Summer Envy - Taming Toby
Who could it be now?
I’d seen him there before. Truth be told I’d convinced Julia and Sam to venture out with me that evening to the same cocktail bar with the hope of seeing him again. I wasn’t disappointed. The moment I laid my - not quite brown not quite green - eyes on his masculine form all rational thoughts disappeared into the recesses of my mind. His back was to me as he chatted and laughed with friends. We were close enough that I could hear the deep timbre in his chuckle. I willed him to turn around, so I could catch those summer blue eyes again. This time I would smile back.
I didn’t hear my friends talking to me as I followed the wave of black hair brushing his collar and salivated over the width of his shoulders. The curve of his firm rear and the long lean denim clad legs made my pulse flutter like a hummingbird. ‘Turn around’, I urged. ‘I want to see your ‘Disney Prince’ chiselled face’. Just like Eric in my niece, Emily’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ movie which I’ve been made to watch a thousand times, along with all the others. Not that I mind - on the contrary I’m quite partial to Beauty and the Beast – but it has reset my unreal fantasies of happily ever after. The same whimsical imaginings I had as a child. Now I thought the real thing stood before me, ready to sweep me off my feet and carry me off to some enchanted land. I really needed to stop watching Disney movies.
“Maddie,” Julia said loud enough to break my concentrated scrutiny.
As though his own name had been spoken, he turned his body side on and glanced across his shoulder towards us. Our eyes met and every cliché passed over my mind. The smile he offered me was crooked, not quite a smirk and the twinkle in his eyes sent my already fluttering heart into a frantic beat. I couldn’t breathe, he was beautiful.
“What?” I asked dragging my eyes from his.
“Are you going to talk to him or gawk at him all night?”
“I couldn’t, he’s so...”
Sam, who’d also been staring at me, waiting for my reply, rolled her eyes and sniggered. “Have I taught you nothing?” She said with a dismissive flick of her hand before turning her eyes back to their perusal of the room, no doubt searching for her ‘next victim’. Though her words and actions could be considered derisive, Sam always meant well. Her cynical view of men and romance was the polar opposite to mine. We made perfect contradictive bookends.
“Oh crap, no need he’s coming to you,” Julia squeaked. And somehow both her and Sam disappeared into the crowd in a puff of smoke like ‘Aladdin’s’ genie. Definitely too many Disney movies. The room suddenly became hotter than the summer air outside.
In one swift motion he bent down on one knee, scooped something from the floor and held it out to me. I blinked and tore my eyes from his face to see what he offered. In his hand he held my small black clutch. In my wonderment of his approach I must have dropped it. I swallowed down my heart which had leapt into my throat and tried to speak but being the cliché this already was he saved me the trouble.
“I believe this is yours.”
“Um, yeah, thanks.”
I reached out and took it from his lean hand. I knew my bag was small, barely room for a small purse and mobile phone but in his hand it looked half the size. My eyes followed him as he stood and I became very aware of how close he stood. His musky scent so sensuously masculine surrounded me, dizzying my already empty mind.
“So do I get a reward?” he asked. Reward? What is he talking about? My perplexed stare brought a faint smile to his lips and he saved me again. “For saving your handbag.”
“Oh, um, sure...” His low sounding chuckle surfaced again and my knees wobbled. I thought I might drop my bag again too. My palms were sweating like Niagara Falls.
“I’m kidding.” He grinned. “You’re name will do.”
“OK is your name?” The grin remained.
“Huh? I mean no. Madeline, Maddie.” Great, not only did I look like a clumsy fool, I sounded like one.
“Nice to meet you, Madeline Maddie. I’m Toby.”
I knew I needed to say something soon before he doubted my intellect or my ability to construct complete sentences.
“It’s nice to meet you too.”
The smile I gave him probably resembled a grimace. What was wrong with me? On a daily basis I spoke with strangers, dealt with irate consumers and charmed the moths out of the tightest wallets yet I couldn’t retrieve my tongue from the roof of my mouth. Had it not been glued there it may have been hanging out. Thoughts of a cartoon character with eyes bulging, heart pounding out of their chest and tongue lolling sprung to mind. I needed to stop watching TV with Emily. I needed a life.
“You seem to have lost your friends,” he said leaning in closer. With a slow deliberate movement he swept my dark hair off my shoulder and followed it down my back. I couldn’t answer him till he took his hand away.
“Um, yeah.” If I didn’t say something soon he was going to leave. Say something!
“Is English your second language?” he asked. His expression appeared serious but there was something else in his tone that reassured me. He was being flippant.
A giggle escaped from within and bubbled over in a high girlish way. I looked like an airhead and needed to rectify this quickly. Somehow I pushed down the nerves controlling my mind and my ability to string more than two words together and smiled.
“It does look that way but no.”
“Glad to hear it. I wouldn’t want to have to learn a new language so I could ask you on a date.”
“No studying required.”
“So does that mean you will?”
He chuckled again and shivers of excitement tingled my spine. “Go on a date with me.”
I nodded and stared up at my Prince Eric lookalike. Something flashed across his face for the briefest of moments before he retrieved a mobile phone from his pocket. His eyes flicked across the screen and he frowned slightly before his bright blue eyes returned to mine.
“Sorry about that, I know how rude that is.”
“May I have your number?”
I rattled it off and he entered it straight into his phone.
“I’m really sorry but I have to go. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“Sure thing.” Sure thing? Put me out of my misery. Now.
One last smile appeared before he gave me a look that could only be described as smouldering and disappeared in the crowd.
“Oh my God!” Julia screeched in my ear, having reappeared like magic again. “He is so gorgeous!”
“I know. Isn’t he dreamy?”
“Did you just say dreamy?” Sam said groaning. “Please tell me you didn’t just say dreamy.”
This entailed another eye waggle from Sam. “He’s too perfect. Probably an asshole.”
“Always the cynic,” Julia said glaring at Sam before returning her attention back to me. “So did he ask you out?”
“He took my number.”
“Oh, this is so exciting. Did you see the way he got down on one knee to pick up your bag?”
“Of course she did, Julia,” Sam said.
“It’s just like in the movies. Our own real life chick flick.”
Sam snorted and a song sounded in my mind. Someday my prince will come.... All I needed was a forest and dancing creatures.