Heidi’s Mark (Pt. 6)

An INTERACTIVE story experience where YOUR comments affect future chapters.
(Romance / Chick-Lit)

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I was so excited to see Alyssa walk in at work today because that meant that my shift was nearly over. I love being able to show friends around Nashville when they visit, and I was also looking forward to getting to know Jeff more. I learned the night before that he’s been bouncing around a few major cities doing photography. He’s currently living in Austin but said he travels a lot for shoots. He’s quite different from Mark in that way. Mark went to college in Chicago (where his family moved after Boston a few years after we moved), interned at the real estate company he currently works at, and this move is the first time he’s lived away from family. Jeff is a nomadic spirit and Mark is a beacon of stability. I could definitely relate to Jeff more as a fellow creative and I, too, have quite a travel bug (but hardly ever the funds to fulfill it). I still had a strong draw to Mark, though. He seemed so strong and secure.

As I was heading out the door I texted Jeff letting him know I was heading to Earl’s BBQ. Since the boutique was rather slow this morning we were able to text each other to determine a good lunch spot. He wanted something local so I knew Earl’s would be a great option, especially since it’s won best BBQ in Nashville for a few years in a row now.

I pulled up, seeing Jeff waiting outside with a bag over his shoulder – I could only assume it was his camera. Thankfully we had missed the lunch rush, so there was no line and I was able to park right across the street. As I headed over to the entrance Jeff greeted me with that sly smile and arms wide for a huge hug. His hand landed on my partially bare shoulder (I was wearing a tank top from the boutique I work at). His hand gently rubbed on the small section of my scar that was peaking out.

I jerked back and, to avoid any conversation about my scar, quickly asked, “So, how was your morning?”

“Good, I was just editing some photos from last night,” he grabbed the door to the restaurant and opened it for me, and as I walked past, he looked me right in the eye and said smoothly, “You know, you photograph really well.”

I felt my cheeks turn red, so I gave a curt thank you as I ducked into the door, welcoming the darkness of the indoors to help hide my blush. He followed me up to the counter and we ordered and he insisted on paying, “It’s on me. It’s the least I can do for you giving me your afternoon as my tour guide.”

••••••••••••••••

After we ate we both got in my car. We headed to the Parthenon in Centennial Park first. I knew he would love the photographic opportunity. I loved the big open space and skipped through the grass ahead of him towards the monstrous Grecian replica. I could hear him chuckling, so I looked back at him and realized he had been taking pictures of me.

“Stop that,” I said.

“Why? Like I said, you photograph really well,” he said, once again in that silky tone that if I didn’t know better, would imply he was hitting on me.

I pushed the thought out of my head that he was hitting on me. The idea of having two eligible bachelors in my life was hard enough to comprehend as it was – it’s rare I even have one vying for my attention, so two was inconceivable. Then, having to ever decide between two, especially brothers, seemed even more impossible. They were both very attractive gentlemen, but otherwise so different.

We finished exploring the park and then headed downtown. I took him into a few of my favorite honky-tonks that were already filled with country music and tourists despite it not even being dark yet. After I could tell he had his fill of loud bars I took him to the pedestrian bridge. We had barely gotten to the top and he already pulled out his camera and pointed it straight at me. I turned to dodge his lens but then realized that I had put my scarred shoulder right in front of him. I wish I had brought a sweater, not that the weather called for it, but just to cover it up.

As I reached up with my opposite hand to cover it, I turned to him begging, “Please, stop. Why don’t you take pictures of these views, aren’t they incredible?”

“Okay, I’ll stop,” he obliges, “but can I show you something?”

Hesitantly I respond, “Sure…”

Before I could finish my response he interrupts, “Okay! Let’s head back to Mark’s.”

••••••••••••••••

It felt weird going to Mark’s apartment without him there, but Jeff was his brother, so I guess it was okay. Jeff was overtaken with this burst of energy ever since we started heading back, but not very talkative. I could feel his restlessness but had no idea what he was thinking. He unlocked the door and pushed it open and then practically runs to the counter where his laptop was sitting. He grabs it then grabs me and pulls me to the couch.

Sitting there he opens it and the screen is filled with thumbnail photos of me! They were from last night. He clicks on one so it fills the whole screen then he looks at me. I could feel him staring at me, anticipating my reaction, but I didn’t know what kind of reaction he wanted.

“Is this why you were so excited to rush back?”

“Yeah, kind of. I wanted you to see this, to see you.”

“Okay,” I say, unsure about what he meant by that.

“You know you are absolutely beautiful don’t you?” he asks with an air of wonder in his voice.

I look at him stunned and a little confused. Before I can respond to his kind comment he kisses me…

 

HELP ME SHAPE THE STORY FURTHER:

Answer the following questions or leave any other input or suggestions in the comments. Check back in 2 weeks to see if I’ve incorporated any of your ideas in the next installment!

Does Heidi kiss back? Or push him away? Or something in between?
How does she justify her response to the kiss?
What about Mark?

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