The Keeper of The Stars Ch. 02byvelvetpie©
My words came true the next day. After more blood work and a final set of x-rays, I was released from the hospital. My daughter was there first thing in the morning and Gale arrived an hour later, a bag of beignets from the French bakery and three Styrofoam cups in a carrier. He handed one to my daughter, kept one for himself and handed one to me with a smile.
"Um, I don't drink coffee."
He gave me a kiss on the cheek and dropped the bag in my lap. "Who said it was coffee?"
I looked down, pulled the lid back and took a deep whiff. Hot chocolate. "How did you know?"
Gale winked and my daughter laughed, sipping her latte. "He took me to dinner last night." She offered me her most mischievous grin. "And I told him everything he wanted to know."
"Damn." I whispered, gratefully sipping my drink and humming in appreciation when I sank my teeth into a fresh beignet. We ate and talked for a bit before the nurse carted me off for my x-rays. Finally, Gale wheeled me out to the street and I stepped into the front seat of my Expedition, grinning with absolute glee.
"So what about dinner tonight?"
I looked over at Gale and swallowed. I had forgotten about that. "Dinner? Tonight?"
"Either tonight or tomorrow. I have a production dinner on Thursday."
"Gale … "
"You're not going to turn me down, are you?"
I looked into those warm brown eyes and suddenly, I had no words to say. Thankfully, my lovely and smart daughter spoke up for me. "Pick her up at 8. I'll call you and give you directions."
"Okay." He grinned at me and leaned in the window to give me another kiss on the cheek. "Be ready to have some fun." He looked over at my daughter and winked. "Don't wait up for her."
She started the car and we drove away, my heart pounding in my chest and my head in the clouds. "I can't believe that I'm going to dinner with Gale Harold."
My daughter grinned, glancing over at me as she wheeled us toward home. "I can and we'd better hurry because we're going to have to go shopping."
I closed my eyes and rubbed my forehead. Shopping? Would I survive?
I looked at myself in the mirror and then looked over my shoulder at my daughter. I didn't see Gena in the mirror; I saw some mysterious chatelaine with dark eyes, plump red lips and a beautiful smile. She laughed as I pretended that the mirror was in a circus tent.
"Sorry!" I quit with the silly monkey actions and stood still while she fixed my collar and picked a few pieces of lint from my jacket. "How do I look?"
"You look cool."
"Yeah, Momma. Cool."
"Is cool good enough?"
"He's a New York boy, Momma. He knows all about fashion."
"And I don't?"
"No, Momma." She hid a smile from me as she re-hung the other clothes that I'd tried on in my own closet. The new jacket and pants went well with an older white buttondown and a pair of short-heeled boots that had been collecting dust under my bed. "You know a lot of stuff but fashion is not one of your strong points." She threw her arms around my shoulders, pressing her cheek against mine. "That's what I'm here for."
"I thought you were here to eat all of my chocolate chip cookies."
A giggle. "That, too." The doorbell rang and she gave an excited squeal. "Sounds like your date is here."
She had dashed down the hall and clumped down the stairs before I could shout, "He's not my date!" Shaking my head and laughing at her exuberant behavior, I grabbed my clutch and headed down.
I didn't think that Gale could get any better looking but I was wrong. He looked fantastic in a pair of distressed black leather pants and loose-fitting shirt and he gave my daughter a hug when she opened the door. I heard them talking as I came down and his eyes swung up to mine, sending a bolt of heat through my poor body. It seemed like minutes instead of the seconds it took for his eyes to make a circuit of my body, from seductive lips to partially exposed breasts to my scantily clad feet. I was never so happy in my life to have good-looking toes!
"Wow, you look nice."
"Should I go up and change?"
"Are you kidding?" He gave me a huge grin, stepping forward to give me a hug. My daughter made silly faces over his shoulder and I tried not to laugh. "Let's go before you change your mind."
He had a cab waiting and I thanked my smart daughter for suggesting that I take some cash along with me just in case. I slid into the back seat and made myself comfortable as we sped off toward the restaurant. I looked over at him, taking in his beauty and at the same time, wondering why he was doing all this. I understood that I had kept him from danger but I didn't want him to feel obligated to me. I was too in love with him to withstand that. What can I say? I was a fan.
"Nothing." I said quickly, averting my eyes and crossing my ankles.
He put his hand on my forearm, drawing my focus from the scenery to his face. "I didn't ask you to make you feel bad, Gena. I asked you to dinner because I've enjoyed meeting you." He paused. "And I don't know anyone here and I thought that we could have a good time while I was in town."
I released my breath a little louder than I'd planned. I was happy that I at least knew where I stood in this heady mix. "Okay."
"So, are you ready to have some fun?"
I smiled, gazing at his handsome face. "Bring it on."