Friday, June 13, 2014
At long last...and excerpt from Then & Now....
Finally a subject that didn’t make me feel ridiculously self conscious. “Ellie is almost nine, Quentin is seven and a half, and Aubrey is five. They’re with their grandmother for a vacation.”
“Do they go every year?” he asked. “My grandpa took me to Glacier National Park every year until I graduated from high school.”
“Right.” I tucked my hair behind my ears. “Um, no. This is the first time she’s ever taken them. Not for a lack of trying.”
“Why didn’t you let them go before?” he asked. “What made this summer so special?”
I chewed my lip for a second. The kid was really diving deep tonight—pun intended. “It was time. I’ve been sort of… overprotective of my kids for the last few years.”
Mason’s expression turned serious. “After the trauma you guys have had, I can imagine that’s normal.”
“Trauma?” I narrowed my eyes at him. Had I told him how Brian died?
“Listen, I’d better go.” He stood up and walked towards the door. “I promise you I won’t become the neighbor who parties all the time and wakes up your kids. I’ll be quieter next time.”
Next time? My heart tripped over its feet, then righted itself. Why did I care?
“It’s okay.” I followed him. “I mean, it’s your house. You should be able to do what you want. I don’t need to be the nosey neighbor who spies through the fence. It’s weird.”
“Eh, you’re not so weird, Candace.”
“Whatever, I’m one step above standing on the edge of my porch yelling for you to slow down when you drive down the cul-de-sac.”
One of his eyebrows snuck upward. “I’ve seen you leave before. You drive way faster than I do.”
“Whatever. Don’t change the subject. I’m still the creepy old lady yelling at you.”
Mason grabbed the door handle, and stopped. “There you go with the old talk again. Are you going to call me a whippersnapper again?”
I smiled. “Are you going to bring that up every time you see me?”
“Probably.” He winked at me. “But for the record, all I see when I look at you is a beautiful woman who spends entirely too much time alone.”
I froze, unsure what to do next. I considered flopping down on the floor to pretend I was looking for a ring, but I’d already used that excuse once. His compliment wrapped itself around me like a blanket fresh out of the dryer, and I had to fight to keep from sighing.
Part of me wanted to encourage this flirtation. After all, a little flirting was harmless, wasn’t it? The other part of me felt responsible to put him in his place, like an out-of-control teenager.
I cleared my throat. “You should probably save the pickup lines for someone in your own age bracket.”
I waited for disappointment to settle in on his chiseled face. But nothing happened. He just nodded and flashed annoyingly confident smile as he opened the door and stepped into the warm night air.
“Duly noted. Goodnight, Candace.”
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