I was totally stalking him.
I knew it and I knew it was wrong. But I couldn’t seem to help myself. And really, I could blame him entirely. He was the one that had the same exact routine every work day and made it so easy for me to happen to be at the same places he was. And he was just gorgeous, with thick dark hair and light blue eyes. He always wore a suit and it wasn’t off the rack either. It had been tailored to fit his tall and broad frame. He made my mouth water but I was still trying to get up the courage to talk to him.
Every morning, he walked into the coffee shop on the corner between 7:15 and 7:21. He walked to the counter, ordered a large black coffee and a blueberry muffin, and then sat at one of the tables in the corner by the window to eat the muffin and answer emails on his phone. It was by complete chance that I happened to be in line behind him one morning and the overly friendly barista had told me with a conspiratorial wink that he ordered the same thing every day. I made sure I was there the next morning to witness it myself. And then I made a point to be there and sitting at a nearby table every morning for the past three months.
It wasn’t so odd that we happened to have our breakfast at the same café every morning. Downtown wasn’t exactly lousy with these kinds of shops, at least not so close to the courthouse. This one was pretty much it and they did a swift business. So I was comfortable that my stalking went unnoticed. At least in the mornings.
Lunchtime was a bit more obvious. He always went to the sub shop on the ground floor of the courthouse. Again, it was coincidence that I did too. When I had seen him there a handful of times over a couple of weeks, I asked Jerry, who worked the counter, if the guy came in a lot. Jerry had rolled his eyes as he answered, “Yes, every damn day. Always gets the same sandwich too.” So I started eating there everyday as well.
It had been going on for a couple of months before I realized that the man, whom I thought had been oblivious, had actually been paying attention. For two days in a row, when he walked into the coffee shop and then the sub shop later that afternoon, he purposefully looked for me. And when his eyes landed on me, he gave a satisfied little smirk before he went on with his business and ignored me. But those few seconds that our eyes were connected made my heart flutter. Of course, I’d been the idiot that had been following him around on purpose. I was sure he thought me some kind of freak.
The next day, I skipped the coffee shop entirely. I told myself that I had to let my quirky little obsession go, that it wasn’t cool to be stalking him like I was. And then I purposely went to the sub shop an hour later than my regular time so I would miss him. I’d grown accustomed to eating the delicious sandwich everyday. I fully intended to buy my sub and then going back to my desk to eat it.
But Jerry pulled out his phone and sent a few texts before he even took my order. Then he took a really long time putting together my sandwich. I knew he was doing it on purpose—I’d watched him throw together one of his masterpieces in seconds—but I couldn’t figure out why. And then I felt a tap on my shoulder that made me jump. I whipped around and came face to face with the guy I’d been stalking for months.
He gave me a smile. “Missed you at breakfast this morning.”
I gasped. Opened my mouth. Shut it again. I had no idea what to say. It didn’t seem to matter that I’d suddenly been struck mute because he kept talking.
“I thought you were just running late, even though you hadn’t missed a breakfast in three months. But when you didn’t show up to lunch either, I started to worry. Only Jerry told me he saw you walking through the lobby this morning. So he promised to let me know if you showed up.”
I blushed. I could feel my entire face and neck heat up. I tried to duck my head, turn away, something, but he caught my arm and when I turned back to look at him his smile was gentle.
“My name is Seth, by the way.”
“Luke,” I managed, finally getting my tongue unstuck from the roof of my mouth. “I’m Luke.”
“Luke,” he repeated. Then his grin became blinding and I was sure that if I hadn’t been leaning against the counter, my knees would have stopped supporting me. “It’s nice to finally know the name of my stalker.”
“I’m sorry,” I stammered out. “I shouldn’t have been—“
He cut me off with a quick dismissive motion of his hand. “I’m flattered, actually. For a while I thought it was just coincidence. Then, when I realized it wasn’t, I was waiting for you to introduce yourself. Today, I realized I’d have to take matters into my own hands.” Seth took a step closer so that we were almost touching. “How about you let me buy you lunch and then we can discuss where we’ll go to dinner?”
“I’ve been stalking you,” I blurted. The blush on my cheeks intensified. My next words were mumbled, “Why would you want to have lunch or dinner with me?”
God, I loved his smile. He gave a little shrug. “You were subtle. You weren’t creepy. And I admire your dedication. I’d like to get to know you. See if the attraction goes beyond just the physical.”
I felt the smile spread across my face. I nodded. Who knew my stalking would pay off?