Early wasn’t the word most people would use to describe the time Maya finally decided to get up, but it was earlier than she had planned for a Saturday. Throwing her legs over the side of the bed, she groaned lamentably. Downstairs, Oliver got an early start making demands of their mother. It was cute most of the time, but sometimes she couldn’t help but roll her eyes. Watcher help her if her kids were as demanding as he. Between her and Ranveer, who would be “the nice one” and who would be the bad cop? Both were fun loving people. What if they were both the nice one? Great. Now she was doomed to raise little hellions. The phone rang, and her head dropped on the back of her neck. Please, Watcher, don’t let it be the office! “Hello?”
“Good morning, sunshine!”
She breathed a sigh of relief at the sound of that sweet, sultry voice. “Heeey, hot stuff.”
“You sound tired. Did I wake you?”
“No! I was just, ummm, I just haven’t spoken to anyone yet.” They had been in a relationship for a good while now and were very comfortable around each other. Still, she couldn’t show him the less flattering parts of her. By her standards, he was perfect, and she wanted him to think the same of her. He loved early mornings and working out–two things she hated most. Would he like her less if he knew? She was afraid to find out and went with everything he suggested to cover it up.
“Oh, ok. I was gonna go rock climbing. Wanna come with?”
“Uhhh…y-yeah. Sounds like fun,” she said with all the fake enthusiasm she could muster.
“Cool. Meet me at the new gym in Newcrest. And, take your time.”
“Great. I’ll see you in a bit.”
She threw herself back onto the bed first to lament the horrible afternoon they were going to have then to psych herself up. After a few minutes, she hopped into the shower. Sure, it would be a waste of time and effort, but she couldn’t arrive at the gym disheveled with a hot boyfriend at her side. Ranveer was so beautiful, he could probably rock the just-rolled-out-of-bed look. Heck, that’s probably what he did the first time she saw him shirtless in the gym.
Her closet was full of workout clothes she acquired over the past few months, and she tried on every single outfit. Ranveer wouldn’t care, but she wanted the right look. She needed to look serious about the workout but still sexy. Gotta keep the man drooling! Needless to say, she made it to the gym much later than either of them anticipated. She spotted him waiting for her by a machine when she walked in.
He threw his arms around her. “Hey, you. Wow…you smell great.”
“I’m so sorry I’m so late.”
“Meh, it’s cool. You gave me some time to get a little pre-workout in.”
He pulled away from her. “You wanna go first?”
He laughed. “I know it looks intimidating, but it’s a great workout. It’s how I keep these guns loaded.” He posed for her, waggling his lush eyebrows.
Those guns though! They were enough to keep her going when they worked out together that’s for sure. “Is there an easy mode?”
He grinned. “Of course.”
He queued up the machine for her as she prepared to torture herself.
“Ok! Let’s see what you got!”
Ranveer ran over and caught her before she hit the ground. “Whoooa, I’ve got you. Are you ok?”
“I don’t like this!”
“Everyone falls off the first time. You sure you don’t want to give it another shot?”
“No! I hate it.” Yeah, ok, she sounded like a whiny baby, and surely blew her cover, but she couldn’t help it. Rock climbing was the worst of the worst. If she never saw another machine, her life would be better for it. But, how long could she keep this up? She had to tell him. “And, I’m hungry and my head hurts!”
“You didn’t eat? Babe, you have to eat before you work out. You could get hurt.”
Not having breakfast may or may not have been a strategic ploy. She will neither confirm nor deny it.
“Ok…let’s get you something to eat. Wanna go to your sister’s?”
Maya’s behavior was not working well for her plan to be perfect for him. He probably thought she was one of those princess types who didn’t like getting dirty, her hair wet, and refused to do work. They were alike in many ways but still so different. Sports and having fun connected them the most. And food. And the love of family. They had really crazy chemistry and couldn’t be away from each other long. Would it last? Could she ever be enough for him? Oh, how she wanted to be. She liked him a whole lot and wanted them to be together forever and ever. So, she showed an interest in his favorite hobbies and even his family’s culture. He was such an amazing and interesting person, she couldn’t help but want to learn everything about him. But, what could he learn about her? How lazy she was? How if it weren’t for her job, she wouldn’t have anything going for her? Sometimes, she felt like he was way out of her league. Maybe she wasn’t ready for a real man.
At the restaurant, Aubrey stood at the host station looking amazing and confident and all the things Maya didn’t feel at that moment. Aubrey always knew what she wanted to do with her life, and Maya was a proud big sister. Jealous? Sometimes, but always proud. Maybe it was time for her to start her own life. Living in the shadow of her sister’s accomplishments clearly did wonders for her self-esteem, heh. Maybe if she bought a house and had something to be responsible for would make her feel like she had something going on. Being the Director of Communications at such a young age was nothing to scoff at, but somehow it didn’t mean much to her. She was the only one of her friends who still lived at home. It didn’t bother her until she began dating Ranveer. But, living at home was so easy, and taking care of her own house would be so much work. No one would be there to cook for her, pick up her clothes off the floor and wash them anymore. And, don’t even mention the maintenance issues. Would her dad come and fix stuff every time she called? She had a really cushy situation that would be hard to give up. It required serious thought.
“Aubrey, this place is amazing,” Ranveer said. “Congrats!”
“Thank you! I’m so glad you guys came in. Come! There’s a table on the patio! Aleah, can you book table four please?”
For some reason, the host glared at her as she walked past. Whatever her problem was, Maya didn’t have the energy to deal with it.
“Is this good?”
“Yes, Aubrey, thank you.”
“Great! I’ll send Malakai out in a few. Enjoy!”
No sooner than Maya picked up the menu, Jonathan strode over to the table with his protective dad face on, glaring at Ranveer. Whatever his problem was, she didn’t feel like dealing with it either.
He nodded toward Ranveer. “Who’s this?”
She was too encumbered with her own problems to be nervous about what he was thinking. “Ranveer…my boyfriend.”
“Why are you upset?” he asked in an accusatory tone.
“I fell off the rock wall.”
“Oh. So, you’re ok then?” he asked in a stern but softer tone.
“Hello, Mr. Pruett! My name is Ranveer Singh. It’s soo good to meet you.”
He was so starstruck. It was cute. She wanted to laugh and be embarrassed at the same time.
“Oh, please, call me Jonathan. It’s good to meet you too. You’ll have to come over for dinner sometime.”
“I would love that.”
“Good. So, you’ve got my daughter in the gym! You must be–“
“Daddy! Malakai is coming and he hasn’t looked at the menu yet.”
He eyed her suspiciously. “Oh. I see.” He turned his attention back to the handsome face across from her. “Are you a burger man, Ranveer? Wilson makes the juiciest burgers.”
“I do love a good burger. Thanks for the rec, Jonathan.”
“You’re welcome. Let me get out of here before she throws me out, he he he.”
Jonathan left, and for the first time that day, Maya laughed. “Oh. My. Watcher. I cannot believe you fangirled in front of my dad!”
He shook his head. “I feel like a dork. He probably thinks I’m a pansy now.”
She quickly eyed his guns. “I’m sure he can see you’re not. What is it about him that you love so much anyway?”
“Look at him! He’s just so cool! When I’m old, I hope I still look fresh like him.”
He wore a “dad sweater,” but he did have other stylish outfits; she gave him that. A scene between her and Ranveer played in her mind that made her grin. They were old and dressing for the day in their bedroom. He still had those guns, heh. Looking at her gray husband in skinny jeans and a fitted shirt, she said, “Don’t you think it’s time you start dressing your age?” He gave her one of those glances that sent shivers down her spine, grabbed her by the waist and put his mouth on her in a way that reminded her nothing about him was appropriate for his age…and she was glad. If only.
“But, he’s so inspiring too. Back in high school, I read about what happened to your family. It’s so amazing to see him spring back from that. Your daddy is a G!”
She threw her head back laughing. “A G? I don’t know about that.”
“Sure he is. Did you see how he was looking at me? I wouldn’t want to cross him.”
She rolled her eyes. “I’m sorry about that. He’s just–“
“I know. I get it. It’s honorable. He’s someone to be admired.”
“That’s so sweet. Please don’t tell him that.”
They laughed over the possibility of her dad’s head swelling, and she was so glad they finally met. All the meetings in her head were much more dramatic, but the real thing was perfect. They had all the marks of being good friends. She only hoped Ranveer wouldn’t get tired of her before then.