Meghan Ford has a very full cup of coffee in one hand, and a book and notebook and pen in the other, and is trying to figure out how to open the café door without dropping any of them.
"Hey, let me get that for you," someone calls, and Meg turns.
"Thanks," she starts to say, and then stops in surprise as she recognizes him. Or thinks she recognizes him. But even if you only speak for a minute or two, a stranger who stops you on the street and calls you "luminous" and asks if he can photograph you . . . he kind of makes an impression.
Anyway, if she had had any doubts, his reaction when he reaches the door would have laid them to rest. "Oh my God, it's you," he says. "I mean, hi. I . . . you just looked like you needed a little help. With the door."
"Yes, thank you," Meg said.
He doesn't make any move to actually open the door, though. "So, out of curiosity, if I take your advice and start by asking if you want a cup of coffee this time, do you think you might say yes?" And before she can answer, he continues, "I'm really not a creep, I promise. And I don't usually ask total strangers out on streets or in cafés, but there is something about you."
Meg smiles almost in spite of herself. "Luminosity?"
He grins and blushes slightly. And he's cute, there's no denying that. "I probably deserved that. Little over the top, huh?"
"Little bit," she tells him. "And, um, it's . . . the timing is just really bad. Sorry."
Meg shrugs. "I broke up with somebody last week. I'm kind of . . . I don't know . . . just . . ."
"Heartbroken?" he asks, and he looks like he's afraid she's going to start crying or something.
"Um, not even a little bit, actually. He was . . . kind of a jerk." And far too in love with himself to ever really have time for Meg.
He smiles. "Then I'd say my timing is good. Last week, that would have been bad. But this week . . ."
Meg frowns. "I don't know. It's just . . ."
"Hey," he says, "this is twice we've run into each other now. Don't you think fate might be trying to tell us something?"
"I don't really believe in fate," Meg tells him.
"How about if I believe in it for both of us?"
"Then you are going to have to believe we are fated to run into each at least one more time. Because today my answer is still no."
He nods. "Until next time, then," he says, and opens the door for her. She's maybe five feet down the sidewalk when he calls, "Hey, at least tell me your name."
Meg looks back over her shoulder at him. "It's not much of a challenge for fate, if I do," she says, and smiles at him. "Au revoir, monsieur, et bonne chance."