“What are you doing here?” Asking Carver this question felt like déjà vu to Lina since she’d been thinking it all day.
The photo shoot was over, yet here he was standing in the office doorway at almost six the following evening.
“You promised to show me your city.” A grin spread quickly on his face as he walked farther into the room.
“I thought we did that last night.” She’d lain awake after, recalling every word they’d spoken to each other. “And how’d you know where to find me?”
He frowned. “It wasn’t hard considering I know you work for RGF.”
Right. Well, that didn’t mean she was open to him visiting. But why not? He was a friend from her hometown; once upon a time he’d been a very dear friend. With a quick breath, she decided she was being foolish. “Okay, where do you want to go?”
“Your favorite place?”
“To eat or just walk? Because I spend a lot of time walking and people watching.” It was one of her biggest hobbies. She loved to look at people and wonder what type of life they led, if they were happy, if all their dreams were coming true. It gave her a boost of energy searching for the good in everything she saw, especially when there was so much bad going on around her.
Standing, she grabbed her purse. “Let’s go to one of my favorite museums, and then we’ll grab dinner at another great spot I know.”
She headed for the door, but he stood in front of her, stopping her progress.
“Sounds like a plan. There’s just one thing we need to get out of the way first,” he said.
He was standing so close, looking so good in dark blue jeans, a black T-shirt and a matching jacket. That jitteriness she’d felt in the pit of her stomach last night was back as she tried to hold his gaze without giving away how his proximity affected her.
“What’s that?” she finally asked.
“I want to be clear that this is a date.”
“A what?” She couldn’t help it—the questions were necessary. The quick patter of her heart and sound of utter confusion in her voice were just along for the ride.
“This,” he said, moving a hand between them. “Is a date. I mean, as long as you’re not dating anyone else.”
“No,” she said, then snapped her lips closed.
His eyes widened, and he tilted his head. “No, this isn’t a date, or no, you’re not dating anyone?”
“Both.” She shook her head, because she didn’t know what to say. She didn’t know what to feel—even though her body was doing a pretty good job of reminding her that she was attracted to Carver, and not like someone should be attracted to an old friend.
“Let’s try this again.” He took a step closer to her.
As he took both her hands in his, a quick calm settled over her.
“I’d like to take you out on a date, Lina.” He was looking at her with the same piercing root beer–brown eyes that had stared at her when he’d asked her to the prom.
Prom had been one night—why couldn’t this be one date? That’s all he was asking.
She nodded, because she was finally accepting what she’d known even back then. “Yes,” she said. “Yes, we can go out on a date.”
His smile was big and bright, and her heart thumped again.
She slipped her hands from his and began walking to the door. “But only this one, and then you’ll go back to your life and I’ll get on with mine.”
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