It was the middle of the day and the sun was beating down through the trees in the park where Kathryn Howard was sitting. She was reading on one of the stone benches, an escape that she’d created for herself during the busy work day. She leaned up against the strategically placed tree behind the bench and flipped a page in her book. She always came out here during lunch on the nice days, because the park was right outside the school where she worked as a teacher. It was her “hour of Zen” as she liked to call it. Today she was engrossed in one of her favorite Agatha Christie books. There was a light breeze, and she had to repeatedly tuck strands of her long brown hair behind her ears as she read. And as Jeremiah Callaghan watched her from across the park, he’d never seen such a beautiful sight.
It wasn’t often that he had the time to get away to meet her for lunch and he always made it a surprise. It was better not to get Kate’s hopes up because he always wanted to make her happy, not to disappoint her. Today he’d brought sandwiches from her favorite deli and a large blanket for them to lie out on for the limited time they had together. She was so distracted by her book that Jeremiah was sure that he’d be able to sneak right up behind her. He circled around behind the stone bench that she was sitting on and set down their lunch, spreading out the blanket in the sun. In typical Kate fashion, she was completely oblivious to what was going on around her while she was buried in her book. When everything was set up, Jeremiah plopped down on the bench next to her and snatched the book from her hands.
“Oh!” Kate exclaimed, jumping in alarm. She turned to her book-thief and a smile broke out across her face. “Jeremiah! You startled me!”
Her smile was infectious, and Jeremiah couldn’t help but grin back at her. “Hello, Katie-girl. Care to join me for lunch?” He motioned to the blanket spread out just beyond the tree as he spoke.
“Do you have to ask?” she responded, rolling her eyes at him and leaning forward and kissing him on the cheek as she stood up. “What did you bring me?”
Jeremiah sprawled out on the blanket, leaning back on his arms and motioning for her to settle between his legs and against his chest. He took up practically all of the room since he was well over six feet tall and broad-shouldered. Somehow they fit together perfectly. “Your favorite,” he answered, sliding arm around her and dropping the bag of sandwiches in her lap, “roasted chicken and all of those veggies you know I hate. I think you get them just so I won’t eat your leftover sandwiches.” He made a face at the thought.
Kate laughed softly, pulling out her sandwich and handing him his typical roast beef and cheddar. “I confess. You’ve figured me out.”
Jeremiah dug into his sandwich with the appetite of a starving man whose food might be taken away at any moment, while Kate took small dainty bites of hers and wiped her mouth with a napkin after each bite. After he was done inhaling his sandwich, he wrapped Kate up in his arms and breathed in the scent of her hair. “That…was an amazing sandwich,” he stated with certainty.
“Did you…even taste that sandwich?” Kate asked, turning her head to look at him with incredulity. “I think it took you less than three minutes to eat it!”
“Don’t question my sandwich eating skills, woman. At least I don’t take an eternity to eat every bite.”
She rolled her eyes at him and took another bite of her sandwich, making sure to take an extra-long time to finish it just to spite him. “At least I know what food tastes like.”
“Hey, I know what food tastes like!”
“Do you even remember what kind of sandwich you had? It’s been a few seconds.”
“Maybe you should kiss me and then remind me of what I had.”
Her sandwich lay in her lap, practically forgotten as they kissed softly for several seconds. Jeremiah lifted a hand and brushed her hair back behind her ear once again, a soft chuckle escaping him as the strands simply refused to stay tucked there. “It’s good that I love you,” he began, hugging her tightly to himself once more, “because otherwise I wouldn’t put up with this kind of sandwich-eating abuse.”
Kate giggled at him. “Just to remind you, you ate a roast beef and cheddar sandwich.”
“I’ll never win with you, will I?”
“Oh, darling, you already won with me when you asked me to marry you.”
“I remember I had a wonderful sandwich that day. Roast beef and cheddar.”