Taking a much needed swig of my beer I look away and pretend to watch the fireworks. I’ve worked long hours in the pit the last couple of weeks so I’m happy to say I know Chad a little bit better, professionally speaking, than I did when I accepted the Fourth of July invite. He’s a meticulous and capable physician, also one of those guys born with an abundance of quiet self-confidence, the type that just know they are awesome in their bones and don’t have to try. Couple that with his tall, not overly muscular body and pretty boy face and you’ve got most women’s version of heaven. Me, I consider him a recipe for disaster. His type makes me exceedingly uncomfortable because I never know what they are thinking unless they come right out and say it, and let’s face it, most guys are not that forward. Being unable to read the looks he sometimes casts my direction has given me butterflies and sweaty armpits on more than one occasion.
“Do I make you nervous Veronica?”
Holy shit! Yes you make me nervous, very, very nervous. You’re probably the only person on this entire boat who isn’t busy worrying about themselves and what everyone else thinks about them. You’re dangerous… you seem to see past the bologna and straight to the heart of people.
“No. I mean, we don’t really know each other, but no.” I lie and tear my gaze away from the fireworks to look at him. Someone once told me eye contact makes any lie more convincing.
Smirking, Chad takes another sip of beer, seemingly unconvinced. “You’re very pretty.”
“Thanks,” I toss back, unimpressed.
I know I’m pretty - my parents’ superficial friends had nothing better to say about me so they reiterated over and over for my mother’s benefit that at least I was pretty, and pretty girls always make it in this world.
“Ouch, would you have preferred I say you were ugly?” He laughs. Apparently my reply had contained more frost than intended. Thank God for the blanket that’s preventing him from seeing the rings of sweat developing on my shirt.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude,” I mumble sheepishly.
“I’m hurt but I think we can fix that.” Sultry brown eyes scrutinize me, sending the butterflies in my stomach into a flurry, but the humorous twist of his mouth makes me think he’s just teasing me for my offensive retort.
Could he be flirting with me?
“I think you should take me to dinner,” he says matter of fact without a hint of arrogance.
“You do,” I merely state in response. Yup definitely flirting… where is that good for nothing scoundrel Archie when you need him?
Sucked into my own head again, it takes a minute to realize Chad is waiting, brows raised, for me to respond.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t date co-workers,” I reply at last.
A slight frown before he downs the last of his beer is the only indication he gives that I’ve confounded him by coming up with a loophole he can’t ignore.
“You’re new to Portland, right?”
“Right.” I answer the rhetorical question well aware he knows I’m not from around here.
“There’s this novelty bakery with the best donuts on the planet. Let me be the first to introduce you to it.”
Donuts huh? That’s not a date, that’s a quick stop off before work. Twenty minute tops - I can do that.
“You can’t live in Portland without experiencing Voodoo Donuts at least once.”
“Voodoo Donuts,” I repeat, sure that I hadn’t heard him right but the humorous quirk to his mouth and his guileless expression let me know I got it right the first time.
What the hell kind of bakery has a name like that?
“Okay so what morning do you want to do this?” I ask.
He stands and reaches for the empty drink I wasn’t aware I had finished then ambles toward the ladder. Set to descend he flashes me a victorious playboy smile.
“Oh no one goes to Voodoo donuts for breakfast. It’s more of a late night venture.” Stunned, I miss my opportunity to back out as Chad quickly drops out of sight. I’d been had.
Warning, warning! Donuts in the middle of the night…that’s so a date!