Tangled Page 66

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Do you think she enjoys the verbal foreplay as much as I do? She’s got to. She’s so good at it.

She circles around, putting her desk between us.

“Look, Drew, I have a new client. I told you that. You know how it is. I can’t afford these…distractions right now.”

I take that as a compliment. “I distract you?”

She huffs. “That’s not what I meant.” Then her face changes. And she’s imploring, “You have to stop this—” her hands wave in the air “—this mission you’re on. Just let it go. Please.”

When Steven was eleven, he ran into a tree during a game of touch football in his backyard—and busted his forehead open. For as long as I live, I’ll never forget the sound of him begging, pleading with his mother not to take him to the hospital. Because he knew he needed stitches. And stitches just—suck. At any age.

But Janey Reinhart didn’t give in. She brought him anyway. Because even though Steven was terrified—even though it wasn’t what he wanted—she knew it was what he needed.

You see where I’m going with this?

“The ball’s in your court, Kate. I told you that from the beginning. You want me gone, all you have to do is go out with me on Saturday.”

She bites her lip. And looks down at her desk.

“Okay.”

Come again?

Sure, I’d love to. With Kate.

Okay—not the time to joke.

“I’m sorry? Could you repeat that, please?”

Her eyes meet mine. They look hesitant but resigned. Like someone waiting in line for a rollercoaster. Determined to get on but not exactly sure what the hell they’ve gotten themselves into. “I said yes. I’ll have dinner with you on Saturday.”

It’s official. Brace yourselves. Hell has actually frozen the f**k over.

“After talking with your sister, I realized a few things…”

You love me? You need me? You can’t live without me?

“…I think you need closure, Drew.”

Oh no. Not closure. Anything but f**king closure.

Closure is a made-up word that women invented so they can overanalyze something and talk about it—to death. And then, after it’s been blessed and buried, closure gives them the excuse to dig the poor f**ker up and talk about it—some more.

Guys don’t do that. Ever.

It’s over. Fade to black. The end.

That’s all the goddamn closure we need.

“Closure?”

She walks toward me. “I think things with us started and stopped so fast, you didn’t have time to acclimate yourself. Maybe if we spend some time…if we talk away from the office…you’ll understand that after everything that’s happened, the best we can hope to be is friends.”

I’m pretty sure she means without benefits. And that just doesn’t work for me.

A guy can’t be friends with a woman he’s actively attracted to. Not really. Because at some point his dick will take over. It’ll walk like him and talk like him, but—like one of the poor schmucks infected by those freaky face-sucking things in Alien—it won’t be him. And from that point on, every move, every gesture will be geared toward accomplishing the dick’s goal. Which sure as shit won’t have anything to do with friendship.

Besides, I have friends—Matthew, Steven, Jack. I don’t want to f**k any of them.

“Friends?”

She doesn’t notice my disgust with the idea. Or she just doesn’t give a damn.

“Yes. We should get reacquainted as coworkers. Equals. Not a date. Kind of more like a business meeting between colleagues.”

Denial is a powerful thing. But at this point I’ll take what I can get. “So, what you’re telling me is you’ll go out with me on Saturday? That’s the bottom line, right?”

She hesitates. And then nods. “Yes.”

“Perfect. Don’t say anything else. I’ll pick you up at seven.”

“No.”

“No?”

“No. I’ll meet you.”

Interesting.

I speak slowly, “Now, Kate, I know you haven’t been on many dates, considering the moron you called a boyfriend had you engaged before you were out of a training bra. But in cases like this, the guy—that’s me—is supposed to pick you—the girl—up. It’s an unwritten law.”

See how her lips press together? How her shoulders square off? Oh yeah, she’s ready to rumble.

“I just told you this isn’t a date.”

I shrug. “Semantics.”

“Let’s say hypothetically it is a date. It would be a first date. And I would never have a man that I didn’t know come to my apartment to pick me up for a first date.”

I push a hand through my hair. “That doesn’t make any sense. You know me. We did sixty-nine. I’d say you know me pretty damn well.”

“Look, these are my terms. If you can’t live with them, we can just forget the whole—”

“Wait, wait. Let’s not be hasty. I give. You can meet me at my apartment. At seven. Sharp.”

“Okay.”

“But I have some terms of my own.”

She jumps down my throat. “I’m not having sex with you!”

I force myself to look surprised. “I’m wounded. Really. Who said anything about sex? I would never require sex as part of our agreement.”

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