The Fish Place was packed when Ben and I walked in for dinner. We got quite a few looks as we passed by the host stand and made our way to the bar. Ben waved at the people who were there and chatted with a couple that he knew from his practice. Maisie and Thomas Rhodes were the cute couple with the Great Dane who gave birth that morning. We chatted about how I was new in town when a waitress tapped on Ben’s arm and told him there was a table available for us if we were interested.
We sat down and the waitress, took our drink orders and made her way back to the bar. I have a feeling that’s when word got around that Ben was actually on a date, because that’s when a commotion came from the kitchen and woman with the reddest mass of curly hair came storming out of the kitchen.
“Shit..” Ben muttered under his breath.
“What is it?”
“Murphy. I forgot tonight was her night to cook.”
“No. Worse. Adopted Grandmother.”
I snorted a laugh into my drink and prepared to do battle. I could take it, I was from a huge Irish family. I was the black sheep of that family, but I was still family. The red-head stormed her way over to the table and put her hands on her hips. She was dressed in kitchen togs and covered with flour. I smiled. I could like her.
“This is how your treat your Grandmama? You bring her here before bringing her to meet me in person?”
I snorted another laugh and made the red-head smile.
“Now Grandma Murphy, It’s only been two dates. I hardly call that a relationship.”
I laughed. “You helped me move in on the day I arrived. Even my own cousin didn’t show up. I’d say that was special.”
Ben kicked me under the table and I grinned and put my hands under my chin. This was fun.
“I like you already. Who are your people?” The red-head said with a lusty laugh.
“I don’t know your name yet, so you don’t get my people.”
A proper nod came from her. “Good. I’m Rosie Murphy.”
“Marlowe Oberly. My people hail from Michigan by way of Cork.”
“You’d be Miles’s cousin then.”
I nodded. “I would.”
“He’s good people.”
“So am I.”
Ben, who’d been quite this whole time, spoke up. “Now that you’ve met,”
“Ayah, Boy. You’d think I didn’t drill any manners into your head in the five years that I’ve known you. The both of you, in my kitchen.” Rosie said as she marched back in to the kitchen.
Ben let out a sigh. “Come on, She’ll never let us have dinner in peace if we don’t go.”
“I like her.” I said as I got up.
That made Ben stop dead. “Are you serious?”
“She makes me miss my Nana.” I said as I passed by Ben on my way back to the kitchen.
“She still alive?” Ben asked as we passed through the doors in to chaos.
“No, she passed about ten years back. I still miss her.”
“Miss who?” Rosie asked.
“My Nana. You remind me of her.” I said as I sat at the counter.
Rosie’s blue eyes softened towards me. “You loved her.”
“Yes. Very much. She practically raised me.”
“Died in a car accident when I was five. I was considered not worth the time to raise, so she did. She died when I turned eighteen. I was away at college.” I felt my shoulders drop. “She was sick the last few months before I left, but still insisted I go.”
Rosie nodded. “Did you finish?”
“I switched my major from environmental sciences to mechanics and did what I wanted to do. It’s what she would have wanted.”
Ben placed his hand over mine and smiled. Rosie, who didn’t miss anything even though her hands were flying as she prepared dinners, smiled at the gesture.
“What brings you to Blueville.”
“Miles lied to me and said this place was weird.”
That caught Rosie by surprise and she laughed. “Oh, it is that. He wasn’t lying and you’re avoiding the subject.”
I sighed. This part was always difficult. “I was in an accident last year. I’ve spent the last year in recovery. Miles wanted me closer so that I’d have family who would actually like having me around.”
“You’ve implied that you are not wanted twice now. What makes you so different?”
“Metal and people respond to me,” I paused. “differently. I make some people incredibly uncomfortable with how much I see of their lives.”
Rosie and Ben paused and looked at me. Rosie spoke first.
“You’ll fit right in here then.” She placed plates in front of the two of us. They held a mix of lake fish and the sea. The conversation turned to other things, like when my shop would open and Ben’s practice. We talked with her until the place closed and then said good-bye, with an admonishment to Ben from Rosie to bring me back soon. I guess I’d gotten the stamp of approval. When I said so, Ben laughed.
“You got the stamp the second you sass’d her back. That’s why she invited us to the kitchen to have dinner.” He picked up my hand and kissed it as he drove back to our street.
I smiled over at him and slid down in to my seat, fully relaxed. “Good to know.”
Ben laughed. “You are quickly becoming my favorite person.”
I smiled. “It only took me two days. Your social life must not be very large.”
“Oh, it’s about average, but you’re one of a kind. I don’t think I’ve met a woman who uses her honesty quite the way you do. I like it.”
I blushed hard then. I was feeling a little uncomfortable with the honesty and said so. Ben smiled.
“You keep proving my point.”
I sighed. “I’d like to keep seeing where this goes, but I’m a little scared. I’m new in town and you’re the first guy I’ve met. I don’t know you like I know Miles. I’d like to, though.”
I knew I rambled and I was afraid that my policy of honestly always was going to chase him off. Instead, he stayed quiet until we got to his house and I got out of the car. I fully intended to walk home and was headed that way when I found myself being whirled in to Ben’s arms and pulled tight.
We stood there like that, I don’t know for how long, until he spoke.
“Your honesty makes me curious. Your eyes make me want to see more of you. Your past only makes me want to know more.” He kissed me then, slowly.
I tried not to relax, but the man is just so damn good at the kissing thing. I relaxed and he kissed my forehead.
“You know I’m from New York. You know why I cam here. You know I’m not like my family by choice and yet you’re still curious.”
“I don’t see your family’s religion when I look at you. I just see you. A man I’d like to get to know much better than I already have. I’ve worked hard not to let things like why you came here get in the way of the people I meet.”
“That’s exactly what I’m talking about and why I’m so curious.” Ben paused and forced me to tip my head up to look at him, from where I had it buried in his chest. He smiled. “Dinner Friday?”
I laughed. “Yes, but why wait till Friday?”
“Because I want a chance to miss you.” He kissed my forehead then and stepped back. “I’ll wait till you’re inside.”
I smiled. The man was definitely curious.
“Not going to walk me to my door?”
“I’m tempted to ask to come in and I wouldn’t want to leave.”
I blushed again, deeper this time. “I’m tempted to ask you in.”
“That’s exactly why I’m staying here.” Ben said as he stuffed his hands in to his pockets.
I nodded and stepped back to him. I grabbed his shirt and tugged him down, laying a slow kiss of my own on his lips.
True to his word, Ben watched until I entered my house and closed the door behind me. As I locked it, I watched him walk back to his place and get inside.
It felt really nice to be wanted.