“‘Sir,’ she said with a quiet smile, ‘you’re blushing madly, and I can’t imagine why.’ John Stone did the following in this order: Looked at the ground, smiled, looked at her, shrugged, giggled, darted his glance away, and attempted to say the word ‘thanks’ but only mouthed it, letting out an airy breath drunken with a promise of laughter.”

“Mr. Stone, you see, having seen many streets in the city by way of meandering (less by account of wanderlust and more for homelessness’ sake) had rarely had another soul hold their place on the sidewalk near enough him for some kind of mutual connection to be made, let alone one such chance meeting of himself and a fourtysomething with a smile like a hanging red candle, and just as warm. Naturally the man had little idea of what to exactly do with the newfound opportunity.”
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