Love is in the Air. Devon Vaughn Archer
gun in assuming that he had simply found someone else to take on a lunch date that day. Obviously, the man had scruples and was truly interested in seeing if they could start something.
Holly normally had no trouble deciding what to wear from her vast wardrobe, as she loved to buy new clothes. It was one of her weaknesses and passions. But, in this case, she didn’t want to overdress or underdress for her date with Anderson. She had never seen him in anything but an expensive suit and she knew that the attire at the Rooster Place was a few notches above casual, so she chose a three-quarter sleeve paisley print dress and sandals. She brushed her hair into place, dabbed on a little perfume and was on her way.
I’ll just play it cool and see how things go, she thought during the drive. If this was meant to go somewhere, it would. If not, then she’d simply get back to her busy life and not worry about it.
She parked in the lot and went inside the restaurant. Anderson walked up to her, spotting her before she had seen him.
“Hi,” he said, offering her a handsome smile.
“Hello.” She gave him the once-over and liked what she saw. He wore a brown blazer over an orange twill shirt, dark slacks and loafers. He had an obviously fit and trim body, and she would bet that he’d look just as amazing in a T-shirt and athletic shorts.
“Right on time,” he said.
“Shall we go in?”
Anderson allowed Holly to lead the way. As with the previous times he had seen her, she was flat-out gorgeous. He liked the dress, too, but imagined he would like it even better if she were wearing nothing at all.
They were seated and handed menus, then they both settled for the prime-rib special and red wine.
Now that he had her all to himself, Anderson wasn’t sure where to begin. Though he had gone on a few dates recently, he was admittedly out of practice when it came to being with someone who truly captured his attention. He wanted to do this right.
“Tell me about your family,” he said. It seemed a reasonable place to start to get beyond their airplane conversation. He assumed there was more to the family than a brother and nieces.
“Well, you know I have a brother. My dad lives in Houston. He’s retired, though sometimes it seems like he works even harder now. I lost my mother to a heart attack a few years ago. No other siblings.”
“Sorry to hear about your mother,” Anderson said.
“She was such a great lady,” Holly said. “I think about her every day.”
“I’m sure you do.”
She tasted her wine. “Are your parents here?”
His eyes lowered. “I was raised mostly by my mother before she died. Then I was shuffled back and forth between relatives. Never knew my father.”
“When did your mother die?” Holly wondered, wishing they didn’t have that in common.
“A long time ago,” Anderson muttered. “I was nine.”
Holly couldn’t imagine having lost her mother at such a young age. She was sure it was difficult for him, especially since his father wasn’t in the picture.
“Have you ever had any interest in seeing if you could track down your father?” she asked.
“Not really,” he said thoughtfully. “What would be the point? I’m not even sure he knows I’m alive. If he does, there’s been no attempt to contact me.”
“I can’t blame you for being put out at the thought. But with your mother no longer here, maybe your dad could somehow compensate for her loss.”
Anderson’s nostrils flared. Why was she pushing this? “As I said, not interested. Just because you have a father in your life doesn’t mean that I need one—especially at this stage.”
“I’m sorry.” She resented that it seemed to irk him that she had a relationship with her father and he did not, none of which was her doing. Maybe she should have just kept her mouth shut. But then again, why should she? Weren’t they here to get to know each other? “Yes, I have a dad who’s always there for me. And maybe as a result, I believe that having a connection with a living parent is important—even if it means reaching out to someone who wasn’t there for you, perhaps for reasons you were never told. I’m sorry if I overstepped my bounds.”
Anderson sucked in a deep breath, knowing he had overreacted. It certainly wasn’t the way he had envisioned them bonding. He knew only what his mother had told him about his father, which was virtually next to nothing. She’d only mentioned a one-night stand that left her pregnant and that his father had been out of the picture.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said to Holly. “I didn’t mean to get upset. Who knows, someday I may track down my father, if he’s still around, and get his take on things.”
She smiled softly. “There’s always hope that something good could come out of having an open mind,” she said.
“Something already has.” Anderson met her eyes. “I’m on a date with a beautiful woman.”
She blushed. “Other than that, silly.”
“Well, let’s just say you’ve opened my eyes to endless possibilities.”
Holly felt the power of his gaze, making it impossible to deny their sexual attraction. “I’m all about opening one’s eyes,” she said.
Anderson lifted his glass to that.
After the food had been served, Anderson found himself enjoying watching Holly eat. He wondered what it would be like to feed each other. And much more than just food—kisses and other affectionate gestures, too.
“So, do you always wine and dine gorgeous clients?” Holly asked, seeking a reaction as she nibbled on some lettuce.
“Not always,” Anderson promised. “And none of them could hold a candle to you.”
“Oh really? I’m supposed to believe that?”
He smiled. “Maybe you don’t realize just how hot you are.”
She colored, finding it hard not to simply accept his compliments. “Maybe I don’t.”
“I’ll try my best to help you recognize that,” he said. “And, just for the record, my client that you saw this afternoon is happily married.”
“That’s nice to know,” Holly admitted. Though she knew some men had no qualms about having an affair with a married woman, she didn’t believe Anderson was one of them.
Anderson took that as his cue to move on. “So what are your interests in life?”
“I have lots of them,” she said, dabbing a cloth napkin to the corners of her lips. “I love to travel when I have the time, bicycle, attend sports events, dance, go to the theater, listen to classical, jazz and soul music and read fiction. I also enjoy my volunteer work, where I read to children to help increase literacy.”
“That all sounds great,” he said, impressed. “Certainly seems like your plate is full right now.” He wondered if that meant that she wouldn’t have time for a serious relationship with anyone.
“Whose isn’t full these days?” Holly bit into a slice of bread. “I’m sure you have a fair amount on your plate, too.”
“I suppose I do,” Anderson conceded. “I also enjoy traveling, fishing, working out at the gym, multiple sports, movies from the forties and fifties and just hanging out with friends.”
“That sounds nice, and well-rounded,” she told him.
“I’m a well-rounded guy,” he said with a chuckle.