And Then I Met You – 5

Characters: Actor Chris Evans, OFC Kayla Brooks

Warnings: None, Fluff

Chapter 5

Kayla had just stepped in the elevator and pushed the button for the 4th floor when a frazzled man yelled out to hold the doors. She pushed the stop button and the man entered looking at the control panel in confusion.

“Can I help you find your floor sir?” He looked up and she immediately recognized the ocean blue eyes with crinkles around the edges. Her friendly tone turned icy, “You really are stalking me aren’t you?” She turned straight forward staring at the elevator doors. “How did you find me this time?”

Chris recognized the girl from the grocery store. Kayla. Kayla Brooks. He had been to the store three times and asked her out and three times she had turned him down. He couldn’t believe the odds of running into her at the hospital where he was doing a PR event, on a random elevator, while he was lost. It had to be serendipity.

Chris saw the look of irritation on her face and lost his composure and any courage he had left. He stammered, “No. No. I’m not. I. I got. I got lost. I was trying to find.” He noticed she wore scrubs and a hospital badge. “Wait, you work here? At this hospital?”

She could see the look of confusion on his face so she gave him the benefit of the doubt. “I guess the scrubs gave it away?” She paused, giving him a reprieve. He really didn’t know she worked here. “So Evans, you enjoy hanging out in grocery stores and hospitals?”

He let out an audible breath, between a sigh and a laugh, “I’m supposed to be doing a PR thing and meeting with sick kids. I went to the bathroom and got separated from my assistant and then got lost. This hospital is huge and there are a lot of halls and they look exactly the same.” His sheepish look was adorable and Kayla could barely resist his charm. And those ocean blue eyes that she still wouldn’t admit held her under a spell.

She laughed knowing how difficult it could be to navigate the large building. “It’s ok, I’ll get you home Dorothy.” She hit a button and they got off the elevator and went straight to a unit desk. Kayla picked up the phone and dialed an extension. “Hi, it’s Kayla Brooks from the 4th floor. I found your VIP guest wandering the halls like a lost puppy.” She gave him an impish grin. “It seems his superpowers don’t extend to navigation.” Kayla laughed at the response she received from the other end of the conversation. “Yeah, I’ll bring him to you.”

“I didn’t want them to worry about you. Follow me and I’ll get you back to the kids. They’ve been looking all over the hospital for you. Apparently you’re some kind of big deal.” She flashed him a beaming smile and he couldn’t help but enjoy the feeling that gave him. “I don’t know how you managed to make it to the 8th floor though. I hope you have GPS in your car.”

They walked together making turn after turn until they saw several people in suits, looks of relief on their faces as soon as he was in their sights. He quickly turned to her before anyone got to them. “Thank you so much. I’d still be wandering the halls if it wasn’t for you.” His assistant caught up to him and tugged his arm but Chris leaned down and gently kissed Kayla’s cheek before he could be dragged away.

The last thing he saw was her hand reaching up and her fingers softly pressing the spot his lips had just left.

Chris spent almost two hours with the children in the pediatric unit. He loved spending time with kids and it broke his heart that these kids were sick. Some had been in the hospital for weeks or months. In the beginning these were his favorite publicity events. It was natural. He didn’t have to put on a smile and say what they told him to say or pretend to be the person his PR team had built. He could just be Chris and play with the kids and be himself. There was no stress, no anxiety and it was fun. Now it had been turned into a media circus with cameras and press and even though he enjoyed being with the kids it wasn’t the same anymore.

His assistant was telling him it was time to wrap it up when he looked up and saw Kayla standing just outside of the doors to the unit. Kayla smiled and stood waiting while Chris said his good-byes to all the children. This was the hard part for him. He always left feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted.

Kayla watched Chris. She wasn’t in the habit of checking men out and had dismissed Chris so easily before. She finally took time to really look at him. He was tall, which she liked. His medium length brown hair was swept back from his face, held in place with styling gel. A little too groomed for her taste but probably at the request of his “team”. He had a stubble beard that he was obviously growing out. His blue eyes reminded her of the color of the ocean water where she grew up. And when he smiled the corners of his eyes crinkled.

He wore snug jeans and a blue button-down shirt, a little looser than the t-shirts he usually wore, but still giving the impression of a muscular frame underneath. A hint of a tattoo peeked out from the t-shirt he wore under the button-down. She bit her lip wondering what it would look like with the shirt off. Shaking her head and dropping it she realized she was still at work and a blush crept into her cheeks.

She could hear the sound of footsteps approaching. She lifted her head and smiled as he approached. “You did a good thing today.” Kayla said as if she was proud of him. This made him happy and he felt a stirring of emotions.

“There are perks to the job.” He grinned at her, a weary but satisfied grin. “Especially when you can put a smile on someone’s face.”

She didn’t think he was talking about the kids and she quickly retreated. “I’m sure you have other things to do; with your public relations. I don’t want to keep you.” She kept her head down, trying not to show any emotion, and turned to go.

Chris put his hand on her arm to stop her. “Actually I don’t. This kind of stuff sort of drains me so they don’t usually plan anything afterwards.”

Kayla looked up and saw his eyes glistening with a hint of tears. There was vulnerability beneath the superhero, super star, self-assured, jokester guy who wouldn’t give up on her. Maybe she hadn’t given him a real chance and maybe he deserved one. Her head was spinning but she quickly decided to take a leap of faith.

“You know,” she looked at her watch, “my shift ended 20 minutes ago. I think I can skip grocery shopping if you want to get a cup of coffee.” She couldn’t believe her heart was actually skipping beats waiting for his answer.

A smile grew on his face. “I knew if I waited long enough I’d wear you down.” She rolled her eyes and playfully punched him in the arm but was secretly thankful he had lightened the conversation. “I have to wrap things up with my team but I’d love to have coffee with you.”

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