Home > Falling Fast(6)

Falling Fast(6)
Author: Aurora Rose Reynolds

“She’s lucky to have you,” he says, and my stomach warms at the soft tone of his voice and the look in his eyes.

“I’m the lucky one,” I admit. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to get to know the grandmother I thought I lost, even if she’s not the woman I remember.

“Normally my mom or I open the bar at ten, clean up, and do restock. The doors open at noon, and it’s normally slow until around four unless it’s summer; then you never know what will happen. Things can get out of hand every once in a while when we get out-of-towners, but for the most part, it’s locals who spend their time here, and they tend to be low-key.”

“Okay,” I reply, taking the folder from him when he hands it to me.

“That has the application for the job in it. I’m going to need you to fill that out then bring it back in with you tomorrow when you show up.”

“Sure,” I agree, leaning over and tucking it into my bag on the floor.

As I sit back, I notice he’s leaned forward once more with his elbows to his knees. This close, I can smell his scent of leather and musk and see his eyes aren’t just the dark brown I thought they were. They are brown with a warm golden color woven through.

“So what do you do during your free time?”

“I like knitting,” I say without thinking, and he leans back, a slow grin spreading across his face.

“Knitting,” he repeats, making it sound almost dirty, and an image of him tying me up with soft yarn and having his way with me clouds my vision, making my cheeks heat.

“My grandma taught me. It’s relaxing,” I defend myself.

“Okay, Gia.” He continues to smile as he stands. “It was nice meeting you.”

Picking up my bag, I stand as well then scoot past him out the door, making sure to suck in as I go so I don’t accidently rub up against him.

“Nice meeting you too.” I look at him over my shoulder then squeak when the heel of my boot gets caught in the mat behind the bar. Reaching out for anything to save myself from doing a face-plant, I catch hold of something, only that something is one of the levers for the beer that is kept on tap. Pulling it down with me, beer goes everywhere, including all over me. “Oh, God,” I sputter out, trying to shut off the tap that now seems to be stuck.

“Christ,” Colton growls while picking me up by the waist and swinging me around to stand behind him. Shaking out my hands, I watch him as he shuts off the keg.

“I…” I close my eyes, wondering what the hell I can say to save myself from the embarrassment of this moment. “I’m so sorry.”

“Are you okay?”

Opening my eyes, I find him just as wet as I am. “If by okay you mean wanting to fall into a dark hole and die, sure, I’m okay,” I reply, and he looks at me, then at the mess I’ve created.

Shaking his head, he runs a hand through his hair. “You really are clumsy.”

“I know,” I agree, pulling my beer-soaked top away from my body. “Do you have a mop so I can clean this up?” I ask, and he laughs. It’s a great laugh—a deep laugh that does weird things to my insides.

“Yeah,” he mutters. “But first, let’s see about getting you dry.” He takes my elbow and pulls me along with him back into the office. Releasing me, he goes to a big cardboard box in the corner of the room where he digs out a T-shirt and hands it to me. “There’s a bathroom through that door.” He points at a door I didn’t notice before. “Go on.” He lifts his chin toward it.

Turning, I head for the door then stop and turn back to apologize again, almost swallowing my tongue when I do, because he’s in the process of taking off his shirt. And what’s under that shirt should be illegal. Lots and lots of tight muscle under smooth, glorious tan skin. “Gia, I’m starting to think you’ve got a thing for me.”

His words snap me back to reality and my face instantly burns so hot that I know you could probably cook an egg on it. “I’m… I’m going to go change.” I turn on my heels and make a beeline for the bathroom. Slamming the door behind me, I press my back against it. Natasha and I shouldn’t have toasted to cowboys; we should have toasted to hot guys who work at biker bars that leave you all tied up and discombobulated.

I strip out of my wet cami and sweater and place both of them on the back of the toilet that has a handwritten sign on it stating that it’s out of order, then turn on the water. Using hand soap and paper towels, I wash up, trying to remove the smell of beer off me. It’s impossible; it’s in my hair, on my pants, and in my shoes. I’m going to go home smelling like freshmen year of college.

Picking up the dry shirt, I pull it on over my head then turn to face the mirror. The shirt is for the Rusty Rose softball team, and apparently they have been undefeated three years in a row, which is pretty damn impressive. Tossing my beer-soaked tops into the sink, I rinse them off then wring them out as best as I can before leaving the bathroom. Colton isn’t in the office, thank God, but when I step out into the bar, he’s there with a woman and they are both using mops and towels to clean up the floor. Dropping my purse to the tops of the bar, I grab a couple of towels and start cleaning up.

Getting down on my hands and knees, I wipe back behind the kegs of beer and along the edge of the bar under the counter. After getting the rest of the beer off the bottom edge of where the glasses are kept, I stand up, pushing my hair out of my face, then blink at Colton and the woman staring at me. Looking at her, I know she’s his mom. They have the same dark eyes and lashes, and the same full lips.

“Um…” I look to the left then back at them. “I’m really, really sorry about the mess I made, and if you guys don’t want me to work here, I totally understand,” I say, wringing the towel in my hand and cringing as I wring out some of the beer onto the floor.

“You look just like her,” the woman says, making my stomach twist. Even though she didn’t say who she’s talking about, I still know all the same, since she has the same look in her eyes that my dad used to get. Like it was almost painful for him to look at me.

“Ma, this is Gia Caro,” Colton introduces, resting his hand on his mom’s shoulder. “Gia, my mom, Rose.”

“Nice to meet you.” I stick out my hand and her eyes drop to it before she looks at me once more. Shaking her head, she takes my hand in hers then pulls me in, making me stumble forward.

“It’s so nice to meet you, Gia. Excuse my manners from earlier.” She lets me go then takes my hands in hers. “I knew your mom, and seeing you just caught me off guard.”

“It’s all right,” I reassure her, and she releases the hold she has on my hands.

“Your mom and I were friends. Well, I guess your mom, dad, and I were friends, before they left town.”

“Really?” I ask, and she smiles softly at me then tips her head to the side as sadness fills her eyes.

“How’s your grandma doing?”

“She’s okay,”

“Good.” She pulls her eyes from me and looks up at her son briefly. “Colton said you’re starting tomorrow?”

My eyes go from her to the pile of wet bar towels on the floor and the mop sitting in a bucket full of dirty water. “That was the plan, as long as you still want me.”

“Not too many women are willing to get down on their hands and knees to clean the floor, honey. That right there shows me you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty with a little hard work.”

“I’m not,” I confirm, and she smiles again.

“Tomorrow, I’ll be here in the morning and will go over everything that needs to be done before the doors open at noon. There’s not a long list of stuff to do, but what’s on that list does take time, since we don’t clean the bar after closing.”

“All right,” I agree, and she looks from me to Colton once more then back again.

“This is going to work out. I feel it in my gut. I’ll see you in the morning, Gia, and tell your grandma I said hi.” She smiles.

“I’ll tell her.” I smile back as she walks past me and into the office, closing the door behind her.

   
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