All too soon, his morning walk came to an end as June’s bakery came into view. Over the road held Trey’s tattoo parlor where he worked when time was slow on the construction side of his life.
No matter what he did, he wanted to work with his hands. Rubbing the back of his head as they came to the store, he watched as Aria bent over. Her jacket lifted up, and he got a show of her curvy rear. So round, so sexy, and he’d give anything to have it nestled against his pelvis as he fucked her hard.
He didn’t know when he wanted to start fucking her, but he had, and now, it was driving him crazy.
She was on a dating site.
How was he going to make sure she was making the right decision?
“Would you like me to make you a coffee? I know my taste is a little on the extreme.”
“I’d love one.” He’d already made an agreement with himself that he wouldn’t turn her down or away when she asked him for something. It was the start, he hoped, for her to trust him.
“What’s wrong?” June asked. “You look a little lost there, sweetie.”
Aria pulled out of her thoughts as she looked down at the guy who’d been texting her on and off for the past couple of hours. She hadn’t expected to get a hit on the dating website so soon, but now that she had, she was really nervous.
David Wild wanted to meet up for drinks tonight, but thinking about going and meeting a total stranger, her nerves were back. Max walking her to work didn’t help matters either. She struggled to think and to process properly.
This was why she hated dating. At twenty-five years old, she was still a freaking virgin and hadn’t been on a real date ever.
Most of the guys she knew, she didn’t want to date.
“What do you think?” she asked, passing June her cell phone.
June had given birth to a little bouncy boy a few months ago, but even though she shouldn’t be in the shop, she always found a reason to stop by. Motherhood suited the other woman, and Aria couldn’t help but envy her. She had a wonderful, attentive husband, good friends, and now an angel for a son.
While Aria had her work and her books.
That was all she had.
No one to snuggle up with. No one to go see a movie with. She’d stopped going to the movies as waiting in line behind so many couples and even guys and girls as friends, and all combinations in between, she would be the lonely loser with a single ticket.
It sucked, big time.
“Wow, do you know him?” June asked.
“No. Isn’t that the point of a dating website? To not know who they are.” She sighed.
“We’re back to my original question, what’s wrong?”
“I don’t know. I think I’m going insane.” She didn’t respond to the message and slid the phone back into her pocket, grabbing her coffee to take a sip.
“Okay, something is clearly bugging you. Why didn’t you respond to that guy?” June asked.
Swallowing the hot coffee, Aria stared at her friend, hearing Molly deal with the customers. Aria had been in the kitchen since a little after three baking for the entire day. It was close to closing time, and she was exhausted. The thought of going on any date right now didn’t exactly thrill her.
“I don’t think I’m cut out for all of this dating stuff. I don’t have what it takes to hold a conversation with a guy.”
“You talk with Dale and Trey perfectly fine. Even Max. Admittedly, you don’t say much to him, but it’s a start.”
“It’s not a date though. I mean, what am I going to talk about? What do men expect on dates?”
June gave her a pointed look.
“See, that’s my point. I don’t know. I’m not good with this.” The more she started to think about going on a date, the less Aria even wanted to.
“You totally should go on this date,” June said. “I think it’ll be good for you.”
“This guy isn’t a local, and you can get a feel for what dating is really like rather than being terrified.” June shrugged. “It’s the only way you’re going to feel even a little safe about it.”
Reaching into her cell phone, Aria nibbled her lip and felt completely out of her comfort zone. This was the point though. The only reason she went on the dating site was to find someone. Her soulmate.
“Okay, yes.” She agreed to dinner and drinks, pressing the “send” button.
The moment she did, she started to panic.
“I can’t do this,” she said.
“Yes, you can,” June said. “You’re more capable of doing these things than you give yourself credit for.”
“What’s going on?” Molly asked.
“Aria is going on a date, and tomorrow this place is opening up later. You don’t have to worry about getting in here so early. I know you’re probably tired after a long day.”
She had started to get tired, but she’d not been sleeping well at night, either.
“How exciting. We need to get you ready. This place is spotless as usual. We need to shut up shop and get her ready,” Molly said.
“Guys, it’s fine. Really. I can do this.”
“You can?” June asked.
“Yes, of course. I can dress myself and get to wherever he wants to go for drinks. It’s easy.” She forced a smile to her lips.
“We can finish up here,” June said. “Go on. We want pics of how good you look. Go on.”
Aria was herded out of the shop within a matter of minutes. Much to her surprise, Molly and June were really excited about her date, while she was terrified.
This would be her first official date.
Pulling her bag high up onto her shoulder, she walked the short distance home. This was the first time in a while she’d walked home alone. Max was always there to talk to her about something or just to keep her company, not that she enjoyed his company, or even missed him. Of course not. She had more interesting things to think about and to do than think about the guy who used to bully her.
Aria pushed thoughts of Max out of her head as she entered her home, and went straight to the bathroom. Stripping out of her clothes, she threw them into the laundry basket, as she hated mess of any kind. There were times her need for cleanliness got in the way of her baking as she hated to be a messy baker or cook. She was always cleaning her utensils, wiping down counters. It was a habit she’d gotten into early in life, and it had only extended from there.
Humming to herself, she stepped beneath the shower and let out a little gasp as the cold water washed over her body. She’d forgotten to give it a second to warm up. Crossing her arms over her chest, she tilted her head back and waited. The moment it warmed up, she turned in the water, giving it a chance to warm her bones.
It felt so good, so very good.
Once she was all wet, she soaped her body, and then shampooed and conditioned her hair, taking her time. Wasn’t that what women did for a date? Took their time? Had fun?
She was so not used to this kind of thing.
After her shower, she wrapped her hair in a towel, dried her body, and went to her closet to grab the only cocktail dress she o
wned. It was black, and she’d worn it to a funeral. She had no other use for it, so with some new black lingerie she had a weakness for, she pulled them on, followed by the dress, and started to get her hair ready. There was no need for her to even contemplate makeup. She’d never taken the time to get used to wearing the stuff, and now, it would only make her more frazzled.
Calling a cab, she waited for it to arrive as she stared down at the text.
They were going to meet in a small restaurant bar near the mall. She could do this. It would be super easy. Nothing too intrusive.
Her cab arrived and one last look at her home, and she slowly left, trying to think of a really good excuse not to go.
Instead, she locked the door and headed toward the driver.
Giving him the location, she climbed into the back of the car, finding her nerves were shot. Her hands shook, and her palms were sweaty. She could do this.
She really could do this.
Even as she thought this, though, she felt a little sick at the prospect of meeting some strange man and having drinks.
You can do this. Just don’t accept a drink from him. You don’t want him to spike your drink. Order a salad, even though you hate cucumbers. Just order one.
Over and over in her mind, she kept on repeating what she should and shouldn’t do until she started to get all panicky and worried.
There was no time to panic though because the cab driver pulled up, and any chance she had of leaving was gone.
She paid the cab driver his price and climbed out of the car, staring at the building where she would meet her very first date.
Taking a deep breath, she stepped toward the door, and when she opened it, she felt incredibly sick and nervous.
This would be easy.
She had to start somewhere to find her soulmate. With that in mind, she stepped into the restaurant with a little spring in her step.