He stepped out of his matte black Cadillac Coupe de Ville and into the blazing sunshine, threw his spent cigarette butt onto the ground and sat on the hood of his pride and joy. Checking his cell phone message, he frowned, looking up to the sky in despair before slowly pulling his eyes back towards the ground.
And that’s when he saw her.
He would never admit this to another living soul, but he felt a breath catch in his throat as his eyes memorised the perfect creature before him. Within seconds, he knew she was everything. Everything right in the world, and everything he needed. He would know this woman. He would know her, love her, and treasure her.
He folded his arms across his chest and stopped himself from smiling as he watched her approach. There was so much to take in; so much that wasn’t perfect, but it was perfect on her, and he loved it. He breathed out a laugh watching her try to fix denim shorts that were clearly too big; pulling them up, pulling them down, frowning as she wiggled the button. He could see her sigh as she ran a hand into her sun bleached blonde hair, fingers getting stuck in knots. He heard her tut and say something under her breath before pulling a long braid over her shoulder and using both hands to worry it. Not paying attention to where she was going, he took a sharp intake of breath as she stumbled off the sidewalk, and let it out slowly as she saved herself from falling and burst out laughing. Her face lit up with a smile more beautiful than he had ever seen. Sparkling eyes caught the sun and shone like diamonds. He knew it was game over.
And that’s when she spoke to him.
“You can’t sit here dealing drugs, this is a community center. Children are playing here.” She pursed her lips and put her tiny hands on tiny hips. She was over a foot shorter than him, but he could tell that she was feisty and would keep him on his toes.
He couldn’t help the laugh that escaped his mouth, but instantly regretted it as she frowned and narrowed her eyes, “I’m not dealing drugs, lady.” His voice sounded deeper than normal, he didn’t know why. Deeper and more Mexican than his elderly grandfather.
“Oh, please,” She rolled her eyes, “I know your type.”
“Uh, I don’t think you can speak to me like that.”
Her eyes widened, “I meant guys that hang around in cars outside schools… I didn’t mean...,” She waved a hand in circles, “Oh God, I didn’t mean anything else.”
He felt bad for making her uncomfortable and tried to add some humour, “It’s a community center.”
The eyes narrowed further, “I’m well aware. And you need to leave before I call the cops.”
She stepped closer to him and pointed behind herself to the run down building, “It’s my job to protect those children from people like you. I’d do anything to ensure their safety.”
He laughed, his smile bigger than ever, “You’re not scared of me.” It was a statement; a realisation, rather than a question.
“Why the hell would I be scared of you?” Hands were back on hips.
He unfolded his own arms, stood up slowly and side stepped to the car door. He didn’t take his eyes from hers as he opened the door and got in, sitting down lightly. He smiled at her, “See you around, Mamacita.”
Three months later