Charlie had just stepped out of the shower and was drying herself off when she heard her phone go off in the bedroom.
She secured the towel around her figure before she padded over to her bedside table. She answered without looking at the caller ID, “Hello there!”
“Hello to you to!” she could hear him smile through the phone.
Though it felt like a moth, James had been gone for 9 days. There wasn’t a day where he didn’t text or call Charlie back in Pittsburgh, The conversation was light as always—how their day had been, TV shows that they were watching… His work had taken him to Canada and California, and even with the time changes they still managed to talk.
“Our plane gets in late tonight, early morning for you,” he paused. Charlie pictured him rubbing the back of his neck, “but uh, would you maybe want to have dinner with me tomorrow night?”
At that moment Charlie was quite happy she wasn’t with James in person. She bit her bottom lip as she smiled and did a little hop, holding tight onto her towel. She waved her hand over her face as a way to compose herself.
“Sure, I’d love—” she stopped herself. “Wait, tomorrow’s Sunday?” she stated more than asked.
“Yea, it is,” James said over the line.
“Damn,” Charlie mumbled. “I’m sorry, James I can’t. I already had plans tomorrow night.” She didn’t bother to hide her disappointment.
“Oh,” James said, just as disappointed. “A hot date?” he laughed.
Did he sound nervous? Charlie thought.
“No!” she answered too quickly and rolled her eyes. “A-hem. I mean no, just a family dinner.”
Charlie swore she heard him sigh in relief, which only made her do the same.
“I’m free Monday,”
James must have glanced at the clock on the wall at least a hundred times, he was sure that time was fighting against him. The minutes passed by so slowly James thought his clock might have been broken, he replaced its batteries twice already.
He would have been happier to see Charlie when he got home on Sunday, but she was already busy. Can you just imagine how anxious I’d be if it were later in the week?! He laughed at himself.
Instead they decided on dinner Monday night and Charlie insisted on repaying James for the Chinese by making dinner. James was going he pick her up at her office at 6 and take them to the grocery store to pick up any ingredients she’d need for cooking.
After all the NHL Network he could take, James checked the clock once more. He bolted from his couch when he saw it was 5 o’clock. He took a quick shower, before shaving what little facial hair had grown in the past few days.
“I’ve never been more grateful to have no roommates,” James mumbled to himself as he stood in his closet trying on shirt after shirt. He’d get it from them if they knew how much of girl he was being.
Settling on a pair of tailored khakis and an army green polo, he headed back into the bathroom for the final piece to the puzzle.
He could have left it alone and just put some gel in it, but he washed it for tonight was a special occasion. James lined up his comb and hair products in a line and got to work.
It began with running the towel over his head, getting it dry. Next, James combed it before blow-drying it a bit, making sure it was stick straight. Then he squeezed gel into his hands, and ran his hands through his hair.
Front to back. Back to front. Right side and up. Left side and up. Mess it up—run hands all over. Scrunch. Fluff. Done.
James stepped into his bedroom and took a look at the time on his phone. It was time to go, so he grabbed his keys and winter jacket and headed for the front door. He made sure to stop and take a look at the finished product in the hallway mirror.
Damn, he grinned.
Go get ‘em tiger.
He pulled up to the address she had texted him earlier and parked out front. As he got out of the car he saw Charlie come through the glass doors.
James pulled back the sleeve of his jacket and checked his watch, he wasn’t late—right on time actually.
“Well aren’t you a sight for sore eyes,” she beamed as she walked down the stone steps.
“I would’ve come up to your office and got you. I hope you weren’t waiting long,” he said.
She came to a stop just a foot from him, “Which is exactly why I came down. My boss is also my friend, so you’d get the third degree. And probably her phone number,” Charlie giggled.
“Ah, so you’re actually saving me,” James joked.
For just a minute they stood there smiling at each other before Charlie shook her head. “Fine, fine. I’ll give,” she closed the gap between them and wrapped her arms around James’ neck. He reveled in the feeling of her so close to him, but he wished her thick jacket wasn’t in the way of his hands holding her waist.
Charlie was the first to pull away. “Shall we?”
James held the passenger door open for her, before he ran around to his side. He eased his way into the afternoon traffic, the roar of his Mercedes' engine masking the revving of their own engines inside.