“I was beginning to think I had imagined your offer to buy me breakfast,” a teasing voice said from behind me.
I whipped around and knocked a to-go cup full of coffee out of her hand. It landed on the ground with a thud, the top flying off and coffee splashing her legs.
“Crap!” she shrieked, jumping backwards.
“Fuck!” I yelled at the same time, grabbing a pile of napkins and dropping to my haunches in front of her, wiping the sticky liquid from her trousers.
“I am so sorry,” I groaned, blotting and dabbing the stains.
“It’s okay. Really.” She reached down and took my hand in hers, giving it a squeeze. I looked up and she was smiling at me, seeming more amused than pissed off.
I got back up on my feet and balled the napkins in my hand. “This is not a great way to make an impression, huh.”
Hannah smoothed out her pants and cringed at the brown splotches. “It’s a good thing you have your looks going for you.”
I snorted. She was funny. I dug that in a woman.
I noticed the paper bag in her hand. “I take it you’ve already ordered something.”
Hannah lifted the bag. “One cold bagel to go.” She glanced at her watch. “I really have to get to work.” She seemed apologetic. Like she didn’t want to go. Maybe I hadn’t screwed things up completely.
“I’m so sorry, Hannah. It’s been a crazy morning. I’ve been at work since 4. My head is all over the place. I was really looking forward to having breakfast with you,” I told her sincerely.
Hannah chewed on her bottom lip. I liked her lips. The top one was slightly fuller than the bottom. She didn’t wear lipstick because she didn’t need it. She had the au’ natural thing going, which was a nice change from the overly made up women I typically went out with.
She pushed her dark hair behind her ears. A slightly nervous gesture. Her eyes danced around before settling on my chin. She expressed a noticeable discomfort. I wondered why. She had seemed so confident yesterday.
“Wow. That’s early. What made you get up at that time of morning?” she asked breezily. Simple chit chat. Making conversation.
“Well, I’m a FBI agent.” I grimaced. “Man, that sounds cheesy, even if it’s the truth. I usually like to wait until at least until the second date before pulling out my alter ego.”
Hannah chuckled. “FBI agent? That’s impressive. And not cheesy at all.”
“It sounds like the beginning of a bad porno.” I closed my eyes briefly, hardly able to believe the word vomit that kept pouring out of my mouth. “That was inappropriate. I apologize.”
Hannah laughed in earnest this time. Her cheeks slightly flushed. She was lovely, without being conventionally pretty. There was something about her that made looking away impossible.
“You’re right. It does sound like a bad porno. The sexy FBI agent whips his “badge” out in the middle of the coffee shop.”
Then we were both laughing.
“You think I’m sexy huh?” I raised my eyebrows, trying like hell to recover my flailing image.
Hannah smirked but didn’t respond. She picked at the sleeve of her shirt. Another nervous gesture. “Why did you have to go into work so early then? Big case?”
I cleared my throat, stuffing my hands into my pockets. This is why I hated talking about my job. Invariably there were the questions. Questions that I wasn’t permitted to answer.
Because as an agent there was an element of secrecy I had to keep. A necessary wall that was in place between what I did for a living and the person I shared my bed with.
They couldn’t know the truth of what I did during the day. Not the details anyway.
And that usually led to problems.
Former lovers never appreciated being kept on the outside of that part of my life.
“It was just a case. I’m not at liberty to discuss it.” I realized instantly how prickish that sounded, but I didn’t know how to apologize or excuse it without sounding worse. So I let it go. Hanging there between us.
“Oh. Okay. I understand,” Hannah said, smiling again. Though it was strained. I was batting a thousand this morning. I waited for her to tell me to fuck off already.
“Since you missed breakfast, you want to have dinner?” she asked, surprising me.
“You want to have dinner?” I asked lamely.
Hannah licked her lips. Nervous again. This time for more obvious reasons.
“I mean, if you want to have dinner. If you’re busy with your case, I understand—”
I put my hand on her arm. And left it there. The connection was nice. I felt a tremor beneath my fingers. Was she shivering?
“I’d love to have dinner with you, Hannah. I thought I’d blown it. You know with being late, and showering you with coffee.” I indicated her still wet pants. “I’d understand if you wanted nothing to do with me.”
Hannah pulled her purse up onto her shoulder and shrugged. “I need a bit more time to see if you’re worth the effort.”