Page 19 of Lift

“Careful, sweetheart.” His voice is soft, and I melt against him. “I’ll walk you down to give her the keys. Then she can get the fuck out of here.”

“I can go by myself.” Maybe I can enjoy this for a little longer. Who knows who I’ll run into tomorrow, but I could spend tonight in his bed. Maybe he can see more of who I really am and that I’m nothing like my parents. Part of me knows he won’t care, but the scared girl inside of me who lost everything once can’t cling to that kind of hope.

He grunts and then shakes his head. “After the way I heard her speak to you? I don’t fucking think so.” He kisses me before I can respond and I grab onto him with everything I have left in me because this might be our last kiss.

“If you don’t stop doing that we won’t be going anywhere.”

As tempting as that is, I know one way or another we’ll have to because Cara will make a scene. As if on cue my phone rings again and Harris curses. He lets me go and answers the phone. My mouth falls open as he does so.

“We’re on our way down.” He doesn’t wait for a response and ends the call and tosses my cell phone onto a chair.

“I can’t believe you said that to her.” I’m not mad that he did it. I’m shocked. He’s always so charming and sweet, but I like this side of him.

“She talked to my woman that way, I’ll talk to her that way.”

“That should not turn me on,” I mumble to myself, shaking my head. When I hear his deep chuckle, I glance over at him. “What are you laughing at?”

“Put your pants on so we can go downstairs and get this over with. I want you in my bed.” He hands me my pants and I put them on while he rights his own clothes.

“You’re bossy,” I tell him as I put my shoes on next.

“I have my moments.” He shrugs. “When pushed I don’t back down. If someone is nice to me, I’ll be nice to them. I don’t have to be an asshole in life to get what I want. I’d rather be nice, but as you can see some people don’t get it and you have to treat them accordingly. Maybe they’ll learn a lesson in the process.”

I like his logic. More than a few times I wanted to tell Cara off, but I didn’t have that luxury. I might not only be losing him tonight, but I lose the couch I’ve been crashing on. I smile at Harris because I don’t care that he might have cost me my home. He stood up for me and I can’t remember a time when someone did that.

“I wasn’t the nicest when we first met,” I remind him as I stand up and he holds out a coat for me.

“You’re the exception to the rule.”

His words make my heart flutter. “I want you to know my time with you has been wonderful. I’m not sure you’ll know what it meant to me to be treated with such kindness.” I tell him that because I want him to know just in case this goes really badly.

“You make it sound like people are mean to you.” He searches my face like he can find something there.

“It’s fine, let’s just—” I try and brush it off, but he won’t have it.

“It’s not fine, and whatever it is, it’s not going to happen again. You might not be ready to tell me all of your secrets, but until I get them, I promise you no one is going to treat you like less than a queen. They won’t like what happens if I find out it’s not happening.” He grabs my hand and entwines his fingers with mine as we get on the elevator.

I didn’t know this could get any harder, but in the last few minutes Harris has shattered all my walls. I think I’m falling in love with him and I don’t know if it’s his kindness or his strength but I’m giving him my heart.

He pulls me closer to him and kisses the top of my head as the elevator doors open into the lobby. I don’t make it a few feet before I hear her in the distance.

“I’m really sorry,” I tell Harris as Cara comes into view. Her head snaps towards us and her eyes widen in surprise when she sees who I’m standing with. By the look on her face she knows who Harris is. At the same time his hold on me tightens.

“Harris?” Cara’s eyes bounce between him and me.

“Your roommate is Cara Rich? Jesus.” He says a few more choice words under his breath and it’s clear from his tone he isn’t a fan of hers.

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