They’ve had an overwhelming afternoon and evening, to say the least, Karin thought.
It had been a surprise that Landry had used a whole afternoon in a bookstore café with her. Just as huge a revelation was how much she enjoyed his company.
Damn him for being a Jane Austen fan; Karin’s mind strayed to that hot kiss they shared in the café. Karin unconsciously touched her lips and remembered how it felt to have Landry’s plump lips against hers. Karin initiated the kiss; she had not meant to be so aggressive, but she couldn’t stop herself. Only their lips touched – she felt heat radiate from that slight contact. Karin quickly lost control, as Landry began his exploration of her mouth. He was thorough.
When he released Karin’s, he looked dazed. They both lost control, she realized.
“You keep on surprising me, Karin,” he murmured as he looked at her with wonder. “You keep me on my toes.”
“As I should,” she replied with a faint smile. Her heart was doing summersaults.
“Time to go,” Karin said as she started to gather her things.
“What are your plans for the evening?” Landry asked her. He was not ready to let go of her yet.
“I was planning on staying at home and cooking – I haven’t had time for that lately,” she answered.
Landry latched on to the chance.
“Let me at least help with the ingredients shopping and dessert,” he told her on the way out of the café.
Did he just weasel his way into an invite to dinner at her place? Karin thought. Sneaky Landry… so he thinks he gets a free dinner.
Landry embarked on yet another new adventure – this time food shopping.
“You can help me prepare lobster ravioli,” Karin decided.
Help prepare? Landry thought. “Uh, I’m not the best of cooks,” he warned her.
“Don’t worry, I’m a good cook,” she reassured him.
Her apartment looked as cozy as the last time he saw it.
He followed the sounds to the kitchen that was in the same style as the living room. Karin was already mixing something in a bowl.
“Is that for dinner?” he asked.
“No, dessert. Sort of a Scandinavian berry pie we’ll be eating with vanilla ice cream.”
“It sounds great,” he commented.
“Wait till you taste it,” Karen replied while she deftly poured batter onto a pie form and putting it into the oven.
“Okay,” she said, looking at Landry. “You need to wash your hands.”
She was very patient – more patient than he’d ever imagined she could be, Landry admired. He was practically useless in the kitchen. Karin guided him through each step of making the pasta. His big hands were a problem when the small ravioli packs had to be formed, but they managed. The results weren’t pretty, but definitely edible, Landry decided. Karin was gracious enough not to criticize the mess he’d made.
“How come I’m covered in dough and you don’t have a speck of it on you?” he complained after they were done.
“Practice,” she laughed.
“No, wait, you have some right there,” Landry said and swiped Karin’s cheek with the flour he had on his right hand.
“Landry!” she protested as he continued to draw streaks of flour on her forehead, her cheeks and nose. Their laughter filled the room. Karin backed away from Landry’s flour assault until the kitchen counter stopped her movements.
She could see the gleam in Landry’s eyes shift from humor to desire.
“What are you doing, Landry?” she asked, even if she knew what he had in mind.
“You have a spot right here…” he murmured as he rested both hands on the kitchen counter trapping Karin. He stopped barely a few inches from her face, their lips so close that they could feel each other’s breath.
Landry was mesmerized. Karin’s gaze did not waver from his. She was fearless; she knew his intent and faced it head-on. When their lips met, Karin expected passion, hot and persistent – instead she tasted sweet and soft. The contrast curled its way to her gut. Her heart ached – she had never been kissed with such care before.
Landry pulled slowly back, but kept her trapped.
“I need to wash my hands,” he said softly before giving her lips a soft peck. He turned towards the sink to wash his dough-caked hands. Deep breaths, Landry; he willed himself to calm down. There were parts of his anatomy that needed to calm down as well.
Karin stood transfixed; her heart was still pounding.
“We need to start cooking,” she managed to squeak out. Oh, boy, it’s going to be a long evening, she thought.
“I can’t eat any more,” Landry groaned as he sat on Karin’s couch. “That ravioli is better than Babu’s.”
Karin laughed. “Don’t flatter yourself,” she said as she sat down beside Landry.
He reached out for her, his left arm going over her shoulder, so she was nestled in the crook of his arm. Karin rested her head against Landry’s shoulder and molded her body against his. For the first time since they kissed before dinner, she was relaxed. It’s the food and company, she decided, and enjoyed the feeling of being in Landry’s arms.
I could get used to this, Landry thought. Karin was there where he felt she belonged.
“What are we doing, Landry?” Karin finally asked.
“What do you mean?” he asked back.
“We flirt, we spend a lot of time together whenever we can, we kiss and we’re sitting here like…” she couldn’t come with the words.
“Like we are a couple?” Landry suggested.
Karin scowled; she didn’t know if those were the words she would have chosen.
Landry was looking at her intently, so unlike the playful guy he usually projected.
“Where’s the confusion?” he asked.
“We’re not a couple,” Karin said.
“Not yet – but I hope we’ll get there soon,” he calmly countered.
Karin was speechless.
“Don’t fight it, Karin,” Landry said as he held her face in his hands and kissed her.
“You’re in me,” he whispered, his forehead resting against hers, her face still in his hands.
“You don’t know me, Landry,” she argued.
“Half the time, I can’t figure out who you are,” Landry replied. “Let me in.”
“The last time I let someone in, I was found wanting,” Karin said. She looked up at him – needed to see his face. “I don’t fit the mold of what a sports star needs in a girlfriend. I am not arm candy to be shown around.”
“Is that how Hagelin treated you?” Landry asked; his anger evident.
Karin was surprised at his tone.
“If he couldn’t see beyond your looks, then he is an idiot. Not that there’s anything wrong with your looks,” he continued.
They looked at each other, unsure what to say next.
“Give me a chance, Karin,” Landry pleaded as he flashed his puppy dog eyes.
Karin couldn’t keep her face straight; his expression made her laugh.
“Don’t rely on that trick each time, Landry,” she said with a smile.
“Let’s have some dessert,” she decided. “My grandma always says nothing helps solve a problem better than something sweet.”
“Smart woman,” Landry said.
They ate berry pie and ice cream in front of the fire.
“So, are you giving me a chance?”Landry asked as they ate.
“Maybe,” Karin said, her eyes on the flickering flames from the hearth.
“I’ll take that – it’s still better than no,” Landry accepted.
“You’re a puzzle, Landry,” she told him honestly.
“Fell free to figure me out,” he grinned, challenge in his voice.
When Landry said goodnight later that evening, he surprised her once more – he lifted her hands to his lips and kissed them – before he said, “Goodnight, Miss Bennett.”