They Almost Make You Believe… excerpt from You Belong To Me
In this excerpt from You Belong To Me, Colin and Erin go out for drinks with another couple. It is the first time they have a real conversation with each other.
Kyle pulled Marilyn into his arms and kissed her. “Marilyn and I are going out for a drink and I invited Colin to join us. Why don’t you come with us, Erin?”
She glanced at Colin. He nodded. “Grab a coat, we’re just walking up to Harry’s.”
“Okay, I’d love to go,” she said. She hadn’t been out to a bar in ages. This would be good for her. She was cooped up in her little apartment or the gallery most of the time.
They walked the several blocks to the masculine but elegant bar, and sat at a table for four. Erin and Marilyn sat across from each other while the men flanked them on either side.
The waiter approached them and asked for their orders.
“What would you like, Erin?” Colin asked.
“I’ll have a Guinness, please,” she said.
Colin ordered a scotch on the rocks. When the waiter left Colin said, “I’m surprised you ordered that.”
“You expected me to order a watery white wine, I suppose?”
Colin laughed. “Yes, I guess I did. Where did you learn to like dark beer?”
“Stout,” she said.
“At O’Reilly’s Famous Irish Pub,” Erin said, delighted to tease him.
“Hmm, a relative of yours?”
“My dad owns it. I practically grew up on Irish beer.”
“Just when I think I’ve got you pegged, you surprise me,” Colin said, leaning closer to her.
Erin laughed. “You have me stereotyped, huh?”
“No, I didn’t mean that.”
Erin raised her eyebrows at him. “Well, yeah, maybe I did,” he admitted and shrugged.
“Don’t let him bullshit you, Erin,” Kyle said. “He has his world perfectly ordered and he’s trying to figure out where you fit.”
Erin laughed, and turned to Colin. “Do you?”
“Do I what?” There was something sultry in the tone of his voice.
“Have your world perfectly ordered?” She laughed at the sudden change in the expression on his face – like he’d been accused of something criminal. Then he broke out in a huge smile.
“I am sometimes a bit anal. But I think that beats being the ultimate slob, like him.” He laughed as he nodded toward Kyle.
Erin looked at Marilyn and they both burst out laughing. Erin had heard the stories of Kyle leaving dirty dishes in his home office for days; searching high and low for a single shoe and finding it under the bed. Marilyn always had a story to tell about Kyle’s habits when she came into work in the morning.
“Anal isn’t the word for it,” Kyle said. He turned to Erin. “He’s a perfectionist. He probably has his pens lined up parallel to his desk blotter. And I know he’s a fanatic about his clothes. God forbid he should wear something twice in the same month.”
“You have that many clothes?” Erin asked. Tonight he wore a three button, pale gray suit, a darker gray dress shirt with a woven stripe, and a black and gray swirl-patterned tie. Very designer, if she knew her clothes…and she did.
“Hey, what is this…pick on Colin night?” Colin said, chuckling.
“Okay, okay, we’ll let you off the hook,” Kyle said. “I need to say hello to someone at the bar, anyway.” He held out his hand to Marilyn. “Come on honey, let’s give Colin a break.”
They left the table and Erin watched them walk over to another couple at the bar. Kyle held Marilyn’s hand, and Erin envied her that. Envied her the love that shined so clearly in Kyle’s eyes whenever he looked at Marilyn.
She turned her attention away from them and back to Colin. He’d been watching her.
“They’re a nice couple,” Colin said, as though he had been reading her mind.
“They almost make you believe…” And there she was, sharing her innermost thoughts with this man again. What was it with him? He held her gaze, as though he could see right inside her head. “Believe what?” he said, his voice a whisper that sent a shiver through her, a shiver that made her aware of her own sexuality for the first time in…too long.