Sat. May 11th, 2024

. By : Jordan Lynde ✔






“Yeah. I get it. Don’t worry. I’m not suicidal, not in the least. I’m just having a rough day,” I confessed, brushing my wet hair out of my face.


A breath-taking grin spread across his face. “That’s good to hear.”


I cocked an eyebrow.


“No, wait, I meant it’s good to hear you’re not suicidal! Not that you’re having a bad day!”


Unable to stop myself, I burst out laughing. I laughed so hard, my gut started to hurt. “Ow!


Ow! ” I cried, feeling tears start to form at the corners of my eyes, this time due to my merriment. “Haha, help me!”


The man in front of me glanced around, seeming totally bewildered. “Help you how? What can I do? Should I call an ambulance?”


His questions just made me laugh harder. “S-stop that!”



“What? What am I doing?” he demanded soberly. “Tell me and I will!”


My gut was really beginning to burn now. My breaths came in short rasps and I clutched my arms to my stomach, falling down onto one of my knees. Something was definitely wrong with me. Normal people wouldn’t be laughing so hard over something like that.


“Hey, are you sure you’re okay?” the brunet inquired, his expression now mixed with amusement and worry.


Finally able to control my laughter, I nodded, wiping the tears away from my eyes.


“I promise I’m okay. And that I’m not crazy.


I’m not entirely sure why I found that so funny, but I’m glad I did. I needed a laugh.”

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That heart-stopping grin appeared on his face again. Once more he held out his warm hand and helped me to my feet. This time he didn’t let go


“How about I help you turn that bad day around?”


“How would you do— oh!”


Confused, he frowned. “Oh what?”


“I know where I know you from!”


“You do…?”


“You work at Stop & Shop, right?”


Surprised flashed across his face. “Er, yeah. How did you know?”


“I do my grocery shopping there,” I informed him, grinning at my achievement of remembering his face. Try as I might though, I couldn’t remember his name. “I always remember cu— w-who works there.” My jaw set. That was close. I almost



told him I remembered him by his cute face. “Anyway, how would you be able to help turn my bad day around?”


His eyes lit up again. “Oh! Well, I was thinking— wait.”




“Do you have a boyfriend?”




“Then by taking you on a date,” he decided happily.


“What? But we’re soaked—”


“It’ll be fine,” he told me, leading me by the hand away from the river. “If anyone asks, we’ll just say we’re rebels.”


I hesitated for a moment. Did I really want to go on a date with this stranger? Well, technically he wasn’t a stranger. I’d seen him before, probably even exchanged a few words. But still… Could I trust him? After studying his face for a moment, his bright eyes and expectant smile, I shook my head. He didn’t seem to have any ill intentions. Maybe he was just an amiable guy who wanted to cheer up a sad girl. I’d have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Not only was going on a date with a handsome guy like himself a once in a lifetime event, but it would also be a good way to get my mind off everything. “Okay.”


When we reached the street, I realized that a black Honda Civic was idling on the side of it. With a sheepish look, the handsome man gestured toward it. “That’s my car… If you’re not comfortable driving around with a strange man, I can just park it here and we can walk.”


“You’re not a strange man,” I told him with a smile. “You saved my life, remember?”


He chuckled, nodding. “True. Come on, I know the perfect café we can go to and warm ourselves up.”



Following his lead, I slipped into the passenger seat of the car, letting him close the door for me. He hastened around to the other side, sliding in and buckling quickly. “We won’t go far. Just to downtown Northampton. Do you live around here?”


“Yeah, up that hill,” I told him, pointing to the street across the river. “On Ryan Road.”


“I live on Spring Street,” he responded, pointing in the opposite direction. “If it wasn’t raining, you’d be able to see my house.” I smiled. “Ah, so we live close to each other.”


White teeth flashed again. “Guess so.”


The ride to the café was silent. I wasn’t sure what to say. I had a few questions I was dying to ask, but I held them back, figuring we could talk over a warm drink. As we pulled into a parking spot in front of the café, I realized I’d passed by it a few times while shopping, but never noticed it was a café. “I didn’t know this was a café,” I said, stating my thoughts.


“You’ve been missing out,” he informed me, unsnapping his seatbelt. “They have the best baked goods and beverages.”


I paused, remembering something important. “Oh, um, I don’t have any money on me…”


He cocked an eyebrow. “This is a date. The guy is supposed to pay.”


“Are you sure it’s okay?”


“It’s more than okay, Darling.”


Shaking my head and grinning, I opened my door, stepping out into the rain. We hastened to the door, which had the words Haymarket Café painted on it in bold, black letters. With a knowing look, my date held open the door for me and I entered sheepishly. How could I have missed the name on the door? I’d passed by it at least two dozen times.



It was surprisingly empty for a café, but that was probably because of the rain. I didn’t mind though. I tended to avoid busy places.


“I advise you order the chocolate cake,” he suggested as we walked up to the front counter. “It’s so good. I swear it melts in your mouth. Just thinking about it makes me hungry.”


“Oh, I don’t like chocolate.”


His facial expression made me think I’d hit him with a fish. “You don’t?”


“Just kidding,” I replied with a smirk. “I just wanted to see your reaction.”


“Oh,” he said with a frown. “You scared me for a second there.”


“Is the chocolate cake really that good?”


He scoffed. “There’s no doubt about it.”


“I guess I’ll try it then,” I notified him, heading to the counter and glancing up at the beverage list. There was a surprisingly long list. They had every beverage from smoothies, to coffee, to milkshakes, to soda. “As well as a tri-flavored hot chocolate,” I decided after a moment.


“That’s exactly what I was going to order. It comes with a bar of Godiva chocolate. The best.”


Our gazes met and I found myself lost in his eyes. Generally brown eyes didn’t pop out to me, but his were different. It was like I was staring into melted chocolate…


My stomach rumbled and I blinked at my thoughts. Melted chocolate? Maybe I was hungrier than I thought. After ordering, we chose a booth in the far back corner of the café where we were virtually out of sight.


My hands cupped my mug of hot chocolate. The smell from it nearly made my mouth water. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate… I inhaled deeply, enjoying the scent. “This smells so good.”



“Wait until you taste it,” my brunet friend responded, his own hands curved around his cup as well.


“So, um…”






“My name is Chace,” he informed me, brown eyes twinkling. “I was waiting for you to ask, but you never did.”


I laughed quietly, and then shrugged. “I didn’t really need to know. I like it though. I think it suits you.”


“You do?”




“How so?”


“You just look like a Chace to me.”


He rolled his eyes. “That explains a lot. But in that case, you look like a Agatha to me.”


My eyes widened. “What? I do?”


Chace laughed now. “Just kidding!”




“You look more like a Belle,” he told me with a wink.


“You flatter me,” I replied, batting my eyelashes playfully. “But that’s not my name. I’m… Rose.”


Chace narrowed his eyes. “What? I didn’t hear you.”


“Rose,” I mumbled a little bit louder.




“Rose!” I repeated, a little irritated. “Go ahead and make fun of me. Apparently my parents liked the Titanic a little too much.”


To my surprise, Chace laughed. “What are you talking about? I think the name suits you perfectly.”


I frowned at him skeptically. “Really?”


“Really,” he insisted. “A beautiful name for a beautiful lady. And, well, it goes with the color of your hair— beautiful hair, might I add.”


Rolling my eyes, I found myself smiling again. “Well, aren’t you a lady’s man?”


“Maybe. Can I call you Rosie?”


My nose wrinkled. “I’d rather you didn’t


“Rosie it is then,” he decided with an air of finality. “So Rosie, let’s get to know each other a bit. Would you like me to start?”


“Umm, sure?”


“Right. Well, my full name is Chace Carson. I lived in California for most of my life. Moved here with my dad after he and my mom split up about three years ago. Uh, I finished up high school last year and I’m starting my first year of college next-next Tuesday at WNEC. I have a golden retriever named Skipper and as you know I work at Stop & Shop. Oh, and believe it or not, I like to write poetry. What about you?” He smiled expectantly at me.


I found myself grinning back at him. He was one of the people who made it impossible not to smile around. “Well compared to you, I’m just a young ‘un.”


His smile faltered a bit. “You are?”



“I’m seventeen.”


A laugh left his lips and he wagged his finger at me. “That’s not young! I’m only eighteen. My birthday was last month. I’m one of those people who was the youngest in my grade. When’s your birthday?”


“Halloween,” I told him. “Easy to remember, right?”


He nodded. “I’ll definitely remember it. What high school do you go to?”


“Northampton High School,” I informed him.


“Ahh,” he responded, his brown eyes furrowing. “That’s why I’ve never seen you before. I went to Easthampton High School.”


“That would it explain it.”


.”So… do you have a job?”


“I work as a waitress at Florentina’s,” I informed him. “And uh, my parents are divorced too. I live with my dad too. And I’ve lived here my whole life. I don’t have any pets, but I love animals. My sister is allergic, so yeah. Oh, and my full name is Rose LeBlanc.”


“I like it,” he declared.


“Like what?”


He grinned. “Everything.”


“I’m starting to think your personality is a little fake.”


The expression that came across his face was comical. He was completely offended. “Fake? I’m just trying to cheer up a cute girl who looks like she could use some cheering up!”


“Normal people wouldn’t do that for a stranger.”



“I’m not a normal person.” His brown eyes flashed. “Anyway, what normal person would just leave a girl as upset as you were alone?”


I put my elbow on the table and rested my face in my fist. “I don’t know… Don’t you want to know the reason why I’m upset?”


“Do you want to tell me?”


I shook my head. “No, not really.”


He nodded. “Then I don’t want to know.”


The corners of my lips lifted up. “Thanks, Chace.”


“Hey, I’m just doing a good deed,” he replied happily. “Let’s just enjoy our snacks and make small talk, shall we?”


“Sure. Are you this friendly to everyone?”


“Nope. Only the cute girls,” he replied with a wink.


I scooped a little bit of whipped cream off the top of my hot chocolate and flicked it at him. “Play boy.”


“If you keep calling me those things, I may just turn into one…”




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