And Then I Met You
Characters: Actor Chris Evans, OFC Kayla Brooks
Warnings: None, Fluff
Kayla left the grocery store weighed down with two full canvass bags and looked up like she always did. She felt as dull as the gray California sky but was determined that she would lift her spirits today for the sake of her best friend Jessica. Having bought everything she needed to bake a homemade birthday cake, she started walking toward the parking lot. Until she crashed into a brick wall, or what she thought was a brick wall, and her bags fell to the ground.
“No, no, no.” She stooped and surveyed the damage. The first thing she looked for was the carton of eggs, which was now a gooey mess on the sidewalk.
She heard a deep male voice above her, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know you were behind me. I stopped to check my phone and I guess you didn’t see me and bumped into me. Did you break anything?”
He knelt beside her and began to pick up her groceries, looking them over before replacing them into the bags. They worked in silence and when they finished he seemed pleased. She was fuming because he assumed it was her fault for bumping into him when he was the one on his phone.
His voice broke into her thoughts, “It looks like a few dents but everything is intact. I’d be happy to replace the damaged items for you.”
She glared at him and pointedly looked at the eggs congealing on the sidewalk.
He breathed out a loud sigh. “Sorry, I didn’t see those. Easy enough, I’ll run inside and get another carton. What kind are they?”
They stood at the same time and she noticed he had several inches over her 5’5” stature, so she craned her neck and did her best to look annoyed. Although with blue eyes the color of the ocean and crinkles around them from his nearly perfect smile it was more than a little distracting to be angry. She rallied and put a scowl on her face.
“Is it that easy for you? Just ruin someone’s day and buy them off like they’re some kind of charity case? Did you stop to think what those eggs represent? I may have bought them for a special recipe. Did you think about that? Or did you even think of how much a dozen eggs might mean to someone who might be starving in India? Forget about the eggs. Clearly they don’t matter to you.” She stared in contempt at the twelve pack of beer and plastic grocery bag with a large steak peeking out the top that he carried then eyed him with a look of disgust.
Kayla grabbed her bags and stormed to the parking lot toward an older model Ford that had seen better days. She put her key in the trunk and jiggled it but nothing happened. This couldn’t be happening. She jiggled harder, sneaking a look at the tall stranger still standing at the door of the store, a look of pure bewilderment on his face.
Chris stood with his brows knitted in confusion, letting her words settle in. He couldn’t understand why a carton of eggs threw her over the edge. Why was that so important to her that she would compare it to starving kids in Africa? She didn’t look crazy. In fact, it was the opposite. She had deep, soulful eyes and she was close to tears even when she was chewing him out. Clearly something else was upsetting to her. He went after her.
“Wait. Hey, stop. Wait. I don’t know your name but would you stop please?” He approached the faded blue car and watched as she tried in vain to open the trunk. “Can I at least help you open your trunk?”
Kayla refused to look at him. “No, I’ll just put my bags in the back seat.” She tried to pull the keys from the trunk but they wouldn’t budge. She jiggled them again but they were stuck.
Lowering her head slowly she looked at the pavement and wondered what she had done to deserve this. She was a good person. She gave her spare change to charities. She helped old ladies cross the street. She volunteered at homeless shelters. She waited and hoped a bolt of lightning would strike her down.
Chris tried to hold in a chuckle but a small noise escaped his lips. This only pissed Kayla off even more. “This is funny to you isn’t it? Of course it is. With your, what is that, twelve-pack of Stella, and I assume a really good cut of meat to grill. Probably some fresh vegetables too. And I’m sure your brand new SUV is nearby. You certainly don’t have a clue about the value of things to others do you?”
“Look, I’m just trying to help. I’m not sure what I did wrong but whatever it is, I’m sorry.” Chris looked down at her with doe eyes and an impish but sincere smile.
“You’re sorry? “YOU’RE sorry? Forget it, just forget it. I’ll call someone to come and help.” She turned away from him and dialed a number on her cell phone. “Jess, it’s me. I’m stranded at the Von’s on Laurel Canyon. Jess? Can you hear me?” Kayla looked down at her phone. It was dead. Now she knew the gods were definitely not on her side. She closed her eyes, hoping he had decided she was a lunatic and walked away. Then she heard his voice.
“It sounds like you could use some help after all?” His tone was quiet, not at all condescending. Almost soothing.
She was not going to give up. She was a strong independent woman and she didn’t need a man to solve her problems. A thought struck her. “No, my charger is in the car. I just need to get the phone a little charge and I’ll be fine.”
“Except your keys are stuck in the trunk.” The matter of fact statement along with the soothing tone in his voice set off a nerve deep inside Kayla. She shut her eyes and willed him away. She took a deep breath and pretended that he didn’t exist; that he was a figment of her imagination and when she opened her eyes she would be alone with her car and her stupid keys and her canvass bags of groceries.
She half opened one green eye and he watched her with a charming look on his face. “I’m still here.” She shut her eyes so hard they made her face scrunch up in the cute way kids faces do. Chris smiled at her obvious irritation. He tried another tack. “Do you want me to walk away? I think you want me to walk away. I’m going to walk away.” He turned on his heels and slowly moved in the opposite direction.
Kayla debated her options. She was stuck in a parking lot with, locked out of her car with a dead cell phone with someone willing to help her. “Wait.”