Love at Half Moon Part Two
Lauren dug her fingernails into her palms, a technique she used to distinguish between the dream realm and reality.
Marcus chuckled, “You’re not dreaming,” he flashed her a smile before running a hand through his hair, briefly looking down at his shoes before he returned her gaze, “It’s nice to know you dream about me, though.” He winked at her while flashing her a seductive smile that made Lauren go weak in the knees.
Lauren released an embarrassed giggle as she backed into a bookshelf, knocking off the picture her aunt spoke of earlier. Lauren’s cheeks flushed a deep shade of red, and she wished she could melt into the floor as she kneeled to pick up the fallen photograph. “I might as well get the Swiffer while I’m down here too.” She cringed as she realized she said her thought aloud. The detective had her completely flustered. “Get it together, Lauren.” She scolded herself internally.
Marcus turned so she couldn’t see him try to suppress his laughter.
Lauren walked towards him. “I’m sorry, you just caught me off guard.”
He flashed her a smile that reached his ears, and Lauren wondered how many different smiles he had.
“I’m a detective. I can’t help but be observant.”
Lauren smiled shyly, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear, bewitching the detective.
“Is the Poe Room still available?” He asked, sounding hopeful.
Lauren was sure that no one had booked any rooms, her aunt had told her how the winter months were often slow, but she double-checked, just in case. “Yes,” she replied. “You’re the only guest for a while.”
“Lovely.: He smiled as he handed her his driver’s license and credit card.
“Marcus Shwartz.” She looked up at him. “Nice to formally meet you.”
He chuckled, “It only took me a year.”
They both laughed.
“I like to keep my name hidden on my poetry blog. I’m a bit of a local celebrity.”
“Oh really?” she looked up at him, raising an eyebrow.
“I’m a detective for the Baltimore City Police Department. I often give press conferences.”
“I knew I recognized you. I just couldn’t place it.” She said as she handed him back his driver’s license and credit card. “I’m assuming you know your way around?” She asked as she handed him the key to his room.
“Quite well,” he winked at her. “I’m going to go get settled and take a shower. Do you think I could trouble you for some coffee?”
“No trouble at all,” she flashed him a smile.
“Thank you,” he bowed his head in appreciation. “I’ll be down in about an hour.”
“Have you eaten?” She asked. “I could make breakfast.” She gazed over at the clock, seeing that it was already 11:30 in the morning. “Well, brunch.”
“I will never pass up the opportunity to taste a Lauren Bateman specialty.”
She flashed him a warm smile that reached her eyes, and Marcus found himself completely smitten.
Marcus had just turned on his heel and was about to walk up the stairs when he heard her speak, stopping him in his tracks.
“Any food allergies or dishes I should avoid?”
“No allergies, and I’ll eat almost anything, just nothing too exotic, no squid, or liver, or weird shit.”
She laughed. “Okay, no worries.”
He chuckled and winked at her again before turning and walking up the stairs to his room.
Lauren couldn’t get the image of Marcus standing in front of her out of her head, the collar on his long coat popped, and his hair disheveled from the wind. “He’s even sexier in person,” she thought.
She pulled her hair up in a messy bun and took The Temptations vinyl off the turntable before she put on her apron. She put on her favorite Spotify playlist and danced around to Maggie Rogers as she prepared for brunch.
Lauren could hear Marcus coming down the stairs, so she poured him a cup of coffee and placed an assortment of coffee creamers and sweeteners on the island and motioned towards the island with her hand.
“Something smells wonderful,” Marcus commented as he added the French vanilla creamer to his coffee.
Lauren smiled. “Huevos rancheros,” she turned her head to look at him, “I hope you like Mexican.”
“Love it,” he replied.
Lauren and Marcus made light-hearted conversation while Lauren put the finishing touches on brunch and set the table.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” Marcus offered.
“No, thanks.” Lauren smiled at him as she refilled his coffee cup before taking off her apron and sitting across the table from him.
Neither of them said much, genuinely enjoying their meal and one another’s company.
“I’ll help you clean up,” Marcus offered to take his plate and cup into the kitchen. “You made French press coffee?” he pointed to the French press on the counter.
“Yeah.” She confessed. “I hope that’s okay.”
“It was perfect,” he smiled at her.
Lauren smiled at him. “I’m glad you enjoyed it.”
“Is there more?”
“Yes, please help yourself.”
Marcus walked up next to her, barely touching her arm. He reached just behind Lauren for the French press.
Lauren was about to move out of his way, but his gaze held her firmly in place. He stood almost a foot taller than her, forcing him to look down at her. His golden eyes were soft and warm, but it was the way he looked at her. “No one has ever looked at me so adoringly,” she thought.
. Lauren smiled sweetly as her gaze landed upon his dimples, just below the apples of his cheeks as he smiled. She allowed her eyes to wander, and she had to swallow thickly at the thought that entered her mind when she noticed the stubble lining his jaw and chin and how it would feel against her sensitive skin.
He had a wolf tattoo on his muscular forearm, and she found herself longing to trace her fingers along the outline. She returned his gaze, and he smiled at her as he placed the French press back in its original spot.
I really enjoyed brunch. Thank you, Lauren.” His gaze wandered.
Lauren watched as his eyes roamed up and down her body, and she wished she had changed out of her oversized Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle hoodie and thigh-high socks. Still, she watched his eyes darken as his pupils dilated, and she figured he was pleased with her choice of wardrobe.
Leaning her elbows on the counter, Lauren slid her upper body closer to him and shifted her hips towards him, giving him a nice view of her bubble butt she worked so hard to shape with kettlebells, squats, and booty bands.
Marcus looked; however, being the gentleman he was, he quickly averted his eyes back to hers. He rubbed the back of his neck and cleared his throat.
“Do you have plans today?” Lauren asked him.
“I need to type up some notes on a case I’m working on.” He replied.
“Oh? Here in Ellicott City?”
He shook his head from side to side as he took a sip of his coffee. “No, at the Inner Harbor.”
“Oh,” she replied, in confusion. “I thought maybe that’s why you were staying here.”
“No, I’m having my bathroom renovated, and it’s going to take a couple of weeks before they are finished.”
“That makes sense.” She smiled. “Any leads on the case?”
“Hmmmm,” he thought before taking another sip of his coffee. “Not really.” He admitted, sighing. “The police think it’s just the Squeegee Kids, but I have my doubts.”
“It’s a group of teenagers who stand on street corners and wait for traffic lights to turn red. They have 27 seconds to wash windshields of cars stopped at the light.” He explained. “They’re more of a nuisance than they are criminals. They just want to make a few extra bucks; they’re just going about it the wrong way.”
“Why do the cops believe they have something to do with the case?”
“Because it’s murder, and they’re dark complected teenagers who mostly come from low-income towns.”
“I understand,” she said in a disappointed tone.
“Anyways,” he said, changing the subject, “Do you?”
“Do I what?”
“Have plans,” he clarified.
“Oh!” She said, her voice rose an octave.
“I have a virtual coffee date with my cousin Kate, but other than that, no plans.
“Well, I’ll go write up my notes, you chat with your cousin, and then maybe we can watch a movie or something?”
“Sounds good to me.” Lauren agreed.
To be continued…
Love & life lessons,