Running Errands | A Short Story


A tap on Jess’s shoulder in line at the post office made her glance back. A gorgeous man who was several inches taller smiled down into her face. She instinctively returned the expression. He looked a few years older and in far better physical shape than she was.

“I’m sorry to bother you,” he said in a deep voice that made the hair stand up on the back of her neck, “but you wouldn’t happen to have a pen I could borrow, would you? None of these work.”

“Of course.” She dug in her bag and handed him one. With a wink, he bent to address the envelope. His handwriting was neater than any man she’d ever seen. She told him so and he chuckled.

Returning to his full height, he handed her back her pen. “I’m an architect. Messy handwriting means a building is twelve levels of fucked up.”

“I imagine.” The line moved and she shuffled ahead with her large shipping bag at her feet. Jess watched him read the bright pink return labels.

“What do you do?”

Clearing her throat delicately, she replied quietly, “I’m a writer.”

His smile broadened and she liked the way it looked on his dark skin. His teeth were perfect. “Based on that mad blush, I’m going to guess what you write has an element of dirty.”

“It’s…I mean…yeah, it is.” They laughed together for a few seconds and shuffled ahead again. When they paused, she dug around and gave him her business card. There was no phone number or email address but it would lead him to her website. “This is me.”

He read a few of the titles and gave a low whistle. “You write a lot.” She nodded. “Good for you.” She shrugged one shoulder. “You should have dinner with me.”

Sighing heavily, she told him, “I can’t. I’m mid-divorce and it’s starting to get ugly.” She looked directly into pretty brown eyes and added, “We’ve been separated for a long time but I’d feel like a hypocrite considering my ex’s behavior. I’m sorry.”

For a long moment, he stared back and gave her a single nod. “Impressive.”


“Adhering to the person you need to respect in the mirror.”

“Thanks.” The woman behind the counter called her over and Jess looked up. “It was nice to meet you.”

“I’m here all the time. Maybe the next time I ask you’ll be able to say yes.”

Nodding, she quickly walked to the counter and smiled at him when he finished much faster than she did. He grinned back.

When she was finished, she folded her large shipping bag and frowned when a business card fluttered to the floor from inside it. Picking it up, she read the name of a local architecture firm. Beneath that was Randall Teague with a phone number. She tucked it into her bag and walked to her car.

Behind the wheel, she smiled to herself, more than a little rattled at the attention. It had been a long time since a man flirted with her in real life.

Maybe one day she’d call the number and have another conversation with Randall Teague. There were many months of stupidity left to wrap up her old life that had been circling the drain for seven years. Still…one day, maybe.

Dinner might be nice.

© Shayne McClendon




Flash Fiction, Free Stories, Micro Stories, Shayne McClendon, Short Stories, you should be reading

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