“What else did you give up for her?” Poppy asked Cal.
“No. I mean it. Women with a capital W. Like I used to get propositioned all the time. I could walk into a bar like this and beautiful women—they’d be gunning for me. It was crazy. And don’t get me wrong, I loved it. I was a kid and foolish and totally into that sort of stupid fun.”
“Screwing around is bullshit. I mean, it’s fun. Oh, it was a lot of fun, once. Back when I didn’t know better. Back when I didn’t know there was a Natalie waiting for me to get my act together and become a one-woman man.”
The direction this conversation had taken did not bode well for Poppy, obviously. “So you’re a one-woman man?”
“At the moment, I’m a heartbroken son of a bitch.”
“So this thing with your Natalie? It’s over? For good? She’s not going to call you tomorrow and want you back?”
“Pfft. I wish. But it’s been two weeks.” Cal picked up his drink and savored a sip.
Her gaze was drawn to his lips as they covered the rim of his glass. His Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallowed. Being this close to him was absolutely fascinating.
She squinted her eyes. “Are your parents this good-looking?” It just popped out. She was too curious to keep a thing like that in. What kind of humans did it take to produce a Greek-god-like son?
“My mom’s a babe. My dad isn’t what you’d call heartthrob material, but he’s got the height and natural muscle mass I suppose I inherited. She’s a ten. He’s probably a … solid seven? I don’t know. They don’t worry about their looks. Not fancy people. They’re Midwesterners through and through.”
“My hometown. Would have loved to have played for the Royals, but Baltimore drafted me. You gotta go where they tell you.”
“You don’t like Baltimore?”
“I love Baltimore. What’s that old comedy sketch? ‘Baseball been berry, berry good to me? ’Baltimore has been that as well.” He made a gesture with his hand. “And Coach … I’d probably have flamed out fast if it wasn’t for him sitting on me. I’m a handful. Or I was when I first started out.”
“Hmm?” He was looking at her now, definitely giving her his full attention.
She leaned in and lowered her voice. “You still look like a handful.”
It was the first Cal Johnson grin she’d experienced up close and personal. It was dazzling—changing his features from strikingly handsome to absolutely adorable. Confronted with it, she felt a little unsteady and found it hard to keep her bearings.
“That grin of yours,” she whispered. “It’s kind of a thing.”
“A thing? What do you mean, a thing?”
She shrugged and felt herself blush, not sure how candid she should be. But since she was flying by the seat of her pants here with no game plan whatsoever, she figured … “It’s quite possibly your superpower.”