Some Sort of Love (Happy Crazy Love #3)(14)


by Melanie Harlow

“God, some days the list is endless. The weather, the schedule, his schoolwork. Crowds. Storms. The dark. Loud noises. Washing and brushing his hair. Hot food.”

“Wow.” I wanted to ask if Scotty had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or even OCD, but I also wanted to preserve the casual, friendly feel of our conversation. I was curious about his son, and my natural instincts were to help, but I wasn’t his doctor and didn’t want to act like it. Mostly I was just listening for Levi, to give him an ear without weighing in.

“And then there are his obsessive interests.”

“Which are what?”

“Baseball stats, for one.”

“Well, that’s pretty typical for his age, right?”

“No. When the average second grader wants to talk about baseball, he wants to recap the awesome win from the night before or maybe say who his favorite players are. Scotty wants to recite the list of top MLB career batting averages, like fifty of them, complete with years played, games played, at bats, hits, runs, and RBI’s.”

“Whoa. He has all that memorized?”

“Completely. And hardcore eight-year-old fans might know names like Ty Cobb or Joe Jackson, but even they don’t really care about what happened in baseball in 1915. In St. Louis. On a Tuesday.”

I laughed. “What else is he interested in?”

“Dinosaurs and Franz Liszt.”

I laughed again. I couldn’t help it. “Baseball and dinosaurs, I understand. But Franz Liszt? The composer?”

Levi chuckled too. “Yes. He loves classical music. He went through a Mozart phase, then a Bach, then a Vivaldi. Now it’s Liszt.”

“Have you taken him to the symphony?”

“Not yet. I want to, but I’m worried—one, about the volume level, and two, about the crowd. Same with a Tiger game.”

“Well, he sounds like a very smart, interesting, well-rounded kid.”

“He is. I wish more people knew him like I did. I worry that will never happen.”

Something squeezed my heart. “Sounds like you have a lot of worries too.”

“I guess so, but what parent doesn’t? And maybe I’m making it sound worse than it is. We have plenty of good days too, including today. Anyway, I better get him refocused on math again.”

“Of course. Sorry to keep you with all my questions.”

“No, I’m glad you did. Thanks for asking. And for listening.”

“Any time. I’m looking forward to Friday.”

“Me too. And Jillian…” He sighed. “I’m sorry if I got a little overexcited about sex. I probably shouldn’t say all that to you.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know. It’s been so long since I’ve talked to a woman this way, I don’t even remember what I’m doing. I’m like a fucking teenage boy. You’re going to think I’m no different than the asshole who couldn’t last five minutes in the closet.”

I laughed. “Hardly. I don’t think that at all. I think you’re like me. Really focused on one part of your life, so focused that the other parts feel like muscles we haven’t used in a while.”

“Exactly. But I promise I’ve learned a few things since the closet.”

“Guess what?” I whispered. “I have too.”

He groaned. “OK, I’m really going now. Or I never will.”

“Night, Levi.”

“Night.”

I ended the call and dropped the phone next to me. A date. A date! One that I was actually excited about—when was the last time that had happened?

I frowned, thinking about the last few dates I’d been on. I hadn’t even shaved my legs for those, but for Levi…

Scooping up my phone again, I made a note to call the salon on Tuesday and schedule a bikini wax. A full Brazilian.

I didn’t do anything halfway.

Of course, I was fucking late. I’d been looking forward to seeing her all week long, we hardly had enough time to begin with, and I was fucking late.

But a client meeting had run long, which meant I was late getting to the bus stop to meet Scotty, which made him late for swim therapy and threw his whole sense of equilibrium off for the day, and even Sarah had a hard time getting him settled. He clung to my waist as I left, and I felt like the biggest asshole on the planet for thinking, Let go, champ, Daddy wants to go get laid.

Not that I was positive I’d get laid. In fact, as I sped toward Low Bar, my dick perking up at the mere thought of getting inside her, I told myself to calm the fuck down. Maybe she wants to get to know each other a little better before getting naked, which is perfectly normal, and probably a good idea, so don’t go charging at her like a bull at a red cape. Be a goddamn gentleman. Can you do that?

I could do that. I could be a gentleman. A gentleman with a raging hard-on, but a gentleman.

I parked on a side street and grabbed my jacket from the passenger seat, adjusting myself in my jeans before shutting the door and locking the car. Shrugging into my jacket as I hurried down the block, I hoped she hadn’t been sitting there for too long, although she seemed like the kind of person who liked to be punctual.

In front of the door, I was tempted to stop, take a breath, run a hand through my hair, fix my cuffs, and stroll in all cool and casual, like a badass.

But that just wasn’t me.

I threw open the door and rushed down into the dark, intimate bar, stopping for just a moment to give my eyes time to adjust to the candlelight. As soon as I saw her, standing behind a stool at the bar, hanging a jacket over the back, I strode toward her.

“Jillian.”

She looked up and smiled. God, she was so fucking pretty. Was she really here waiting for me? “Hey you.”

“Hey. I’m so sorry I’m late. An afternoon meeting ran long, which threw off the entire rest of the day for Scotty, and…” I shook my head. “Anyway, I’m sorry.”

“Stop apologizing. You’re here. I just got here too.”

I slipped a hand around her waist and pulled her close, pressing my lips to her cheek. “I’m here. And you’re beautiful.”

“Thank you.” She slid onto her chair, and I eyed her legs as she crossed them. She had on a tight gray dress with short sleeves and a knee-length hem, black heels, and pearls at her throat. Jillian’s curves were subtle, but the dress hugged every last one of them, and those legs were begging to be slung over my shoulders.