A few people were coming and going, either from the pub or cutting through for a shortcut to the street and the nightlife the rest of the Cow Hollow and Marina area offered. But the sound of street traffic was muted here, partially thanks to the fountain’s water cascading down to the wide, circular copper dome that had long ago become tarnished green and black. A stone bench provided a quick respite for those so inclined to stop and enjoy the view and the musical sound of the trickling water.
Pru stopped, staring at the coins shining brightly from the tiles at the bottom of the fountain. What was it the woman from earlier had said? Never too late to wish for love . . .
On a sudden whim, she went through her purse, looking for her laundry money. Pulling out a dime, she stared into the water. A wish made here out of true desperation, with an equally true heart, will bring a first, true love in unexpected ways.
Well, she had the desperation. Did she have the true heart? She put a hand to it because it did hurt, but that might’ve been the spicy chicken wings.
Not that it mattered because she wasn’t going to wish for herself. She was going to wish for true love for someone else, for a guy who didn’t know her, not really, and yet she owed him far more than he’d ever know.
She closed her eyes, sending her wish to . . . well, whoever collected them. The fountain fairy?
The Karma Fairy?
The Tooth Fairy?
Please, she thought, please bring Finn true love because he deserves so much more happy than he’s been dealt. And then she tossed in the dime.
“I hope you find him.”
Pru gasped and whirled around to face . . . Old Guy.
“What’s his name?” he asked.
“Oh,” she said on a low laugh. “I didn’t wish for me.”
“Shame,” he said. “Though it doesn’t really work, you know that, right? It’s just a propaganda thing the businesses here in the Pacific Pier building use to draw in foot traffic.”
“I know,” Pru said, and crossed her fingers. Please let him be wrong . . .
“I tried it once,” he told her. “I wished for my first love to return to me. But Red’s still dead as a doornail.”
“Oh,” Pru breathed. “I’m so sorry.”
He shrugged. “She gave me twelve great years. Shared my food, my bed, and my heart for all of them. Slept with me every night and guarded my six like no other.” He smiled. “She’d bring me game she’d hunted herself when we were hungry. She followed me everywhere. Hell, she didn’t even mind when I’d bring another woman home.”
Pru blinked. “That’s . . . sweet?”
“Yeah. She was the best dog ever.”
She reached out to smack him and he flashed a grin. “Don’t be ashamed of wishing for love for yourself, sweetness,” he said. “Everyone deserves that. Whoever he is, I hope he’s worthy.”
“No, really, it’s not—”
“Or she,” he said, lifting his hands. “No judging here. We all stick together, you know what I’m saying? Take Tim, the barista at the coffee shop. When he decided to become Tina a few years back, no one blinked an eye. Well, okay, I did at first,” he admitted. “But that’s only because she’s hot as hell now. I mean, who knew?”
Pru nodded. Tina had made her coffee just about every morning for three weeks now, and on top of making the best muffins in all of San Francisco, she was indeed hot as hell. “I’m not wishing for me though. I’m wishing for someone else. Someone who deserves it more than me.”
“Well, then,” he said, and patted down his pockets, coming up with a quarter, which he tossed in after her dime. “Never hurts to double down a bet.”
Two days later Finn was at his desk pounding the keys on his laptop, trying to find the source of the mess Sean had made of their books while simultaneously fantasizing about one sexy, adorable “fun whisperer,” and how much he’d like her to fun whisper him. He was a most excellent multitasker.
He liked that sassy smile of hers. He liked her easygoing ’tude. And he really liked her mile-long legs . . .
He was in the middle of picturing them wrapped around him when he found the problem.
Sean had done something to the payroll that had caused everyone to get fifty percent more than they had coming to them. Finn rubbed his tired eyes and pushed back from his desk. “Done,” he said. “Found the screwup. You somehow managed to set payroll to time and a half.”