Noah flicked a glance over his shoulder to watch Ainsley walk toward a row of low-hanging shelves that still looked too high for her to reach. “Do you need me to get something for you?”
“No, no. I have it.” Standing on tiptoe, she used her fingertips to move a large basket closer to the edge of the shelf.
Things didn’t look like they were going her way. The basket tipped, and Noah ran toward her just as what looked like hundreds of strings of lights dropped on top of her head, draped her body, and cascaded to her feet. He skidded to a stop. “Are you okay?”
She peeked out through a row of lights. “So I guess I didn’t have it.”
He burst out laughing and walked closer. “Let me see if I can get you out of these.”
“I think I can…” She pushed her arm through a hole only to have another bunch of green wires fell on top of it. “If I can just get this right here…” Another poke caused a similar tumble of string.
Still laughing, Noah began to peel away the lines, unwrapping her like a chocolate bar. “Just stay still.”
“Ow! Something’s caught in my hair.” Ainsley tried to pull away from the pain.
“Wait. Don’t move.” His fingers dove into the silkiness of her blonde strands and dislocated her hair from the plug. “How many strings of lights does this place need?”
“A bunch. There’s another basket up there.” She peeled two strings apart that were tapping against her cheek. “Oh, this is ridiculous.”
Noah didn’t disagree, but he couldn’t deny he enjoyed being this close to her. The slight flush to her cheeks and the brightness of her eyes tripped up his concentration, and his fingers fumbled in the lights, causing one to smack the back of her head. “Sorry. Sorry. These things are all tangled.”
“Yeah. I noticed. What if you just lift the entire batch, and I’ll try to step out from underneath?”
“They’re not all in order, and I doubt they’re going to go at one time, but we’ll give it a shot.” Noah squatted and gathered as many of the strings as he could and began to ease them up her body. But the thickness of the strands proved more tenacious. The more he pushed, the more they slipped.
“Okay. You’re right. I’ll just stand here, and you can unwrap me.” She rolled her eyes. “This is going to take forever.”
Noah stood. His gaze meeting hers. “I’ll go as fast as I can.”
She looked back at him, and for a long second, neither one of them spoke. His gaze dropped to her lips then he quickly looked away.
“Right. I’ll get started.”
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