We took the Porsche Turbo to the restaurant, classical tunes playing softly in the background.
"You don't have to say anything to Andy. I don't want to get anyone in trouble, and you can hardly fire a whole department when they are having a little bit of harmless fun. I should be able to handle this myself."
"Remember what I told you last week when Adam was harassing you. You are a member of the Rangeman staff and, as such, you deserve to come to work in a comfortable environment. This means that people aren't allowed to treat you as though you were an object, as the prize in a lottery. You are a valuable person and deserve to be treated with respect. I am with Emilio. If you were my sister I would be angry. With me being your boss, I am angry. With us having a more personal relationship, I am furious. This should not be happening."
"As long as they are just looking…"
"Would they be looking if you were a guy? They need to treat you like one of the guys despite the fact that you are not."
"Good thing I'm not. I'm not sure if I would like all that scratching my privates and telling tall tales about one's sexual prowess that goes along with being a man", I said with a smile.
"Do you think that's what men do when they are together with other men?"
"My guess is that such a view is just as accurate as saying that all women talk about is sex, shopping and food."
"No. They talk about dieting and guys as well", Ranger said with a smile. "I have four sisters, remember?"
I laughed. "We do talk about other things, too. Family, especially kids, are also a big part of conversation."
"Guys talk about more than their sexual conquests as well. We also talk about sports." He reached across, picked up my hand and kissed my fingers. He then put my hand down on his thigh and shifted gears.
There was a small parking lot to the rear of the pub. Someone was pulling out just as we got there, leaving a parking spot in a prime location for us. We walked into the pub, blinking a little in the dim but noisy interior, and asked to be seated on the outdoor patio. Following the hostess outside, we were led to a lovely spot, a large wooden porch blocked off from the parking lot by high wooden fences decorated with ivy and hanging baskets. A couple of trees grew through the middle of the wooden decking, providing a shady respite from the heat of the summer's day. Ranger and I each ordered a Corona while we looked at the menus.
"What do you want to order, Babe?"
"I don't know. It all looks good, and lunch was a long time ago. I'm thinking nachos, but the wings sound really good as well."
"Why don't we order one order of wings, and one order of nachos and split them?"
I stared at him. "You look like Ranger, but you don't sound like Ranger. What happened to 'my body is a temple'?"
"I decided to take a walk on the wild side for the evening."
"Mmm", I smiled. "This has possibilities. How do you like your wings?"
"I usually have them with barbeque flavouring. Most often a medium in heat although I can comfortably go hotter or more mild."
"I usually order them as a medium barbeque as well."
Ranger captured my hand on the table and started playing with my fingers. A woman came up to us, carrying over salt and pepper shakers and putting napkins on the table in front of us. Her kinky black curly hair stuck out of her head like she had put her finger in a light socket, and her piercing gray eyes looked like they were seeing right through me. "I can tell the two of you are in a committed relationship. You love each other very much and deserve to be together. You should be together. I will give you my card. I do weddings and I would love to marry the two of you."
I took the card but didn't look at it. I thanked the lady and, in the absence of a garbage can located close by, I put the card in my purse. It seemed to make the lady happy and I figured I could throw out the card just as easily when I got home as I could now.
Talk drifted lazily from work to family to friends. I did most of the talking, although that was no surprise. Ranger is a pretty quiet kind of guy.
After dinner was finished, we drove to Cadwalader Park and strolled around the lake. Ranger held my hand as we walked, periodically lifting my hand to kiss my fingers. As we neared the parking lot, my steps slowed. I did not want the evening to end.
"I don't care whether we go to your place or mine, as long as we spend the night together", Ranger said. He must have read my mind.
"I have food. You have Ella. I have Rex and clothing for me to wear. You have uniforms for me to wear and clothing for you to wear. You have a king-sized bed, I have a queen. I guess your place wins."
"We can go to your place so you can look after Rex and so that you can pick up some clothing."
"That's a deal. I want to have non-uniform clothing to wear tomorrow since I am chasing some skips with Lula. They are the terrorist hoaxer and the human traffickers. I have a new file to catch as well, but I didn't look at the paperwork. I just printed off the info when I was at the office."
"Will you be in the office tomorrow?"
"I plan on catching my skips in the morning, and then come into the office in the afternoon. I am being optimistic in hoping that we are successful in performing our captures. As I said, I haven't yet seen the new file yet."
"Didn't you say that the human traffickers were a husband and wife team?"
"How will you capture two people at once with just Lula and yourself? Do you want to do the legwork on the file, and then have a Rangeman team come do the capture?"
"If you don't mind, that would be awesome. The whole crime itself is abhorrent. It hits me more than most of the skips' crimes do. I don't want to do anything at all that could result in the skips getting away."
Ranger's watch alarm went off at five the next morning. I was all snuggly and warm tucked into his side, my hands down his pants. I think I growled at him as he tried to extricate himself from my hold without waking me unduly. I could feel the rumble in his chest as he quietly laughed. "You have to let me up, Babe. I need to go have a workout." I burrowed in deeper to his side. "Babe", he said on an exasperated laugh. I reluctantly let him go. He slipped out of the bed, smoothing my hair away from my face and kissing my brow. "Go back to sleep."
At eight o'clock Ranger kissed me awake with a cup of coffee in hand. "Did I wake this morning when you got up?" I asked.
"A little bit. You didn't want me to get up."
"I thought I remembered something like that. Sorry about that."
"That's okay. I didn't mind."
"Did I actually growl?" I asked, mentally crossing my fingers in the hopes that I was just misremembering.
"Yes. I believe I remember that. You growled right before you told me you were comfortable, and that my moving out of that cuddle position would result in you tossing me over for Sven and the rest of the Sales team."
I looked at Ranger. He had a full-on smile on his face. In my still sleep-stupefied state, I could not tell if he was teasing me.
"Time for a shower before breakfast, or after?" I asked as the coffee started to kick in.
"After. Ella will be up momentarily with breakfast." Ranger got up and retrieved his housecoat for me to wear. I got up and put it on as I heard Ella come into the apartment with the breakfast tray. Calling out to us to have a good day, she left the apartment again.
I followed Ranger to the breakfast bar, getting cutlery out for the blueberry yogurt parfaits and toasted cinnamon raisin bagels and cream cheese that were on the tray. I poured myself another coffee, and filled up Ranger's cup.
After breakfast was finished, I stood up from the table, went over to Ranger and sat on his lap. "Please tell me that I didn't really threaten to throw you over for the Sales team if you got out of bed."
"You know how I said a man gets to have secrets?"
"This isn't one of those times", I said.
"No, this isn't one of those times. I made it up, just to see the expression on your face."
"I used to think you were a good guy", I grumbled. I reached down and started rubbing him through his pants. When he seemed to be getting quite interested, I stood up. "Time for me to get ready for work", I said. I slid off his lap as he shifted himself awkwardly.
"And I used to think you were a good girl."
"Oh, no. I've never been a good girl", I said as I laughingly walked away.
I had company in my shower.