Want to start at the beginning?
“So where is this one taking you?” Sonya asked, leaning on the door of Colleen’s bedroom.
“I don’t know. I wonder if I should eat something in case dinner isn’t involved.” She started to turn away from the closet.
“If he’s picking you up at five thirty, dinner is probably involved. What are you going to wear?”
Colleen poked at the things in her closet. “I don’t know that either. I asked if this was a dressy affair or if any old thing would do and his response was, I quote, ‘I’m sure anything you choose will be perfect.’”
“Oooo. Does this one have a brother?”
“I don’t know. I’ll ask tonight.” She pulled a blue, short sleeved dress out of the closet. “What do you think about this?”
“Remember what the natives told us. Wearing short sleeves in February makes us look like tourists.”
“True, but this is the prettiest dress I’ve got.” Colleen looked at the dress in her hand. She’d had it for years. It was probably time to buy some new clothes now that she had a little extra money.
“You didn’t wear your prettiest dress for Mike?” Sonya scolded.
“I didn’t have time to change when I got back from Laura’s.”
“So you looked like a tourist.”
“I had a sweater.” Colleen pulled a pale blue blouse and a straight black shirt.
“Oh, don’t wear that. You’ll look like a meter maid.”
“Bad, huh?” Colleen held it up to herself and looked, then she shoved it back in the closet. Next she pulled out a full gray skirt and a green blouse. “How about this?”
“Better. That color is really good on you.”
There was a knock at the door.
“Oh shit, he’s early.” Colleen pulled her sweatshirt over her head. “Stall him, I’ll be out in a minute. Don’t say anything.”
“How am I supposed to stall him when I can’t say anything?” Sonya pondered aloud while walking down the hall to the front door.
“Sonya.” Colleen scolded. She dressed in record time, located two shoes that matched and didn’t look too bad with the outfit. She was still pulling her hair back in a barrette as she walked down the hall.
“There she is,” Sonya said, grinning evilly.
Dan turned and stood up. He had dressed in brown slacks and a tan button down shirt open at the collar. There was a sport jacket draped over the arm of the chair. He prepared for anything.
“Hi. All ready.” She smiled.
“You look lovely.”
Sonya was fanning herself just behind him. Dan held out his arm and she put her hand around his elbow.
“Goodbye Sonya,” Colleen said.
“Have fun. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” Sonya cackled.
Colleen pulled the door closed behind her. “Sonya is different.”
“It takes all kinds.” He led her out to a red sports car and opened the door for her. She hadn’t pictured him in a sports car, let alone a red one. She’d assumed he drove something staid and reliable, like Scott did. But Scott was married, Dan wasn’t. He came around to the driver’s side and climbed in. He glanced over to see that she had secured her seat belt before he started the engine. “Scott said you moved out here for a job.”
“Yeah, I worked for the book store back in Ohio and when they decided to open a store out here I applied.”
“How long have you worked there?”
“Almost five years.”
“So you like it.”
“Sure.” Colleen bit her lip wondering if he questioned all his dates like this. It might explain his continued single status. “What about you? How long have you been…on the force?”
He glanced at her as if he heard the word “cop” even though it hadn’t come out of her mouth. “Ten years.”
“Really? You don’t look old enough to have done anything for ten years.”
“You don’t look old enough to be a bookstore manager.”
He reached over and took her hand. Once again the feeling of his flesh against hers shivered up her arm like an electric shock. He only squeezed it lightly before letting go, but her hand tingled for a full minute after he let go. “So, what are your plans?”
“Well, if you moved all the way to California for a promotion, you must have plans.”
“I didn’t move here for a promotion. I was already a manager in Columbus.” Colleen struggled to think straight. Her only plan had been to get as far away from David as possible.
“Then why did you move out here?”
“Do you interrogate all your dates?” she blurted out. She pulled her hands into her lap.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize it was making you uncomfortable.”
“No, mea culpa. I just haven’t really sorted out my plans.” She twisted her fingers together. She thought she should be capable of not acting like a loony toon at this age, but apparently she wasn’t. “Applying for this store was sort of a sudden decision.”
Colleen pursed her lips before her mouth ran away with her again. She looked out the passenger window, blinking back tears. Memories of David overwhelmed her. There had been a time when she had considered asking him to take her back before she got the job at this store. A few days of weakness around Christmas when she had nearly burst into tears at the registers. God, this was awful. Being betrayed by him and still missing him this much. Why was she thinking about David? Why after, six months and four thousand miles, was she thinking about the man who betrayed her when there was a handsome and eligible Los Angeles police office taking her out to dinner now and a handsome and eligible Los Angeles paramedic taking her rock climbing in a few days?