The last time he’d been in her house, it looked fine.
Unless there was something wrong with it and she didn’t want him to know. Picking up a fry, he couldn’t help but look toward her table, and again, he didn’t like this.
Katie laughed. “You keep staring.”
“I’m sorry, sweetie.”
He was determined not to let Ann get to him. Whatever she did on her own time was her own business and he wasn’t going to invade them. They weren’t in a relationship. They were fuck buddies, if they were even called buddies.
He’d been out of the loop for so long, he didn’t even know if a term was even required for casual sex.
Ann and Mr. Graves left the diner and neither of them looked his way. He watched as they left and headed in the direction of the store.
He and Katie finished their meal and walked all the way home.
Ann’s car was in the driveway and as they were about to enter, she came out with a small bag, placing it in the trash.
“Ann, how are you?” Katie asked, rushing up to her side. “Did you get the puppy? Or dog? What about a cat?”
“Wow, you’re excited, aren’t you? No dog, puppy, or cat, I’m afraid.”
“We saw you at the diner,” Katie said. “You were talking to the weird man.”
“Oh,” she said. “You were at the diner? I didn’t see you.” Her gaze landed on him.
“Can I swim?”
“Only if your daddy is okay with it.” Ann turned to him.
Katie was already removing her clothing, having put on a swimsuit beneath her clothes. He laughed. “I didn’t see that one coming. Honestly, I didn’t assume she would want to come and swim.”
“It’s fine. More than fine.” Ann laughed. Eli followed her back into her house. She stopped at the kitchen and he noticed Katie was poised at the edge of the pool.
“Does she always do that?”
“She’s waiting until I’m out in the yard. I don’t want her in the water unless an adult is present.” She grabbed a drink out of the fridge and three glasses, and they headed outside.
He took a seat beside her and looked around the yard. He’d also checked out her house, but again, he didn’t see anything that stood out and screamed for repair.
The moment they sat down, Katie dived into the pool, screaming.
“She does love the water.”
“So, erm, do you have anything that needs repairing?” he asked.
Katie was far enough away and too busy making her own noise and splashing around to hear.
“What do you mean?”
“Your date with Mr. Graves,” he said. “If you need any repairs, I know my way around some stuff. I’m not trained, but I can do the odd job.”
“Oh, right, no, of course not. A date. Why did you think I was on a date with Mr. Graves?”
“You were at the diner.”
Ann cringed. “Erm, it’s not what you think. Believe me. I’ve been hunting for new jobs. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. I did tell you. I was caught up at another interview. They kept me behind too long only to tell me I didn’t fit their image or what they were looking for.” She shrugged. “I was running late and rather than send a résumé, seeing as I didn’t have any previous or prior working experience in a store, I wanted him to see I was active and wanted the job.”
“Did you get the job?”
“I’ve been hired but it’s all subject to how tomorrow goes.”
“I thought you worked at the law firm.”
“I do and I still do, but don’t you remember I told you they were reducing my hours? I need an extra job.” She shrugged. “So now I have to work and prove to Mr. Graves I know my way around his shop. Thankfully, I’ve worked in a DIY store before, but I mean, very basic. Probably a third of the size of his. Have you seen that place? It’s huge.” She sighed and slumped down. “It has been a long day, and it’s only three o’clock. I’m exhausted.”
“Is that what you’ve been doing all morning?”
“Yep. All morning, that was me, begging for work. I know, you probably think I have no shame. I do, believe me, but I don’t want to lose this place.” She groaned and moved. “Drink?”
“Ann, how bad is it?” he asked.
“It’s nothing I can’t handle. I can work hard. I know how. I’ve got everything managed.” She poured them both a drink. “I think I’m going to take a dip in the pool. Will you keep an eye on her until I return?”
“My daughter, remember?”
“Yeah, right, sorry.”
He watched her go, returning his gaze to Katie, who was floating on her back.
Ann didn’t sound like she had a hold on it.
She came back, wearing a swimsuit. He watched her ass, but she didn’t linger for too long at his side before climbing into the pool.