I grimaced. “Okay. Thanks, I guess.”
Ashlyn laughed again and slapped my arm. “The flower, when it blooms, is gorgeous. And it’s a cactus, so you won’t kill it if you forget to water it for a few days.”
“Now this I can work with.”
“Right,” Ashlyn smiled, walking back to the driver’s side and climbing in. “Good night, Sabbatical. See you in the morning.”
I waved as her truck pulled away, clinking and clunking as it disappeared down the road.
The minute I got home, I made straight for the greenhouse. I needed to keep myself busy, to get my mind off of Chance. It had been so long since the last time I had had a proper conversation with someone, and although the man was literally a stranger, talking to him almost felt like I had been talking with an age-old friend.
I went straight for the flowers in the back, grabbing my chart and quickly marking off with flowers I would be taking to the motel tomorrow. My mind kept wandering back to Chance, a part of me wondering if maybe I should change the lilies in his room for something a little more colorful. Maybe a stronger scent if he was going to keep smoking in there.
Which shouldn’t be something you’re thinking about.
Right, of course. I shook my head and tried to concentrate on the task at hand, and after a few minutes, I realized I had screwed up the order completely. I sighed in frustration, ripped the checklist off my pad, and started over again. I needed to keep my head on straight. There was no logical reason for me to be thinking about the guy, especially since I knew he’d be gone within a couple of days.
Maybe convince Hank to go extra slow on the repairs?
Stupid. Very stupid. I crumbled up the second checklist after I had realized I’d written in two dozen flowers of a kind I did not even have yet. This was getting ridiculous. Sure, he was hot. Fucking hot, for that matter. The eyes, the jawline, the way he looked at me when I talked, hanging on my every word. And the fact that his eyes hadn’t wandered south was definitely a plus.
And my God, an actual mind to go with it. I had come across my fair share of handsome men who had nothing up top other than a burning light bulb. But Chance was different. Intellectual. Knew his books, his history, almost as if he had stepped out of a commercial for the perfect Saturday night date. And a sense of humor, too. Sure, a bit on the s
arcastic side, but definitely funny enough to keep me smiling all afternoon.
I had missed that. It had been so long, way too long, in fact, and the whole day had felt like something out of a dream. Like I had somehow fallen asleep at the motel and had dreamt through everything that had happened. I would wake up any minute now, realize that nothing had been real, and that the stranger in room number seven was just your regular douche who couldn’t stop staring at my breasts or ass.
Only, that wasn’t going to happen, was it? I wasn’t going to wake up. I wasn’t dreaming.
I tossed the clipboard to a side, leaned in on the table of pots and sighed. I blew a strand of hair out of my face and ran my hand across my brow, massaging my neck softly. If I wasn’t going to get any work done, I might as well call it a night. A good book and the comfort of my bed. That’s what I needed.
And less thinking about Chance, dammit.
Chance Sabbatical. I realized I had never asked him for his last name.
“What’s your story, Mr. Sabbatical?” I asked myself as I made my way into the house, kicked off my shoes and rummaged through the kitchen for anything to snack on. There was still a little iced tea left, and I poured myself a glass before heading upstairs with my book.
I undressed slowly, my eyes closed and my mind striking up images of Chance’s hands pulling off my clothes. I felt a slight shiver race through me at just the thought of it, and quickly brushed the image away. I crawled into bed, turned on the night light and began to read Bridges of Madison County.
The farmer’s wife had just decided to sleep with the traveling photographer… The words on the page sent my thoughts swirling back to Chance.
But it was hard to shake the thought of Chance away.
I turned in bed, pulling the covers tighter around me and closing my eyes, trying to concentrate on nothing else but the sound of my own breathing.
He’s here for only a few days. Won’t hurt, would it?
I had no idea, but there was not a single part of me that was willing to find out. My time with Earl had turned me off all men, and even the thought of dating someone, or eventually sleeping with someone, made me shudder. Earl had not just been a terrible husband, but an even worse lover. It was all about him, all the time, and I couldn’t count the number of times I waited until he was asleep so I could finish off what he hadn’t. It was like sleeping with a wooden board that happened to have an extension slamming inside me.
I had a feeling, though, that would be quite different with Chance. With that last thought in my head, I slowly fell asleep.
I woke up to the sound of someone repeatedly slamming on my front door. The sheer aggressiveness of it made me jump out of bed, quickly reaching for a shirt and shorts as I silently hoped it wasn’t someone coming to give me bad news. My heart thumped in my chest, and my mind immediately went to Chuck and Martha. Had something happened at the motel?