“Put on this blindfold,” Cole says to me after we’ve been driving for fifteen minutes. I was lucky enough to find a reliable baby sitter, a sixteen-year-old who lives in the complex, and one of the few who’s actually willing to focus on Analise instead of texting. And as usual, Cole insisted on paying. I usually decline his offer and then find the money shoved in my purse with a sticky note and smiley face.
“You are kidding, right?”
“Just humor me. It’ll just be a few minutes,” he said. “I have a surprise.”
“A surprise in the suburbs?”
“Put it on,” he says with a laugh and then pulls over. “I’m not going any further until you put it on. What’s the matter, don’t you trust me?”
I give him an “oh please” expression and put on the yellow bandanna.
“Do you wear this with sweatbands when you go to your step aerobics class?” I ask.
“Ha ha, quit stalling.” He puts his hand in the dip of my shoulder next to my neck and squeezes, releasing just a bit of tension.
“Ok, fine, but this better not be a Tom Cruise thing,” I say, resisting the urge to put on the blindfold in such a way as to allow a one-eye peephole.
Within minutes, the car stops and I feel Cole’s hands around my waist as he unlocks my seat belt.
“Stay tight and I’ll get your door.” Cole and I had plans to go to Japanese restaurant. Sushi is my weakness and a rare treat. He was definitely taking the long way to get there.
I hear the door open and slide my hand into his reminding me of an eighteenth-century gesture where the man rushes to open the door of the carriage for his lady.
“There’s a step up,” he says as I pause for his directions and feel the height of the curb with my foot. With the blindfold on, I am keenly aware of his warmth and smell. An inhale within inches of him gives the scent of chopping among evergreens.
He puts his arm around me as I feel like I’m walking on a flagstone path.
“We’re almost there,” he says as he removes his touch and I hear the jingle of keys in his pocket. I feel suddenly cold
He tries what sounds like one key, and then another, and gives the door some shimming as if it’s either a new key or an old door.
“Step inside,” he says.
“Can I take the blindfold off?”
“Just a couple more steps. I want you to be all the way in.” He pulls me into a room that sounds echoey and smells closed up. And then lifts my blindfold.
I look around and I’m in an empty room with floor-to-vaulted-ceiling windows that look out onto tall trees. Though currently leafless, it gives one a secluded feel.
“Do you like it?”
“Cole, I love it. Is it your’s?” I turn to him and see him looking around as if imagining his plans to remodel.
“Yes, well, not yet. Not exactly. I’m closing on Friday. I’m actually not supposed to even be in here, but it’s a foreclosure so I figured no one would mine.”
I walked around the living room and imagined all of Cole’s things in there making it homey. There was even a fireplace with a mantle.
“You’ll be able to hang Christmas stockings on an actual mantle,” I said.
“Yes, one lonely stocking,” he said with a laugh.
“Not true, I’ve seen Colby’s stocking.” Colby is Cole’s spoiled rotten Lab mix, rescued from the pound, of course.
I did a mini-pirouette to face the open kitchen. “I didn’t even know you were this close to buying, you didn’t say anything about this place when we had coffee.”
“It just came on the market last week. It’s a foreclosure and my Realtor recommended acting quickly.”
I couldn’t help but open the cabinets even though I new there was nothing in there.
“It’s in great condition for a foreclosure.”
“I’m going to remodel the kitchen, replace the oak cabinets,” he said with hands on hips and with a familiar look of concentration.
I couldn’t believe I was standing in a house was Cole’s, almost. This was a grown-ups house, not someone my age, but that’s Cole for you, always working hard, achieving goals and oblivious to all the women that would love to be a part of his life. In a year, I’m guessing he’ll have the kitchen as well as a bathroom remodeled.
“I have a question, a favor, to ask of you.” I like to do favors for people but whenever a person has to prep me first, I get nervous. It’s a statement I hear frequently from clients, typical favors are: take off my panties, let them suck my nipples, dirty talk, and others, not that I thought Cole was going to ask such a thing, but it’s an automatic reaction I have these days: my thighs automatically clench together when I’m asked about doing favors.
“I know how to do the remodel, but I need some help with decorating. A woman’s touch.”
“I’d be happy to help.” He looked somewhat relieved at my response.
I'm excited for Cole and flattered that he wanted to show me his home. It's times like these that I feel like we're a couple. It's even possible to forget that we're just friends. Hopefully, some day, because I can't imagine anything better than living in this house with Cole and Colby.