"You didn't have to do this, Warrick," Cath said as he drove them towards the secret destination.
"I know. But I wanted to... It's your birthday, you should celebrate."
"Well, thank you," she smiled with appreciation and he smiled back. Then her smile changed to one of excitement, her eyes widened and sparkled, "So where are we going?"
"You know it's a secret," Warrick said, laughing slightly as he watched her drop the smile and look at him with wide, pleading `puppy-dog' eyes. "That won't work this time."
She intensified her look. Warrick kept his eyes on the road and shook his head.
"Please," she said, softly and childlike.
"No," Warrick said simply, still not looking at her.
"Look at me, Warrick," Cath teased.
"You know that you'll give in if you look at me," she said confidently.
"I know that I'd probably crash if I look at you," Warrick laughed.
"Convenient excuse," she joked. "Why is it such a big secret?"
"Because it adds to the enjoyment. Now will you stop pestering me? You'll find out where we're going when we get there."
"Sorry, Dad!" she laughed.
"One more word and you will be!"
Catherine gave him a look of pretend fear, then smiled and sat back to watch the world go by.
Warrick smiled to himself. `So far, so good' he thought.
There was silence for maybe five minutes then Catherine suddenly turned to him, and she sounded serious, "Warrick -"
He glanced at her, she looked concerned, almost panicked. "What is it?"
"Are we nearly there yet?" she hadn't finished speaking when her dazzling smile crept across her face.
Warrick rolled his eyes and looked back to the road. He couldn't help but smirk.****
Over an hour later ...
"Seriously, Warrick, are we nearly there yet?" Catherine said with a sigh. They had been driving for almost two hours and her initial excitement was wearing thin.
"Just around the corner. Be patient," Warrick said softly.
The road curved to the left and, as they followed it, Catherine was startled by the sight in front of her. They pulled into the small gravel car park of "The Country House Hotel", and Warrick stopped the car. Catherine turned to him and raised an eyebrow.
"A hotel, Warrick?... Erm... this IS quite a surprise."
Warrick smiled, looking into her eyes. "There's more."
He got out of the car and walked round to her side. Catherine started to feel a little anxious, as she wondered why they were here. She reprimanded herself for being silly. This was Warrick, what was she worried about?
He opened the door for her and she stepped out of the Tahoe. He saw the uncertainty in her eyes. "Relax! Would I plan anything unpleasant?" he said with what was intended to be a comforting smile. However his choice of words had not had the desired effect. The worst case scenario currently running through her mind would, she imagined, be far from unpleasant.
She smiled slightly and followed him into the hotel, trying to shake those thoughts from her head.****
Warrick had left her standing in the foyer and gone to speak to the desk clerk. Upon his return he saw that she was watching him, apprehensively.
"Cath, I know what you're thinking," he said, with an amused smile, "We're here for dinner. I booked a room so it would be more private than being in a restaurant full of hungry tourists."
"That's what I thought," Catherine replied, not attempting to conceal her relief.
"Sure it is!" Warrick laughed.
Catherine glared at him playfully. "So where's this room?"****
Dinner arrived and they started to eat. At first they were silent. Periodically Warrick would glance at Catherine and each time he did that amused smile slowly reappeared on his face. She ignored him the first few times, introducing a topic of conversation to change the subject, but, after work, Lindsey and yesterday's television, she was out of diversions. So the next time, she had to fight back.
"That wasn't what I was thinking," she lied.
"Yes it was! I could tell from the look of terror on your face... No offence taken by the way!"
"Well, so what if it was? It makes sense."
"You thought I brought you here to seduce you, Cath!... Yeah, I see, perfect sense."
"Warrick, look at me... Who wouldn't?" She flashed her most gorgeous smile and laughed when Warrick nearly choked on his last bite of food. "Never try to embarrass me, it'll always backfire," she grinned.
Warrick sipped some water to calm himself down. Catherine couldn't stop giggling.
"I'm sorry... It's just-" she was stopped by her laughter. She composed herself a little then continued, "the look on your face... God, I wish I had a camera."
"Why? Who are you gonna tell?"
"Well, everyone... obviously!" she said.
"To tell them about this you'd have to tell them about your misunderstanding," Warrick stated.
"No, I wouldn't!" Catherine exclaimed. "But I suppose you would tell them in retaliation?"
"Revenge is sweet!"
"Only if it bothers me.... Tell whoever you want... Bearing in mind what I said about embarrassing me."
"I'm not gonna win here, am I?" Warrick sighed.
"Did you expect to?" she laughed.
They continued eating, and occasionally giggling about the former topic, until Warrick checked his watch for the fourth time during the meal, and proceeded to stand.
"If you'll excuse me, I have another surprise for you," he said walking towards the door. "Wait here." And with that he was gone, closing the door behind him.