Laurean shifts in her chair, takes out her notepaper and pen, then looks into the most beautiful azure eyes you can imagine. The tall, blond hunk who owns them flashes her a crooked smile to reveal a dimple in his left cheek. He crosses his long, denim-clad legs.
Laurean: Austin Grant, I heard about an interesting encounter you had with a petite, blue-eyed blonde. Care to tell us about it?
Austin: (Shakes his head as if to gain sanity.) You must be referring to that pretty spitfire with the flashing turquoise eyes. (He guffaws). Yeah, but it was more like an explosion. Jenny Hinson needs to wear a sign around her neck that reads, "Danger: Explosives ahead." (He winks and conspiratorally leans toward Laurean). Know what, though? I love to get her riled..just to see the sparks shoot from her eyes.
Laurean: Now, Austin. That's not nice. A woman doesn't like to be teased all the time. She gets frustrated.
Austin: Yes, I know. But I can't seem to help myself. Jenny tries to appear cool and collected, but I know a volcano seethes just below the surface. (He scratches his chest) And...I'm just the one to set it off.
Laurean: (Clears her throat). Okay. Now what was that about Jenny's missing vanity case? Give us your side of the story.
Austin: (Folds muscular arms across his broad chest and grins. Mischief shoots from his eyes.) Oh, so you've heard about that? Funny thing. You're the first to ask my take on it. Well...well...where do I start? (Rubs the cleft in his chin and stretches his long legs in front of him).
I was minding my own business--savoring a good cup of coffee inside the Kankakee train station that beautiful spring morning when my boot heel struck something underneath the bench. I bent down and pulled out a small blue suitcase. When I yanked on the handle, it came open and I saw a print dress folded inside. (Laurean arches her brows). Yeah...I know. I let Jenny think I had pilfered through her things. That was my way of getting her goin. And whew! I was not disappointed.
Laurean: Did you try to explain what happened?
Austin: Are you kidding? Jenny was so mad when she found me with the case, that explaining was out of the question. She called me a thief and demanded that the guard arrest me on the spot. (Austin laughs) I can still see her face. She was fit to be tied. Then that train whistle blasted and she yanked the case from my hand. That's when it flew open and everything scattered over the ground. When I tried to help, she yelled, "Get away from me!" Jenny stuffed it all back inside, then ran up the ramp. Know what she screamed from the ramp?
Laurean: No, I don't. Please tell everyone.
Austin: (rubs the back of his hand across his mouth and chuckles) Jenny yelled, "I hope they throw you under the jail!" By then I knew that train was headed for Chicago. With a dose of luck, I might see her again.
Laurean: Did you?
Austin: Are you kidding? Less than two hours later I was getting ready to leave a little diner near the Chicago depot when I glanced toward the window. There sat that little spitfire in a booth sipping orange juice.
Laurean: Oh my! What did you do?
Austin: Now you tell me. What was the gentlemanly thing to do? (Laurean quirks a brow to signal Austin to continue.) I walked over and tried to get acquainted...only she didn't seem to be up for it. I thought we might start over on a civil note, but it was like I had thrown gasoline on a fire. Jenny kept glancing towards the ladies' room for some reason. And when I asked her if we could start over again, she hissed, "Over my dead body!"
Laurean: What did you do then?
Austin: Wasn't much I could do. Harry Tate was with me, and he was ready to leave. I turned back to her and said, "Who knows...we could meet again. I've heard that good things come in threes."
Laurean: (laughs) Austin, you rascal! You didn't! (Austin nods). And what was her response to that?
Austin: (snickers) Sorry. I couldn't resist. Her response? She was speechless. When I left, Jenny's mouth was gaped open.
Laurean: (looks down at her watch) Austin, looks like our time is up. One last question: What do you see in the future for you and Jenny Hinson?
Austin: (Mock-terror on his face). Future? I just hope I can live through the next encounter! (Shakes his head) Taking it one day at a time. (Purses his lips)To tell the truth, I love every minute of it. Can't wait to run into that little blue-eyed spitfire again. I'll be ready for her...armored suit and all.