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Read the Signs

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"One small chai tea?" the barista asked, setting the cup on the countertop and making eye contact with Blake. Nodding once, she picked up the cup and moved away from the group of customers congregated near the pick-up area.

Heading towards the exit, she lifted the cup and took a small sniff but didn't attempt to drink it just yet - knowing it was still scalding hot. It smelled fantastic though.

For most people, the spring weather was too warm for tea, but the heat didn't bother her in the slightest. In fact, she enjoyed a nice cup of tea while walking home from another weekend trip to the library. It kept her company, in a weird way - giving her something to sip at while daydreaming on her journey.

"Hey! Uh, excuse me!"

Turning around at the words, Blake found that the voice was targeted towards her, and the young man who'd issued them was jogging across the sidewalk to her.

"Hey," he said again when he reached her, throwing on a charming smile.

"Um, hello," she replied, unsure what purpose he had for calling out to her. "Is there something I can help you with?"

"Oh, yeah! Sorry, while you were waiting in line, I couldn't help noticing - well, you."

"Oh -"

"I just knew I had to talk to you," he added with another charismatic smile. "Not often such a pretty girl walks into my life!"

Well, at least he was direct. No beating around the bush or striking up a conversation on some topic he wasn't actually interested in. Simple, to-the-point, and completely unsolicited.

While he waited for her to respond to the compliment, she happened to notice a big white truck rumble down the street behind him. Blocky, black letters on a white background spelled out 'Just say no!' followed by the image of a cell phone with a red 'x' over it. As soon as the truck disappeared, the crosswalk signal flipped to the 'do not cross' sign and blinked at her repeatedly.

"Thank you," she replied with a polite smile, unsure of what she should say beyond that.

"I hope you don't mind me asking," he carried on, not seeming to notice or care about her lack of words. "But would you get dinner with me tonight?"

Again, simple, to-the-point, and unsolicited.

He seemed like a nice guy, though. Decently attractive, maybe smart, maybe funny, certainly confident, but nothing was really pulling her one way or the -

"No, Mom," a girl on her phone said while brushing past them. "That will never, ever happen. Like never. Don't even think about it."

When Blake's eyes followed the girl away, she noticed a jogger heading towards them. Several feet from reaching them, the man abruptly stopped, turned, and ran the other direction at a faster pace than before.

"Sorry. I'm not looking to date anyone right now," she answered, giving him a smile. For a brief moment he looked disappointed, then he found another grin.

"I'm sure I can change your mind on that!" he boasted with an even more confident smile.

"No, you really won't," she replied. "It was nice talking to you though."

Before he could get out another word, she turned and hastened away from the conversation - leaving him frozen to the sidewalk behind her.

By now, she'd learned to trust her instincts - or, at least, trust the seemingly-random occurrences surrounding these types of situations. She used to ignore the signs because she thought they meant nothing or were mere coincidences. She'd paid the price for that disregard with more than enough dates with narcissists, control-freaks, or borderline psychopaths.

That was then, and this was now. She knew better now. And she used that knowledge to steer clear of obvious 'no's.

Sometimes, she wondered who she was waiting for though. Thus far, the only people she'd met were vehemently vetoed by the universe.

Sipping her no-longer-scalding tea and making her way home, she thought that a better question might be - who was she looking for? What type of person did she hope to find? Instead of letting strangers approach her, maybe she should be searching instead.

That was an interesting thought. What type of person did she want? Someone with a big heart, definitely. A good sense of humor. Intelligent, but not pompously so. And a great smile would be nice.

Would the universe approve of someone like that? Or would she be met with more and more signs that she'd found the wrong person for herself?

Maybe the answer was that she was destined to be alone for her entire life. Considering the amount of time she spent reading, it didn't seem like much of a stretch. Or maybe there just wasn't anyone meant for her. Maybe she was...undateable?

A block from home and finished with her tea, Blake moved to the other side of the sidewalk so she could throw her cup away in one of the garbage cans. A flash of movement caught her attention then, but she had no time to react before someone slammed into her side.

She heard a soft "oof" leave her lips as the force of the collision took her right off her feet. Thankfully, the shrubs hemming in the apartment building on the other side of the sidewalk halted her fall, leaving her mostly upright in a collection of twigs and leaves.

"Oh my god! I'm so sorry!"

Confused and disoriented by the sudden change, Blake turned towards the voice and saw...nothing but the sun shining directly in her eyes. Whoever had spoken hurried over, blocking the sun while reaching out to help her to her feet.

And that person was...probably the most beautiful girl Blake had ever laid eyes upon. Tall with long waves of blonde hair, vivid lilac eyes, and - at the moment - the glow of the sun at her back, the girl looked like an angel.

"I'm really, really sorry," she said while gently helping Blake out of the shrubs. "I wasn't looking and - god, I'm so sorry. Are you ok?"

"I think so," Blake mumbled, averting her eyes from that enchanting gaze when she felt her cheeks heating up. Taking a deep breath, she took stock of her limbs and found everything in working order. "None the worse for wear," she concluded, giving the girl a smile that was tepidly returned.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes," Blake replied without hesitation.

"Ok...I'm really sorry though! And I'll buy you another coffee -"

Glancing around, Blake spotted her runaway cup and walked over to pluck it off the ground.

"That's ok," she said, giving it a little shake to show that it was empty. "I'd already finished it."

Crossing the sidewalk, Blake threw the cup into the garbage can right as a truck advertising a moving company drove by - a moving company with the slogan 'Hell yes!' plastered all over the side.

"I still feel like I should get you a new one," the girl insisted - those pleading eyes doing wonders in sending butterflies through Blake's chest. "I mean, I ran into you pretty hard…"

Spotting the crosswalk signal showing the word 'walk,' Blake chuckled to herself while searching for the disturbance that caused their collision.

"Why were you running, anyway?" she asked, her curiosity immediately growing when the girl looked embarrassed by the answer.

"I was - uh, there was a bee chasing me…"

The answer made Blake laugh while also trying to nod in understanding.

"Ah, that makes much more sense," she replied, but one more giggle slipped out - a giggle that made the girl in front of her smile. "I'm Blake, by the way," she added, extending one hand in greeting.

"Hi Blake," the girl replied, shaking Blake's hand and holding on a second longer than necessary. "I'm Yang. Unless you're secretly mad about the whole 'running into you' thing. In that case, my name's Weiss."

Shaking her head, Blake smiled at the joke.

"I'm not mad. Just...surprised. I wasn't expecting...this."

Blake was speaking about much more than being knocked off her feet by a beautiful blonde running away from a bee. She was speaking about the way her heart was beating so quickly, and the way her palms were sweating and her stomach filled with butterflies.

More than any of that, she was speaking about the lack of negative signs.

Hearing the tune of a harmonica, she turned to the side and watched as a barbershop quartet - standing at the top of the steps to a nearby apartment building - burst into song.

"She's the one - oooohhh, oohhhh -"

Turning away, Blake caught sight of a minister - that's right, a minister - walking past them. Dressed in his church outfit, he made direct eye contact with her, smiled, and nodded before carrying on.

"Uh, sorry to be forward," Yang said, drawing Blake's attention once again. "But...I kinda feel like we were supposed to meet. Is that weird?"

As Blake watched not one, not two, but three moving trucks drive past - their blatant 'Hell yes!' repeated over and over - she laughed and shook her head.

"Believe me, that's not forward at all."

"Ok, good." For a second, Yang looked immensely relieved by the response - as if she really didn't want Blake to think she was crazy for picking up on the surge of new feelings running between them.

"Then, uh, maybe I can still get you another coffee - so we can talk?" she offered, her smile growing when Blake nodded.

"I'd love that."

Yang was clearly thrilled by the response and displayed the emotion openly for anyone to see. The sight filled Blake with a feeling of...all-consuming happiness and excitement.

For the first time ever, she had the universe's blessing.

"Your pick," Yang said, motioning with one hand for Blake to decide where they'd go for their very first date. Heading back the way she'd just come from, Blake smiled at how her fortunes had suddenly taken a turn for the better.

"Do you always run from bees?" she asked, her heart briefly beating faster when Yang laughed.

"Not usually, but it was one of those giant bumblebees! And man, that thing really had it out for me. Chased me basically an entire block."

While Yang saw it as an anomaly of nature, Blake saw it as something more - a force that very literally drove them together. And now she understood, very clearly, why the universe made her wait.

Even though Yang was a stranger, Blake was already feeling things that she'd never experienced with any of the others who'd approached on their own accord. There was something different about Yang...something immediately evident in her posture, voice, or eyes that made it impossible not to fall - not to feel a rush of very strong, very real emotions.

Why settle for mediocrity, when you could wait for magnificence?

Spotting movement up ahead, Blake watched an elated man running down the sidewalk towards them giving high-fives to everyone he passed. As soon as he was close enough, he stopped and raised his hand for Blake - and she gladly raised her own to accept the gesture.

"It's a great day!" he exclaimed before rushing off in search of another person to celebrate with.

"It is," she agreed as they started walking again.

"Know him?" Yang asked.

"Nope. He's just...giving me a sign, I guess."

Turning to the side, Yang smiled - a really, really great smile that made Blake's heart jump in her chest.

"l hope it's a good one."

Feeling another burst of happy emotions, Blake smiled in return.

"Very good."