Smooth operators.We’ve all known them, right? They deliver smooth lines, quick with compliments, and in general give you the willies. They make your spine feel as though a snake is slithering and you can’t wait to get away.
The Sade song, Smooth Operator, comes to mind when you see the words. At least for me it did.
But, maybe there’s another kind. The one who means the lines, who means the compliments, who doesn’t give you the willies, but instead works his way under your skin before you even know what’s hit you. He can be the good one, the fun one, the right one…
Of course, what about the smooth friend? The one who tricks you without you even realizing what he’s up to and all for your own good…
“He drove all the way into the city, and he left just like that?” Edward questioned. He drained the rest of his latte and carefully wiped his mouth. Jane wanted to slug him for always being neat and tidy and so put together when half the time, she was less than all that.
“Yep.” What the hell was up with that? All because she told him to go? He didn’t have to give up so easily.
She really was better off that he did go, she knew that. There were just too many complications that came with being involved with a man like him. Life would be simpler without the want, the lust, the sheer hunger to crawl naked all over him.
If he had stayed, would she have given in? Of course she would have. She huffed out a frustrated sigh. She needed to shed the leftover shit from her relationship with Phillip. More than anything, reminders lingering in the house weren’t helping her move on. What was that thing about writing a letter and then burning it being somehow cathartic? Would the same hold true if she burned all the stuff he’d left at her door? Most of it was what she’d given him as gifts, so perhaps that would count as sort of her “letter.”
Indecision gnawed at her. Might be worth a shot. She didn’t want to hold on to someone that had walked away without a backward glance. She didn’t want to hold on to someone she had proved to herself she could live without, even if she had done so while consuming untold pounds of chocolate.
“Hey.” Edward snapped his fingers in front of her face. She blinked and focused on him.
“Where’d you go? I was talking to you and you zoned out on me.”
“I’m tired,” she lied. “You know I don’t get up until the sun is high overhead.”
“Time to get over that. C’mon, finish up.”
“It’s illegal to be this perky this early.” Jane lowered her head to the table. “I don’t want to go shopping.”
“Am not,” she whined. “You said we were going out for breakfast and coffee.”
“And we did. Now, I want to go shopping and don’t want to go alone, so you’re going with me.”
“What about your date from last night. Why not call him to go with you?”
“Because he’s the reason I’m going shopping.”
Edward usually didn’t need a reason to add to his wardrobe, but this was kind of interesting. “Are you ever going to tell me about this guy?”
“Are you ever going to stop moping around the apartment?”
Oh that was low. He was right, but still a low blow. “I’m not moping at the apartment right now.”
“No, you’re moping in this lovely little café.”
“I wouldn’t have to if you hadn’t promised me espresso drinks and pastries I don’t have to make.”
“I’m a sneaky bitch.” Edward winked at her and Jane couldn’t stop the laugh that bubbled up but she did her best to cover it up with a sip of espresso. Straight, unsweetened, smooth, rich espresso. If that didn’t wake her up, nothing would.
“That you are.” She took a big gulp of air and let it out in a huff. “Two stores. No more and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, tough.”
“Four stores and I’ll buy you lunch.”
“Three stores and you buy me lunch anyway.”
“Deal. And you have to try on this hot little black dress I saw yesterday.”
“No deal on that. I don’t need a little black dress, hot or not. I don’t want any new clothes. You can’t tempt me with them.”
“Again with the lies.” Edward shook his head. “Jane honey, you do need that dress and you do need new clothes.”
“Can we just go and get this over with? I want to get back to my sweat suit before it thinks I don’t love it anymore.”
“I’m going to burn it when we get back.”
Jane got up and set the pretty cup and dessert sized plate on the counter. “You’ll do no such thing.
“You’re right. I won’t. At least not the gray one. That one I tossed it in with the trash this morning when we left,” Edward said in his sing-song voice as he pushed the door open and walked outside. Jane was speechless. Momentarily so before she went chasing after him.
“You did what?” she asked, out of breath from jogging to catch up.
“I stuffed it in the trash bag while you were in the shower.” Edward paused outside his favorite kitchen store. “Do you want to go in? We could use a few more silicone spatulas.”
“Don’t change the subject. Why would you throw out my sweat suit?” Edward pushed open the door to the store and disappeared inside. He kept walking away. Did he think she wouldn’t kick him in the shin if they were in a crowded place? “And stop trying to get away from me,” she hissed.
“I’m not trying to get away from you. We need spatulas.”
“Oh you are so full of it. We have a whole drawer full of spatulas.”
“But I like these.” He pulled a wood handled silicone spoon out of a canister sitting on a small mosaic garden table. It was white with orange dots and Jane had to admit they were fun and that she would love to have a few of them in a variety of dot colors, but right at that moment…
She ground her jaw together and forced words through barely moving lips. “What are you up to, Edward?”
“I’m up to seeing you come out of hiding, Jane. I’m up to seeing you get over this depression.”
“I’m not depressed and I’m not hiding.”
“Oh?” He looked at her. “Then what would you call it?”
What did she call it? “Minding my own business,” she offered. “Something you should maybe think about.”
“Nice try.” Edward pulled three more spoons from the canister. One with green dots, one with blue dots, and one with yellow dots. “Do you want the red one, as well? We could have a complete set.” Jane flipped her hair and turned her back. She didn’t want to talk to him anymore. “Pouting won’t get you anywhere, but fine, I’ll get the red one, too.”
“While you’re being generous, I need a new cookie scoop too.” She walked around the end of the row to the next row over. In another canister, this time on the shelf of a book case, Jane picked up two different sized cookie scoops. One with a purple squeeze handle and one with a pink squeeze handle. She really didn’t need new cookie scoops for the truffles, but she and Edward were a lot alike when it came to kitchen stores. She found it impossible to resist them. Before candy making, she’d never really cared for cooking or baking, but she’d learned a lot by devoting and dedicating herself to her craft. The success of their boutique business, dreamed up over a box of candy and a good bottle of wine, was proof of that.
Which, now that she thought about it, Phillip–
“Do you want to look for anything else?” Edward nudged.
Jane shook herself from the puzzle pieces that still didn’t fit from her break-up with Phillip and turned her gaze to Edward. “No, I’m good.” She handed the scoops over and Edward fairly skipped to the counter and the sweet man manning the register. To see the two men flirting, she had to smile. Edward was really the sweetest, most adorable man she could have ever hoped to fall into lifelong friendship with.
She was still pissed at him though.
Do you have friends like Edward? I think we all should have at least one…
I’m headed off to work on edits, and you can head off to read more Smooth Operator snippets from the following authors: