Today’s contribution from the blurb file is one of my favorites and is definitely on the list of projects to tackle one day.
Copyrighted, do not reproduce, material liable to change. You know. Etc.
Dr. Grace Ewing was a knockout. Absolutely gorgeous in a curvy Rosemary Clooney sort of way. Not that she knew it. She was several pounds heavier than the fashion industry dictated was “in”. She hid her curves beneath bulky sweaters, shapeless skirts, and suits that had all the panache of a gunny sack. She felt such attire forced people to focus on her intelligence, which she considered appropriate to her stature of newly tenured professor at the local university. Her miles of blonde curls were unfailingly subdued in a bun or braid or other prim coiffure. No one noticed the long lashed misty grey eyes behind the huge horn-rimmed reading glasses. Her sole concession to vanity was a skin care regimen that she stuck to with religious fervor in order to preserve the unblemished peaches and cream complexion she’d inherited from her paternal grandmother.
She’d adopted the frumpy look in high school, partially out of comfort and partially to avoid the attention of the boys of whom she was terrified.
It had worked like a charm.
Grace had maintained the image through college and had only a handful of brief boyfriends of the uberacademic ilk, who had been intellectually stimulating at best and tediously and egotistically boring at worst. Graduate school had kept her too busy for much of a social life, and academia hadn’t necessitated an alteration in her uniform overmuch.
So Grace was dressed accordingly in a flowing skirt and tunic sweater as she raced across campus one day in mid-September, late to her 9:30 section of Abnormal Psychology. Birkenstocks were not made with running in mind, she decided as she fast shuffled across the cobbled sidewalks of the upper quad, still a quarter mile from Gibson Hall.
Her messenger bag slipped down to her elbow. She tried to hitch it back up to her shoulder, but her arms were filled with books and files. When a passing cyclist’s handlebars caught her shoulder strap, Grace was jerked sharply backward and to the ground, books and papers scattering. The bike and its rider crashed.
Grace slowly sat up, rubbing her elbow, which had sharply struck the cobblestones. Her glasses had been knocked off and the chopsticks that had held her hair at bay dislodged. One of them lay broken at her side.
She turned with a sharp reprimand on her tongue to find her unwitting assailant sprawled motionless a few feet from the bike. She scrambled over to him, losing a shoe in the process. The oaf had been riding without a helmet and his close cropped black hair didn’t hide the lump rising red and angry beneath it. She tried to remember long ago first aid training. You weren’t supposed to move victims of head trauma until they’d been stabilized. Okay, check for vitals, then consciousness.
“Are you alright?”
She didn’t dare shake him. Instead, Grace leaned over him to check his pulse at the neck. Strong.
“Sir, wake up. Are you okay?”
She laid a hand on his chest and leaned over to check his breathing. That was when his eyes fluttered open. He had green eyes, she noted, and they looked dazed.
An angel with a tumbled mass of golden hair was the first thing Patrick Murray saw when he came back to consciousness. A nimbus of sunlight surrounded her as she looked into his eyes and spoke.
“How many fingers am I holding up?”
With some considerable effort, Patrick shifted his attention from her lovely countenance to the hand shoved unceremoniously in his face. He squinted.
“How many of me are there?”
“Darling, I’m sure there can be only one.”
Flustered, Grace sat back.
“Can you sit up?”
Patrick spent a few moments assessing his injuries. A few scrapes, some blooming bruises, and the mother of all headaches.
“Well, I’m not dead, so I suppose so.”
She slipped an arm behind his shoulders and levered him to a sitting position. He grimaced.
She pressed those lovely full lips into a thin line in what was evidently a well practiced attempt at disapproval.
“You came too close and caught the strap of my bag and we both crashed. You should be more careful.”
“Are you okay?” he asked, looking her over and taking in the unflattering clothes that were so at odds with the angelic face. He didn’t see any blood.
“I’m horribly late, but I’ll live. I’m sure my class has invoked the 15 minute rule by now and has largely disappeared. You should get that head looked at.”
He touched a hand to the knot and hissed.
“Serves you right for riding without a helmet,” she said primly.