What Are Friends For?(6)

By: Lynn Lafleur

She wondered if seeing her in the suit would make him look at her as a desirable woman and not just a friend.

Erin didn’t know if she even wanted Luke to look at her that way. She treasured their friendship. It was great to get a man’s perspective on things, even something so simple as what to buy her father for his birthday or Christmas. Luke had kept her from making mistakes many times. She didn’t want to lose that special closeness they shared.

She needed advice on men and Luke was the perfect man to help her. It wasn’t as if she planned to ask him for anything permanent. It would simply be sex. That’s all. She knew he’d be honest with her. If she did something in bed to completely turn him off, she needed to know so she’d never do it again. Luke would be her teacher, just like in school.

Now all she had to do was get him to agree to her idea.

Chapter Three

Luke went through his mental to-do list. Fresh towels in the pool house—check. Steak marinating in the refrigerator—check. Potatoes scrubbed and wrapped in aluminum foil, ready for the grill—check. Sliced yellow squash, zucchini, carrots and onion also wrapped in foil, ready for the grill—check. Bottle of merlot on the counter to be opened later—check. Two slices of his mom’s carrot cake for dessert—check.

Unable to think of anything else, Luke went outside to the pool area. It was almost four, so Erin should be here at any time. She said she got off at two today, but he knew his friend. Since the travel agency where she worked was located inside a mall, she usually shopped a bit whenever she worked on Saturday. Sometimes he’d meet her for a late lunch and a movie, if he wasn’t scheduled to work. Owning a heating and air conditioning business meant someone had to be on call twenty-four hours a day, especially in the middle of the hot Texas summer. Luckily he had this weekend off, so could spend the rest of the evening with Erin.

Grabbing a beer from the refrigerator in the pool house, Luke wandered over to one of the chaise lounges in the shade of a large oak tree and stretched out on it. He had the pool area built so it was half in shade, half in sun, depending on the time of day. He had to sacrifice a few oak trees on the property, but decided it had been worth it to have an area he enjoyed so much.

He hadn’t wanted a plain, rectangular pool, so opted for one shaped like a cloud. Small waterfalls flowed over large rocks at the deep end. Huge flowering plants along with tall oak and willow trees gave the area a tropical garden feel. The perfect place to relax, he spent as much time as possible here, either reading, napping, or working on his laptop.

With his house sitting in the middle of three acres, he didn’t have to worry about neighbors bothering him. Plus the seven-foot wooden fence gave him plenty of privacy. When alone, he didn’t bother with a swimsuit.

He took a long pull from the beer as he thought about all the time spent out here by the pool. His family visited often, as did Erin. She loved to swim and came over one day almost every weekend during the summer. Seeing her in that gold one-piece suit she wore always made his hormones stand up and take notice.

His conversation with Erin this morning ran through his mind. She surprised him with her question about whether or not he found her sexually attractive. Of course he found her attractive and very sexy, yet he’d meant it when he said her friendship was more important to him than having sex with her. Sex was easy. Friendship wasn’t.

A combination of the two would be perfect. Erin wasn’t the only one who had parents still deeply in love. Even after thirty-two years of marriage, his parents had date night twice a month. Sometimes it was nothing more than going out for pizza, but they made sure to spend quality time together away from kids, grandkids and friends.

He knew exactly how Erin felt with wanting to share her life with someone. He felt the same way. He’d definitely enjoyed his single life, but now he wanted more. Turning thirty had made him think of the future—a future he wanted to spend with the love of his life.

He wished she’d cooperate and let him find her.


Luke smiled at Erin’s usual greeting. “Back here!”

She came through the wooden gate into the backyard, carrying what Luke called her pool tote. Embroidered with a colorful image of palm trees and the beach, it held her swimsuit, sunscreen, a pair of shorts, a tank top, flip flops and a gold visor to match her swimsuit. It probably had other girly things in it that didn’t make sense to a man but a woman had to have with her.

Smiling broadly, she gave him a friendly wave. “Hi!”

“Hi. I was beginning to think you stood me up.”

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