Not His TypeBy: Shanna Hatfield
“There’s one for you, Jake ol’ boy,” his coworker Dave Roberts commented, looking out the window of their office into the beautiful early spring afternoon.
“One what Davey?” Jake Chandler asked, not bothering to look up from his computer, where he sat studying an irrigation map.
“What do you think, you knucklehead?” Dave asked, tipping his head toward the window. “A girl, of course.”
Jake glanced up from his work and looked out the window to see a tall girl leaning against the cool brick of the county library building across the street. She stood in the shadows, drawn in on herself, wearing outdated glasses, a baggy beige sweater and long skirt, with her hair pulled into a severe bun at the back of her head. She looked exactly like a stereotypical librarian and appeared to be immersed in reading a book, unaware she was the object of speculation from the county extension office’s soil and water department across the street.
“She looks just like your type,” Dave said with a smirk, leaning back in his desk chair with his fingers laced behind his red head.
“Right,” Jake said, thinking of the date he’d soon be meeting – a beautiful, vivacious blond who oozed confidence, along with a few other things. She was definitely his type. Too bad he couldn’t remember her name right at the moment. Vicki, Micki, Ricki. It would come to him before he picked her up.
Jake knew the girls he dated were shallow, often fickle and not necessarily the type someone would take home to meet their mother – especially his mother. As long as the girls were attractive, fun and unattached, Jake didn’t require much else.
Making it clear up front that his sole interest was in having a good time, Jake felt it was only fair for the girls to know he planned to stay free and unfettered. No serious relationships. No commitments. None of those unnecessary things that sucked the excitement right out of life. Except for a few girls who thought they could change his mind and failed, his dating game plan worked out well. He enjoyed himself, the girls had a good time and no one had any hurt feelings or failed expectations.
Jake thought of his cousin Clay, eighteen years his senior. With no siblings, Jake often looked to Clay as a role model, mentor and older brother. When Jake was just a little guy, Clay married the most beautiful, wonderful, perfect girl in the world, at least in Jake’s opinion. He had loved Callan immediately and she treated him as she might have a little brother or son.
When Jake finally fell for a girl, he knew he wouldn’t settle for a love any less passionate, with any less depth or devotion than what was shared between Clay and Callan. Even after all these years, it was blatantly obvious that they were more in love with each other than ever. Jake was smart enough to realize a love like that doesn’t come along every day. Until he found someone who completely captivated his heart, mind, body and soul he planned to just keep right on having fun.
And fun was not to be found in timid librarians afraid of their own shadow.
Jake looked out the window again, running a hand through his thick sable hair. Mousy. Timid and mousy were the words he’d use to describe the girl at the library. Her ugly, baggy clothing could be hiding some grotesque deformity. It was hard to tell from across the street, not that he really cared. There was no way in this world she would ever be his type. Turning to his coworker and friend, he flashed a white-toothed grin.
“You better run over there, Davey, and ask her out. She seems much more like your type than mine,” Jake said as he turned off his computer, stuffed papers in his briefcase and put on his black Stetson.
Dave gave a hearty laugh as he gathered up his own paper work and prepared to leave for the day. “Nah, man, she’s all yours.”
Jake strolled out of the office and paused briefly before walking across the street. The county library, extension office and education service district office all shared an employee parking lot located behind the library. Jake enjoyed his work as a county soil and water specialist, a job he held for the past four years.
After graduating from college, he did an internship at a biology lab in Portland, thinking he’d never move back to the small town where he grew up. Six months later, he’d had enough of the bright lights and big city to last him a lifetime and decided even if you took the boy off the farm, you couldn’t ever completely take the farm out of the boy.
His dad heard the county extension office was hiring and Jake immediately applied. So at 25, he and his friend Dave were the two youngest employees at the office. They learned something new every day, but still managed to enjoy themselves more than they probably should. And the receptionist Millie, who had been there for 40 years, kept them all in line.
Walking briskly down the sidewalk, whistling a tune and watching the traffic go by, Jake completely forgot about the girl at the library until he bumped into her and nearly knocked her off her feet.
“I’m so sorry, miss,” he said, grabbing her elbow to keep her from falling. “I didn’t see you there.”
“Oh,” she gasped, pushing her glasses back up her nose. A very cute freckled nose, Jake noticed, standing this close to her. He looked into her eyes and nearly lost himself in their violet depths. He’d never seen eyes that color before. Or that seemed to look beyond the surface right into his very heart.