Smoke

Smoke by Toye Lawson Brown Read Free Book Online

Book: Smoke by Toye Lawson Brown Read Free Book Online
Authors: Toye Lawson Brown
released from Metro about three weeks ago.”
    “I remember now. What can I do for you, Anthony?”
    “I thought I’d give you a call to check if the number was real, and to see how you’re doing with your fine self.”
    “You caught me at a bad time. I’m on my way to work and can’t really talk.”
    “My bad; I’ll make this quick. My sister is having an anniversary party this weekend; how would you like to be my date?”
    She nested the phone between her ear and shoulder. “Kind of short notice being it’s already Thursday.”
    “My fault, since I run on a different schedule than most people. So, do you think you can make it? It would give me an excuse to see you again.”

    Taking in a breath she exhaled slowly. “Um, I’ll think about and it. I’ll call you back at this number when I go on break tonight to discuss it further. But, I really have to run.”
    “Cool, I’ll wait for you to call later. Have a great day, sweet thang.”
    Already feeling the mistake of implying she’d accept the date, Gabrielle dropped the phone in her purse and pulled from the driveway heading for the highway. Her mind wandered to Jonathan. He’d been coming in as an outpatient once a week and had managed not to run into him once. She wasn’t sure if that was a good sign or a bad sign, but seeing him again would not be terrible.

    *****
Jonathan waited for the elevator in the lobby. Checking his watch he was
    running late for what he prayed would be his last appointment with the respiratory therapist. Two weeks recovering at Gwen’s home and finally returning to his apartment last week proved his strength was returning. His last x-ray revealed all but two ribs had healed significantly and his lungs were healthier and almost void of the mucus.
    The elevator opened. He stepped inside the empty compartment when he heard a woman calling for the elevator. “Hold the elevator, please! I’m coming.” Running inside breathless Gabrielle did not look at the person holding the door, but pressed the button for the lower level keeping her face forward.
    Jonathan relaxed his shoulders smiling when he saw who the woman was.
    “What are the odds of me running into you today?”
    Gabrielle turned to the face the man standing behind her. Not recognizing him at first, her heart did a double take. “Yeah, I agree, what are the odds? How are you, Jonathan?”

    “My day just got brighter now that I’ve run into you.”
    “I-I didn’t recognize you at first; the beard is gone. Are you here for your normal appointment?” Gabrielle asked not able to take her eyes off him. His hunched-over posture was gone and he was standing erect to reach his full 6 foot 4 inch height. The black t-shirt hugged his muscular upper body to tuck inside the narrow waist of his blue jeans that tapered to tight squeezable buttocks.
    He didn’t want to break the trance he obviously held over her but answered,
    “Yup and hopefully to return this damn oxygen tank. Um, my day is free afterwards; I would love to take you to lunch if you are free.”
    Gabrielle’s did not hear any wheezing or crackles and his voice was much clearer when he spoke. She assumed this would probably be the last treatment he would need as an outpatient. “That would be nice but my shift is just starting. I won’t get a dinner break until 7:00 tonight and only if I’m not busy.”
    “I’ll wait.”
    Gabrielle rolled her eyes. “What? You’re going to sit around the hospital for hours just to have dinner with me?”
    He shrugged his shoulders. “When you say it, it does sound stupid. How about I give you a buzz and come back?”
    “Has anyone told you, you’re very persistent?”
    He nodded. “Maybe once or twice I’ve been told that. Why are we playing this game, Gabrielle? I like you and as hard as you are trying to hide it, you like me.”
    She pursed her full lips together. “Please, you have no clue what’s going on in my head and besides, I can’t do anything with

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