I absolutely LOVE to read. I call myself a book nerd all the time, and it’s not at all uncommon for me to read 2-3 books per week. There’s really something special about a good character becoming like a friend over the course of three hundred pages, or a plot line really digging into your brain so you can’t get it out of your head until you finish the book. I crave good stories. It’s weird.
I drank in the sight of him standing there in the faded light of the entryway, the warm Southern fall night dark behind him. His long sleeve shirt hung over his six foot two inch frame from his muscular shoulders, sleeves pushed up on tanned and toned forearms. His shirt was barely tucked into the front of his well-worn, tattered and holey jeans slung low over his hips and held in place with a wide belt. On his feet were the ever present Rainbow flip flops that he’d been wearing outside of school since we were little kids. I mean, he’d had different pairs, of course, but he had always been all about a good beach shoe. The tan on his feet proved it.
He looked good. My eyes scanned upwards, taking in his crazy, disheveled brown hair that looked like it was permanently blowing in ocean winds, then to his face. As I registered the look of alarm that was there, his eyes found what they were looking for… Me.
Our eyes latched on and didn’t let go this time. I felt my breath leave me in a rush as I registered the fact that he was approaching the table I was sitting at with Lanie and Kate.
Snapping back to reality, I looked back and forth between my friends.
“Exactly,” said Lanie. “Ever since he was two months old.”
Kate stammered, “Right. Well, we’ll just be going. Call me later, Cass.” She and Lanie headed toward the door that Tony’s hot self had just come through, casting glances back at me as they left.
“You’re dirty? That’s new.” I heard Tony’s voice rumble with amusement as he gestured toward my cup, which was marked “dirty” – The Brew’s way of marking its contents. Guess I’d marked my own dirty chai cup out of habit.
But dang, that voice had gotten even deeper since the last time I’d heard it. I felt the effects of its deepness as my whole body responded, grateful he could only see the blush on my face.
“Uhh, yeah. I mean, no,” my flustered words amused him even more. “It’s a dirty chai.”
“Oh. Sorry if I interrupted something important with Lanie and Kate,” Tony said, a nervous expression settling onto his face. “I, um, I need some help.”
“You need help from me?”
“Well, yeah. I mean I need some help, and I thought of you.” Tony looked towards the door and wrung his hands together. His forehead was creased as he brought his gaze back to mine. His eyes, usually a clear tropical ocean blue, were weary and red with worry.
Given that, clearly, something was very wrong, I suppressed the urge to squeal over the fact that he’d thought of me.