6 of 100 Word Prompts: Bread
The clouds rolled by in their usual lazy fashion as Jake laid in the grass, trying to see shapes in them. Nearby, he could hear the passing traffic from the highway. It had become a white noise machine for his favorite past time that he appreciated when his mind was full of other things.
“What’re you doing?” a woman’s voice asked.
“Staring at the clouds,” he whispered in reply.
“Why are you whispering?” she asked as he heard her sit in the grass nearby.
“Because talking normally will scare them away,” he replied, turning his head to look at her.
The woman’s red hair hung loosely around her pale face creating a sort of glow in the sunshine. Her brown eyes looked at him with some familiarity that he didn’t have when he saw her.
“Do I know you?” he asked as she averted her gaze.
“No, but I know you, Jake,” she replied, falling onto her back. “My name’s Leanne, and I need a favor.”
“Who does that?” Jake asked, pushing himself to his elbows. “Who interrupts a person lying in the grass cloud watching to ask for a favor from someone that doesn’t know them?”
“Well, for starters, I do,” Leanne replied. “It’s a pretty simple favor, though.”
“There’s something wrong with you. No, I won’t do you any favors. Please, just leave me in peace,” he replied, falling back down.
“I just want a date,” she replied.
“A date?” he repeated.
“Just a date,” Leanne said. “You go on a date with me, and if you still don’t like me, I’ll never speak to you again.”
“I don’t know about that,” he replied, a smile twitching at the corner of his mouth.
“Have a bit of an ego, do you?” she asked.
Jake rolled onto his side, propping his head up with his elbow. Leanne was already in the same position facing him.
“I only have an ego when it comes to women asking me to date them when I’m sitting in a field,” he replied. “Why do you want to date me anyway?”
“Because you’re cute,” Leanne said with a shrug, “and because we have a lot of common interests.”
“Well, for starters, I see you come to this place often enough. We both go to the Glazorium to do pottery, and we both spend time at the library,” she said.
“Sounds a bit like you’re stalking me,” Jake replied, unable to hide his amusement.
“I’m not, just started noticing that we frequented the same places a month ago. I’ve been trying to get you to notice me, but you always seem to be somewhere else when I look at you,” Leanne said.
“I usually am,” Jake said, his mind wandering for a moment before he forced himself to pay attention.
“What could be on your mind so often that through everything you do, you still aren’t really present?” Leanne asked.
“That’s a bit of a personal question, I’m afraid. I don’t really feel comfortable talking about it,” Jake replied. “Why don’t you tell me about you?”
“Is this an interview?” Leanne asked, flashing him a smile.
“Maybe it is,” Jake teased, “Maybe this is the interview for a date with me.”
“What about me? Do I get to interview you?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” Jake replied.
“I’ll make you a deal,” Leanne said, “I’ll let you interview me, then I’ll interview you. That way, we’re on the same page if we go on a date.”
“Aren’t all dates just a two-way interview, though?” Jake chuckled, “Sounds like you’re trying to turn this into a date.”
“That’s my offer,” Leanne said, rolling on her back.
“Well, how can I refuse? It is a rather reasonable offer, after all,” Jake said, letting himself fall onto his back again.
“Do you always do that?” Leanne asked.
“Talk all fancy and such?” Leanne asked.
“Only when I’m feeling froggy,” he replied. “I assume that’s your first question, so it’s my turn next.”
“Hey, nothing. Fair is fair. You asked a question about me, so now I get to ask one about you,” Jake replied.
“Fine,” Leanne huffed.
“We’ve established that you enjoy the park, pottery, and reading. So, let’s start with your favorite book,” Jake said.
“That’s easy, Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls,” Leanne replied. “You?”
“It’s hard to nail down,” Jake replied. “Probably one of the Old Kingdom novels by Garth Nix.”
“I don’t know that I’ve read those. What are they about?” Leanne asked.
“It starts as a sort of savior story with a strong female protagonist-”
“So far so good,” Leanne interrupted.
“It has a funky world where there’s this wall stretching across the border between two countries. South of the wall is very similar to the real world, but north of the wall is filled with magic and monsters and adventure,” Jake said.
“Sounds interesting. I’ll have to check it out the next time I’m at the library,” Leanne said. “Now, for my question.”
“You did just ask me what my favorite book is, though,” Jake teased.
“Still my turn,” Leanne replied. Jake could hear the smile on her face. “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?”
“I’ve been a lot of places,” Jake said, thinking on the subject. “I would probably say somewhere in Asia. I’ve been to most of Europe and a handful of countries in Africa and South America, but I haven’t been to Asia at all.”
“You’ve traveled that much? Why?” Leanne asked.
“Nope, my turn,” Jake said. “What would you consider your most admirable quality?”
“Mentally or physically?” Leanne asked.
Jake felt his cheeks flush. “Either.”
“Hmm, that’s a hard question. I’d say my outgoing nature. I love to meet new people and see new things,” Leanne replied. “What would you say is my most admirable quality?”
“I don’t know you well enough-”
“Don’t give me that,” Leanne said. “You got a look at me, and we’ve had a decent conversation so far. What are your initial thoughts? Don’t overthink it.”
“Your eyes,” Jake blurted.
“What about them?” Leanne asked.
“The brown has almost a hazelnut color that catches the light just right and makes them sparkle,” Jake replied, forcing himself not to look at her.
“Okay,” Leanne said. Jake couldn’t tell what the tone meant. “Back to the interview. What do you do for work?”
“I travel a lot,” Jake said. “I’m a problem solver.”
“A problem solver?” Leanne repeated.
“People have problems, they hire me to fix them,” Jake replied.
“Sounds like some vague answer a hitman from the movies would give,” Leanne teased.
“Nothing exciting like that,” Jake said. “I just do a lot of consulting and whatnot. So, what do you do for work?”
“Currently, I am a barista at a coffee shop,” Leanne said, her voice grew quieter at the end.
“Don’t be ashamed of that,” Jake replied, turning his head to look at her. “There’s nothing wrong with it. Do you like your job?”
“It’s alright,” Leanne replied, “There are the regulars, which are always super nice and tip well, and the occasional grump that comes in and is rude to everyone. You know how it goes. Alright, your turn.”
“Do you want to go get some lunch?” Jake asked. “I’m getting kind of hungry.”
“Is that a date invitation? Did I pass the interview?” Leanne teased.
“No, just a relocation of the interview,” Jake replied, rolling onto his stomach. “We can’t really get to know each other until we get some food. Are you one of those people that swear they have a bread allergy as well as five thousand other demands when you go out to eat?”
“I love bread,” Leanne replied, “Particularly dipped in herb-infused olive oil.”
“I think we’re going to get along just fine, then,” Jake replied, pushing himself up to his feet while Leanne did the same thing. A few blades of grass stuck in her hair as she ran her fingers through it.
“So, where are we eating?” she asked.
“I was thinking of this nice pizza place just down the street,” Jake replied.
“You mean, Giovanni’s?” Leanne replied.
“Yeah,” Jake chuckled. “Do you live around here? This isn’t exactly a small town.”
“I actually live right there,” Leanne replied, pointing to a small yellow house at the edge of the park.
“And that, kids, is how I met your Grandmother,” Jake said, stretching.
“Grandma, you’re so funny,” Eric said, jumping into Leanne’s lap.
“Careful with Grandma,” Jake said, “she’s not as feisty as she used to be.”
“I’m feisty enough,” Leanne teased as she pulled Eric in for a hug. “Now, go outside and play while I make you some sandwiches.
Jake beamed at the kids as they screamed and ran out the door. Leanne pushed herself up from her chair and walked to the kitchen while Jake hobbled behind her.
“For the record, that is not what you said my most admirable quality was,” Leanne teased.
“I couldn’t very well tell the children I was a pervert,” Jake replied with a wink as he pinched her bottom.
“Enough of that!” Leanne said, “Grab the peanut butter, will you?”