142 Days Later #11: Chance Meeting, Not A Date
Corey Shows Up On The Pier
An absentminded glance at his wrist reminded Jack that he rarely wore a watch anymore. He shook his head and reached into his pocket for his cell phone. The clock on the phone showed him it was after eight. Jack’s stomach didn’t know what time it was but it knew it was hungry and growled at him to get his attention.
Jack had just finished reeling in his line and breaking down his rod in preparation for walking to the pier house when he noticed someone waving at him. Though the face looked familiar, at first Jack didn’t realize that the curly blond lady in the black one-piece bathing suit and short cut-off jean shorts was Corie, his waitress from The Crabby Stack. Part of the reason he didn’t recognize her right off may have been that his attention was drawn away from her face to her full, firm, fit, form. Her bathing suit showed off Corie’s cleavage in a way Jack had a hard time keeping his eyes off of.
A Girl On A Pier Only Wants One Thing
Coincidence or Kismet?
Corie had been surprised to see Jack fishing on the pier when she and Tiyana decided to take an evening stroll after a late afternoon of catching rays. She nearly changed her mind about walking the pier but Tiyana convinced her otherwise.
“This is a perfect chance to run into him by accident because you are running into him by accident. You had no idea he’d be here and he certainly isn’t expecting to see you here.”
Corie gave in and the two of them walked out the pier toward where Jack stood reeling in his line.
When they got close enough, Corie called out, “Hi, Jack. Remember me. It’s Corie from The Crabby Stack. You had breakfast with me this morning.”
Tiyana cringed and elbowed Corie. “Really, Corie?” she whispered. “Had breakfast with you? That sounds like he spent the night or something.”
Corie wrinkled her nose and scowled at her friend. By then, Jack had managed to pull his eyes back up to her face and was making a heroic effort to look no where but at her eyes.
Corie's Friend Exits The Scene
“Hi, Corie,” Jack said, fidgeting as he tried to decide what to do with the parts of his fishing pole in each hand. “Of course I remember you. Don’t tell me you’ve come out to do some fishing?”
Corie stopped herself from pointing out that she and Tiyana had no fishing gear and settled for simply saying, “No, not tonight.”
Tiyana turned away to hide her smile and muttered to Corie under her breath, “That makes you two even for the breakfast thing.”
A puzzled grin crossed Jack’s face. “What? I didn’t catch that.”
“Nothing,” Corie said, shoving Tiyana with her shoulder. “Don’t pay any attention to Tiyana. She’s just trying to be funny.”
“And now I’ve got to be going,” Tiyana said, eliciting a panicked look from Corie. “Andrew gets off shift at nine and I want to be home when he gets there. I’ll just leave you two alone to get better acquainted.”
“I can walk you back to your car,” Corie offered, her eyes pleading with Tiyana not to leave her there alone with Jack.
“Nah, I’m fine,” Tiyana assured her. “You stay here and keep Jack company. I’ll see you on Wednesday.” She turned to Jack, and said, “See you later, Jack.”
“Uh, yeah,” Jack stammered. “See ya.”
Corie Invites Herself To Join Jack For Dinner
Tiyana turned and walked off, leaving Jack and Corie standing in an awkward silence. Jack recovered first, and said, “I was just gonna go in and grab something to eat. I haven’t had supper yet.”
Corie shrugged, and said, “Sure. I already ate but I could get a basket of fries or something.”
Jack hadn’t been asking her to join him but smiled, shrugged, and nodded his head. “Okay. After you.”
He gestured toward the pier house with his fishing rod. When Corie turned and started walking Jack moved both pieces of the rod to one hand, bent over, and picked up his tackle box with the other. He left the cup of bait for whoever decided to sit at the bench next.
The pier house was busy with tourists in the gift shop, kids playing in the game room, and fisherman and beach walkers visiting the snack bar for a bite to eat or something to drink. Down at the end of the snack bar where the ice cream cooler sat seemed to be the most popular place. Families and couples were lined up waiting for their cones of hand-dipped creamy delight.
Corie stopped and pointed to an empty table along the north wall, and said, “Why don’t I grab that table while you order?”
“That’ll work,” Jack said. He lifted his tackle and looked toward the table and then the order window at the snack bar.
“Here,” Corie said, reaching for the rod and tackle box. “I’ll take those. You can get me an order of cheese fries and a diet Coke.”
Jack handed over the gear, and said, “Sure. Large or small.”
“If I remember right,” Corie replied, “they only have one size.”
“Gotcha,” Jack said. “I’ll be right back.”
Corie Claims The Table
Corie leaned Jack’s fishing pole in the corner by the table and set his tackle box on the floor next to it before sitting down at the table. She turned to see where Jack was and noticed a couple she guessed to be about high school age holding orders of cheese fries and drinks eyeing her table. She recognized the boy as one of the servers from the Island Roastery Coffee House
“Sorry, Andrew,” Corie said. “Didn’t mean to take your table.”
While Corie felt bad about beating them to the table she wasn’t going to give it up.
“No problem,” Andrew said. “We can sit outside. It’s a nice night.” He turned to girl with the blue tinted black haired girl, and said, “That’ll be okay, won’t it Beverly?”
“Outside would be better,” Beverly told him, shivering a little. “The a/c is always too cold in here for me.”
When she heard the girl’s name, Corie remembered that Beverly was Mr And Mrs Phillips' daughter. Mr and Mrs Phillips owned The Island Gift and Books, the only bookstore on the island.
Looking up again, Corie saw Jack placing their order. After the cashier took his money and gave him a ticket with his order number on it, Jack looked over at Corie and smiled.
Jack Starts Thinking It's A Date
I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I think we’re on a date. Or sort of a date. Who am I kidding? It’s not a date. She’s way too young for me. She’s not even thirty. She’s just being friendly. Friendly’s okay. I can deal with friendly.
Over at the table, Corie smile back.
Is He Ready To Take A Chance On Her?
Corie Starts Thinking That Way, Too
Jack’s got a nice smile. I don’t think he’s that much older than me, not really. He can’t be much past forty. I could kill Tiyana for setting me up like that. I wonder if Jack thinks this is some kind of impromptu date. Oh, God, what if Jack thinks this is some kind of date? It’s not a date. It’s just two new friends sharing some cheese fries. This is definitely not a date.
Corie hadn’t heard Andrew come back inside. He’d noticed her trading smiles with Jack. “So, is that your date?” Andrew asked.
“No!” Corie said forcefully. Then in a calmer voice, she said, “No, Jack and I are just friends, new friends. We’re just sharing some cheese fries. It’s not a date.”
Andrew laughed as he moved past the table. “Okay, Corie. If you say so. But you should stop looking at him like that if you’re just friends.”
As Andrew picked up the napkins he’d come back inside for, Jack’s order came ready and they wound up walking back to the table together.
Andrew said, “See you later, Corie,” as he walked by.
“Later, Andrew,” Corie said. She didn’t miss the amused gleam in his eye.
What's For Dinner?
Jack set the orange plastic tray with his dinner - a chicken patty sandwich, lettuce only, fries, and a sweet tea - and Corie’s cheese fries and diet Coke on the table and sat down.
“Friend of yours?” Jack asked, indicating Jacques’ retreating back with a nod of his head.
“Sort of,” Corie said. “Andrew works up at the Roastery. Beverly's parents own Island Gifts and Books.”
“The Roastery?” Jack repeated. “What is that, some kind of fancy chicken place?”
Corie laughed and shook her head. “No. It’s a coffee shop. They also serve pastries and bagels, stuff like that.”
“If they have danish and bagels I’ll have to give ‘em a try for breakfast one of these days,” Jack said.
Corie frowned, and said, “You already have a place to go for breakfast.”
Jack laughed at the pouty look on Corie’s face. “But my favorite waitress doesn’t work on Monday and Tuesday.”
“That’s right,” Corie teased. “Naomi only works breakfast Friday and Saturday.”
“Oh yeah,” Jack said, pointing at Corie with his straw before stabbing it through the lid of his sweet tea. “I really missed her this morning. You wouldn’t believe the obnoxious girl who waited on me.”
Corie sat back, crossed her arms, and scowled at Jack. “Um, hmm.”
Jack ignored her attempt to look cross, and said, “Go ahead and eat your fries while they’re hot. I can’t imagine they’re much good cold.”
Corie grabbed one of her fries - one dripping with cheese - and was about to pop it in her mouth when she noticed Jack’s head was bowed and his hands were folded on the table. Realizing he must be saying a blessing before eating his supper, Corie put the fry back and lowered her gaze.
When he finished saying the blessing, Jack picked up his sweet tea and took a healthy swig. Thirst quenched for the moment, Jack straightened the bun on his chicken patty sandwich, broke off and ate an errant piece of lettuce, and took a healthy bite.
“Oh, oh, oh,” he said around a mouthful of chicken patty sandwich. “That’s hot.” He set the sandwich down and picked up his sweet tea.
“I think I’ll let that sandwich cool for a minute,” Jack said in answer to Corie’s inquisitive look.
“It probably just came out of the fryer,” Corie explained.
“You’re probably right about that,” Jack said. He gingerly took a bite from the end of one of his french fries. It wasn’t as hot as his sandwich, so he finished the first fry and quickly ate another.