This serial story is presented in draft (unedited) form. Each installment will be available for one week, and new installments will be posted every Friday. Miss one? Joining in late? Email me and I’ll send you the previous installments. Enjoy!
Live With Me
“I have been trying to get a hold of you all day, dear. Are you avoiding me?”
Candace stifled a sigh and leaned back in her chair, wishing she was at home so she could put her feet up and have a glass of wine. Except Emmett was there, so there was no escape. Apparently she wasn’t getting out of talking to his mother either, though her packed schedule had been a boon in that regard. If she’d had the energy to get out of there as soon as her last client left, she’d have missed this call too, which would have at least bought her a few hours of the my-cell-phone’s-dead excuse.
“I’m sorry Angela. It’s been a really busy day, and I’ve had back-to-back sessions until just five minutes ago. Is something wrong?”
“You do sound tired, dear. I’m sorry you’ve had a rough day, but I was wondering if you’d do me a favor. A small one, this time.”
The last thing Candace wanted to do was…well, anything that didn’t involve taking off her bra and her heels, not necessarily in that order. But she couldn’t really refuse Emmett’s mom, and she did her best to keep the exhaustion out of her voice when she replied.
“Of course – what do you need?”
“I left a package with a girl at the library for Emmett, only I told her it was for you so she wouldn’t know. Would you be a dear and pick it up on the way home from work, and make sure Emmett gets it?”
Candace checked her watch. “It’s five-thirty. Can I pick it up tomorrow when it’s not rush hour traffic?” The library was on the other side of town, and she’d be stuck in traffic for at least an hour if she left right now. It would be after seven by the time she got home, and there was still dinner to make and whatever Emmett needed. The thought of him needing anything from her made her cheeks flush, and she remembered he was also waiting for the password. She really had to change it before she gave it to him, if he hadn’t already guessed it.
“Well, I guess, but I was really hoping—”
“Never mind – I’ll go now. Do you want me to have him call you later?” Candace closed her eyes, held the handset away and let the sigh escape.
“Yes please!” Angela was suddenly chipper as a lark, which inexplicably grated on Candace’s nerves. “Thank you so much, dear. I knew you’d take good care of him.”
Refraining from pointing out that every hour she was away from the house, she was by definition not taking care of Emmett, Candace ended the call and grabbed her purse, ignoring her protesting feet when she forced herself to stand up again.
As soon as she was in the car and ready to go, her cell rang. She checked the number, and sighed again, then mentally chastised herself for being a drama queen.
“Emmett. What do you need?”
“Your lovely body, sitting across from me so we can eat this absolutely scrumptious dinner I made. I’m not even being cocky either – I tasted it. It’s good. I just have one more thing to finish, and I wanted to make sure you’re leaving so it can be done at the right time.”
Emmett had made dinner? She didn’t even know he knew how to cook. She forced herself not to think about the potential state of the kitchen.
“I’m in the car, actually, but I have to run an errand. I’ll be about an hour.”
“What errand? Can it wait?” The excitement and relaxed tone disappeared, and she could hear the effects of what was probably over-exertion. She felt like she’d just kicked a puppy, but what was she supposed to do?
“Your mom dropped off a package at the library for you. She wants me to go pick it up before I come home.”
“The library’s on the other side of town. Let it wait. Come eat with me.”
There it was. That deep, chocolaty seductive tone he used to seduce and conquer. She wanted to let him, just this once. Go home, have a nice dinner made by a guy who was into her, for some reason, and let herself just see where it all ended up. People did that, right? Normal people? People who weren’t afraid to let themselves fall in love…
“She was insistent.” Candace started the engine. “I promise I’ll be home as soon as I possibly can. It just depends on the traffic.”
“I see. Well drive safe then. I’ll keep a plate warm.”
“Emmett—” She stopped, hearing the line go dead in her ear.
The idea of getting a hotel room for the next two weeks flitted through her mind, not for the first time that day.