For the seventh day of the first Writer’s Digest Character-Building Challenge the prompt is “pick a place and have two or more of your characters meet and interact with each other.”
Merle smelled spiced wild flowers and felt a vibration on the make-shift bar. He smiled then looked up at her wondering if she would know him.
She was alone, and she wasn’t smiling. “You can’t be here,” she whispered.
“Excuse me?” Merle said. “Did you want something to drink?”
She looked flustered, confused. “A vodka tonic, but this isn’t right. What are you doing here? It’s not supposed to be like this.”
Merle scooped ice, measured the vodka. “What isn’t? Like what?” He put the drink in front of her.
She gulped down the drink and put the glass on the bar. “You can’t be here.”
He pointed at the empty glass. She nodded. He measured vodka for another drink. “I don’t understand why you keep saying that, but I’m here as a favor for my sister. She’s doing the catering and needed an extra bartender for tonight. She did a lot of begging and pleading and here I am.”
This time he handed her the glass. Their fingers touched and neither one flinched. Nor did they pull their fingers apart too quickly.
“What were you reading?” she asked sipping her drink more slowly.
He lifted up his book showing her the cover.
“Storm in a Teacup? If I didn’t know better, I would say you’re reading a sordid romance.”
He looked at the cover, then at her. “It’s about physics.”
Her face fell. She took another sip. “Physics? You mean like the laws of attraction?”
“Among other things.”
“I had imagined us meeting at the bookstore cafe. I was building up my courage to come sit with you. I never expected to see you here.”
“Oh, I get it now. I can’t be here because I’m the guy in the bookstore. Sometimes you connect a person with a place so much that when you see them somewhere else, you don’t even recognize them.”
“I don’t think I ever imagined seeing you in a tux, either.”
“Yeah, right. I think my sister rented it.”
“I’m Davenna Byron.” She put down her drink and held out her hand.
“Oh, yeah.” Merle wiped his fingers on the white bar towel. “Sorry about the damp fingers,” he said gently taking her fingers. “I’m Merle. Merle Tremble.” He brought her fingers to his lips and kissed them gently. “Enchante.”
Their hands lingered. He stared into her glistening emerald eyes, wondering what she wanted, and if her dress zipped down the back, or down the side.