When Luke gazed over his shoulder at Sarah Jane, she saw a heart rendering tenderness that stirred something in her chest, and she was forced to look away. Plucking cherries high on one of Luke’s ladders she couldn’t help but noticed how blissfully happy she felt helping him. It didn’t even feel like work. It was more like a scavenger hunt to find the very best cherries that she had to taste to make sure they were safe for public consumption. Finding a dark maroon cherry bigger than her thumb, she pulled it from the branch and then rolled it between her fingers. She gave it a squeeze causing her mouth to water, so what else could she do but plopped it into her mouth savoring its juicy sweetness.
“You know if you eat them all. I’ll have nothing to sell.”
She choked and then coughed out the cherry seed that tried to kill her. Oopps, she’d been caught. Sheepishly she met Luke’s light brown eyes. They sparkled with unshed laughter as dark eyebrows arched mischievously at her.
She couldn’t stop the thoughtful smile that curled her lips. “Sorry. They just look so good. How do you ever keep yourself from eating them all?” she asked, continuing to pick more cherries.
“I didn’t when I was a kid. Made myself sick a few times.” He climbed down his ladder and held out a hand to her.
She blinked at it confused.
“Come on. I’ve gotten enough free labor out of you for one afternoon. I should take you back to your truck.”
Sarah Jane’s jaw dropped. He was being nice…like really nice…she didn’t know how to react. She took his hand and shimmed down the ladder, reluctantly, she handed her bucket of cherries over to Luke. He was so closes she could feel the heat of the day rolling off of him. A slender delicate bond seemed to be forming between them in that quite moment. Her heart raced.
Peering over to his truck a sadness curled in her gut. “What…What if I don’t want to go yet?” she said, glancing up at him. His eyes search hers for a long while.
“Why would you want to stay?” His voice was so low it whispered down her spine.
A shiver took her by surprise. Wrapping her arms around herself, she tried to work through the ridiculousness of her request. “It’s nice here… like better than going to church.”
Luke raised a single questioning brow. “Better than church uh!”
She laughed at the look on his face. “You know that peaceful feeling that washes through you. That’s how I feel right now, right here, helping you.”
“What about going to your place to look at the books?”
She bit her lip, irritated with herself. He was right. She needed to get that done before the end of the day.
“Okay. Can you follow me home?”