“Tell me about yourself,” Lori changed the subject.
He lifted one questioning eyebrow but didn’t bring up her travel companions again.
“What do you want to know?”
Everything…but then, if she started asking about what he did for a living, he’d ask her. “Tell me more about this philosophy of yours.”
“Living life beyond your comfort zone.”
He leaned back. “That’s easy. As kids, we learned to take risks every day. Jumping into a lake without a life preserver and learning to swim because of it. Do you remember your first roller coaster?”
“Do you remember being afraid to go on one?”
“Yeah. I still get that way.”
He lifted his hands in the air. “But you still go on them.”
“The thrill comes from fear.”
The waiter returned with the wine and took their order.
“Sometime between the age of eighteen and thirty we forget to take risks, and the fun in life is lost on us,” Reed told her.
“You’ve been skydiving, haven’t you?” Lori asked.
“More than once. You should try it sometime.”
“I’ll stick to the inside of airplanes, thank you.”
She couldn’t help but laugh. “What is this, junior high?”
“Maybe. What are you afraid of?”
Lori lifted her wineglass. “Oh, I don’t know…hitting the ground at two hundred miles per hour.”
“It’s only about a hundred and twenty.”
“That sounds so much better.”
Reed had an addictive smile. “What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?”
Lori blinked…twice. “I traveled to China by myself.”
Reed stared at her. “China? That’s it?”
“Hey, I don’t speak Chinese. It was scary.” What she failed to mention was that she was meeting a potential client of Alliance. A businessman looking for an American bride. The scary part took place when, on behalf of Alliance, she passed on the man as a client. He had a violent side she picked up on shortly after meeting him in person.
“What about you?”
“My biggest adventure?”
“Or the biggest step outside your comfort zone?”
He hesitated. “I voted.”
The wine Lori sipped burned when she started to laugh. When her eyes started to tear up, she took a drink of her water.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“Voted? That’s outside your wheelhouse?” “Well, yeah, what if the guy I voted for won by one vote? What if he sucked or started a war? That’s a lot of responsibility.”
He was messing with her, but she liked to laugh.
“Ever been married?”
He nodded. “Once. You?”
“Once. I was really young. No kids. You?”
He opened his eyes wide. “Oh, no. I’d be a terrible dad.”
Their salads arrived and they kept talking. “Sounds like I found something outside your comfort zone.”
“What about you? You’re beautiful, and obviously have your life together, with trips to China and this.” He pointed around the room. “Why aren’t you married?”
“Not interested.” Which was only half-true. Romance had been stripped out of marriage with her profession. “I like being in control, and marriage feels like giving away half of that.”
Reed lifted his glass. “To the Not Interested Club.”
They’d finished the bottle of wine and shared a froufrou dessert.
Even though neither one of them talked about their daily life, they managed to carry a conversation for two hours.
“Nightcap?” Reed suggested.
She placed a hand over her stomach. “I don’t think anything else is going to fit.”
“Let’s take a walk, then. I’m not ready to say good night.”
“And if I am?”