She bit at her full kissable pink lips. Her hazel eyes were fixed on the bottles of wine arranged on the shelves. She read the labels and checked the percentage of the alcohol content on the wine bottles. She didn’t like alcohol; the bitter, harsh stinging taste repulsed her. How or why many people got addicted to it, she couldn’t decipher. She scanned the shelves again, concentrating on the fruit wine bottles. She decided on one and reached out to pick it. At five feet six inches, she wasn’t that tall, but was a little above average height.
“Good evening,” someone said behind her.
“Evening…” she glanced back and saw a tall dark brown slender man, she headed for the counter, a bottle of wine in one hand.
“That’s a good selection.”
What is he referring to? The wine? Is he following me?
She frowned. She greeted the lady behind the counter and paid for the wine.
“I have tasted that particular wine. It is heaven on ice-cubes.”
Is he still talking to me?
She glanced back and caught him grinning.
“The name is Stephen,” he stretched out his right hand. She turned back to the lady and collected the bottle of wine wrapped in a colorful polythene bag. She walked towards the exit. He went ahead of her and opened the glass door. She rolled her eyes. She could tell that he was trying to get her attention.
“Thank you,” she muttered and walked out. He followed her.
“So, what’s the name?”
She halted and turned to look at him, “Look Mister…”
“Whatever… I am not in the habit of exchanging names with strangers,” she started to walk away.
“Sorry Miss…” he hurried after her, “I have been watching you since you stepped into the wine shop.”
“Keep watching,” she spotted a spa and walked in, despite the crowd. She would do anything or go anywhere to get away from him.
“Can I be your escort for today?”
“I don’t need one,” she picked a flier at the front desk.
“You never can tell. The Galleria is a big place.”
She shrugged and squeezed her way out of the shop. She sensed that he was right behind her.
“Stop following me,” she glared back at him.
“Can’t help it Miss, I just want to get to know you.”
“Give me a chance.”
She sighed, stopped walking and turned to look at him. He flashed a set of white teeth; not that white, a shade of creamy white to be exact. He towered over her, a little over five feet eight inches. The fitted black tee-shirt on him clung to his brown skin. The blue inscription on it matched the colour of his jeans. His shoes, a pair of black snickers with white stripes made him look cute in a boyish way. She searched his smiling brown eyes. He seemed decent, if looks were anything to go by. Regardless, she wasn’t in the habit of been friendly with people she hardly knew, especially in public places.
“I don’t need an escort, thanks for the offer,” she turned to leave.
“Wait!” he held her by the elbow.
“Don’t touch me!” she yanked her hand free and eyed him.
“I am sorry,” he sighed and raised his hands, “I come in peace.”
She tried not to laugh. She was reminded of the conversation between Arnold and the Dark Angel in a movie she watched a long time ago. She cleared her throat.
“I am on my way out. This is the reason why I am here,” she raised the wrapped bottle of wine.
“Oh, okay. Well, it is a cool evening, perfect time for a walk on the beach.”
“Hmm… tempting, but, I will pass.”
“Come on. I haven’t been to the beach in a while. I would love some good company.”
She shook her head. The Galleria was not that far from the Bar Beach and Kuramo Beach. She glanced at her wrist-watch.
“I have to go.”
“Yes,” she met his steady stare.
“None of your business,” she eyed him.
“Is that why you can’t come with me to the beach.”
“Yes and no.”
He raised an eyebrow.
“I have to go,” she glanced towards the elevator and saw a queue. She strode towards the stair-way. He marched her quick steps with his long strides.
“You need to stop following me.”
“A walk on the beach is all I ask for.”
“I can’t,” she climbed down the stairs.
“I have a family dinner to attend.”
“That is not important.”
She eyed him again, “It is. It is a monthly thing.”
“Great, you can go next month.”
“How many family dinners have you missed this year?”
“I don’t see anything.”
“I know a great guy whose grilled chicken is excellent.”
“The chicken with fried Irish potato and creamy sour vegetable salad is a nice combo.”
Her tummy made silly noises. The talk of food was making her hungry.
“You need to try out this guy.”
They found their way out of the building amongst the teeming crowd.
“I don’t know.”
“We won’t stay long. We will take a short stroll on the cool sand; buy the chicken and drinks and leave.”
“Great!” he jumped. His excitement was contagious. She started to laugh.
“Where do I park my car?”
“There is an area outside the beach. We can pay those hoodlums to watch it.”
“Yes. They will protect the car.”
She nodded and followed him across the busy road.
Watch Out for Chapter Two…