The Change Up

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He turned, taking the hose with him, and the errant spray of water targeted Rachel, who was standing in the dirt near first base.

She jumped back and leveled him with a face full of serious accusation.

“It was an accident,” he said, stifling a laugh and admiring her ivory pantsuit.

Since the festival, he’d thought of her every night when he drifted off to sleep. How she smelled. How she felt. How she looked at him when her walls came down. Was it possible she’d gotten even prettier since then?

She shifted her shiny black tote bag to the other shoulder and brushed at the water marks on her lapel. Then she turned to the side to check the farther reaches of her outfit, which gave him a great view of her rear assets.

“As lovely as those pants are,” he said, “you probably shouldn’t be hanging around a baseball field in them.”

“There wouldn’t be any problem with wearing these pants around a baseball field if you could learn to control your hose.”

Her eyes widened simultaneously with his.

“Nice,” he said.

“You know what I meant,” she said, chuckling.

“For the record, I have excellent control of my hose when you’re not around.” Or on my mind. “You …” He reached for the right word. “Fluster me.”

She made a face. “This does not sound like an appropriate conversation.”

“Oh, come on. You’re a beautiful, powerful woman in a kick-ass pantsuit. I’m allowed to openly admire that.”

“Fine, then I’m allowed to meet that admiration with open cynicism, because frankly I’m conditioned to wonder what you’re hoping to gain from it.”

Damn. She was direct, and not in a four-beers-overheated-take-me-now kind of way. That way was easy to handle. You called the girl a cab and sent her home safely. But Sam wasn’t sure how to handle a woman who talked like this. No lines, that was for sure. Rachel would call him on every one.

“Would you believe I have no idea what I’m hoping to gain,” he said sincerely. “I’m just working on impulse here.” Kind of like he’d been when he’d asked her to dance.

She looked him over, up and down, and then shook her head until she smiled. “Yes. I would believe that.”

“It’s the ripped jeans, isn’t it? They give me away as a guy with no real plans.”

She stared at him for a beat too long, and the air crackled between them. “I like the jeans. Anybody can make plans, but not just anybody can wear those jeans … and look good.”

He grinned. “And what are you hoping to gain from saying that? Because I’m starting to have a few ideas.”