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Authors: Mellie George

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BOOK: Say Yes
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            Luke turned
back to me and smiled.  “So, you ready to go, or do you want to wait?  You did
just eat.”

            “Well, you
said that this place was outside Kingsland, which is over an hour away.  That
should give me time to get my appetite back,” I said, grinning.

            He smiled
widely.  “Okay, let’s go then,” he said, and opened the passenger side door for
me.  As I got ready to step in, I glanced at the front window of Grady’s Diner,
and Sam was staring at us, her eyes burning.  As soon as she caught my eyes,
she quickly cleared the table she was cleaning and walked away.  This woman was
going to be a thorn in my side while I was here.  I got in his car, and he
closed the door.  He walked over to the driver’s side and got in.  Once he
started the ignition, he revved the engine, and said, “Here we go.”

Chapter 8
 
Lunch with an Old Friend

 

 

            As Luke and I
made the drive to the restaurant, we made small talk the whole way, catching up
on this and that, but my mind was somewhere else.  I kept thinking about what
Daisy said to me.  Maybe it was just me, but I could cut the sexual tension
with a knife.  This was going to be so much harder than I thought, but Daisy
had been right.  I had to make this work not just for Violet’s sake, but my new
brother in law was going to be opening a practice with him. I just didn’t want
to mess anything up.  After about twenty minutes of idle chit chat, Luke
finally cleared his throat.  “You okay?”

            “What?” I
asked.

            “I just asked
you about your restaurant in California.”

            Wow…that was
embarrassing.  “Oh yea, sorry, I must have been thinking about something else.”

            “Are you sure
you are up for this today?  You have been a little cool this morning.”

            “Luke, I’m
sorry.  You are right. I have been acting a little strange.  I guess it’s all
still so…surprising seeing you again.” I admitted.

            “Surprising?”
he asked, a little dazed. Then his face softened.  “Good surprising?”

            “Yes,
definitely a good surprise.”

            Smiling, he
said, “That’s good to hear.  It’s been nice seeing you again,” he said.

            “Yeah, well,
not everyone in town would agree with you,” I answered.

            “Really? 
Who?” he asked.

            “Well, let’s
just say I met an interesting waitress named Sam this morning,” I said, and I
saw him tense up.

            “Oh, God,
Lilly, I am so sorry about her.  I honestly didn’t know she worked there.  What
did she say?  Was she rude?” he asked, looking embarrassed.

            “Well, she
didn’t say anything rude, but I think that I could have probably frozen ice on
her ass,” I said, and he seemed to relax. “Would you care to explain how
someone I have never met before looked at me like she wanted to rip my face
off?”

            He sighed. 
“Sam and I dated for almost two months last year.  At that point, I hadn’t
really dated anyone since college,” he said. “I tried to get back out there,
but it just didn’t work out.” He hadn’t dated anyone else at that point in
seven
years?
Oh wow.

            “If you were
only together for two months, that’s not a lot of time for her to be like she
was to me today.  Something else happened there.”

            His face went red,
and he asked, “Lilly, it was nothing, just forget about it.”

            “Hey, this
woman could have easily poisoned my food this morning.  I deserve to know why.”

            Sighing, he
said, “Well, like I said, we only dated two months.  Actually two months to the
day of our first date, we went back to her apartment, and things were looking
like they were going to head into the bedroom.  Right in the middle of foreplay,
I…oh god, this is so humiliating…I might have called her your name.”

            My mouth fell
open. “You called her the wrong name during foreplay?  Well, no wonder she
hates me. I’d hate me too,” I said, snickering.

            “You think
that’s funny?”

            “Don’t you? 
Come on, think about it.  It’s kind of funny,” I said, trying not to laugh.

            His mouth
broke into a smile. “Oh, all right, I guess it’s a little funny.”

            “I guess I
will have to try and stay out of her way while I’m here. She obviously hasn’t
let it go.  I don’t want us not to be friends because she might get the wrong
idea.” He looked disappointed when I said the word “friends”, but he lightly
shook his head.

            “Well, I don’t
really know what to tell her. I mean, I have moved on, she should too. I don’t
want her wasting her life being mad over a two month relationship.  Besides,
this is
your
hometown, not hers. You shouldn’t have to skulk around
hiding from her.”

            “You are
right.  But, that’s not important right now.  Tell me how the construction on
the new office is going,” I said, and we chatted the rest of the way to our
destination.

           

            After talking
for the rest of the ride, we pulled up in front of a little cottage with vine
going up the sides, and parked next to a sign that read “Bella Signora”. As we
stepped out of the car, I really looked at the little place, and said, “Luke,
this place is great. It’s so cozy.”

            “Oh, wait
until you try the food. Especially, the caprese salad,” he said. “I just
thought, with you being a chef, you would appreciate this place more than the
average person.”

            “Well, I can’t
wait.”

            He held out
his arm. “Shall we?”

            I reluctantly
hooked my arm in his, and said, “Let’s go.”  We walked arm and arm into Bella
Signora, and we were seated immediately even thought the place was crowded. I
looked at him, surprised, when we took our seats at a cozy booth in a back
corner, and he stated, “I made reservations last night.”

            Just then, a
waiter came to our table. “Ciao, signore e la signora. Welcome to Belle
Signora. My name is Antonio, and I will be your waiter this afternoon. May I
start your visit with us by selecting from our wine list?”

            Luke answered.
“It’s nice to meet you, Antonio. I will have a glass of your best Pinot
Grigio.”

            Antonio
answered, “Very good sir. And for the lady?”

            “I will have a
glass of Chardonnay, please.”

            “Excellent
choice, madam. I assume you would like a moment to order?”

            “Yes, thank
you very much,” Luke answered, and Antonio smiled at us, bowed his head, and
walked toward the kitchen. “So, what do you think you will have?” he asked me.

            My eyes
scanned the menu. All of the food looked amazing.  “I don’t know, everything looks
delicious.”

            “Can I make a
suggestion?”

            I smiled.
“Sure.”

            “I would try
either the spinach and mushroom ravioli or the classic lasagna. You can’t go
wrong with an Italian staple.”

            “Well, if I
have to choose between the two, I will go with the ravioli. Thanks for the
suggestion. Knowing me, I would have probably taken forever to decide.”

            “You’re
welcome,” he said, and we set our menus down.  As the waiter came back with our
wine selections, we placed our orders. Once the waiter was gone, Luke said,
“So, how are you liking being back in town?”

            “You know, I
thought it would be a little strange after being gone so long, but it’s not. 
Everything still feels the same. It’s actually comforting.” And unsettling.

            “That’s nice. 
I have to admit though, it is really good to see you didn’t turn into a,
forgive my language, snotty bitch being in California all that time,” he said,
smiling.

            I laughed.
“Yes, thank God. Out of me and my two best friends, I have to say I am the tame
one.”

            “Really? Tell
me about them.”

            “Well, my best
girl friend, Tara, does PR for a top agency. She actually did some of the PR
for the restaurant I work at.”

            “Is that how
you two met?”

            “No, actually
she was my roommate in college.  She’s my polar opposite, which is probably why
we get along. We balance each other out. Although, I will admit she does get a
little tiring to be around sometimes.”

            “Well, I guess
it’s good you are getting a break from her then,” he laughed.

            “Yeah, she was
all freaked before I came here.”

            “Why is that?”

            “She has this
insane idea in her head that I will forget about her while I’m here and never
want to come back,” I laughed. “She also told me not to fall in love with
anyone.”

             With a
chuckle, Luke said, “Why would she say that? She wants you to be happy, doesn’t
she?”

            “Well, yes. I
think she’s just afraid she won’t find another friend that will put up with her
bullshit,” I laughed. “Besides, it’s not like that will happen anyway. I’m only
here for a short time,” I said.

            “Of course.
Three weeks isn’t enough time to fall in love with someone so hard that you’d
give up your life for them,” he said, taking a drink of his wine. I felt
relieved to hear him say that.  It was nice to know we were on the same page.
“So, tell me about your other friend. I am sure you have more than just Tara.”

            “Yes, I do. My
best guy friend is Alejandro and he is a wedding coordinator.  He’s going to be
huge someday, I know it,” I said.

            “They sound
nice.”

            “Well, they
are nicer than Tara, that’s for sure.  I think you’d like them. I know they
would love you, especially Alejandro,” I laughed.

            He rolled his
eyes and smiled. “Okay, moving on.  I seem to be the one asking all the
questions, so now it’s your turn to ask me a question.”

            “Really?  Like
what?”

            “Anything you
want to know.  I’m an open book.”

            I smiled
wickedly. “This could be fun.”

            “Come on, you
know there is something you have been dying to ask me.”

            Actually, there
was one thing I was curious about.  “Okay, well, here goes. How many girls have
you slept with since me?” I can’t believe I got that out. I was a bit proud of
myself.

            He looked a
little surprised, and a sly, sexy smile spread across his face.  “How many guys
have you been with since me?”

            I grinned
right back at him, saying, “I asked you first.”

            Still smiling
his killer smile, he sighed and said, “Eight.  All while in college. One in my
sophomore year, four my junior year, and three in my senior year.  No one
serious, all one night stands, and no one since.  Now it’s your turn.”

            Eight?  Ouch.
I felt a little stab of disappointment. I can’t have expected him to be
celibate, but it still burned somewhere deep in me that he’d obviously moved on
past me.  Well, at least he was honest.  He was still waiting for my answer,
eyebrows raised, so I sighed. “Just one,” I admitted, and my scalp prickled
from embarrassment.  “Right after I graduated college.”

            “One?  You are
kidding, right?” he asked, genuine surprise on his face.

            “What?” I
asked, feeling even more embarrassed.

            “How on earth
have you only been with one person since we were together?”

            “What does
that mean?”

            “Well, I mean
come on, Lilly. Have you
seen
you?  You’re absolutely gorgeous!” he
said, disbelievingly.

            “I don’t even
know what to say to that,” I said, slightly laughing. “I’m sorry, I guess?”

            He shook his
head, and smiled.  “I just remember how I felt being around you all the time. 
I could barely keep it in my pants,” he said, and we both laughed loudly.

            “Thanks for
the graphic image.”

            “Sorry,” he
chuckled.  As we sat there and talked, I felt more and more at ease.  We just
sat together at our cozy table, laughing and talking about everything.  He
asked more about my restaurant and what my everyday life was like in San
Francisco, and I asked him the same.  The biggest surprise of all to me was
when I asked him where he was living.  It turned out that Luke moved into the
lake house after his first year of college was over.  He said that living at
his childhood home again without his parents was too painful for him, so he
moved into the one place in the world where he had no bad memories.  I know
that the reason he decided to move there wasn’t about me, but I did feel at
ease knowing that he didn’t have any bad memories of me there, and that gave me
hope that this was all going to work out.

 

 

            In the span of
five hours, I had eaten more than I usually would in two days.  Luke was right
about this place, it was incredible. The staff was all very nice and welcoming,
and the food was to die for. I was too full to try the tiramisu, but I still
ordered it to go. After we paid the bill (or rather Luke paid the bill-he
refused any money from me), we put our coats back on the walked out to his car.
Once again, he held the passenger door open for me, and closed it when I was
comfortably inside. He climbed into the driver side, started the car, and we
began our drive back to Glenbrook.

BOOK: Say Yes
11.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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