Sharon’s Note: So, I like the occasional broody-boy love interest (although far too often do the lines of broody and jerk get blurred), but I think the archetype of the happy-puppy love interest is seriously under utilized. Sometimes you’ll see one in a love triangle, but he gets tossed aside because the broody-boy ‘needs’ the main character more. Some people love that, I hate it. I prefer a love interest I can like, not just feel sorry for. Warning: Maybe a slow start, but all good things to those who wait. Probably.
“Um, yeah. I’m Jen. It’s nice to meet you.” His grin was infection, so I had to smile too.
“So, my number should be on the fridge, if you need anything. Rick said he’d leave it there.” He took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. “So, I stopped by to say hi, but you are absolutely gorgeous and I was wondering if you wanted to go get coffee.”
My cheeks grew hot and I giggled. The guy who looked like he’d just walked out of a romance movie was calling me beautiful, and looked like he had as many butterflies in his stomach as I did over asking me out. I smiled coyly. “I don’t know. Does a town this small even have a coffee shop.”
It was his turn to blush. He looked at the ground and mumbled, “We have a coffee shop. It also sells ammo and cigars, but it is a coffee shop.”
“It sounds charming.” I chuckled. Baskerville must have finished his lunch, because he waddled up behind my legs, gave Sam the customary single woof, then crawled back onto the couch to take a nap. “Tell you what, I’ve had a really long drive up here, and I’m inclined to follow Bask’s example. I’ll give you a call about coffee, okay?”
He deflated briefly, then rallied. “Great. You’re here for a couple of weeks, right? I’m sure I’ll see you around. In a town this small, it’s kind of inevitable.”
“Yeah. I’ll see you around.” I slowly closed the door, then looked through the peephole. Sam hesitated for a moment, then walked back towards the park.
I looked over at Baskerville. “You don’t think Dad is trying to set me up again, do you?”
The old hound let out a loud, prolonged fart in reply. It was the response I expected, and I nodded gravely like it was profound wisdom while sitting on the arm of the couch to stroke his ear. “He’s happy and in love, so he wants everyone else to be happy and in love. At least this guy seems nice. The last guy he tried to set me up with was this super uptight businessman who was rude to the waiter. Like, I walked out in protest, rude.”
Baskerville had nothing to the conversation, so I sighed and went to the kitchen. There was a list of phone numbers taped to the fridge, starting with the local veterinarian, and including Sam, who’s name was underlined as a ‘trustworthy neighbor’. Yep, Dad was definitely trying to get us together. I opened the fridge and perused for my own meal. Alice’s influence hadn’t completely taken over the fridge. There was plenty of lettuce and carrot sticks, but Dad’s sandwich cookies and rootbeer were still hidden at the back.
I had to smile. Dad’s ‘stash’ had been forbidden fruit for my entire childhood. I gleefully snatched a bottle and the bag of cookies. It was a silly thing to do, since I’d replace anything I ate before Dad got home, but it was fun. I sat at the kitchen table and stared at the list on the fridge.
On the one hand, I’d told Dad to stop his matchmaking efforts, and I kind of resented the fact that he hadn’t. On the other hand, if this guy had asked me out without my father’s urging, I’d very strongly consider it. And it was just coffee. What was the harm? If it didn’t work out, I could use it as evidence that Dad should mind his own business.
I popped the cap of the rootbeer off on the edge of the table, just like Mom had always yelled at us for doing. I’d give Sam a call in the morning and ask him if he wanted to meet up.
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