Statistically Improbable (Dating by Design Book 2)(8)By: Jennifer Peel
“I can live with that.”
“How would you feel about ice cream?”
“I’m not sure I’ll be ready to say goodnight when dinner is over.”
“I like ice cream.”
“Then I know a place.”
I couldn’t believe he was taking me to have ice cream with Kenadie and her mom. And I guess her mom’s friends. Those must have been the biddies Kenadie mentioned to me earlier. Zander said that he and Kenadie called them the Nanettes after Kenadie’s mom, Nanette Marshall. The ladies had been friends since high school, according to Zander.
I thought about my best friends back home, Krista and Bernadette. They were both married now, living the life dad begged me not to have. He always said my mom worked too hard and she never had the life she truly deserved. She seemed happy to me, working side-by-side with the man she loved, raising three rowdy kids she loved more than anything. So maybe we never had fancy cars or expensive vacations, but my brothers and I were happy and we knew we were loved. And like mom said, hard work never killed anyone. Except maybe her. She was killed making her once-a-month trip to Salt Lake City to stock up on food and supplies. Every month she made that seven-hour round-trip drive, usually by herself. She said she liked to be alone with her thoughts every once in a while. I couldn’t think about it.
I smiled over at Zander driving the speed limit to Flowery Branch where he and Kenadie grew up. “What did you study in school?” I hated asking questions I already knew the answers to, but I couldn’t admit to prying.
“I have a master’s degree in Mathematics Education.”
“Maybe you can help me with the statistics class I’m taking.”
“You’re in school now?”
“I’m taking two classes online at the moment. I hope to have my degree by the end of next summer.”
“What are you studying?”
“Exercise and wellness.”
“What can you do with that degree?”
“Well, what do you do with a master’s in mathematics?”
He grinned. “I would have a been a fantastic teacher, but this gig pays a lot more.” I was sure he made more money than me. I think he was Kenadie’s silent partner as well as a personal relationship manager.
“You were really going to be a teacher?”
“That surprises you?”
“Kind of, yeah.”
He gave me quick glance and sly look. “I’m glad I’m not the only one surprised tonight.”
As we drove through the small town where Kenadie and Zander grew up, I found it hard to believe such a storybook place ever produced Zander. He looked like he was born living in a high rise. But his slight southern drawl seemed to fit the little shops and quaint atmosphere of Flowery Branch. Shasta’s, the ice cream shop, fit the small town to a tee. It reminded me of home.
“Are you sure Kenadie and her mom won’t mind the intrusion?”
Zander parked his car between two large trucks. It was the only space available. “Are you kidding? They love me. Can’t get enough of me.”
I think he was telling the truth. “I guess we better not keep you from your adoring fans any longer.” I opened my car door.
I heard him laugh as he exited the car.
We met around the back of his car and walked in together.
“Is this place always this busy?”
Zander nodded. “Usually on the weekends.”
“Did you like growing up here?”
He shrugged. “It was all right.” He didn’t sound all that impressed, but I didn’t ask him to elaborate.
I was a little nervous about crashing the party. I liked Kenadie, but she intimidated me. I had never seen her outside the office. Not to mention I knew Zander had feelings for her and was comparing me to her.
Zander opened the door for me and a bell jangled. He placed his hand on my lower back and inched me forward through the crowded shop that looked like a throwback to the fifties, kind of like the town. “Just be yourself. The Nanettes are going to eat you up.”
I was surprised he recognized I was having second thoughts. But I guess I shouldn’t have been. He really did know how to read people. I gave him a small smile and right away recognized Kenadie and her fiancé, Jason. I didn’t know he would be here as well.