, floor to ceiling. Every surface lined with either wood, brick, or leather exuding both comfort and elegance. A small loveseat and a pair of armchairs sat before the fire, complimented by a small table where a freshly made pot of tea sat with delicate sandwiches. When she turned toward her host, he’d removed his coat and hat, his hair hanging in delicate wisps across his forehead and his focus completely on her.
With a flick of his wrist, a warmth emanated from the fireplace, swirling around her. She closed her eyes, and the cold melted from her bones like snow beneath the spring sun. Opening her eyes, she gasped. He stood closer, his head cocked as he studied her.
“Better?” he asked as he brushed his hand across the fabric of her lapel. His fingertips brushed the bare skin of her neck.
The soft flutter of her skirt against her leg and the tickle of an errant curl across her neck belied the truth. Moments ago she’d been soaked to the bone.
“I’m dry?” She buried her fingers in her hair. Dry. Running her hands down over her dress, she could not deny the insanity of her situation. “I was completely soaked.”
He ran his fingers along the bare skin of her arm, and she sighed as a warmth wove through her like whiskey as it slides into the pit of one’s stomach. Why was she letting a stranger take such liberties with her? Silvia couldn’t deny her attraction to him, and the effect his touch had on her wits. “How can I no longer be wet?” she asked, her voice trembling with need.
A grin crossed his lips as he leaned close, his dark eyes sparkling with unknown intent. “I’m sure you still are.”
Ehehehehe…I was not expecting this story to take a supernatural turn. Interesting? I wonder if he’s a super hero? What do you think? What possibilities lie in this story?