What she needed didn’t involve calories. It involved a lobotomy. “Yes, please.”
“You warming up yet?”
Yes, but that might’ve had more to do with his warm gaze than the temperature in the room. “Getting there,” she managed.
The barest of smiles curved his mouth.
Idle chitchat. That’s all this was, she reminded herself. They were just like any other casual acquaintances who happened to be in the same place at the same time.
Except there was nothing casual about her being here. Finn just didn’t know it.
She’d have to tell him eventually, because this wasn’t a fairy tale. And she absolutely would tell him. But as a rule, she tended to subscribe to the later-is-best theory.
She realized he was watching her and she squirmed in her seat, suddenly very busy looking anywhere and everywhere except right into his eyes because they made her think about things. Things that made her nipples hopeful and perky.
Things that couldn’t happen.
As if maybe he knew what he could do to her with just one look—or hey, it wasn’t like her wet white shirt was hiding much—the corners of his mouth quirked.
Which was when she realized that Willa had stopped eating and was staring at the two of them staring at each other. When Willa opened her mouth to say something, something Pru was quite certain she didn’t want said in front of Finn, she rushed to beat her friend to it. “On second thought, can I double that order of chicken wings?”
“Sure,” Finn’s mouth said.
Stop looking at his mouth! She forced herself to look into his eyes instead, those deep, dark, mossy green eyes, which as suspected, was a lot like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. “Um, I think that’s my phone—” She started digging through her purse. Wrapping her fingers around her cell, she pulled it out and stared at the screen.
Nothing. It was black.
Finn smiled and walked away, heading back to the kitchen.
“Smooth,” Willa said and sipped her Irish coffee.
Pru covered her face, but peeked out between her fingers, watching Finn go, telling herself she was completely nonplussed by her crazy reaction to him, but the truth was she just wanted to watch his very fine ass go.
“Huh,” Willa said.
“No,” Pru said. “There’s no huh.”
“Oh, honey, there’s a huge huh,” Willa said. “I work with dogs and cats all day long, I’m fluent in eye-speak. And there’s some serious eye-speak going on here. It’s saying you two want to f—”
Pru pointed at her and snagged the last chicken wing, stuffing it into her mouth.
Willa just smirked. “You know, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen Finn look at a woman like he just looked at you. A real long time.”
Don’t ask. Don’t ask—“Why’s that?” She covered her mouth. Then uncovered her mouth. Then covered it again.
Willa waited, eyes lit. “Not that that wasn’t fun to watch, but are you finished arguing with yourself?”
Pru sighed. “Yeah.”
“Finn’s got a lot going on. Keeping the pub’s head above water isn’t easy in today’s economy. Plus he’s slowly renovating his grandparents’ house so he can sell it and move out of the city—”
Pru’s heart stopped and she swallowed a heavy bite of chicken wing. “He wants to leave San Francisco?”
“To live, yes. To work, no. He loves the pub, but he wants to live in a quieter place and get a big, lazy dog. And then there’s his biggest time sink—keeping Sean on the straight and narrow. Add all of that up and it equals no time for—”
“Well, I was going to say getting lucky,” Willa said. “But yeah, even less time for love.”
Pru turned her head and watched Finn in action, taking care of his employees, his customers, his brother . . .
But who took care of him, she wondered as he worked his ass off, running this entire place and making it look easy while he was at it.
She knew it wasn’t about making time. It was about what had happened eight years ago when he’d been just barely twenty-one. Her gut twisted, which didn’t stop her from eating her entire plate of chicken wings when it came.
An hour later she left the bar warm, dry, and stuffed. Night had fallen. The rain had tapered off. With the clearing of most of the clouds, a sliver of a moon lit her way. The courtyard was mostly empty now, the air cool on her skin. Pots of flowers hung from hooks on the brick walls and also the wrought iron lining parts of the courtyard. During the day, the air was fragrant with the blooms but now all she could smell was the salty sea breeze.