Chapter 2 of Another’s Treasure

He told her everything. He didn’t even stop to think about just how much he’d poured out for her consumption but consume it she did. She focused in on every word as if he were some expert storyteller and she was his captive audience. She asked about his childhood, where he grew up, did he have siblings, the woman was relentless.

At last he put his hands up. “Alright, alright. Enough about me. Geeze, with everything you got out of me you could write my biography.” He said half chuckling half wincing as he thought of all he’d just told her.

She smiled. A genuine, full faced, smile and he felt the room grow dim. She was beautiful, like a jewel but better because she was real. She was here with him and in that moment, she was his. At the thought alone his heart skipped a beat.

Ernie, the ever-present and ever-helpful, waiter had come and gone several times while they were talking and was now making subtly gestures from his station in the back of room.

“What time is it?” She asked, suddenly very tired.

He glanced at his watch and not believing double checked his phone, “Well, it’s 1:00 a.m.”

“What?” Shocked she hustled into her coat.

“Hey, hey! Wait a minute, now. What’s your rush?” He said hopping out of his chair and rounding the table.

“I had no idea how late it was and it’s going to take forever to get back to the lodge.”

With a smirk he asked, “Is that all? No problem, I can drive you back. Besides, it’s been a while since I’ve been in town.”

She turned away in effort to hide her cheeks that she knew had to be blushing at the idea of being in a car with him. She hardly knew the man.

Sensing her hesitancy he smiled, “Ok, how about I just follow you to the lodge. My home isn’t too far away from there plus I’ll sleep better knowing you’re safe an’ sound.”

Touched by the kindness of the offer she shook her head no. “I’ve already taken up too much of your time.”

“You can’t take what was freely given and I’d gladly give more of it, if you’ll take it.”

The laugh she was about to make lodged in her throat as she looked into his eyes. The man meant every word. Realizing he could and probably would follow her regardless she accepted. She placed a bill under her water glass as tip and waited by the door while he settled the bill then they headed out into frigid night air to her car.

As he reached to open her door she turned to face him and found he was closer to her than she thought.

“You know,” he said leaning in a little closer a smirk playing on his lips, “one might think you keep bumping into me on purpose.”

Rolling her eyes she took a step to the left to put a little distance between them and instantly regretted the lack of warmth. “I just remembered I never asked your name or what you do for a living.”

He laughed, that bright, ridiculously attractive, laugh again and shook his head, “I guess you’re thorough interrogation skipped a step huh?”

Huffing out a breath, she growled. “Just tell me already. It’s freakin’ cold out here.”

Looking at her he realized she must be freezing that coat of hers was designed more for style than actual warmth and that sweater, that sweater with the sheer cutout was definitely not designed for this weather…his mind was beginning to wander when he heard her clear her throat.

“Jack DeMarcus”

She chuckled. “You don’t look like a ‘Jack’.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment. Seeing as how I know you’ll ask a follow up-”

“Who told you I want to know how you got such a silly name?” She said, with a coy smile.

“You did.” He said with a wink that had those darned butterflies stirring again. “I got the ‘Jack’ from my grandpa who loved to play jacks, it was his nickname so naturally it had to become my first name.” Grimacing good-naturedly and was rewarded with another of her laughs.

“Ok, so what’s the story with DeMarcus?”

“It’s my mother’s maiden name. I took when I turned eighteen. My father’s side of the family rioted about it but my mother’s parents understood.”

Before she could get another word out he opened her door and stepped back. “No more questions. You’re not dressed warm enough to interrogate me in the cold.”

Looking down at her clothes she was about to ask what was wrong with them but the way he stared at her lips coupled by the fact that she was starting to shiver made her think twice about arguing.

Sliding into the car she put the key in the ignition and started it up. He was about to closed her door when she pushed on it from the inside.

He pulled the door back some, “What’s up? Don’t tell me you have another question?”

“Ha, ha, ha. No.” Before she could change her mind she blurted out.

“Have breakfast with me tomorrow at the lodge.”

Smiling, he stroked the stubble on chin. “Well, I’ve certainly been asked on a date with more finesse than that.”

Huffing out a breath out of irritation she replied with mock civility, “It’s not a date. I’m merely continuing my interrogation.”

He smiled at her. “Ok. It’s a date.” Leaving her gaping as he shut the door and strode to his truck.

He’d barely gotten the engine started on his rusty old truck when she peeled out of the parking lot, barking out a laugh as he watched the car fishtail a little from her speed. The woman had spirit and he liked a woman with spirit. Putting the truck in gear he eased out. The woman thought she was hard to hold on to but he’d never seen anything more he’d wanted to keep.