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I don’t feel like cooking tonight, I think I’ll go to the diner and see what the specials are.
That was what Jacob told himself, but he knew what he really meant was maybe she would be there. He didn’t know what it was about her that he found so compelling. It wasn’t her looks, or her brains, or even the smell of her shampoo. He just couldn’t stop thinking about her.
He took a quick shower to get the warehouse grime off of him and managed to scrounge up a clean shirt and pair of jeans. Grabbing his keys and wallet, he headed out the door. Maybe it’s just an image of her that I have in my head. If I get to know her, she’ll probably turn out to be just like everyone else. Whatever the case, he knew he would not stop looking for her. Because there was always the chance that she was the one. That she could inspire him to become something better. Hell, she had already gotten him off the couch and outside and he didn’t even know her name.
And then, as if summoned by the thought, he saw her down the street. She was stopped in front of a store window, checking herself in the reflection. She was sporting a hat, which would have been appropriate for a much older woman, but somehow on her it was adorable. It could have been a discarded Easter bonnet from one of the vintage stores that seemed to keep popping up everywhere. Great, Jacob thought, I’m falling in love with a hipster.
There was that word – love. He had said it without realizing. That was definitely what he felt. I hope at least she likes Indian food. He started down the sidewalk towards her. This is it. Just a few more feet and…
The sudden concussion struck him from behind and knocked him sprawling into his mystery girl. They landed together on the sidewalk as bits of broken glass flew by like a swarm of biting insects. Stunned he looked up and behind him. The diner where he would have been sitting was a smoldering ruin. The windows had been blown out and flames licked out of the empty cavities. A few people who had caught the worst of the blast were were lying on the sidewalk. At least one of them was no longer moving.
If it hadn’t been for her, he would have been inside when the diner had exploded. And then all at once he remembered that she was lying on the sidewalk, right in front on him. Jacob got up on his feet, leaned over her, and asked, “Are you all right?”
Stunned, she barely managed to answer, “I…I’m not hurt.” She looked around at the carnage and screamed. She began to cry. “Oh my god. Oh my god!” Terrified, she scrambled to her feet and started running down the sidewalk as fast as she could. Jacob was just about to go after her when he felt a firm hand grip his shoulder, holding him back.
Jacob shouted, “You again!”