Looking around the meat section, I see Nat pick up two types of ground beef. She looks back and forth between them for a whole minute. I take them both out of her hands, put one in the cart and put the other back on the shelf. She scowls at me but I’m ready for her. “What? It’s just beef!”
“It’s not just beef! One has five percent less fat! And lucky for you, that’s the one you put in the cart.”
I roll my eyes and mumble, “Whatever, lady.” I stock the cart with four different types of meat.
Okay, so I’m a typical bachelor.
I like meat. Nothing beats a good steak. I could eat steak every damn day. I think that’s what’s on tonight’s menu and I’m already looking forward to it.
We go aisle by aisle and the cart is filling up. I add the essentials; potato chips, chocolate, ketchup, peanut butter, jelly, chocolate sauce and full fat milk. Nat adds things I’ve never even heard of; quinoa, whole wheat crackers, hummus, udon noodles, two percent milk and vegeta. I’m just about to ask if she’s a health nut when she puts chocolate spread, three different types of ice cream and bacon into the cart.
God, I hate when women starve themselves. I like my women curvy. Ever since Nat, I’ve been avoiding curvy women and settling for slender instead. There’s no comparison so why even try.
We head down the pharmacy aisle and I stop right in front of the condoms. I look at Nat to find her looking right back at me.
It’s a stare off.
We stare at each other for almost a minute before I grab two boxes off the shelf. I put them in the cart. “One for you and one for me. You’ll probably need it with your new guy around.”
I’ve been trying to work him into a conversation somehow.
“Oh, I hadn’t even thought about that.” she replies quietly.
It sounds genuine. So I prod. “What? You mean to tell me you don’t sleep with who you please?”
She turns slightly and avoids my eyes when she responds, “Of course I do.”
I can read people well and I’d bet my life savings that Nat doesn’t sleep around which makes me wonder why she let me pull her into the conference room that night.
That makes me happy. Even though I have no right to feel happy about that.
“So, when are you seeing the angry man again?”
She immediately jumps to his defense. “He’s not an angry man! He just thought you were coming on to me, and his name is Cole, by the way. I’m going out with him tomorrow night.”
I can understand that. If someone came between me and my woman… I mean, if I was with Nat and some guy came on to her in front of me, I’d want to break his skull. But something about him isn’t right. I’ll have to use my resources and look into him.
Looking at the shelves, I tell her, “You need to get me a last name, pretty girl. Something about that boy ain’t right. Too jittery.”
She frowns, but I see her eyes blankly focus on the shelves, which makes me believe she thinks the same thing I do. She concedes on a nod. “Okay. Any more weird stuff, and I’ll let you check him out. And I’ll be honest with you about it. But if I see he’s just a normal guy, you will butt out.” She holds out her hand and I take it in mine. We shake then continue shopping.
From this one experience, I can tell I’ll be happy to shop with her again. I like the way she walks around the cart, brushing past me. She talks to herself too, and I feel my body relax and my mind calm. I could listen to her talk all day. Half an hour later and we’re done, checked out and in my car driving home.
We both take bags full of groceries up to our apartments, and just as I’m about to say goodbye, Nat stops suddenly and blurts out, “Do you want to watch TV with me tonight?”
She wants to spend more time with me?
We’ve spent all morning together, and I’m actually really pleased she isn’t sick of me yet.
“Um- Ah- Uh, yeah. I guess. I mean, it’ll have to be here though. I don’t own a TV,” I stammer.
She gasps loudly and puts a hand to her chest. She whispers loudly, “You don’t own a TV?”
I would expect this reaction if I told her I had a bionic heart.
I smirk. “Nope. No, I don’t.”
She puts a hand on my arm and whispers again, “What is wrong with you?”
I lean my head back and burst out laughing.
Nat’s face softens, her lips tilt at the corner and she speaks full of awe, “Wow.”
Still chuckling, I ask, “What?”
She shifts from one foot to the other, looks to the ground and says softly, “That’s the first time I’ve heard you laugh.” She nervously plays with a ring on her finger. “That’s one of the nicest sounds I’ve ever heard, Ghost. You should do it more often.”
And then she’s gone.
Warmth spreads through me, causing my chest to expand and I smile.
I take my smile and strut like a peacock back to my apartment.
Last night was actually pretty great.
Ghost came over just after seven. When I say he came over, I mean he broke in through the patio sliding door and waltzed right in like he owned the place. We sat on opposite ends of my ridiculously comfortable sofa and watched TV.
He came dressed in sweats, a tee and barefoot. Of course, he looked amazing.
He always looks amazing.
I had already showered and was wearing my pajamas. I decided to put a bra underneath my tank. I usually leave the girls free, but I didn’t want to give him a free show and all.
I found it hilarious that I had to explain reality shows to him. He didn’t really like reality TV, so we flicked through channels and settled on a show about baking. He was actually watching the bakers in awe. He would make quiet comments like, “Would you look at that?” and “That looks great.” I found it so adorable that I burst into laughter a few times. I couldn’t help but ask, “Why don’t you own a TV?”
He shrugged before explaining, “Never really understood sitting down and watching someone else live their life when we should be living ours. I watch things on the internet, but I’ve never sat down for entire episodes of a TV show before. But I like cooking channels.”
So we spent almost five hours watching the cooking channel.
And, surprisingly, I enjoyed it.
We ate ice cream out of the same tub and would chat on occasion, but really, we just enjoyed each other’s company in silence for the most part. When I peeked at the clock and saw it was almost midnight, I told Ghost to go home. He looked disappointed, so I told him he could stay til his cooking show was finished. I think I surprised us both when I kissed the top of his head and went to my room. I heard him leave about ten minutes later through the back patio way.
I wondered how he locks that door from the outside. I’ll have to ask him.
Within minutes, I was catching Zs.
This morning, I woke to the smell of coffee.
Confused, I got out of bed and saw a large coffee and a brown paper bag on my kitchen counter. I walked over to it and saw a note paper poking out from under the paper bag. I unfolded the paper and read to myself.
Sorry I kept you up last night. I think you’ll need the coffee this morning. I got you a muffin to say thanks for breakfast yesterday.