They say love is blind, p.1
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       They Say Love Is Blind, p.1

           Pepper Pace
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They Say Love Is Blind

  They Say Love is Blind



  Copyright © 2012 by Pepper Pace. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

  No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Pepper Pace. For information regarding permission contact;


  I must thank Hugo Morais for his contribution to the editing of this story. Being Azorean, Hugo was able to give me wonderful insight into the lifestyle and language of these beautiful people. It is due to his wonderful insight that I was able to put a breath of realism into this tale.


  I have countless versions of this story, created in the attempt to tweak and perfect the beautiful couple described here. Those of you that are familiar with my work may remember one such version of this story that appeared on

  I am often asked if the story that appeared in print ‘for free’ is the same story that is being sold. The answer to that is absolutely not. While the characters and storyline will remain true to the online/free version, you will find that my stories are completely re-edited when submitted for publishing. In this particular story it has tripled in size, which means that the characters are exploring situations never presented in any other version of this story.

  With that said, I hope you enjoy Tory and Lee’s journey to love.

  -Pepper Pace

  July 2012


  It seemed like every day Tory was late for work. She'd already missed the first bus and was about to miss the late bus. She called the second bus the late bus because no matter what, she was destined to walk in to the office at least one minute late. But at least if she was only one or two minutes late it meant that she might be able to slip in unnoticed.

  She saw the bus rounding the corner and was forced to break into a run. Her neatly pressed hair was going to end up a mass of nappy curls.

  Tory sprinted, hoping not to twist an ankle, trying not to think about how embarrassing she must appear to the other commuters. She wasn't exactly small, but despite her extra weight she moved with a speed born of desperation and managed to reach the bus before it pulled off.

  Breathlessly she searched for change and then almost fell when the driver began to take off before she was settled. She was forced to sit down in the handicap, elderly section so that she could dig through her oversized purse for her wallet. Her purse doubled as a lunch bag, overnight bag, and sometimes even a trash bag. It held everything from a doo-rag, old bills, a snack cake to a bottle of hairspray.

  "Do you need change?" A man's quiet voice asked.

  "No." She said absently, trying to catch her breath. "It's just all over my bag-" Finally she came up with the coins. She stood up and reached for the pole, but the bus took that particular opportunity to lurch forward and Tory lost her balance before she could grab hold. She found herself falling into the lap of the man who had offered the change.

  "Oh!" His hand came up reflexively to her ample hips. She leaped up. "I am so sorry!" This was a day from hell. She heard the snickers of several commuters. She was really putting on a show today. She felt embarrassed beads of sweat sprout under her arms.

  "It's okay," the man replied facing forward stiffly. He did reach down to retrieve her sweater. He handed it up to her absently still without looking at her. She flushed realizing that she must have embarrassed him too, and bearing all of her weight might have even injured him.

  "Thank you. Sorry again," she murmured then paid her fare and hurried to the rear of the bus.

  If she could, she would have sank into her seat and turned into plastic. No wonder most people wore running shoes until they actually got into the office. It wasn't that she was trying to be cute or anything, she literally had no time to lace up running shoes.

  Tory peeked up to the front of the bus at the man she'd become unintentionally familiar with. He was a good looking white man with short hair. It curled despite the fact that it was only about an inch in length. Brown hair matched his olive skin. Italian, maybe? Well he was fine as hell. Not that many white guys appeared this early in the bus ride. Usually the whites didn't appear until the bus moved closer to the center of town where there were more white-collar jobs and the shopping was more upscale. Her neighborhood was definitely more Urban, though not a bad part of town. No, Tory had a nice apartment on a nice, predominantly black street.

  Her face felt hot. Why did she have to fall into a white man's lap?! He continued to stare forward watching the scenery go by, though he had relaxed now that she wasn't assaulting his lap. She dug into her purse again, this time for a mirror. She examined her makeup and gasped.

  "My God…” Her hair had dropped and her makeup was a shiny runny mess. She dabbed at her face with a tissue and then ended up pinning her long hair into a French twist. A while later when she looked up again, the handsome man was gone.


  That night after Tory returned home from work, she swore to herself that she was going to be out of the apartment at a decent hour from here on out. She dug into the freezer for a Lean Cuisine meal to pop into the microwave. She was starving! The diet she was on wasn't going very well. At work today, everything had been fine through her first break, through lunch, until last break when she felt compelled to stop at Starbucks for a simple cup of coffee and ended up with a Venti Malt Frappucino and slice of chocolate chip cheesecake...

  Tory sighed and slipped off her clothes as her meal heated. She unhooked her bra allowing her heavy breast to flop out. She scratched in pleasure that the torture device was off. She hated her breast and her belly, her hips, her butt...because all of those things were big. After work she had gone to check out a new gym which was on her bus route. She figured that she could give the gym an hour of her time in the evenings. But when she looked at the sweating bodies fear overwhelmed her and she left before a sales person could pressure her into purchasing a membership that she'd never use.

  She slipped on a night shirt and furry slippers and then settled down in front of the T.V. set with her meal and a diet coke. Maybe she'd start Atkins again. She'd lost on Atkins...

  Tory woke with a start, unsure of where she was. And with a jolt she realized that she'd fallen asleep in front of the television.

  "Oh NO!" She looked at the clock. It was the next morning and she was going to miss her bus! She leaped to her feet sprinting to the bathroom where she jumped into the shower and washed quickly. Her hair was ruined so she just pulled it back into a bun. Not completely dry, she pulled on underwear, a simple loose dress and black mules. Then she ran out of the apartment and down the street to catch the late bus.

  She alternated between cursing, praying and begging. Tory had a tardiness problem...which meant she could get away with a minute or two late but more than that would be documented. She rounded the corner just as the bus was approaching the stop. She had to be the laughing stock of the day for the other commuters: fat girl running after the bus every day. She breathlessly boarded, hearing someone giggle. She frowned at the obnoxious woman sitting in the elderly handicapped area. She looked like she had just left her job as a pole dancer. She was smirking at Tory who concentrated on making sure to grip the pole and plant her feet so that when the driver took off he wouldn't topple her.

  She had a sneaking suspicion that the bus driver enjoyed watching her lose her b
alance. This time instead of trying to find change, she just slipped in two dollar bills, and then sank into the handicap, elderly seat until she could safely make her way to the back of the bus.

  The man from yesterday was there sitting right next to her.

  "Good morning." She spoke politely, still trying to catch her breath.

  "Good morning." He responded. His husky deep voice sent chills down her spine. Something about it was very sexy.

  "Sorry again about yesterday." He didn't reply but his lips curled into a slight smile of amusement. The bus came to a stop and Tory quickly gripped her belongings and hurried to her normal seat at the rear of the bus. When she was settled in her seat she didn't bother to check the mirror. She already knew how she'd look. She peeked at the man, not wanting to get caught staring, but he was hard not to look at.

  Again, he watched the scenery as it passed with no interest in the other commuters. She tried to imagine what a man like that did for a living. She did it with everyone that rode the bus as a way to pass the time. Mr. Cutie didn't wear a suit, or uniform. He wasn't a construction worker; he was dressed too nice for that, but maybe an electrician, or computer tech? Her eyes scanned his clothing. He wore Dockers and a black long sleeved pull-over Henley. That didn't really tell her much, other than that he had a nice, lean body, and that he might change into something else once he got to his destination.

  Oh well, she enjoyed watching and the fantasies that she could come up with wouldn't be bad either. But as usual, fantasies were all that she ever had with the good looking guys...or any guys for that matter. Tory hadn't been on a date in years and she barely knew what it was to be kissed. She wasn't a virgin because she was insecure about her looks, or because no one wanted to have sex with her. Tory was a virgin because she wouldn't allow the fact that someone had taken her innocence forcibly to dictate when she'd 'actually' lose her virginity. And until she met the 'right' person a born again virgin is what she'd remain.

  It wasn't a horrible existence. The internet afforded her with a sexual outlet. But she was pretty sure that if she ever needed repair work done on her computer she'd just trash it and buy a new one.

  She'd just have to be satisfied with watching from afar; the story of her life. She turned back to the front of the bus in time to see his curly head disappearing out the door. She strained to see him out of one of the windows but she was on the wrong side of the bus and the driver took off entirely too fast. Oh well, it was kinda pathetic anyway, that just watching a good looking guy from afar would be the high point of her day.

  While at work she overheard two of her co-workers rave about a Portuguese restaurant not too far off of her bus route. She had never eaten Portuguese and couldn't imagine what kind of food would be served there, but listening to the two women talking really intrigued her. Her love of new food is what had packed on the pounds in the first place. But eating out was her only form of entertainment. Tory knew that if she wasn't always on a diet she'd be a true foodie. Her perfect life would be a fat, happy foodie with a boyfriend who loved trying new things as much as she did.

  So that evening after work, Tory decided to treat herself to dinner out. The thought of eating another Lean Cuisine meal was nauseating and if she ate another piece of microwave chicken she was going to grow feathers!

  Since The Jewel of the Azores Restaurant was not too far from her home, Tory stayed on the bus and bypassed her usual stop until she reached the section of town where all of the trendy restaurants sprouted. It was a melting pot where people from all over the world converged. She loved staring at the people each time she had to travel through this section of town and thought that it would be awesome to one day explore it. Now she would get the chance.

  After she determined the correct stop, Tory had no choice but to walk the 8 blocks from the bus stop to the restaurant, seldom did she look forward to walking but when street performers and strange shops lined the streets and live music could be heard how could she not enjoy it? Luckily she was wearing flats today. Perhaps she'd burn a couple of calories before she replaced them with Portuguese food...whatever that might be.

  Eventually she hobbled into the restaurant. Her shins felt like someone had kicked them and her chest was on fire.

  The hostess stepped back when she came in panting. " many?" She asked with a concerned look on her face.

  "O-one." Tory managed while leaning against a heavy wooden post trying to catch her breath.

  "Follow me." Tory noted the couples and families crowding the small establishment. It was obviously popular. The smells sent Tory's mouth watering. She was shown a small table off to a corner. She had long ago given up her discomfort of eating alone. At the age of 27 Tory was used to doing everything alone. It wasn't that she didn't have friends. But they had boyfriends or families.

  She opened the menu and read a brief introduction about the Azores; she didn't even realize there was such a place. The owners were smart to show pictures of the various dishes because the names were strange. Written in Portuguese, the titles were long and impossible for her to bend her tongue around. There was everything on the menu from seafood and blood sausage to tripe and stew.

  She grinned. This is what she liked; a new experience. A pretty waitress came to her table. She looked like she enjoyed food as much as Tory did and so Tory asked her to recommend something.

  "We have a fishermen's stew which has whitefish, white beans within a tomato stock. We have a Portuguese chicken which is mildly spicy, has rice, cheese and stewed in a tomato stock-"

  Tory watched the young woman intently as she rattled off the popular items. "But what do YOU like?"

  The waitress paused and allowed her eyes to linger on Tory. She smiled in a more relaxed manner. "My favorite dish is definitely sopa de couves."

  Tory was nodding her head. She had no idea what that was. "I'll have that please."

  The waitress gave her one nod. "And to drink?"

  Tory passed her menu to the waitress. "I'll let you decide."

  The woman retreated with the menu and Tory took in her surroundings in more detail, admiring the mural on the wall of an Island with palm trees and people looking suntanned and happy. Soft music played something that sounded like a strange jazz and Spanish fusion. The room was painted in vibrant tones and colorful pieces of art dotted the walls. It was trendy yet comfortable. There was even a bar that looked like a tiki hut-

  Tory froze, heartbeat lurching in a jolt of surprise. Her eyes scanned the familiar profile, the short hair with the promise of curls, the tanned skin and the light brown eyes. It was the cutie from the bus! He was enjoying a meal at the bar and he was alone, too. Tory felt a warm flush of excitement. Imagine that...

  As she sat staring at him from across the room, a woman approached him. Ahh, so he was waiting for his woman. He'd started eating without her...but she didn't look like she ate anyways. Tory wasn't surprised to see that his woman had a body that should dance in rap videos and a face that would rival Halle Berry's. So he liked black women? Well who would care about race when your woman looked like that!

  The woman took the stool next to him and began talking. He began shaking his head and said a few words before turning back to his dinner in a dismissive gesture. The woman's face fell in disbelief. Tory didn't need to be near enough to hear the exchange. It was clear that the she had been shot down! The woman continued to look at him in disbelief as he continued eating his dinner, ignoring her. Finally she jumped up and stalked away, leaving behind a trail of curses.

  Yikes...Tory would never act like that if she were shot down...not that it would ever happen since she never put herself out there like that. She couldn't stop smiling. It felt good knowing that while Tory didn't have a chance with the cutie, neither did miss Halle Barrie!

  Her order came and sopa de couves turned out to be stew that was filled with potato, collard greens, beef and red beans. There was a slight bite to it that she loved. Partnered with crusty bread and fresh squeezed le
monade and Tory was in culinary heaven.

  The waitress returned to freshen her drink. "How is everything?"

  "You were right. This is really good."

  "I'll bring you the next dish." Next? But the waitress whisked away in a flourish of colorful cloth, body thick but sensual.

  She finished her soup and then a plate of clams was set before her. Mmmm...smothered in a garlic butter sauce. Slices of bread dipped into the sauce. Tory looked up at the waitress in appreciation.

  "Lapas.” And her voice had a ta da, quality to it. “I hope you like clams."

  "I love clams." The waitress smiled.

  "I will bring your desert." Tory hadn't ordered desert in a year. But she would eat it, and then maybe curl up into a little ball of guilt later that night. Tory picked up the first clam and dug out the tender flesh. Perfectly cooked. As she ate, periodically she would peek up at the man from the bus. He was currently sipping coffee and seemed satisfied to sit quietly, showing no interest in the game on the big screen television or any of the other diners at the bar.

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