Indy stood and threw an arm around Quinn’s shoulder. “It’s speed dating. You’re not supposed to think and digest. Feel and enjoy.” She squeezed Quinn’s shoulder and gave her a little shove back to her table.
“Feel and enjoy. Feel and enjoy,” Quinn mumbled on her way back to her seat. “Some of us need to think and digest. We can’t just feel and enjoy.”
She took her seat and realized she was mumbling loud enough to earn glances from other women who had already returned. She inhaled deeply and closed her eyes. A great guy might be here. I’ll miss him if I don’t relax. I could actually find someone for the rest of the summer if I give this a chance.
She reopened her eyes and felt at ease. The worst that would happen was she’d have a pile of phone numbers to toss out. The best would be a date with someone decent.
Mary rang the bell and men shuffled to find their spots.
The man standing in front of Quinn was the familiar-looking one. At least he was young. “Hi.”
“Hi,” Quinn answered, still desperate to place him.
He took his seat, his eyes never leaving hers. “You don’t remember me, do you?”
Quinn narrowed her eyes, searching her memory. “I’ve been trying to figure out where I know you from since you walked in.”
He extended his hand. “Joe Cardena, Ms. Adams.”
Her hand had barely touched his when it hit her and she dropped her hand. Her face flashed hot. “What are you doing here?”
“Same thing as everyone else. Looking for a date.”
“Are you even old enough to be in a bar?”
“I’m twenty-four. Want to card me?” His smile was boyish and playful.
Quinn shook her head. She remembered Joe. He’d been in her English class seven years ago. Her mortification must’ve been plain on her face.
“Hey, we’re all adults here. Tell me about yourself. Are you still teaching at Jones?”
She nodded. “I can’t do this. You know we can’t do this.”
Joe leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. “Why not?” “You were my student.”
“Was. I’m all grown up now. I’m out of college. I’m an ad man working at Burnet and Smith. I don’t live at home with Mom. I even have a car.”
“It’s weird.” Her stomach churned.
“I’m not feeling weird. If we never met before today, you’d talk to me, right? Maybe even give me your number.” His head tilted in question and his smile was disarming.
In her mind, he was still a kid. “I doubt it, Joe. I’m still a lot older than you.”
“Age shouldn’t be a factor.”
Joe stood. He leaned close and slid a business card in front of her. “It was good to see you, Quinn. Maybe we can have a drink later.”
Another man took Joe’s place. She could hardly focus. Only Indy would detect her plastered-on smile as fake. It was the same one she used at parent–teacher conferences.
Her brain buzzed. She had a student hit on her. Correction, former student. And he was serious, unlike a student who had a crush. He was grown and old enough to drink legally. The thought had never crossed her mind that she’d ever run into a student in a social situation.
She’d see a student occasionally at the grocery store or the mall. They usually smiled awkwardly and mumbled a hello. Sometimes one of the more gregarious girls might run up to her, squealing in excitement to see her as a real person.
None had ever tried to strike up a personal conversation with her. Never had she been hit on by one.
Three more men had appeared in front of her and she couldn’t recall a single detail about any of them. Quinn looked over at Indy, whose eyes were wide with concern.
Quinn gave herself a mental shake. She offered a genuine smile and a wink to Indy. A man entered her vision. She turned her eyes from Indy.
He extended his hand. “Hi, I’m—”
“Colin.” The name slipped from her lips as truth even though she had never laid eyes on the man.
He sat. One eyebrow rose. “Have we met?”
“No, I’ve heard about you.”
“That can’t be good.”
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