“I’m with you,” I whispered.
He came closer and when he spoke his voice dipped lower. “That mean you’re gonna knock on the door tellin’ me you’re makin’ pizza sometime soon?”
“My barbeque chicken pizza takes planning and preparation,” I explained, his eyes flashed and I finished. “It’d have to be this Saturday when I have a day off.”
He got even closer. I pulled in a breath because he was now really close. His head had to tip down really far and if I moved up on my toes, just a tiny bit, I could actually touch my lips to his.
I felt another belly whoosh.
“Works for me,” he murmured.
“’Kay,” I breathed.
He stood where he was. I stood and started drowning in his eyes. He didn’t move. I didn’t either. I felt my body lean towards his a centimeter such was his hot guy magnetic pull at the same time I licked my lip. His eyes dropped to my mouth but not before I saw them get even darker and more fathomless. My heart started to beat in my throat. His cell rang.
Then his eyes closed and the spell was broken as he moved a bit away growling, “Fuck.”
He pulled his cell out of his back jeans pocket, flipped it open and put it to his ear as his gaze came back to mine.
“Lawson,” he said into his phone and I moved further away thinking distance was a good thing. He was a good neighbor. He didn’t need to be being neighborly and have the person he was being neighborly toward throw herself at him. That would be wrong. “Yeah, right,” he continued. “I said I’ll be there, I’ll be there. I got somethin’ I gotta do. When I’m done I’m on my way. Yeah?” He paused and kept hold of my gaze. “Right. Later.”
He flipped his phone shut and shoved it back in his pocket.
“Work?” I asked.
“Love it most the time, hate it right about now,” he answered.
“Unh-hunh,” I mumbled like I understood what he meant when I didn’t. Changing a doohickey wasn’t the height of entertainment that you didn’t want to be torn away from to do work you loved.
“Gotta get this done, Mara,” he told me.
“Okay,” I replied.
He stared at me and didn’t move. I did the same.
Then his grin came back and he repeated, “Gotta get this done.”
“I know,” I said. “You have to get to work.”
“Yeah and I gotta get this done.”
I blinked then said, “So, um… can I help?”
“You can help by lettin’ me get this done.”
What did he mean? I wasn’t stopping him.
“Please,” I motioned to the sink, “carry on.”
His grin became a smile. “Sweetheart, what I’m sayin’ is,” he leaned in, “you’re a distraction.”
Oh God! He was saying he didn’t need me hanging around chatting with him.
I was such a dork!
“I’ll, uh… go make dinner.”
I nodded. “And thanks, um… for, you know,” I motioned to the sink again, “helping out, especially when you’re so busy.”
“Well, I hope it doesn’t happen again,” I pointed out the obvious. “But thanks anyway.”
A sound came from deep in his chest. I realized it was an immensely attractive chuckle and he said, his voice deep and vibrating with his chuckle, “Mara.”
There were many things I wished in my life. Many. Too many to count.
But the top one at that moment in time, scratched at the top of that list in a way I knew it would stay there a good long while, was that I wished with everything that was me that my life would lead me to a new life. One where I would hear Detective Mitch Lawson say my name in his deep voice that vibrated with his laughter time and time and time again.
“I’ll just go,” I whispered and turned to leave.
“I’ll show you the valve to turn off the water another time,” he offered to my back.
“Thanks,” I said to my bedroom.
Then I was out the door.
Detective Mitch Lawson left not ten minutes later. He was carrying his toolbox. He lifted a hand in a wave as he walked through my living room-slash-dining-room space. But he stopped at the door, his eyes leveled on mine and he said two words.
Then all I saw was my closed door.
I sprinkled the cheddar cheese liberally around the edges of the pizza dough to be certain when it cooked the dough would puff up. Those edges would be thick and soft, like they always were, and crusted with yummy cheese. Then I stood back, swiping grated cheddar cheese residue from my hands.