**Episode 5 of Asher and Kyle’s story! Click here if you need to catch up. Enjoy!**
“Are you going to tell me where we’re going?”
I chuckled, and I didn’t miss the way Kyle shivered at the sound. I caught the curl of his lips, and I had to check my own impulse to shudder. God, he was so sexy. And there was something about him wearing a blindfold that I, surprisingly, really enjoyed. I’d picked up the black silk scarf just for this occasion, and I was pretty sure I’d have to keep it around. Maybe Kyle would want to play with it in other ways one day.
“No,” I said softly. “I’m not going to tell you. That would ruin the surprise.”
“You’re no fun,” he huffed, but there was that twitch of his lips again.
I dropped my voice deliberately. “You’ll find I am all kinds of fun.”
He swore softly, then pressed a hand to the front of his pants. I was so enraptured by the sight, I didn’t realize the light had changed until the car behind me honked. I took off, a little faster than necessary, but I was anxious to get to our destination.
It only took another ten minutes, and Kyle was petulantly quiet the whole time. I knew him well enough by now to know it was just an act, but I appreciated it nonetheless. And I knew my surprise was going to make up for any minor disgruntled feelings. I parked close to the entrance, ordered Kyle to stay put as I got out, then jogged around the truck to open his door and help him down. He clung to my arm, and I knew he was uncertain without being able to see. Slowly, carefully, I released the knot holding the scarf, and pulled it away from his eyes.
He blinked, wide eyed and staring, and then turned to me. His grin was huge, but his eyes were narrowed.
“It’s the aquarium.”
“But it closes at eight and it is…” he made a show of tapping his Fitbit so the time popped up. “Eight-oh-five.”
“You’re right about that.” I took his hand and tugged him toward the front doors. My friend Marcel was waiting just on the other side, and he unlocked the doors and ushered us in. It was deadly quiet inside, and the lights from the huge tank in the lobby cast an eerie glow.
“Asher,” Kyle whispered. His fingers squeezed mine and held tightly. “What’s going on?”
“We can only have an hour, but there’s nothing better than viewing this place at night without crowds. Marcel was kind enough to give us time. And since he runs this whole place, I figure he’s got the right.”
Kyle’s eyes were huge again, and I chuckled. Marcel grinned too, and then made a sweeping gesture with his arm. “Enjoy, gentlemen.”
“How did you know?” Kyle asked after we’d wandered in silence for about fifteen minutes. I was happy to meander at his pace. The aquarium was huge, and I knew we wouldn’t get to see everything in the time allotted us, especially with what I had planned. But we could see a good deal of it.
“Know what?” I knew what he was talking about, but I wanted to make him say it.
“How much I love this place? What it means to me?”
I lifted our joined hands and kissed the back of his. “I listen, baby. You told me stories about your grandfather bringing you here as a kid, and how much that time meant to you. And how it’s still a place you love to be, but it’s always so crowded you don’t get to enjoy it. So I called my friend, and he was able to arrange this.”
“This is…amazing.” Kyle stopped dead in the anteroom to the huge cylindrical ocean aquarium. He pushed into my arms and kissed me hard. When he pulled back, his eyes were blazing. “Thank you.”
“You haven’t seen the best part.” I gestured to the doorway, and we went through. When Kyle saw the small, candle lit table already set for two, he clapped a hand to his mouth. I’d had the meal delivered directly here, and Marcel had taken care of the rest. I owed him free landscaping for the rest of the summer, but the look on Kyle’s face was worth it.
I led him to the table and pulled out a chair. His pasta primavera was still steaming, and the sight made me smile. Kyle, however, couldn’t take his gaze off the manta rays swimming by. I sat myself, and poured the wine, then set a bread stick on the edge of his plate. Eventually Kyle tore his gaze from the tank and looked at me.
“This is the best date I’ve ever had. You’ve spoiled me for anyone else.”
I stood and leaned over to kiss him, and I looked him straight in the eye when I said, “Good.”
He chuckled, pecked my lips again, and then set to eating while repeatedly glancing up at the tank. I sat back with a smile. I’d done this for him. Gave him this much joy. And it was the perfect start to what I hoped was a very long relationship.