2nd Chances

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By The Shires / Sssh.com

People drifted along the streets of New York, their faces impassive, phones to their ears or the buds of their headphones snugly tucked into those ears. Ignoring the massive amounts of people around was an art in the city, and one most people perfected quickly out of a sense of self-preservation.

That was what Lillian Mills was thinking as she strolled toward the massive bookstore on Third. That being ignored and ignoring people was some kind of defense system against the utter magnitude of people.

It was no wonder getting a date was so damn hard. Never mind that fifty-five was hardly the optimal time to start dating again. There were just far too many people in the city, how was she ever supposed to find a single man—and not just single as in just one, but single as in unattached and ready to date—in a place so crowded that the only way to make it through the day was to pull on the blinders, keep her mouth shut, and make sure she was too busy with a cell or a...what the hell did they call those things anyway?

Devices. That would do.

Whatever someone could listen to or watch as they walked down the street. A device someone could listen to or watch as they headed down the crowded streets and long stretches of avenues.

Even if she was inclined to try to strike up a conversation how could she? The man in the blue suit walking beside her was her age or maybe just a few years older. His leather briefcase swung by one tailored pant leg and he spoke in a near-shout to whoever was on the other end of the phone. His walk was brisk and his shoulders very square. He had a handsome face, yes, but he also had the air of someone who would flip her the bird or walk faster if she dared to try to break in on his silence with a hello or how are you.

Sighing to herself she turned and then headed upward again. Oh well, at least there were always books.

The shelves out in front and along the sides of the store made Lillian smile. There was always a sale and she knew it but the sight of one never ceased to excite her and make her feet move a little faster. One never knew what one might find on the shelves after all. Sometimes it was a bunch of things she would never read and sometimes it seemed there was a treasure trove of authors just waiting to be discovered or old favorites meant to be revisited sitting there, marked down to a dollar or two through no fault of their own, surely.

Lillian got to one shelf just ahead of a group of bored-looking tourists who were busy exclaiming about the bookstore's historic value, something she personally cared very little about. Visitors always declared themselves in envy of people who lived in the city but she doubted they had ever had to deal with the crazy bidding wars and high rents or purchase prices, not to mention often hellish commutes, city dwellers had to contend with a on a daily basis.

The tourists were in a small pack. Three older and very bored-looking teens, a younger sibling, and two harried parents toting bags emblazoned with designer names and cameras.

Lillian slid to one side as the backpack one teen was wearing careened into her back. It would do no good to say anything. The young man would just chalk her up as another rude New Yorker. Never mind his rudeness in hitting her with his stupid backpack. Why the hell did so many tourists carry those things anyway? There was nothing they might need that they could not buy right there on the streets for God's sake and maybe the people who lived in the city would not be so grumpy if they weren't always getting whacked in the face or back with some heavy backpack.

The boy who'd hit her backed up from the curb and stared resolutely across the street at something. His mother hissed a warning and he stepped backwards without even looking. His backpack collided with the shoulders of a man heading toward the shelves.

"Watch it goddammit."

The words came out on a rich baritone growl. "I don't what the hell you're toting in there, bricks or something maybe, but if you hit me with it again..."

"Roger!" the clearly alarmed mother grabbed the perpetrator with one hand, her youngest with the other and began marching down the street. The father and other kids followed her outraged figure. Lillian stifled a laugh.

Blue eyes met her brown ones. He gave her an affable little nod. "I know it was rude but I'm tired of being run over by those tourists."

She nodded, "I was just thinking the same thing and I don't blame you. He hit me with it too and it really did feel like he'd packed bricks in there."

His smile got wider. "What are you looking for?"

She looked back at the shelves and pressed her lips closed over the words, "A date," that wanted to come barreling out of his mouth. "Oh I don't know. I have my favorites. Joyce, Chaucer. Stephen King and Nora Roberts."

"That's pretty eclectic." There was an undercurrent of amusement in his tone.

She grinned. "I was going to throw a few more in there but, you know."

His chuckle was warm and rich like hot fudge. His hair was a dark brown shot through with silver and, best of all, he didn't have a phone or anything else stuck to his ears.

They began to peruse the shelves. The warm sunshine drifted down from the sky and the tops of the buildings. He spoke again, very softly. "I've seen you here before I think."

Her smile was genuine. "I come a lot. I may have seen you as well." She wasn't sure but it was possible after all.

He gave her another of those warm smiles. The little nets of wrinkles around his eyes deepened when he smiled and a throb hit her heart. "I'm Charlie."

He held out a hand and she took it. "Lillian. It's nice to meet you."

Back to browsing. Lillian hadn't missed his empty fingers or the way his hand made a little thrill shoot through her. She cleared her throat. "You live in the city I take it?"

"I do. In Yorkville."

"Oh! That's my neighborhood. I will admit

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Written by Sssh.com
Hochgeladen March 27, 2020
Notes People drifted along the streets of New York, their faces impassive, phones to their ears or the buds of their headphones snugly tucked into those ears. Ignoring the massive amounts of people around was an art in the city, and one most people perfected quickly out of a sense of self-preservation.

It was no wonder getting a date was so damn hard. Never mind that fifty-five was hardly the optimal time to start dating again.
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