He knew he would be seeing Krista Coleman as much as possible and he mused that this might be his first relationship. He’d come close with other women but nothing had ever worked out and he had no idea why that was. But Krista was beautiful, intelligent, natural…and she seemed to be as interested in him as he was in her.
“I love the picture of the tulips,” she said. “As soon as it arrived I had it framed.” She giggled. “The framing cost more than the print.”
Jacky laughed. “Framing itself is an art. In fact, I’ve seen frames on older paintings, you know, the big gold gilded ones that are sometimes bigger than the paintings. Some of those frames are more interesting than the paintings.”
It was Krista’s turn to laugh. “Honestly, though, I didn’t mind paying for the frame. It’s slate gray and suits the picture so well.” She leaned forward put two fingers lightly on Jacky’s left hand. The gesture made him catch his breath. “I have it in a special place in my living room, right over the couch.”
“I feel honored. And slate gray seems like the perfect color for it. You have good taste.”
She giggled. “I’m an interior designer. Good taste is mandatory.”
He was drinking German Chocolate Cake coffee—his favorite. She had a Green Chai Latte. Her fingers were still on his hand and he put his other hand on top of hers. She smiled and leaned closer to him. His stomach churned with excitement. He felt just a little dizzy. She was so beautiful and her smile…
“So, Jacky,” she said, “why just pictures of plants growing out of sidewalks and streets? Do you ever take pictures of plants growing in pots?”
“Plants in pots are domesticated plants. Plants growing through concrete streets are wild and free—like the difference between house cats and lions.”
“What a beautiful way to put it. I would never have thought of it that way. I mean, free plants and enslaved plants.” She put her free hand on top of his other hand—they were holding hands across the table. His heart raced.
“You told me that you find them within a few blocks of the mall. Really?”
“Yep. I bicycle around looking for them. I usually don’t have to go far from the mall or where I live. You’d be surprised at how much of the city has been reclaimed by nature.”
“And where do you live?”
Oh, that beautiful smile. Those seductive blue eyes.
“On Joslin Street, right across from the park.”
“I know that park. That whole neighborhood is so beautiful. All those old red brick buildings. I’ve always thought that I’d love to do some interior decorating in one of those buildings.”
“I think most of them could use it.” He was beginning to feel giddy. “The insides are ancient. At least, they are in my building. But they’re kept up well. No cracks in the walls or water streaks on the ceilings. Kept up very well.”
“I’d like see the inside of your building sometime.” That smile. “I mean, you’re the only person I know who lives in that area. Do you have a view of the park?”
“Wake up to it every day. Especially beautiful this time of year with all the trees turning color.”
“And you don’t take pictures of the trees? They’re wild and free, aren’t they?”
“I’ve thought about it.” He felt her hands press down on his and his pulse quickened. “But trees are a whole different thing from the smaller plants. There’s something about trees. They don’t break through the concrete and asphalt like dandelions and other weeds. We either cut them down or build around them. But I can take some pictures of trees, if you like.”
Oh, that big beautiful smile.
Her eyes widened. “Would you? Would you really? I mean, I could pay you for them.”
“No!” He didn’t mean to say it that loud. She pushed back slightly, surprised by the tone. “No. I won’t charge you for them. They’re for you. Let’s say, you’ll be inspiring me. So, they should really go to you.”
She leaned back in, laughing. “Why Jacky, I feel so special! Thank you.”
Krista Coleman…you are so special.
He twisted his hand to look at his watch. It was getting close to the hour. He would have to leave soon. He didn’t want to, but he had to.
“Listen, Krista.” He pressed her hand a little harder. “I have to leave shortly but I’d really like to see you again. How about coffee…” He glanced at her cup. “…and tea again?”
“Yes,” she suddenly seemed all bubbly. “I’d love that. And I guess it is getting late and I’m keeping you from your art. But I’ve really enjoyed spending time with you.”
“I’d like to see you again. Can you meet me at the gallery again?”
“You’ll make a special trip for me?”
He laughed. “I’m always there on Thursday.”
She looked puzzled. “Are you going to be out of town or something?”
“Um…no. Why would you think that? How about it? Are we on?”
“Sure,” she said, still looking confused. “We’re on.”
Later That Evening – Krista
Finally, a guy who’s not a creep, thought Krista. Maybe your luck is beginning to turn for the better. It’s about time.
Krista Coleman’s life was anything but a happy one. Beauty, intelligence and talent, generally associated with success and a happy life, had done nothing to give her an edge over the mountain of bad luck her life had been for the last two years with three cheating boyfriends, a car crash that had cost her a fortune in dentistry, the death of both her parents a few months apart and, to top if all off, she’d just been laid off from the job she’d had for five years. Her life was currently running on fumes.
But she was still optimistic. That was her way. She viewed her life as a glass half full and now that optimism appeared to be paying off.
She’d passed by Jacky’s virtual kiosk every time she went to the Edwards Mall but it wasn’t until last week that she’d seen him there. There was something about him that she couldn’t put her finger on, something that immediately attracted her. She didn’t think it was his looks, although he was definitely a good looking man, not handsome, but good looking in a friendly, down-to-earth way. It was something under the surface of his looks, an invisible presence, a confluence of vibrations on some plane of being that she couldn’t see, but she could sense. It was almost a mystical feeling and she was ready for a little mysticism in her life.
But why do we have to wait a whole week until our next date?
Later That Evening – Jacky
Jacky was sitting on top of the world…well…high on his bicycle seat, and the world was shaping up to be a big happy place. He’d never met a woman like Krista. She was down-to-earth and friendly and her smile was beautiful. He could still feel her hands pressed light on top of his. Her voice hummed in his ears like chocolate icing on cake. He could hardly wait until the next date.
He wondered about that. He wondered why she’d seemed confused at the end of their date.
Could she have been nervous?
But she’d said yes. She’d said yes and he was going to see her again. And maybe, just maybe, he’d bring her home.