The Big Brother/Big Sister Recruitment effort had been a success. The last minute modification had done wonders and the number of volunteers had exceeded the total number of the previous year. Keesha was proud of the work that she and the others had done, but now as she stood outside of her door, she was tired. She tried to stifle a yawn, but found that she couldn’t, so she gave in to it with full gusto. When it was over, she blushed and laughed, “Sorry.”
Jason smiled at her and said, “No need to apologize. You earned it today.”
“I think we all earned it,” Keesha said with a small smile. “Thank you for all of your help today.”
“You don’t have to thank me,” he said. “I enjoyed myself. I don’t remember a time when I laughed more and felt like I’d done something worthwhile.”
Keesha frowned at Jason’s words. Hearing him say “something worthwhile” had felt odd, yet, so very familiar. She didn’t want to become caught up in the whirlwind of her feelings for him, so she changed her expression to a smile and then in exaggerated movements, pulled out her key.
“Is that supposed to be a hint?” he asked with a laugh.
Keesha laughed at herself. He could always see through her. She had to remember that in the future. “Well, I don’t want to keep you and it is getting late. Besides, I’m sure Michael misses you.”
“You’re not keeping me, but I can see that you’re tired. I’ll go, but first I want to see you safely inside,” Jason said as he took the key from her and placed it into her lock.
“Jason, you don’t have to. I can unlock my own door,” she said, as she reached for the key. Jason’s hand didn’t move, and Keesha felt the tingle of her hand on his flow through her entire body.
Jason felt it, too, and for a moment he didn’t know what to do. Should he move his hand, so that he would be true to the promise he made himself, that he would be patient and go slowly with her? Or should he pull her into his arms and carry her into her apartment where he would make passionate love to her all night long? His body told him to do the latter, but his heart told him that the former was the better choice.
Jason pulled his hand away and said, “You most certainly can.”
Keesha paused before she turned the key. She found it hard to believe, but she was disappointed. She didn’t think he’d give in so easily and she was a little sad that he had. She was looking forward to the kiss that she could feel was just below the surface. She mentally shook herself and thought that she needed to get a grip.
She turned the key in the lock and opened the door. She stepped into her apartment and moved to face him. She saw the longing in his eyes before he changed his expression to teasing playfulness. She had a strong feeling that the longing she saw would haunt her tonight and quite possibly invade her dreams. Yet, another sleepless night, dreaming about Jason, she thought. But, for some reason, the prospect didn’t upset her as it had in the past. In fact, she was looking forward to it. A little.
“Good-night, Jason, and thanks again,” she said as she began to close the door.
“Keesha, wait!” Jason said, placing his hand on the door to prevent it from closing.
“Jason…please,” she said. They had made it through the day without any slips, and despite her small disappointment a few moments before, she was not by any means ready for real physical contact with him. She wasn’t sure if she would be strong enough to turn him away again.
“No, sweetheart, I’m not planning to try anything,” he said as he removed his hand from the door. To prevent himself from touching her, he shoved his hands into his pockets. With gentle eyes, he said, “I just wanted to say thanks for letting me help out today.”
“You don’t have to thank me. We needed your help.”
“Yeah, but all the same, you could have turned me away, and I’m glad you didn’t.”
Keesha smiled at him and moved to close the door again. And again, his hand stopped her. She looked at him with tired and apprehensive eyes and asked, “What, Jason?”
“When can I see you again?” he asked the question softly. He subconsciously held his breath as he waited for her answer. He tried to read her eyes, but for once, she was able to conceal her feelings for him. He had to rely on her words for the answer and he hoped it would be a positive one.
Keesha had expected him to make a physical move on her, but never had she imagined that he would ask her out. Was he asking her out, she wondered. She took a closer look at him and saw the nervousness in his eyes and his stance. The way he was holding his breath told her a few things, too. Oh, yeah, he was asking her out, she decided. What was she supposed to say to that?
“Um…I don’t know, Jason,” she said.
“We could meet for lunch,” he said.
“When? I have a busy schedule and…” she said, hedging.
“How about Wednesday? I have to bring Michael in for his monthly check up. Maybe we could come by,” he suggested.
Keesha paused before she answered. His eyes were so hopeful and his voice was so soft as he asked. He wasn’t forcing himself on her, for a recent change, but really considering her feelings. She found that she was tempted by his gentleness and she couldn’t help but say, “Okay. That sounds fine. What time?”
“How about one?” he asked. “If that’s too late…”
“No, one is fine. I’ll see you then,” she said with a smile before she closed the door.
After she closed the door, she stood there for a moment, listening for Jason’s footsteps. When she didn’t hear them, she knew that he was still there, too. She felt a sense of comfort, knowing that he wasn’t able to leave, yet.
She laughed softly to herself when she realized that she was acting like a giddy schoolgirl on a first date. What was she getting into, she wondered. And why did she find herself running straight for it…whatever it was.
“That was some lunch!” Eve said, laughing as AJ parked his car in front of her apartment.
“Hey, if you hadn’t kept sending your order back, we would have been out there a long time ago!” AJ said as he joined in her laughter.
“Well, it’s not my fault if when I say ‘well done’, I mean WELL done! I like my meat cooked all the way through. No pink flesh for me. Yuck!” she said.
“I’ll remember that,” AJ said with a smile. He glanced at Eve and saw that she was smiling back at him. She and he had spent most of the day smiling and laughing. It was a welcome change from the way he had spent the earlier part of his weekend. As he looked at her, he felt as though he had found a friend.
“You do that!” she said, reaching for the door handle. Before she pulled on it, she turned back to him and said, “You know, I had a lot of fun today. You’re not half bad after you’ve eaten.”
“Thanks, so are you,” AJ said. He then added, “Thanks for listening to me, too.”
“Aw, I’ve been there. Thanks isn’t needed,” she said as she reached across to gently give him a reassuring squeeze. “I’ve learned from experience that mending a broken heart is never easy. The best you can hope for is that the time flies by so that you don’t remember as much.”
“I think you’re right,” he said as he nodded.
“Haven’t you learned anything?” Eve asked, her eyes bright with laughter. “I’m always right!”
“Oh, yeah! I forgot about that,” AJ said with chuckle. “But I’m sure the maitre’d would disagree with you.”
“Oh, him? What does he know?” she asked, laughing.
“In comparison with the all-knowing Dr. Eve Lambert? Apparently, not much,” AJ said. The silence inside the car was companionable as the two looked at each other. Both had found a new friend and was a little hesitant about calling it a day.
“Well, I’m off now. I’ve got rounds tomorrow,” Eve said as she opened her door.
Before she could step out of the car, AJ stood before her and offered her his hand. She gave it to him and smiled at him as he asked, “Do you need any help upstairs?”
“Nah, I’m good,” she said as she shifted her stack of papers in her arms. She moved away from the car and stood on the sidewalk as AJ closed the passenger door.
Resting himself against his car, he said, “I had fun today. Care to do it again?”
“Sure. Whenever,” she said.
“How about one day this week? I have a meeting with the hospital board and I thought maybe we could have lunch afterwards,” he suggested.
“Sounds good to me. What day?”
“Okay, Wednesday is good. I’ll see you there,” she replied. “Good-night, AJ.”
“Good-night, Eve,” AJ said as he watched her go into the apartment building. Wednesday. Something to look forward to, AJ thought, as he sat behind the wheel of his car and sped off into the night.