When Jordan caught sight of the woman—nay, vision—in the bay window of the Cherry Street Coffee House, he thought immediately of the perfume bottle he (or more accurately, his nose) had posed with two months earlier. He never actually smelled the perfume named Ruby Ruby Ruby, since the bottle was empty. However, the bottle itself, cut in sharply smooth facets, evoked an ideal that seemed impossible to fulfill. Dreamy and luxurious, yet snappy and modern, it seemed to say, “Wear the perfume within me and you will stupefy all within breathing range.” All who glimpsed the bottle gasped in awe.

And now, nestled on the pillows in the window, was the counterpart to that perfume bottle. A silver-haired goddess, she gazed with benevolent compassion at the passers-by, her lips moving slightly as if silently blessing each one in turn.

Jordan had fallen for women before. Yet this was different. Time slowed. Pedestrians along First Avenue faded into the background. Car engines hummed Wild Thing, by the Troggs. Champagne-bubble-like feelings tickled his intestines—not the lower ones, which would have signified gas, rather the upper ones, which indicated emotion of a kind he’d never previously encountered.

Jordan pushed open the establishment’s door and sauntered up to the woman, who shifted her attention to him. “Gum?” she asked, holding out a pack of 5 Gum.

“Don’t mind if I do.” Jordan slipped a stick smoothly out of the package, smelled its length like a fine cigar, and settled himself on the plush pillow next to her. They chewed firmly, yet silently, and watched the world go by.

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