Morning came and went and now the sun is high in the sky. Charlie, who had been awakened by her very persistent mother, was dragging her feet to a coffee shop a few blocks over. Her eyes were slightly closed and her head drooped forward.
A black poodle trotted into Charlie’s vision with its ears bouncing and its tongue hanging.
She giggled and bent over to pet the tiny animal. She scratched the dog on the head over a small white spot, earning a pleased yip from the curly mess.
“Spot,” a young man groaned, bent over, leaning on his knees. “Why do you always have to run?” He let out a ragged breath and ran his fingers through his wind-blown hair, while his other hand tightly held two leashes, each leading to a Chihuahua.
Charlie stood up and greeted the stranger with a smile. She had grabbed the lost leash on instinct and held it out in her hand.
“I’m really sorry,” his cheeks were splotched red, “she really likes to run.”
Charlie giggled again. “It’s okay.” With a shy smile, she dropped her head to hide her cheeks that matched his. “I really like them. Dogs, I mean.”
“Yeah, they can be pretty cool when they listen.” His voice was smooth and friendly, drawing her sight back up.
She nodded and stared at him for a moment, not quite sure what to do next. His disheveled clothing was layered with different patterns in the same colors. His hair was sticking at odd angles, but it seemed to her that it was probably always like that. She noticed that his eyes were a bright green because they were staring directly at her.
Charlie shifted her weight and pulled on her sleeves, coughing into her shoulder.
“I’m Evan,” he said with a bright smile.
Charlie found herself nodding again, her voice lost.
“I would shake your hand, but…” he lifted up the leashes.
Charlie’s head went up and down, but she smiled this time.
The silence stretched on and Evan scratched the back of his neck. His eyes darted from her to the dogs and back again, before looking all around. “Well, lovely weather, isn’t it?”
Taking a deep breath, Charlie realized she couldn’t just stand there forever and squeezed her shaking hands. “I’m Charlotte,” she said, “but please, call me Charlie.”
Evan grinned, reconnecting their gaze. “It is very nice to meet you, Charlie.”
Thank you for reading! We are almost half way done with this story!