I clear my throat and continue, “I need to mount it on the plaque I already have hanging on the wall over there.” I use one foot to point at the painted canvas and wooden plaque I have hanging up with holes already drilled for the screws.

“This is the backside?”

I nod, then realizing he cannot see the motion, I confirm it verbally.

His chuckle is warm, and I imagine him making that sound again between my thighs before I can direct his mouth to my pussy. “Thank you for reassuring me that while I may be getting older, I’m not losing my vision or sense of design.” Beck squats down beside me, his hands resting on the nearest sawhorse to steady himself. “You’ve not changed much from the young girl who would disassemble broken appliances and turn them into water sprinklers.”

For a statement so full of nostalgia, the mixture of emotions rising in my chest prickle my eyes and surprise me. It is one thing to know that the man of your dreams is probably too old for you; it’s another to have him throw it in your face that you’re just a kid to him. I bite back the urge to cry or lash out in a temper. Those are not the ways to show him that I have grown up.

“That little girl,” I say instead, “grew up to take classes in mechanics, engineering, and art so that most of her art is also functional.” Slipping my fingers inside a hidden groove of the piece, I flip the switch of the hidden audio recorder. “Say something,” I prompt.

Beck is just low enough for me to see his eyes flash with mirth before he says “something” and smirks. His squatting position falters, almost landing on his well-formed ass, when he hears his voice playing back to us.

“That’s why I am going with a name referencing beauty being in the eye of the beholder. I thought I could fill the recorder’s storage space with affirmations about appearance as well as just existing.” I give the piece a once over, and deeming this stage done, I slide out.

“Do you need a hand up?” he asks.

I shake my head, roll off onto my knees and start to get up. The movement has my hair hiding my face at first, and I catch a glimpse of what looks like Beck peering down my gaping shirt. He turns his head away from me, cheeks flushing, and I let it slide. If he is going to play like that, sneak glimpses while hinting that I’m too young, I will make it into a game and see who wins.

I grab the nail gun and bend over to plug it into the power strip, wiggling my ass just a little in the process. A fast intake of breath from behind me gives the first point of the game to me.

“Where is your next business trip taking you?” I make my way back to the workspace and line up the nail gun tip with the dots I marked earlier. “Somewhere interesting?”

“Nowhere is that interesting when you’ll be surrounded by coworkers and strangers for several weeks. I’m making a few stops, but the bulk of my time is going to be spent with two larger clients and helping them straighten out some deals. It’s all boring stuff.”

Assuring him that I could never find what he says boring, least of all about a job he has so much heart in, I go back to my art. I want to finish it before going back home. The gun misfires on the fifth nail, the air compressor making a feeble puff before it goes dead.

“Fuck!” Instinct forces me to clap a hand over my mouth and apologize. “Sorry. I—”

He pulls my hand away, and I can almost taste his skin. “Fuck is most definitely an appropriate word choice. Is there any other way to do what you need without that? I can try to fix the compressor, but you’d be out a few hours of work most likely.”

The way he swore… I feel my panties getting damp at the sound of the word dropping from his lips. Warm, wet, and swollen from just his presence, it is an effort to not reach down and pull my jeans down a bit to avoid crushing my clit.

It takes me a minute, maybe two, to come up with a solution to the lack of a nail driver that doesn’t involve me using a hammer. “I managed to get all of one quadrant in before the compressor died. I can do something else for the other three. These are going to become flower petals. I’ll just use other things or be a bit more careful and use a hammer for the remaining ones. I have to hang this up on the base now, though. Do you mind if I use your ladder? I’m not quite tall enough to reach it and have the strength to manipulate it around from the ground.”

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