Fancy a drink?

Realizing that he couldn’t drive aimlessly forever, Adrian turned back toward the main drag, a narrow backcountry blacktop that wound around the bay. Sometimes the bay was visible; other times they passed long stretches of woodland interspersed with fancy pillared gates that guarded some of the more expensive waterfront estates. He thought he knew where he was going, unless he’d turned the wrong way onto Bayview Drive.

But no, here it was. He slowed just in time to ease into the gravel parking lot of Big Daddy’s Bar & Grill. He parked under a cypress tree festooned with Spanish moss and hoped for the best; there were no out-­in-­the-­open spots available. He folded his sunglasses and put them in the console. “Fancy a drink?”

A dozen different excuses flitted across her face before Heather smiled and said, “Sure. Why not?”

She undid her seat belt and reached for the door handle, but he put a hand on her thigh, a silent cue for her to stay put so he could do the gentlemanly thing and open her door. She nodded and settled for wrapping the long strap around her tiny pink leather purse.

He suspected the tiny purse revealed something about her. She didn’t carry around a bunch of cosmetics and beauty implements or a day-­runner and iPad to keep abreast of her important and ever-­evolving business concerns or a ton of other unnecessary minutia. He wasn’t sure what that revelation meant about her personality, but he decided he was interested in finding out. Could it be that she was one of those rare people who had the ability to inhabit each moment as it came without obsessing over appearances, thinking ahead to the next thing, or planning for every eventuality?

He opened her door and held out a hand to assist her out of the car. She rose gracefully, looking down until the last second when he didn’t immediately release her hand. Her eyes met his, a look of hesitant anticipation in those clear, leaf-­green depths.

He thought about kissing her. This time, he hoped she wouldn’t freeze in dismay. This time, she might even lean into him. He looked at her soft, prettily curved lips, then back up to meet her eyes. He lowered his eyelids in that way that always made her blush. And blush she did, but she also smiled, a tiny secret smile. “Are you going to buy me that drink or what?”

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