Walking through the stockroom doors, I find Dad and Adam talking amicably as if old friends.
Shaking my head, I resign myself to spending the afternoon with Mr. Man-Boy Wonder. I clear my throat to draw their attention.
Clasping Adam on the shoulder, Dad quips, "You guys have fun."
Giving a polite nod, Adam says, "Yes, sir."
Chuckling, Dad responds, "It's Rick, okay. None of that sir stuff. It makes me sound old."
Standing on my tiptoes to give him a peck on the cheek and because I can't resist, I joke, "You are old, Dad."
Tugging at his ear lobe, he declares, "Hey, don't call your Dad old! It's disrespectful!" He grins as he says it, his eyes twinkling with humor.
Throwing my hand up in a parting gesture, I head out the door. Adam is grinning as he holds his truck door open for me.
As I am finishing buckling my seat belt, Adam climbs in, gets himself situated and we are off.
We drive in tense silence for a while, or what I imagine to be tense. But looking over at Adam, I see he is leaning comfortably back in his seat with one hand on the wheel, the other propped up on the door. He's completely at ease.
Finally, giving in to my fate of spending all afternoon with Mr. Man-Boy Wonder himself and deciding to play nice, I break the silence by questioning, "So where to first?"
His eyes twinkle as he states, "You'll see."
I must have given him a look of impatience because he continues, "It's a surprise. If I tell you, it will ruin it. Trust me."
"Not all surprises are good," I mumble to myself.
Totally unruffled, Adam answers, "This one is."
As we head out of downtown, he makes a left turn on the last street in the area, Marks Street. He pulls to a stop in front of a large glass window.
Climbing out of the truck, I look through the window, finding red and white checkered tile floors with shiny black round tables with chairs to match. The back of the store is framed by a long, glass cased counter full of several different ice cream flavors. It looks like a throw back to the 1950's.
I've got to hand it to him. I am definitely surprised.
"The Cool Cow?" I question, looking at the a picture of a cow on the window wearing sunglasses, laying on a lounge chair and sipping a drink from a straw.
Grinning like, well, a kid in an ice cream store, Adam says, "I told you it was a good surprise."
Heading inside the shop, I say, "Not to spoil the surprise, but you do realize it is thirty degrees outside, right?"
Sauntering up to the counter and propping a hip against the side, Adam declares, "This ice cream is good anytime. Summer. Winter. Hot. Cold. Doesn't matter. It is nectar of the gods."
Raising an eyebrow, I state, "Nectar of the gods? That's a lofty claim."
Giving me that lopsided grin he states, "I speak the truth."
I respond, "Okay, let's see what they have."
Right on cue, a teenage girl of about fifteen exits from the back room and heads to the counter. Her brown hair is in pigtails and she has a smile that brightens up the room.
"Hello, Adam," she says warmly. Blush creeps into her cheeks.
I can see how she dreamily stares at Adam. He is probably her first real crush. She is taken by him.
He is handsome. I'll give him that.
Smiling, he says, "Hi, Alex. How are you?"
She answers, "Good, thanks. Spending most of my time working and dance team."
Winking, Adam responds, "Sounds like your one busy lady. Tell your brother I'll look him up when he gets back in town over Christmas break." She almost melts into a puddle on the floor.
Adam politely introduces me. "Alex, this is my friend, Nat. Nat, this is Alex."
"Nice to meet you," I say.
Smiling, she says, "Hello."
Turning to me, Adam says, "So let me guess. You're a chocolate kind of girl."
Walking down the length of the counter perusing the different flavors, I quip, "Nope. Not a big fan of chocolate. Guess again, Mr. Man-Boy Wonder."
Alex gives a small chuckle and I look over at her. We share a smile.
Stroking his chin, he gives it some thought. He states, "Okay. Challenge accepted."
Circling me like a shark circles his prey, he observes, "Hmm, let's see. You like cross country skiing. You dress conservatively. You believe family is important. You want people to think you are self-sufficient. And you like to have order to things. Am I close?"
Raising an eyebrow, Adam quietly dares me to contradict him. He knows he has hit his mark. He has me pegged.
What the what?
He has observed this from just being around me twice.
Wow. He's good. No wonder the women fall at his feet.
It's nice that he noticed.
I concede, "Nicely done. But we were talking about ice cream. You never said which flavor."
Confident, Adam says, "Vanilla."
Shaking my head, I correct, "Butter pecan."
Tilting his head to the side, he pins me with his stare. Adam declares, "Hmm. Aren't you full of surprises?"
Alex hands me a scoop of butter pecan on a waffle cone. Grabbing a spoon, I take my first bite. Closing my eyes, I savor the perfect blend of savory and sweet.
Oh dear. This stuff is amazing. This IS the nectar of the gods.
Opening my eyes, I see Adam grinning like an idiot. He can tell by the look on my face that I love it.
Feeling generous, I say, "You are right. This stuff is amazing."
Smug, he nudges my shoulder with his shoulder, Adam says, "See. Nectar of the gods."
Here's another installment with Nat and Adam. I'm really liking the interplay between them.
And now, I think I want some ice cream....