Ryan Ch. 02byMissPrimrose222©
Driving home Dani couldn't get Ryan off of her mind. She felt like she was waiting for a phone call from someone to tell her that she'd been punked.
"Oh my God," she thought, "he's gorgeous!"
At six feet six inches tall, Ryan Sinclair was a sight to behold. His body was well muscled, but not body builder freaky. His green eyes were deep and clear like the finest Colombian emeralds, and when he smiled, they lit up his entire face. Dani was sure that damn smile was going to be nothing but trouble.
He was a big, handsome, masculine, sexy man. He was hot. Not all handsome men were hot, Dani knew that from personal experience, but this guy might as well have had a capital H tattoo on his fine ass. Yeah, she got a good look at that when he turned to go to checkout.
Dani sighed and shook her head. She just wasn't the type to make a date with a total stranger and a white guy at that. At the time, however, his race was the last thing on her mind. Hell, she didn't even think it crossed her mind the entire time she was talking to him. It's not that she had any prejudice about dating outside of her race; it's just that she'd never thought of it and no one had ever asked, until now. Crystal was right about one thing, she as in a rut. Maybe Ryan would provide the shake up her life needed.
When Dani got home she placed the panel on the dining table and plopped down on the sofa.
Home was a condo she'd purchased a year ago. Buying a home was a dream come true, one she worked hard to attain, along with financial independence. Her social life took a hit during that time, but having her own place was more than worth it.
She'd worked at a series of jobs in the daytime and went to school at night. Using the skills learned from those courses, she secured her current position as a paralegal at a prestigious law firm. Now, she was at a great place financially where she could relax a bit and have more fun in her life.
Dani was still feeling good about meeting Ryan, but she wanted to get some clarity on the situation. Although her sister, who was four years older, was opinionated, she had a way of giving Dani what she needed to make her own decisions. Taking her cell phone from her handbag, she got into a comfortable position on the sofa and called Crystal.
"Holla at your girl, baby Sister," Crystal answered.
Getting to the point Dani let drop, "I've met a man, Crystal."
"What?!" Crystal screeched. "What man, where did you meet him, what's his name?!"
"Whoa, Sis," Dani laughed. "His name is Ryan Sinclair and I met him at Lowes today."
"Lowes?" Crystal asked as if she'd never heard of the place before.
"You got picked up by some guy in Lowes, the home improvement place?! Oh, hell no! My baby sister is not going to be blindsided by some smooth talking Mr. Fix it."
Once Crystal paused in her tirade she said, "You know Isaac's brother still wants to meet you. You'd make a great couple."
"Really, Crystal, you know I'm not interested in Isaac's brother. I should get points for meeting a guy who hasn't been vetted by friends or family. I'm twenty four years old and I have to find out for myself what type of man is right for me. Besides, we're just going on a date."
"Ok," Crystal said reigning in her mother hen persona.
"You know I'm never going to stop being your big sister or stop wanting the best for you."
"I know Crystal, but as you said, I'm in a rut. This is the first impulsive thing I've done in a long time and it felt good. Ryan seems like a decent guy and like I said, it's only a date. It's not like he's Prince Charming riding in on his steed to take me to some far away magical land. Although, heaven help me, the man is fine".
"Fine, huh? Sounds like Prince Charming."
Dani could imagine the grin on Crystal's face. They talked a little longer with Dani giving up as little information as possible. She wanted to see how things went with Ryan before she got cross examined further by her sister.
Despite being asked what Ryan looked like, Dani gave Crystal the basics; tall, handsome with beautiful eyes. She left out the fact that he was Caucasian intentionally. Crystal was a firm believer of dating within your own race. It wasn't lost on Dani that some of their own ancestors were not 'in their race', but Crystal seemed to be in denial.
As for Ryan, Dani was going to play it by ear.
After dropping off the paint at his sister's house and promising to return the next day to do the job, Ryan headed home. There were chores to do before he got ready for his date. He hadn't been this excited about a woman in a long, long time.
Ryan lived alone in a huge five bedroom Spanish Style Villa. His home, designed to his specifications with help from his father, was open concept with the living area, dining and kitchen making up a large space. The crowning jewel as far as Ryan was concerned was the outdoor area with it's enormous kitchen and grill area with a back drop of a well manicured lawn, pool and gazebo.
Ryan built the house with money that he'd inherited from his Grandmother, Sarah McMillan. He also did well with his own money. He invested most of his salary from eight years in the Military in his sports bar, The Big Bang. In addition, there were other business interests, but the bar he loved.
The Big Bang was a huge stand alone bar on five acres of woodland property. It had the standard bar set up as well as ten big screen televisions for watching sporting events. The thing that really set it apart from other sport bars, besides the size of the place, was the high end furnishings and décor. The clientele were from every walk of life and everyone got the same A-plus service.
Both of Ryan's grandparents, on his father's side, came from old money, but his grandfather expanded the family business and made it a worldwide concern. He didn't have the chance to know them, but his mother made sure that he knew about them. From an early age she talked to him about his Grandma Sarah and Grandpa Henry, as well as his birth father, who donated time and money to various social causes.
His father, Michael Ryan McMillan, was an only child who died in a car wreck when Ryan was 4 months old. His Father's death was, of course, devastating to both his mother and grandmother. His Grandpa McMillan was no longer with them having died when Michael was a teenager.
His mother, Helen, especially found it hard to deal with her grief while raising a young child, even though she had the support of Sarah and her own family. But, as time passed, her grief lessened and she finally achieved some measure of peace.
Ryan was the love of her life, a constant loving reminder of the husband whom Ryan favored, except for the color of his eyes, which he inherited from her. Helen lived for her child and for a while, she thought that was all that she needed and wanted.
Fortunately for all of them, she met Daniel Sinclair at an art gallery in Miami. Although Helen was not thinking about dating, Daniel convinced her with his smile and easy manner to go out with him. Still, it was not all easy going. Daniel had a hard time convincing her that she was the love of his life. It was even more difficult for her to take a chance with him, with marriage again.
For her, Michael had been the love of his life. Daniel understood that and assured her that the love that they had would be enough. Michael would always be a part of her, he recognized that truth and wasn't jealous of the bond she had with her deceased husband.
Ryan was almost three years old at the time and took to Daniel right away. Daniel, having come from a large family, with five brothers, four sisters and hordes of nieces and nephews, was use to interacting with children and spent a lot of time with Ryan. It was through Ryan that he truly began to melt Helen's heart. If she could trust him with Ryan, she knew she could trust him with her heart.
Finally, she realized that she was in love with him and that if he was to die the next day, she would be just as hurt, married or not. She also knew in her heart, that Michael would not have wanted her to spend the rest of her life alone.
Daniel Sinclair was exactly what Helen needed. He was someone who was already established in business, having co-ownership of a world renowned architectural concern. He was confident, generous and steadfast. Best of all he loved Helen and Ryan wholeheartedly.
He adopted Ryan shortly after marrying Helen. Eventually, there was Micah, now twenty seven years old and Caleb, twenty five. With three boys, Helen and Daniel thought their family was complete until Haley, unexpectedly came along when Caleb was a year old.
Micah helped out at the bar when Ryan needed him, but his passion was making custom guitars. His company, The Guitar Guru was widely known throughout The U.S., Canada and South America. He worked alone to insure the quality of each piece. As a result, he was well known in the highest musical circles. His guitars were so sought after that his clients were willing to wait however long it took to produce the perfect instrument.
Caleb's love of old detective stories served him well as a Mystery/Fantasy writer. He first became a published author at the age of nineteen, with his novel The Time Lord's Escape, which was number one on the New York Times Bestsellers list for fifteen weeks.
Haley was a preschool teacher. With her love of children, no one was surprised that she married and got pregnant within a year.
The Sinclairs were a tight knit family who loved and protected each other. Ryan exuded confidence which he had honed in the military. He eagerly took on the responsibility of leadership among his siblings who respected him and knew his word was his bond.
Entering his home, Ryan wondered what Dani would think of it. The fact that he was imagining her in his home wasn't lost on him. It was a long time since he'd thought about sharing his space with someone else. He didn't know what it was about Dani that got him interested so fast, but he wasn't about to waste his chances with her.
Going to the fridge he took out a beer, plopped down on the sofa and turned on the big screen TV. It was only three o'clock, he had more than enough time to do his chores and get ready for his date.
Micah was at the bar and Ryan needed to call to let him know that he wouldn't be coming in at all today. Sports Center was on TV, so he thought he'd get that call in to his brother now rather than later. As he reached in his back pocket for his cell phone, it rang. Checking the caller ID, he saw that it was his good friend Wheeler.
"Hey, man, what's up?" Ryan asked.
"Yo, Ry, some of the guys are getting together for poker tonight and I wanted to give you heads up to see if you wanted to come. It's at Rico's place. How about it? You know I like taking your money," Wheeler challenged.
"Yeah, right," Ryan snorted. "You couldn't buy a box of tic tacs with the money you've won off of me."
"Well, I guess you've got me on that, but I keep living for the day," Wheeler agreed with an exaggerated sigh.
"Don't even try that, man. I don't feel sorry for you. You've sent Rico to the ATM more times than I care to count. I don't know how one person can be so bad at something he does on a regular basis, " Ryan said laughing.
"I hear you, man. But, what about it, are you interested in playing tonight?"
"I'm going to have to take a rain check, I've got a date."
"A date? Is it Madelyn, the one with the big..." Wheeler started but was interrupted by Ryan.
"No, it's not Madelyn. It's someone I met this morning at Lowes."
Lowes? Damn, you're shopping for chicks at Lowes now? It's no wonder the rest of us can't keep up," Wheeler complained.
"Yeah, yeah, you're deprived, I know," Ryan said sarcastically. "Who's your flavor of the week?"
"You know what they say Ry, you have to go through a lot of wenches to find your queen."
"You're the only person I've ever heard say that Wheeler. You might have to date someone with something other than double D's to find your queen," Ryan suggested.
"Ok, ok. I can't help that I love the fluffies. You know I've always been a tit man. But, enough about my women, what is the Lowes girl like?" Wheeler asked.
"The Lowes girl, as you call her, is Danielle Carter. What I know about her is mostly what she looks like, but I intend to learn a lot more about her tonight. And before you ask, no, I'm not going to tell you her breasts size."
"Damn, Ry, you're no fun. I guess I just have to wait until I meet her. By the way, when will that be?" Wheeler asked more than curious.
"Not anytime soon. You'll just have to let your imagination fill in the blanks. Check that, I don't even want you thinking about Dani," Ryan said, not realizing he'd shortened Danielle's name.
"Oh, it's like that? You know you've piqued my interest all the more. Ok, man, I'll let you off the hook and tell the guys that you're out for tonight. I'll give Grant a call and see if he wants to play."
"All right, Wheeler. I'll talk to you later," Ryan said and clicked off his cell phone. He immediately dialed Micah's number, and waited for him to answer.
"Hey, Ryan," Micah answered.
"Just wanted to let you know that I won't be coming by the bar today. I have some chores to do around the house and a date tonight. "
"A date, huh? Is it anyone I know?" Micah asked.
"No, I just met her today. I'll tell you about it later," Ryan replied.
"Cool, can't wait." Ryan could hear the smile in Micah's voice.
"I bet you are," Ryan retorted and quickly said goodbye.
Once his family got wind of a new woman in his life, they would want the details. He really didn't mind, though. A nosy family was a sign of love to him. They'd all tried their hands at matchmaking, but have shied away from doing so of late.
A couple of years ago, they had their hopes dashed and since then they'd sort of retreated to the sidelines to let Ryan go at his own pace. That didn't mean they weren't interested, only that they weren't as pushy.
His family thought Ryan's relationship with Caroline Jameson might lead to marriage, but it ended abruptly and in a manner that none of them expected. Now, he was sure that they weren't going to rush to conclusions about Dani.
Ryan lay back on the sofa, thinking of his previous relationships. He was thirty three years old and had been in a couple of long term relationships; well, long term by today's standard, three or four years, but the last one didn't end well.
Caroline wanted to get married and finally gave him an ultimatum. It didn't matter that he had been honest with her from the beginning, telling her that he wasn't looking to get married any time soon. She thought that she could wait him out or change his mind.
Finally, she got tired of waiting and he got tired of the arguments. He'd love her, they'd been friends most of their lives, but he hadn't been in love with her. The relationship blew up and she left town shortly afterward. He'd heard that she accepted a position in one of her company's oversees divisions. That was a little more than two years ago.
Shaking himself from his walk down memory lane, Ryan decided that it was time to get to work. *
At five o'clock Dani was more than anxious. She'd taken a bath, but was now wondering what she should wear. She was still waffling between being excited and thinking she should cancel the date. She just couldn't believe that she'd made a date in a home improvement store. Had she lost her mind?
"What happened to that stranger danger alarm?" she asked herself, but then shook away the negative thoughts.
With the clock ticking the minutes away, she finally decided to wear a pair of fawn colored light weight suede pants with a long sleeved cream colored pullover top and short black boots. Although the weather was warm enough, inside the theater tended to be too cold for the cold wuss in her.
Dani was ready with time to spare, so she sat down to listen to the news. A few minutes later her cell phone rang, it was Crystal.
"Hey, baby Sister. I just wanted to check with you before you went out on your date. "Are you taking your cell phone?
"Yes, I'm taking my cell phone. I know you'll be anxious to know how things went, but don't expect a call tonight. I'll call you tomorrow and fill you in," Dani promised.
"Oh. Are you planning an extended uh, date with Mr. Fix it?" Crystal asked.
"No. I'm not planning anything, Crystal. I really want this to go well. I don't know what it is about Ryan, but I... I... damn, I don't know. I'm probably just having my first real crush, but I've never felt like this about anyone and I'm kind of scared. I'm not afraid of Ryan, but of how I feel," Dani confessed.
"It'll be ok, Dani. Just don't rush into anything with this guy. You're not like me; I'm tough and can handle myself with men. This guy might be the one, but just be sure. You know what I'm saying?" she asked.
"Yeah, I know what you're saying, Crystal. I'm not going to rush into anything. I've been on lock down for twenty four years," Dani laughed, "I'm not giving it up that easily."
"Ok, baby Sister. Have a good time and call me tomorrow."
Dani said goodbye to Crystal and waited until five thirty to leave. She lived only ten minutes away from the Theater and didn't want to get there too early.
* As Dani approached the AMC Theater, the butterflies in her stomach grew to epic proportions. She parked her car and waited a few minutes to calm her nerves before getting out.
As she approached the theater, there were quite a few people in line, but she didn't see Ryan. Checking her watch, she noted that it was only five forty, so she stood on the sideline, trying not to over think things.
After a few minutes she heard, "Hey, baby."
She turned to see Ryan a few feet away and immediately her heart started to flutter a bit. She was surprised that she didn't take exception to being called baby. On the contrary, it gave her a warm fuzzy feeling. With a shy smile, she returned the greeting.
He was wearing black jeans with plain black tee-shirt with a sport jacket. Dressed casually, he was damn hot. Dani wasn't above taking a quick look at how the jeans hugged his hips and his considerable manhood.
Taking her hand in his, he asked, "Have you been waiting long?"
"Err, No. I've only been here a few minutes," Dani replied, flushing at her thoughts and his slight smile, which told her that he was aware of exactly what she feeling.
With his hand still holding hers, he said, "Good," and led her to the end of the line where he released her hand and before Dani could take her next breath, he slipped his arm around her waist.
Dani didn't know what to think of the move. She never liked getting touchy feely on the first date and this one had barely begun. But, almost immediately she realized that she didn't feel uneasy with his touch. In fact, it felt intimate and natural.
When they got to the front of the line Ryan purchased the tickets and they proceeded into the theater. Once inside, he asked if she wanted to get something to eat or drink.
"I'll have medium popcorn and a small coke, please." Dani said, hoping her stomach wouldn't growl. She was much too nervous to think about eating before she left home.
"Why don't we get a large popcorn and share," Ryan suggested.
Dani nodded her agreement.
With the purchases made, they headed to their seats.
They found seats in the middle of the center row, just as the lights went down for the coming attractions. The place was about three fourths full, but there were still people coming in. Dani held the popcorn in her lap and they each put their drink into the cup holders.