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�Do you miss Washington? Leaving anyone special behind?� Darby�s blue eyes sparkled.
�I used to be okay with living in three different cities while I played because of the offseason coaching or the overseas leagues, but ever since I retired, I�ve really taken to living in one place. Washington was great, but it�s nice to be back on the west coast.�
�You must miss your friends? Boyfriend? Girlfriend? Both?�
Both? Yeah, I�m a hussy like that. �I do miss my friends. I had a great coaching staff working with me. Kristine, James, and Rebecca were close friends by the time I left. They were pretty angry that I made this move, but since Kristine is now the head coach, they�ll get over it.�
She laughed softly, the sound rolling over the table in featherlike waves. �You managed not to answer the question I wanted you most to answer.� She smiled broadly at my furrowed brow. �Boyfriend or, please let it be, girlfriend?� My mouth nudged ajar. Something about her question didn�t seem like idle curiosity. And certainly not the way she asked if I had a girlfriend.
�C�mon. You�re among friends. I�ve always had a vibe about you.�
�You know, a gay vibe.� The statement came out with certainty. I didn�t have time to be startled. �You can tell me, Graysen. I�m sure you know I�m a lesbian, and you have to know I�m interested in you.�
�You�re my fantasy woman, have been for decades since I first met you. So, spill, tell me you�re going to make my fantasy come true.�
�Hell. I was someone�s fantasy? Hers? This beautiful woman whom everyone liked and so many lusted after? Did the world turn upside down as soon as I crossed into the Pacific Time Zone? �Fantasy?� I managed with a dry mouth. �I�m coming on too strong, aren�t I?� A touch of worry marred her expression. �My sisters always tell me that I need to tone it down, but I can�t help it with you. After all these years, I finally have you in the same city and permanently. So, I�m putting it all out there tonight. I didn�t want there to be any confusion about what I want.�
�What you want?� GAH! Could I please stop repeating everything she said?
One word, sounds like sue, only less litigious. She wants me. Damn, that even sounds weird just thinking it. Why would she want me? I�m not a person who brings out wanting in people, or I never have been, or I�ve been oblivious to it my whole adult life.
Jeez, I mean, this was only my eighth date, if this was a date. And I know, eight dates, right? But, like I said, when you�re really good at something, other things fall by the way side. My love life foremost among them. Since I�m pretty convinced I was born without a sex drive, I hadn�t ever felt like I�d missed much. Why date when I felt nothing? Okay, this time, maybe I didn�t feel nothing, maybe this time was a little different, and it wasn�t because she was a woman when the others had been men. This time was different because it was Darby. Was she my fantasy woman, too? Honestly, no, but only because I didn�t have fantasies of that nature. I must be broken. Everyone else had fantasies, right? Why didn�t I? Maybe I just needed to think about it. I could try to fantasize about her. Hmm, that might work. �Gray?�
Try later. �Huh?�
�Shocked?� She smiled understandingly, and my, was it a beautiful smile. �I wanted to be upfront about this. I want more than just friendship from you, have for a long time.�
�This is�I mean, that�s very flattering.�
�Oh, God.� A panicked look came over her face. �You�re not going to say that you�re flattered but it�s not me it�s you, are you? Just lie to me and say you�ve got a boyfriend. I can handle unavailable but don�t crush my ego by telling me you�re the biggest lesbian on the planet, but I do nothing for you.�
My head shook, trying to snap all the whirling thoughts to attention. �I don�t know what to say.�
�That�s better than turning the tables over and racing from the restaurant, I guess.� She reached across and grasped my hand. The touch felt comforting. �Just tell me I have a chance?�
�I haven�t thought about dating in a while.� If she knew how long of a while it might put a stop to this before it had a chance to get started. �You�ve thrown me for a loop. I�m still trying to catch up.�
The smile that surfaced on her face brought out sparkles in her blue eyes and added definition to her sleek cheekbones. �I�m still in the running, then. Good. Enough pressure for tonight, we�ll save that for our second date.� Second date? In way over my head here, but it felt pretty good.