Chapter Twelve

The last two hours were a whirlwind of activity.  Michelle ran next door to the boutique and purchased a new outfit, undergarments and all.  And down the street to the drug store to buy make up and what she deemed essential dating must haves.  Most of it she understood, but the sewing kit through her off.

“Am I expected to sew some buttons on while on my date?”  

“If the night goes as I’m hoping, yes.”  

“That doesn’t make sense.”  

“Then the date won’t go as planned.”  Michelle snatched the kit away and set it aside.  

“I love you more than my own sister, but I don’t get you.”

“You don’t have a sister, but I love you too.  Now turn around so I can fix your hair.”

Diana cooperated but still eyeballed the sewing kit.  She was just about to ask again when the store chimes sounded.  Michelle yanked the brush through her hair one last time and turned her around at the shoulders.  “Okay, be yourself, but talk about something other than the store.  Okay?” She didn’t wait for a response.  “This guy is the real deal, not the college kids who ask you out.  So take it serious, okay?”  Again no waiting for a reply, she just pushed her out the backroom doors.

Diana managed not to trip on the too tall heels during the shove but did nearly trip when she saw Aaron at the counter.  He had taken the time to change and by the looks of his hair, shower.  From where she stood she had a nice profile view of him.  He really was an attractive man.  She knew this before, but she saw attractive men every day, but this one seemed to be interested in her.  And like Michelle said, he wasn’t a college boy asking her out or one of the married customers who liked to flirt.  Wait… maybe he was married.  She almost pulled out a pad and pencil to write down a list of questions.

He turned as she debated on the question sheet, “Wow!  When did you have time to change?”  He looked her up and down, and settled on her face with a smile.  “You look beautiful.  I mean, you’ve always looked beautiful, but different beautiful.”  As she looked down at her dress that was too short and too tight she missed him rubbing his face with his hands and his whispered; “Different beautiful?  Get it together man.”

She continued to walk towards him and grabbed her purse under the counter.  Michelle stepped out then, “I’ll lock up.  Have fun tonight.”  Diana hesitated but knew Michelle could manage.  “Thank you.”  She called out as Aaron placed his hand at the small of her back and guided her outside and towards his car.  It was a low slung black sedan that had no ornamentation.  This struck her as odd, but she didn’t mention it.

“I made reservations at the Dine in Theater.  I didn’t recognize the movie playing though.  Do you care?”  He was opening to the door as he spoke.  She slide inside, making certain she didn’t expose anything in the process.  “I don’t mind.”  He shut the door and came around the front.  Once inside he repeated, “You look beautiful.”  She said thank you and busied herself with the contents of her purse.  

They drove in silence while he navigated the streets like an expert.  Constantly checking the mirrors, his blind spots and occasionally looking over at her.  She was trying to think of what to talk about, but he seemed totally focused on what he was doing, so she stayed silent.  Best to save up the conversation for dinner, she really didn’t think they’d have much to talk about.

Michelle greeted Diana at the door, something in the past three years that never happened.  She handed her a coffee cup that was already beginning to cool.  “I waited thirty minutes; I thought you always came in early!”  She was not pleased at waiting.  Michelle never waited.  “Tell me now before I get really cross.”  

“Not much to tell, dinner, a movie, talking.  It was a very pleasant evening.”  Michelle started to look annoyed as they walked inside and Diana reset the alarm.  “You came to work late; you never come to work late.”  

“We have another ten minutes before we open, I’m not late.”  

“By your standards, yes you are.  There’s a reason.”  She wiggled her eyebrows.

“Nothing happened!  I was just tired.  We talked for hours at dinner and then later, after the movie.”

“What did y’all see?”

“I don’t remember.”

“Oh wow, you’ve got it bad.”  Michelle gave her a quick hug, and then pulled away, keeping her hands on Diana’s shoulder.  “Tell me you recognize it.”

“Did you see his eyes?  He has gorgeous eyes.  And his smile…”  She sighed deeply.  “He’s a great kisser too.  But we didn’t do nearly enough kissing.”  Diana had drifted off into her memories while Michelle hugged her again.

“Yep, you’ve got it bad.  I’m so happy for you.”  

As the day progressed Diana kept bringing the date up and Michelle encouraged it.  Even as the guest author was signing books and talking with customers Diana continued talking about everything she discovered about Aaron the night before.  “When the night ended, and neither one of us wanted it to, he stared at my lips until I wanted to grab him and kiss him myself.  But I waited till he slowly leaned down, brushed my lips with his and then said he’d miss me while he was away.”

“And then?”

“I think we kissed for an hour, or maybe just two minutes, I don’t know, but he took my breath away.  Oh I’m not sure I can wait two weeks to see him again.”  

“So what does he do that he travels so much?”

“I’m not certain actually.  He explained it, but I lost track of what he did and what his employers did.  The gist was he worked the security department for his company.  But not a security guard, something to do with traveling to the headquarters of the companies they do business with and checking their security and then escorting the men who work there to and from the different sights.  Like I said, I kind of got lost.  I do know he works alongside the CIA.  It sounded like a Tom Clancy novel in the making.”

“Wow, I wonder if he knows martial arts.  I bet he carries a gun, but not concealed.  Oh my word this man is getting sexier by the minute.  No wonder you couldn’t stop talking to him.”
“Don’t forget that he loves to read and he’s a sketch artist.  He says it’s mostly for work, but while we waited for the movie to start he drew a picture of me.  I don’t think it looks like me, but it’s pretty.”  She pulled the napkin from her purse and showed her.

Michelle gasped and looked in wonder, “Diana, it looks just like you.  It’s beautiful.” 
“You think so?”  

“I look at your face six days a week, yes, it’s beautiful.   As is his drawing.”

“I thought so too.  By the end of the night I was ready to jump the plane with him and go wherever he went.  I’ve never liked a man so much.  I’m almost glad he’ll be gone for a while so I can get myself in check.  It’s not like me to lose my head over a guy, even a hottie.”  She winked at Michelle and then walked over to the author who was finishing up.

Weeks later, when Aaron returned from his latest business trip, he stopped by the shop on his way home.  Without saying a word he leaned Diana over and kissed her in front of Michelle, and several customers; “God I missed you!”  He kissed her one last time before lifting her back up for a hug.  “Can we go someone now?  I planned to go home, shower and come back, but I couldn’t wait.”

Diana, trying to get her bearings back after the impromptu and very smoldering kiss, looked at Michelle.  “I’ve got this.  You two go catch up on lost time.”  She handed Diana her purse and gave her a small shove.  “Take good care of her.”  She winked at Aaron and turned back to the customers who were no longer interest in the books they held, but the display the two just put on.  

“Where are we going?”  Not that Diana cared, but it seemed the thing to ask.

“My place, if you don’t mind.  I still want to take that shower.”

Though he said it casually, her thoughts were not casual.  She blushed at the idea of seeing him wet and naked.  But she found the idea very appealing.  Did he expect her to watch, perhaps join him?  They’d only been on one date, surely not.  Though the past two weeks they talked on the phone often, they stuck with standard conversation, nothing torrid of suggestive.  

She put the shower in the back of her mind and climbed in his car.  As he walked around to his side he slid in the seat and started the engine.  “Are you hungry?  I can take you out or order in?”  She liked the idea of staying in.  “I think ordering in would be perfect.”  She tried to sound casual but her thoughts were back on the shower.  Did this mean he was expecting something?  How was she to know without asking?  And what was she to do?  

To calm her nerves she made small talk.  “Did the trip go as planned?  You didn’t mention anything about work when we talked.”  Which was true, their conversations always came back to her, which usually lead to her speaking about the store and the latest antics with several of the customers who lived out most of their lives in her shop.  From meeting, to first dates, even to marriage.  She’d seen several and loved that she was a part of it.  It was nice to talk about it to someone who didn’t see it unfold like Michelle did.  

“It went as planned.  Nothing unexpected happened, which is how I like it.”  By the tone of his voice she knew the topic was over.  Not that he was mean about it, but almost as if he didn’t enjoy it, or didn’t care to share the details.  She decided not to push the subject and instead asked about his favorite delivery.

A few minutes later they pulled up to a condo.  Ones she’d not seen before set close to the lake many of the locals loved to fish and boat at.  He opened her door, grabbed a leather bag from the back seat and walked her to the front.  When she walked inside the first thing she noticed was the enormous amount of technology.  And not the standard bachelor kind with large screen TVs and stereo systems, though he had both. But there was a desk loaded down with TV monitors, one that she was currently reflected in, standing in his doorway and others pointed to various rooms she assumed were his, as well as the back door.  

“I assumed this was a nice neighborhood.  Do you have problems being gone so often?”  She looked over her shoulder at him and he looked over her head at the two of them in the monitor.  “It’s more about my line of work.”  He gently moved her past the threshold and locked the door behind them.  “It’s just a precaution.”  He sat his bag down on the edge of the sofa and headed towards the kitchen.  “Would you like something to drink while I call our order in?”

“Sure, what do you have?”  He ran through a list of drinks that included some very expensive wine.  She teased that she was good with the boxed kind, to which he chuckled and opened what she thought of as celebratory wine.  He handed her a glass and then took his jacket off, laying it across the top of the bag.  Then he started to unbutton his dress shirt; “Make yourself comfortable.  I’m going to jump in the shower.  If the food arrives before I get out you can pay with this.”  He pulled his wallet from the jacket he’d just set aside and gave her a card.  Once she took it he finished undoing his shirt and pulled it from his slacks.  

She tried not to look but when he pulled it free and he was naked from the waist up she couldn’t help herself.  The man was fit.  The stuff you read in Harlequin Romances.  The tanned solid chest, a smattering of hair between his pecks that ran down the length of his abs and ended below his very tight, very toned stomach.  She was itching to see the exact point it ended.  She snapped her head up and found him looking at her, a smirk on his face and hooded eyes.

She turned around, facing the massive TV and asked; “How do I turn you on?”  As soon as the words left her mouth she realized her slip.  “I mean the TV, how do I turn the TV on?”  She waited for the floor to open, not daring to turn around and look at him, with one hand on the remote and the other over her mouth.  But instead of the floor swallowing her, she felt him walk up behind her, lift her hand with the remote and placed her finger on top of the on button.  

He was pressed against her back, with the other hand he pulled hers from her mouth and whispered behind her ear, “I’m already turned on.”  He kissed the side of her neck, gently bit the lob of her ear, and walked towards the bathroom.  It took Diana a second to recover, but then she remembered the surveillance cameras and looked.  Sure enough she could see him taking his pants off in the hallway and watched his naked back side, his perfect, naked back side walk towards the bathroom.  She checked, simply out of curiosity, but no cameras were set up in there.

She wasn’t sure if she was glad there were no cameras or upset.  She dropped to the couch and took a deep breath, trying to calm her over stimulated body.  The TV completely forgotten; “I’m so out of my league.  He’s going to figure that out and be so disappointed.”  Diana went from overcharged to deflated in the span of a heartbeat.  “This man is James Bond and I’m Mary Bennet.  He’s going to figure it out and the relationship will end.  I should call Michelle to pick me up and run home before he finds out.”  

She looked over at her purse, seriously debating making the call when the doorbell rang.  After paying the delivery guy she placed the food on the kitchen table and looked through the kitchen cabinets and drawers for plates and silverware, all thoughts of leaving gone when the food arrived.  Just as she’d emptied the last container Aaron walked out barefooted in jeans and t-shirt.  Both looked comfortably worn and tight.  “I thought I heard the doorbell.”  He looked at the food and smiled.  “Plane food can’t touch this place.  I hope you like them.” 

She sat down and poured wine in his glass and topped hers off.  “I’ve never had it, but it looks divine.”  The dinner and conversation were just as last time.  This time he talked a little more about his job, but mostly about the places he’d visited and the local people and food.  She enjoyed his stories and the enthusiasm he told them in.  He may not want to share the inner workings of his job, but he loved the traveling aspect.

They ended the night with a movie from his extensive DVD collection and another bottle of wine. When it became late he drove her home, walked her to her door and left her with a head spinning kiss.  “That’s it?!  You didn’t stay and have dirty sex!”  Michelle exclaimed the next morning; again at work early with coffee in hand.  “He strips down naked, showcasing it for you and you don’t jump him?!”

“Technically he didn’t walk in front of me naked, just shirtless.  He didn’t know that I was watching him.”  

“Oh honey, don’t lie to yourself, he knew you were watching.  He wanted you to watch.  Did you miss some signs?  Did he come on to you and you ignored his passes?  Please tell me you didn’t give him the wrong signs.”

“I did no such thing, and neither did he.  After dinner we sat on the couch and watched a movie.”

“Were you on the opposite side of the couch?”
“No!  We sat next to each other.  He pulled my legs into his lap and messaged my feet.  It tried to make him stop but he insisted.  Saying I stood up all day and could use some pampering.  I felt silly, but it felt so good I didn’t care.”

“If you don’t jump him soon I will!”

“We’ve been on two dates.  I’m not jumping him.  And neither are you.”  She playfully punched Michelle in the arm and started opening up the shop.

“It might only be two dates, but y’all have played this cat and mouse game for months now.  I think this is the guy you finally give it up to.  He’d take good care of you.  You know he would.”

“Michelle!”  Diana looked around the store, knowing no one was there, but still embarrassed by her words.  “Why do you have to always bring that up?”

“Diana, you are the last living virgin in the universe over the age of 25.  We need to fix that!”

“There is nothing to fix.  I’m not broken; I just don’t see the point in casual sex.  I mean, sex isn’t casual, or at least it shouldn’t be.  It needs to mean something.”

“It does, it means two people getting what they want and enjoying themselves while do it, simple as that.”

“You don’t believe that and I know it.  You’ve been with Stan for years now, no one else, so don’t lie.”

“I’m not lying.  Stan and I have sex, a lot; we both get what we won’t.”  She giggled and added, “Besides, I was 16 when I lost it.”  

“Yes, to STAN!  And y’all have been married forever.”

“Will you hush while I live vicariously through you?  Next time you come in to the store you better have some juicy story about crazy sex with that gorgeous man.  You hear me?  I need details, lots of them.”

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Still a work in progress, but thanks for reading.