Odd Limitations - 4 (UNEDITED DRAFT)
The way the seating arrangement fell, he was sitting across from Ariba rather than next to her. Which was okay he supposed. He got to, in between Kline’s demand for attention, look his fill of her.
They were offered rooms in the B&B portion of the coming attraction the man was developing. The host was gracious enough to allow them to get cleaned up from the morning’s excursions.
She spent most of her time in her room. When she came out she was professional, called him by his last name, which he usually enjoyed, but there was something different about her. Something missing, and it seemed to be he who was the only one missing that something.
He hated himself for hoping that maybe their close encounter scaling down the rock climbing wall didn't just affect him. He thought he felt her lips against his neck or her fingers playing with the hairs at the base of his neck.
Her warmth and fun loving energy was splayed like sunshine on everyone.
She made the little black dress a sophisticated temptation, with the elaborate silver necklace and zebra print shoes.
“Well, ladies and gentlemen, I think you’ve endured my terrible jokes and even worse my tall tales enough. I implore you to take advantage of our wonderful live music and join myself and my lovely wife on the dance floor.”
Ariba had a smile plastered on her face listening to the man's rather charming invitation while she played with her earlobe. When the other couples got up after the Klines she glanced hesitantly at him. The corner of his mouth lifted and she presented a rather remarkable shy smile in return that made his chest clench.
He pushed back his chair and made his way to the other side of the table. He took her hand and tucked it in the crook of his arm before leading them to the dance floor.
He turned to face her taking one hand, placed his other at her waist, then pulled her closer to him. She came willing letting her other hand find his shoulder with ease and they swayed to the rhythm of the jazz song.
“I'm sorry for things being so couple-eeI wasn't expecting that.”
“It's okay it was nice to get out of the house get out of San Francisco see something new for a change.”
“You've never been out of San Francisco?”
“No I've never even been to Southern California or Northern California for that matter just the bay area never had the money venture out.”
Maybe he'd have to change that. “If you could go anywhere where would you go.”
She shrugged. “We can start there.”
“Probably L.A. I've always wanted to go you know see the stars like the stars on the ground not like people. Heard they have really good food I mean I know San Francisco has great food as well. What about you I mean I'm sure you've been many places so what's your favorite place?”
There that moment with her just being. “I've traveled many places true but I've often been on business so it's not like I've really been able to enjoy them.”
She giggled a little bit and dropped her gaze.
“What’s so funny?” He didn’t fight the smile that consumed his face.
“I don’t know. That’s just, you know, kind of sad.”
It kind of was. “Yeah, you’re right. It is kind of sad.”
“Are you from San Fran?”
“No, I’m a transplant.”
He gazed down at her. “L.A. area.” She smelled good like laundry, coconuts and almonds. It sounded strange in his head but the combination was intoxicating.
“So not too far from home.”
“Far enough that if anyone wants to visit they have to call first.”
She laughed, outloud which made him laugh too. “I hear that. Unfortunately, my relatives aren’t far enough away.”
“It’s not so bad having family around. If I had time, I’d miss that.”
She looked up to meet his eyes with a light smile on her face but she didn’t say anything. He placed her hand he was holding on his empty shoulder and made it so both his hands were at her waist.
He liked having her close. It was difficult to make sense of it mostly because he was perfectly fine being a bachelor. Oh, and he just met the woman.
He shivered when he felt her fingers playing in the hairs at the back of his neck. So he wasn't going crazy.
He looked down at her and she was just looking around, casually observing the other couples. She seemed comfortable and relaxed while his heart was banging against his chest.
He paused their sway to the music when her dark brown eyes found his.
She smiled her eyes casually grazing over his then said, “I never thanked you.”
He frowned. “What do you have to thank me for?”
Her groomed eyebrows twisted. “Getting me off the rock wall. I probably looked like a stranded spider plastered to the wall like that.”
He smiled at her dramatic facial expressions.
“I’d say you looked more like a praying mantis. Are you a religious woman?”
She released this little giggling laugh that made him laugh as well. “In that moment, I was the most religious sort.” She laughed some more. “I went all the way back to apologizing for missing church for the past decade.”
They laughed some more and eventually sobered. She looked down and a loose curl fell in her face. As if on instinct, he used his pointer finger to move it aside. She froze looked back up to him with startled eyes. “Sorry I--”
She shrugged. “It’s okay.”
He bit his lower lip when he felt her fingers playing with those damn hairs at that back of his neck. He looked at her lips when they parted with a small gasp. His hand at her waist slid further around her bringing her closer to him. Her eyes fell to his mouth then back up to his eyes, then back down to his lips. Her head tilted slightly and he had--
They jumped apart as if a parent had caught them doing something they had no business doing.
Carson looked slightly behind her and found Kline standing there with a slight smile. The other two guys who were vying for the man’s business were with him, drinks in hand.
“Brandy and cigars, you comin’?”
Carson cleared his throat. He didn’t like the teasing glint in the other man’s eyes and he looked from him to Ariba.
He nodded. “Saying no to the host would be ill advised I’m sure.”
Kline laughed. “You’re a quick study.”
He brought his attention back to Ariba for a moment that didn’t last long enough. “It’s me who should be thanking you. He embraced her placing a chase kiss on the cheek, but lingered there long enough to say, “I’ll make good on my promise. Let’s just save the daring, life threatening antics next time.” He pulled away catching her slight smile and glisten in her dark brown eyes. “Are you going to be alright?” Of course she would. That was an absurd question that spoke more to him not being able to follow through with the man without her at his side.
“Just fine. Go on then before he retracts his invitation.”
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