“I told you so.”
“But there’s no way you can top this.”
“I so can.”
“Why do you like healthy food so much? And exercise?”
“Why? Because I want to live a long, healthy life, have a couple kids, and be around to play soccer with their grandkids too. That’s why.”
Her eyes flicker with something new, something I haven’t seen in them before. “Is that so?”
Her tone is a little less of the usual flirty and sarcastic. It’s almost like it’s been stripped bare.
“That is very much so.”
Her friend Julie joins her, so I return to my table. But I decide to have some more fun with the redhead, since she seems to like it so much. I ask the guy next to me for a sheet of paper from his notebook and a pen. I write in the middle of the paper. Then I fold it, give it some wings, and send it to her at her table. I watch as it soars, landing gently on Ginny’s tray of pasta.
She seems surprised at first, then she looks up and notices me. I shoot her a grin. She smiles right back, and it sure looks as if she digs that I sent her this. That I’m not an annoyance to her, that she’s getting quite the little kick out of this strange flirtation.
When she unfolds the wings, she grins. That sexy kind of smile. A little bit wicked, a little bit mischievous, something that tells me that maybe there are tingles running through her body.
God knows I have way more than tingles—I’ve got a whole lot of lust rattling through me as I savor the view of Ginny Perretti opening my paper airplane and reading my note.
“Satisfaction is coming.”
I shouldn’t have touched his arm in the break room.
But who can blame me?
The man is hella toned. His body is like a work of exercise art.
Honestly, though, that’s not his biggest selling feature. I’d still like him if he was soft in the middle.
Noah Rivera piques my interest for many other reasons. His persistence. His oddball humor. His zest for, well, everything.
His big, crazy heart. My God, the man wants to have kids and grandkids, and wants to play with them.
This is not fair.
Still, I need to resist hot young things. I’ve been down this road before, and I don’t know that I want to travel it again and take a chance at being left high and dry.
After I put my daughter to bed, I vow not to text him.
Don’t respond to his paper airplane message.
That’s what I’ve been trying to do all afternoon. All evening.
Don’t respond, don’t give in, don’t do it.
Two hours of Netflix bingeing later, I’m still resisting him.
Though I have given in to my third glass of wine, turned on the scalding hot water in the tub, and run a bubble bath.
Calgon, take me away.
I sink down under the water with my phone on the ledge of the tub. One more sip of chardonnay.
I picture Noah. Wonder what he’s up to. I linger on that word. Satisfaction. And as the water slip-slides around my naked body, I feel my resistance tiptoe out the door.
Ginny: Satisfaction is coming? You don’t say. All from more kale?
Noah: It was delicious, wasn’t it?
Ginny: I’ll admit it was quite tasty. Just as I said earlier.
Noah: Wait till tomorrow. I’ll have something even better for you.
Ginny: Something better, you say?
Noah: Does that pique your interest?
I put my phone down so I don’t reply with something naughty like, say, You pique all sorts of parts.
Just to be safe, I set the phone on the bath mat so I’m not tempted. But as I sink under the water, I replay our flirtations, our break room bump-ins, the little touches, and the paper airplane.
My skin heats up, and it’s not from the water in the tub. It’s from the way he flirts with me, and from the way I like it more than I want to.
The next day, I do it again. I find another shop, and I bring her another kale treat. I hand it to her in the break room.
“What’s this?” she asks, as if she can’t possibly believe it could be food. She holds it between her fingers.
I adopt my most serious tone. “We call that chocolate-covered kale.”
She coughs. “Seriously? Are you trying to turn me off?”
Ah, hell. I just can’t resist. I step closer. “No, I’m trying to turn you on. Don’t you get that by now?”
She doesn’t say anything at first, and I freeze, worried I’ve crossed a line. But she dips a toe over it, whispering, “Are you?”
“I definitely am.” I take a beat. “So, is it working?”
She holds up a thumb and forefinger. “A little.”
And I can work with a little. I can definitely work with that. “Excellent.”
“Just promise me you won’t ever bring me a kale smoothie.”