Oh, so that was how he wanted to play, was it? Anna nonchalantly swiped her finger across her drink. And with a single swipe, she ran the cream down the length of his nose. She picked up her fork and took a bite of lasagna, acting as if nothing at all was amiss.
A second and a streak of cream dotted the tip of her nose, her right cheek, and then her left. She blinked, surprised he’d done that.
“Whipped cream is very becoming on you, you know. You look cuter than a Yorkshire puppy.” Nicholas took a bite of garlic cheese bread.
“’Yorkshire puppy’? My mom and dad have a Yorkie. I love Cuddles.”
“I love cuddles too.”
Anna shook her head, chuckling. “You’re incorrigible, you know that?”
“So, I’ve been told.” His handsome face showed no penance whatsoever. In fact, he looked downright adorable.
“Oh, you have, have you?”
“Yes. Multiple times by Aunt Savia.”
“I knew I liked your aunt. She has you pegged.”
“Oh, so you think you know me that well, huh?”
“I may not know you that well, but from what I’ve witnessed…” She picked up her napkin and wiped the cream off of her cheeks and nose. “I would have to agree with your aunt.” She laughed. “By the way, I know I already told you this, but I really like your aunt and uncle. They remind me so much of mine.”
“Oh yeah.” Nicholas took a bite of lasagna. “This is really good, Anna. Reminds me of my nonnina’s. She makes the best lasagna ever. So that says a lot about yours.”
His compliment warmed her heart. “Thank you. My mom taught me how to cook. And her mother taught her.”
“Where does your grandmother live?” He took another bite.
“My nonna and nonno live in Italy. So do several of my aunts and uncles. Where do yours live? I know one of your aunt and uncles live here in Colorado, but where are the others?”
“I have a few relatives who live in Italy, but most of them live here in the United States.”
“Do you get to see them very often?” Anna forked a bite of the crisp salad and munched on it.
“Not as much as I’d like to. We used to get together twice a year for a big family reunion , but it seems like everyone is so busy these days that it’s getting harder to get us all together. But when we do, watch out.”
Anna laughed. “I know what you mean.”
They both ate several bites of their food.
Nicholas set his fork down, wiped his mouth, and set his napkin beside his plate. “I’m curious. Are you sorry you didn’t move to California with your family?”
Anna finished swallowing the cheesy garlic bread and wiped her mouth. “No. I miss them. Especially around the holidays, when things are so busy at the shop that I can’t get away to spend the holidays with them. But I can’t imagine myself living anywhere else, and I have no plans to ever move.” As soon as the words left her mouth, she caught a glimpse of Nicholas’s face going slack. Only then, she wished she could take the words back even though they were the truth. She couldn’t leave. Her dear friends that were also now her employees, along with Donald and his friends needed her.
The next morning, Anna woke up at two and made it to her shop by three. She and her crew had so many orders, it would take several days of early mornings to fill them all.
Cailyn was the first to walk in the back door of Sweet Treasures. “Morning,” she chirped.
Anna turned from setting the ovens on preheat. “Morning.”
Cailyn hurried over to her. “Okay. Before everyone else gets here, tell me all about your day yesterday. I saw you leave church with Nicholas. Did you have lunch together? Did you spend the whole day together, or what? Spill, woman, spill.”
“Well I would if you’d give me a chance.” Anna playfully swatted at Cailyn’s arm. While she teased her friend, Anna loved how Cailyn cared about her and every aspect of her life. God had shined down on her by giving her such a special friend as Cailyn. “Yes, we had lunch together. We went out to my place and—“
“You took him to your place?” Cailyn’s sparkling green eyes zoned in on Anna’s face, and her smile widened. “So what happened? Anything? Did he kiss you again?”
Anna should have never shared those particular details of her Saturday night date with Nicholas. But, Cailyn had made her promise to call no matter how late it was when she got home and Anna had found she couldn’t refuse. When she had finished sharing, Cailyn all but had Anna and Nicholas married and living happily ever after despite the fact that Nicholas lived in New York. That fact hadn’t deterred Cailyn one little bit. Anna wished she could say the same thing for herself. But that was Cailyn. Always the romantic. “You are such a hopeless romantic.”