There's No Such Thing as Bad Luck
"Don't Talk To Strangers."
As I picked up my pace, I jogged awkwardly in my stilettos, dodging the people coming towards me. I felt like a trout struggling up stream; and at this time I had no time for extra work.
"Excuse me, excuse me." I apologized to everyone as I held tightly onto my purse that bobbed at my hip. There I was, running down Time Square like a deranged woman. Still blocks away from Pete's restaurant.
"Hey!" A woman snarled at me.
I was already feet away, so I forced a smile hoping that would do.
Then suddenly - thud.
Within seconds, I was sitting on sidewalk as the crowd continued to meander around me. Now, not only was I a deranged woman, I was a deranged woman sitting on a New York sidewalk at rush hour. Definitely, not a way to make friends with busy New Yorkers.
As I wiped the dirt from my black skirt, a hand appeared in my face.
"Sorry bout that."
Unsure if I could get up on my own, I took the stranger's hand.
"Oh no, it's my fault." I stood to my feet, "That's what happens when you don't watch where your going." I reassured him as I rubbed the small pebbles from my palm.
When I finally looked up at him, the stupidity came over me. He was rather handsome, even for my standards. As I scanned him over discretely, I then realized why I had fallen over. He was very tall compared to my petite frame.
"You looked like you were in a hurry." He noted, which then reminded me I was still late.
"That's right!" I stepped to his side; "I have to go. But thanks for the fall." I rambled quickly which made him chuckle.
"I mean thanks for…." I hesitated, as he watched me.
"You're doing it again."
"What?" I asked still in thought.
"Walking without looking."
Glancing the other way, I cringed, as my cheeks grew warm. "Yeah. Right." I laughed, trying my best to hide my embarrassment. "Well, bye." I waved as I went to turn around.
Before he was able to finish, I slammed hard against a large man's chest. Who just happened to have a coffee in hand. As I recovered from the blow, the coffee flew from his hand onto my white blouse.
"Damn it!" The man growled at me, which made me cower.
"I'm so sorry." I apologized, "Can I buy you another coffee sir?"
"Another coffee?" He laughed, "Screw off." He tossed his now empty cup on the sidewalk.
"That's littering!" I yelled at the man, as the handsome strange walked towards me.
"Whoa! Whoa! Killer."
"Did you just see that?" I snarled, eyeing the man before he disappeared into the crowd. "You know littering is a crime you know" I nodded, apparently sure of myself.
"That's not going to get you a clean shirt."
I don't know how I could've forgotten, the hot liquid continued to burn my chest.
"Crap." I looked to the sky. "Why me?"
"I wouldn't do that."
"Look up to the sky with your mouth open." He explained, "There's quite a few pigeons around here." He joked.
"Thanks." I threw up my hands, "Now not only am I late. I'm covered in -."
Lifting my blouse to my nose, I felt my shoulders droop. "Cappuccino." I mumbled.
"I don't know if it means much, but doesn't look that bad."
Blinking at him, I glanced down at large cream colored stain then back up at him. After I did, I realized that my bra was now clearly visible.
Pulling my black jacket over the soaked spot, I cleared my throat.
"I'm Brayden by the way." He held out his hand.
"Well, Jenna." He sighed, wiping the cappuccino of his hand. "Is there anything I do to help you out by any chance? Because I hate to say it, you're not doing that great by yourself."
"Thank you, that's sweet of you. Really. But with the luck I've had today I wouldn't want you to get killed or anything."
Rummaging through my purse, I pulled out my cell phone. "I'll just call Duncan and let him know that I won't make the meeting."
"Okay, well good luck." He jogged up the near by stairs.
Waving to him, I listened to the unfortunate operator's voice. "No way!" I yelled at my cell phone. "Not now."
"Something wrong?" Brayden paused on the stairs.
"Oh no, it's fine. I just have to…" I stepped around the sidewalk, "Find a signal."
When I looked up again, the door was slowly closing. Letting my hand drop at my side, I stepped to the side. Glancing at my watch, it was already twenty after noon, making officially late.
"What's the point of a cell phone that doesn't work?" I asked a stranger that walked past me. "Seriously. How stupid is this." I dialed it again.
Looking to the stairs, the thought crossed my mind. As I took a step in the direction, I quickly stepped back. "Just do it." I told myself as I climbed up the stairs.
When I was in the foyer of the apartment building, I had two options. Stairs or no stairs; it was purely a guessing game now. But I shrugged it off, considering the day could only get worse, so why not embrace it.
As I wandered beneath the landing, I heard footsteps coming down the stairs. Hurrying back over to them, I took the chance of getting clobbered. But hey, this was important.
When the stranger turn around, a since of relief came over me. She was an older woman, her hair silver and curly. But certainly not the mugging type for sure.
"I'm sorry, but I'm looking for someone. His name is Brayden, I think he lives here."
"Ahh yes." The woman nodded, "Brayden takes out my garbage for me. He also does my shopping."
"So he does live here?"
"Yes dear, up there." She pointed up the stairs, "Apartment 432."
"Certainly." She smiled before stepped out.
Dashing up the stairs I slowed when I reached the landing. Coming down the hall, I glanced back and forth at the doors.
"430…." I mumbled, "431…."
Stopping short, I hesitated before forcing myself forward. Clearing my throat I knocked hard on the door's wooden surface. At first it was quiet; which made me glance over my shoulder. I wasn't used to this part of town and truthfully I was kind of freaked out.
"Can I help you?"
When I turned around, my jaw fell open. There in front of me stood a ravishing woman, about my age. She was dressed in a long man's T-shirt, which made me assume - girlfriend. And her cold glare confirmed that.
"I'm sorry I-I-."
I always stammered when I was in uncomfortable situation; it was one of my pet peeves. But not only was I blabbering uncontrollably, my hands were flailing in front of me.
"Who is it?"
The woman didn't even turn to answer, it was as if she was the cat and I was the mouse. And to be honest, she looked hungry.
Chick. Hmm, here I thought she had another choice name I mind.
Then suddenly, Brayden peeked over her shoulder.
"You know what, I'm sorry I'm just gonna go." I pointed down the hall, as I took slow steps backwards.
"Something wrong?" He asked, as his girlfriend crossed her arms over her chest.
"There was. But it's fine now. Again, I'm sorry for bothering you."
As I darted down the hallway I cursed at myself. When I reached the landing I could hear the woman yelling at him. Hurrying down the stairs, I didn't even glance back. Swinging the door open, I mingled back within the crowd.
Dragging my feet in front of Pete's restaurant it was now after one o'clock. Stepping in, a waiter quickly came to seat me.
"Good afternoon." He greeted, way to happy for the common person.
"Yeah. Right." I muttered under my breath, as he pulled out a menu.
"What do you prefer? Smoking or non?"
"I might take up smoking." I chuckled as the man looked at me strangely.
"Right this way Miss." Following behind him, I sat down at the round table in front of the large picture window.
Miss? I thought as I sat down. Did I not look like the married type? That is if there's a type at all.
As he rambled off the specials this continued to run through my mind. Just because someone doesn't wear a wedding ring, doesn't mean they're not married. But then again, maybe he thought I was too young.
Now I feel better.
"What would you like to start off with?"
"I'll have a Long Island Ice Tea please."
"Is that all you'll be having for today."
"Okay." He took my menu, "One Long Island Ice Team coming up."
Make it quick, I thought to myself. I wasn't a regular drinker, mainly because I didn't have time. But now, I had time and hell I wasn't driving.
Snatching my cell phone from my purse, I flipped it open. Snickering to myself I leaned back in the chair. Now that I don't need my cell phone I have service. Seemed ironic to me.
Dialing the number, I rested it against my ear.
"Here you go Miss."
"Thanks." I whispered to the waiter.
Pulling the glass closer, I took a drink. "Hello?" I swallowed, "Duncan?"
"I know, I know I was late. Yes I will reschedule. Yes, of course."
Gulping down the drink, I rolled my eyes.
Looking at my phone, my jaw fell open. "He hung up on me." I gasped. "What the heck?"
Looking up, the waiter was looking at me nervously.
"Uh…." He pointed to a sign on the wall. "We don't allow cell phones."
"No problem." Tossed it in my purse. "Can I have the bill please?"