“I think that’s it.” Jessie took a step into the middle of the room. In just a few hours, the room had undergone a complete transformation.
Mack dropped his own paint roller and joined her. “You’re right. I thought it might need a second coat, but it looks good to me. Grace will love it, especially after she puts up those decorations you helped her pick out.”
“And when she gets sick of the puppies and princess you can peel them off the wall.” Whether because Mack stood so close or because of the paint smell Jessie suddenly felt light-headed. Taking a step away from him, she said, “Do you need help cleaning up before I leave?” She picked up a discarded paint roller.
“Forget about it. I’ll clean up later. I’m starving, what about you?” He took the roller from her and his fingers brushed against hers.
She’d arrived before lunchtime and neither had stopped for anything but a drink since. “Now that you mention it, I’m hungry. On my way home I think I’ll grab something.”
Mack covered the leftover paint. “How about we grab something together? My treat. It’s the least I can do for all your help today and last weekend with Grace.”
At one time she’d dreamed about Mack Ellsbury asking her out. None of those invitations had been because he wanted to repay her. “I appreciate the offer, but I don’t think either of us is dressed for going out.”
Rather than respond, he focused his gaze on her, starting at the top of her head and traveling down. Under his intense inspection, the self-consciousness she’d just begun to control returned full force, and she fought to not fidget.
“You look great to me,” he said, his voice taking on a new degree of warmth. “There’s not a speck of paint on you.” Mack stepped closer.
Unable to maintain eye contact, Jessie glanced away. “You might want to look in the mirror before you decide to go out.” Although he’d stayed clean for the most part, he did have some paint on his baseball hat as well as on his left bicep and t-shirt.
Mack glanced down at his clothes then back up. “I don’t see anything.”
“Check your left arm right about here.” Jessie showed him the spot on her own arm since touching him was out of the question. “And on your back there’s a spot, too.”
“That’s nothing. Come on. People have showed up at Masterson’s looking much worse. I’ll change my shirt and we can go.”
She had no good excuse. She’d already said she only planned to go home, and she was hungry. At the same time, though, showing up at the restaurant together might just send the rumor mill into action.
“After all your help, Jessie, dinner is the least I can do.”
Whenever someone did her a favor, she liked to repay them, so she understood Mack’s sentiments. “Okay.”
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