Nine

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Dear Diary,

 Dr. Ryan Maxwell must have hung the stars in the sky himself because there is simply nothing he cannot do. From tending wounds, to breakfast on the farm, the man has it all, maybe even a piece of my heart.

Signed,

Ashley

 

Ryan is doing a stand up job of keeping a close eye on me. In fact, I’ve had the undeniable pleasure of spending every evening for the last two weeks with him. I might even go so far as to say a piece of me, a miniscule, teeny-tiny piece, actually likes Fairview.

Working on the farm makes my online squat challenge look like a walk in the park. I should be ashamed of myself for thinking training was hard. Realistically, fifty squats and fifty lunges are a breeze. Farming on the other hand could be an Olympic event. The thing is, knowing that I’m going to see him when the work day is over, not to mention my evolving gluteus maximus, urges me to keep going.

It’s too fast, too soon and blah, blah, blah, I can hear my best friend, Gigi, say. Now if I told her of my jet-propelled feelings for Ryan, she’d go nutters. Besides, I love being in his company. He looks like a superstar, is well spoken and sophisticated and, so help me God, he smells like baked bread, which conjures up immediate feelings of finally coming home.

I’ve managed to avoid Damon like he’s host to the next plague. This relationship we’ve established—avoidance and ignoring one another— seems to work well for both of us. I feed him and in return, he no longer tries to kill me. It seems like a fair trade.

This morning, my mother left to have tea with Edna, but not before asking me at least eight times if I needed anything. No, I tell her. Not one thing.

I finish feeding Garry, Jebb and Damon and emerge from the barn, when I run directly into Ryan, as in physically assault him with my body, not pass him by or see him from afar, but rather slam myself against him because I’m too busy looking at my shoes.

“You weren’t kidding when you said you were clumsy.”

I stretch my arms out to the sides. “I have more space than I know what to do with around here. I didn’t expect to see you.” My eyes narrow at a bag that dangles from his hand. “What are you doing here?”

“Ah,” he says. “Well I came to see a gorgeous girl and hopefully share some breakfast with her. You haven’t seen her, have you?” He winks.

“I think she ran off with a handsome stranger.”

Ryan shrugs. “Well, this isn’t going to eat itself. Care to join me?”

“Don’t mind if I do.”

We head to the porch swing on the veranda where I sit down and Ryan showers me with gifts in the form of pastry, fruit and a latte. I take a sip and let the flavours blend together before I ask him. “Where did you get this?”

“The latte?”

“Yes, the latte.”

“I made it.”

“You made it.”

“I did,” he says. “For you.”

“Who makes lattes?”

“I do.”

“With a latte maker?”

“Or an espresso machine. Either way, those are just minor details.”

“You have an espresso machine?”

He nods. “I do.”

“In your house?”  

He makes his eyes wide. “Right in the kitchen if you can fancy that.”

“Marry me.” I take another sip and giggle. He is seriously perfect.

“You’ll have to kiss me before I can agree to marry you.”

“We’ve kissed,” I say. “Many times. Are you still trying to decide if I make the cut?”

“Maybe,” Ryan says, “or I could be merely enjoying the fact that I’m dating a beautiful girl who lets me shower her with lattes and kisses and using it to my total advantage.”

He takes my latte and sets it on the table next to the swing before slowly leaning forward to frame my face in his hands. My heart leaps into my throat as his lips brush across mine before he takes them in his own. It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve kissed because each time, it’s like it’s new again.

My eyes flutter then close. If I could do this every morning, wake up to this every day for the rest of my life, I may never need another latte again.

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