In Starting Over, Victoria met Toby in the antique store she owns in Oak Grove Square. The man is a frustrating mix of coldhearted developer, sweet and charming hunk, and a broken-hearted little boy still mourning his grandparents.
Toby and Victoria have had a disagreement about his latest development project. They’ve patched things up and are headed out for their first formal date since their big fight. This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘paint’. Return to Tuesday Tales here, to read more snippets from the talented Tuesday Tales bunch.
Victoria shifted the croutons on her plate around. “The salad’s fine. I’m just a little preoccupied I guess.”
“What about? Business? Us? Talk to me.” Toby laid his utensils down and leaned forward, resting his chin on his propped up palm. When she hesitated, he added, “C’mon, fess up…after all the complaining you’ve done about how closed off I’ve been…”
“I know…I know…” Her chest heaved with a big sigh. “I’m feeling confused.”
“When I moved to Texas and bought Serendipity, I had no desire to get involved with anyone. Ever again. As in never.”
“Yeah…we talked about that one night. The way that jerk treated you…a pilot, wasn’t he?”
She stopped fiddling with her salad and looked directly into Toby’s eyes. “It was easier when you were behaving like an ass. Then I could despise what you stood for. I could rant and rave and insult you up one side and down the other.”
“You took me to task, but you were never that harsh with me.”
The laughter eased the worried look on her face and lightened the darkening mood. “Oh…you never heard the thoughts that ran through my mind…”
He sat up straight in mock astonishment. “What?”
“I know.” She grinned. “Hard to believe, huh?”
Then a more serious countenance settled in, chasing her frivolity away. “But lately…especially after your turn about on the senior’s project…it’s been so pleasant spending time with you.”
“And? That’s a bad thing?” He looked truly puzzled.
“It’s just that it paints a different picture of who you really are. And I greatly admire that man I see…which confuses me.”
A waiter hovered nearby with a pitcher of cold water. Toby couldn’t tell if he were eavesdropping on them, or was merely being considerate to not interrupt their intense conversation. He beckoned to the young man and lifted his water glass in the air as he approached. “Yes, I’d like a refill, please.”
With glasses refilled and no reason for the youngster to lurk, it was the two of them alone at the table again. Toby started up where they’d left off. “So…where were we? You admire me?”
“Yesssss… What? You don’t want me to?”
“I do. I do. But…here I’ve been hoping that it was dashing good looks that captivated you,” he joked. “I’ve been wishing that you were lusting after my hot bod.”
She leaned back in her seat and narrowed her eyes when she looked at him. “Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s not just admiration. There’s a whole lot of lusting going on too.”
“Then, darlin’. I think we should finish up this meal and get you back home. Because I think we’d make better progress in this conversation if we were camped on your couch and I could hold you tight and smother you in kisses while we discuss what kind of future the two of us have together.”