He unpacked quickly, then answered the texts sent by his parents before making his way out toward his sister. She was bent over putting a dish into the oven.
“Shut up, don’t speak.” She closed the oven, rubbing at her brow. “You better make sure Kaley loves you. I hate cooking and only ever make sandwiches when it’s my night.”
“You’re making it up to her for not telling her about me?”
“Yeah. You asked to stay here. If you weren’t my brother I’d leave everything up to you.”
“I appreciate you helping me.” He leaned against the doorframe, staring at his frazzled sister. For the most part Dorothy always came across as easygoing. Nothing stressed her, yet this did. “I’m not going to hurt her. Kaley will be safe with me.”
“I know. Don’t go into her bedroom again. She likes her space to be private.”
“I saw the notebook and laptop. What’s that all about?”
“Kaley likes to write. I’ve not been allowed to see any of her stories, but I’ve heard her typing away late at night. It’s what she likes to do.”
He’d be looking at those stories. They were important to her. He could sense it.
“I’m trying to get to know as much of her as possible.” He moved toward the kettle. “She’ll be fine. Stop worrying.” He made himself a coffee, while making his sister tea. She didn’t need anything else to make her skittish.
“I hope you’re right.” She started to move around in circles the watch that rested on her wrist. “Dinner is done. I’m going to get my outfit ready so I can leave quickly.”
“No. I can figure everything out.”
“Good. Quinn, I like the thought of you two being together. Go easy on her. I think she’s, erm, she’s still a virgin. She didn’t pay any attention to the guys in school or in college. I’ve not seen her with anyone. I just want you to be careful with her.”
“I’m not going to hurt her, Dorothy.”
No, he wasn’t going to hurt her. The last thing he ever wanted to do was hurt Kaley. He was going to spend some time with the woman he’d come to love. Kaley deserved to be loved and cherished, and he was going to be the man to give her everything her heart desired.
Walking up the steps, carrying the ice cream and a movie, Kaley was exhausted from the long day. She’d gotten plenty of studying in, yet it wasn’t enough to push the thought of Quinn from her mind. Maybe it was because of Dorothy’s strange behavior that morning.
She inserted her key into the door, entering the apartment. The scent of chicken parmesan filled her senses, making her mouth water. Removing her satchel, she set it on the floor.
“Hey, I’m home. I bought some ice cream and that movie you’ve been talking about for the last couple of weeks.” She stopped when she saw three place settings at the small table. “Do we have company?”
She walked into the kitchen and froze when she saw Quinn standing beside Dorothy. He held a bottle of beer. Both siblings turned toward her.
“Hey,” Dorothy said. “Awesome.” She took the tub of ice cream from her along with the movie. “I can’t wait to watch this.
“Hey, Kaley,” Quinn said. His voice was deep, masculine, and he had the power to make her melt.
“Hey.” What else should she say? “Erm, I thought you were, erm, working.” Where were her words?
“I was. I’ve got some time off.”
“Dorothy didn’t mention you coming here.” She looked toward her friend, who conveniently busied herself.
“It was a split-second decision. I’m not ready to go home. The folks know I’m staying here.” He tipped the beer bottle to his lips, and took a sip.
Get yourself together, Kaley.
“Great. Is that chicken parmesan I smell?”
“Yep. I’m pulling it out of the oven.”
“I’ll go and sit. It’s my favorite,” Quinn said, passing her.
Did he have to get so close to her when he passed?
“This is why you were baking this morning, wasn’t it?” Kaley asked, facing her friend.
“What? I knew he was coming, but I also knew you’d find some reason not to come home. I’m not kicking you out of our apartment while he’s here. What’s wrong with Quinn?”