I halt the image train. I can’t let the fantasy go any further. After all, I’m seeing him tomorrow for work. I finish my drink and resolve to enjoy this newfound friendship and partnership with him.
That’s all there is, and that’s what I focus on the rest of the night as I go home, kick off my shoes, and strip out of my clothes.
Except I’m pretty sure it’s not in any business handbook to think of your new colleague the whole time you’re taking a hot shower.
But I do it anyway.
I choose my outfit carefully, opting for a cap-sleeve mint-green blouse with a sweetheart neckline and capri jeans. I shoot a quick video for my Instagram, detailing why I chose it for my first on-air segment, then posting it with details on where to nab the goodies.
I head to the studio. Chris waits for me in the lobby, looking California cool in jeans and a navy Henley.
“I’m pretty sure those clothes were made for you,” I say, after he gives me a quick hug.
“These? Nah, I just grabbed them at Banana Republic, or maybe even Target, I think.”
I nudge him. “It was a compliment on how good you look. Not on where you shopped.”
“Oh.” His cheeks turn a faint shade of red. “Thanks.”
“Thanks for pointing that out,” he says as we turn down the hall.
“It’s kind of cute actually.”
“Thanks, that’s what I was hoping for. Cute blushing.”
“You don’t like the sound of cute blushing?”
“It’s not very manly, now is it?”
“A man doesn’t have to be manly every second of the day,” I say softly.
He looks over at me as we walk, adopting a too-deep voice. “Yes. Yes, we do.”
I roll my eyes. “I like your blushing. It’s sweet.”
“Great. Now I’m sweet,” he says sarcastically.
I shrug happily. “I think it’s sweet that you blush at a compliment.”
We reach the end of the hall, and he stops abruptly. “You look completely fucking edible.”
I blink, and my cheeks flame. “I do?”
“You do,” he says with a devilish grin, then he leans closer. “And now you’re blushing, and it’s insanely cute too.”
I smack his arm. “You devil.”
He winks, sets a hand on my back, and says, “Let’s do a segment, like the couple of cute blushers that we are.”
Yup. I can’t stop flirting with this man.
And from the looks of it, he can’t seem to stop flirting with me either.
That makes me deliciously happy.
McKenna is a pro. With the cameras on us, she makes everything seem easy. And honestly, this is her bailiwick and mine too—chatting it up for the lens.
I introduce her and explain what the new segment is all about, then I point to the camera. “And now it’s time for you to have your say and get all your burning questions answered.” I turn to the gorgeous brunette by my side. “Are you ready, McKenna?”
She rubs her hands together. “Bring it on. Hit me.”
“No softballs here. We have a question from Jason in Dallas. This is a tough one. When you’re on a first date with a woman, what does it mean when she orders lobster?”
She looks at the camera then at me. “That’s simple. It means she likes shellfish.”
I give her a playful look. “C’mon. That can’t be all it means. Isn’t lobster like a code for something?”
She pretends to consider the question then answers thoughtfully. “Yes, it’s code for the lady likes shellfish.” She turns more serious. “Fine, let’s be frank—it’s usually the most expensive item on the menu. A lot of times guys think that means it’s a guarantee for action. Am I right, Chris?”
I hold up my hands, so I’m not culpable for that kind of one-track-mind thinking. “I’m not saying I think that, but some dudes do.”
She pats my shoulder. She’s quite touchy, and I like it. I like it a lot. “It’s okay,” she says. “If you ever take me out, I promise I won’t order lobster.”
She’s perfectly playful, and that’s what I want. When I prepped her for the segment, I told her to feel free to ad-lib, to poke fun at me, and to have a good time. That’s what she’s doing, and it feels natural.
“Fine, so no lobster when I take you out, but let’s help Jason. Does it mean anything or nothing?”
“In all seriousness, what it means is something awesome. Are you ready for it?”
I dig in my heels, wiggling my fingers for her to serve it up. “I’m ready. We’re ready. Give it to us.”
“It means she likes you enough to not be embarrassed eating in front of you. A lobster is a big, messy production. Take it as a good sign that she’s into you.”
I pump a fist. “Woot woot. She’s into you, Jason.”
McKenna holds up a finger. “But don’t take it as a sign she wants to get busy.”