"A bike?" he asked her, stopping a few feet away, his hands resting defensively on his hips.
"You seem surprised?" she answered, unable to contain the smirk on her face. She felt one eyebrow rise up her forehead as she spoke and felt suddenly awkward with his obvious scrutiny.
"I just never pictured you riding a bike. How long have you..."
"The year after I left you. I was sort of encouraged to follow a whim."
"You shagged a biker, didn't you?" he asked. This wasn't the welcome she had hoped for but his question was so close to the truth it made her laugh with embarrassed regret.
She hung her head for a short moment and then looked up at him.
"You look good El," his voice floated through the space between them.
"Come on in," he added, lifting an arm toward the house.
"You sure? I mean, if the bike thing really bothers you, I could..."
It was his turn to laugh. She walked toward him and fell in step beside him as the screen door swung open. A small child appeared beneath the porch light, her sandy hair falling in tangled ringlets around her face.
"Daddy?" she called across the lawn, her brow creased with concern.
Ella turned toward Jack.
"You shagged someone, didn't you?" she whispered.
"Come on in. I'll tell you all about it," he said.