Against better judgement

Kara-Lynne lives in New York City as a writer for People Magazine. Fresh out of college, writing for People has never been the job of her dreams. She's hardly given thought-provoking assignments and when Kara's given the task to publish a story on popular, pretty-boy and charming 'love expert' Ryan Barre, she expects it to be a simple assignment. However, she realises very quickly that things are far from simple with Ryan.


3. Knock on the head

It was polite of him to offer to pay but Kara declined, fully capable of managing her own finances. 

Suits and briefcases walked around, the waft of freshly baked pretzels and soggy sandwiches providing a distraction from the otherwise deafening roar of city life. With a fruity drink in hand, Kara took a seat and sipped in silence. She would probably need a trip to the bathroom soon.

Now, Ryan could see several dogs of various sizes panting past. Yet, a conversation that began with "what breed do you think that dog is?" didn't seem very appropriate.

"Kara," he started, shifting slightly to engage in eye contact. "Have I done something to offend you?"

Straight to the point, no beating around the bush.

She cleared her throat, licking her lips. "No," she replied. 

He looked down at his drink and smiled to himself. "Well I can't help thinking that I've somehow played a part in your distaste for me. Do you not like the accent?"

"What?" she asked incredulously, searching her brain for a word similar to racism that instead applied to countries. Country-ism? Kara grimaced at the thought. She blinked rapidly, realising the man that sat next to her had asked a question.

"Oh, the accent's fine." Kara looked into his inquisitive eyes and sighed. "You're right. I'm being rude." She rested her drink on her lap and tapped her fingers on the lid. "It's the 'love expert' thing," she emphasised with her fingers, I don't really..."

Ryan chuckled and nodded. "A skeptic?"

Kara shrugged. "What makes you an expert? Because you've slept with many women?"

His eyes widened slightly, not because he was shocked at the content of the question but at how direct she was. She hadn't meant it in a rude way, she was genuinely curious. He found it refreshing.

"I can't say that I have. I just enjoy studying human behaviour. Or people-watching," he joked. She laughed delicately. "From my experiences, I notice patterns that many people seem to find attractive or otherwise. And I use what I know with the hopes of helping women to elevate their confidence when it comes to dating. What they do with their knowledge is their choice. If it happens, it happens."

She nodded intently. It seemed like she'd accepted the explanation. Kara's eyes shifted up just in time to see a blur then hear Ryan curse while clutching the back of his head, his coffee making a mess on his pants. 

They both turned around and saw a woman and a child running towards them.

"Ohmygod I am so sorry," she apologised, eyeing Ryan's pants and covering her mouth with her hand. "My little brother has terrible aim. Your pants are ruined, let me pay for your dry cleaning," she offered, reaching into her purse.

Ryan gently placed his hand on hers to stop her. "No worries, it's fine." He crouched down on the ground to pick up the baseball and held it out towards the boy. "And what's your name?"

The boy timidly took the ball, a nervous look on his face. "Tom."

"You have a strong hand, Tom. A little more practice and you'll be shooting homeruns in no time," Ryan grinned, playfully pushing down Tom's cap. The boy smiled, adjusting his cap. 

Kara's lips were turned up into a smooth curve. "It was really nice to meet you two," she took a step back. "We'll see you around," she waved, Ryan following behind her. 

"So you know baseball?"

He rubbed the back of his head. "Not a clue." He chuckled, Kara laughing with him.

She took a glance at the back of his head. "You should get some ice." Her eyes flicked down to his pants. "And new pants."  Kara pursed her lips. "We could drop by my place if you don't want to spend any more money. I should have some male-friendly pants to spare. Or there are a few clothing stores nearby if you want to add to your closet," she suggested.

Ryan threw his cup into the bin as they walked past and turned round the corner. "An invitation to your abode on the first time we meet? Are you this friendly to all the men you meet?" He flashed her a toothy grin. 

"When they're a clumsy lad in need of new pants, I can be a great mate," she replied, faking an English accent which really wasn't terrible. "Whoa."

His hazel eyes met her round, blue ones before they both burst out laughing, realising the innuendo.

Sometimes it takes a good knock on the head for two people to hit it off.


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