“Wake up, sleepyhead.” She nudged him with her shoulder as she drank hers.
Taking the plastic tumbler, he took a sniff then quickly set it down on the table. “No thanks.”
“Come on, try it. Don’t be such a stick in the mud. I even put a teaspoon of honey in it for you.”
He picked the tumbler back up and stared apprehensively down into it. “What are those little bubbles?”
“Chia seeds. They’re good for you,” she encouraged, finishing hers.
“Hell no! You’re not suckering me into that again.”
“You’re such a baby,” she quipped, taking his smoothie to drink it herself as she wiggled her fingers in his face.
“I already gave you the five bucks,” he reminded her.
“Come on, Stump, you took it back. Pay up.” She wiggled her fingers faster.
He frowned. “No, I didn’t.”
“Yes, you did. The ten isn’t there. I was going to break it and give you a five back, but it’s gone.”
“Then it must have blown off when we opened the door. I didn’t take it.”
“I’m sorry. I thought you had.”
Her apologetic eyes had him wanting to kiss her.
“It’s okay. I’ll help you look for it.”
“I’ll look for it later.” Patting his thigh, she jumped from the couch. “I’m going to be late if we don’t hurry. I have an appointment with Kristen at seven-thirty. Are you going to the tea tasting tonight?” she asked as she rinsed out the tumblers.
“Fu… no. I have a date tonight. Jackal is going with Penni, so I’m off duty tonight.”
“Oh… I thought you were going because you wanted to, not because you were watching me.”
Hearing the hurt in her voice, Stump looked at Zoey. Forgetting the ten he had been searching for, he moved to stand at the counter.
“Spending the evening with tea nerds isn’t my idea of fun.”
Stump saw the telltale sign of her bottom lip beginning to quiver and wished he could take the words back. It broke him sometimes when he saw that bottom lip quivering. He was a battle-hardened biker—there wasn’t much he hadn’t seen or done—but when that damn lip quivered, it made him want to do anything to make it stop.
“I’m not into the fresh cut teas. Next week is the oblong teas. I’ll like it much better.”
“You’re sure? I wouldn’t want you to go if you didn’t want to.” She lifted soft, hazel eyes to his.
“I’m sure. I wouldn’t go if I didn’t want to.”
“You called them tea nerds.”
“They kind of are… but I didn’t include you with them,” he added, trying to dig himself out of the hole he dug himself into. “You’re not snobbish over tea the way they are.”
Drying her hands, she nodded. “You’re right; they are kind of tea snobs. Penni isn’t either, though,” she said, coming from behind the counter and grabbing a granola bar from a drawer. “You want one?”
“No thanks. I’m full.” He had been suckered into those, too. They tasted like tree bark.
“No, you aren’t. You haven’t eaten anything. I’m not leaving until you take something to eat for when you get to the office. I have some yogurt parfaits in the fridge—”
“Are there any chia seeds in it?”
Flushing, she closed the refrigerator. “How about a box of raisins?”
“That I’ll take.”
She happily went to the cabinet, taking out a large box of raisins. “You can eat some for lunch, too. They’re good for you.”
“Zoey, I’m eating a hamburger for lunch.”
She gave him a smirk as she slid a dark pink wrist wallet on, unzipping it to put her key inside. When she curiously put fingers inside, the key caught on something and she pulled out a ten.
“That the ten I gave you? Are trying to slide one past me?”
She smiled, shaking her head in dismay. “I must have forgotten.”
“I’m glad you found it. I’m still ahead five dollars.”
“Two dollars and fifty cents. You almost slipped and said the F word.”
“You’re charging me when I never said it?”
“It’s the thought that counts.” Winking, she went out the door. “Lock the door behind you. I don’t want to be late to meet Kristen.”
Stump gritted his teeth, watching her sashay out. If his thoughts counted, he would have to stop at an ATM. He owed her a shit ton of money.
Taking his helmet off, he got off his bike, seeing the clubhouse parking lot was empty. There were usually a couple of bikes outside, and when he left to go on his date, the club had been full, the brothers hanging around, watching a game on the television. He’d never seen it so empty.
Opening his saddlebag, he took out his gun that he had put in there before going meeting Maria at the restaurant. Placing it in the back of his jeans, he covered it with his T-shirt before going inside.
His mouth dropped open at seeing Zoey sitting on the floor, playing with Hannibal.