She knew it had been awhile when the homeless man came up to her car window, and she felt the blood flush her face. God, he was attractive. She lowered her eyes, looked back up through her lashes, and shook her head no. No money.
His eyes met hers, a smile nipped at one corner of his mouth, and she tried not to smile back, but oh god she was blushing. Her lips pressed together tightly, don’t smile, don’t blush, don’t giggle. Oh my god, she was acting ridiculously. No, she shook her head again, grabbed at her phone, her hair tie, her necklace, anything to not meet his eyes again.
At last, when he turned from her window, she was able to breath. She glanced in her rear view, watched him make his way further up the exit ramp. Just in time. One more minute and she might have made a really bad decision. It had been too long.
As he walked away, she shifted her eyes to the side mirror. Tall, lanky, and for all his begging, well-enough fed. She pictured his body under his clothes, imagined them hard and lean. His arms at least looked tan and strong; they would hold her in place should she try to back away. And his jeans were dusty, not grimy or caked with years of sweat and piss. He probably didn’t even smell bad. At least nothing a good shower wouldn’t change. She wondered what he would look like stepping out of her shower, skin warm from the water, a towel tussling his hair.
Oh my god. Jesus, just stop. Stop. She shook her hands, hoping to dislodge the thoughts that were making her palms sweat. She squirmed in her seat. The light was taking forever.
He was heading back down the ramp, nearing her car, he’d have to jog to get the money she’d hold out. Fingering a 5 dollar bill, she wondered what their conversation would be like. What his voice would sound like. How she would even ask…oh god, she shouldn’t do this.
At that moment the light turned. Yes. Oh yes. She was saved. She giggled, almost maniacally, her faced flushed again, this time with embarrassment.
In front of the store she found a parking spot. She browsed the tables and counter tops, walked around, half to calm herself from the encounter on the off ramp, half to find something for her office. Something charming for her desk. Something her patients could admire. Something pretty.
Her eyes settled on a rounded, polished stone, about the size of her fist. It was gorgeous, amber and marbled pink, streaked with lines of red and sharp orange. Picking it up she took it to the man behind the register.
“A gorgeous piece,” he muttered, all jowls and chins.
“Yes, what kind of stone is it?”
“Oh, is that some sort of ocean coral or something?”
“No.” He said, very matter-of-fact. “It’s fossilized dinosaur shit.”