Page 29 of The Dating Proposal

For a sliver of a moment, I’m back in time, remembering our relationship. Todd was the same in those last few months as he was when I met him—charming, funny, philosophical. There were no signs, no indication that his eye would wander, that his heart would leap over the fence and run away without even waving goodbye.

The only sign, I suppose, was his Diet Coke trickery. He knew about my first sip fixation, but he would always ruin it for me by opening the can himself and taking a hit with a devilish little smirk.

But if that was it, how can I read anything into anything? Or something into nothing?

That’s why I can’t trust signs.

Or feelings.

Or flirtations.

It’s safer to date for fun.

And this right now? This is fun.

Even though it’s not a date, not a date, not a date.

“Okay, you want my top tip?”

At Chris’s question, I return to the present. And this is where I want to be. Here, with this wickedly handsome man whose hands are on mine, whose body is behind me, and whose lips are near my ear.

“I do,” I say, a little more breathlessly than I expected.

“This may sound cheesy, but the real key is to let go. Let go of the need to check where your hands are or to look constantly at the neck of the guitar. Can you let go?”

I want to let go with you. Give me your top tip for that. Show me how that feels. “I’ll try.”

“Close your eyes.”

“Close my eyes?” My tone is tight, a little nervous.

“Yes, close your eyes. I know it’s going to be really hard for you not to be in control for one second, but trust me.”

“Oh, ha ha,” I tease. But the thing is, I do trust him. That awareness hits me out of the blue, but it’s a fully-formed realization. I trust him. “I trust you,” I whisper, as I close my eyes.

“Good. That’s what I need,” he replies, his voice soft and a little tender. “Try to feel where your fingers are. Here’s the green note.” He places his finger down on top of my index finger, playing the green note.

Sparks zip down my chest.

“Here’s the red.” He presses his middle finger against mine, playing the red note now, and the pleasure ricochets through my body, on a mad dash to fill me with silver-and-gold sensations, all from his touch.

“And here’s the yellow.” He keeps his ring finger against mine, playing the yellow note. His scent floods my nostrils. The muscles on his arms bump up against my softer parts. His lips near my neck, so incredibly close, are thrilling.

I feel. Dear God, do I feel.

I feel a zing and a zip and a whole lot of tingles and shivers.

I want to lean into him. I want him to wrap his arms around me and hold me tighter as he teaches me to play. I want contact. I want it so badly, I don’t know how I’ll ever play a song because I am living and breathing only one thing right now—the wish to be closer to him, my back curved against his front, his arms wrapped tight around me, our bodies entwined. I’m a tuning fork, vibrating hotly from his touch.

“What you want is to feel the notes, not look at them.”

I played arcade games for fun when I was a kid, and for release when I was left curbside by my ex. But I never imagined video games as foreplay. Here with Chris, every single second feels like a slow burn. Like we’re giving in to whatever flirtation we’ve been having. Like he’s going to turn me around, place his hands on my cheeks, and pull me in for a kiss, the kind that makes the world fall away.

Is that how he’d kiss? Like my sailboat in the moonlight?

He leans in even closer and whispers in my ear, “You can open your eyes now and play.”

I inhale deeply and let my eyes float open. I feel wobbly from the way he’s touched me, from the way I’ve let my thoughts spin into a dark and dangerous place of possibility.

I press start on Poison’s “Talk Dirty to Me.” I hit the green notes, then the red notes, then the yellow ones. Then the next set and the next. I even nail a long note, then another, then a whole sequence of star-power notes, and I give in to the game. I channel all my desire into the playing, and I’m jamming here, the pseudo-music taking my mind off the fact that I want Chris to talk dirty to me.

The last note sounds, and the crowd on the screen goes wild. I raise my hands in the air. Victory. A thrill rushes through me. “I rock!”

Chris smiles big and wide, the teacher proud of his student. “Fast learner are you,” he says in Yoda’s voice.

Tags: Lauren Blakely Romance