“You can call me Bastian, or Bash. I should have told you that on the phone,” he finally said, his voice soft, with an underlying layer of surprise.
“Bastian.” I tried out the name. I liked Sebastian, but Bastian seemed even more like it suited the owner. Be nice to him, Jenny had said. Could it be there had been someone who really hadn’t been nice to him? Was it a childhood issue? What was his secret? “It’s nice to actually meet you.”
His thumb stroked over the back of my hand, almost like he was testing out what my skin felt like. How long had it been since he’d had some kind of physical contact. “I’m sorry I was short with you last week. You... I expected Jenny.”
I swallowed, my focus on his thumb sliding over the back of my hand, turning my legs into jelly. “I’m sorry that I startled you.” Each stroke was unraveling me, the warmth traveling from the spot he touched straight up to my cheeks. “I... have to get home. M-my dog is... Will I see you next week?”
He laughed, and it was the most lyrical laugh I’d ever heard. Not helping the flush heating my body at the moment. “Nah, but I’ll probably order groceries. I’d love for you to bring them.”
I grinned, but as he released my hand, it faded. I wasn’t ready to let go. I doubted I ever would be. “Okay, well, I’ll be here, then.” I took a slow deliberate step away from the door. “Goodbye, Bastian.”
His door shut, no slamming this time. The click of the lock was definite though. He wasn’t coming out as long as I was there. He might be ready to take my hand, but he wasn’t ready to give up all his secrets. I gave him one last wave toward the glass and bounded down to my truck.
I actually felt a little giddy for having talked to Bastian. It was strange. I didn’t know anything about him, other than he was a SEAL, and his sister was my boss, but I just had this feeling. I liked that feeling, and I always went with my gut.