December 1980

Angie stepped out of the hospital into the frosty atmosphere of the winter night. The past four months at the hospital were very productive for her. She never felt happier in her life, working with her wonderful coworkers, and helping people and getting to know them. The job paid handsomely as well, she even got an apartment of her own that was a half hour bus ride away from the hospital. She could even take the subway if she wanted to. It was only three train stops from the hospital to her house, but she had to walk a few blocks. She was happy that she was self-sufficient at the age of twenty-two, which was pretty young in her book.

She reached the bus stop now, rummaging in her purse for change for the bus. Just then, as her back was turned for a second, she heard a masculine voice say,

"Excuse me, miss?"

Angie whirled around, debating on whether to get her mace ready to aim and fire. Her eyes widened and her heart nearly shot out of her when she saw none other than Austin, the tall, handsome repairman. She never thought she would see him again.

"Is this bus going up- have I seen you before?" Austin asked.

"Yes," Angie replied breathlessly. When she realized what she had just said, blood rushed to her cheeks, and stammered out,

"No! I mean- I... I suppose so..."

Austin smiled amusedly. "I think I did a plumbing job at that penthouse a few months back with my coworker, something about a pipe closed wrong. You were there, about to graduate the following week," he said.

"Well, I'm not going to lie, that was me," Angie replied, conceding defeat.

"Oh, how you been?" Austin greeted, flashing a smile, the braces gleaming in the brown streetlights.

"I've been great, loving my job," Angie smiled back.

"Oh, good," Austin said, rather pleased.

He held out his hand. "I'm Austin, and you are?" he asked.

"Angela, but you can call me Angie," Angie introduced, despite knowing his name already, shaking his calloused, but soft hand. Angie loved holding his hand.

"Angie," Austin repeated. "That's a nice name, Angie."

"You can thank my mom for the idea," Angie replied shyly.

Austin only smiled at her gently. Angie was always captivated by his smile, no matter if he showed teeth or not.

"I almost forgot to ask you," Austin spoke up, a hint of laughter in his voice. "Is this bus going uptown?"

"Yep, you're good to go," Angie replied.

"Oh, good," Austin said, relieved." 'Cause my job relocated around here, and I'm not that familiar with this area."

The bus pulled up in front of them now, and the two of them willingly got in, paid their fares, and took seats next to each other. Angie soon noted that through the fluorescent white lights of the bus, Austin was much more pale, in contrast to his tanned skin earlier on. Maybe it was because of the impending harsh winter.

The bus was halfway down the block when Austin broke the silence.

"So what do you do?" Austin asked.

"I am a nurse now, I had a nursing degree," Angie explained.

"Oh, nursing!" Austin said, pleased. "My mom's a nurse, she's going back to school now to become a doctor."

"Great," Angie smiled. "So, how long you've been a plumber?" she asked.

Austin instantly looked nervous. "Well, uh, I've been on the job for about two years, ever since I've graduated high school," he replied.

Angie did a double take. "Wait, how old are you?" she asked.

"Nineteen, I had a birthday a couple of weeks ago," Austin replied lowly.

Angie was shocked. There was no way Austin was nineteen. He looked like he was twenty-five at the most.

"You don't look like you're nineteen to me," Angie commented.

"Yeah, I get that a lot," Austin replied, twiddling his fingers.

"You've ever get cougars crushing on you?" Angie asked.

Austin burst out laughing, rather relieved, making Angie get chills. "Now that you mention it, I do, whenever I go to an old lady's house," Austin replied. "They would always say, 'now that's a heartthrob I could pick up'."

Angie giggled at this. "How do you like your job?" she asked.

"I love it," Austin replied. "Believe it or not, it's what I wanted to do when I was little. I always wanted to tinker with pipes, and look at blueprints and figure out how to fix things. Did you like nursing at a young age?"

"Oh, absolutely," Angie replied. "People always told me that I had a caring face and I always wanted to help people. They were right, and by the way, I'm doing a really good job at what I do."

"Awesome," Austin commented.

Then the look on his face turned playful. "If I had a problem, would you fix me up?" he asked in a mock devilish tone.

Angie couldn't stop herself from blushing. He was so sexy without even trying. "I'd help anyone," she croaked a reply.

"Good, 'cause you'd be my go-to nurse, 'cause I know you'll do a superb job, I could see it," Austin commented.

Angie's heart warmed, while on the contrary, her face flushed. "Thank you," she said. "And you're on the path to becoming someone greater, it's good that you're making your money very young."

Austin smiled. "That's exactly what my mentor told me a few months back, and this job benefits me a lot, I got more responsible and help my parents with the bills," he said.

"Oh, you still live with your parents?" Angie asked.

"Sort of," Austin replied. "I live in their basement, and I pay rent."

"I used to live with my mom up until I had this job," Angie said. "You have any siblings?"

"I have my two older brothers Chris and Brad, Chris's married, and has a two-year-old little girl with another baby on the way very soon, and my little sister Liz, she's a sophomore in high school."

"Oh, my little sister's a junior," Angie replied knowingly.

"Really?" Austin asked. "Small world."

"Getting smaller," Angie replied.

A moment of silence passed between them as the bus moved down the street. Austin's eyes turned dark suddenly when he broke the silence.

"You have any boyfriends?" he asked lowly.

Angie thought that she was going to go crazy at this point. "Um," she started, her heart thumping. "I uh... had a few, my last one was such an asshole, he cheated on me with one of my best friends. I hadn't been in a relationship in months, 'cause I wanted to focus on my degree," she finished, her voice raspy.

"Oh, sorry to hear about that," Austin commented.

"You had any girlfriends?" Angie asked.

"A few," Austin replied. "Most of them got with me, just because of my looks, they just wanted to show me off to their rivals, they wanted me just 'cause I was handsome, not for who I was as a person. I got tired of being taken advantage of, so I didn't care that much for relationships, in fact, I hadn't been in one since last year."

"Oh, I'm sorry," Angie said.

"That's ok," Austin replied huskily.

Just then, the bus was about to reach her stop, so she signaled for the bus to stop.

"I guess this is your stop," Austin said.

"Yeah," Angie replied.

"Well, it was great talking to you, Angie."


Austin smiled and gathered Angie in his arms for a hug, in which Angie gladly accepted. They let go, and Angie was surprised when Austin took her hand and kissed it. Angie's face turned red hot in the cold weather.

The bus jolted to a stop and the doors opened, cueing Angie to get off.

"I'll see you around, alright?" Austin said.

Angie only nodded. "Bye," she told him.

Austin smiled and waved. "Bye," he replied.

Angie smiled at Austin, thanked the bus driver, and got off the bus. The bus drove away, and stopped at a red light, as Angie walked to her apartment. Angie looked at her hand and smiled.

Austin looked out the window and smiled. He had never felt this way before for a woman. He was so nervous that Angie would lose interest in him because of his age. Now, he noticed that both of them were so alike, and how she was so interested what he had to say.

He just couldn't shake off the image of Angie in his head. She looked so good in her nurse's clothes and her curly hairstyle, and at the same time being so smart. She was so articulate and so independent for her age... twenty-one? Twenty-two? Austin couldn't tell, he should have asked her. Austin wanted to be like her, to be self-sufficient at a young age. He shouldn't think this way, he's still nineteen, and he should let things come to pass, but it was just so hard to do that.

He also loved the way she smiled and laughed, and how she listened intently. His other girlfriends didn't do that. He was just used as an object. And when he kissed her hand, she had that looked that she was interested in him too. He bit his lip excitedly at the thought of them being a couple. He just needed to be himself, as Gerald told him months before. This was the first time he was feeling hope. He was desperate to see her again, and they can grow to be something more.

A/N: And there you have it, their first conversation. Most of you wondered why Angie was attracted to Austin. Maybe he looked cute, despite the color of his skin, and vice versa with Angie. But we'll see the characters develop over time as you read along, I don't really want to rush things, so stay tuned for the next one and please review!