“So do you cook a lot?”
“I don’t cook as much as I would like,” Paul answered while cutting the vegetables for a salad. “I enjoy it but don’t really have the time. Also, it isn’t much fun cooking for one.”
“So you don’t cook for any of your sex buddies during your flings,” Rachel said teasingly. She didn’t know why she enjoyed teasing Paul so much about his relationships, but she couldn’t seem to help herself. Paul was usually so serious. It was fun to try to loosen him up a little.
“No, I don’t cook for my sex buddies,” he said sharply. He threw her a dirty look, and she laughed. “I only cook for my friends. Sex buddies. What a stupid term.”
“What would you have me call them?”
“I wouldn’t have you call them anything at all. I don’t know why you keep bringing them up.”
“I told you. I’m fascinated by this rules thing. Is the no cooking one of your rules?”
Paul stopped what he was doing and turned around to look at her. His cold, gray eyes zeroed in on her and pinned her to her chair. She shifted slightly before raising her chin and returning his look. Paul was the type of man that could intimidate the hardiest of souls, but Rachel wasn’t going to let him walk all over her. He smiled slightly and set the knife he was holding down on the counter. He crossed his arms and looked out the window for a moment. She could tell he was trying to decide something.
She loved watching him. He was hard to read, and she considered it a small victory each time she was able to get a glimpse of the man inside. He kept his emotions and his thoughts well hidden, but she was learning his tells. Right now, he was thinking about how he should respond to her probing.
When she had first arrived, Paul had greeted her with a friendly kiss on the cheek. She had understood that he was trying to put their relationship on a friendship level. He had mentioned the night before that he thought they could be friends, and Rachel was willing. Paul was a charming and intelligent man. She was looking forward to getting to know him better. She was still very attracted to him, but she knew that he didn’t have many female friends and was honored that he thought she might become one.
Paul turned back to her and studied her again. She tried not to squirm under his intense scrutiny and calmly returned his gaze. He nodded once.
“I’ll make a deal with you, Rachel,” he said. “If you can make it through this entire meal, including dessert and coffee, without once mentioning my relationship rules, sex buddies, lady friends, or any other euphemism, then I’ll tell you one rule.”
Rachel tried but failed to suppress her grin. “It can’t be the rule of not spending the whole night because I already know that one.”
When he nodded, she held out her hand and said, “Deal.”