Back at my place, the beach…the one with the dogs… and—
Seriously? Frig—not him again.
The simple question from the simple word made me smile. It was so…..real. So….right now. His shaggy friend tried to meld with my body again.
“Leia, no! Calm down!”
“Leia? As in Princess?”
“Guilty. Major Star Wars fanatic.”
Jeff and Leia sat down with me, uninvited.
“Lucas almost didn’t make that movie because there was so much negativity rolling all around it,” he said. “So they say.”
“Whoever they are.”
“Look. Over there.” He pointed to a couple walking along the beach with their dog. “They look very they.”
I laughed. Something felt so good about the simplicity of the moment, with the ease of laughing. There was no pretense, nowhere else I had to be, nothing else needed right there, right then. That was so Wisconsin.
“They do,” I smiled. “Look very they, that is.”
He cut to the chase. “Would you like to have dinner sometime?”
“Sure.” Awkward pause. “How about now?” I asked. “I’m kind of hungry.”
He looked like someone just told him he won the lottery. Despite living inside this amazingly handsome and successful man that he’d become, I could tell the pipsqueak still talked—even reigned—inside his head. He should meet Fugly sometime.
Dinner was comprised of pasta and mostly him talking about his job because I suddenly turned into a mute.
“I never forgot that,” he sighed, after telling me about exposing a family-values politician’s mistress back when he was a young, hotshot reporter.
“But we do need to know that kind of thing.”
“Right, we do. But it didn’t have to come from me. I ruined two families. We need to expose hypocrisy, but it didn’t have to come from me. There are plenty of reporters eager to do that. I’m not one of them.”
“Maybe that’s the best thing that happened to all of those people involved—the kids, too. They weren’t living with lies anymore.”
“Maybe.” His expression told me he hadn’t thought it of that way before. I watched a little bit of guilt ease out of his face.
“I prefer sports anyway, though,” he said. “Must’ve been meant to be.”
That wasn’t something I’d expected a sports journalist to say, but there it was.
Jeff looked around for the waiter, who was nowhere to be found. He looked over at me, and I tried to hide that I’d been staring at him. “I heard ya lookin’.”
I looked down, mostly so he couldn’t see the tears in my eyes.
“Want to do this again sometime soon?”
I surrender. The title of this scene could be “Nice Guys Don’t Finish Last; They Finish Best.” Or, “Sweet Guy with Dog Meets Madwoman.” Seriously.
I’ve kissed many, many frogs. Oh, that is so incredibly rude. What’d they think if they knew I considered them frogs? What would their mothers say? And what did they think of me?
Maybe they were hoping I’d turn into a Princess—or at least someone who knew she was a Princess. We’re all royalty, really.
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