My eyes narrowed suspiciously. “Is what true?”
“You’re the most selfish lover in the world?”
“I like to hope not. Until Bernadette, I only ever got compliments.” I don’t like to speak badly about an ex. I let her form her own conclusions about Bernie. Sounded like she had already.
“How many compliments?” She raised her eyebrows, sipping her coffee.
“I’ve dated some. Been busy with my business….”
“But a man’s gotta eat,” she emphasized the last word in an interesting way.
“Yes.” I didn’t offer details. I’m thirty-four. There have been a few women—not a lot, but enough. I remember them fondly, except for Bernadette.
“That’s all you have to say on the subject?”
“I don’t usually share those details with a woman I hardly know.”
She leaned toward me, whispering. “You aren’t a virgin, are you?”
I burst out laughing again, trying like hell to give her the look, but my face wouldn’t do it. “I hope you aren’t serious. Noooo….”
“Oh, a gentleman. Rare.”
“My mother and sisters emphasized a few things with me, as I was growing up.” I ticked them off on my fingers. “Don’t burp at the table, don’t scratch my balls in public, don’t fart in the car, and don’t talk about the women I’ve taken to bed.”
Rowena nodded slowly, taking that in. “All good advice. How many sisters?”
“You the youngest?”
“You poor man!”
“Yeah, after my dad left us, I was the only male in the house. I got blamed for everything. Yet another reason to move away from home.”
She glanced at her watch, rising with alarm. “Shit. My break’s over. The pie and coffee were great. Thank you.”
I hopped up with her and she rose on her toes, planting a kiss on my cheek.
“Thank you for the food and the chat, Keir.”
She turned to go, but I followed her.
“Hey…. Would you like to go out sometime? Just—like coffee….” I gestured helplessly.
“We already had the coffee date,” she countered with a grin.
“Dinner, lunch…name a meal.”
“I’ll drop by after work. You’ll be here?”
“Yeah. Until five thirty.”
“I’ll be back.” She walked off, curls bouncing, hips swaying.
I watched her go, admiring that sexy walk until she got inside the building.
“Holy balls, that’s a hot woman,” my buddy Jake said, as he walked up.
Jake hangs out here, helps from time to time. He’s an Army vet, and can’t settle into a regular job. He plays chess in the park, sometimes has a table of odd bits to sell. I hire him to help me clean the truck once a week, and he always does a fantastic job.
“Yeah. She is.”
“You tapping that?”
I have very frank conversations with Jake. He doesn’t do subtle.
“Not yet, huh?” He chuckled, tapping knuckles. “Sights set, target acquired….”
“Yep. Fortunately, the target seems pretty happy to be acquired.”
“A definite plus.”
“Indeed. What can I get ya?”
“A cup of that fantastic coffee?”
“Sure. Come on up.” I opened the door and let him inside. “How’s the gaming today?”
“Good. Took some old guy for forty bucks.”
“Not more? You losing your edge?”
He chuckled. “Setting him up for the end game. Figure I can suck another fifty outta him before he gives up. Thinks I’m homeless, and, therefore, don’t have any brains.”
I snorted, shaking my head. Jake takes his coffee sweet and light. I fixed his before I made myself a cup. We sat outside in the sunshine, enjoying our afternoon break. I had about thirty more minutes of quiet before another mid-afternoon hustle with kids coming home from high school. I sell a lot of soft drinks, and my signature tacos to that crowd.
“Can you help with the Monday clean next week?”
“Yeah. I got an appointment at the VA around two, but I can do it in the morning.”
“You need a ride?”
He looked embarrassed. Jake doesn’t like to ask for anything. He isn’t allowed to drive, because of his meds. The city bus makes him nervous as hell. Sometimes, he can catch a ride on a shuttle bus that’s strictly for vets, but other times he walks, or bums a ride.
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