Just a Girl - Becky Monson Page 0,1

sandpaper will do that to you.

“Nice to meet you, Quinn,” he says, his lips pulling up into a genuine smile, which makes a tingling sensation shoot down the back of my neck. That’s one striking grin.

I feel something . . . a tug or a pull of some sort that makes my mind start taking off at a galloping pace. Visions of a two-story craftsman-style house with gray trim, a blue front door, and a flower garden appear in my mind alongside an image of me pushing a black pram. Handsome Henry walking next to me as we smile at how perfect our lives are.

You’re a complete nutjob, Quinn Pearson.

It’s not hard for me to go from A to Z with this guy, though. It’s like he stepped out of the picture of my perfect dream man—an Adonis—and is now standing here in front of me, British accent and all. In the dream I didn’t envision myself being covered in powdered sugar, though.

This is all foreign to me anyway. I’m not the kind of girl that men just come up and talk to. Unless they’re trying to break into television and they think I have an “in.”

News flash: I don’t.

“Well,” I say, pulling my hand free of his, “it was nice to meet you. Thanks for . . . uh . . . helping me.” I point to my back where he’d patted it just moments ago. Good one, Quinn. Keep bringing him back to the moment. Way to just let it go.

“Yeah, lovely,” he says, giving me a warm smile.

“Okay,” I say, starting to back away from him. “Thanks again for . . . uh . . . that.”

Time to go. I pivot and start walking away. Finding a trash can on the side of the street, I toss the rest of my donut away. Normally it would take something catastrophic for me to relinquish it, but the donut somehow feels tainted now. It was the cause of my embarrassment; therefore, it should suffer the tragedy of not being eaten.

“Wait,” Henry says when I’ve gotten only a few feet away.

I hang my head just a little and close my eyes. Can’t we just call it good? I’d like to go home now and relive this moment over and over in my head like the worst earworm in existence. Because it’s what I do. Even if it’s cringeworthy.

“Yes?” I say as I turn around.

He takes the few steps toward me, again running a hand through his thick, dark hair. “So, well . . .” He lets out what sounds almost like a nervous chuckle. “I feel like I should make it up to you. Can I buy you a coffee or something?”

“A coffee?” I sputter. “In this heat?”

The hand moves from his hair and to the back of his neck, a sheepish grin on his face. “Maybe not,” he says. “A Coke?”

“I gave up soda for Lent.”

His eyes crinkle at the side in the most perfect way. “Lent was over in April,” he says, confused.

“Right, I just never went back to it after Lent.”

He grins, his teeth looking perfectly white even as the sun has nearly slipped away.

“Glass of wine?”

“Do I look like I’m dressed for a bar?” I give him a sly smile. Not sure where this boost of confidence is coming from—old Quinn would have probably run away as soon as the coughing fit had ended. Or perhaps during it.

“I feel like I at least owe you a donut. Maybe one with less . . . powder.” He winks, a teasing tone to his voice. He smiles, and a little dimple forms in the right corner of his mouth.

“It’s fine,” I say, returning the smile. “No big deal.”

“You sure?”

I look down at my powdered sugar–covered clothes and then back up at him. “Yeah. Pretty sure.”

“Okay, well, see you around, then, I guess,” he says, the smile gone, replaced by something a little more flat. I miss the dimple—we’d just started to get to know each other.

“See ya,” I say, and then with a quick, awkward wave, I turn around and start walking toward my apartment.

I feel a weird pang of something I can’t really put into words go through me as I start to leave. Regret, maybe? Which is ridiculous because I don’t know this man at all. I’ve just choked on a donut in front of him, for heaven’s sake.

But this isn’t how I normally meet someone. Usually it’s at work or through a friend. And there’s