The arena cleared out gradually, leaving only the woman still waiting. As she watched the Zamboni go around the rink, she noticed that the driver (who wore a padded black leather jacket) sat tall in the seat, almost as if he were on a horse. The man turned his head to look over at her each time he passed by. The intensity of his gaze sent a shiver through her, adding to the chill of the rink.
This wasn’t the first time they’d been the only two people still there.
A few more circuits and the big machine was driven into the alcove, with the snow being pushed out through the doors. Even through his jacket, she could see the strength in the man’s arms and shoulders as he finished off the edges of the ice and closed the gates. He took his time passing behind the boards, turning off lights along his route. When he came around to the end of the rink, she was impressed by his long legs and the graceful way that he moved.
As he walked toward her, he pulled off his cap and flipped the hair out of his eyes. They were so blue, with enviably long lashes. His dark hair framed a face with strong features and dark stubble over the lower half. The man stopped, lowering his head until his eyes met hers, and her breath caught in her throat.
“I’ve seen you here before,” he said, his eyes seeming to smoulder. “Aren’t you cold, standing by the rink for so long?”
As she nodded, unable to speak, he took off his jacket and draped it around her shoulders. He had a deep musical voice, speaking with a pronounced British accent.
The woman blurted out, “How did you learn to drive a Zamboni? They can’t have too many ice rinks in England!” Immediately she blushed, feeling silly.
He chuckled softly with a slight smirk and replied in amusement, “Well, I had to do something while I waited for the right parts to come along in America!”
“You’re an actor!”
He gave a slow smile, brushing a stray strand of hair from her face. “You don’t know who I am? So much the better! I’m actually here researching a part. I like to experience what it’s like to do the job. Now, it’s too bad, but the car is outside waiting to pick me up.”
He paused and then said thoughtfully, “You know what… I’ll be back again tomorrow. Why don’t you come by around the same time — we can go somewhere warm when I’m done and get to know each other.”
With that, he left the rink with a wave of his long fingers, leaving her alone with her thoughts and his jacket. It had all happened so fast. She shook her head and looked around, almost as if waking from a dream.
What was she thinking, taking a jacket and the promise of more from a stranger?