A blond woman came out of the women’s room and did a little twirl like she was lost and trying to find her way. He laughed and kept walking. She abruptly turned around and slammed into his chest. His coffee flew out of his hand and drenched them both with scalding liquid. He pulled the fabric away from his skin to keep it from burning him.
“Are you okay, ma’am? Are you burned?”
“I’m fine.” Her gaze remained fixed on the floor. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean… um…”
“May I help you find something, ma’am?”
He noticed her ears turning red. “Human Resources. I’m here for an interview.”
“You’re in luck. That’s where I’m headed. Follow me.” He glanced down at her coffee-stained blouse. “Unless you want to change first?”
“I wish I could, but I didn’t bring any clothes other than a t-shirt and jeans for the plane ride home.”
He thought a clean t-shirt would be preferable to the stained blouse but kept his opinion to himself. Thankfully, the coffee stains were barely visible on his camouflage uniform. She fell into step beside him, and he showed her to the HR offices.
Spotting Mr. Wallace, Dan gave the woman one last cursory glance and a smile before making his way across the room to greet the HR Rep. “Good afternoon, Mr. Wallace.”
“I didn’t expect you to show up in your Army fatigues, Staff Sergeant.” Jeff Wallace made eye contact.
“There was no time to change. It was the usual Army ‘hurry up and wait’ routine. We sat around Fort Bliss for hours waiting for our flight home.”
He held out his hand, and Dan firmly shook it. “You haven’t been home?”
“No time, sir.”
“Thanks for coming in. It would’ve been a nightmare to reschedule this interview. This chef flew in from Pennsylvania and plans to leave on a flight back tonight.”
The words struck him. Hadn’t the woman who plowed into him mentioned something about a flight home? Please, no. Don’t let it be her.
“Have a seat in the conference room. I’ll see if she’s here.”
Less than a minute later, Mr. Wallace entered the room with the cute blond woman in the stained blouse at his side.