Status: Sorry I haven't been posting again.... I'm hoping in the next 2 weeks to have time to get one out!

Take My Hand, Just Hold On

Chapter 7 - Jealous Of Your Cigarette

At 6:50 PM, the door buzzer buzzed, "Who is it?" I asked into the intercom

"Hey, it's Robert, you ready to go?"

"Yep, I'll be down to meet you in a minute, k?" I reply, slipping on my flats. I had insisted we go somewhere low-key and casual, where we (he) was unlikely to be recognized, so I had just thrown on a nice top and jeans.

I grab my keys and bag, and take the elevator downstairs. I exit the building to see Robert leaning against his rental, smoking. Damn, why does he have to look so sexy when he smokes? I have spent a life time mocking how ridiculous people who smoke look and smell - and here comes this guy, who makes smoking look (I choke on the word as it flits across my mind) cool.

"Oh God, you're going to be cancer-ridden before I'm through with you!" I joke, as I make my way to him - he doesn't need to know my inner-most thoughts.

He takes one last drag on his cigarette and flicks it on the ground. I step on it to put it out as I walk by. "Nice to know you plan on using me for a while, then," he smiles and opens the passenger door for me.

I bite back a retort as I slip into the seat and watch him walk 'round to the driver's side. I place his phone in the cup holder as he buckles up and he smiles at me in thanks.

"So, do you like burgers?" he questions, as he starts out of the parking lot.

"Er, yeah. Who doesn't?" I respond.

"I'm sure plenty of people. Vegetarians, for instance," he pauses. Then, "The only reason I ask was that I know this place that makes the most amazing burgers."

"Sounds great!"

"It's in Santa Monica, though. There's a couple good places near-by, but nothing like this place."

I shrug, "How long does it take to get to Santa Monica from here?" I ask. I think I remember road signs to Santa Monica, but being new here, I really didn't know the location for... anywhere.

"It'll take maybe half an hour to get there. But, it's pretty low-key, as per your request. We shouldn't get anyone chasing us-"

"-You," I interject.

"What, you won't run for it with me if they start running after me?!" he asks, incredulously.

I laugh, "Certainly not, I'll wait by your car and let you escape them."

He nods, looking at me out of the corner of his eye - a light smile playing on his lips, "I see how this is going to work, then. But, it won't happen here. And was that a 'yes' to going?"

"Definitely," I respond.


Turns out, the place with the best burger was a pretty small diner in Santa Monica, right near the beach. I got the same as Robert, and it was absolutely delicious.

"You want dessert?" Robert asks, having just finished off the last of his fries (which were excellent as well).

I look down at my plate, I still had about half my fries left. I was still hungry, but a little unsure if I could eat my fries and dessert. I suggest, "If you help me with my fries, we can decide about dessert afterwards?"

So, we finish off my plate and then look at the dessert menu. We decide to split a piece of cheesecake, as we were both rather full but couldn't possibly say no to delicious dessert.

The cheesecake was absolutely delectable... I think I ate the majority of it, but Robert didn't complain so I suppose that makes everything alright?!

After dinner (Robert having paid - he did suggest the date, so I suppose this is the way it should have been), we decided to take a walk on the beach since we basically just had to cross the road.

"Aw, damnit. You're gonna think I'm trying to be cheesy, taking you for a walk on the beach at sunset!" Robert mutters as we make our way along a bridge that takes us directly to the beach.

I looked up at the slowly darkening sky and let out a soft laugh, "Ah, this is true. It's okay, Robert, I won't hold it against you. Plus, it's not like I think you're doing it to get in my pants - apparently, I don't sleep with men on the first date; I sleep with them before the date even happens!"

Robert gives a nervous smile, "About that, I'm sorry that I even let it get that far last night. I had no intentions of even making a move on you - not that I didn't want to. I mean, obviously I wanted to, or this wouldn't have-"

I had to cut him off, "Robert, come one. There were two people there. And it's not like I was saying 'no' at any point during the night. And I'm really not one to regret anything I've done. I'm a big girl, and I really do not have any regrets abolut last night. Plus, it was amazing," I conclude, a slight blush coming to my cheeks. I hadn't meant to say the last part out loud.

He just smiles and puts an arm around my waist, pulling me closer toward him as we walk along the beach. I decide now was as good a time as any to bring up what was on my mind a lot of the evening, "Er, Robert?"

He nods his head, "Hmm?"

"I just wanted to... Set out some sort of, er, ground rules, I guess for this. If you even wanted to continue seeing me...?"

He laughs, "Of course I do. What, uh, 'ground rules' were you wanting to set?"

"Well, it's not really... Rules. So much as, well, I know you're only around for the next 3 weeks and then you're going back to BC for filming. So I just wanted to suggest that we put a 3 week limit on this, er, relationship of sorts. I think we should just keep it fun, sort of a no-strings thing. That's all I expect, and that's all I really want..." I say this kind of slowly, unsure the best way to put my thoughts into words.

Robert's silent for about a minute (which is a long time to wait for a response in this situation!), and then says, "I. Uhm. Yeah, that sounds good. So basically after I go back to BC for work, what, we just cut contact or.. What?"

"Well, I don't mean we have to completely cut contact. I mean, if we want to continue talking or whatever, sure. It's just that I'm not looking for a, quote-unquote, relationship, really. I don't want the hassle of 'feelings' being involved, especially considering you're leaving soon, right?"

He nods, "Okay, I can see where you're coming from." He's quiet for a bit, then, "I just wasn't expecting to hear that. I think most girls would have an opposite reaction to the 3 weeks thing than you..."

I shrug, "Well, I'm just trying to be realistic. And I don't think you're looking for anything long-term, either. So I figured it was best to just have everything in the open. So, if you do happen to be looking for something more, then at least you know where I'm at, too."

I give a side-ways glance and look at his face, he's looking away, I see his jaw clench and unclench. Then, "Yeah, I'm not really looking for anything long-term, I guess. It's kind of hard with this career, anyway." I see him put his hand in his pocket and grab a box of cigarettes. He pulls one out and lights it quickly, loosening up almost as soon as it's lit.

I nod slowly while watching this, "Okay, that's great then! Now that that's all clear: Is that fair I see over there open?!" I point excitedly to the ferris wheel I can see a short ways up the beach.

Robert laughs, "Love, do you see any lights on?" he whispers, his lips lightly brushing my ear.

I shiver slightly at the touch. "You cold?" he asks, feeling my shiver.

I laugh, "No, no I'm certainly not."

He takes my hand in his and brushes his thumb against the top of my hand. Shit, this guy can set my skin on fire with the slightest touch. A shiver runs up my spine, and can feel goosebumps run across my body. He peers intently at my arms. "Are you sure you're not cold. You just shivered again, and I can see goosebumps. We can head back to the car, if you want?"

I'd rather pretend I'm cold than admit that his touch gives me shivers, so I assent and we head back to his car.

"So, what time do you have to be at work tomorrow?" he asks.

"Start at 9:00 AM," I state.

"You excited?"

"I guess. I'm a little nervous. It seemed really busy and sort of unfriendly in there when I went to drop off some of my papers and shit that they needed..."

"Aw, well hopefully it'll be fun. You said it was a really good internship program, right?" he questions, taking a final drag on his smoke and throwing it onto the street below us as we made our way across the bridge.

I nod, "Yeah, it's supposed to be one of the best. I don't know how I'm going to do in it, though."

"Come on, you'll be great," he flashes a quick smile as he opens my car door. I step in and smile back at him. "Where to next?" he asks, as he gets in the drivers seat.
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Song: Jealous Of Your Cigarette by Hawksley Workman. Good song, I love it :)
How do you feel about the ground rules? ;)