13 September, 2012

SIX: Lattes and Promises

“I understand, Mrs. Freedman. Uh huh.” She waved Steph over and pointed to the register. Michelle was worth her weight in diamonds, but it was getting to be all hands on deck. Christmas Eve was tomorrow and the special orders were flying off the shelves. New York was crawling with pedestrians for the holiday windows and to get a look at Rockefeller Center.
And while that wasn’t exactly close to her, Ever After was definitely enjoying the overflow as people flocked to Canal Street for those special deals they were famous for. Who was she to judge if you wanted a real or a knock off Coach bag? The fact that she was getting the real deal lately was hard to fathom.
She stuffed a tissue wrapped glass bowl into one of her reusable bags—they’d been a hit this season. Switching ears, she mmhmmed until the woman talked herself out. Bless her heart, she’d ordered the British version of Harry Potter for all six of her grandchildren and the truck was somewhere east of Manhattan.
She had ever confidence that it would be there by the end of business today, but the woman was seriously losing her mind. “I promise as soon as my post office guy gets here I’ll call you. No, it’s no trouble.”
Steph’s eyebrows rose into her overlong bangs. She mouthed Mrs. Freedman and Tessa nodded. Steph ducked under the counter and rolled her eyes so the customer couldn’t see.
Tessa grinned back at her. “Absolutely.” She hung up. “You’re a very bad, woman.”
Steph laughed. “I can’t believe the amount of schmoozing you do. It’s like you’re a mini-dad most of the time.”
“Customer service isn’t that far away from placating the masses.”
“Dad could probably do it in his sleep.”
“I think he does.”
“He does get this far away look in his eyes sometimes.”
Tessa laughed. “He does.”
The sleigh bell over the door trilled and they both looked up. The sun glinted on Jon’s light hair like a halo. Too bad the angels didn’t get the memo. Her husband was definitely one of the fallen.
The glint in his eye softened as his eyes drifted to his daughter. And that was one of the million reasons she’d fallen so hard for him. As hot as they flamed, the gentle yet fierce love he had for his kids was just as sexy.
He held a take-away cup tray full of coffees up. “Thought my girls could use a pick me up.”
“I could kiss you.”
“Guess what? You are totally allowed to kiss your husband.”
She moved to the end of the counter and leaned over. “Is that right?” The kiss was light and sweet and she could taste espresso on his tongue. High octane kind of day evidently.
His lips curved up into a smile as he eased back. “We’re escaping for two weeks in February.”
She opened her mouth. With the shop down two employees she couldn’t promise anything, but the look in his eyes made her shut her mouth. She’d make it work. They needed time alone and away from the city. “Happy Valentine’s Day me.”
His winter blue eyes warmed. “Red bikini?”
“Get access to that yacht again and I might skip the bikini.”
His eyes went from playful to molten and she laughed. No Viagra for her husband. He was as sexual as a twenty year old when he put his mind to it. And he definitely put his mind to it on a regular basis.
“What time are we heading out to Jersey tomorrow?”
Way to fizzle her buzz. “We’re closing up at four.”
Steph skipped down to them and snagged two cups. “Thanks, Dad.” She brought one to Michelle and set it next to the register. Considering they hadn’t had time to even think about taking a break, she wasn’t going to enforce her usual no liquids near the register thing. They all needed whatever form of energy they could find. It was going to be a crazy night.
“We’re staying open until eleven tonight for the last minute shoppers and the special orders people need to pick up before going out of town.”
“Richie and Ava are coming in tonight. His Aunt isn’t up to the travel this year.”
Tessa slid her fingers around his wrist. “Is she okay?”
“Yeah, just getting over bronchitis.”
“So, I’ll have you boys up when I get home?”
Jon’s mouth turned up at the corner. “Maybe.”
“Don’t get into too much trouble.”
“No promises, love.”
Tessa laughed and leaned over the counter. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the line hit eight customers deep. His hand slid into her hair and caught her before she pulled back. The kiss wasn’t so sweet this time. The bite of espresso burned her tongue as he locked her mouth with his. He nipped her lower lip on the way out of the kiss and her head felt full of cotton candy. “Tonight you’re mine.”
Her eyes slid to the register. The girls were laughing and paying way too much attention to them. “We have company remember?”
“The Navasink house is going to be crawling with people. You’ll just have to be quiet.”
“What’s my incentive?”
His grin turned sly. “Don’t you want your Christmas orgasm, wife?”
She knew his voice was low enough that it didn’t carry, but she looked around anyway. “I get orgasms all the time.”
He barked out a quick laugh. “I’ll make sure to be extra giving. I do like to get into the holiday spirit.”
She flicked her nail through the dent in his chin. “Christmas tonight it is.”