Page 6 of Thief (Breeding 3)

He reaches out to shake my hand. The snake covering his arm creeps me out, but the politeness my grandma branded into me has me reaching out to reciprocate.

“It’s nice to finally meet you.” The way he says it makes me think Harper has been talking about me to him. Like he knows more about me than he should. That creepy feeling settles deeper inside me as his hand takes mine. When our hands meet, one of his fingers slides across my wrist, and I jerk out of his hold. He smirks at me, not the least bit fazed by my behavior.

It’s like he knows he’s making me uneasy, and he likes it.

“I’m gonna get going.” I point towards the train station, making my intention clear.

“I’ll take you. Dropping Harper off anyways,” Nick offers. It wasn’t moments ago that I was ticked Harper didn’t offer me a ride, but now the train sounds so much better than being trapped in a car with this creepy guy.

“But I wanted to be alone with you.” Harper pouts up at Nick, rubbing her hand across his chest. It seems to have no effect on him as he actually bats her hand away like she’s a fly getting on his nerves.

“The train is fine,” I insist, and start to make my way in the direction of the station, but Nick grabs me by the arm in a tight hold. He must have realized he grabbed me too hard, because he immediately loosens his grip. The whole thing has my heart beating out of my chest, and I can feel a tension rise within me like someone’s eyes are on me. Not just Nick’s and Harper’s, but like everyone is watching us. I glance around. No one else is on the street.

“I insist. I want to get to know my girl’s roommate. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of each other.” I look over at Harper, whose face beams at his words. Lovely. So he plans on being around.

“Okay.” I give in, hating myself a little for not having a bit more of a backbone. Why couldn’t I be one of those badass chicks who said and did what she wanted? My grandma always said I didn't have it in me to be mean. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. Today I’m going with bad, and I want to kick my own manners in the ass.

He releases my arm, and I make my way over to the passenger door before slipping into the back seat and pulling my purse close.

When everyone is settled in, Nick pulls away from the curb, heading towards the bank

“So you worked at the bank long?” I hear him ask, and I pull my eyes from my lap. I thought he was talking to Harper, but his dark cold eyes are trained on me in the rearview mirror.

“About three years now.”

“Haven’t you been there five?” He looks over at Harper.

“Yeah. A little over five years now.”

“And she’s your boss,” he says.

Ouch. I am her boss to a certain degree. I’m the teller supervisor, so it’s my job to watch over all the tellers. Harper can be a little slow at work, and she talks a little too much, but I’ve never had to reprimand her. I actually like that she’s chatty with the customers; they like that. As long as she isn’t trying to date them, I’m okay with it.

A lot of our customers seem to like her. She’s actually better at being personable than I am. It’s one of the ways I wish I could be more like her. I had secretly hoped when she moved in that she could rub off on me a little, make me come out of my shell a little more. It isn’t that I don’t like talking to people, I just usually find myself at a loss for words. I think I’m not great at the social cues in a conversation. It’s hard for me to make the dialogue bounce back and forth.

“Yeah,” she mumbles sadly, not in her normal upbeat manner.

I don’t care for the tone of Harper's voice when she utters the word. She might be a giant bitch at times—and actually inspires me to use the same tone from time to time like with the breakfast burrito incident this morning—but I know how that feels, and I don’t want her to feel that way. I don’t want anyone to feel that way.

“Harper is great. You should see her handle the customers. I wish I could handle them like her. She’s a real pro.” She turns to look at me like she can’t believe what I just said.

My eyes flash back to the mirror, and Nick’s eyes are on me again. This time I can’t read them, but luckily he pulls them away and back on to the road.

We ride the rest of the way in awkward silence, and when we finally pull up to the bank, I realize I’ve never been so happy to be at work.

“You open this place?” Nick asks, turning to look at me as we start to get out of the car.

“Today I do,” I answer as I pull myself from the car, wanting out as quickly as possible. “Thanks for the ride,” I throw over my shoulder, making my way towards the bank, leaving Harper behind with him. She’ll probably want to slobber all over his face. Seeing it the first time was more than enough for me.

I open the bank four times a week, and today is one of my days. Sam and I switch it up. I’m opening today, which means I’ll get out early, and he’ll be closing up. I get a rare Saturday off this weekend, and I plan to spend it lying around in bed. My only plans include going out with Harper tonight.

It’s actually something I’ve never done. Twenty-two and I’ve never even seen the inside of a club. I have a feeling it won’t really be my thing, but I’m excited to do it anyways. Just to see. Stepping out of my normal routine and opening myself up to the possibility of new things.

I slip my key into the lock and enter the bank. I enter the codes to deactivate the alarms and get started on opening. Harper joins me about ten minutes later with a happy smile plastered across her face.