This time Amanda hopped on the bus and didn’t look back. She went to an empty set of seats near the back and took the window seat, ready to wave to Miguel. But he had already left. Her disappointed sigh couldn’t be heard over the rumble of the noisy bus.
She thought about the strange date. The language barrier had quickly given way with broken English on his part, halting Spanish on hers and an excited mix of gestures, facial expressions and laughter. Miguel Santibañez, Miguel Santibañez, she thought, liking the way his name rolled her lips together twice, glad there was no double r to trill.
She pulled out her phone and sent a quick text to her best friend. Cara would want to know how the evening went so she gave the shortest of summaries and a promise to talk tomorrow – Amanda didn’t want to break the warm enchantment she felt by hearing her friend repeat her admonition and warning about dating a total stranger.
The long bus ride seemed short as she reviewed every moment of the evening. Her stop almost surprised her. She hurried to the front and ignored the driver and the dark-haired passenger behind him as she grabbed the railing and bounced down the steps. As she turned right she caught a movement in her peripheral vision and knew that someone else was getting off here. She hurried along, waving the exhaust fumes away and straining to hear footsteps over the start-up of the bus. She walked faster and dug through her purse for her pepper spray.
When she made her turn at the corner she swung her head around to check for a pursuer.
He smiled that charming grin. “I follow,” he said. “Te sigo.”
“But that was the last bus. Why did you follow me?” Amanda spoke fast and dropped the pepper spray back into her purse.
“Soy tu ángel. Te guardo.” He gestured, but she understood. He was making sure she got home safely. How gallant. How gentlemanly. He moved in closer and she realized how dark the corner was, how alone they were. Her heart began to race.
Miguel looked into her eyes and shook his head. “No safe alone.” He kept his gaze locked on her eyes and she stood perfectly still as he came closer yet. The world was suddenly surreally quiet. Amanda looked into his eyes and knew that she would never be alone again. She was safe with Miguel Santibañez. He leaned down and she gave up her heart in a simple kiss.
copyright 2011 by Debra Chapoton