She tries to stare at him without him noticing she’s doing so, but he turns his head slightly to her and she quickly looks away, feeling her face flush.
“Are you okay? Your face is red,” he says. She burns hotter.
“I’m fine. Hot flash, I guess,” she replies, bringing a hand up to her cheek in a vain effort to hide the red skin.
“…little young for menopause, aren’t you?” he jokes, laughing.
He caught her looking at him and he’s teasing her, damn him. He always teases her. She doesn’t mind. It makes her feel the familiar butterflies she always gets around him. Damn him again for making her betray her usually calm demeanor.
“How’s the book?” he asks, nodding to the thick hardcover collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald stories she’s been trying to read for a few weeks.
“I love it. His language is gorgeous. I wish I could write as well as he does,” she gushes.
“He does have a way with words, doesn’t he?” His voice is mellow and low, almost quiet. He looks up at her and smiles. Goddamn butterflies.
“It’s like he’s writing for me sometimes. Not the fancy words, though. I don’t think I’ve ever used half of the vocabulary he does or phrases things as well, either. He’s all, ‘I wish I’d done everything on earth with you,’ and I’m all, ‘I like your butt.'”
He laughs loudly. Butterflies again.
She finds herself staring again, but she is unashamed of it this time. She can’t help it. He is easy on her eyes and she takes in all his features carefully, studying him from his hairline to jaw line. She thinks of another Fitzgerald quote as she looks at him. “Her heart sank into her shoes as she realized at last how much she wanted him. No matter what his past was, no matter what he had done. Which was not to say that she would ever let him know, but only that he moved her chemically more than anyone she had ever met, that all other men seemed pale beside him.” She sighed in spite of herself.
He notices and looks at her again. “Sure you’re okay?” he asks again, a look of concern wrinkling his eyebrows.
“I promise. Just thinking. Nothing important.”
He offers a small smile.