At Home in Your Arms
by Kelly F. Barr
There was something about him. Something about the way he watched me.
I’d felt his eyes on me for several minutes and guarded my gaze by peeking through my lashes. He was breathtakingly handsome with cerulean eyes and a cleft chin, thick wavy blond hair that caused my fingertips to tingle with the desire to run through those waves. Muscles rippled down his golden tan arms and across his chest in his snug orange t-shirt. My heart pounded in my chest, but I couldn’t tell if he was interested in me, or if I should be concerned that he was some kind of creepy stalker guy.
I raised my head from the magazine I’d been reading and let my eyes meet his. He smiled at me, revealing bright white perfect teeth and deep dimples in his cheeks.
I smiled back. He rose to his feet and began closing the short distance between our tables. My heart pounded in my ears and drowned out the noise of the cappuccino machine behind the counter.
“May I buy you a coffee?” He towered above me.
I picked up my empty cup, gave it a little shake, and set it back down. “I’m fine, thanks.”
“Well, in that case, may I join you?”
He pulled out the chair next to mine, closing the gap between us farther, sat down, and pulled himself up to the table. “Do you come here often?”
“Everyday. Can’t live without my coffee. How ‘bout you?”
“I just moved to town, so this is my first visit. I’m Randy McDaniels.”
“I’m Holly Applegate. I was born and raised here.” I retained eye contact with Randy. His eyes pulled me in like a couple magnets. “What brought you to town?”
“I got tired of the big city and the fast-paced lifestyle. I was raised on a farm and spent summers swimming in the creek.”
“Why did you go to the big city in the first place?”
“Oh you know, when you’re young you always think you’ll find something better, more exciting, than where you are.” He paused and stared into my eyes for a minute. “You have large eyes. They’re beautiful and I could look into them all day long.”
Heat crept into my cheeks and I shifted in my seat. “Um, thanks. So what are you plans for living in our small town?”
He leaned closer and lowered his voice. “Right now, I just want to get to know you better. Would you be able to spend the day with me tomorrow, show me around, and give me a taste of what it’s like to live in this quaint little town?”
My heart skipped a beat, and I cleared my throat. “Sure, I could do that. I’ll see you tomorrow.” I gathered my purse and my empty cup and rose from my seat. “I’ll meet you here at 8 a.m. You know, I gotta have my coffee.”
He grinned and nodded, and I made my exit.
The next day the sun was shining and a cool breeze teased some of the tendrils of my hair. I met Randy at the café. We grabbed coffee and a couple scones.
We visited all my favorite places in town and I introduced Randy to many of the locals. We ate lunch at Dee Dee’s Diner, laughing and talking between mouthfuls.
We went bowling, roller skating, and took in a movie. It was a romantic comedy that caused me to wonder what it would be like to hold his hand or have him put his arm around me.
I drove to the beach a half-hour outside of town. We had dinner at my favorite seafood restaurant overlooking the ocean.
After dinner, Randy looked at me as we stepped out of the restaurant. “Would you like to take a walk on the beach?”
I nodded. When my feet hit the sand, I paused and slipped my sandals off.
Randy took his socks and sneakers off, stuffed his socks into his shoes, tied the laces together, and hung them from one shoulder. Then he reached over and took my hand in his. It was a perfect fit.
We walked in silence for a while, then Randy stopped and turned toward me, letting his shoes fall to the sand. He lifted an arm, and with his fingers brushed hair back from one side of my face. Then he placed his hand on my cheek. “I had a great time today. You are fun to be with, and you are beautiful.”
He leaned toward me and I held my breath.
Then his lips were on mine. He tasted of butter and garlic, and I wrapped my arms around his neck and entangled my fingers in his hair. He encircled me in his arms and drew me closer. When the kiss ended, he continued to hold me and I put my head on his shoulder. I inhaled the scent of him—coconut and a touch of musk. His arms felt like home.
He pulled back just a bit and placed his forehead against mine. “This is what I came to this town for—the love of a good woman. You feel so right in my arms, and there seemed to be something between us as soon as our eyes met. Do you feel it?”
I nodded, raised up on tiptoes, and touched my lips to his.
When that kiss ended, he looked into my eyes. “I feel like I’m home.”
I smiled. “Me too.”