by Jeanette Lewis
Neither is looking for love, but is love looking for them?
“How was the drive?” he asked, unable to help himself.
She rolled her eyes. “That thing is a devil to drive, and you know it.”
“Oh, come on, it couldn’t have been that bad,” he said.
“You’re lucky I didn’t leave it by the side of the road and call an Uber,” Gina huffed. “If you make big money-winning sculpture contests, why do you drive such a piece of crap?”
“Hey!” He was genuinely offended on behalf of the van. “That old girl and I have been through a lot together.”
“Obviously,” she sniffed. But beneath the frown, he caught a gleam in her eye, a teasing spark he hadn’t seen before.
“Well, I need to go help start dinner,” Gina finally said when the silence had stretched too long.
Noel’s brain felt stuck. Here was the perfect chance to find something clever to say, something to impress her, and he’d choked. “Hey, before you go …”
She stopped, giving him a questioning look, and his brain churned frantically. Before you go … what? Tell me why you got divorced. Are you over him? When’s your birthday? Do you like sushi?
“Help me prop up my leg?” he finally said. Oh, good one, Hamilton.
Gina pointed at the stack of throw pillows on the bed. “You can’t prop up your own leg?”
“I can, but what if those are look-at pillows?”
Her eyebrows came together. “Look-at pillows?”
He nodded. “Doesn’t every mom have decorations around the house you’re not allowed to touch, only look at, and you’ll get in big trouble if you mess with them? I’d hate to make your mom mad; she’s being so nice to me.”
Gina’s lips twitched like she was fighting back a smile, and Noel mentally high-fived himself. He’d saved it … barely.
“Here, let me help you.” She grabbed several of the pillows and stacked them near the end of the mattress. “These are not look-at pillows.”
He tried to stifle a groan as he twisted to lift his leg onto the pillows. Gina rearranged them, helping to position them so the strain was off his knee. She was quick and efficient, but surprisingly gentle.
“Thanks,” Noel said softly.
Gina looked up, and their eyes met. Their faces were only a few feet apart, so close he could count the faint freckles dotting her nose and forehead. His heart started pounding entirely too fast. That had to be bad for someone just out of surgery, right?
“What was it at your house?” Gina asked.
“The look-at stuff. Every mom has some, right? What was yours?”
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