February 25, 2019
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Noah stood up and walked off the porch to put his cigar out on the cement. When he returned, he remained standing across from me. I was reminded of just how tall he was as he towered over me. A breeze blew his scent—a mix of cigar and cologne—in my direction. The same smell saturated the shirt I was wearing. I could’ve breathed it in all night. His nearness was doing things to my body I hadn’t ever felt.
Noah looked around. “You mentioned some stuff around here needs to be repaired. What specifically?”
I blew out a breath. Even thinking about it was exhausting. “So much. I’d have to make a list.”
“Why don’t you do that? Make a list. I’m pretty good with my hands. I’ll see if there’s anything I can help with while I’m here.”
He’d lost me at pretty good with my hands. My imagination was running wild. Shit. I imagined those hands doing a lot of things—mostly to me.
“I can’t let you do that.”
“You’d be stupid not to take me up on it. I came for a change of pace, but the truth is, too much quiet isn’t good. I like to keep busy.”
Biting my bottom lip, I shook my head. “I don’t know…”
“Make the list,” he insisted.
Noah was right. It would be dumb not to take him up on his offer. It wasn’t like there was anyone else knocking down our door to help.
I tilted my head. “What would be in it for you?”
His expression turned dark. “People don’t always have to have ulterior motives.”
Suddenly feeling bold, I said, “I thought maybe you would want me to go out with you in exchange.”
Did you hear that? It was a record screeching.
I admit, that was ballsy, but being around him brought out my flirtatious side. Maybe his cologne and cigar smoke were going to my head.
“You’re joking, right?”
Okay. I shouldn’t have asked.
“I’m practically old enough to be your father.”
Really? That’s how he saw me? I knew he was older than me…but he didn’t seem that old. No way. I’d pegged him as early thirties, though I truly had no idea how old he was.
I shook my head. “No, you’re not. That’s a lie. An older brother, maybe. How old are you?”
Instead of answering, he took two steps forward. “Let me make something clear.”
“I was not insinuating anything by offering to help. And I will not be asking you out, propositioning you, or going anywhere near you, for that matter. We clear on that?”
I swallowed. Disappointment washed over me as I cleared my throat. “Yes.”
“Good.” He made his way toward the door, turning around one last time. “You’d better go. It was nice chatting. Get me the list tomorrow.”
He disappeared into the house, leaving me on the porch to wallow in his lingering smell and feeling like a complete and utter idiot.