***Disclaimer: this is not a final draft, and may be edited or deleted prior to publication.
“Ready?” Nate asks, smiling down at me. We just stepped onto the sidewalk outside his building, which happens to be just a few blocks up from the market and waterfront. We’re going to walk down today.
He’s delicious in faded blue-jeans, black sweater and black leather jacket. The weather is still cold, although we’ve been blessed with a dry day today.
“Ready,” I confirm and he twines our fingers as we stride toward downtown at a casual pace.
“You look beautiful today,” he murmurs and kisses my hand. I’m also in blue-jeans, tucked in knee-high black boots, a gray t-shirt under a heavy red sweater, cinched with a thick black belt around my torso, and a black scarf wrapped around my neck.
“Thank you. So do you.” I lean my head on his shoulder, then kiss it, as we wait at a crosswalk. “So, what are we shopping for today?” I ask.
“Greens and veggies for a salad and fresh lobster.” He pulls our linked hands around to the small of my back and leads me across the street, watching for crazy drivers. I love how he protects me, and watches out for me, while still making me feel like we’re partners.
“Anything you want to grab while we’re here?” he asks.
“Tiny donuts and Starbucks.” Pike’s Market boasts the very first Starbucks café ever built, just across the street from the vendors. There is also a booth that serves delicious, fresh tiny donuts that melt in your mouth. They are both must-haves when I visit.
“Let’s do that first.” Nate’s hand tightens around mine as we descend the steep hill leading down to the Market.
When we reach the cobblestone street below, I take a deep breath and look around. This is the heart of Seattle. Business men and blue collar guys, families and couples, and people of all shapes and sizes and colors. There are musicians on the sidewalk, singing and playing instruments for change, and they are incredible, drawing quite a crowd.
I love the sights, sounds and smells.
“I’m so glad you suggested this.” I smile up at my handsome man. “I haven’t been down here in ages, and I love it.”
“Me too.” Nate kisses my forehead and leads me into Starbucks. We order our drinks and wander through the market, starting at the end with my tiny donuts, so we can munch on the hot, soft goodness while we wander.
“SALMON!” Someone yells, and a large gray salmon goes sailing through the air in front of us. A man in orange pants held up with brown suspenders catches the fish and throws it back to the guy in the same outfit behind the fish counter.
Nate and I smile at each other, and watch the fish throwing show for a few minutes, sipping our coffee and eating our tiny donuts, soaking up Seattle.
More fish sail back and forth, the men yelling and putting on a fun show. Nate and I pick out two large lobsters, and they are packaged in a box with a handle for easy carrying.
With his hands full of lobster and coffee, I push a bite of donut in his mouth and we continue through the market, winding through a sea of people. It’s impossible to shop at Pike’s Market in a hurry. There are too many people, especially on a weekend, even in winter.
Nate and I choose our salad veggies and he buys me a gorgeous bouquet of fresh flowers.
“Thank you, babe. These are lovely.” I bury my face in them and breathe in their sweet fragrance and smile up at him.
“Like you.” He kisses my nose, tosses his empty coffee cup in a nearby garbage, and presses his hand on the small of my back, leading me out of the Market and onto the sidewalk.
I look up and freeze. Fuck.
“What’s wrong?” Nate asks and follows my stare. “Shit,” he whispers.