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"No!" I gasped as I dropped yet another bag. I tried to get a hold of the plastic handle with my one free finger but as soon as I got my finger around it, the thin plastic ripped and the contents of the grocery bag spilled out onto the sidewalk. I set down my other six bags and proceeded to pick up the bread, peanut-butter, jelly and the now busted package of sugar, which I then decided to just discard in a near trash can.
As I began to pick up the other six bags I felt a stab of resentment toward my sister. Just because she was eight months pregnant didn't mean that she couldn't come out to town and help me carry the grocery bags. Well maybe it did. There probably wouldn't be much she could do if she was here. She'd probably just be chasing her three-year-old around and have her one-year-old glued to her hip. I doubt she would have been able to help. In fact the three of them would probably have been a hindrance.
"It's freezing." I hissed as I attempted to lift all seven grocery bags. I wasn't used to this chilly Nebraska weather, especially at nine o'clock at night in mid-December. I had taken exactly four steps before the same bag fell from my grasp.
Annoyed and frustrated, I was just about ready to give up. If I didn't make it to the bus stop in fifteen minutes I would have had to call a cab and I didn't feel like spending all that money. I could have just told Jessica that I just had to leave a few bags behind in order to keep the rest.
Just as I was about to drop the bags containing the less essential items I heard a voice from behind me ask:
"You need some help?"
My savior! The world had not yet gone to hell!
"That would be great!" I turned around to thank him but my breath caught in my throat. He was gorgeous! Like a movie star. He was tall, at least six feet, which was perfect because being five foot eight myself, I felt kind of awkward when guys were shorter than me. He had dark brown hair and deep chocolate-brown eyes to match. In contrast with his dark hair he had pale smooth skin which was slightly flushed pink from the cold. It was hard to tell whether is body was nearly as handsome as I could imagine due to his puffy jacket but he looked like he was well toned and best of all his handsome face was turned toward me, a dreamy smile graced his lips.
"Miss?" he asked. I shook myself out of the daze.
"Sorry. Uhhh . . . the cold must have gotten to me. I would love some help." I gestured for him to take two bags. The next thing I knew he'd taken five of them from me and I was the one left with two. He held all five of them effortlessly.
"So where are you headed to?" he asked.
"The bus stop." I pointed in the direction of the bust stop. "It's kind of far away," I added, looking a bit sheepish. He glanced over his shoulder as if he was expecting someone but then he turned to me and said:
"No, that's ok." He began to walk ahead of me. "Come on. If we don't hurry you'll miss the bus." I nodded and followed in suit.
"So," I began "are you from around here?" I asked. He smiled wistfully at me.
"I guess you could say that."
"What do you mean?"
"I . . . have to," his pace slowed down a little. He looked like he was searching for the right word. "I have to go away on business a lot."
"Business? How old are you?"
He nodded. I couldn't believe that he was the same age as me. He could pass for twenty-five.
"What about you?" He asked. "Are you from around here?"
"No." I replied. "I'm actually from New Mexico. I'm here visiting my sister. She's eight months pregnant and her husband is away on a business trip for the next week. She needed some help around the house and since I'm not taking any classes this semester I decided to fly over and help my sister out." I explained.
"Apparently you took on a little more than you could handle." he said indicating the many grocery bags, most of which were held effortlessly in his hands. I thought he might have been able to hold them all, but I had a feeling that he wanted to save my pride.
"Maybe you're right but my sister really needs the help." I said turning around so I was walking backwards, facing him. He was so good looking it just seemed such a shame not to be facing him. "You know," I went on. "You look so familiar. Have you ever been to New Mexico?"
The nameless stranger pursed his lips and looked up at the sky. He semed to be avoiding my gaze. "Nope."
"You just seem so familiar." I confessed. I scrutinized him further. It helped that I was facing him; I was able to take in his whole frame. However, walking backwards, wasn't a good idea for anyone. Especially someone with less than the average amount of grace. Of course something was bound to happen.