Disclaimer: Based on characters and concepts owned by others. Written for fun, not for profit.
Rating: PG (more or less)
Characters / Pairing: Ensemble / Megamind/Roxanne
Spoilers: For the film, with a few references made to Button of Doom
Author's Notes: Thanks so much to raywing - my very own heroic-beta-of-pure-awesome - for being so thorough and honest with her feedback. The story is certainly better because of her help. (Any errors that still exist are likely where I foolishly chose to ignore her excellent advice.)
Hope you enjoy!
Rain on the Just
A Megamind Fanfiction
"…For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." - Matthew 5:45
Chapter 1 - Facing the Music
There were some things Metro Man just didn't understand.
Like money, for instance.
Oh, he was well familiar with money as a general necessity. He understood that it greased the wheels of commerce and justice, and that the free market depended on the profitable exchange of goods for currency. It wasn't as though he couldn't grasp the overall concept of capitalism; he had grown up wealthy, after all. No, where he fell short was in the finer details - because, quite frankly, Metro Man had never paid for anything.
He had done so as Wayne Scott, of course. But even then it had been different. His manner of payment had always been what most would probably consider overly generous. As a young man growing up, and the son of the richest couple in town, when he wanted something, he didn't just pay for it, he "traded cash" for it. Because when money is no object, actual costs quickly become insignificant details. Wayne had developed a habit of simply handing over whatever cash was in his possession to cover any expenses, no matter what it was for. It always kept things very easy for him.
Magazine? Well, I have a ten here.
Box of donuts? This roll of twenties should cover it.
Oh no, no, citizen friend! Please, keep the change!
With all that carefree spending, it was no wonder people loved him, long before he ever officially became Metro Man. But it was only further evidence of the fact that he had no real concept of the value of money.
After he fully assumed the identity of Metro Man and became Metro City's full-time defender, money had still been no object. In fact, it morphed into a complete non-issue. After all, who in their right mind would have even considered charging the city's hero for anything? Although he still had the wealth and privilege to buy whatever he wanted, Metro Man often found everything from custom-made artwork to top-shelf liquor to groceries to packs of gum shoved at him eagerly along with the customary lines of "On the house!" or "Your money's no good here, sir!"
It was probably just as well, since his uniform had no pockets. So he'd stopped carrying rolls of twenties years ago.
Now, however, things were different. Metro Man was "dead". And people didn't think twice about charging Music Man for movie tickets or Chinese take-out or a cup of coffee. It had been a shock to the system at first - even a little exciting. He'd never been so exhilaratingly ordinary before, and learning to navigate through the foreign world of Normal was a bit of a thrill. Music Man found poverty to be strangely liberating in the beginning, and even went so far as to dub himself a kind of "starving artist".
The novelty didn't last, however, and the Starving-Artist-Formerly-Known-as-Metro-Man finally realized how tough it was to be well and truly broke.
And isolated. He hadn't expected that. In a way, it was far worse.
There were no more adoring smiles aimed in his direction, no insistent "On the house, sir," each time he would pat his empty pockets - a gleaming grin his only method of payment. (There weren't many smiles at all, in fact. Not anymore.) For the first time in his life, he actually found himself going without things he needed or wanted due to lack of funds.
One particularly gruff citizen had even accused him of being a thief one morning when Music Man casually took a newspaper from a sidewalk kiosk downtown. As the man began yelling, Music Man had instinctively looked around, ready to confront whomever might be thieving from this honest entrepreneur. Then the man exited his kiosk and jabbed an accusing finger directly into his broad chest. Music Man blinked, confused. There had to have been some mistake. He was Justice. Justice didn't thieve.
It took him a moment to grasp why the man was so angry. As Metro Man he'd never had trouble procuring the daily news; most vendors were more than happy to simply give it to him. But apparently, to average citizens like Music Man, periodicals were not free. He managed a quick, if dramatic, apology ("SO SORRY, FRIEND AND FELLOW AVERAGE CITIZEN!"), and left without his paper. He shoved his hands into the otherwise empty pockets of his trench and wondered how much it actually cost to read the news these days.
It was especially frustrating because, technically, he still had access to money - a great deal of it, in fact. Retrieving it, however, posed its own problems. He still had significant funds from his late parents' estate, and the Scott Foundation continued to generate a steady income through the family business. But when one is officially "dead," the funds in one's bank account are probably not supposed to start depleting afterward. It was slowly becoming clear to Music Man that, for as glad as he was to be retired from his superhero life, his spontaneous decision to do so - and the way he'd decided to do it - were probably more than a little hasty.
Why had he never thought to employ a loyal, elderly butler who could manage those things for him?
He found himself thinking about his old nemesis. A lot. Even though Megamind's evil schemes rarely worked, he was nothing if not a meticulous planner. Music Man was sure the little guy would have noticed a few potential holes in the death-faking idea, but it was too late to dwell on that now.
Music Man resigned himself to the fact that, until his musical stylings began weaving the magic he was hoping for, there were luxuries he was just going to have to live without - at least for a while. However, that wasn't the most difficult part of his self-imposed exile.
The worst part was the change in how people looked at him - or, rather, the fact that most people didn't bother to look at him at all anymore. Throughout his entire life, both as Wayne Scott and as Metro Man, he had been surrounded by eager, adoring smiles. Before his "death" at the abandoned observatory, he had basked in a veritable sea of them. Now, it was as though he went through every minute of every day at super-speed - walking among people who didn't even know he was there.
He'd never felt so invisible before. It was alien. He didn't like it. And yet he couldn't do anything about it.
Of course, there were two individuals out there in Metro City who probably would not have ignored him - the only two who knew Metro Man wasn't actually dead. But after he had refused to help them with the Titan problem several months back, he wasn't sure they'd really care to see him again. Ever.
He really had burned all his bridges, hadn't he?
It was rare that he ventured away from his Schoolhouse of Solitude anymore. Some days, however - when the silence just became too thick, or writing lyrics became too frustrating (What rhymes with valiantry, anyway?) - he just needed to get outside for a while. Today he had had a particularly good stroke of luck - he had found a ten-dollar bill on the sidewalk.
While Metro Man would have combed the city tirelessly until he found the rightful owner (cross-referencing serial numbers and analyzing fingerprints), Music Man really, really, really wanted a decent cup of coffee. So, a few minutes later, he found himself standing in line at the Café Beanery, fingertips massaging one side of his hirsute jaw as he tried to decide if he wanted a simple cup of black, or if he should splurge most of his good fortune on a large triple-shot espresso with soy milk and a splash of Irish Cream.
In the end, he decided to indulge.
When the young barista placed his order on the counter, Music Man dug into the pocket of his trenchcoat for the money he had found earlier. Immeasurably pleased that, for once, he could trade the correct currency for his purchase, he flashed the girl a gleaming smile as he proffered the bill.
"Hey," he said, happily cocking one eyebrow. "Thanks so much."
She looked him in the eye and slid the cup toward him on the counter. She returned his smile sweetly. "No payment needed, sir," she replied.
Music Man's stomach did a strange little flutter. While it was wonderful to hear that familiar response again after so long, his brain was suddenly going a mile a minute trying to figure out the reason she had said it.
Had he said something - done something - to give himself away? Had she simply recognized him? Did the other patrons also know? His eyes shifted anxiously as he tried to maintain the integrity of his smile. "R-really?"
His attention was so distracted he almost missed the girl's next words. "The lady over there already took care of it," she said. "Have a nice day."
Music Man backed away from the counter and a few other customers stepped forward to take his place. He turned around and his eyes darted through the sea of people filling the busy coffee shop. A moment later, the crowd parted like a curtain and Music Man caught sight of a young woman sitting cross-legged at one of the tables near the wall.
She was looking unmistakably in his direction. One corner of her mouth curled up into a grin. She raised an open hand and fluttered the fingertips at him.
Music Man's face blossomed into a more genuine smile. His anxiety from a moment ago melted away and even some of the emotional heaviness he had been carrying around lately seemed to lessen a bit. He advanced through the crowd, taking care not to jostle anyone else or spill his hot beverage. As he reached the table where the woman was sitting, the only greeting he was able to manage was, "Hey."
As usual, the woman had no trouble finding her words. "You should be careful with that drink," she said. Her voice was pleasant, but with an unmistakable bite of dry wit. "Their espresso machine is made of copper, you know."
Music Man rolled his eyes self-depreciatingly, then focused again on the woman. "Nice to see you, Roxie," he said.
Roxanne Ritchi's afternoon breaks felt so blissfully long nowadays. Of course, she had the same standard lunch hour given to all KMCP employees, but for years it hadn't exactly been a leisurely time for her. If she wanted lunch, or even just a cup of coffee, she only ever seemed to be able to spare a few minutes for it. The inevitable, imminent kidnappings were constantly looming over her downtime. They didn't occur every day, of course, but they could occur any day. And that was the problem.
Now that Megamind was defending Metro City instead of terrorizing it, Roxanne's afternoon breaks were free and clear. Since she was no longer inhaling her lunch at break-neck speed, most days she had more time than she knew what to do with. Passing the hour at leisure in her favorite café had become a new routine. She liked it much better than the old one.
When she caught a glimpse of the familiar, muscle-bound frame of Metro City's former hero at the counter, she wasn't sure how to react at first. Part of her still wanted to be angry with him for his outright refusal to help all those months ago when the city had needed him so badly. At the same time, she couldn't exactly say she was disappointed with the way things had turned out in the end. Sure, being threatened with horrific bodily injury and death wouldn't have been her choice, but the situation did ultimately propel Megamind into becoming the hero that he truly was. That was a very good thing.
And now that Roxanne actually was dating the Defender of Metro City (a man who was decidedly - if surprisingly - more her type), she couldn't help but feel part of that was thanks, at least a little, to Metro Man's decision.
Thinking of her relationship with Megamind made her smile and, on impulse, she caught the attention of a nearby waitress and offered to pay for whatever the gentleman in the trenchcoat was ordering.
Bygones, and all that.
Besides, it wasn't as though anyone else realized the guy was still alive - at least as far as she knew. He probably wouldn't mind seeing a familiar face.
When he approached her table, she had expected a thank-you, maybe a few minutes of small-talk to catch up. She hadn't expected him to settle himself into the seat across from her, looking for all the world like he never wanted to move again. As a reporter, Roxanne was very good at reading people, but she wouldn't have required even the most basic skills in her repertoire for this one; the man across from her was an open book.
He was lonely.
Which was why, as her lunch hour wound down, she placed a quick call to her producer, Alan, told him a little white lie about having a lead on a story, and stayed at the Café Beanery well past break-time.
"You use words for a living, Roxie," Music Man said. He absentmindedly swirled the little wooden stirrer in his second cup of espresso. "What rhymes with valiantry?"
Roxanne chuckled. "I'm not sure that's even a real word," she said. "But maybe gallantry?"
"Ooh!" he exclaimed. "I actually like that one better!" He dug around in his pocket, pulled out a pencil that looked as though it had been terrorized numerous times by his super-overbite, and scratched the word next to the coffee ring on his napkin.
"Are they all about heroism?" Roxanne asked. She picked at the remains of the muffin she had ordered after she'd decided to stay at the café.
Music Man shrugged. "Gotta write what you know, right?" he replied, shoving the pencil and the napkin into his pocket.
"So the new calling is going well, then?" she said. "Will we be hearing any more hit songs soon?" Inwardly, she cringed at the idea, but tried to seem as interested as possible.
Music Man made a noncommittal noise and bobbed his head back and forth. "I don't know," he said. "Don't get me wrong, the music is in my soul, Roxie. I'm just having a hard time knowing when to stop perfecting it. I must have re-vamped See Right Through Lead a dozen times by now."
Roxanne smiled and sipped her coffee. "Writing is a process," she said. "I guess you'll know when it's right. Have you updated it since you sent that demo to Megamind?"
Music Man spluttered into his drink. He blinked at her for a moment, dabbing a few droplets of espresso from his beard, then said, "I didn't send him a copy."
Roxanne's eyes widened a bit and she looked at him over the rim of her cup. After a second her face broke into an amused grin that she couldn't have kept back if she'd tried. "Well, he got a demo from somewhere," she informed him. "He listens to it once in a while when he's working." Of course, she stopped short of telling him just how much that irritated Minion.
Music Man shook his head, looking bemused. "Diabolical," he muttered. A corner of his mouth turned up into a small grin.
He cleared his throat and stared down into the swirling whirlpool he'd created in his drink. "So . . . ," he said. "How are things with the little guy?" He looked up. "And with you?"
Roxanne's smile softened. She had known the conversation would segue in that direction eventually. "Good," she said. "And good. They've reopened the museum, you know."
"I saw," he replied with a nod. "I went to the dedication."
"Did you?" Roxanne was actually a little surprised to hear that. She resisted asking him if he'd felt tempted to crash it. Tit-for-tat, after all.
"I think it's great he's got his own now," he said.
Roxanne smiled. "You haven't been inside it, then," she observed.
"No, not yet," he answered. "Why?"
"Well, because half of it is still your old museum," she told him. It felt wrong to let the former superhero think he had been completely replaced, even if he had been the one to choose his own exit.
"Really?" Music Man's eyebrows raised beneath the brim of his fedora. He looked both surprised and secretly pleased.
"Of course," Roxanne assured him. "It's a memorial now. Metro City wasn't about to completely forget its Metro Man. Sure, they replaced the statue that was destroyed, but most of the exhibits inside were still okay. They just converted one of the wings. Believe it or not," she added conspiratorially, "Megamind was actually nervous about the prospect of his own section in the museum when they first suggested the idea."
Music Man gave a sharp snort of amusement.
"I know!" she said. "The poster-boy for megalomania! You'd think he'd be all over that! But he's been trying so hard to do good, I actually think he was worried that there wouldn't be enough to exhibit. I mean, you had years of heroism under your belt when they built the museum for you. So in the end, his wing is actually dedicated more to his work in science and technology - he seemed to like that idea."
"A science museum," Music Man echoed. "That sounds really great."
"With one floor focusing on classic rock-and-roll, for some reason," Roxanne added.
Music Man chuckled deep in his chest. "I'm glad the good fight is agreeing with him."
Roxanne shrugged and nodded as she took another sip of her coffee. "Like he was made for it," she said. "I guess that shouldn't surprise me - in hindsight, he was never very good at being evil."
Music Man smiled down into his drink. He looked lost in thought.
Roxanne leaned toward him and ducked her head into his line of sight. He glanced up at her.
"You know," she said softly, "it's funny how you're probably the one person who might understand this better than anybody." She inched forward on her chair and looked him full in the face. "Can I be perfectly frank? There's something I need to be able to say out loud . . . to someone who might actually get it."
Music Man nodded. "Sure thing, Roxie."
"Megamind really is a hero," she said. "Sure, the city accepts him for the most part, people cheer for him now, and they call him their defender, but I don't think any of them really realize . . .
"He's not super strong or super fast. And he isn't unnecessarily reckless," she continued. "Just determined . . . like that's his superpower, or something. I mean, I always knew he was stubborn, but until these last few months I never knew he was that brave." Roxanne shrugged and waved a hand through the air absently. "You probably think it's weird for me to be telling you this, but . . . I guess I just thought someone besides me should know the extent of it. He deserves that much. He's the bravest person I've ever met."
Music Man had glanced away from her as she spoke and was staring introspectively at a corner of the table, nodding.
"I guess I just figured another hero would be able to relate," Roxanne added.
"You're right, I do get it. The hero part, at least," Music Man replied with a smile. "Bravery, though . . ." He made another little non-committal bob of his head. "Let's just say I always knew that about him. I even envied it sometimes."
Roxanne snorted. Then she saw he was serious and sobered a bit. "What are you talking about?" she asked. "Don't forget who you're dealing with here! I had a front-row seat every time you faced down killer robot dinosaurs, spider monsters, ray guns, explosives, crazy boxing kittens, that stupid unicorn thing . . ." She ticked the list off with her fingers.
"And walked away without a scratch every time," he said with a small chuckle and a dismissive swipe of his hand. He was still smiling, but Roxanne could swear she detected a hint of bitterness in his manner.
"Nothing he threw at me was ever really going to hurt me," Music Man continued. "Even when he 'killed' me, he really didn't. There's a difference between being brave and being indestructible, Roxie. It's kind of hard to display any real courage when there's no real danger - no real risk. You can't be brave if you don't really have anything to lose."
He stiffened for a moment, then dug into his pocket. Pulling out the pencil and the napkin again, he scribbled something down. "That would make a great ballad," he muttered absently.
Roxanne had been staring at him throughout his speech. Then she scowled. A moment later she shot her foot forward beneath the table and connected sharply with his shin.
"Ow," he said in surprise. He rubbed the spot where she had kicked and looked up with a sad-puppy expression. Roxanne knew the reaction was more of a reflex. Of course she hadn't hurt him. He just looked confused.
She sighed, exasperated. "Are you super-types always so mopey?" she said. "Is this just something I've never noticed before?"
He blinked at her. Then his face spread into a more genuine smile. He chuckled. "Hey!" he retorted. "Super-types don't mope. We brood."
"Oh my god, yes you do mope!" she drawled out. "I just sat here watching you mope! And so does Megamind! There's nothing 'broody' about it. When he's down, he mopes like a - a Big Moping Thing! Like if it takes too long to figure out a problem, or if he can't be everywhere at once, or if he picks a film for movie night that I've already seen . . . I've never met anyone who has a harder time just letting things go! But . . . ," she shrugged as she came down from her tirade. Her mouth curled into an affectionate smile. "I guess that's all part of the whole he-never-gives-up package. So I can't complain too much."
She glanced over to see Music Man was still smiling at her. She blushed under the scrutiny of his eyes and looked away. He scratched his fingers through the salt-and-pepper whiskers of his beard and leaned forward. "So, you two are-"
"Dating?" Roxanne finished for him, grinning down at the table. She swept her bangs across her forehead and tucked a few loose strands behind her ear. "Yes. A few months now."
"Yes," she answered, finally looking up at him again.
Music Man continued to smile. "Wow," he mused.
Roxanne shrugged. "It's not like it's always easy," she said. "Like I said, he's a handful. But, yeah. For the most part, it's been pretty great."
Music Man interlaced his fingers and rested his chin on the dome they created as he leaned on the table. "Roxie's got a new hero, huh?" He actually sounded wistful. It made Roxanne smile sadly.
Contrary to popular belief, she and Metro Man had never been a couple. But there was something about the tone of his voice right now that made her feel the need to reassure his ego for some reason. Pointing out the truth - that they were never really each other's type - struck her as a tad cruel and unnecessary at this juncture, so she settled on a more diplomatic and assuaging reply.
"Metro Man will always be my hero," she told him, reaching forward to squeeze his arm. She batted her lashes dramatically as she spoke, but he seemed to be genuinely pleased by the gesture.
Music Man grinned. "You know it, Roxie," he said. "And if Megamind doesn't treat you right . . ." He cracked the knuckles of one fist in the grip of his other hand.
Roxanne laughed. "Okay," she said. "I don't think that will be much of an issue, though, to be honest. Megamind is so careful when it comes to our relationship. I think he's still a little afraid of making mistakes. He'd probably put himself out of commission if he ever thought he'd done something really wrong. But it's like I said: brave. He doesn't let the fact that he's unsure get in the way of us being together.
"I don't know if I really deserve all that," she added. "Sometimes he's so respectful it makes me nuts - even down to the way he says my name - but I wouldn't want him to be any other way."
"What do you mean?" Music Man asked with a grin. "Does he call you Your Highness, or something?
Roxanne laughed again. "Let me put it this way," she said. "Every other person I've ever known in my entire life has called me by a nickname at one point or another. Even when they knew I hated it. I've put up with Rox . . . Roxie . . . Foxy . . . Foxy-Roxie . . . Rox-a-Roni . . . Bubblehead . . ."
Music Man opened his mouth.
He closed it again with an audible pop and made a motion across his lips like a zipper.
"But with Megamind, it's always 'Roxanne'. Always," she said. "And the way he says it - with a reverence I'm not sure I've earned - but still . . ." She shrugged. "I kind of love it."
Music Man nodded quietly. "Reverence," he said after a moment. "That's a good word too."
For a few silent seconds Roxanne fidgeted with her now-empty coffee cup. She tapped it absently on the surface of the table, then set it aside pointedly. "You know," she said, "it might not be a bad idea for you to get in touch with him."
"Oh no," Music Man quickly answered. He sat straighter in his seat, back away from her. "No, I'm not sure that's a good idea."
"Why not?" Roxanne's voice rose inquisitively.
"He's got his own thing now," he said. "I wouldn't want him to think I was trying to, you know, muscle in."
Roxanne scowled. What was it with the men in her life and their over-developed pride? "Music Man-"
"Wayne," he interrupted. "Please."
Roxanne's features instantly softened; her momentary hostility calmed. "Wayne," she said more gently. After a beat she reached forward and covered his hand with hers on the table. "He listens to that song while he's working, he wears that silly old cape of yours around the lair. Something tells me he wouldn't be completely resistant to a little superhero advice from a seasoned veteran. He may even welcome the banter."
"That may be," Wayne replied. "But there's a history . . . I'm not sure if he told you."
"You mean besides the years you both spent fighting for all the city to see?" Roxanne nodded. "I've gotten bits and pieces," she said. "I'm not saying you have to do it today, Wayne. I wouldn't expect you two to suddenly morph into a buddy-cop movie. Just promise me you'll think about it. Even if one of you is retired, you're both technically on the same team now."
Wayne flashed her a lopsided grin. It was infinitely more appealing than that gleaming, toothy one he always used to wear. "I'll think about it," he assured her.
"Good." Roxanne returned his smile and took a moment to study his face. "And, for the record, I think you're wrong about something."
She crossed her arms, leaned forward against the table, and lowered her voice. "Quick question first: Have you told anyone else that you're not really dead?"
Wayne shifted in his seat. "I've been dedicating a lot of time to my music," he said.
"So you haven't," she guessed.
"It kinda defeats the purpose of faking your own death if you go around telling people about it," he answered matter-of-factly.
"So you're telling me, even after all these months, only two people know that Metro Man is still alive?" she whispered. "One of whom is a 'nosy reporter' who could blow the lid off everything if she really wanted to," she added, smirking at him.
Wayne's reaction was immediate. His eyes snapped to her face; his expression hardened. Roxanne noted the unmistakable flash of shock and . . . something else.
Just behind his eyes - a hint of fear.
There it is.
Bullets bounced right off him. He could face down an entire robot army without blinking. Even a death ray couldn't faze the guy. But the idea of his adoring public suddenly thinking less of him - that was clearly another story.
Her smirk faded and her gaze softened. She placed a reassuring hand back on top of his. "Don't worry," she assured him softly. "But I think you might be looking at this 'bravery' thing from the wrong perspective. Not everyone shows courage the same way, you know. Maybe, when you're ready, you'll find yours."
Roxanne picked up her cell phone from the table and glanced at the time. "Oh, I really have to get back!" she said. She pushed her chair out and tossed her empty cup into the nearby trash.
As she stood up she glanced down at her companion again and felt an unconscious smile spread across her face. Part of her still hadn't completely forgiven him for what had happened. But after spending time with him this afternoon, she had caught a glimpse of some hidden layers he had never shown before when he was Metro Man. Parts of him were just as unsure of himself as Megamind was. And, like Megamind, he was going to have to work through those issues.
But also like Megamind, there was no reason he had to do it completely on his own. Who else did the guy have, after all?
"You know," she said as she lifted her purse strap onto her shoulder. "If you ever want to take a break from the lyric-writing, maybe we could do this again sometime. I understand you're not ready to have a face-to-face with Megamind yet, but you've got a friend right here." She gestured to herself.
Wayne smiled. "I'd like that," he said. "And thanks again for the coffee, Roxie." He paused, then after a moment he amended, "Roxanne."
Something inside Roxanne Ritchi melted a little. In all the time she had known him, she never felt particularly close to the man who had always been her stalwart rescuer. Possibly because nearly every conversation they ever had felt more like a performance – a play for a crowd. A grand-scale, overblown, superhero melodrama. It certainly never felt as though he had ever actually listened to her.
". . . Don't panic, Roxie! . . . Yeah, I'm not panicking . . ."
But with that one word, Roxanne suddenly felt as though he had finally heard something she had said, and actually taken it to heart. Maybe there was hope for the big guy yet.
In an impulsive moment, Roxanne stepped around the table toward him, leaned down and placed a quick kiss on the side of his cheek. Even though, according to popular theory, they had allegedly been in a relationship for years, she had never kissed him before - not even as a thank-you. He had never really earned it before.
Roxanne smiled at him one more time, gave him a little wave and turned to leave the café. After a few steps she stopped and turned again. "Don't forget to think about what I said," she reminded him. "I know someone who would probably benefit from talking to you too."
"Okay, okay," he said with a wave of his hand. "I said I'd think it over."
Roxanne turned for the door again. Even though most of the crowd was gone by now, she still managed to bump into someone in the process. She must have been more distracted than she realized.
She reached out to grab what had tumbled from the young man's hands as they collided. Roxanne breathed a sigh of relief when she saw it was only a cell phone and not a hot cup of coffee. That would have been the last thing she needed! Returning to the office with a blouse full of cappuccino wouldn't have done much to support her claim that she had spent the afternoon following a lead for a story. She didn't exactly relish the idea of getting busted for being on a two-hour break instead.
"Oops! I'm so sorry!" she apologized. She gave the phone the once-over to make sure she hadn't damaged it, then handed it back to the man. "Here you go."
The young man simply accepted it with a small grateful grumble and walked away.
Roxanne turned back to Wayne only to see he had been laughing at the whole scene. She shrugged, offered him one final smile, then stepped out of the café into the bright afternoon sun.
To be continued . . .