“Hey, slow down, will you?” Maryanne gasped for breath as Vera ran toward the par course exercise trail.
Vera jogged to the first station. “I have to stretch before the log hop.”
Maryanne slowed to a walk and held her side. “I have a stitch. You hop and I’ll watch.”
“No way. You gotta get in shape, especially if you want to date Lucas Knight. Has he called?”
Maryanne stood with her hands on her knees while Vera jumped back and forth over a slanted log. “No. Maybe I did something to piss him off.”
“Why would you think that?” Vera dragged Maryanne up. “Come on, next station.”
“We were making out in the car and he stopped suddenly and drove me home.”
They jogged to a multilevel chin-up bar.
“That’s crazy. What did you do?” Vera swung from a high bar, and Maryanne settled for the medium one where she could keep her heels on the ground.
“I just sat there. I can’t figure him out.”
Vera’s mouth turned into a circle. “Is he gay?”
“No, definitely not.” Maryanne pulled herself up halfway ten times. “He kisses so hot, not rude like most guys shoving their tongues down your throat.”
Vera jumped down without doing a chin-up. “What do you think he’ll be like in bed?”
A shiver sparked fireworks over Maryanne’s shoulders. “I imagine he’d take his time. He’s so considerate. Anyways, I should be glad he’s not making a move. Maybe I’ll win the bet.”
“No, you won’t.” Vera wagged her shoulders. “I’m dating a church guy, captain of the church basketball team.”
“Church basketball team? How old are they?”
They moved to the balance beam.
“Mid to late twenties.” Vera walked across a low beam. “All professionals and tall. Some of them are executives at Silicon Valley companies. Nice cars too.”
Maryanne followed Vera and missed a step. “How come I never heard of this?”
“You’re too hung up on your dorky knight. Remember Frank Duffy, the lab tech? He’s the team captain. Come to the game Saturday night. I’ll set you up with someone.”
Vera headed to the sit-up bench, and Maryanne lay down with her feet elevated and her hair hanging. Lucas had his hang-ups, but he was sincere. Taking it slow was probably the best given her history of disastrous relationships.
A low whistle emanated from behind the bushes. Lucas pulled off his wraparounds. “Working off the chocolate?”
Vera cupped her hand and whispered in Maryanne’s ear. “Speaking of the dork. I’ll call you later. Remember, Saturday night. Basketball players. Play hard to get. Bye.”
“Whatever.” Maryanne glanced sideways at Lucas. He looked mighty fine in his muscle shirt and shorts. Her fingers tingled, and a collection of dazed butterflies quivered in her stomach. How could she still be crushing on him when he ignored her for over a week?
Lucas waved his hand. “Keep going, don’t stop cuz I’m bothering you. I want to see how many sit-ups you can do.”
“I’m actually finished.” She looked after Vera, but she’d already jogged across the parking lot.
“Great, let’s have dinner.” Lucas closed by her side. “I’m going beach camping this weekend. We can hike, have a cookout and sleep in a tent.”
Maryanne shivered and hugged her arms. “I might be busy. How about another time?”
“I checked the tides and it’s fine this weekend.” Lucas took her hand and kissed it. “I found a private place, tucked under a cove. It’ll be fun, I promise.”
Hating the warm flutters he elicited without even trying, she withdrew her hand. “Wait. You don’t call or say ‘hi’ and you expect me to go on a trip with you?”
“You never gave me your number, and I can’t call your work.”
“You could have dropped by.” Did she just whine? Ugh. Better stop acting so needy. He’s dropping by right now.
“I was busy preparing my students. They had the Special Olympics last night. I wish you could have been there. Tommy took the gold in freestyle and Debby the silver in breaststroke.” His face brightened with a proud smile.
“It’s okay, you don’t have to explain.” She climbed off the sit-up bench.
“Are we still friends?” He clapped a hand around her shoulders in a brotherly fashion.
That explained it. He was only interested in her companionship. Safe and slightly disappointing, but having a male friend might not be a bad idea.
She shaded her eyes from the setting sun. “Sure, friends, sounds good.”
“Great, so you’ll go camping with me this weekend?”