“He didn’t,” she hisses.
“He did.” I sigh. “Needless to say, I found out what I already knew: I won’t be seeing him again.”
“Where are all the good guys at?”
Tyler comes to mind, and I bite my lip before I tell her what I would only ever tell my best friend. “I’ve been spending time with my neighbor.” I lean my head back.
“Your neighbor? Wait, the guy who pulled the gun on you?” She laughs, and I smile.
“Yeah, the same one. Chrissie, I swear he’s . . . he’s . . . well, he’s awesome.”
“So you’re into him?”
“He’s easy to be around and fun. I don’t know if he’s into me or not.”
“So he hasn’t made a move?”
“No, he’s flirted a little but hasn’t made a move.” I hear the disappointment in my own voice. “Still, I like hanging out with him, so if I get a cool friend out of this in the end, I’m okay with that.”
“Maybe he’s just trying to take it slow and get to know you.”
I snort. “Do guys even do that?”
“Not that I know of, but who knows? Maybe he’s a different breed of man.”
“Yeah, maybe,” I agree.
“So what are you doing today?”
“I helped him paint his kitchen, and now he’s coming with me to my parents’ for dinner.” The phone goes silent, and I pull it away to look at it. “Chrissie?”
“You’re taking him to your parents’ for dinner?” Her voice is filled with disbelief.
“We’re friends, and like I said, he’s cool.”
“I’m coming!” she shouts.
“I’m coming to dinner. I want to see this guy for myself.”
I can tell she’s excited about the idea.
I groan. “Chrissie—”
“You can’t tell me I can’t come. I’ll just call your mom and ask her if it’s okay that I join you guys.”
“I’m not going to tell you that you can’t come.”
“Good. Besides, maybe I’ll be able to give you an outside perspective about his feelings for you.”
“I’m okay without that.” I sigh. Dinner is going to be interesting.
BE HIS FRIEND
“Thanks,” I say as Tyler releases my hand and opens the passenger door for me. Once I’m seated, he slams it closed and walks around the front of the hood. I put on my seat belt while I check him out. His dark hair is still damp from his shower, but he didn’t shave, so his jaw is covered in a layer of scruff that makes him seem hotter than his normal level of hot. The sweater he’s wearing is one of those with a straight collar and a few buttons at his throat. It looks good on him, almost as good as his jeans. When he gets in behind the wheel, I give him directions to my parents’ house, which is less than ten minutes away.
Needing something to do, I dig through my bag until I find my lip balm, then swipe some on. “I called my mom. She knows you’re coming. My best friend, Chrissie, is also going to show up as soon as she closes down her shop.”
“She owns the Sweet Spot. Have you been there?”
“The Sweet Spot?” He smirks at me.
“You’re such a guy.” I laugh. “It’s a bakery. If you haven’t been there, you need to make a point to go. She’s good at what she does.”
“I’ll check it out,” he agrees, and we fall into comfortable silence while Sam Hunt sings softly in the background.
When we reach my parents’, I see we’re the first ones here, which I’m kind of glad about. It’s going to be weird enough without him meeting everyone at once. He walks over to my open door and takes my hand in his, holding it firmly even when I try to pull it away. I give up halfway up the walk with a loud sigh and swear I hear him laugh. I don’t knock on my parents’ door; I let us in.
My dad is sitting on the couch, and when he sees me, he stands, smiling at me as my mom comes into the room. My parents have been married since their twenties, and my dad has always managed a local grocery store. Dad’s good looking for his age, with silver hair and bright-blue eyes. He runs every day to stay in shape and is tall—much taller than my mom, who’s shorter than I am. My mom is beautiful, with long hair that she’s always colored a deep reddish brown. Unlike me, she has fair skin, but we have the same blue eyes. Blue eyes that are looking at me with surprise. I ignore the look on Mom’s face and introduce Tyler to my parents.
“Tyler, my dad, Gary, and my mom, Edith. Mom, Dad, this is Tyler.”
“Nice to meet you, sir.” Tyler lets me go to shake my dad’s hand, and then he leans down to greet my mom with a kiss to her cheek and a softly spoken “Ma’am.”