They walked toward Times Square, Emma taking the lead, weaving through the crowds emptying from the theaters. Andrew practically bounced down Broadway after Heatherby, the smile on his face electric as he went on and on. Emma didn't mind though. She loved seeing him so happy and hearing his commentary.
"The acting, the songs, it was all phenomenal! I hadn't realized how far musicals have come the past ten years." The lights of the city reflected in his eyes as he looked back at Heatherby marquee, snapping a photo with his phone.
"Want me to take your picture?" she asked.
"Would that be dumb? I'd love to show the girls though."
"Give me your phone." Emma took his phone and walked a few yards away. She turned to see Andrew posing, arms wide, his wingspan disrupting the delicate balance of foot traffic on the busy street.
She couldn't help but smile. She snapped a few and then gave him back his phone, took out her own, and framed a selfie of the two of them. "Just for me. No rumors, no worries."
Andrew shifted next to her and moved closer, ducking a little so the marquee behind them filled the top of the picture. As his body shielded hers, she felt warm. She also got a whiff of his cologne, a fresh, clean, man scent. Teagan's "ask him out" comment rang in her ears, as he positioned himself behind her.
"Let me do the honors," Andrew said, as he touched the button. When he moved away from her, the cold hit again, and she missed his warmth immediately.
She picked up the pace, clearing her mind of its inappropriate thoughts. Andrew was her employee. This wasn't a date. She'd wake up tomorrow and everything would be the same as before. She'd hit the senior center for a little conversation, and then answer emails. Work until it was time to order dinner, et cetera, et cetera. Such the exciting life of the CEO.
Andrew walked next to her. No matter the temperature, the time, the day, Times Square was always busy. The tops of his ears had turned red with the cold air, but his cheeks looked rosy. "It's been so long. I forgot how much I loved it here."
"The city's always alive," Emma said, pointing up at a flashing electronic billboard. "I want to see that next. Moonlight Arrow."
"I read about it. Looks amazing." He touched the arm of her coat, but she felt it all the way to her skin. She didn't think he realized that he'd done so. "You can get tickets?"
She laughed. "I'm not sure, but I can try. You'll come with me?"
The second she said it she wanted to take it back. It had just seemed so natural to invite him, since his excitement matched her own. And being accompanied by a man, even if it wasn't technically a date, felt nice. She'd been solo for so long that she'd felt special all night when she caught him looking at her, all fidgety and nervous.
"Sorry," she said. "I don't mean to imply..."
"It's okay." He let her off the hook without accepting her invitation, which she was fine with her for the moment.
When they made it across Times Square to a side street, the rich smell of coffee beans warmed her. She pointed to the source--a small café. "How about a cup? Then I'll get you home to your girls." She wanted to spend more time with him before she gave him back to his life and returned to hers.
"Sounds great," he answered.
Inside, he rubbed his hands together as they stood on line to order. "So cold. I checked the forecast and it's supposed to snow again."
"No," she groaned. "When?"
They made small talk about the weather until they got their coffees. She paid, and Andrew carried the steaming mugs to a two-person table by the window overlooking the street. After they stripped themselves of their outerwear, they settled at the table. He was so tall, that when he sat, his knees bumped hers underneath. She didn't mind.
YOU ARE READING
Emma Ballard, a retired supermodel, has been the acting CEO and face of her family's clothing business for the past five years, living the busy corporate life in New York City. She meets the Jersey branch IT supervisor, theater-nerd Andrew Mooney, w...