She stood behind him on line at the deli counter. The hospital cafeteria wasn't crowded at dinnertime, but Heather couldn't help lingering closer than good manners dictated. Her eyelids drooped and she enjoyed a pleasant fantasy--standing behind Michelangelo's statue of David draped with a doctor's white lab coat. She wanted to see the front.
With a burger and coleslaw on his tray, he turned and smiled before walking away. Bedroom eyes. Heather had used the expression before, but only now did she truly understand. Big, wet, dark brown eyes. And thick, wavy, chestnut hair. The chiseled face of a cover model, tan and darkened with sexy five-o'clock shadow. He was a sizzling oasis to her long sexual drought, and she ached to leap on him and sate herself into oblivion.
"What floats your boat?" said a voice behind the counter.
Heather emerged from her trance. She had forgotten what she wanted to order. She glanced around, trying to remember. Across the way, a petite old woman stared at her. She recognized Abbie, a volunteer. Abbie was grinning, with a sparkle in her blue eyes. She had witnessed Heather's man-ogling and apparently found it cute.
Heather blushed and turned back. "I'll take an egg salad sandwich and a big sweet pickle."
At the two-sided checkout station, she faced him again. His badge read, 'Jake Montgomery, MD.' She stopped breathing for a moment when she saw him peering to read, 'Heather Armstrong, RN,' on her badge.
Abbie stood next to him in line. Heather stifled a laugh when Abbie made a show of looking him up and down. A middle-aged woman sat at the cash register. She looked tired, but gave each customer a kind word.
"Your change is $1.48," she said to Dr. Montgomery. She raised her cash drawer to pull out a roll of pennies. "It will only take a second." She cracked open the roll and winced at a split fingernail. Dr. Montgomery huffed and rolled his eyes. The cashier cowered and frowned. He picked up his tray.
"My time is valuable. Keep the change." He strode away, cock of the roost.
"What a pretentious prick," Heather said. Abbie and the cashier raised their eyebrows in surprise. Heather picked up a paper cup. "I need 148 pennies. Please add it to my bill."
The cashier glanced at Abbie, who looked intrigued and nodded. So she tallied the order, augmented by the heavy cup of copper. Heather put her dinner in a bag.
"You sure?" the cashier whispered.
"Just because they star in the show, doesn't mean they get to abuse the cast."She stormed to the table where the doctor sat. "Dr. Montgomery, I presume?"
He glanced at her badge and opened his mouth to speak. Before he could say a word, Heather dumped the pennies all over his plate. "Here's your change, you arrogant jackass." She crumpled the cup and dropped it on his lap. "Have a nice day."
CATHERINE: Well, that ending definitely got me laughing! I think Heather's personality is shining through in this. If I have one little nitpick, it is that there doesn't seem to be any reaction from the doctor before the cashier starts to reassure him that it won't take any time at all. I'd love to see him at least scowl at her pulling the roll of pennies from her cash drawer, or maybe grumble a little beneath his breath.
GAIL: What a great excerpt. Your characters really come to life. I felt like I knew Jake. The heroine's a true spitfire and Abbie's a hoot, too. I'm sorry that I have no suggestions. Thanks for sharing this with us.
AMY: This was funny. I do agree with Catherine with regard to a little more reaction from Jake at the cashier stand.
SAMANTHA: I think you really have a great way with words. I liked the comparison of Jake to the statue of David, which gives me a very good idea what the good doctor looks like, because David is ripped. :) And I liked that he was a sizzling oasis in her long sexual drought. You heroine is fun too. Enjoyable reading, for sure. I have nothing additional to add that the others haven't already mentioned. Thanks so much for letting us read your excerpt.
MELISSA: The only thing I have to add is the description of the cashier is really not needed. It the character plays a minor role, stick with the simple title of cashier. Other than that, love Heather's personality already. My kinda girl. I could definitely feel the tension between them. One other thing in the first line you have on line instead of in line. Just thought I'd point out that little typo. Excellent job!