Catch up on part one…
Amanda wasn’t sure what made her accept his invitation, but she was glad she did as soon as she saw relief flood his features. His lips turned up into a beautiful smile and he reached out for her. He grabbed her hand and tucked it under his arm, escorting her out of the ER into the cool night air.
Darkness had fallen while she was in the hospital and she was glad for the ride, and for the meal. Her stomach growled loudly as she slid into his front seat and he smiled down at her as she clutched her belly, as though that would muffle the noise.
Once he climbed in the car he turned the heat on and backed out of the parking space then asked, “Where do you want to eat?”
Amanda knew she was hungry but her sinus infection was still blurring her appetite. “I don’t know. What do you think?”
She cringed at the wishy-washy answer she gave him. She hated when women acted like that with men, like if they made a choice the man would get upset. Amanda always believed if a man got mad over someone else having an opinion then he wasn’t worth the time.
“Well, I could eat just about anything, but I want to make sure you’re better. Between here and Nick’s we could stop for pizza, Chinese, or subs. Close by is fast food chains but I doubt that’s overly appealing on your empty stomach. When I’m not feeling well, pizza is usually a favorite choice.”
Amanda nodded her agreement and tried not to stare at his profile as he turned into Giovanni’s. The scent of the fresh bread, the Italian spices, and the melted cheese enveloped her as they stepped inside. Her stomach growled loudly, approving of the choice, and Amanda allowed him to lead her to a table near the front windows.
They each picked up menus and considered their options. After agreeing to share a pepperoni, mushroom, and peppers pizza, Amanda felt the need to start talking.
“Can I ask you a personal question?”
“Of course,” he replied, setting his drink down between them and giving her his full attention.
“What’s your name?”
His face drained of all color and he looked simply horrified. “Oh, God, I can’t believe I basically kidnapped you without even telling you who I am. I’m so sorry. I’m Bob Rice. I’m the manager at Nick’s and I was there when you passed out. It never occurred to me that you didn’t know who I was.”
Amanda placed her hand over Bob’s to stop his rambling. “I recognized you, but I didn’t know your name. I figured unless you wanting me to call you ‘Blue Eyes’ all night long I should know your name.”
Amanda nodded shyly, pulling her hand from his. He caught her fingers before they slipped from his and tangled their hands together again. “When I opened my eyes yours were the first thing I saw. You looked so concerned and I was mesmerized by you. That’s why I couldn’t tell you my name. Well, that and I was confused as hell.”
Bob laughed softly. “I was mesmerized by you, too. When I saw you drop I couldn’t get to you fast enough. When you looked up at me I knew I’d never be the same.” He pulled his hands out of her grasp and ran one through his hair. His expression changed to one of panic. “I can’t believe I just said that to you. You must think I’m crazy.”
“Actually, I know exactly what you mean. I felt the same when I looked at you. I’ve never been looked at with such care and compassion and I felt like I could see everything I needed to know about you when I looked in your eyes.”
His grin spread slowly across his face, starting with the tilt of the corners of his lips until it reached his eyes. He reached out for her hands again and brought them to his lips, kissing each one of her fingers before twining them with his own and rested them on the table between them.
“I’m glad I’m not the only crazy one here then.” His gaze went from conspiratorial to heated in seconds, making Amanda’s body flush with warmth under his eyes. Before he could say or do anything else, their pizza was set on the table between them.
Reluctantly, Amanda released Bob’s hands and smiled when he handed her a plate with the first slice of pizza. Steam was still pouring off the food, and off the two of them, so Amanda busied herself with a sip of her drink before gently blowing on her pizza.
They ate in companionable silence with their chewing and the other patrons the only sounds around them. Amanda was comfortable with him even though she really didn’t know him. She’d never felt that way about another man, even her college boyfriend who she’d dated for close to a year.
When they finished their pizza Bob boxed up the rest and paid the bill. He held her hand as they walked to his car. Once he’d secured her inside and rested the pizza on the seat behind her he climbed in his own seat and turned to her.
“I’m not ready for tonight to be over. I know you don’t know me, but I want to get to know you. I have roommates but we could go for a walk or something?”
Amanda chewed on her lip, considering her options. She didn’t want the night to end either, feeling like the magical bubble they’d found themselves in would pop if she went home. She closed her eyes and took a breath for courage then said, “Why don’t you come back to my place?”
When her eyes focused back on his he was smiling at her. “That sounds perfect. If you’re sure.”
Amanda smiled and squeezed his hand in silent agreement. Bob drove back to Nick’s so Amanda could get her car then followed her to her apartment.
Amanda just hoped she made the right choice inviting him over.
Come back next week to see if Amanda regrets her choice!