“I look forward to it.” He meets my eyes for a brief moment before he goes back to eating.

“Right. Well, if you’re okay, then I’m gonna go. I need to pick up Sunny.”


“Sunny?” His brows draw together.

“My car.”

The frown quickly turns into a smile. “You named the golf cart Sunny?”

“Don’t start,” I warn him, pointing my finger.

He grins. “As if I would ever give you grief about naming your golf-cart car Sunny. I mean, that’s totally normal to name your car Sunny.”

“You’re a big jerk. And I’m going.” I get to my feet.

“Aw, don’t be like that, Speedy.” He laughs. “Take my car. It’s getting late. Pick Sunny up tomorrow.” He grins.

“I don’t want to leave her there overnight.”

“I’m pretty sure she won’t get stolen.”

“I just need my car tonight. Thanks for the offer though. I’ll just grab a cab, get my car, and then go home.”

“Get Harry to call you a cab when you get downstairs.”

“I’ll order an Uber. It’ll be quicker. You got your cell phone?”

“Why?”

“So, I can put my number in it in case you need me.”

He hands me his cell, and I put my digits in his Contacts.

I hand it back to him. “Call me if you, I don’t know, fall down or something. Or just need me for anything. And I’ll come right away. Just try not to move too much. Rest as much as possible.” I pick up his crutches from the floor and stand them by the bed for easy access for him. “And just leave the tray on your nightstand. I’ll clear it away in the morning. I’ll be back first thing.”

“Speedy, I plan on finishing my soup, drinking my beer, and then watching sports on TV until I fall asleep.”

“Okay, good.” I turn and head for the door.

“Ava?”

This is only the second time he’s said my name today. And my body has the exact same reaction as it did the first time.

I turn back to him. “Yeah?”

His eyes are warm and serious on me, and my insides heat.

“Thanks for all your help today.”

“Gabe, you really don’t have to thank me. You wouldn’t be in this situation if it wasn’t for me. This is the least I can do.”

“Well, either way, I just want you to know I appreciate it.”

“And I appreciate you not calling the cops on me.”

I smile, and he laughs.

Then, his face goes serious. “Can I ask…why did you get fired?”

I wrap my arms around my chest. “Cutbacks.”

“You worked for the studio?”

I tilt my head in question.

“I was in the building for a meeting and saw you coming out.”

“Oh, right. Yeah, I worked in wardrobe.”

“That’s how you know Charly?”

“Yeah, we worked together in New York first. That’s where I’m originally from. Then, I moved here to be with Jeremy.”

“He’s your ex?”

I nod. “I got a job with the studio as a wardrobe assistant but got promoted to wardrobe mistress. I was working on Vaughn’s film, and I hired Charly to come work with me.”

“So, because of you, they met.”

“I guess.” I shrug. “Anyway, I should go.” I thumb over my shoulder.

“Sure. See you tomorrow. And don’t worry about the job front. Someone will hire you in no time.”

“Yeah.” I smile, but it feels weak. “Okay, see you in the morning.”

I order an Uber before I leave Gabe’s apartment. I wait only a few minutes before it turns up.

The Uber drops me back at my car.

I get in, start the engine, and drive toward my apartment, stopping at the deli on the way. I grab a sandwich and a bottle of wine from the liquor store next door.

I let myself in my apartment, and Gucci is at the door, waiting for me.

“Hey, baby! Sorry Mama was out for so long. It’s been a butthole of a day. You hungry?” I pick her up and hug her.

Gucci is a pygmy goat. She’s four months old, and I just adore her. She’s the cutest thing ever. Little gray and white thing with a black patch on her head. Some might think that a goat is an odd pet to have, but she’s awesome. So full of life and happiness. And she’s just so spunky and really loving.

I walk into my bare apartment. I avoid looking at the empty space and go straight into the kitchen to sort her food out.

I put some of her favorite alfalfa hay in her bowl along with some chopped up vegetables. And I fill her water bowl up.

Then, I sit at the breakfast bar while she eats, and I have my sandwich. I open up the wine and drink straight from the bottle.

I don’t have any glasses. All of my stuff has either been sold or is in storage. All I have here are my clothes, shoes, toiletries, a pillow, and a sleeping bag, which has been my bed for the last four days, as I sold my bed and my sofa.

It’s not so bad, sleeping on the floor. Could be worse. I could be sleeping in my car.

But that’s what Gucci and I will probably be doing tomorrow if I don’t get something sorted fast.

I can feel tears pushing at the corners of my eyes.

Don’t cry. It’ll be fine. You’ll figure something out. And, if not, you can just go back home to New York.

I take a big swig of wine.

Gucci pushes against my leg with her head.

“You need some air, baby? Come on, let’s get you outside.”

I pick her up, and taking the wine bottle with me, I leave my apartment and head up to the rooftop garden.

I’m really going to miss this place.

I put Gucci down, and she has a wander around, sniffing the plants that Mr. Goodman keeps up here.

I sit down on the bench and drink some more wine.

When the bottle’s half-empty and I’m feeling sleepy, I get Gucci and wobble back down to my apartment.

I lock up and get ready for bed.

Then, I shut off the light and climb into my sleeping bag. I set the alarm on my cell for seven a.m. and put it on the floor next to me.

Gucci comes over and lies beside me, like she does every night, so I open up my sleeping bag and let her inside.

She snuggles into me.

“It’s gonna be all right, Gucci. I’ll find us somewhere to live. I’ll get a new job, and we’ll be just fine. I promise. Things can only get better, right?”

The silence echoes around me.

The tear that leaves my eye soaks into the pillow.

I hug Gucci closer, shut my eyes, and wish for a better tomorrow.

Gabe

“Morning, sunshine.”

That voice. So soft and sweet and sexy.

I went to bed alone last night. I was sober, which is a rarity for me, so I definitely know I was alone.

“I made you some breakfast.”

Speedy.

She came back.

What? You thought she wouldn’t? She isn’t you, asshole.

“What time is it?” I scrub my hands over my eyes. When I move them away, the first thing I see is her face.

Her hair is down and tousled. And she’s wearing this fitted gray dress that basically looks like an oversize tank top.

Her tits look spectacular in it.

Fuck, she’s stunning.

Now, that is a fantastic sight to wake up to.

“It’s nine,” she answers. She puts the tray of food in her hands on the bed beside me and sits down. “How are you feeling?”

“Okay.” I push myself to sit up, resting my back against the headboard. My foot starts to throb. Ignoring the pain, I ask, “You just get here?”

“I got here at eight. Cleared away your dishes from last night and washed them. Then, I made you breakfast. Blueberry pancakes okay?”

I glance down at the tray with freshly brewed coffee and a plate filled with pancakes and maple syrup. I pick up the fork, cut off a piece of a pancake, and put it in my mouth.

“Fuck me,” I moan. These are amazing. The taste of blueberry is bursting on my tongue. “You made these?”

She nods.

“So good.” I chew, swallow, and take another bite. “Anyone ever tell you that you’re a fucking awesome cook?”

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