I yawned and happily stretched out in my bed. It was Sunday morning, but I wanted the dreamy residue of Saturday to linger in my head just a bit longer. I had stayed and spent the remainder of the day in Reese's hotel room. We had eaten pizza and watched movies, hung out and got to know each other better. It hadn't been until midnight that Reese had called a taxi for me, kissed me goodnight and I came home alone.
I lazily opened one eye to see the light streaming in from the curtains. I really needed to do something about those. The birds were tweeting outside the window. I stretched one more time and moaned as I did so, then whipped back the blankets and sat on the edge of my bed. It should be illegal to feel so happy.
I padded around my apartment turning on the stereo in my tiny living room and then headed to the kitchen to make coffee. I looked in the cabinets for something breakfasty to eat. What should it be today? Lucky Charms? Wheaties? I decided to indulge myself and pulled out the box of Smores Pop Tarts. I tore open the packet and bit a chunk off the raw tart. “Mmmmm......”
There was a tap at the door. I tossed down my Pop Tart and nearly skipped the few steps to it and flung it open without caring to look through the peep hole to see who it was. I already knew who it was.
“I couldn't stay away another second.....” and then Reese's arms had me enveloped. I thought my lungs would burst from happiness.
My arms wound around his neck as I pulled back slightly to look him in the eyes. “I thought you weren't coming until later.”
“I switched some meetings around to free up the afternoon.” I couldn't help but be happy to hear that. The attraction.....no, that wasn't a strong enough word.....magnetism was unbearable. “I'm excited for my driving lesson.”
That was one thing we had talked about the night before. We had both agreed that the best way to avoid people stalking him in the future was for him to not only learn to drive, but get his own actual license. I was going to be his driver instructor. I wasn't sure if this was the best idea, but I had agreed. Reese didn't feel like he could trust a whole lot of people. I was glad that he trusted me.
I still didn't know what it was that he did professionally. I knew that he would tell me when he was ready. Just like I still didn't know his whole name. That had me a little worried. I tried to rationalize that lot's of people didn't use their last names anymore. Madonna, Prince, J-Lo and K-Fed. Ha! Here I was lumping Reese in with celebrities. I shook my head.
“You've changed your mind.” Reese said noticing my head bobbing. “You don't want to teach me now.”
“No.....no, no, it's not that at all.” I reddened. Good grief, I needed to get a grip here. I pulled away and picked up my half eaten Pop Tart. I showed him the box. “You want one? I haven't had a chance to make coffee yet.”
“It's okay, I've had breakfast. Aren't Pop Tarts kind of like having cookies?” he mused.
I rolled my eyes. He sounded like my mother. “I haven't bought groceries lately.” I poured myself a glass of water and gulped it down to wash the last of my “cookies” down. “I guess I better get ready.” I took Reese's hand and led him into my living room. “Make yourself at home. Feel free to change the music if you want.”
I left him and raced to my bedroom. What does one wear to a driving lesson? I envisioned a leather jacket and driving gloves, large dark sunglasses and a scarf blowing in the wind. Well, I didn't have an outfit like that so I'd have to go with something from my closet. Besides how ridiculous did I want to look? Jeans, t-shirt and hoodie. That would have to do. I grimaced in the mirror. I really had to stop letting Reese see me this way. My hair was sticking up in all directions. I fixed it as best as I could without calling my hairdresser for an emergency session and added a little natural makeup. It would have to do.
I walked back out to the living room. Reese had my copy of Dusk open and in his lap. He looked up at me when I entered. “You've been reading?”
“Ya, you were right, once I got into it.....it's been hard to put down.”
“And what do you think?” Reese quizzed.
“I'm thinking I'll never be able to read anything normal again.” I paused. “It's ruined me for all other books.”
Reese laughed slamming the hard cover book shut. He rose from the couch, “Ready or not?”
“Really, you can't be that bad.” I looked at him with questioning eyes. “Can you?”
“I hope we can do this in a quiet place.” He grinned. “I don't want to put anyone in danger.”
Yikes! What had I gotten myself into? “Well I laugh in the face of danger.” I guffawed.
Once outside and safely buckled into the driver seat of my car I said, “I'm going to drive to a school parking lot before I unleash you behind the wheel.”
I drove to a nearby elementary school. There were a couple vehicles in the parking lot but otherwise it was obstacle free. I remembered my first driving lesson with my father. He was nervous and I thought it was funny. I remember his hand shaking when he pointed out all the different switches in the car. It didn't seem so funny now.
I parked the car and turned off the ignition. Then I unbuckled my seat belt. “Okay, now we switch places.”
We got out of our seats and walked around the car. I sat down in the passenger seat and buckled myself in. Reese was busy adjusting the seat. I was much shorter than he was. When he had the seat just right, I spoke, “Okay, the right pedal is the gas and the left pedal is the break. You use your right foot for both. Keep your left foot on that rest right there.” Reese got himself correctly positioned as I pointed out the gear shift, signal lights and other switches.
I paused and with a giant apprehensive sigh I said, “You can start the car.” Reese reached down and turned the ignition. My Honda jumped to life.
I loved my car.
“Put your foot on the brake, move the gear shift down to drive and ease off the brake.....gently.” I pleaded as Reese followed my instruction. The car sat almost motionless. “Now carefully put your foot on the gas. Carefully.” I stressed. I wanted to close my eyes.
The car started moving and a wide smile spread across Reese's face. He moved the car ahead a few feet and then braked. “That wasn't so bad.” He said.
“No, but you're going to have to drive farther than that. Let's try navigating the parking lot.” I pointed out a route I wanted him to take.
He engaged the car and started driving to the end of the parking lot. We hadn't noticed that another car was entering the parking lot and had come up behind us.
“There's someone behind us!” Reese panicked.
“It's okay.” I said. “They'll wait.” But before I could reassure him that it was okay he had stomped on the gas peddle and the car was careening forward! “Stop!” I yelled and pinched my eyes shut as the car bounced up and down and came to a sudden halt.
“You can open your eyes.” Reese said.
I opened one eye.....afraid of what had happened to my car.....my baby.
Reese opened the door and got out. He was looking at the front end. There were no tree's or posts here so I wasn't sure what he was looking at. He walked around and motioned for me to get out. I apprehensively unbuckled my seat belt and opened the door. The car seemed to be at an angle. I got out and stood beside my vehicle.
“I'm thinking we need a tow truck.” Reese stated, retrieving his cell phone from his pocket and punching some numbers into it.
I looked at the front wheels of my pretty car. The car I had saved and saved for. The car that I had to special order to get this exact shade of blue because no one around here had it. The car that was now severely handicapped and stuck on top of a cement parking block. I stood in shock.
Reese clicked his phone shut and reached for my hand and I let him weave his finger through mine. “I am so incredibly sorry.”
I was almost speechless. I looked from Reese to my car and back again.
“I just called a tow truck. I'll pay. You don't have to worry. I'll have it fixed. You'll see. It'll be as good as new.”
I dropped his hand, backed up and slumped against the car. I started to cry.
“I will Stacey. I promise!” Reese came towards me and I put my hand against his chest to stop him.
“I had to work hard for this car, Reese.” I wiped at my eye. “I worked overtime. I needed a car so badly in this city. The transit sucks. What am I going to do now? How am I going to get anywhere?” The questions poured out of me. “A guy I've known for...how long....two weeks smashes up my car and I don't even really know who he is.” I rambled.
“I'll make it up to you. You have my word.”
“I think you owe me.” I looked him in the eye. Right in his gorgeous pleading deep sea eyes. “You owe me big time!”
“Anything you want.”
“Tell me then.....what's all the secrecy for?”
“Anything but that.” He looked down avoiding my eyes.
“Just give me something to go on.” I pleaded. “a last name!”
Reese studied my face and then I guess he decided he could divulge something. “I know I owe you that.....you deserve that, but if I do tell you you'll know my whole story.....and then everything will change.”
“It's gotta be bad then right? I mean if you have to protect me.” I surmised. “Is it like the mafia or something?”
Reese was laughing. “Do I look like James Gandolfini?”
Reese sobered. “You don't know who that is?”
“I lead a boring life.”
“Huh.” Reese mulled something over. He reached over to touch my cheek with his hand. “It's not that you'll think bad of me. It's more like your whole impression of me will change.”
“Your impression can't get much worse at the moment!” I looked into his eyes trying to convey the trust.
“I'll tell you this.” Reese took both my hands in his and looked at them as he spoke. “I am in an industry where I've become very noticeable.....very recognizable. My every move is scrutinized. I love what I do.....I'm not sure I'm even good at it, but at the moment its what I'm pursuing, but yet I am also being pursued.” He paused to look at my expression. “You have been a breath of fresh air. Your impression of me isn't tainted by what everyone else says, yet. You are getting the real me and not the facade.”
I remained silent. I didn't want him to be afraid of telling me anything. I'd never felt such a connection with anyone.
“When you're ready, I'll tell you all of it.” Reese's eyes were staring directly into mine. It was like he really wanted to get his point across. “I promise.”
That was enough for me. “Okay.” I mumbled.
“um.” Reese heaved a big sigh before I could finish he dropped my hands. “um, just one more thing.”
“What?” He didn't like it.
“How are we going to get home?” I smiled a little.
“I'll take care of everything.” Reese forced a smile. The tow truck was pulling up as was a sleek black BMW. He asked me to go wait in the car while he made arrangements with the tow truck driver. I plunked myself in the back seat and waited.
It was the same car driver as the other day. “Hello Miss Anders.” He said. “I see you've had some car troubles.” I remained silent. “My name is Bob. I'm Reese's driver.....for the most part. He means well you know. He's quit smitten with you. He told me so just this morning when I was taking him to the Du....”
The other door opened and Reese got in. “I see Bob is charming you.” He smiled. “We're old friends aren't we Bob?'
“Yes, that we are.” Bob answered. “And where are we off to now?”
“I think we should return Stacey to the safety of her apartment, don't you?”
“Very well sir.”
Back in my kitchen, I was rummaging through my fridge. “Let's see.....we can have olives.....or cheese slices.....or pickles.” God that was pathetic. I really needed to get some food in the place. I looked up to Reese.
He was studying his cell phone. “That's alright. I can't stay. I'm going to have to go.” I guess the lure of cheese and pickles wasn't enough. “I can't get out of this one.”
I stood up from my bent over position and closed the fridge door. “It's fine. Really.” I didn't want the cheese and pickles either.
“I'll be in touch with you later.” Reese told me. “I really am truly sorry.” He wrapped his arms around my waist. I looked up into his blue eyes. He leaned in, kissed me goodbye and left me breathless.
He had my heart.