Love in the Time of Coffee
A Tuesday Teaser Just for You!
We said our goodbyes and Mac led me through the crowd toward the door. He passed a tip to the bouncer with a slap to the back for helping me out with the drunk and he took us out to the parking lot. It was early spring and the wind was chilly. He pulled me close to his side as he led us along the sidewalk toward the pier.
“Thanks for that back there.”
I looked up at him. “What do you mean?”
“Accepting that I used to be a fighter. It usually goes one of two ways. She likes me because she thinks I'm dangerous or she's afraid of me because she thinks I'm dangerous.”
I crossed my arms and leaned into him. “MMA is a big thing in this town. Hundreds of people go to see the local matches and watch guys beat the crap out of each other. It's a job like anything else I guess.” I grinned. “I don't think you're scary.”
His arm was warm around my shoulders as he stared up at the sky. His jaw was taunt, and I could tell he was bothered by the way other people saw him. “I had some issues with anger when I was younger. Most guys do. I went to the Army and they taught me how to manage it. Make it useful.”
“What were you angry about?”
He took my hand and we strolled, watching the water.
“Everything. My father was a career soldier stationed in Scotland when he met my mother. When she died he just turned himself off. To me. To the world. So I felt kind of abandoned by both of my parents at the same time. We moved back to the States when I was twelve, about a year after she died.”
Scotland explained his accent. Just a hint of the brogue remained.
“Well you seem pretty mellow to me.” I tugged on his hand, and we stopped. “Whatever the other girls' problems were, I'm not worried about what you used to do, or what you used to be.”
“Probably explains why I like you so much.”
“You like me?”
“Yeah.” he moved closer, his hands traveling over my arms and up my shoulders to cup my face. “I do.”
“Then you better kiss me, don't you think?”
When he moved to kiss me I stood on my toes to meet him half way. I wanted him to know that I liked him too. The meeting of our lips was like on all those chick flicks that Kara and I watched. It was electric and hot and delicious. He was tentative at first, kissing me softly. He licked the seam of my lips and he deepened the kiss, making me grab the lapels of his coat to keep myself upright. His arms were tight around me, holding me to him and I loved every single second of it. We didn't break apart until we were both out of breath.
His forehead rested on mine, and I could feel the thundering of his heart through his shirt where I still held his coat in my hands.
I laughed. “Yeah. Wow.”
He rubbed his palms over my back, keeping me flush against him. “Want to go out again tomorrow night, Irissa?”
“I can't.” I put my fingers over his mouth when he started to ask why. I saw the hurt look on his face at my rejection, but I wanted a minute to explain. “I want to. I do. I have work and finals this week.”
“I can wait.”
“You don't mind?” The truth was that I wanted to see him again very much, but I could not throw away my jobs or my grades no matter how much I liked him. If he could not understand that then we would not be seeing each other again. I tried to make that promise to myself, but I knew it would be a hard one to keep.
“You have a life. You had it before you met me. I can't expect you to change everything because I showed up.”
I had begun to think that this gorgeous man was too good to be true. Apparently, he was even better than I'd imagined.