It was a hot Monday afternoon in late June at the university library and it was six years since Jack had been back to the university. The basement of the old library was nice and cool and smelled exactly as he remembered. As Jack wandered through the building, the old smells and sounds were like an old familiar friend and he opened his mind to the flood of great memories. He had taken classes off and on at the local extension university while he was teaching, but this summer he returned to his alma mater where he hoped to complete his Masters degree. Being back on campus was a real trip of nostalgia. When Jack was an undergraduate, he found an area down in the bowels of the ancient building with a couple of old tables stuck in a back corner. This was where he'd hung out, studied, and done his research and as he wandered to the back of the building, he wondered if the tables were still there.
It was so cool down in the basement and the temperature was so much different from the outside he almost wished he was wearing a sweater. As Jack rounded the end of one of the stacks, he saw the two massive old tables still sitting exactly where they'd been when he'd used them six years ago. However ... there was one thing different today. Sitting at one of the tables was a young lady ... a young lady who was stunningly attractive. Long, honey blond hair; a powder blue V-necked sweater showing excellent cleavage and when she looked up at him, she revealed beautiful blue eyes. Her face was flawless and her perfume teased his nostrils with its scent. In the darken recesses of the library, Jack thought she looked like a vision.
Jack realized he must have stood staring for too long because finally she asked, "Is there something wrong?"
He was positive he blushed as he murmured, "I'm sorry ... I don't wish to be rude ... when I was an undergraduate, I used to hang out down here and study. I just didn't expect to find anybody here. And to find somebody here ... somebody as lovely as you ... well..."
The young lady's cheeks took on a flush of their own and she looked down. When she looked up, he was again struck with her loveliness. "Are you back here for more studies or..." her voice trailed off.
"I teach at Stewart High School over in Bedford Falls. I am here for the summer to finish my Masters. Are you a student here this summer?" After he asked her, he realized what a stupid question he'd asked; why would such a good-looking woman be sitting down here studying in the library on a day like this if she didn't have to?
"I have this quarter and I'm finished with my degrees." She told him.
"What's your major?"
"I have two..." She told him.
Jack interrupted, "Wow ... that's impressive. All I've got is a degree in US History and minor in psych." He hung his head in mock shame.
The young woman smiled for a moment and then replied, "Great ... I've always enjoyed history. Do you like teaching?"
Jack grinned at her, "Well, I am also the head football coach. I hate to admit it, but that's my true love. Teaching history got me in the door. I love history mind you, but getting the youth to see why it's interesting is a real challenge." She laughed at his comment and her laugh sounded like soft music. Jack stepped forward, stuck out his hand, "I'm Jack, Jack Frost." His name put a huge grin on her face. Jack held up his hand in front of his chest and replied sheepishly, "I know ... I know ... what can I say, my parents had a sense of humor. Let me tell you, junior high really sucks when your name's Jack Frost. But now, it isn't so bad. Coach Frost has a nice ring to it,"
She held out her hand, when he looked down he saw well manicured nails, lovely long tapered fingers and a most interesting ring on her middle finger. "Tara, Tara Howard." When he grinned back at her, she quickly continued, "My mother loved the movie 'Gone With the Wind'. I teased her one time she was probably watching the movie when I was conceived and she was a bit mad I'd say such a thing." Again, the musical laugh and Jack laughed with her. He looked down at his watch and noticed he needed to get going if he was to make his next class on time.
"Tara, I hate to end this, but if I don't leave now I'll be late for my next class." Jack was surprised by the look on her face; she seemed sad and looked almost like she was going to cry. He did want to see her again so he asked, "Do you come here often?"
"Yeah ... this is my hiding place too. I can study here without being bothered and..."
Jack interrupted before she finished, "Oh damn, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bother you..."
She quickly held up her hand, "No ... not you." She gave him a quick glimpse of her killer smile, "I've enjoyed our little talk. I like it down here so I'm here off and on."
"Would you like to meet for a cup of coffee after class?" Jack asked hopefully.
She paused so long he started to wonder if she had heard him. Finally, she frowned and replied, "That sounds wonderful, but I already have plans. Sorry."
Jack figured it was true, as her "Sorry." sounded sincere; he said goodbye and headed off to class. Over the next few days, he returned often to the back of the library, but she was never there. Their brief encounter had left an indelible imprint on Jack; he desperately wanted to see her again.
On Monday morning on his way to school, he remembered it was just last Monday when he met Tara at the library. Not a day passed since he'd seen her that he didn't think about her; her beauty seared into his memory. Jack wanted to get to know her better ... to be able to talk to her some more. After his class, he ran down the stairs to the basement and headed back to his old haunt. As he walked between the stacks, he wondered if she would be there today and his heart leaped when he saw her sitting at the big table in exactly the same place she was last time.
"Good afternoon Tara ... I was hoping you'd be here today."
"Hello Jack." A slight pause, and then, "Why were you hoping I'd be here today?
"Well..." Jack felt just like a schoolboy he was so embarrassed and tongue-tied. Finally, he just blurted it out, "I've thought about you every day since last Monday and I've checked down here several times to see if you were here. I just really wanted to see you again."
Her wonderful smile spread across her face, making Jack feel as if he had said the correct thing. "Well ... aren't you sweet. Why don't you sit down?"
Jack sat across from her and their conversation seemed to flow like a gentle stream right from the start. He was surprised to find that as beautiful as she was, there was no guile about her. She was completely down to earth with a delightful sense of humor. As they talked, Jack started to feel as if her good looks were almost a hindrance. Tara was just as attractive and lovely inside as she was to the eye. The time passed quickly and when he glanced at his watch, Jack realized he had missed his next class and his surprise must have shown on his face.
"What's the matter?"
"I got so caught up here, I missed my class."
"Is that bad?"
"Well, to be honest, I would rather be here." This comment brought out the musical laugh again. Jack continued, "Ah ... I have a question ... and I really don't know how to ask it any way except to just ask."
"And your question..."
"Are you like involved, or seeing anybody or engaged or..."
Tara held up her hand to stop his babbling. "No. I am none of the above. Are you ... how did you put it ... involved?"
"No ... I thought I found the person I wanted to marry, but at the last minute I realized she was not the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. One more question ... how come somebody as exquisite as you and as interesting as you hasn't been snapped up yet?"
Again the great laugh, "Just hasn't happened ... don't know what to tell you."
Jack really did have to get going and he did not want this meeting to end. Again, he asked her if they could meet for a cup of coffee and she politely declined. He asked her if there were any other times she was in the library. "I'm here usually on Thursdays. I have a late afternoon class and then come here. I am here after 5 ... why?
"Because next Monday is so far away..." She laughed. "I am sorry, I have to go." He stood and leaned over and picked up her hand and brought it to his lips. "Until Thursday?"
"We'll see..." One last killer smile and Jack left.
Over the years and all during school, Jack dated several women and had many girl friends; he always felt he was comfortable with women. Jack was a handsome man who played sports all through school and still moved with the grace and poise of a natural athlete. Being a coach allowed him to work out at the high school gym and he still possessed a lean, strong body.
Jack hadn't found the woman he wanted to settle down with, but if asked, he would just say he was picky. He felt he held some romantic notion one day he would meet the woman of his dreams. Right now, he had to admit, Tara was coming really close. However, the question was ... how could he get a chance to meet her away from the library?
Thursday seemed to take forever to arrive. All during his last class, he kept looking at the clock on the wall and the class seemed to drag on forever. Finally, the professor released the class and he quickly headed across campus to the library.
.... There is more of this story ...