Stolen Moments (And Then Came Love Book 2) (3 page)

BOOK: Stolen Moments (And Then Came Love Book 2)
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*****

Arianna managed to get through the last of her OB visits without a delivery. On a bit of a high still from lunch, she called her best friend on the way home. “Are you up for dinner?”

“Always.” Ginni chuckled. She was a neonatal intensive care nurse. They’d met when she’d first arrived in Bryton. It didn’t take long before they were fast friends.

“Good, I have gossip.”

“About what?”

“Me.” Arianna smiled. Her friend’s house was up the road a bit.

“Ooo. Did you meet someone?”

“Maybe.” She pulled into her friend’s driveway.

Ginni was out the door, before Arianna even had time to open the car door. “Tell me everything.” She climbed in the passenger’s seat.

“I met a guy at physical therapy yesterday.” Arianna put the car in reverse. “Where do you want to go?”

“Brother’s Pub, they have the best cheeseburgers and onion rings.”

“How’d work go today?”

“Um, no, I want to know about the guy from physical therapy. Is he hot?”

“I think so.”

“Tell me about him.” Ginni smiled. “What’s his name? What’s he like?”

“Trevor. We met yesterday. He asked me to meet him for lunch today after therapy. I get there today and he’s not at his appointment.”

“Wait, I thought you had lunch today.”

“We did.” Arianna smiled. “Anyway, when I walk into the hallway, he’s standing there waiting for me. Even though he didn’t have an appointment, he was cool with randomly showing up because I did.”

“That’s pretty awesome. There aren’t a lot of guys out there like that.” Ginni pointed to the right where the pub was.

“I thought it was pretty cool.”

“You’ll love it in here. The atmosphere is great and the two old guys who run it are hysterical.” She hopped out of the car and headed toward the door.

Arianna followed at a slower pace. She glanced around taking in the scenery.

The pub was a one story stone structure. The wooden door was an arch, with the classic stonework around it.

Ginni grabbed the door handle and pulled it open.

Arianna caught the door. It was super heavy. “Wow, they don’t make doors like that anymore.”

Ginni shook her head. “Talk about a bit of a throwback. The bar is hand carved.”

She stepped inside and was struck by the homey atmosphere. Tables and booths were set up with plenty of room between them.

“Welcome,” a deep male voice with a slight Italian accent called across the bar.

Ginni waved at the tall, slender, gray haired man behind the counter.

He wore a white button-up shirt, with a black vest over top, and a towel over his shoulder. “Cheeseburger and onion rings?”

Ginni nodded.

“And for your beautiful friend?”

Arianna paused. “Do you have a menu?”

“Of course,
tesoro
. Have a seat anywhere you’d like and we’ll bring you one.” He smiled and nodded his head as if to bow.

She leaned over and whispered to Ginni as they walked toward a table. “What did he call me?”


Tesoro
. He calls all the ladies that. It’s Italian, but I’m not sure what it means.” Ginni plopped down in the booth. “Hurry up and order, I’m starving.”

Arianna chuckled. She glanced over the menu. “How’s the fish and chips?”

The older man approached the table. “It’s good if you like bland Irish food. If you’re looking for something highly flavorful, try the chicken marsala. It took him awhile, but the Chef has my recipe almost perfected.” He held out his hand. “Donato Vitalli, you can call me Don. I’m half owner of this place.”

“Vitalli?” Arianna smiled as she looked up at the man. She could see some similarities between him and Trevor. Dark hair, similar facial structure.

“You know one of my relations? Not surprising, we’re all over this county.” Don chuckled.

“I’m Arianna Halsey.”

“Welcome, Doctor. I’ve heard good things about you.” Don patted her shoulder.

Ginni tapped the menu. “Order already.”

“I’ll take the chicken marsala.”

The door opened.

Don and Arianna turned their head at the same time.

“Trevor!” Don yelled across the room. Arianna’s gaze fell on Trevor and she smiled.

Ginni hit her hand. “That’s him, isn’t it? Your dream man from physical therapy?”

Arianna nodded.

Ginni looked him over. “Damn. I’d lick him.”

“You’d what?” Arianna gaped at her friend.
What the hell was her friend thinking?

“If you lick it, it’s yours?” Ginni chuckled shrugging her shoulders.

Arianna quirked an eyebrow and folded her arms over her chest. “Well, don’t lick him, because you can’t have him.”

Ginni leaned forward. “Why?” She gave a sly grin. “Did you beat me to it?”

Arianna looked away from her friend. “We just met,”she  mumbled.

“Well, get to licking.” Ginni smacked Arianna’s arm.

Arianna frowned at her friend and then followed Trevor’s movement as he made his way to the table.

Don put his hand on Trevor’s shoulders. “Look at you.” He pulled him in for a hug. “It’s great to see you.”

“It’s good to see you too, Gramps.”

“Gramps?” Ginni mouthed and then she burst out laughing. “You know what that means right?”

Trevor and Don both turned to look at her.

“Free food.” Ginni grinned.

Trevor leaned in and kissed Arianna’s cheek. “Fancy seeing you here.”

“I was thinking the same thing.” Arianna moved over so he could sit down.

He shook his head. “I don’t want to interrupt your dinner.”

“Oh no, you can sit down.” Ginni patted the table. “I’m her best friend and want to know all about you.”

Trevor laughed and slipped into the booth next to Arianna. His leg touched hers. “I’m assuming you’ve met my Grandfather.”

Arianna brushed her hair behind her ear. She leaned in closer to Trevor. “He introduced himself.”

Trevor wrapped his arm around her.

“But you didn’t tell me, you were dating my grandson.” Don reached across Trevor, caught her hand, brought it to his lips, and kissed it. “Nice to meet you.”

“Stop the flirting old man, what would Gram say?” Trevor tightened his grasp on Arianna, but smiled over at his grandfather.

An older woman thrust past Don grabbed a chair and pulled it up to the table. She looked over at Arianna and waved her hand. “I’d say if you want him, you can have him. I’ve put up with him long enough.”

Arianna laughed.

The woman’s eyes sparkled when she looked at Don. He took her hand and gave it a squeeze. She gave him a wink.

He leaned in and whispered something in her ear.

She blushed and shook her head. “Go get me a drink and then sit your Italian ass down.”

Trevor rolled his eyes. “My grandparents. We call him Gramps. And Gram here is Lucille.”

Gram cocked her head to the side. “Lucille? That sounds familiar.” She tapped a long finger nail against the table. “I don’t think I’ve heard my name in twenty years. I’ve been Gram and Mom so long, my own name sounds foreign.”

“She’s a real jokester,” Trevor said.

Ginni cleared her throat a smile across her face.

“Right.” Arianna felt the heat creep up her cheeks. “Trevor, this is my friend Ginni Holland, she works at the hospital with me. Ginni, this is Trevor.”

“Trevor, your boyfriend?” Ginni cocked her head to the side.

“I don’t think we’ve determined what we’re doing.” Arianna glanced over at Trevor.

“I’d say we went on our first date earlier.” Trevor traced his fingers down her arm, leaned in, and lowered his voice. “And if you’re up to it, you’re more than welcome to come back to my place after you’re done here.”

Gram smacked him in the arm. “Be good.”

“I never—”

Gram narrowed her eyes.

Trevor ignored Gram and turned in the booth so he was facing Arianna. “The offer still stands. I’m not trying to pressure you into anything. I’m inviting you to hang out.”

She smiled at him. “I know.”

The opening riff to a song came on over the speakers of the bar. She bit her lip and looked over at Trevor.

“What?” He brushed her hair out of her face.

“This is my favorite song.” She pulled at her ear. “Would you dance with me?”

Trevor grinned. He stood up and held out his hand to her. “I’d be honored.”

Brad Paisley’s voice twanged over the speakers as she stepped into his arms.

“I’m not going to be that great, because of the knee, but I certainly will try.”

“Are you sure your knee is up to it?”

“I’ll be careful.” He placed his hand on her lower back and pulled her close to him.

They swayed slowly to the music. He sang softly in her ear.

She closed her eyes, rested her head against his chest, and listened.
What was it about this man that made her this comfortable?
She didn’t want the moment to end.

He pulled her tighter. “Everything I ever wanted, everything I need. Yeah, she’s everything to me.” He sang the last lines of the song.

She stood on her tip toes and kissed him. Her eyes closed and he traced her bottom lip with his tongue. Her lips parted. Their tongues tangled as their dance stopped.

The last of the chords faded out, she broke the kiss, and took a step back. “Play it again,” she whispered. Heat crept up her cheeks as she noticed everyone watching them.

“I can arrange that.” Trevor pulled her back into his arms.

“You have a beautiful singing voice.” She rested her hands on his chest.

“Thank you. Helps when you’re singing it to a beautiful woman.” He nuzzled her neck.

Arianna laughed, pulled away, and looked down at her feet. “You should rest your knee.”

“I’ll be all right.” Trevor put his arm around her waist as they walked back to the table.

“I think I just melted.” Ginni put her hand to her chest.

Trevor kissed Arianna’s cheek. “I’m going to visit with my grandparents. If you decide to do what we talked about give me a call.”

Arianna nodded. “Thank you for the dance.”

“It was my pleasure.” Trevor helped his grandmother to her feet. “I’ll see you later.”

“Later.”

Ginni leaned across the table when they had left. “What did he ask you?”

“To come to his place after I dropped you off.” Arianna rubbed her hands on her arms.
She’d only known him two days?
A glance at her watch showed it was coming up on nine o’clock. By the time she got over there it would be after ten.

“So you’re going right?”

Arianna rubbed her thumb over the palm of her hand. “It seems a little forward, doesn’t it?”

“Why?” Ginni raised an eyebrow. “You like him, he likes you, why not see where things go?”

“Oh, I don’t know, three date rule?” She shrugged.

Ginni laughed and waved her hand. “That’s ancient history. We all have needs. There’s nothing wrong with fulfilling them, no matter how soon. If it’s going anywhere, it’s going to go somewhere whether sex is involved or not.”

“Won’t people think—”

Ginni cut her off. “Who cares what people think? Things happen. People have sex. There is nothing wrong with that.”

Arianna inhaled a deep breathe and held it. Ginni was right, what did it matter what people thought. And it was kind of a spontaneous thing. “You’re right.” She glanced over to where Trevor was sitting at the bar with his grandparents.

“Your daughter’s at her friend’s house, you have a free evening, you’re going, right?”

Arianna wiped her sweaty palms on her pants. “Yep. I am.”

“Great.” Ginni grinned. “Let’s get out of here and get your ready.”

Arianna laughed as she stood.

Trevor glanced over at her.

“I’ll see you tonight,” she mouthed to him.

He smiled and nodded. “Later,” he mouthed back.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Three

March 21st

Sharp, shooting pain stabbed through Trevor’s knee waking him. He tried to shift on the couch, but a body stopped him. He opened his eyes and smiled as he glanced down at Arianna’s sleeping form. Her head resting on his chest. He kissed her forehead. “Ari.”

Her eyelids drifted open. She sat up with a start, hitting his knee in the process.

Trevor groaned and moved his knee quickly. The pain intensified and he clenched his teeth.

“Are you okay?” She bit her lip and stood up.

“I’ll be all right.” Trevor nodded. “Nothing a couple hours of ice and elevation can’t fix.”

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to fall asleep on you.” She took a couple steps back.

“It’s fine.” Trevor hobbled over to where she was standing. Great, he could barely put weight on his knee. His physical therapist was going to love him. He kissed her forehead.

“I guess this was one time, Netflix and chill, meant that.”

“It means something else?” Trevor tilted his head, but his eyes glinted.

Arianna laughed. “You know.”

“I do.” He glanced at his watch. “It’s seven, what time do you have to be at work?”

“Crap.” Arianna grabbed her purse off the end table. “I need to get going. I’m supposed to be there at seven thirty.”

“I don’t think you’re going to make it.”

“Not since I still have to go home.” She leaned forward and gave him a kiss. “When can I see you next?”

“When’s your next PT appointment?”

“Today at eleven-thirty.”

“Mine’s at noon. I’ll come early.”

“I have back to back appointments. I was going to grab something from the cafeteria for lunch.”

“There is this crazy possibility of you asking me to bring you lunch. Or I could do it for fun, because I like you.”

Arianna stopped in midstride. “You’d do that for me?”

“Of course I would.” Pain shot up Trevor’s leg as he took a step toward her. He cringed and rocked back on his other leg.

“You need to sit down.”

“I’ll be fine.”

Arianna rolled her eyes and shook her head. “You’re going to make me feel guilty. Sit, please?” She helped him onto the couch and headed into the kitchen.

“What are you doing? I thought you needed to leave.”

“I’ll be fine.” She mimicked his response.

Trevor laughed. He put a couple pillows under his knee.

Arianna came back into the room wrapping a towel around an ice pack. She placed it on his knee. “Where’s your brace?”

“You mean the sweaty, steampunk, gimp harness?”

“What?” She gave him a blank look.

Trevor shrugged and then pointed to the door across from him. “On my bed.”

“It should have been on your knee.” Arianna headed into the other room and grabbed the brace.

“I was relaxing with a woman on the couch. If there was any need for the brace it was right where it should have been.”

Arianna blushed. “That was bad.”

“Can’t be perfect all the time.” He winked.

She handed him the brace. “Make sure you put it on before you get up.”

“Yes, doctor.”

She grabbed her coat from the chair and gave him a quick kiss. “I’ll see you at eleven?”

“I’ll be there.” Trevor cupped her neck and pulled her in for a more intense kiss.

She stood and took a step backwards.

“Have fun at work.”

“I think I’d rather skip.”

“Well there is always that option.”              

Arianna’s cell phone rang. She glanced down at it and sighed. “Evidently, that’s not an option.”

Trevor chuckled. “I’ll bring you lunch.”

“Thank you.”

“No problem. See you later.”

*****

Arianna was on her way to physical therapy when Ginni caught her. “How did it go last night?”

“His PT is going to kill me. I left this morning with his knee iced and elevated.”

Ginni’s jaw dropped and her eyes widened.

Arianna rolled her eyes. “Nothing like that. We fell asleep on the couch and he had his knee in one position all night.”

“Oh yeah, that’s hell on a bad knee.” Ginni shook her head. “What happened to his knee?”

“Shrapnel, he ended up having to have it replaced.”

“Ahh, military.” Ginni looked over at her. “I didn’t think you’d date a military guy.”

“He’s out of the military, permanently. And he’s a nice guy.”

“Speaking of nice guys.” Ginni motioned to where Trevor sat outside the PT office.

“Am I late?” She glanced at her watch. It was five after eleven. “I guess I’m early for PT.” She chuckled as she walked over to him.

Trevor used his cane and the bench to hoist himself to a standing position. “I wanted to make sure you ate.”

“I’m going to go.” Ginni winked at Arianna and waved at Trevor as she walked past.

Arianna cocked her head to the side and smiled. “I think I’m skipping my appointment today.”

“Oh yeah?” Trevor grinned.

Arianna chuckled as she turned to head into the office.

“Cancel mine while you’re in there.” Trevor leaned heavily on his cane.

“Absolutely not, you need your appointment today.”

“Well who says you don’t need yours?”

“Says the man who massaged my shoulders last night and left them feeling much better this morning.” Arianna headed into the office.

Her PT was coming out of the back when she walked in. “Karan, would it be all right if we cancelled for today?”

“If you cancel, I may well kiss you. I’m booked solid until 7:30 and didn’t have a single place to eat.” Karan turned her head and looked at the receptionist. “Cancel Arianna’s appointment. I’m going to lunch.” She motioned to the door.

“Lunch was my thought as well.” Arianna smiled as they headed out the door.

Karan looked over at Trevor and then back at Arianna. “I’d say, he’s a pretty good reason to cancel too.”

Arianna laughed. “Yup.”

“I’ll see you on Wednesday.” Karan waved and headed away.

“Looks like if we head to the cafeteria we’ll be running into a lot of people.” Trevor smiled.

“No way are you walking all the way to the cafeteria on that leg.” Arianna shook her head. “My office is closer.”

Trevor chuckled. “I can walk.” He took a couple of slow steps, leaning heavily on the cane.

“You should be in a wheelchair if it’s that bad.”

“Nope, not going there, had enough of it the first week. It’s stiff and sore. Nothing more.”

“I can see you have a stubborn side.” Arianna shook her head as they walked toward her office. She slowed her gait so he wouldn’t stress his knee anymore.

“If you look up stubborn in the dictionary, there’s a picture of the Vitalli family. Every one of us has a stubborn streak that won’t quit.” Trevor repeated Pops’ words for a few days before.

“True, I’ve met your mother.” Arianna nodded. She held the door to the office for him.

They headed down the hallway.

Patty, the receptionist, stepped around the corner and stopped. “I thought you were going to PT?”

“I cancelled, I’m having lunch instead.” She unlocked her office door.

“Sounds like a lot more fun.” Patty chuckled.

Arianna rearranged the chairs. “Sit and put your leg up.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He smiled as he took a seat and gingerly put his leg up on the other chair.

She smacked his arm gently. “You’re not in the army, I’m not ma’am.”

“Sir?” He joked.

She grabbed her coat, rolled it up and tucked it under his knee. “I’ll be right back.” Arianna walked out of the office and disappeared around the corner.

Now where was she going.

She appeared with an ice pack a few moments later.

“I think you’ve taken care of me better in the three days we’ve known each other than anyone else.” Trevor touched her hand.

Arianna wrapped the ice pack in a towel and placed it on his knee. “I don’t like seeing people hurting.”

“I’ll be fine.” Trevor looked around her office. Books and medical journals filled the shelves behind her desk.

“I know.” She moved her chair next to him and opened the bag he brought with him. Arianna pulled a container out of the bag. “Is this homemade?” She handed him the other container.

“Yep.” He caught sight of her diploma. “You finished med school at the University of Nebraska?”

“Magma Cum Laude.” She opened the lid and inhaled deeply. “It smells delicious.”

“Mom made sure we could all cook before we left the house.”

“My mother didn’t care less if I learned anything from her. I spent more time learning things on my own, the hard way, then I even did learning from her.”

“Is what happened with your mother third date material?” He shifted in the chair. The hard plastic wasn’t the most comfortable, but it was better than standing.

Arianna laughed. “I guess it could be. Although I doubt we have the time to go into all of that.”

“Well what are you doing tonight?”

“I have plans tonight. Otherwise, I would take you up on an offer of another date.” Arianna picked up her phone and scanned through it. “I’m done at noon tomorrow, care to join me at my place?” She clicked the remote on her desk and it turned on a floor fan behind her.

“I thought you’d never ask.” Trevor smiled.

“Hey, Arianna.” Marissa stopped inside the door. She looked at Trevor. “This is the second time I’ve seen you two together. Is this like a dating thing?”

“Depends on who you’re going to blab too?” Trevor folded his arms over his chest.

“I don’t need to tell all of them, a select few.” Marissa smiled. “You should come to brunch on Sunday with the family.”

Trevor groaned. “Anything but that.”

Marissa smacked him in the arm. “Oh come on, the family wants to see you.”

“I’m seeing them, slowly and one on one.” Trevor blew out a breath.

“Your brothers are dying to see you.”

“My brothers come in a pack of six and I’d rather see them in a smaller group.” Trevor looked over at Arianna.

Arianna smiled up at Marissa. “There’s nothing to tell the family. This isn’t a date. two people having lunch together. We’ve commiserating about physical therapy thing together and figured we could do the lunch thing as well.”

Marissa raised an eyebrow. “I don’t believe you, but I promise I’ll keep it to myself. However, when you’re done with lunch, Mellie needs to see you about some paperwork.”

“I’ll check in with her before I check in with my next patient.”

“Good.” Marissa waved at Trevor. “I do hope you come to see the rest of us sometime soon.”

“Give me some time.”

Marissa nodded, clearly perturbed, and headed out of the room.

“Besides their being so many of them, what’s wrong with spending time with your family.”

“I don’t know them anymore. They’re strangers to me. I’ve seen them all a handful of times over the years, but as far as sitting down and talking to them. I wouldn’t know what to say.”

“You didn’t seem to have a problem talking to your grandfather last night.”

“Gramps gets it. He’s been there. He’s come back from war and the military.” Trevor stared off into space.

“How am I any different?”

Trevor reached out and took her hand. “You don’t know me any other way. You didn’t know the nerdy kid from high school who loved Star Wars, the math geek, the guy who loved to read, hike, and play video games.”

“I think I just fell in love with you. Those are some of my favorite things too.” Arianna slapped her hand over her mouth. “I guess I didn’t mean to say that.”

“It’s okay, I get your meaning.”

Arianna traced his palm. “I always wondered what made someone stay in the military. My Dad’s been in so long I don’t even know him. If he walked up to me on the street, I don’t think I’d recognize him.”

“If I hadn’t been injured, I would have stayed too.” Trevor squeezed her hand. “The army takes eighteen-year-old kids and bends them for their own devices. And then sends them back into a completely different world and says ‘act normally.’ But you can’t act normally, because you’ve seen things that most people haven’t. You’ve done things you’re not proud of all in the name of the military. So you get back and don’t fit in.”

“Do you think that’s what my Dad feels like?”

Trevor shrugged. “It could be. If he doesn’t come back that often it could well be what he thinks. Is he sending money back to your mother?”

“He was when I was still living there.”

Trevor leaned forward. “Can I pry a bit?”

“Only if I can do the same.”

BOOK: Stolen Moments (And Then Came Love Book 2)
5.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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