Kerry tapped his foot nervously as he waited for Pia to open the door. All he could think as the seconds passed was that she'd changed her mind. So, when the door opened he sighed in relief and then whistled in approval. "You look gorgeous."
Pia smiled almost shyly. "You're just not used to seeing me in anything other than jeans."
"There's nothing wrong with you in jeans, but—wow."
"Stop," she said, swatting his arm. "It's just a dress."
A black dress with a V-neckline and a skirt just short enough to accent her legs, making them look long and shapely despite her petite size, he noted in appreciation.
"Stop gawking," she muttered, gathering up her purse and jacket.
"Admiring," he insisted, offering his arm.
Once they were in the car and on their way he asked, "Do you have a preference on where to eat?"
"Anything but Italian," she told him with a laugh.
Straight-faced he replied, "That doesn't leave much to choose from."
Equally straight-faced she said, "There's always that fast food place on the corner up there."
With a grin, he pulled into the parking lot.
"No," he admitted, getting back on the street. "I did find a nice little restaurant if you like Greek food."
"Pelagia's. I love that place."
Kerry chuckled. "It could be another one."
"Not in this city unless it opened within the last few weeks," she told him with certainty.
"Is there anywhere here you don't know?" he inquired as he made the turn onto the street he needed.
"Probably not, if you want the truth. I grew up here. I can show you places even the most diehard tourist won't find. Well, I could if—" Her face darkened for a moment then she forced the mood away, pointing and saying, "That's the best shop for fresh fish and good cheese."
Kerry nodded. "Strange combo." He understood immediately what she'd been thinking, the same thing he had been on and off all day. But tonight was for fun and getting to know each other better. The other—it could come later if at all.
* * * *
"And then we tried to get back in the house without my father catching us. I was so sure I'd left the window open just a crack but it was closed, and locked. So we snuck around checking all the other basement windows and Tito bet me that I couldn't figure out how to get one of them open. So I showed him I could."
"And thus a career was born," Kerry said, laughing.
"Well, no." Pia finished the last of her dolmades and then licked her fingers before telling him, "I learned at my father's knee, though he didn't know it. He thought he was just showing me what he did for a living."
"Which, hopefully, was legitimate."
"Oh yeah, he's a locksmith." She grinned. "Taught me all the finer points and the rest was history."
"Does he know?" he asked as he refilled their wine glasses with more Karyda.
"God no! He'd disown me in a heartbeat. He thinks I'm his sweet, innocent daughter who works at the department store and goes home to curl up with a good book and a glass of milk."
"What about the rest of your family?"
"Mother's a true-blue housewife, and my two younger sisters are married. One lives out of state, the other one's in Omaha with her husband and a new baby. How about you?"
"Parents back east, no siblings, one dog."
Pia laughed. "The dog is family?"
"He thinks he is. Right now he's probably giving my friend who's watching him the evil eye because I'm not home yet."
"At least you didn't stick him in a kennel," she told him, avoiding the implications of the 'not home yet' statement.
"I wouldn't do that to any animal if I could help it. Derrick has two dogs of his own so he doesn't mind putting up with Bear."
"Bear? Is he huge?"
"He's a bullmastiff so he's no small-fry. You could probably ride him." He grinned.
Pia rolled her eyes. "I don't ride dogs. Horses, occasionally, but that's my limit."
"Really? We'll have to do that sometime."
With a nod, Pia decided to bite the bullet now rather than putting off the inevitable. "Is there going to be a sometime?"
"Of course," Kerry replied. "Well, that is as far as I'm concerned. Unless you've decided otherwise that is." His face fell when he realized that might be the case.
Pia quickly reached out to take Kerry's hand. "No, I want there to be a sometime, a lot of sometimes, but there's one little, tiny problem. You don't exactly live right next door, and you have a job back home."
"Agreed. That's why they have airplanes."
"Long distance relationships are hard."
"But I'd miss talking to you, I mean face to face."
"Web cam. If you don't have one I'll set it up for you."
"You have one?" She looked askance at him.
"No. Not yet. But if we're going to do this I'll get one too."
"What about--?" When he looked at her in question, she leaned closer and said in a whisper, "Sex."
"Personally I'm all for it."
"Kerry!" she growled. "You know what I mean. I may be all kinds of open-minded and liberal, but the idea of, well, phone sex," she'd lowered her voice again. "I just don't know."
"That bridge we can cross when we come to it," he replied honestly. "Right now we have to decide if tonight is a first date, or an only date."
"Oh I decided that hours ago. It's definitely a first date."
"Thank goodness, because I changed my plane ticket to a later date."
"That was a bit rash of you," she told him, trying not to smile.
"More like I was hoping I wasn't being rash," he admitted. "So, since this is a first date, what do you want to do for the second one?"
"Humm," she thought for a moment then said with a grin, "we could go on a picnic or horseback riding, find a good movie, rob a bank."
Laughing, he told her, "Scratch the last one, been there, done that, and I'm still a cop so no more Bonnie and Clyde for me."
"Is that going to be a problem?" she asked seriously.
"On some level, possibly, but if so I'll deal with it. I can't say I approve of your career choice, but I knew about it before I even met you. It didn't stop me from caring for you then, so why should it now."
"You're an amazing man, Mr. Reede with an 'e'."
"You're pretty amazing too, la mia più cara." He leaned in, brushing a light kiss across her lips. "Did I say that right?"
"You did indeed, il mio uomo dolce." She smiled and her eyes lit up. "You said it just perfectly."
* * * * * * * * *
Coming next, something entirely different.