Manuela gratefully drained the last of her chai latte from her go-to sermon writing spot, ChocoLate coffee. After two hours of reading and writing, she was ready for a break. She crossed the busy street to her favorite local bookstore, Eagle Eye. She loved to browse cookbooks, and the quirky coffee mugs, socks, and stationery. As she perused the greeting cards, she caught a glimpse of a good-looking man wearing a tee shirt printed with the sheet music for the Imperial March. 

“That’s awesome,” she thought as she nonchalantly made her way to the Cookbook aisle; two aisles up from Philosophy and Theology, where Imperial March was browsing. Her noisy pink and purple Havaianas flip flops from Brazil announced her presence and he looked up right as she ducked into the row of cookbooks, stealthily and full of grace.

“Oh no,think he saw me.”

She held the book all the way up to her face. Maybe if she could stay hidden, she wouldn’t have to talk to him and make a giant fool of herself.” Too late. He had made his way to the cooking aisle. She peeked over the top edge of the book, then quickly hid back behind it.

“Is that book a portal to Narnia or something?” He asked, a hint of amusment in his tone.

She knew she had to do something beyond standing there, pouring sweat from awkwardness. “No,” she said, lowering the book. “Anyway, if I were going to use a portal to somewhere it wouldn’t be to Narnia.”

“Dang, that’s funny!” She thought. “What do I do? What do I say? He’s just looking at me!”

“Oh?” he asked, intrigued.

“Well yeah. I mean Narnia is cool and all, but I think hanging out in the Multiverse would be more fun. Or, you know, maybe a tour of Naboo. I always wanted a farm. I’d have cows and chickens of course, but also, I like to think by then our environment could become friendly to Ewoks and Banthas, too.”

What are you DOING? He’s laughing at you. You know that, right? And you know the world won’t be around long enough to sustain Banthas and Ewoks, right? The US alone is singlehandedly, selfishly seeing to that as surely as you are standing here making an idiot of yourself in front of this hot guy.”

She stopped talking, positive her face was now the color of her favorite pink pants she’d chosen to wear today. He was grinning from ear to ear. “Would you like to go get some coffee?”

“Well I just had a chai latte so…

“You don’t deserve happiness.”

“Oh, he said,” Ok.

“… but I like dinner,” she stammered.

He smiled. “Where’s your favorite place to eat around here?”

“Have you ever been to Taco Mac?” It’s downtown. They have really good cheese dip.” “That sounds good,” he said.

They settled up from their purchases and waked out of the bookstore into the parking lot. “You can follow me to my church where I work. We can park there and walk to Taco Mac.” “Ok, great,” he said.

“I’m Manuela, by the way. Manuela Jamison.”

“John-Mark Beckett,” he replied, brown eyes gleaming in the sun.

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