We arrived at what looked like a hole in the wall restaurant on the east side of town. Judging by the full parking lot, the food must have been good. I’d already made up my mind that I wasn’t ordering a damned thing until I saw the sanitation grade. Richard opened the door and held it as I crossed the threshold. The polite thing would’ve been to say thank you, but when the scent of his cologne filled my nostrils, my ability to speak left me. Why did he have to look and smell good? Offering a small smile, I walked ahead of him and waited for the cashier to spot us. The restaurant was full of people from every walk of life – students, professionals, construction workers and nurses from the nearby hospital. I couldn’t help but laugh because no one and I mean no one was eating anything healthy.
“Two?” the cashier asked.
Richard nodded and the woman pointed to an empty table in the corner. I sighed inwardly, if this had been a date, this table would’ve been perfect. Secluded and small. When we sat down, our knees collided and I struggled to ignore the electric rush that kissed my spine and traveled between my thighs.
“What’s good here?” I asked.
“Everything. I enjoy the chicken and broccoli, but that’s because I’m a big fan of veggies.”
“So, you’re a vegetarian?”
He shook his head. “Can’t give up the yard bird.”
I laughed and picked up the menu to hide the goofy smile on my face. “Then I’m going to have the chicken and broccoli. If I don’t like it, I’m blaming you.” Easing the menu down, I saw he had those brown eyes trained on me and there was that twitch again.
“What?” I asked.
“Nothing, because if I ask you the question I want the answer to, it’s just going to start an argument.”
Narrowing my eyes at him, I was about to tell him to go ahead and ask, but I let it slide. Richard, however, didn’t know when to say when. “These last few months, you’ve been a beast at work, taking on projects that no one wanted, coming in early and leaving late. Now, I know that when sisters do stuff like this, it’s either for a promotion or because she has a broken heart.”
Sighing, I decided not to be confrontational – this time. But there is nothing worse than a man who thinks he knows everything no matter how cute he is. “Of course I’m looking to advance my career,” I replied carefully.
“I don’t believe that’s the only reason.”
“And I don’t give a shit.” Oh well, there went being non-confrontational.
“Ouch. That pretty much proves my point.”
“Here’s my point, keep your dime store psychoanalysis to yourself. Until you decided to muscle your way on to my project, we never have one conversation.”
“That’s because I knew you were involved with someone and every time I see you I want to lick your bottom lip.”
The needle fell right off the record and I gasped. “Umm, that’s very. . .”
“Inappropriate, I know. But how else would I get a chance to talk to you? You don’t go to after work events, you eat lunch at your desk and you keep headphones in your ears. The hint was taken; you wanted to be left alone.”
“And you decided to pull this stunt anyway?”
He grinned and nodded. “Yes, because if your lips are as soft as they look, it will be worth it.”
I waved for the waitress and ignored the river flowing between my legs.