"Please let me help you."
Harley stopped collecting her fallen things - lip balm, papers, pens, hair ties - to look up at the man that had caused them to come out of her bag in the first place. She was already in a hurry, five minutes late to a meeting with her agent, when what felt like a moving wall crashed into her from the side. Having lived in Toronto all her life, she knew that things could get a little chaotic at this time in the morning. But people usually minded their own, and kept out of the way of others. So, it was a little more than shocking.
Her eyes went from one of his to the other as she thought of what to say. They were brown, she noticed, while her heart was still pumping with adrenaline. While she thought of telling him off then being on her way, Harley couldn't do that. For one, she'd probably sound stupid without actually having something clever to say. And two, the man looked sorry, now off his phone and completely focused on her.
So, she sighed and told him, "I basically have everything."
The stranger watched as she quickly collected her things, then stood up. "Well, then let me get you a coffee," he suggested.
She sighed, dusting off her stockings, "I don't drink coffee."
"Tea, then. Or, do you not drink that either," the man asked.
Harley looked at him, glanced at her watch, then back at the man. Now that she had calmed down and was no longer upset, she was able to really take in the man's appearance. His dark hair was gelled and pulled back into a quiff, while a few strands hung around near his eyes and temple. That felt intentional. His cheekbones were strong, but somehow gentle at the same time. His thick eyebrows matched everything else, and his lips were just full enough.
He was attractive.
"I have a meeting that I'm late for-"
"We can meet some other time. I just want to apologize," the man told her.
Harley pulled her phone out of her blazer pocket, "okay, thanks. We can exchange numbers, then."
For the first time since they'd bumped into each other, the stranger smiled, and Harley felt her face get hot in the cold of Winter. He opened up his phone, and they gave each other their numbers.
After she got his, the man said, "I'm Jae."
The two of them stood there, staring at each other. Harley studied the man's eyes, and noticed them travelling over the features on her face. Their cold breath floated between them, the clouds of condensation almost touching as they stood on the sidewalk. She sucked in a breath, and that brought both of them back to reality, and her back to how late she already was.
Harley shook her head, "I should go."
"Yeah- Of course, sorry," Jae cleared his throat, and Harley turned to leave.
As she walked down the sidewalk, she felt the urge to turn and see if Jae was still standing there, watching her. That probably wasn't the case, though, because for a good chunk of her life, things just went the way people expected, not the way she'd hoped. That was why she was single on this cold day, and not with the man of her dreams like she thought she'd be. Even still, Harley glanced back over her shoulder, and almost tripped when she found Jae was watching her leave.