“She really hates the idea of me online dating,” Kristen adds.
“And see, I’m the opposite. I don’t care for online dating. Well, not until I talked to you.”
She pulls away slightly to stare at me. “But was that online?”
“I think it definitely was. We were on our phones.”
“Yeah,” she says, the hint of a smile tugging at her lips. But the smile fades. “It’s crazy though. You live in New York. I didn’t even really know who I was talking to. And it’s all just a setup. It never would have worked.”
“No. Never at all,” I agree. She’s right. But I wish she was wrong.
I sigh and figure it’s best to end the date sooner rather than later.
But Kristen arches a brow, looks at me with a glint in her eyes, and I swear I see computer algorithms whirring inside her brain.
“It wouldn’t. But I have a crazy idea.”
The first order of business is to send a note to Grams.
Me: Cameron is awesome! You were right. We’re getting along so well. I can’t wait to tell you everything.
Then we’re off and running. We slide into his rental car, his bag with him, and drive to Miami International Airport. Once inside, we take a photo, waving with the airport sign behind us. We head all the way to security, snapping selfies as we go.
A little later, we grab our seats. More photos taken. Champagne poured. Glasses raised. “What should we toast to?” I say, a smile tipping the corners of my mouth. I’m having too much fun.
Not that there is such a thing.
Cameron stares off into the distance, as if he’s thinking. For a second, it hits me—he really is ThinkingMan. He fits the bill. He talks like the man online. He seems like the man online.
How could my grandmother conjure him up so perfectly?
I blink away the thought since I don’t quite know what to make of it or what to do with the wild caper we’ve embarked on tonight.
He meets my gaze, and those blue eyes hold mine. They shine with desire and with possibility. That look—I haven’t seen it in a long time, and I like it. I like it because I feel it too.
He inches closer. My breath hitches from him being so near.
This is connecting.
“Let’s toast to what comes next,” he says, and the words are drenched with possibility. So much unexpected possibility that whoosh goes the rest of the world.
My heart flutters, and my skin sizzles as I imagine what “next” could be. Touches, kisses, sighs, moans. Butterflies, and their naughty cousins in lingerie, inhabit my chest as I clink my glass to his. “To what comes next, whatever it might be.”
With my free hand, I hold up my phone and snap a photo as we move in close, cheek to cheek. I catch a faint scent of his aftershave, or maybe it’s his soap. It’s clean and fresh and decidedly masculine, all at once. The scent makes my stomach flip, sending a shimmy down my body on a fast track to right where I need him.
For a moment, I stop and assess the situation. That’s what I do best. I apply numbers and reason. Numbers don’t lie. I’ve felt quantifiably more first-date tingles with Cameron, and more intense ones too, than I have on other dates. Certainly far more than I’ve had on any cheese-making or carrot-pickling outings.
I set down my glass. He does the same.
Numbers wash away, and I let chemistry take over as I press a quick kiss to the sandpaper five-o’clock shadow stubble on his cheek. When I dust my lips to his face, I close my eyes, and a whole new zip of pleasure races across my skin, leaving a trail of sparks in its wake.
I love the scratch of his cheek.
I love the feel of his skin.
I love what it does to me.
He moves ever so slightly, and then we’re looking at each other, not like two people playing a game. Not like a man and woman orchestrating a crazy idea.
We’re lingering like two people who want something else.
Something we both crave. The reason we date. The reason we sift through online profiles, the reason we let our friends and family set us up, the reason we seek out another person.
And the cherry on top . . .
The prospect of a kiss.
“Kiss for the camera?” I ask. It comes out breathy, betraying all my inner longing.
I don’t care.
“A kiss for the camera is necessary to pull off this caper.” He makes the first move, inching closer to me. I watch him until I can’t watch him anymore, until my eyes cross, and then I shut them and feel the soft whisper of his lips across mine. I gasp quietly, savoring the first touch from this man who’s maybe two men, or maybe he’s half of both men I liked. But even though the seesaw of LuckySuit and ThinkingMan threw me off, there’s nothing confusing about the way his lips feel against mine.