Laurie nudged John as she came back into the living room and said, “Hey, I need your expert advice.”
“What am I an expert in today?”
“Guys. I went on a date last night with this guy that Trudy set me up with. I’m sitting there looking at my menu when I look up and he’s texting away on his phone. He stopped to order food when the waitress came, but then went back to texting for a good five minutes before I finally got really annoyed and said something. He didn’t seem to get that I was annoyed, but stopped. We talked a little, but he kept looking at his phone. Am I not a good date? Here look at my selfie from before I left to meet him. Did I not look hot? Was it me or him?”
“First, never let Trudy set you up. She knows some weird ass people and she thinks they’re normal. Secondly, you know you look good, you don’t need to show me that pic. Love that dress by the way. And third, you don’t need my expert advice. That guy obviously wasn’t worth your time. You need to learn to get up and walk away from shit like that. Don’t blame yourself for other people’s bad behavior. What’s going on here? Why are you so down on yourself?” John got up and moved over to the couch and sat next Laurie.
“I don’t know. I guess it’s because this is the third date in a row that hasn’t gone well. I just want to find someone already. I’m tired of being single. I miss having someone next to me at night. I miss lazy Sunday mornings drinking coffee and catching up on TV shows on demand. I miss someone telling me they love me. I want that back. Where is Mr. Right?”
“I wish I knew. I’ve been looking for him for years myself.”
They both laughed at that. Laurie laid her head in John’s lap and looked up at him. “I wish you liked girls. You’re the perfect guy. My Mom loves you, you never forget my birthday, and I can tell you anything.”
“Sorry. Can’t change who I am, but thank you for saying I’m perfect. I don’t hear that nearly enough.” He smiled and ran his fingers through her hair. “What can we do today to make you feel better?”
“I think I need to get away from people. What can we do to get away from the city?”
There was a long silence while they both thought of what they could do. Finally John said, “How about we take a drive out to the tide pools?”
“Yes! That’s just what I need. Let’s get ready and get out of here.” Laurie jumped up and ran for the bathroom. “I’m gonna take a quick shower.” She shut the door.
John got up and started a pot of coffee to take with them so they wouldn’t have to stop at Starbucks on the way out of the city. He then went to his room to get ready himself. He heard the music come on in the bathroom as he passed. It was the Black Eyed Peas singing “Boom, Boom, Pow”. John started dancing along as he got dressed. He was excited to get away too. Yesterday had been been a really tough day at work. One of the home visits he went on ended with the children being removed from the home. The mother had been so high, she could barely answer the door when he knocked. He had had such high hopes for her and it had been a real let down to see her like that. All the paperwork and phone calls. It had been a really long day. He shook his head trying to clear all the thoughts away. He needed to stop thinking about it. There was nothing he could do. The smell of the coffee pulled him back into the kitchen. He reached up into the cupboard for their travel mugs. He put two sugars in his and some peppermint mocha creamer in hers then poured the coffee in.
“Mmmmmm…that smells so good,” Laurie said as she came out of the bathroom in her robe. She grabbed her cup and took a slow sip. “Thanks. I needed this.” She walked back to her bedroom coffee in hand.
Twenty minutes later, they were in the car, coffee cups refilled, windows down, music blasting and they were both singing along. Nothing spoiled the mood. Not the traffic nor the sun disappearing behind the fog as they drew closer to the coast. They just kept singing and dancing all the way till Laurie parked and turned off the engine. They got out of the car both of them taking in a deep breath as they did so. “I love the smell of fresh air,” Laurie said as she locked the doors and began walking toward the beach.
“Me too and listen to those waves.” John put on his sunglasses, put their beach bag over his shoulder and followed Laurie down the trail. Once they got down the hill and close to the water, Laurie sat down and took off her shoes. “I thought we were going to the tide pools, ” John said as he sat down beside her.
“I want to go get my feet wet real quick.” Laurie got up and started running towards the water. Right before her feet hit the ocean, she turned around and yelled, “Wanna join me?”
John declined. Laurie ran into the water splashing around and John leaned back on his hands to relax. He listened to the waves and watched her kick her way through the rushing water. Both of them turned at the sound of a pounding feet on the sand and saw a man running along the waterline. As the runner got close, Laurie noticed that he was good looking. She turned so that her good side would be facing him as he passed. Unfortunately, as she turned she tripped on a rock and fell right into the runner knocking him into the water and landing on top of him. Laurie screamed as the cold water washed over them.
John was trying hard not to laugh as he watched them untangle their limbs and stand up. It looked like Laurie was apologizing profusely. The guy reached out and touched her head and even from where he was sitting, John could see that she was blushing all over. They went on talking for a few minutes and then headed in his direction. John grabbed the towels out of their beach bag and held them out as they approached.
“This is David,” Laurie said as she started drying herself off. “And David this is John, my roommate.” The guys shook hands and David thanked John for the towel.
“I offered to drive David back to his car so he doesn’t have to run all the way back soaking wet. Do you mind?” Laurie asked John mouthing “Please” when he looked up at her.
John smiled and winked at her. “Sure no problem. It’s the least we could do.”
“Thanks. I really appreciate it. It’s only a few minutes away. I had just hit the 3 mile mark and was about to turn around when Laurie here decided I needed a bath,” David said smiling.
“I’m so sorry,” Laurie started to say, but David cut her off. “There’s no need to keep apologizing. It’s just water.” They made their way up to the car and got in. David told Laurie where his car was and she backed out and headed in that direction.
“So what are you guys doing out here on a Sunday morning?” David asked as they drove.
“We just came out to get away from the city and see the tide pools,” Laurie answered as she turned the car onto the ocean frontage road.
“Oh, I’ve never been over there. I always say I’m gonna stop on my run back, but I always forget.”
“You could get dried off and come with us if you want?” John offered.
Laurie’s eyes got wide and she began to blush.
“I would love to, but I’ve gotta conference call in an hour.”
John saw David look at Laurie and sensed that he really had wanted to come, so he decided to try again. “Would you like to meet us for lunch then? We’ve gotta pay you back for Laurie’s clumsiness somehow.”
“Yes, please, let us take you out. It would be my treat,” Laurie chimed in looking at David in the rearview mirror.
“That sounds good actually. I should be done with my call by 11:30. Do you guys know where the Fish Shack is on Main Street? They have the best crab cakes in town. I could meet you there around noon?”
“Crab cakes are my favorite. We’ll be there,” Laurie said as she turned into the parking lot and drove toward the only car there. David thanked them for the ride, got Laurie’s number to call in case he was running late, and headed to his car.
“Well, this turned out to be an interesting morning,” John said as Laurie grabbed some extra clothes out of the bag.
“I know right. Just when I was beginning to think all men were idiots I literally run into a good one. Or at least I hope he’s a good one. We shall see. Thanks for your help getting the lunch invite out there.”
“He’s cute. I couldn’t let you let him get away.”
Laurie smiled and turned to go change out of her wet clothes in the bathroom. She couldn’t stop smiling. She had started the day feeling pretty low and now she felt like she could float she felt so good. Who knew being clumsy would get her a date? She started daydreaming about all the things that could happen. She walked back to the car feeling hopeful.