“Hill.” He hits the button for the top floor as I try and shuffle through names of the people my parents screwed over. Nothing comes to mind, but I never paid close attention.
“Yours?” he asks just as the doors open and I’m saved from answering.
His place is completely bare and I walk in and make a show of looking around.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this wasn’t it.” He isn’t wearing a ring, so I assume this is a bachelor pad, but there’s nothing here. I realize that he might be new to town and that’s why I don’t know his name. “Did you just move in?”
“Sadly I’ve been here a while.” He smiles as I look around again and take in the simple couch and chair with a coffee table. “I was told the place was a steal and I should buy it as an investment property.” I follow him into the bright white kitchen that looks high tech. “I really don’t care where I sleep. As long as I can grab a few hours here and there I’m good.”
“Must be nice,” I mumble without thinking about what I’m saying.
He stills at my slip-up and his eyes come to mine. I watch concern cross his face and then I feel like a jerk for saying it. It’s not his fault he’s rich and I’m in my situation.
“Let me make you dinner.” His voice is softer now, but there’s pity in it.
“I don’t need your charity.” I place the one bag he gave me down onto the counter and cross my arms.
“That’s not why I’m asking you.” He braces his hands on the counter and looks like he’s gearing up for a fight, but I don’t want that with him. “I want you to stay because I asked you to and you want to be here. I’m enjoying myself outside of the office, which never happens.” He smiles and I see his dimple. I think about what it would be like to lean into his big body and kiss him there. He’d have to lean down a little for me to reach it, or maybe I could if I stood on my tip toes. “Stay,” he says softly, and I can’t say no.
“Okay,” I agree, and it feels nice to have someone want me around. “But I can’t cook for shit,” I admit as I sit down on one of the tall chairs under the counter.
“You’re in luck. I spent my Sundays in the kitchen with my mom and I know my way around.” He smiles as he starts to unpack the groceries and passes me the Oreos. I can’t stop myself from taking one.
“Is that what good old boys from the Midwest do on Sunday?”
“Nah, I spend them at work or yelling at the Eagles when they play. I was raised here, sweetheart.”
His term of endearment catches me off guard as he places a glass of milk in front of me.
“Don’t fill up on cookies. I’m going to feed you.” I nod as I watch him move around the kitchen. The place looks unlived in, but he knows his way around.
“You said the Midwest earlier.”
“I was born there. My mom is from the Midwest and I spent my summers there with my grandparents. My parents moved back there when my dad retired. I’ve still got the city in my blood. I’ve been here almost my whole life.”
When he says that I know all I’ll have with him is tonight. There’s no way he won’t find out who I am and what my family has done. Our circles are too small. I’m surprised that I don’t already know him, but I bet Cara does.
I smile at him and I know I’m going to take what I can get. Even if it’s only for tonight, I’m going to pretend I’m not me. I’m just a girl having dinner with a kind man, because that’s all this can ever be.
We talked for hours until she fell asleep on the sofa. I didn’t want to wake her up, so I covered her with a blanket and watched her. I must have fallen asleep with her because the next thing I knew I was waking up alone in the apartment.
I looked around thinking maybe she was using the bathroom, but when I called down to security they said I’d just missed her by a few minutes. I thought about running after her, but I didn’t want to come off as completely crazy. Instead I grab my phone and send a quick text.
Me: Were you waiting for me to fall asleep so you could sneak out? I didn’t think I was that boring.
I wait a second and then send her another.
Me: Seriously, though, I had a great time last night. Want to come back to my barren place and have dinner again tonight?