For the next week, she tried her best to cancel the coffee date with Ray. She called him a couple of times, but had the strangest feeling he was screening her calls. She had to hand it to him…he had her pegged. She could never cancel a date, a first date at that, over a text…it seemed so barbaric. So when Friday rolled around, it found her in her favorite rust color long dress and her golden brown mane of hair tousled in waves over her shoulders. She might have been less than enthused about the date, but she never passed up a reason to dress up.
As she rounded the corner of Martha’s, she got her first glimpse of Ray. She almost changed her mind about the whole thing and began to turn back.
“Hey! Miss Sunshine!”
Damn, he saw her. Curse her bright dress and hair!
“Oh! Hi…Ray the artifact…” she mumbled.
“Did I just catch you attempting to slink away and stand me up?”
“N-no, that’s preposterous!” she said defensively. She was using SAT words, a sure tell she was lying to those who knew her.
He looked unconvinced, “Am I that hideous?” He teased.
He was the exact opposite of hideous and that was the problem. And funny. Shit. She wasn’t ready! She gave him a daggered look that he took to mean: no he wasn’t hideous and there was no way she was going to admit how attractive she found him. He was right.
He grinned, “Come on, grumpy lady, maybe some coffee will take care of that growling problem you have.”
How the hell did he keep doing that? Knowing exactly what to say, how to act to make it impossible to dislike him? She sat down facing him on a table outside the café with drinks in hand. She refused to start the conversation; she knew at this point that she was being a bitch. But this was dangerous territory and survival in any form was paramount. Besides, he seemed to be doing well in conversing all by him self.
He did not disappoint.
“You realize my name isn’t Ray the artifact right?”
“And you realize mine isn’t Little Miss Sunshine?
“Yeah, but it’s a cute nickname, I think I will call you that from now on.”
“Well then, your status as an artifact remains unchanged in my book.”
“Finally! Some progress! At least I am in your book.”
“Oh God, Ray you are relentless” She finally cracked a smile and shook her head in defeat.
“Hey, I say what I mean.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Her first sip of delicious coffee bought a blissful smile on her face. She caught him staring. “What?”
“Nothing, just seeing my theory being proven in action.”
“You’re a coffee lover, your whole demeanor changed with a sip.”
“Fine you got me, what about you.”
“Oh I dabble in the art of coffee, used to work as a barista for a bit.”
“Way…so should I put this down as two brownie points for Ray?”
“Ray, we do not have a brownie point system…”
“Well, we should. Let’s start now.”
“And what are we offering as a reward?”
“Not being mean to poor old Ray maybe?”
“Whoa there artifact, that’s asking a lot…how about I bake you actual brownies instead?”
“Yum home made brownies, that sounds delicious. Reward accepted”
“Then again, I don’t really know how to bake so…” She smiled devilishly, enjoying herself.
“Damn, fell into that one. Well I can always teach you…we can make a day of it!”
“Oh, Ray you’re hopeless.” Every negative thing just bounced off of him.
“No Little Miss Sunshine, I am here to bring back your hope…just call me…wait for it… your Ray of Sunshine.”
“Ungh, lame,” she groaned. “No, I think I will stick to Ray the artifact.”
“From you, I expected no less,” he conceded graciously.
She hadn’t had this much fun in weeks.