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“Hey there, Doctor Melli. Feeling better this morning?” His rugged, sweet baritone caught me off guard. “You seemed on the verge of exhaustion last night. You conked out before I had a chance to make you dinner, even.”

“Oh, yeah, sorry. I’m so out of it with those board exams right around the corner and everything. I’m not a doctor yet! Mind if I take a shower before breakfast?” I rubbed my eyes with my fingertips, pulled my shoulders up and stretched my arms above my head. “Ohmigosh!”

Halfway through my stretch, my tightly-wrapped towel became significantly less tightly-wrapped and managed to reveal half of my slender nakedness before I managed to grab it and hold it in place. My entire body went hot and red with embarrassment.

“Happens to the best of us. Of course, whatever you want. I’ll get some coffee going.” His easy smile eased my mortification a little bit. He always had that kind of relaxing, feeling-like-everything’s-okay effect on me.

And anyway, what did it matter? Kelly’s my step-dad. He’s much too appropriate to even think about me in that sort of way. Although I did see a little glint of mischief in his eye in the split-second before I got that towel back up. But still, no – no way. He’d never think of me like that. Just no way.

Right? I mean, he never said anything before, never made a lewd joke, not so much as a peep. Not even when I’d traipse around the house in a tiny mini-skirt and t-shirt that didn’t leave much about my figure to the imagination. He had to notice those sorts of things, but he just wasn’t that kind of man.

And if I’m being honest, it sorta drove me crazy, at least when I was a raging little ball of hormones.

Shrugging it off, I took a left into the bathroom, shut the door and turned the shower on to start to steam, fog crept up the big mirror and covering the bay window overlooking the pool out back. I wanted to take another look. Something drove me to stick my head back out into the hall and sneak another peak.

Either he didn’t hear the door squeak open, or he chose not to look up, but as I looked over the balcony at Kelly, I felt something curious stir inside me – and not for the first time.

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