The sun was shining, the road to Schomberg was clear and his gorgeous woman was sitting beside him in his truck. All was right in Gabe's world.
"What are you smiling about?" Claire asked, noticing his huge grin.
"Just happy you agreed to come along today. I didn't think demolition derbies would be your thing." He answered honestly.
"You did assure me there would be cotton candy. How could I resist?" Claire said with a laugh.
"Did I tell you how sexy you look today babe?" Damn, even in her cut off jean shorts and white tank, an outfit that he knew she meant to be casual enough for a day at the fair, she was still as hot as hell.
"Even better than cotton candy?"
"Hah! Cotton candy doesn't have anything on you. You even taste better." Gabe said. He licked his lips, thinking of the tongue bath he gave her before they'd left. He glanced away from the road over at Claire just in time to catch her blushing at the action.
"You're so bad!!!" she giggled.
"Please, you know you like it nasty girl." He teased, bringing out another onslaught of giggles from the stunning woman beside him.
"I have something to admit..." Claire said once her laughter died down.
"I had an ulterior motive for agreeing to come with you today." Claire said. She followed by flashing Gabe a smile he knew was meant to butter him up. "I have a dinner I need a date to next Thursday."
"Sure thing babe. But why do I have a feeling something's up with this dinner you want me to go to?"
"It's for people with the financial designation I have. It will be a good networking opportunity for me and we're allowed to bring dates and I really don't want to go to another one of these things single when I have a hunk of man meat like you that could be by my side." Claire blurted out in a rush of words.
"To be honest, it sounds terrible. Me, trapped for an evening with a bunch of money dorks..." Gabe said, purposely drawing out giving Claire a straight answer just to toy with her.
"It's OK I understand. You don't have to come. I'm sure it will be boring anyways..." She said, unable to hid her disappointment from him.
"Like hell I don't! As your boyfriend, going with you to boring crap is in the job description babe." Gabe said.
"Really?" She said, her face lighting up.
"Of course really. Isn't that part of the deal with a relationship? I mean everyone will be with you for the fun parts of life, but it takes someone who really cares about you to be there with you through the not so fun crap." Gabe answered. He reached over and grabbed Claire's hand, weaving her slim fingers between his. "And if you're really lucky, like I am, you've got someone who even manages to make the shitty stuff not so bad."
Claire was doing her best to keep the smile on her face at the fair. It was exactly as bad as she'd feared; they were out in the hot sun at an event that was jam packed with screaming kids and hokey attractions. To make matters worse, she and Gabe had met up with Gabe's friends Nate and Jess as well as a couple of the other people she'd met at their wedding, including Becky, the redhead Claire sat beside during the reception dinner. Since their arrival a couple hours before, Claire had been subjected to an ongoing conversation about people whom she'd never met and high school memories she hadn't been present for. It was becoming excruciating difficult to continue feigning interest.
"Hey we should go check out the cars that are going to be in the derby later." Nate suggested to the group.
Fuck. Claire thought to herself. Just when I thought I'd reached the innermost circle of this Schomberg Fair hell, another ring presents itself.
"Ugh Nate. You're such a guy." Jess said, playfully reprimanding him. "If you boys want to drool over beaten up cars then maybe it would be a good time for the girls to check out the vendor booths?"
Yes, there is a God! Claire was in love with Jess in that moment. Shopping made everything better.
Gabe raised his eyebrows at Claire, wordlessly asking if she was cool with Jess' plan for them to split up.
"I'm totally down for shopping!" Claire said enthusiastically to the group.
"Perfect, lets meet up back here in an hour." Jess said. She looped arms with Becky and Claire and led them away from the men.
The vendor booths weren't anything special, but they were a welcome reprieve from her boredom. Claire far preferred checking out handmade soaps, homemade preserves and piles of quilts to wandering around in the hot sun.
"Mmmmm smell this one." Becky said shoving a candle in front of Claire's nose. "If my eyes were closed I would have sworn there was a fresh apple pie in front of me."
Claire inhaled the sweet cinnamon scent. "Damn you're right. But if I were to buy a pie scented candle it would be pumpkin for sure."
"Is that your favorite pie? I have a mean pumpkin pie recipe I could give you." Jess chimed in.
"Nope." Claire said and smiled slyly. "It's the best scent for the bedroom."
"What?" the other two women said in union.
"Yup. The smell of pumpkin has been shown to increase blood flow to guys' junks." Claire said, making the other two women giggle.
"I'm sure you won't need to buy one since you have Gabe." Jess said.
What the hell?! Had Jess been with Gabe? Claire wondered.
"Oh my God. No." Jess said, obviously realizing the conclusions Claire's mind had jumped to. "It's just this is a small town. Word gets around."
"And another side effect of growing up in a small town is that relationships are pretty incestuous. By the time high school is over, you've all slept with each other." Becky added.
"Becky you make us sound like a inbred bunch of hicks!" Jess said with a laugh.
Well wasn't this just a fantastic development. Now if Claire got bored, she could occupy herself with trying to figure out who of the women she met that day had seen her man's penis. Fan-freaking-tastic.
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Love Like a Man - CHECK OUT THE REVISED VERSIONRomance
**This story was a top 55 SYTYCW15 Finalist!** Claire Warren felt like she had her life under control; she kicked ass at her job as an investment banker, had her own condo overlooking the City and spent her personal time knocking back G&T's at some...