“You know,” Piper says, settling in, pulling her legs up under her. “I think this is exactly what I needed. I don’t remember ever feeling this relaxed. Not even in Mexico.”
I laugh. “We’ll have to make this a regular thing then.”
She looks at me, a tiny frown tugging her lips. “Do you do this a lot?”
“Do what?” I ask curiously.
“Make picnics and bring girls out here,” she asks, her voice hesitant, as though maybe she doesn’t actually want to hear the answer.
I stare at Piper.
She stares right back at me.
Jesus, she sounds … jealous. She looks it, too.
It’s a pretty look on her.
Always so damn pretty.
I grin at her, and then pull the lid off the cooler, reaching in and retrieving a beer.
“You’re the first,” I say, twisting off the cap and handing it to her. “Don’t bring too many people out here, actually.”
Her eyes widen. “What?”
“You’re the first,” I say again, reaching over to her, lightly trailing the back of my knuckles along the curve where her neck and shoulder meets. It’s a barely there touch, but the contact makes her shiver and blush. “And I’ve never made a picnic for anyone before you either.”
“I, uh, I …” her blush deepens and her voice wobbles. “Really?”
She’s nervous and she takes a long pull from her beer.
“Really,” I say, letting my hand fall away, wanting to put her at ease. I reach into the cooler, grabbing a beer for myself, twisting it open.
When I glance back at her, she’s staring at me, confused, as though I haven’t answered her question at all, so I decide to elaborate.
“This is my getaway, the place I come to clear my head. The guys come out with me every once in a while, but for the most part I keep the boat to myself. It’s … special to me, sacred even. I don’t bring just anyone out here.”
“So it’s a special place,” she reiterates, surprised. “Your special place.”
I take a pull from my beer. “Essentially, yeah.”
My response relaxes her, and she beams at me as though being here makes her special, too.
She is special to me.