“See?” he says. “I keep my promises.”
“Goody two-shoes,” I say, rolling my eyes.
He laughs. “Be careful. I might have to spank you.”
“Is that another promise?”
Rosie is in the locker room when I enter, and I freeze, worried that I’m going to get an earful. But I don’t. She doesn’t look happy exactly, but not angry either. “You and Mr. Andrews?”
“I can see why. I had a crush on him when I first started too,” she laughs. “Never did that, though.”
I make my way to my locker and grab my stuff, not exactly sure what to say. Luckily, she’s the one who leaves first. “Good luck.”
Is that it? If that’s the only reaction I’m going to get, then I’ve been worrying a lot for nothing. I pull out my phone and text him.
I’ve changed my mind. Want to go on that date? Hint: I have the night off tomorrow.
I’m almost to my car when the response comes through.
Tomorrow night it is. Seven o’clock. I’ll pick you up.
And a few seconds later.
Wear something sexy.
I roll my eyes.
As if I would wear anything else.
I can almost hear him laugh.
That’s my girl.
My doorbell rings at exactly seven. I guess punctuality is another thing to add to my growing list that I’ve never noticed before. But then again, you don’t have to be punctual at a club that you own. Opening the door to my apartment, I feel my jaw drop.
I’ve seen Cole in button downs and suit pants, but never an actual suit, and the effect is…wow. It’s perfectly tailored, emphasizing his height and the width of his shoulders. He looks like he stepped out of the pages of a men’s fashion magazine and it’s making my mouth water. “Hi,” I say, more than a little breathless.
“Hello.” His eyes travel up and down my body, and I blush. I pulled out all the stops tonight, digging out a little black dress that I haven’t worn in years. It’s a little tight in the bust and hips, but I’m wearing it anyway because I know that Cole will like it more because of that. “You look beautiful.”
I step aside to let him in, and he comes face to face with Brownie. “Hey girl,” he says, crouching down to her level. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”
She’s pretty much back to her usual self, though I still see her stepping gingerly from time to time. Brownie has always been wary of strangers—especially men. I rescued her when she was a puppy after she’d had some bad experiences. So I nearly pass out on the floor when she immediately wags her tail and comes over to him, jumping up on his shoulders to sniff and lick his face.
Cole laughs, patting the top of her head, telling her she’s a good girl, and Brownie loves every second of it. He’d told me he was a dog person, but seeing it is different. I’ve always thought that you can tell a lot by the way a person treats animals, and the kindness Cole is showing Brownie right now is speaking volumes.
“I’d love to stay and hang out with you, but if I do, we’ll miss our reservation.”
“Where is our reservation?” I ask, grabbing my keys and giving Brownie a final scratch on the head.
Cole grins. “Italian.”
The restaurant is gorgeous with a great view of the skyline. There’s a table waiting for us on the balcony. The evening sun warms my shoulders, and I’m glad that we decided to do this. It feels strange, though, everything is so bright, so normal. I’m used to seeing him in the vivid colors and shadows of Club Deep. Seeing him in this kind of light is different. I like it.
We order, the waitress bringing us a bottle of wine at Cole’s request.
“Okay,” I say. “Now that we’re out of the club, you have to tell me the story.”
I laugh. “The one about how you came to own a sex club. A wildly popular one, too.”
“It’s really not that interesting.” He takes a sip of his wine.
“I still want to know, though.”
He tilts his head, thinking. “Well, Julian, Hudson, and I, we met while we were all in college. But we didn’t meet at college. By random chance we ended up at a play party. I’m grateful for that now, because we were so young and had no business really being there. But the ratio of the party was terrible. We ended up talking and drinking the whole night. Left the party and went for pizza.”