Feisty Francesca

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#11 Please don’t be a crazy stalker

Half an hour isn’t much time to look presentable after spending 12 hours in the hospital. I need a shower more than anything, so I start with that. In the middle of washing my hair I realize that I need to shave. I’m not sure where this date is going to end up, but I don’t want to feel insecure about my legs or my armpits or my pussy being all fuzzy. This is going to take longer than I thought.

When I finally get out of the shower, I know that I can’t possibly blow-dry my hair, do my make-up and pick out a sexy outfit. That’s too much to ask in such a short amount of time. I dry my hair just enough so it doesn’t look so wet anymore, but it’s still pretty damp. I grab me go-to black dress and pushup bra and only put some concealer on so I won’t look to goddamn tired. Right when I decide to add some lip gloss, the doorbell sounds. It’s the one downstairs, so I walk into the living room to buzz James into the building.

It hits me all over again that I’m going on a date with someone I don’t really know. In a way, it’s not that different from meeting up with someone you from one of the apps, but normally I meet those guys for coffee somewhere, or in a cocktail bar or something. Not in my apartment. Why did I give James my address? Then again, my address was already in the system, so he could have gotten it anyway. If he’s a crazy stalker, he could get all my personal details from the computer at the police station. The fact that he asked for my number and address himself is a good sign, right?

When I open the door, I’m surprised to see that James is in jeans, a white shirt and a leather jacket. His dark brown hair is slicked back again, but he doesn’t look like a police officer. Hell, he looks like a bad boy.

Although… would bad boys be holding a bag full of groceries and a stack of takeout menus?

“Hey,” he says with a smile, taking in my appearance. “You look absolutely beautiful.”

“Thanks,” I say, pulling a hand through my damp hair. “You look handsome.”

He holds up the groceries. “I figured that since you came straight from work, you might be more into a night in than going out to eat. So I brought options. I’ve got ingredients for my top three dishes, I brought some takeout menus if you want to go for fast food or sushi, and I made a reservation at two restaurants, one fancy and one casual.”

“That…” I’m at loss for words at so much thoughtfulness. “That’s really sweet of you.” I step aside to let him in. “Tell me about your best dishes before I decide.”

He grins and puts the bag on my kitchen table. His eyes move through my apartment, taking in all the different colors and fabrics. It’s an organized mess and I love it, but it’s not everyone’s taste.

“I love your style,” he says, sounding genuine. “Colorful, just like you.”


There is an awkward pause and I wonder how this night is going to end up. I don’t have any expectations, since I didn’t have time to think about this at all, so maybe that’s a good thing. So far so good, I guess. He seems… normal.

“Let me present your options to you,” James says, pulling out two steaks. “If you’re a meat lover, I’ve got ribeye steak with red wine reduction sauce. I’ve also got…” He rummages through the bag to find the salmon. “These would go in the oven with garlic, lemon and herbs. And then there’s the vegetarian option… stuffed zucchini.”

“Salmon,” I say, my mouth already watering at the idea. Maybe it’s not smart to eat garlic on a first date, but if we’re both going to eat it, I guess it’s okay.

“Do you drink?” he asks, pulling out a bottle of red and white.

“Normally, I do,” I say, feeling a little bad for him. “But we’re short staffed at the hospital, and even though I’m not on call tonight, I’ve got a feeling I might be needed. I told Leonard – one of the surgeons – that he can call me if I’m needed. I’m sorry.”

“Not a problem.” James puts the bottles down and smiles at me. “I’m just happy I get to see you at all today. You had me worried when you weren’t home this afternoon.”

“Yeah, I’m really sorry about that.” I still feel bad that this guy is going through all this trouble when I basically stood him up.

“You’re a nurse,” he says, shrugging. “My mother is a nurse, my dad is an anesthesiologist, and both my sisters are surgeons. I’m the black sheep of the family for going on the force. Trust me, I get that your job is important and demanding. You’re the backbone of the community.”

Okay, wow, this guy is too good to be true. Surely he’s got dead bodies in his trunk or something. No one can be this perfect.

“Being a cop makes you a black sheep?” I chuckle. “I think most parents would be proud of their son being a police officer.”

“Not mine.” He gestures to the groceries. “So… salmon? Or do you want to order in? Or go out? I’m up for anything.”

“Salmon. Impress me with your cooking skills, officer Tyson.”

He grins at that. “Oh I will, nurse Berger.”

I suddenly realize that we’re still standing and that I haven’t even properly greeted him or asked him if he wants something to drink. And I’m barefoot since I hadn’t put on my heels yet. Oh well, if we’re staying in I guess that a dress and bare feet will do. Thank God I shaved or I’d feel even more awkward.

“Can I take your jacket?” I ask, trying to be a good hostess now.

“Yeah, thanks.” He takes off his leather jacket to reveal two muscular arms covered in tattoos. The guy has got two full sleeves. Fucking hell, did I die and go to heaven? His white shirt is thin, showing me a hint of red and black lines covering his chest.

“You’ve got tattoos?” I ask, sounding a little breathless.

“No, I drew them on with a sharpie before coming here.” He laughs at my shocked face. “Obviously they’re tattoos. Why do you look so shocked? Cops can have tattoos, you know. Just like nurses can have purple hair and a nose ring.”

Fair enough. He’s right, I shouldn’t be so surprised, but I am. He just didn’t look like this when we met. He was in a uniform with long sleeves, not giving away anything that hinted at the gorgeous tattoos he’s got. He’s also a lot more buff than I thought he was. My mouth waters at the sight of him. He’s my type to a T.

“Do you have any?” he asks while he starts putting away groceries like he lives here, pulling open my fridge and looking for pots and pans to start cooking. He preheats the oven, bending down to get to it, giving me a nice view of his tight ass in those jeans.

Fuck, this night is not going like I thought it would. It’s way better. I’ve got a hot cop in my apartment, covered in tattoos. And apparently, he can cook. And he gets that you don’t stop being a nurse when you get off work. Maybe I should just drop to my knees and beg him to marry me.

“Yeah,” I say, putting away his jacket in the hallway and closing the door behind me. “I’ve got two tattoos, actually.”

“Can I ask where?” His eyes move over my body and he frowns when he doesn’t see either of them. “Obviously, they’re covered right now, which makes me very curious to see them.”

He even flirts and makes me feel like he wants to see me naked without being a douche about it. I like him. James Tyson is not who I though he’d be, and that’s a very good thing.

“I’ve got a broken heart and a whole one on the back of my neck.” I turn around and lift up my hair, showing him the two small tats that hardly anyone ever sees because I usually wear my hair down. They’re small, and the broken one is black, the whole one bright red. “I got them on my eighteenth birthday.”

James moves over and I feel his fingers brush my skin, making me shiver. “Do they have a special meaning?”

“My dad died when I was fifteen.” I swallow and step away from James, turning around so I can look at him. This date is getting very personal really soon. “And I guess that kind of broke my heart.” That’s an understatement. My mom and I were devastated. “He was in a car accident, and died in the OR an hour later. I think that part of the reason why I became a nurse was to help people like him. I just… I wanted to remind myself that while horrible things happen sometimes, your heart never stays broken forever, nor will it ever fully heal. I feel like… like I’ll always have a crack in my heart, but I can still love fully, you know?”

He nods like that makes perfect sense, even though it doesn’t, not even to my own ears. “Yeah,” he says, his blue eyes intent on mine. “I get what you mean.” He pulls up his short sleeve to show me his right shoulder. “See this butterfly? I used to have three sisters. The oldest one was on the force as well, and she got shot. Bled out before the paramedics could get to her. Her favorite animal was a butterfly.”

Oh shit. He lost someone as well. “It’s a beautiful tattoo,” I say softly, touching it with my fingertips. “How old was she?”

“22,” he says, covering the tat back up. “She would have been 32 by now. I’m 29, by the way.”

“Oh, I’m 26.” We never got to that part. This is one strange date.

He moves back to the kitchen and starts preparing the salmon. I ask him if I can help, but he tells me that I deserve to relax after a long shift, especially since he had the day off so he’s got energy left to pamper me. I’m starting to like this guy more and more. I sit down at the kitchen table with a glass of water and he pours himself a glass of red wine, sipping it while he cooks.

We chat while he chops and bakes and god knows what else. The conversation flows easily. He’s an easy guy to like. The way he talks about his family makes my heart do backflips. He’s obviously a family man, and the fact that he looks like a tattooed god helps as well. Who thought that I would meet a guy like that kneeling down next to an unconscious guy with a broken leg, in the middle of the night, right before getting arrested?

Still, it’s a little weird. Why did he ask me out after arresting me? I looked like shit and it was extremely unprofessional of him, especially when he kept texting me updates throughout the night. He talks about his job with such respect and excitement that I can’t believe he’d jeopardize that just to woo a girl he just met.

“James?” I ask while I help him set the table when dinner is almost ready. “I don’t mean to sound… ungrateful, or anything, but… why did you ask me out?”

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