They walked out into the summery evening—still light at nine thirty—and de Haan drove Jason back to his hotel and dropped him off.
Jason was hoping Sam’s dinner would be winding up soon. He ordered a drink in the Dry Fly Saloon, the bar located in the hotel lobby, and was just finishing his third Kamikaze—they served them in cocktail glasses there—when Sam strolled in a little after eleven.
For a moment, Jason just enjoyed watching Sam unaware he was being observed.
Granted, in a way that was always Sam because Sam had zero concern in anyone observing or not observing him.
He was a big man. Big personality and big physical presence. Tall, shoulders like a warship, and long, muscular, runner’s legs. He looked good in a suit and even better naked, although at forty-six, a little bit of softness, roundness, wouldn’t have been unexpected. But nope, there was not one ounce of superfluous flesh on Sam Kennedy’s body. He ran every day, rain or shine, boxed, lifted weights, and worked out regularly. He watched his diet, did not smoke, and only drank to excess on weekends—which he rarely took, so that was moot.
Maybe he was a little fanatical in the personal-upkeep department. That went with being a little fanatical about his mission. Mission being what most people referred to as a job.
Which Jason couldn’t object to since his family and friends referred to him as a workaholic. In fact, that shared work…ethic? was probably one of the reasons they were able to maintain their long-distance relationship—if you wanted to call these long gaps of not seeing each other maintenance.
Anyway, it seemed to Jason that these days Sam was a little more…maybe not relaxed. But more at ease? He even smiled at the girl behind the reception desk. Okay, he didn’t actually smile, but he did curve his cheek briefly.
Was that the word? Was happy even in Sam’s vocabulary? Not that he ever seemed unhappy. The whole concept of happiness seemed too flimsy to stand up to the stainless-steel edges of Sam’s psyche.
But yeah, if Sam were a mere mortal, Jason would have to say he did seem happier these days.
Jason’s mouth quirked at the thought, he was still watching Sam, and Sam glanced over, spotted him—and smiled.
An actual smile this time. It lit his eyes, softened his face.
Jason’s heart did a little flip.
Sam came across to him.
“Hi. Have you been waiting long?”
Jason shrugged. “Not really. How was dinner?”
“Prolonged.” Sam studied him. “Did you want another drink?”
Jason considered. “Did you?”
Jason’s smile widened. “Me neither.”
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