Page 9 of Lift

“I did share my candy bar with you.” I hold up the empty wrapper.

“Oh my god, I ate the whole thing.”

She fights a laugh, but it comes out of her and the sound fills the car. When she snorts, she covers her mouth with her hand and giggles more. I have to clench my hands to keep from reaching for her and causing a wreck. Why is she so goddamn cute?

“I guess it’s the least I could do after eating the whole thing,” she says and then smiles at me.

But as soon as we pull up to the building, I watch her unease return.

Chapter Five

Sloan

Crap. I hadn’t really thought about where we were headed until we pulled up to Harris’s building. It’s the nicest place in the nicest part of the city. My laughter dies away and I feel a faint trace of regret in offering to help him. But I need the money—what else was I supposed to do?

I wanted to say yes when he asked to make me dinner. For the first time in a long time I was having fun and enjoying myself. He has no idea who I am. To him I’m just a girl who takes people where they want to go. With him I can live in the moment for a while. Until we pull up to his place and it comes tumbling back. It won’t take long for him to find out who I am if he wants to or not. It’s clear from the building he lives in he comes from money. The kind that know people like my parents. What if someone recognizes me?

“You okay?” Harris asks as I pull into an empty parking spot and put the car into park.

He’s good at reading me, which means I’ll have to do better to keep him at a distance.

“Yeah, just tired,” I admit, and it’s the truth. Though it’s not only lack of sleep that’s wearing me down. I’m tired of a lot of things, and keeping people at an arm’s length is the main one right now.

“Come on.” He gets out of the car, and before I have my seat belt off he’s on my side and opening the door for me. This time he doesn’t offer me his hand and instead reaches inside and takes my hand so I don’t have the choice to refuse him.

“What did I say about keeping your hands to yourself?” I remind him, but I don’t pull away from his touch.

“I thought we moved past that when you ate all my chocolate.” His smile summons my own and I’m warm all over. How does he keep doing that?

“Wow, you like to hold a grudge,” I tease him as he closes the car door for me and I pop the trunk.

“Like I said, you talk more when I aggravate you.”

He reaches into the trunk and hands me one bag before taking the rest for himself. I start to tell him he could just carry all of them but stop myself. I remind myself this is about the tip money and not about wanting to spend more time with him.

I don’t have anywhere to be besides back in the car for the night. I’d already made up my mind that I wasn’t going home after I left the apartment this morning. I could score a hotel with the hundred I’d shamelessly snatched right out of Harris’s hand, but I won’t let myself. It would be like throwing money away and I’m smarter than that.

I follow Harris towards his building, and the closer we get the more I think this is a bad idea. Someone could recognize me. My stomach starts to tighten. I wonder if maybe I can give the bag to his doorman and he could help him bring it up, but when we enter the building I don’t see one. The lobby is deserted and I’m relieved that there’s no one else around, but then I remember it is the middle of the night.

It’s happened a few times where I ran into someone who was pissed about losing their money and took it out on me. It’s always so embarrassing, even though I know it wasn’t my fault. Being yelled at in public for being a thief sucks. I don’t try to argue and defend myself anymore. Instead I just try and get away from it. It would be worse if it happened in front of Harris because he’s been so nice to me. That’s probably the reason I’m attracted to him.

I follow him past the main bank of elevators and have to stifle a groan when he slides his key into a private one at the end of the hall.

“What’s your last name?” I ask as I step onto the elevator and he follows in after me.

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