She toyed with telling him as soon as he arrived to get it over with, but a selfish part of her looked forward to seeing him and wanted this time. Maybe a better time would be at the end of the date. A knock at the door broke into her thoughts.
Faith went to open the door. Brandon stood there wearing a pair of black shorts and a pale blue short-sleeved button-down shirt, and smiling. “Good morning.”
“Morning.” Brandon bent and kissed her tenderly.
Any thoughts she had of coming clean fled. If she could bottle up his kisses to take home, she would.
Faith nodded. She picked up her purse, jacket and the bag with an extra set of clothes that he had asked her to bring when he called late last night. He eased it from her hand and she followed him out to his car. As they merged onto the freeway, she was pleasantly surprised to see the traffic flowing at the speed limit. “So, where are we going?”
Brandon slanted her a quick glance. “It’s a surprise, remember? If I tell you, then it won’t be.”
She twisted in her seat to face him. “Oh, that’s how you’re gonna be?”
He chuckled. “Yep. You said I had to step up my game and give you a better than good date. I’m just trying to oblige you.” He wiggled his eyebrows and unleashed that smile on her. “I hope you’re ready for some fun.”
She returned his smile and poked him in the shoulder. “Okay. I’ll play your little game, but you’d better bring it. I want to remember this day long after I go home.” At the mention of her leaving, the playful mood changed and they fell silent. Faith straightened in her seat and stared out the window. She didn’t understand why the thought of leaving bothered her. Even if she came back to visit Thad later in the year, Brandon would have moved on, especially when she came clean about her identity. And she’d be a distant memory. If he remembered her at all.
“How long are you going to be here?”
“About two and a half weeks.” She had originally planned to stay two weeks and leave the day after the Gray Home Safety board meeting. However, Thad had convinced her to stay through the weekend because he wanted to have some kind of welcome party for her. He seemed sure the Gray family would welcome her with open arms, but she knew differently and questioned whether the gathering would be a good idea.
Brandon reached for her hand and brought it to his lips. “Then we have plenty of time.” He smiled.
Faith returned his smile, but inside knew that time was running out. A short while later, they reached Long Beach and she saw a sign that read The Catalina Landing. “A cruise?”
“Yes, ma’am. We’re going to take a trip to Catalina Island.” He tossed her a bold wink and hopped out of the car.
She groaned inwardly. If this was his definition of stepping up his game, she was in trouble. He came around and helped her out of the car. Without letting go of her hand, he shut the door, pressed the remote locks and started off.
“Wait. Don’t I need my bag?”
He stopped and looked down at her. “No. That’s for later.”
“What are we doing later?”
That sexy smile appeared. “You’ll see.”
Yep. Big trouble. She had a million questions, but he just continued walking. They bypassed the ticket window and got in line. Apparently, he had really done some planning because he’d purchased the tickets online beforehand. They had arrived an hour early for the ten-fifteen scheduled departure and, as a result, had a position near the front of the line.
When it came time to board, Brandon asked, “Do you want to sit inside or on the top deck?”
“If there are still seats available, I’d like to sit on the top deck.” Since the sun was shining and the weather not too cool, she thought it might be a better way to take in the scenery.
The ride to the island took about an hour. Faith stepped off the boat and glanced around the quaint area. Shops lined the walk all around and houses sat on hills behind them. “What are we going to do first?” she asked. “It’s a beautiful day.” Sun, blue skies, slight breeze and though the temperature said mid seventies, it felt at least ten degrees warmer.