The night had gone well, Helena had found Jake to be funny and engaging and really charming. She was just so shocked because the person she’d first met didn’t seen to match at all the person who set across from her in this neighborhood bar. They’d had a delicious meal and had decided to go a place called The Spot Lounge. It was quiet and romantic with a great Jazz quartet playing to set the mood. They were on their 2nd drink Jake enjoying a rum and coke while Helena sipped on a glass of Malbec.
‘Helena, I’m glad you decided to go out with me.’
‘Well, I think I deserved the apology dinner. I’m not going to press the issue but you weren’t the friendliest person I had ever met in my life.’
Jake lowered his head in shame, he couldn’t really tell her why he’d been so unfriendly but he wanted to make it up to her, she was nice and insanely beautiful. He kept feeling as if maybe he liked her, maybe too much.
‘I’m sorry there really is no excuse for my behavior. My grandmother would tan my hide if she were alive.’
At those words Helena thought she’d definitely be down for seeing his tanned hide. He was so sexy she’d been trying to appear more reserved but this red wine was getting to her.
‘It’s okay, sometimes days are bad,’ and she should know she had many bad days after Scott’s death. She shook her head to come out of the memory and there he still was sitting in front of her, looking better than any man she’d seen in a long time.
‘I can’t believe you’re an author and a famous one. Just wow! I’ve read your books but it’s been awhile since I’ve seen any new ones. What you been up to?’
Jake didn’t want to tell her the reason he hadn’t been writing was because he’d been depressed and mourning. She asked what he did and he almost lied but decided to just to be truthful. He didn’t want to start off on the wrong foot with this woman. So he told her that he wrote books, that he actually wrote mysteries and found that she loved his mysteries. And then he told her that he was Earl Gall. She almost didn’t believe him but he proved he was, he had some photos from a trade show he’d recently gone to. She was impressed and happy and he felt like for the first time in a long while he’d opened up to a woman. He’d been vulnerable. It felt great. For many years no one knew who he was but Connie had encouraged him to come out from under the pseudonym. He was a best-selling author so he was afraid he’d be inundated but it wasn’t that bad some people recognized him out and about but most times no one knew who he was. That suited Jake just fine.
‘How did you come up with that name? Just pick it out of a phone book or something?’
He laughed, Helena loved the way his green eyes twinkled when he laughed. He had this naughty mischievous little boy face even with his full beard.
‘No. Earl is my middle name, Gall is just shortened from Galanos. When I started writing, I was still working as an attorney I wasn’t supposed to be moonlighting. But I had to get it out. I got turned down by everyone and I do mean everyone till finally I got a call from Banner Books.’
‘Well what’s the rest of your story Mr. Gall? I’d like to know it.’
Jake wasn’t ready to tell it, ‘not much to tell. I was born in San Diego, lived there all my life until I moved here. I have one older sister, a mom and dad who live in Palm Springs, and I used to be a patent attorney. I’m 42 years old and that’s about it.’
‘I’m sure there’s more to that story but I won’t press you.’
Jake smiled and put his hands up waving no, ‘nope, there’s not much else. I’m not that interesting.’
‘Jake, please from what I can tell you’re very interesting.’
Jake saw the look in her eyes, it was smoldering. He just felt so drawn to her, he couldn’t help it he leaned over and pulled her closer.
‘Helena, can I ask you something?’
Helena was surprised she thought for sure he was was going in for the kiss.
‘Sure,’ she was embarrassed that she thought something was going to occur and it didn’t.
‘I want to kiss you but it’s been awhile since I’ve kissed anyone. I don’t want to mess this up because I like you. Is it okay if I kiss you?’
Helena looked a little taken aback she hadn’t had someone ask her for a kiss not even Scott did that. She just found it so sweet and endearing and she wanted the kiss.
The each leaned in and his nice firm lips hit hers. It felt great, his lips were soft and at first he was hesitant, he tasted of spicy rum and sweet cola. She could kiss him all night, he didn’t rush anything then suddenly it seemed they each sought more. Jake’s tongue slipped easily into the seam of her lips and Helena opened willingly to allow him access. Jake wanted to grab her and place her on his lap so she could feel how turned on he was. He was surprised by his reaction to her, his hands were on her arms and he held on to her gently. It was more than he could take, he pulled away suddenly.
Helena was left a little bereft that he’d just pulled back. She didn’t want it to stop but then again they were in public maybe what was happening between them was a little hot and heavy.
Helena was blushing although her cocoa skin wasn’t giving it away, ‘Jake we better settle down.’
Jake leaned back on the bar stool and sighed he had to get his raging hormones under control. He was like a 16 year old and it was a tad embarrassing. He also felt a small surge of guilt but he tried to put it out of his mind.
‘I’m sorry, I just wanted to kiss you. You’re so beautiful and I just wanted to feel those gorgeous lips on mine.’
‘I wanted you to kiss me. What’s going on here, Jake? I mean a few days ago, you were shooing me away from your door and now we’re making out.’
He put his head back and laughed loudly, it was wonderful and deep. He noticed this was the best he’d felt since…well since their death. He didn’t know how to feel about that, he wanted to feel this good being with someone but was it really right?
‘Helena, I’m not sure but I know I want to get to know you better. You’ve sparked something in me I haven’t felt in awhile and I want to explore that.’
‘I just find your honesty very refreshing.’
‘You’re easy to be honest with. I really am drawn to you.’
‘I am to you also but you’ve got to know something, Jake.’
He looked at her quizzically, he was nervous it might be bad news.
‘I’m a widow, my husband died in Iraq a few years ago. He was my first and only love and I’ve been alone ever since. I’m excited about you but frightened. I mean you’ve set off feelings I didn’t remember I had.’
Jake was shocked, she was a widow too. Should he tell her about Connie and Dylan? She’d told him about her husband, was he ready for this? He looked at her beautiful face, she was so sweet and soft, he didn’t think he was ready to tell her his tragic story. But then he wondered when would he be?
‘I understand what you’re talking about, Helena. I don’t want to hurt you or lead you on but we can move slowly if you’d like.’
‘That may be the right thing to do,’ she replied.
They’d walked back to Helena’s and Jake thought he’d just say good night and let her go inside. She was stepping into the door and had turned to him. He thought he’d give her a hug and maybe a small kiss then go back to his place and try to overcome the guilt of feeling this horny.
‘I had wonderful evening, Helena.’
‘I did too.’
He was moving in for the hug but there was something about the look in her eye. She moved aside from the door.
‘Jake, why don’t you come in for a nightcap?’
Jake’s mind was telling him not to enter but his body had other ideas.
‘Okay,’ he stepped through with feelings of excitement warring with his guilt. He didn’t want this night to end, he didn’t want his time with this beautiful Goddess to ever be over. He walked in knowing these next moments could change everything and he wasn’t sure if that was good or bad.