June 2013, I was in Texas working on a new case while Larry was back home in California holding down the fort at the beach. This particular case was going to most likely take several months, so I had rented a car (Silver Dodge Challenger, of course) and an apartment, as it would be less expensive than a hotel, believe it or not. My apartment happened to be at the back of the complex next to the exit gate, but the mailboxes were up near the pool area in the middle part of the complex. Come to find out, Alex’s apartment was right across the street from the mailboxes on the corner of a little cul de sac.
It was a Saturday evening and she was with her kiddo. They had just returned home after attending a baby shower for a friend and had decided to stop by the mailboxes to retrieve their mail. I had pulled up and decided to check my mailbox at the same time. I was the one to notice her first, as the kiddo was real little at the time and was fussy from being tired and hot. I could also tell that Alex was feeling the same and that she was probably just as ready for a nap as the kiddo was.
Let me tell you, her kiddo is absolutely adorable! I closed my mailbox and turned toward Alex just as she was turning around to toss the junk mail in the recycle bin. I startled her and she gasped. Then our eyes met and we couldn’t stop staring at each other. The kiddo fussed on, but it didn’t bother either of us. “Wow, you’re hot,” Alex said and then looked down, embarrassed and added, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t say that. I’m married and you probably have a girlfriend or wife yourself.” Something in her voice gave me the impression that she had faced rejection too many times before. I smiled at her and leaned onto the mailboxes. “Nope. No girlfriend, no wife. Just me,” I said and then proceeded to continue, “Married huh,” with a touch of sadness in my voice, which she must have picked up on. Her face grew solemn. “Yeah, but not exactly happy.” The kiddo continued to fuss on. Alex picked her up and told her sweetly that they would be headed home in a few moments. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have…,” she said now looking at the kiddo and beginning to walk toward her car. I walked with her and opened the back door to the Jeep so she could put the little one in the car seat to head home. I took out one of my business cards and wrote my new apartment number and phone number on it. I handed it to Alex just as she was closing the door and beginning to walk to the driver’s side of the vehicle. “I’m new here and would like to get to know the area. Maybe you could help me out? I could use a friend,” I said. She looked at me and studied my face, wondering if I was messing with her head or something. Then she said, “Sure. I like to help people and making new friends is always nice. I’m Alex. Nice to meet you, um…” Before she could finish, I held out my hand, grasping hers in a friendly handshake and then a quick kiss and told her, “It’s Lawrence, but I usually go by ‘Doc’.” Alex nodded. “Ok, Doc. I’ll give you a call one day this week.” She got into her car and I stood leaning up against the door of my car and watched her drive the whole 100 feet or so, to her downstairs corner apartment. Then I got into my car and drove back to mine.
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