“So how long have you been teaching?” I asked her, hoping to reassure her.
“Oh, it’s been only three years now. I’m still fairly new to it compared to my colleagues.” She confessed as she crossed her arms against the table. Just as I had thought, she seemed younger. If she jumped into this right after high school, she still had to be around her mid-twenties. Made me feel old just from thinking about it. How would she feel if she found out that I was nearly in my mid-thirties?
“How long have you been a bartender?” she returned my question with one of her own. She seemed just as curious as I was.
Rather than lie to her, I held my head up high. “Almost ten years,” I confessed. If that didn’t show my age, I didn’t know what would.
Just as I expected, she did look slightly surprised. “Wow, I didn’t realize that bar had been open for that long.”
Shrugging my shoulders, I found myself more than willing to reveal facts about my life to her. “I’ve actually worked under Bill for five years. I had to take a break when Olivia was born.” Facts about my life that I knew she didn’t need to know but wanted her to.
“You’re a good father,” she murmured more to herself than to me.
Suddenly, our ice cream was here. After we all had it sitting in front of us, our mouths were too occupied to speak.
Janet was taking her time with hers, sucking on her spoon with each bite. To make matters even worse, she even moaned softly. “You were right, this is perfect. Thank you.”
My ice cream had only been melting this entire time as I fought hard not to watch her enjoy her own. Nodding my head, I tried not to focus on her as much as I had been. If I continued, my body would go against me and reveal to everyone just how much I wanted the woman sitting across from me.
The trip that I had once been looking forward to in order to be used as an excuse to be with her had now quickly turned into a torturous one. Knowing that I couldn’t reach out and touch her left me aching inside. If it weren’t for Olivia being with us, I’m not sure I would have had the strength to go against my growing desire.
Turning my attention to my ice cream, I tried to distract myself by eating it instead. At least if I got a brain freeze, I would get too distracted to think anymore about Janet. While the girls enjoyed their desserts, I tried my best to do the same. Every now and then, Olivia would ask Janet a random question and each time, she would happily answer.
Before I knew it, we were already finishing up our bowls and more time passed than I realized. Knowing that I still had to get her back to the school and that I needed to get ready for work, we cleaned up and found ourselves sitting in the car once more.
On the drive back, Olivia had grown silent as her energetic day was beginning to crash down on her. Not even her ice cream could save her from dozing off during the drive.
“She really is a sweet girl,” Janet smiled at me after taking a glance back past her seat.
I chuckled, “Sandra, the babysitter, will be ecstatic to find out that she’ll have an easy job tonight. Normally, she’s a handful.”
I felt her eyes on me, watching me as silence fell upon us once more. “Can I ask you something? It might be crossing a line though,” she asked, doubt in her voice.
I glanced over at her, curious to see what she could possibly want to know. “Consider the line crossed, ask ahead.” I smiled at her, hoping to reassure her.
“Where is Olivia’s mother?”
I turned my eyes back to the road, fighting the frown that wanted to form. “Probably working, that would be my best guess,” I answered shortly. “I stopped keeping track of her busy schedule years ago.” Melanie was a dedicated lawyer who struggled to make time for both of her passions—her job and her family. In the end, it was obvious which one she picked. “Why do you ask?” I noticed her looking down at her lap, her attention on her hands.
“You just seem too good to be true,” she whispered before her eyes met mine. “How is it possible that you are not taken?”
I wanted to tell her that I had given up on romance and love years ago. But if I said that, it wouldn’t be true anymore. She changed that without even knowing. She had me feeling things that I thought I would never feel again. The reason why I wasn’t with anybody else was because I didn’t want anybody else. I wanted her. I waited all this time for her to return my feelings. “It’s complicated,” I told her instead, not even sure how I could possibly word it when she was staring at me with her large, innocent eyes. Even if I could put it in words, I didn’t want to scare her away because of how I felt.
The car rolled to a stop when we pulled into the parking lot. She thanked me once more before going to grab the door. “I can walk you to your car at least,” I offered, already opening my own door before she could brush me away.
While the trip hadn’t been completely successful, I still had a chance to tell her.
Leaving Olivia in the car, I walked next to Janet until we reached her small Honda. She turned my way, tilting her head upwards to get a good look at me. “Listen Mason, what happened between us in the past…”
Staring down at her, I could hardly focus on what she was saying. Seeing her mouth move, her words fell on deaf ears as I licked my own. I never was the kind of guy to explain how I felt through words. I was a man who expressed himself through his actions. Right now, I still wanted to kiss her just as much as I did back at the shack. Now, the only thing holding me back was passed out in the back seat of my car.
Lifting my hand, I cupped her cheek with my palm.
“Mason, I—” despite sounding against my movement, she melted against my touch.
My thumb brushed her lips and the desire I had for her boiled within me. “I want to kiss you,” I told her, already leaning down naturally.
Her face felt hot against my skin as she remained silent. The moment her eyes closed, it was all the permission I needed.
Dipping my head lower, I brushed my lips against hers. Just the brisk contact left electric shocks coursing through my body. Immediately, I pressed forward, capturing her mouth with my own. Everything I had been wanting for the last few weeks was pushed into this small contact.
Stepping forward, her body became sandwiched between her car and my body as I lost what little control I had left. If she didn’t realize how bad I craved her after this, I didn’t know what else I could do. I barely pulled away before I felt her hands fisting the front of my shirt. By the way she was pulling on me, I wasn’t going anywhere.
A low rumble traveled from my chest up through my throat as I felt pleased by her reaction. This was exactly how she was the first time she was put under me— pulling and clinging onto me until she got everything she wanted.
But this brief contact wasn’t enough. I didn’t realize how bad I missed the taste of her sweet mouth, it was the exact type of contact I needed to leave me feeling nearly satisfied. Parting my lips, I let my tongue taste only a hint of what she had to offer. She then immediately parted them, giving me access to enjoy her mouth even further.