The force of the water pouring down from the sky throws off her center of gravity and Rebecca struggles to keep her feet inside her shoes as the soles slide against the wet pavement. Water from puddles slaps against her bare knees and ankles as Rebecca rushes away from the warmth of the cozy Italian restaurant with her dripping hair tangled around her face and shoulders. The fabric of her dress weighs her down, but Rebecca keeps moving. She manages to free her keys from her purse as she half-runs and half-skids the final distance to her red Mini Cooper.
Rebecca unlocks the door, jerks it open, and slides into the safety of the car. Water seeps in after her, soaking the steering wheel, and the interior of the door before she can close it. The leather seat beneath her makes a squishing sound and Rebecca winces as she slips the key into the ignition. Between her clothes and the car, this date will cost her a lot more than a wasted afternoon.
Not to mention what her mother will say when she finds out Rebecca bailed on the premed major she’d handpicked as a suitable match for her tragic daughter, who couldn’t seem to get her own dates. So what if Rebecca prefers focusing on her education instead of a future marriage? She flips the heat on high and hopes it takes some of the chill from her bones.
As she waits for the heat, Rebecca tries to wipe the water off her shoe so it doesn’t slide off the pedals. But even with the wipers on full blast, she can’t see through the foggy windshield so she can’t drive yet.
Rebecca pushes the button to roll down her window and lets fresh air into the car along with more raindrops. One falls right into her eye and Rebecca fights the urge to scream as she slaps her hand against the button to raise the window.
Maybe she should have stayed at the restaurant to wait out the rain. She thinks of the pasta she abandoned and remembers the side of dull conversation. Rebecca wonders if her date realizes she left or if he’s still telling the waitress how great he is with a scalpel. A soft vibrating sound interrupts her thoughts and Rebecca fishes her phone out of her purse. She’s not surprised to see her mother’s name flashing on the phone.
“Do you have a tracking device on me or something?” How else did her mother always seem to know the worst time to call her? Or maybe her date complained about her. Either way, Rebecca refuses to answer and listen to her mother’s commentary on her lack of manners and social grace.
She presses the button to turn off the phone and a little voice in the back of her head whispers this demonstrates why her mother has no faith in her ability to live her own life.
“You are pathetic,” Rebecca mutters to her reflection in the rearview mirror. She hates feeling sorry for herself and she will not prove her mother right. She turns the radio up and puts the car in drive, glances in the side mirror to check traffic, and puts her foot on the gas.
The car moves forward and smacks into something. Rebecca’s heart leaps into her throat as she tries to figure out what she’s hit. There was no telltale crunch of metal so it can’t be another car. She squints through the cascade of water pounding the windshield.
A scream tears from her throat when she sees another pair of eyes looking back at her.
She’s hit a person. Rebecca shoves the car back into park and fumbles with her seatbelt. Before she can reach for the door handle, the passenger door swings open. Rebecca gapes as a tall man does his best to fold himself into the small car.
“I haven’t seen rain like this since I left London.” His accent would pique her curiosity under normal circumstances, but Rebecca just stares as he shoves his wet hair off his forehead and turns to look at her. His face is all sharp angles like something the gods carved out of marble with bright blue eyes and full lips.
But she can’t focus on how good-looking he is because he’s a stranger she hit with her car. God, her mother will have a field day with this one. Maybe if your head wasn’t always in the clouds, you’d see a man in front of your car, Rebecca.
“Are you all right?” Shock, panic, and the need to drown out her mother’s voice in her head make Rebeca’s voice sound higher than normal. She figures the circumstances allow for a little squeaking. “I didn’t see you.”
He smiles and her heart flips in her chest because of course that adds to his already over-the-top handsomeness. “If I had to hazard a guess, love, I’d say you weren’t watching the road.” Amusement sparkles in his eyes. “I’m hard to miss.”
Heat blooms in her cheeks, but Rebecca ignores it. “Okay, maybe I was distracted. I just had a terrible blind date that my mother arranged and I climbed out the bathroom window because he was so boring. I’m cold and soaked and then she starts calling me like she can sense that I embarrassed her and the windshield kept fogging up and are you laughing at me?”
He shakes his head, sending more raindrops flying in her direction, and she sees his teeth biting into the corner of his lip to hold back the laughter. Of course the guy she just ran over with her car is amused by her terrible social skills.
“Why are you in my car? Do you want me to take you to the hospital?” He doesn’t have any visible injuries, but for all she knows, he’s bleeding internally while she whines about her mother.
“It’s raining.” He tilts his head toward the windshield in case she forgot. “I thought since you ran me over, the least you could do is give me a ride. I don’t like walking in the rain. Where are you headed?”
His grin widens. “Fancy. I can assume you’re not a driving major.” He reaches back, pulls on his seatbelt, and shifts in the seat to try and find room for his long legs. “I’ve never been in one of these tiny cars. Never been to Harvard either so I’m up for a visit.”
Rebecca wonders if he hit his head or maybe she’s lost her mind and is imagining this whole thing. Maybe she’s stumbled into a hidden camera show. Do those still exist? “You want me to take you back to my dorm room?”
“Well we’ve only just met so there won’t be any funny business if that’s what you’re thinking. But I could use a little distance between myself and downtown Boston.” His eyes shift to the passenger window. “Anytime would be good, love.”
“Rebecca.” She tries to see what he’s looking at, but the steady curtain of rain makes everything look gray. He’s tapping his fingers against his knee and she wonders if he’d made a quick exit too. “Did you just rob a bank or something?”
He laughs and turns his gaze back to her. “More like a sullen biker fellow who wasn’t as good at poker as he fancied himself to be. He might be looking for me.”
“Let me guess. You cheated.”
“Cheating is a harsh word. I prefer played the game with more skill. But I may have underestimated the size of his crew. So what do you say? Can we get out of here? I like my face in one piece.”
“Then you probably shouldn’t cheat bikers at poker.” Rebecca knows the logical thing to do would be to tell him to get out of the car or just drive him to the hospital to make sure he’s not injured. But she knows that’s not what she’s going to do and he seems to know it too as he settles back against the passenger seat.
She glances in the side mirror, puts the car into drive, and inches out of the parking space into the slow-moving traffic. The rain continues its steady beat against the windshield and Rebecca leans forward for a better view.
It’s hard to concentrate on driving when she can feel his gaze on her and she decides she must be crazy for bringing a stranger home with her.
“I don’t even know your name.”
“Will. It’s a pleasure to meet you, even if you did hit me with your car. You know, there are other ways to get a man’s attention.”
She rolls her eyes, but can’t quite bite back the smile on her lips.
Story by: Mandy Treccia
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