“Yeah. I guess it was kind of a surprise, but they’re both really happy about it.”
“Aww. That’s great. When’s the baby due?”
He shrugged. “Uhh, no idea. I know my mom told me, but I forgot. I think it’s during hockey season, so Tyler will probably miss some games.”
She rolled her eyes. “Well, that’s not at all specific since hockey season runs from October until next April.”
“Hey, you can text my mom. She’ll tell you.”
“I might just do that.” She’d never met Jenna or Tyler, but from conversations she’d had with Nathan she felt as if she knew them. She had met Nathan’s mom, Tara, though, along with Nathan’s dad, Mick. They were wonderful people.
Nathan grinned. “Feisty. He’s doing great. Loves school.”
She shook her head. “They grow up fast.”
He laughed. “That’s what my mom said about me.”
“She did space you and your little brother out quite a bit.”
“Yeah. It took her a long time to find the right guy to fall in love with. Then she found my dad.”
“You have a great family, Nathan.”
“Thanks. I think so, too.”
Mia smiled and leaned back in her seat. She loved the story of how Nathan’s parents met and fell in love. Even though Mick Riley wasn’t Nathan’s biological father, Mick and Tara had met and fallen in love when Nathan was fifteen. Nathan’s biological father wasn’t in the picture and had never been, so Mia was happy that Nathan had such a strong father figure in Mick Riley, who had adopted Nathan after Mick and Tara got married. And then Nathan’s little brother, Sam, came along.
There was nothing better than a real-life happily ever after.
Nathan adored his little brother. She’d met Sam one family weekend at college, where she’d also met his parents. Seeing the way Nathan doted on Sam reminded her of the way her big brothers had treated her when she was little. There was a lot of teasing, but also genuine love and tenderness.
It was one of the reasons she had kept Nathan in her life. A man who wasn’t afraid to show that kind of love to both his parents and his brother was a man worth keeping as a friend.
They rolled up to the lodge and Nathan parked out front.
“Let’s go get checked in,” he said.
She was more than ready to get out and stretch her legs. They went inside to the reception desk.
“You still have time to attend the wine hour,” the person at the reception desk said. “Complimentary wine from our vineyard, along with snacks. We also have information there about our wine tours.”
Nathan smiled and nodded. “We’ll be sure to check that out, thanks.”
“I do want to attend,” Mia said as he grabbed their bags.
“Then let’s drop the bags and go.”
Their rooms were right next to each other, so Mia keyed into her room and put her bags inside, then met Nathan outside his.
The wine reception was great. There were several varieties to choose from, and she was happy to see there were snacks left, because she was hungry. She ended up choosing a cabernet and filled her plate with a few hors d’oeuvres. Nathan grabbed a glass of wine and then went back and filled two plates.
“Hungry?” she asked as she found them a place to sit on the outside patio.
“We could have stopped someplace to eat along the way.”
He shrugged. “I figured we’d eat when we got here. This will do for now.”
His phone buzzed so he pulled it out of his pocket and looked at the message. “It’s from Jamal. They’re on their way. He said don’t wait on them to eat because it’ll take them a while to get here.”
“Okay. What would you like to do about dinner?”
“I think there’s a restaurant here. Or we could go exploring.”
“I’m all about exploring.”
“Okay. We’ll have our wine and snack, then we’ll drive around and see what’s for dinner.”
“Sounds great. But I’m going to go to my room and change clothes.”
He nodded. “You do that.”
Since he was wearing jeans and a button-down shirt, he looked fine for dinner. She’d thrown on capris and a T-shirt, so she finished nibbling on her snack and drank her wine, then dashed upstairs. She unpacked and hung up her dress and some of her clothes, then put on a pair of black pants, a black tank and red button-down silk top. She slid into her flats and brushed out her hair, fixed her makeup and added some lip gloss and jewelry, then went back downstairs.
“You look hot,” he said with a smile.
She couldn’t resist smiling back at him. “Thanks.”
They got into his SUV and he took off down the highway. Mia got out her phone and looked up some places where they could stop and eat.
“What are you in the mood for?” she asked Nathan.
She laughed. “Food-wise.”
“Don’t care. I’m just hungry.”
“Okay.” She scanned the list. “We could do fancy, like French food, or something simpler like pizza.”
“What are you in the mood for?”
She thought about it. “Actually, I don’t want to eat anything super rich and heavy since we had those snacks. How does pizza sound to you?”
“I love pizza.”
Her lips curved. “I know you do. One night in college I watched you polish off two large pizzas by yourself after a game.”
“That was the night our O-line wasn’t playing their best and I spent most of the game running for my life. I burned a lot of calories so I was starving.”
“Oh, please. You could eat an entire pizza by yourself even without having played a game.”
“True. So we’re having pizza?”
“Yes, we are.” She gave him directions to the Italian restaurant, which fortunately wasn’t far, because now that they’d started talking about pizza, she was really hungry, too.
She wasn’t sure how busy they’d be, so she made an online reservation, which they had available.
They pulled up and parked, then went inside.
“Busy place,” Nathan said as they gave their name and hustled over to the side to wait to be called.
Mia looked the place over, from the concrete floor to the wood-fired pizza oven to the giant copper bell that lit up the place. It was quaint and beautiful, and waiters hustled back and forth to serve their customers.
It wasn’t long before their name was called and they were seated at a small table near the back. They looked over the menu and a waiter came over to take their drink orders. Nathan ordered a beer and Mia decided on a glass of wine.
“You should probably order your own pizza,” Mia said as she put her menu to the side.
“I can share, you know.”
“Oh, I know. But I’m having spaghetti.”
They put in their food order when the waiter came back with their drinks. Mia had ordered a glass of Syrah, which was delicious and just what she needed to cap off the night.
“Good?” Nathan asked.
He lifted his beer. “To a fantastic weekend.”
She tipped her glass against his beer. “I’ll definitely drink to that. I feel like it’s been nonstop frantic for the past six months. This is the first weekend I’ve taken off in . . . I don’t know how long.”
“Then you’re overdue and I’m going to make sure you party your ass off this weekend.”
She smiled at him. “I’m so ready for that.”
When their food arrived, Mia realized she was hungrier than she thought. She dove into her plate of spaghetti, while also ogling Nathan’s sausage pizza, which looked amazing.
“Want a slice?” Nathan asked.
“Definitely.” She ended up scooping some of her spaghetti onto his plate, but in the end, it was Nathan who finished off all of the pizza and the majority of her spaghetti. She had another glass of wine, though, which was heavenly.
“Are you sure you had enough food?” he asked.