Chase stepped inside the warm but empty eatery. He figured it was slow because the weather had closed schools and most businesses for the day. He walked up to the counter where a woman was going over the inventory. The counter held pastries, cakes and pies and an assortment of cookies. Looking at it made his stomach grumble since he skipped breakfast.
“Good morning, I’m Chase Lombardi from Lombardi Seasonal Services. I’m supposed to meet Jas Smith this morning.
The woman didn’t look up from her position. “Give me one second to finish this and I’ll be right with you.”
Chase waited tapping his booted toe on the laminated floor. It would have taken her a second to call for Jas. But he was somewhat patient. “No problem.”
She looked up and spread a friendly smile across her face. “I’m sorry, to keep you waiting. You’re here about the snow removal contract, right?”
“Yup. So, is Mr. Smith here or should I come back? I know the weather is bad out today.”
“I’m Jas Smith,” she said sliding the doors on the counter shut.
Chase arched his brow. “You’re Jas?”
“Yes. I bet you were expecting a man. My name is Jasmine. My roommate has a tendency to shorten my name.”
He wasn’t expecting to meet a woman that’s for damn sure. “Uh, yeah; I was waiting for a man to appear wearing a dingy white t-shirt and stained apron…never mind.” He put his briefcase on a propped up knee and pulled out the contracts. “I have the contracts for you to sign. Once we’re done, I’ll start plowing your walks and parking lot.”
“Great. I’ll have your check ready when you’re done. I admit, I tried shoveling the walkway myself but as you can see it doesn’t look as if I touched it this morning.”
“That’s why I’m here,” he said flipping through the stack of contracts to get to hers. “I’ll get the job done for you the right way.”
She raised her brow. “I wasn’t aware there was a certain way to shovel snow but you came highly recommended by the owner of the business across the street.”
He looked up and smiled. “That’s great to hear. Word of mouth is the best advertisement I can get.”
“You do a good job and I’ll gladly spread your name around.”
“Thanks. However, everyone around here knows how good I am. That’s why I was recommended to you. I tend to satisfy my customers.”
She folded her arms across her chest. “You said that with confidence—as if you are the only company in town that does what you do.”
Chase smoothed a hand down his goatee. “That would be big-headed for me to say, but I am the best. Now if you sign on the dotted line, I can get started on those sidewalks. The snow is piling up as we speak.”
She removed an ink pen from behind her ear and held it up. “Point me where to sign; I don’t want to hold up the greatest snow removal guy in the city of Cleveland.”
“You’re funny. Sign here and initial here,” he said not taking his eyes off her. She was young. He placed her around his age if not younger. That was the trend lately. Younger men and women starting businesses while they had the energy to work the long hours it would take to compete in competitive markets. Jasmine was definitely in a competitive market. There were a number of restaurants and coffee houses in the area that served different variations on food, but not enough people moving into the area to be regular customers yet.
Jasmine finished signing the contracts and stacked them neatly before handing them to him. “There you go; all signed. I trust I will get a copy in the mail or should I make a copy now and save you one or two steps?”
Since she was standing behind a tall counter, he couldn’t all of her, so he focused on what he could see. Jasmine was attractive. She had the darkest brown and sexiest eyes he’d ever seen on a woman. She wore little makeup and her skin was flawless. Her soft brown hair was tied loosely in a ponytail and tucked under at the back of her head. Large gold hoop earrings graced her tiny ears and her full lips were painted a glossy rugged red. Everything blended well with her caramel skin tone.
He shook his head as he stuck the papers in his briefcase, she was not afraid to say what was on her mind…he liked that. “I’ll make sure you get a copy.”
“Thank you,” she said.
Customers entered the restaurant and she walked away to take care of them. Chase pulled on his gloves and walked outside. The snow was coming down harder and the strong winds created high snow drifts along the walls of the restaurant. He decided to plow the driveway first and save the sidewalks for last. The less he was exposed to the cold temperatures the better.