Chapter Six

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Gas pedal, brake pedal. Gas pedal, brake pedal. Gas ped—no, stand on the brake pedal. The Friday night stop-and-go traffic Emily's cab driver was navigating caused her to bounce up and down in the back seat. She held a mirrored compact in one hand and an open tube of lipstick in the other, waiting until the car came to a stop at a red light before quickly touching up her lips.

She closed the lipstick tube and her compact and tossed both of them inside her purse, then glanced at her phone. A text Cory had sent her a few minutes ago told her he was also on his way to meet her for dinner.

Her cab turned the corner a moment later, driving along Sunset Boulevard and pulling up outside of the Rainbow Bar & Grill. She paid her driver and stepped out onto the sidewalk. Not seeing Cory nearby, she took her phone out of her purse and typed a message.

Just got to the Rainbow. Are you close by?

A reply came up on her screen. In a cab. Be there in two minutes. Don't let anyone snatch you up!

She smiled and struggled to open her purse again to put her phone back inside of it. While fighting with the zipper, she realized she was having a hard time because her fingers were shaking.

The butterflies she felt in her stomach confirmed it: she was nervous. Given she'd already had drinks with Cory last weekend and had been texting him all week, her sudden jitters seemed a little late in coming.

A pair of hands covered her eyes and she jumped, biting back a yelp. A laugh came from behind her, and the hands moved away from her eyes as quickly as they'd appeared. She turned around to see Cory, who bent his head down and pressed his lips against hers, keeping them there for longer than a quick hello kiss.

"Hi," he said, his eyes as warm as his smile. Looking into them, Emily caught the reflection of the streetlight behind her.

She returned his smile. "I guess that makes the end of the night less awkward," she kidded. "And I guess I can't tell you I don't kiss on the first date."

He moved his hand down to hers and gave her fingers a squeeze. "I couldn't help myself. I've been wanting to do that since last weekend."

Side by side, they walked to the Rainbow's entrance. Emily felt her nervousness begin to fade.

"Have you met Mike?" Cory asked.

Emily shook her head. "Who's Mike?"

"He's the manager here. He'll hook us up with a table if it's busy."

"You know people in high places," she teased him, before noticing he'd stopped walking. "What's wrong?" She also stopped.

"Absolutely nothing." He bent his head over hers again. "Just tell me if I need to be good," he murmured, before capturing her lips with his.

Emily felt a flutter in her stomach. In her mind, she pictured every women's magazine article and relationship blog post about the rules of dating screaming at her in bolded, underlined, and italicized font that she shouldn't be kissing him yet. They were five minutes into their first date, after all.

What did the article and blog authors know about the date she was on right now, though? She dismissed the thought and tilted her head up, softly brushing her lips against his again. "This is good," she murmured.

Cory brought both of his hands up to cup the sides of her face. "So, dinner?"

"That sounds familiar," she said, feeling a little breathless.

Cory took her hand and led her to an empty table on the patio. After she was seated, he moved to the other side of the table and sat down.

"You're so far away." He gave her a pouty little-boy look from across the table.

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