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Uber Allergic: A Romance - part 19 / ? Updated Nov 26


starpollen

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Posted (edited)

I don’t know what it is with me and cars lately.  Maybe because I haven’t driven one in nearly 4 years, or maybe because I had a plot bunny about a hired driver and then couldn’t decide which direction to take it.  So, naturally, I wrote 2 stories.  It doesn't seem like the other one is getting much attention, so I've focused on this one.  I might go back to the other one later.  

A warning: I have never taken an Uber.  I have used a similar company in the country where I live, so I imagined it would be the same.  Apologies for any mistakes.  Hope you enjoy!

 

The Ride - Part 1

Beth

 When I saw him standing on the curb waiting, I couldn’t help but blink. And then swallow hard.  The man was stunning: tall, broad-shouldered, long-limbed, with a perfect jawline and dazzling smile.  His hair was that rare coiff that crested like waves from his head, barely brushing his ears, thick and tawny like a lion. When he dropped into the back seat, I saw his eyes were a stunning shade of blue. 

 I’ve had attractive men in my car before, sure.  But none quite as mind-blowing as this one.

 “Heya, darlin’,” he quipped, firing off a devastating wink at me through the rear view mirror. 

 “Hi,” I replied, barely able to get that single syllable past the lump in my throat.  I prayed I could focus on the road in front of me and not the Greek-god-incarnate in the back seat.  He was headed across town, a trip that would take us roughly 40 minutes.

 We rode in silence for almost a full minute, him tapping away on his cell phone while I gritted my teeth and forced my gaze at the horizon. Occasionally I glanced at the GPS, checking that we were on track. 

 Then…

 “heHH?...”

 I couldn’t help it.  My eyes darted up to the rear view mirror.

 I watched as Greek-god pinched his nostrils shut, rubbing in hard, tight circles, finishing with a small shake of his head, blue eyes blinking furiously.  Was it my imagination, or did those eyes seem to be getting red?

 I kept driving. 

 Not even a minute later…

 “heh-heHH?...”

 Once more, my eyes snapped like magnets to the rear view mirror.  My passenger was frozen in classic pre-sneeze expression: eyes squeezed shut, mouth open, lower lip trembling… nostrils flared, the tip of his prominent nose visibly twitching.  His elegant head turned left, then right, and then… 

 “heght--SHHzzztT!!”

 He sneezed - snapping into his elbow at the last second. 

 “B-... Bless you,” I stammered, sure I was blushing red as a tomato.

 But Greek god wasn’t done.

 He raised his head, eyes still shut, shoulders bouncing with stuttering hitches.  My eyes were darting between the road ahead and the rear view mirror, terrified that I was either going to rear-end someone … or miss one second of the spectacle in the back seat.  

 Then - a red light.

 Thank you! I screamed in my mind to whatever higher power was listening.

 When I came back to the rear view mirror, his right hand was raised, hovering loosely cupped, nostrils stretching into little round O’s, his upper lip curled back from gleaming white teeth… 

 “hegt--SCHgtT!!” he snapped down, visibly misting the hand. This time he stayed down, and I could almost see his abs rippling beneath his button-up shirt.  “eegh--SCHHtT… aAH-SCHTch-u!!”

 “Bless you,” I barely breathed, glad that this particular red light seemed to be taking a lot longer than usual. 

 His voice - husky and a little congested - floated up from behind the hand still cupped to his nose.

 “... snfll… thanks, darlin’.  … sdrfl…. Don’t suppose you h-have… sdrffl…  any tissues?”

 Fumbling, I opened the glove box and pulled out the stack of drive-through napkins I kept stashed away for emergencies.  Usually spilled coffee.  Twisting in my seat, I set the stack on his left knee, fingertips brushing the hard muscles of his thigh.

 Peering through the tawny strands of hair that had been knocked loose by the fit, his eyes crinkled with a smile.  “Thanks.”  

 An impatient honk made me jump.  Heart pounding, I whipped back around to face the road and eased us forward through the intersection.  His soft chuckle made my ears burn, sure that I was blushing fire-engine red by now. 

 I heard soft blowing, more wet sniffles, and managed to catch in the mirror when he stretched two KFC napkins between both hands and muffled a wet double: “t’SCHmp--g’SCHHm!”

 “Bless you,” I managed, happy when my voice sounded even and calm, even though my hands were gripping the steering wheel hard.

 “Darlin’ you don’t… hH!--... have to say that every time… snffl---hHehH!--... l-looks like I m- muhH!-HGK’tSCHHt!... excuse me.  I might be at this a while...”  Taking another napkin from the dwindling stack, he pinched it around his nose and rubbed again in small, fast circles, brows drawing together in concentration. 

 Grateful for another red light, I stared into the mirror.  My passenger had a fist full of crumpled napkins in one hand, the other pinching and rubbing desperately at increasingly pinkening nostrils.

 “Does… this happen often?”

Another husky chuckle, which deteriorated into more hitching breaths and another itchy-sounding sneeze. “hgz’CHHT! … Depends,” he breathed, bringing the knot of used tissues up to dab at his watering eyes.  “Do you have a c-... hHihh!... a cat?”

Edited by starpollen
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Oh... My... Goodness..... I'm in love with this so much! 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the comments, guys. :wub: I really appreciate it!  

---

The Ride - Part 2

Beth

 My mouth dropped open, eyes wide.  He saw my expression in the mirror and gave another chuckle.  Swiping a knuckle under his nose, he flashed me a wry grin.  “Well, that explains it.”

 “I’m sorry,” I looked back at him, stricken.

 “Nah, don’t worry about it,” he gave a dismissive shake of his lion’s head.  “You couldn’t know.  heh-GSCHhtu!... And it’s not like there’s a box to tick in the app, or anything. ...snfl…  ‘Driver has pets.’ ...sdrfl … A lot of people do.  Have pets.”

 “I know,” I replied softly, turning the wheel smoothly as we rounded a corner.  “But I can still be sorry that you’re… you know…”  I couldn’t bring myself to say it.  I couldn’t even glance in the mirror.

 But I heard the smile in his voice when he said, “It’s fine.  Really.  It h--hH!  hg’zCHHt!-heh’GZShht!... excuse me.  It happens a lot, actually. snfl.”  

 That did make me glance at the mirror, brows raised in surprise… and interest.  “Really?”

 Greek god had placed the growing pile of used napkins in the seat beside him, frowning down at both his watch and the small stack of napkins still on his leg. The tip of his nose was flushing a tell-tale pink, blue eyes definitely red-rimmed.  He blinked rapidly and sniffled constantly, dabbing at his eyes or wiping at his nose, overall looking the very picture of ‘itchy’ and ‘allergic.’

 “Yeah,” he replied, breath spiraling in preparation for another sneeze… but it left him last-minute, causing him to give a frustrated cough. “I’m allergic to most animals, but you might say I’m… uber allergic to cats.”  Those stunning blue eyes twinkled at me in the mirror, followed by a mischievous wink.

 “Why risk taking an Uber, then?”

 “Well, as cliché as it sounds... my car is in the shop.”

 “Oh?”

 “Yeah, snffll, I got a… hH!--... a recall letter.  Better safe tha-… heh-GSCHt--ahh-GSCHu!... ugh. Apologies.”

 We chatted a little more during the ride, about his job as an IT consultant and my 3 jobs: kindergarten teacher, waitress at Olive Garden, and Uber driver.  By the time we reached his destination I had counted no less than 56 sneezes, nearly always he followed up with ‘excuse me,’ or some other polite apologetic. He had used my entire stash of emergency napkins, and his handsome face was a bleary, blotchy wreck: nose red, eyes puffy, voice croaky and thick with congestion.

 “I’m sorry, again,” I said when we stopped at the curb in front of his building. 

 “Add - agaid - you dod’t have adythig to be sorry for,” he rasped, palming the pile of used tissues and reaching for a few that had fallen to the floor.

 “Oh, I can do that,” I got out in a rush.  “You don’t have to--”

 “Oh, doh,” he chuckled, voice breaking on the second word like a prepubescent.  “I cad take by owd dirty tissues, darlid’.”  Glancing up, he gave me a soft smile.  “You’ve beed padiedt edough about all this.”  Maybe I imagined it, but it looked like he blushed just a little.

 “Well it’s my fault,” I insisted.  

 He opened his mouth to reply, but instead turned and gave a tired-sounding sneeze into his elbow. “H’eISCHt!... gkm, pardod.”

 “Bless you,” I murmured. 

 “You dow, sdrfl, I usually dod’t like it whed people say that…”

 “I’m sor--”

 “But sobehow whed you do,” he glanced back, swiping a knuckle under his nose and giving that same, soft smile.   “I dod’t mide.”

 He exited, leaving me staring after him with a mixture of warmth and confusion.  Definitely one of the most… unusual... rides I’d ever had. 

 Throwing the lever into park, I got out to do my usual check of the interior in case the passenger had left something behind. A flash of white tucked by the seatbelt latch caught my eye.  Thinking Greek god must have missed one of the used napkin wads, I reached for it. 

 And pulled out a business card.

 “C. B. Decker - Sunfire Technology”

 I turned it over.

 "Thanks for the ride...  Have dinner with me sometime?"     

 I pulled my head out of the car, staring over my shoulder at his building.  I wasn’t sure, but it looked like someone was standing just inside the glazed doors, watching.  Turning back to the card in my hand, I bit my lip.  It was a violation of my Uber contract if I said yes.  

 But.

 That guy...

 Aw, hell.  I could get by without the income.  Probably.  

 Maybe.

 I looked back at the building, and was now sure I could make out his tall silhouette, tawny mane just a bit disheveled.  The figure suddenly bent forward, and I knew. 

 I kept my eyes on the building as I made a show of putting the card into my pocket.  It wasn’t a no.  But it wasn’t a yes.  

 Not yet. 

 As I drove home for the night, my imagination spun out as I deliberated whether or not to accept.  One, he knew I had a cat, was apparently ‘uber’ allergic... and wanted to see me again, anyway.  Two, I had been getting tired of driving 30 hours a week, and maybe I could arrange to suspend my contract.  Or I could quit, and then get rehired if things didn’t work out… or, if they did... 

 I crawled into bed, reaching up to stroke Sheba where she always slept on the second pillow. She made a little mew, flipping her head upside down and curling tighter into a furry ball. 

 As I drifted off to sleep, his delicious sneeze echoed in my dreams…

 

Edited by starpollen
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I love your descriptions / I can perfectly picture Mr Greek God and I love that he can be sweet and miserable at the same time.  

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Posted (edited)

I'm really glad y'all are enjoying this.  I'm so happy to be writing again!  :thumbup:  It's been soooo long...

I've decided that this will be a 'mirror fic' - you'll get each part from both his and her perspectives.  Here's the first part of The Ride from his point of view.  Hope you enjoy!  :blushsmiley:

 

 

The Ride - Part 3

C.B.

I was waiting at the curb for my Uber, still playing over the meeting I’d just had with a potential client: the CEO of a startup that was skyrocketing.  Several IT companies were vying to get in his good graces, but I was pretty sure we'd sealed the deal.  Sunfire Technology would be getting the contract; I had that warm feeling in my gut that always preceded success.  

The car pulled up - mid-range model, a few years old - and I slid in the backseat.  The driver was around my age, maybe a little younger.  27-28. Female.  Attractive.  Just my type, actually: a little curvy, with pretty strawberry-blonde hair that tumbled in curls down her shoulders, and full lips.  Doe-like brown eyes. I had a flash of concern for her picking up strangers and driving them around, but I tamped it down.  This always happens to me, I see an attractive girl and immediately get protective.  To cover, I quipped, “Heya, darlin’,” firing off a wink at her through the rear view mirror. 

“Hi,” she replied, and I watched in the mirror as her pupils dilated. Oh. That was interesting.  She found me attractive, too.

I pushed the thought aside: relationships between drivers and passengers were forbidden, and I didn’t want to get her in trouble. 

So I settled back and began texting my assistant about setting up some follow-up meetings. I kept our surroundings in my peripheral vision as we went: she was a good driver.  Not too fast, not too slow.  Observant.  Alert.  I noticed that she kept checking on me while still keeping her eyes on the road. A caretaker, then.

A new email came through so I swiped to open it, barely registering the feathery tickle in the back of my nose.  The email was a lead on yet another potential client, so I fired off more texts to my assistant about trying to get a meeting. 

I was so absorbed that I didn’t even realize the tickle was escalating. 

“heHH?...”

Dammit.

I pinched my nostrils shut, rubbing in hard, tight circles, finishing with a small shake of my head.  There was a prickle in my eyes, one that I recognized. I fought it, managing to get the urge to back down.  Don't sneeze, don't sneeze, do not sneeze... Blinking at my phone, I tried to focus. It worked for about 30 seconds, but the damned tickle-itch returned with a vengeance.  Helpless, I gave in.

“heh-heHH?...” My eyes squeezed shut.  I could feel my lower lip trembling… my nose twitching.  I turned my head left, then right, still fighting.  But… “heght--SHHzzztT!!” I snapped into my elbow, hyper-aware of our confined space and not wanting her to think I was contagious. 

“B-... Bless you,” she said.  I heard the stammer, immediately deciding she was disgusted.

I wanted to respond politely, but the damned itch wasn’t going away.  I raised my hand, preparing.  My sinuses were burning, eyes itching so bad I was tempted to dig my fists into them.  But I knew better.

“hegt--SCHgtT!!” I snapped down into my palm, immediately feeling how wet it was. And, god, I wasn’t done… “eegh--SCHHtT… aAH-SCHTch-u!!”  My throat was itching, too, which only meant one thing.

Shit. This was going to be bad.  

“Bless you,” she said, softly.  There was empathy there, and… something else I couldn’t identify.  But that had to wait.  Right now, there was a much more pressing issue pooling in my palm.

“... snfll… thanks, darlin’.  … sdrfl…. Don’t suppose you h-have… sdrffl…  any tissues?” This was embarrassing.  Attractive girl, me a dripping, sneezy wreck.  Of course.  I should have known that after a professional triumph karma would exact a personal cost. 

I heard the click and drop of the glove box opening, and then the slight pressure on my leg of her placing a stack of drive-through napkins.  She was prepared for emergencies.  Another tick on the ‘just my type’ checklist. 

I peered up at her through watery eyes and gave a grateful grin. “Thanks.”  

An impatient honk made her jump.  She whipped back around to face the road and eased us forward through the intersection.  I chuckled, finding humor in the entire situation. Then, I saw in the mirror that her face was beet red.  Damn.  She was definitely disgusted.  There went any thoughts about the two of us.

My allergies were embarrassing.  Without them, I would have been the most popular preppy guy in high school.  But, because of them… I was middling, at best.  Even in college when I'd grown another four inches and started working out to bulk up, girls were always interested because of my looks, my intelligence, my sense of humor...  But they didn’t stick around. 

I didn’t want to, but I had to blow my nose.  The sound was so wet I cringed, but the drips kept coming. I surrendered to a few more wet sniffles, but the itch was already back. I stretched two KFC napkins between both hands and muffled a wet double: “t’SCHmp--g’SCHHm!”

“Bless you,” she said, again. I should have been saying “thank you” to her.  She couldn’t know how much I hated people acknowledging my weakness.  God, she must think I’ve got no couth at all… 

“Darlin’ you don’t… hH!--... have to say that every time… snffl---hHehH!--... l-looks like I m- muhH!-HGK’tSCHHt!... excuse me.  I might be at this a while...”  Taking another napkin from the dwindling stack, I pinched it around my nose and rubbed again in small, fast circles, trying to assuage the tickle.  But it was deeeeep in there; there was no way I was going to avoid the attack that was coming. 

I knew this feeling well. 

“Does… this happen often?” her voice floated lightly in the air, eerily picking up on my thoughts.

I gave a husky chuckle, which deteriorated into more hitching breaths and another helpless sneeze. “hgz’CHHT! … Depends,” I breathed when I was done, bringing the knot of used tissues up to dab at my watering eyes.  “Do you have a c-... hHihh!... a cat?”  God, even saying the word made me want to sneeze again. 

In the rear-view mirror I watched her mouth drop open, eyes wide, and I had my answer.  Unable to suppress the wry grin, I said, “Well, that explains it.”

Edited by starpollen
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AHHH. 😳❤️❤️ This is perfect. I can’t wait to read more!

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ahhh I love Love LOVE THIS!!! SUPER CUTE!!!

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I really like seeing both of their perspectives! Great job so far!!

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OH MY GOSH. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!! 

 

I missed your writing!! Can't wait for the next update! 

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Posted (edited)

The Ride - Part 4

C.B.

“I’m sorry,” She looked back at me with a stricken expression.  I felt bad for her. 

“Nah, don’t worry about it,” I tried to reassure her, that protectiveness once again surging to the forefront.  “You couldn’t know.”  ...ugh, and I had to sneeze again.  “... heh-GSCHhtu!..”  I managed to recover quickly, using another napkin from the stack.  “And it’s not like there’s a box to tick in the app, or anything. ...snfl…  ‘Driver has pets.’ ...sdrfl … A lot of people do.  Have pets.” 

This wasn’t the first time I had experienced a reaction to the dander of someone’s pet on their clothes when in a confined space: a car, an elevator, a plane...  And it wouldn’t be the last.  Damn, my nose was running like a faucet...

“I know,” she replied softly, turning the wheel smoothly as we rounded a corner.  “But I can still be sorry that you’re… you know…”  Her eyes were back on the road, her voice even and calm.  I was impressed that she wasn’t more visibly disgusted by my display.  She seemed very patient, tolerant.  Maybe she didn’t find me as gross as every other girl did... The possibility made me smile.

“It’s fine.  Really.  It h--hH!”...  Aw, shit, not again... “... hg’zCHHt!-heh’GZShht!... excuse me.” I was still embarrassed, trying to apologize and explain. “It happens a lot, actually. snfl.”  

“Really?”

I moved all the used napkins from my left hand to the seat next to me, frowning as I considered the time left for the trip and the significantly depleted stack of napkins in my lap. If past experience had taught me anything, it was that I should never underestimate my allergies, and - judging by how quickly it was escalating - this promised to be a particularly bad attack. My hands were unable to stay away from my face, which was a mass of itching: nose, eyes, tongue, throat… I was rubbing and pinching and wiping as if I was getting paid for it.

“Yeah,” I replied, breath spiraling in preparation for another sneeze… but it left me last-minute, causing me to cough in frustration.  As much as I didn’t want to, I felt compelled to explain what was happening.  “I’m allergic to most animals, but you might say I’m… uber allergic to cats.”  To cover my deepening embarrassment, I winked at her again through the rear-view mirror.  And, to be fair, it was a good pun.

“Why risk taking an Uber, then?” she asked, full lips pursing temptingly in the mirror as she scrutinized our route. 

“Well, as cliché as it sounds... my car is in the shop.”

“Oh?” she responded, and once again I noted that tone of empathy and… something more...

“Yeah,” I surrendered to a particularly wet sniffle and once again cringed. “I got a… hH!--...”  Fuck, was I going to sneeze again?... “... a recall letter.  Better safe tha-…”  Yep. I was.  “...heh-GSCHt--ahh-GSCHu!... ugh. Apologies.” 

We chatted a little more during the ride, about my job as an IT consultant and her 3 jobs: kindergarten teacher, waitress at Olive Garden, and Uber driver.  I felt yet another flash of protectiveness: she shouldn’t have to work so hard to make ends meet. She was intelligent, funny, and sweet. The more we talked, the more I wanted to keep talking to her, the more I felt connected to her.  My incessant sneezing didn’t seem to bother her, even as it reduced me to a bleary, blotchy wreck: nose red, eyes puffy, voice croaky and thick with congestion. By the time we reached my destination I had used her entire stash of emergency napkins, which made me feel even more guilty. 

But, when we stopped at the curb in front of my office building, she was the first to apologize. 

“I’m sorry, again,” she said. 

“Add - agaid - you dod’t have adythig to be sorry for,” I rasped, palming the pile of used tissues and reaching for a few that had fallen to the floor.  It was even more embarrassing that this gorgeous girl had to witness me cleaning up after my messy exhibition. 

“Oh, I can do that,” she said quickly.  “You don’t have to--”

“Oh, doh,” I chuckled, voice breaking on the second word like a prepubescent. God, could this get any more humiliating?... “I cad take by owd dirty tissues, darlid’.”  Glancing up, I gave her a soft smile.  “You’ve beed padiedt edough about all this.” 

“Well it’s my fault,” she insisted, a stubborn note layering her tone that caused warm feelings to swirl in my gut.  Damn, she was too cute for words.  So far, there was only one last box to tick on the ‘perfect for me’ checklist… 

Slow down, tiger. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

I opened my mouth to reply, but the constant itch ramped up into yet another sneeze. “H’eISCHt!... gkm, pardod.”  I was so tired of sneezing.  I knew that it would subside when I got into the office, but at the same time… I was reluctant to leave her. 

“Bless you,” she murmured, yet again that blend of empathy and something more. Was it possible she… I didn’t dare to hope. My allergies had always been a source of misery and shame.  To encounter someone who not only didn’t mind them… but might possibly… I didn’t even know how to finish that thought.

“You dow, sdrfl, I usually dod’t like it whed people say that…” I decided to test the waters, baring a piece of my soul to her.

“I’m sor--”

“But sobehow whed you do,” I plunged ahead, looked up while swiping a knuckle under my nose and giving a warm smile.   “I dod’t mide.”

The look on her face told me all I needed to know.  

I’d never encountered a girl who not only wasn’t disgusted by my allergies but… seemed to… What was going on?  I didn’t know what to feel at the moment, only knowing that I couldn’t let this end here. 

When she turned back to the dashboard, I slipped my business card into the space by the seat buckle.  I had decided earlier in our ride that she might be worth risking asking out, but I would give her the power to say yes or no.  If she called or texted me, we’d have dinner.  If she didn’t… 

I wondered if there was a way to request a particular driver for my next ride. I couldn’t bear the idea that I would never see her again.

Unfolding myself from the back seat, I took several breaths of fresh air as I jogged up to the entrance of my building.  When I got inside, I turned and stood looking back out through the glazed glass at her vehicle.  I watched as she got out to check the back seat, maybe to make sure I had taken all my used napkins or in case I left anything behind.  Subconsciously I checked to make sure my phone was in my pocket. 

I watched as she pulled out of the car and stood, a flash of white in her hand.  She’d found my card. 

Would she accept my invitation?...

She looked at the building, but I was pretty sure she couldn’t see me watching her through the tinted glass.  The ever-present tickle flared up again, and I bent forward with another ferocious sneeze, “... aAH-SCHTch-u!!” Thankfully just one.  The dander-free air was helping.  Scrubbing hard at my nose with my fist, I glued my eyes to where she still stood by the open back door, staring at my card. 

When she made a show of putting the card into her pocket, my mouth stretched into a wide grin.  It wasn’t a yes.  But it wasn’t a no.  

My gut told me that she would say yes. 

 

Edited by starpollen
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I absolutely love this!! Can't wait for the next installment!!! 

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Oh I was so happy to see an update!  This is wonderful:). And I love that he is also clearly a caretaker and protector:). I will selfishly beg for more now!

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This is great. I love that we get to see both perspectives. I really hope you continue this and we get to see them go on that date.

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Posted (edited)

Never fear, dear readers.  I have much more written, and even more planned!... No sneezing in this part, but I think you'll like it all the same. 

Now, let's go on a date.  :hypoc:  We begin with her perspective.

---   ---   --- 

The Date - Part 1

Beth

 

Walking into the restaurant, I was sweating despite the chilly air conditioning whispering over my skin.  I had texted him a simple, "Ok," and he had replied by asking my name, and then replying with an address, date, and time.  That was all.  I was wearing my favorite jewel-blue sleeveless dress with silver buckles at the shoulders; it had been dry-cleaned twice, then kept inside the plastic bag until just before I put it on.  I had rushed out of the house before Sheba could put one speck of dander on it.  

As much as I might have enjoyed seeing another impressive display of Greek god’s allergic prowess, I wanted even more to see where this might go.  Without the added complication of my… ‘kink.’

To be honest, as I hovered near the hostess stand, I half expected to be stood up. Surely someone as handsome as ‘C.B. Decker’ didn't really want to be seen at this very posh - very expensive - and very popular restaurant with someone like me...

But there he was, at the bar, standing tall and looking at me with a dazzling smile.  I noted that his blue eyes were clear, no trace of any allergic affliction at this particular time. I wasn’t sure whether to be glad or sad about that.

“Hiya, darlin’,” he murmured as he approached, taking my hand and brushing his lips across my knuckles like some old-fashioned lord would a lady.  It didn’t help my sweating problem.

But it did take my breath away.

Blue eyes swept me from head to toe and back, his expression deepening into something more appreciative.  “You look stunning.”

“As do you,” I replied, ducking my head a little.  His tawny hair was gelled and styled to tame the lion’s mane - just barely - and he was wearing an expensive suit in navy blue, the shade perfectly complementing his eyes.  

I stopped cold. How in hell was this happening?  This kind of guy never went out with someone like me.  Not in high school, not in college, and definitely not now.  Something more was happening here, I just didn’t know what it was. A small part of me had this horrible suspicion that I was being played.  Like some “She’s All That” plot, or something. ‘Hot guy leads a nerdy hopeless girl on, then springs some sort of trap to expose her to ridicule and humiliation.’  It was entirely possible. 

I wasn’t sure what to do. Maybe I shouldn’t have come…

“Our table is ready, if you are?” he asked, holding out one arm.  Maybe it was my imagination but he seemed almost… hesitant.  Like he thought I might say no. 

How could a Greek god be insecure?  I couldn’t even fathom it. 

I slipped my hand through his elbow. The sleeve of his suit was soft, and so finely made that I could feel the ripple of muscles beneath. His other hand came to rest on top of mine, lightly, as if he was still asking permission. I glanced up into his handsome face and was caught in the high beams of those sapphire eyes. 

He looked at me in a way no other man ever had, and I found my knees going weak. 

This particular restaurant was on the top of an office building, and when he led me to the table I saw that it had a stunning panoramic view of the city.  It made me gasp and take a small step back. 

“Are you alright?” he asked, sounding suddenly worried.  “You… you don’t have a problem with heights, do you?” His brows furrowed, and he moved his tall frame to shield me from the view.

“Oh, no,” I breathed, stepping around him and going right up to the glass.  “It’s just… stunning.” 

The window showed his reflection hovering above mine like a ghost, one wearing a very wide smile.  

He held my chair for me, pushing it in expertly as I sat.  That wasn’t an easy thing to do: I’d had many a date botch it before. But this guy made it look as easy as breathing. 

“So,” he smiled again once he’d settled across from me. “Beth. I’m glad you agreed to come.” 

“Well,” I could feel myself blushing. “I… decided to take a break from driving for a while.” Reaching for my water glass, I was alarmed to see my hand was shaking slightly.  

“Is that the only reason you said yes?” his eyes twinkled mischievously, and he gave his characteristic wink.  “To get out of your contract?” 

“Oh no,” I rushed, setting the glass down too quickly and nearly spilling it.  His hand shot out to catch it, closing around mine.  

“No?” he didn’t move his hand, but the smile changed to something warmer, more intimate.  His thumb stroked my knuckles lightly, and then he withdrew.  “Well, in any case, I’m glad.” 

The waiter arrived with menus, but Mr. C.B. Decker didn’t take his.  

“I…” he hesitated, and I saw a slight blush rise in his chiseled cheeks. “I know it’s kind of old fashioned, but… I know this place really well.  If you’d… like a recommendation?”

“Oh, sure, I’ll eat anything.” 

And then I realized what I’d said. 

His brows raised.  Those full lips curved, his gaze still warm as he regarded me in silence. He had clearly also heard but wasn’t going to take advantage of my mortification.  

“I mean,” I cleared my throat, trying to cover the wobble in my voice.  “If you’re asking if you can order for me, please do.  I’m sure I will enjoy whatever you choose.” 

Brows still raised, but his expression changed, a wrinkle appearing between his brows.  “Are you sure?... You can take a look—”

“No, go ahead,” I flashed him my biggest smile, determined to make myself calm down.  “I like surprises. It’ll be an adventure.” 

He continued to look at me with just a little confusion and no small amount of wonder.  Then, without taking his eyes from me, he rattled off a long string of words at the waiter in French. 

This time I was the one to stare. 

“You speak French.” 

Another smile, this one a little self-deprecating.  “I do.  And German.  And a little Chinese.” 

“That’s… impressive.” 

This time he did blush, looking down at the table setting in front of us.  “Well, it’s kind of necessary in my line of work.  If I really wanted to move up into the corporate levels I would speak Japanese and Chinese fluently.  But, I discovered that … Chinese is damned hard.” 

We both laughed a little at that, and then he started asking about my hobbies and interests. 

“Cooking? And painting?”

“Yes,” I replied, much more calm and confident now that we were talking about things that I was passionate about.  “Both are forms of art, and I like to think of cooking as ‘the one art we can’t live without.’ Literally. Although I have some artist friends who probably would lay down and die if they couldn’t paint anymore. What about you?”

“What’s your favorite thing to make?” he neatly side-stepped my question. 

“Risotto,” I replied, leaning my cheek into my hand and smiling into the distance. “It’s … so simple. It just takes time.  But… I like the calmness of it. The repetition.  The process. I often make it after a hard day at school… or a rough weekend at the restaurant or driving. It soothes me.” 

He was looking at me intently, like I was some rare book that contained a hidden message. 

“What about you?” I pushed, trying to deflect attention away from me. “What do you like to do when you’re not at work?  And I never asked what ‘C.B’ stands for.  Do you go by C.B?  I’m assuming you go to the gym, but do you…” I realized I was rambling all over the place, and bit my tongue before I dug the hole any deeper.

“Cyrus,” he replied quietly, those azure eyes fixed on my face.  “Cyrus Blake. It’s a family name,” he glanced down, seeming a little flustered.  “But... it’s a little too ‘southern’ for corporate life, so my colleagues all call me C.B. My mother called me Cyrus Blake. Most of my friends call me Blake.”  

“What do you like to be called?” My question made his head snap up. 

“What would you like to call me?”  That piercing gaze intensified, and his hand moved like he wanted to reach for mine... but he didn’t. 

I turned away and thought for a moment.  Then, I decided.

“Cy.”

There was a silence, and then I continued more softly. 

“I think I’d call you Cy.” 

 

Edited by starpollen
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This story is super sweet and I love what a perfect gentleman Cy is - offering her his arm, kissing her knuckles, seating her perfectly. Even his instant protectiveness when he thought she might be afraid of heights! It’s wonderful stuff to read. I’m so happy you’re continuing. 

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awwww love this so much!! can't wait to read what happens next!!

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Loving it and so thrilled to know more is waiting!  It was the first thing I checked this morning 

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  • starpollen changed the title to Uber Allergic: A Romance - part 19 / ? Updated Nov 26

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