Lainie continued toward the car. “I just thought of something. We’re supposed to be married, but we don’t have rings.”
Harry stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. “You’re right.” He glanced around. “You know what? This place is crawling with Southwestern jewelry stores. Let’s go get a couple of rings.”
“Real rings? Surely we don’t have to spend the money on real rings.”
“We don’t, but I will.” He took her arm and guided her toward a shop where the windows glittered with silver and turquoise. “We should be able to find matching silver bands, maybe with some inlaid turquoise.”
“No, Harry.” She resisted. “This store is too nice. How about one of the more touristy ones? We can find something cheaper.”
He turned to face her, his expression stubborn. “But what if I don’t want to buy you something cheap?”
“But what if I don’t want you to buy me something expensive? I already feel uncomfortable about all you and your mother and Leo are doing for me. Now you’re talking about buying me jewelry.” But the real reason went deeper. She had never gone ring shopping with a man, and Harry was the sort of guy she wouldn’t mind going ring shopping with. The nicer the jewelry store, the more she was liable to get into the fantasy. That could be a huge mistake.
He looked into her eyes. “Think of it as a souvenir of the trip.”
“Then I should pay for my own.”
He blew out a breath. “You are a very exasperating woman. I just want to get you this one simple thing.”
It’s not simple. “I know we could find them cheaper down the street.”
“But you deserve...” He paused. “Look, the people around here know cheap silver jewelry when they see it. We need to have something decent if we’re going to pull this off.”
“If we stayed in a motel instead of this resort, we wouldn’t have to do any of this.”
“Dammit, Lainie, I want to give you a nice experience here! Why do you have that bumper sticker if you don’t intend to live by it?”
She flushed. People were staring, and she certainly didn’t want to become conspicuous, in case Joey had somehow figured out where she was. But Harry had struck a nerve with that last comment. I HOPE YOU DANCE. Her bumper sticker was old, and she hadn’t thought about it much in the past five years. Maybe she had played the martyr for too long.
He sighed. “Listen, I’m sorry.” He grasped her gently by the shoulders. “Don’t look like that. I shouldn’t have said what I did. I know you’ve been struggling to make a good life for Dexter, and it hasn’t been easy. I have no right to –”
“But you’ve hit the nail on the head.” She looked up at him. “I’ve been so busy sacrificing myself to care for Dexter that I’ve forgotten how to take a little pleasure for myself.”
Pleasure. The word hung in the air between them, gaining significance the longer they stood staring at each other.
He released her and swallowed. “Um, I take it that means you’ll let me buy the rings.”
“Yes.” She was egging him on, and she didn’t care. She’d been handed a golden opportunity to have some fun for a change. “In fact, I’ll let you do anything that makes us both feel good.”