He doesn’t answer me; he just holds the door open for me to exit ahead of him. “Sheesh,” I huff, and I keep on huffing as he puts me in his truck and takes me to dinner.
DO NOT KISS HIM
“Hey, sugar,” Grandma greets me as soon as she steps into the salon. At seventy-eight, my grandma still has it going on. She doesn’t have many wrinkles on her face—probably from the Botox she will never admit she gets. Her thick silver hair is styled in a bob that accentuates her oval-shaped face and big blue eyes. She’s tan from getting sprayed in a booth down the street every other week, and her clothes are always stylish. Today she’s wearing simple black boots, black jeans, and a tight-fitting black blouse that is undone to show a hint of cleavage. She doesn’t look much older than my mom, who’s knocking on sixty’s door, though my mom looks younger than her age too.
“Hey, Grams.” I lean my head back so she can kiss my cheek. “I didn’t think you were coming in for a while.”
“Maria called, asked if I could fit her in this morning. She decided to give herself bangs last night.” She laughs while she walks across the salon to her station and puts her purse in the bottom drawer. With just four stations, ours is one of the smaller salons in town. We are also one of the busiest, with people walking in off the street and a long list of standing clients.
The place has not changed in years and could do with some updating, but that would mean shutting the salon down for renovations, and I don’t ever see that happening. We would probably be chased through the streets with pitchforks if we told our clients we were closing for weeks and they had to wait to get their hair done. That’s why the floors are still the same black-and-white checkered tile they’ve always been, and the stations look like something from the sixties; even the pink leather chairs have been there since the salon opened. My grandmother and mom and I have made it a point to keep things clean and in good condition, so the place at least doesn’t look run down.
“So how was your night?”
At her question, I spin in my chair to face the mirror so I don’t have to look at her when I answer. Last night, dinner with Tyler was . . . well, it was really good. We went to a local diner and ate at the bar because the place was packed. I found out over hamburgers and fries that Tyler had moved here from Tennessee after a friend of his who owns a construction company had offered him a job as a foreman.
He told me a little bit about his family, that his mom and dad are still married and that he has a sister and niece who live in Montana. I told him about going to school for nursing but then going back to school to get my cosmetology license and a little about my parents, brothers, and grandma. I also learned that he’s even more determined than I am when he wants something. He flat out refused to let me pay for dinner, and it wasn’t until he pointed out that people were watching us argue that I gave up the fight and let him pay.
After that, he drove us back home, and I didn’t expect it, but he walked me to my door and made sure I was inside before he left. I had to remind myself all night that it hadn’t been a date, that it had just been two neighbors having a meal and talking. But still, there was no denying I was attracted to him and enjoyed spending time with him. Crap.
“Sugar,” Grams calls, and I focus on the mirror and find her standing behind me. “What’s going on? You were miles away.”
“Sorry.” I shake away my thoughts.
“Are you thinking about your date tonight?” she asks, and my eyes widen.
Crap. How the heck did I forget about my date with Charles tonight? Charles and I dated for two years in high school. We were as serious as sixteen-year-olds could be and broke up right before we graduated since we were going to different colleges. I heard after our breakup that he had cheated on me numerous times, but I never told anyone except for my best friend, Chrissie. I didn’t even confront him; I just wrote him out of my life. I was dating Chris when he moved back to town a few years ago, and after he and I broke up, Charles started to ask me out. I always made up reasons to say no until he asked me out to dinner a little over a week ago while I was at lunch with my mother. She, of course, thought it was a great idea for me to go out with him, because she’d always liked him, and as with a lot of women in town, she thought he was a catch because he was young, attractive, and a lawyer. What those women don’t know is he’s also still a player, and I have no desire to be played with. I didn’t want to go, but with my mom staring at me from across the table with hope in her eyes, I felt like I didn’t have a choice. Now that date is tonight.