“Oops!” Her books slithered out from between her helpless arms. His books joined them on the stone-flagged path. “I'm so sorry,” Cressida said, looking at the man she had bumped into. She caught her breath and forgot what she might have planned to add the simple apology. He was dark. Dark-eyed, dark complexioned, carbon-black hair, the chin and cheeks were coated with a thick very black manly stubble.
“No, really. It is my fault, señorita. I am not looking where I go.”
“You're Spanish?” Goddess! He's gorgeous! “I've not see you around before ....”
He laughed. It was a warm natural and infectious chuckle. “I have transfer from Valencia for my final year.” He squatted beside her and they began trying to make order from the mess of books and bursting folders. “I am Carlos, by the way. Carlos Mirales.” His sibilants were softly lisped.
“I'm Cressida Benjamin.”
“Hello, Cressida. I am very please to meet you.”
She laughed, feeling oddly shy. They were crouched over the mess of books. Their heads were close together and she could smell him. He smelled of soap and fabric softener ... not a cologne type of guy then. Oh help! This guy is ticking boxes I didn't even know I had. They stood up and she faced him, keeping her nose down a little.
“Well, no harm done, eh?” He said.
“No I guess not. Good job it wasn't raining.”
“Um, maybe I buy you a café?”
“That would be nice. Do you have time?”
He looked puzzled.
“I thought you were in a hurry ... running?” She mimed with her fingers, raising an eyebrow at him, testing his sense of humour.
“Oh,” he grinned, showing his large, even teeth. “I was very hurry, but now, I must make, how you say: reparación?”
She laughed, flattered and enthralled. “Amends.”
“Si, amends.” His smile widened. “Now?” He pointed toward the coffee stall at the side of the quad.
“Sure, OK.” She fell into step beside him. “So, how long have been here?”
“I flyed in last night.”
“Flew! You flew in last night.” She said laughing.
“Si, flew. Sorry, my English is not good.” He pulled a face.
“No! Really! It is very good and I am very rude for correcting you. It wasn't important.”
“Oh, I hope people will tell me when I am wrong. I want to learn.” He stopped by a table. “We sit here?”
“Um, I think it is self-service, here. No waiters.”
“Ah, si. You sit, I get. OK?”
“Thank you.” She took a seat.
“Erm, café solo or con leché?”
He made horns with his forefingers above his eyes. “Moo.”
“Oh, latte. Si, con leché, por favor, señor.”
“Oh you speak Spanish.”
“Not nearly as well as you speak English,” she said with a wry chuckle.
Carlos headed off to order the coffees. Cressida sat watching him, admiring his slender matador's frame and his lithe easy gait. For the first time in many days she had passed through a couple of minutes without finding her thoughts tripping over the knowledge of her bereaved condition. The sadness had been like a large weight, pressing down on her, squashing out all traces of anything but self-pity. She was surprised to find that even such a short reprise from the burden had opened the door to her normally bubbly personality. Suddenly he was back with a tray. His own coffee, she saw, was short and black.
“So, what is your study?” He asked after taking a sip from his cup.
“I'm a drama major. This is my last year. How about you?”
“It is the modern art, for me,” he smiled at her.
“You're an artist? How cool is that? I wish I could paint.” She added sugar to her coffee. “But isn't there an art school in Spain?”
“Not as good as the one here.”
“Ooh, I feel so proud.” She rolled her eyes.
“Ah, the drama teaching must be very good also,” he said, poking his tongue at her.
For a second she held her face immobile before she burst out laughing. “Maybe you should also be doing comedy,” she said when she got the giggles under control.
“You are kind to a stranger. Is there anyone especial for you?”
“Special?” She frowned, thinking about Gray. “Not really, why?”
“I think maybe we have dinner, si?” He leaned forward. “Please? I think it would be a great honour for me, if you say yes.”
That did it. How could she refuse. She said, “I'd be delighted.”
“Bueno! If you tell me where you live, I call for you at seven, OK?”
She told him her address, then responding to his frown at the name of the Society she snorted. “The name is a joke, we're not, you know ....”
“Ah, yes. Is funny, yes?”
She laughed softly. “Maybe not very funny. Although it probably was funny once.” She finished her coffee and looked at her watch. “Yikes! I have to go. See you at seven, then?”
They rose together and there was an awkward moment when neither of them seemed to know what to do.
“Bye for now, then,” Cressida said after a half-second which seemed like a minute.
“Si, until tonight ....”
She turned and hurried away, her heart pounding furiously against her ribs and heat rising to her face.
Goddess! Don't you have enough to contend with without falling for another gorgeous dark and handsome stranger?
But if there were any dissenting inner voices they were keeping their counsel. She hurried across the quadrangle, wondering what she should wear for the date; what to do with her hair, how much make up to slap on; whether or not to paint her nails.
Nah! Screw the nails. I've chewed 'em to buggery anyway ....
Nice to see another chapter! And Cressida is on the mend. Hope we get to see a picture of this new guy soon, the competition for Gray.
Well, yes, you'd have to be made out of stone to refuse Carlos, but, but, Gray is going to be so hurt and I can't jump into the story and make it all better.
I'm sorry, but I think Gray is the one for her and she is treating him shabbily. :(
I can't believe I missed your new chapter! Oh well...better late than never!!
Anyway, Cressy, Cressy, Cressy! What are you doing? You're gonna break some hearts...probably your own, most of all!
I really want to see a pic of the new guy! Though I agree with SBW, what about Gray??
But, new guy, so sexy, can't resist....
I missed it too, Sacha...
So, Cressida's got a taste for fresh meat, huh? And just when Gray is being so sweet and wonderful to her! :cry:
I really want to see the nice guy finish first here. :D