Rosalyn trotted down the stairs, admiring Nathan’s workmanship on the banister. She heard him rustling in the kitchen. She walked into a well lit, open kitchen with dark counters that jutted out around the perimeter of the room. She perched herself on a pub chair she found nestled under the overlay of the counter. Rosalyn placed her sunglasses down next to her and propped her head in her hands on the counter, watching Nathan.
“So, what would you like to eat?” He finally asked
“I am not sure, what are you making for yourself?” She replied
“I was going to make myself a turkey, ham, and salami sandwich with lettuce, onion, tomato, mustard, and pickles.” He reported with a satisfied smile
“Whao” She chuckled, “I think I will just have an apple and peanut butter if you have it”
“What?” Nathan smirked at her
“Apples and peanut butter?! That’s a kid snack. You need to refuel so you can make it the rest of the day. Let me make you a sandwich.” He started putting the bread on a plate
“Nate, I really don’t need a whole sandwich” She protested. Her stomach growled a big growl and Nathan looked up at her with a turned eyebrow
“What’s the matter? You are clearly hungry, have a sandwich with me” He said, pausing the preparations.
“I am hungry, but I am also on vacation. I don’t want to fall into the trap of overeating just because I am not in my normal setting. I want to be good.” She looked at him, “Can I please have two apples and peanut butter if you have them?”
“Fair enough,” He said opening the fridge, “But you have seen my cooking and let me tell you, this apple business won’t last long.” He juggled two plump, red apples, walked over to the sink where he found a clean cutting board and cut slices with chef like precision. Rosalyn grinned at him.
“Yes, I have seen your cooking, which is all the more reason to be good while I am here. If I eat all the things you make, I will have to roll back home!” She laughed.
Nathan handed Rosalyn her plate but didn’t let go right away. She tugged on it giggling. She met his eyes and he simply grinned, “Oh there will be no ‘being good’ on this trip.” He let go of the plate, laughed, then started on his sandwich. Rosalyn held the plate suspended in the air for a moment, blinking. She decided to laugh off the comment with a “yea, right” and ate her food, but in her mind she was racing in circles.
What does THAT mean?
What does he think is happening on this trip?
What IS going to happen on this trip?
I don’t remember his eyes having so much green in them.
His arms are so big.
He must have been outside all morning but he doesn’t smell bad.
What am I going to do about Chaz?
I need to text him back soon, but what do I tell him?
I need to text Joe too. Sweet Joe.
I hope Joe is ok with the kids.
What did Nate mean by ‘no being good’?!
Nathan stared at her while she ate her snack. She had her face turned downward and looked as if she was reading a book but nothing was in front of her. So, he just sat and ate his sandwich in silence, studying her, waiting for her to finally look up at him. He couldn’t help but smile.
“Enjoying your apples?” He asked
Rosalyn looked up quickly, embarrassed that she was caught in a daze.
“Yes, thanks.” She managed to say.
She took a breath to compose herself while Nathan wasn’t looking and readjusted her light grey cover up, recrossed her ankles and felt a little bit better.
“So, Nate.” She said, “What other home improvement projects have you done?”
“Well I do a little bit each season. This spring I re mulched all the flower beds and threw down some new grass seed. I am in the process of building a pond to hold gold fish for next spring” He answered as he cleaned his plate and rubbed his very full belly.
Rosalyn giggled at him.
“A pond? That’s cool! And you aren’t hiring someone to build it for you?” She asked handing him her plate and thanking him once more.
“Nope,” He answered, “It’s cheaper to do it myself. I have to clean the stock tank in a few minuets so you can help me with that”
“Um, sure?” Rosalyn replied.
Nathan helped her off the pub chair and made his way out the door. He called for Pickles and Rowdy who came running from somewhere beyond where Rosalyn could see. She grabbed her sunglasses making her way out the door to find Nathan watering the dogs. She smiled at the lapping and splashing sounds.
She also noticed the water sparkling off Nathan’s arms in the afternoon sun.
When the dogs felt hydrated enough, they turned their attention on Rosalyn. They bounded toward her and she welcomed them with wincing open arms. They licked her and circled around her frantically begging to be patted. She obliged. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted Nathan stand up from the dog dishes and peel his soaked shirt off, tossing it on a utility shelf. He lifted his cap, ran his hands through his dark brown hair before replacing it on his head. Even in the shade, Rosalyn could see the water pearls on his torso. She also noticed several tattoos. Before she could ask Nathan about them, the dogs got the better of her and pushed her to the ground where they continued to playfully climb on her.
She let out a quick yelp and Nathan was immediately on top of the dogs, pulling them back by the collar and scolding them.
“Oh shit, Rose-are you OK?” He asked concerned.
He pulled her to her feet with one swift tug. He was much stronger than Rosalyn realized so she sprang up and even came up off the ground just a few inches. Nathan caught her and she met his eyes. He held her up for a moment, her hands settled on his chest just below his collar bone.
They studied each other.
“Are you hurt?” He asked softly, still holding her to him.
“No” she answered just as softly. She wondered if he could feel her heart pounding through her chest. Her knees shook under her, causing her to finally look away for a moment, feeling his breath on her neck. She felt warm tingles race along her body. Her mouth went dry. She met his gaze again.
“Are you sure you aren’t hurt? Do you want me to look at anything?” He asked
“No, no. I am OK. The dogs were just excited, they’re still pups and I am new person. I just lost my balance. Thanks for helping me up.” She said said trailing off slightly. She felt him tighten his grip on her and she inhaled excitedly. Her cheeks grew hot with anticipation.
Nathan leaned in, examining her blond hair that caught every ounce of sunlight, and traced his gaze down her face to her lips.
With only a hint of hesitation, he pressed his lips against hers.
Rosalyn met him with the slightest bit of resistance, enough to claim that she did in fact resist, before melting into his kiss. She wrapped one arm around his shoulder while the other hand reached around the back of his neck pulling him even more into the kiss. They meshed each other’s lips around one another and let their tongues trace each other’s mouths. Nathan ran an arm up to the middle of Rosalyn’s back while the other he ran in the opposite direction and pressed it firmly against him.
After several long moments, their passionate embrace faded and they regained their respective composure.
Nathan cleared his throat but it was Rosalyn that broke the silence, “Nate, do we need to talk about this?”
“No” He motioned to the back yard, “OK, time to tackle that stock tank!”
Without another word, he and the dogs made their way around the house to the backyard. Rosalyn hung back trying to make sense of what just happened.