Ben sat in the coffee shop taking a break from his boring office job. As he drank his coffee he was mulling over the past week since the disastrous bowling trip. He managed to piss off Emma once again and still owed her an apology. Casey wasn’t speaking to him either. Nick had been shocked that he sent Catalina home. He had even felt his forehead to see if he really was sick. What was wrong with him?
A soft voice interrupted his thoughts. “Excuse me. Ben, right? Do you mind if I sit here?”
Ben looked up and to see who the voice belonged to. He could have sworn he was looking into the face of an Angel. An Angel he definitely wanted to get to know better. “Of course,” he said with as much charm as he could muster, “Please sit down.”
The Angel smiled and seemed to light up the room. “Thanks. I’m Grace Ramsay. I am interning at the same company as you for my business class. I hope you don’t mind the intrusion. You looked deep in thought.”
Ben smiled back at her. The Angel had a name. Grace. He realized he hadn’t smiled much lately and it felt really good.
Ben began to ramble as he introduced himself. “I would be a fool to mind. I’m Ben Murdock and have a lousy part time job there. It has nothing to do with anything except a paycheck. I would much rather be doing something outdoors. So, you already knew my name. Grace, have you been checking me out?”
She smiled back at him amused. “I’ve seen you around…here and there.”
Ben turned up the charm. “I don’t know how I missed you. I usually notice someone as beautiful as you.”
Grace laughed out loud. “You don’t have to try so hard. I came over to sit with you without an invitation. So, Ben, you said you’d rather be outdoors. What are you majoring in if not Business?”
Ben could feel himself blush and hoped she didn’t notice. How did she do that? He had been with lots of beautiful women but she unsettled him. Maybe because it felt like she was getting too personal. “So you’ve seen me in class too? That must be the ‘there’ you mentioned? Okay, promise not to laugh?” he asked sheepishly.
“No,” she said very matter of factually.
Ben had to laugh at her answer. She’s honest, if nothing else. “Of course not. So, it’s Horticulture. Weird I know, but I love being outdoors and growing things. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and is very satisfying.”
Grace looked at him with an expression he couldn’t quite figure out, like she was considering carefully what he just said.
After what seemed like 10 minutes but was really only a few seconds, her smile slowly returned much to Ben’s relief. “Wow. That really was unexpected,” she said and laughed, “You look more like a jock or one of those smooth talking salesmen types. I told Naomi there was more to you than meets the eye. Horticulture actually sounds amazing and so much fun. It’s obvious you are passionate about it.”
Ben was a little embarrassed, but also pleased that she saw and appreciated his passion. But he was a little unnerved because she mentioned Naomi. He had a huge fight with her at the festival when he was there with Emma and his Angel was a friend of Naomi’s. He knew that did’t bode well for him.
Then he remembered Naomi was with another girl.
“Please tell me you weren’t the girl with Naomi at the festival?”
“You noticed me?”
“No, sorry, I just remember she was with another girl. That was not my finest hour.”
“I beg to differ. You defended the girl you were with when Naomi was cruel. Then you comforted her afterwards. Emma right? Are you two still together?”
Ben let out a little snort. “Yes, so you know Emma too? We were never ‘together’. She is a good friend though. In fact she has been dating Casey Khaury since the first of the year. Emma lives with my roommate’s girlfriend across the hall from us.”
Grace studied her coffee. “I can tell you like her. You get soft when you talk about her.”
Somehow Grace had him telling her all about himself. He really wanted to know more about her. Just from talking to her for the past few minutes he already knew she was down to earth and comfortable in her own skin. And, she seemed genuinely interested in him which totally disarmed him and left him speechless.
He looked up at the clock. “Damn, I gotta get back to work.”
“Hand me your phone,” said Grace with a glint in her eye, “I will text you when I get off and maybe we can finish our conversation over drinks.”
Did she just ask him out? Ben quickly stood up and fumbled around digging his phone out of his pocket and handed it to her. He couldn’t help but stare at her trying to figure her out.
She handed his phone back. “Were you staring at me?” she asked biting her bottom lip in an effort to suppress a laugh.
“Uh no…yes…sorry…shit.” What had she done to him?
That made her laugh but he didn’t care and laughed with her shaking his head.
“See you tonight,” she said and turned and walked off.
He watched her walk away happier about this crappy job than he ever thought possible. Only three more hours until he got to see Grace again. Grace, her name suits her perfectly, thought Ben.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
3 hours later…….
A/N – Thanks to GLovely1 for the beautiful Grace Ramsay that has captivated Ben. She is quite talented so be sure to check out her creations on the gallery!