"Thanks, Katie." I raised my cup of caffeinated glory in salute to my barista who always got my order right when I visited this corner of New York hell. I may have grown up in this city, but I preferred the slower pace of either the Expendables home base or the summer house in Hilton Head. Still, with the ongoing work to dig out and repair the Compound from the severe damage it had sustained during the battle, it necessitated meeting somewhere and here worked. I had access to the family apartment and ready transport to the temporary HQ Hill had set up.
Traffic had been a snarled mess, as usual, so I'd elected to hoof it the few blocks to the building bolstered up by my morning dose of hot latte consciousness. I pulled up the collar of my coat and braced for the chilly air on the far side of the door. March continued to come in like a lion even though we were almost through the month and snow had been in the forecast for the end of the day. I stepped outside, tablet propped in the crook of my left arm, cup in my right, and Ares relaying some of the preliminary discussions taking place prior to the meeting to the comms behind my ear.
I made it two blocks, easily avoiding others on the crowded sidewalk. Until some oversized mountain of male stepped right in front of me and stopped dead. I almost made it around him, my right shoulder smacking into the solidity of the man. I grunted in lieu of a swear as I attempted to keep from losing both my coffee and tablet, though they could be replaced if needed.
Impressive actually, given I had a tendency to bowl others over these days.
The lunk showed a surprising amount of agility as he caught not only me but my coffee without spilling a single drop of the precious liquid. I kept hold of the tablet and turned on the offending wall of human with every intention of giving him a piece of my mind. Not a single other person had come closer than brushing the edges of my coat and this one had failed utterly at judging the flow of traffic and had now officially caused a blockage, others on the sidewalk glaring as they moved about us.
I lifted my head to see some of the thickest legs ever encased in a pair of dark-washed jeans that fit perfectly. This led to slim hips edged by a black leather jacket hanging from the broadest pair of shoulders I'd seen in some time, and I hung out with body-building military types on the regular. That got me to the well-trimmed beard and mustache that failed to hide the sharp-edged cheekbones and strong jaw.
Then I got to the eyes. Bright baby blue even shadowed by the brim of the baseball cap he wore.
Eyes I fucking knew.