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Chapter Nine


That was the longest night I ever had. How did Uncle Carl do it? It wasn’t just managing the employees, but making sure the patrons didn’t become unruly. Although I didn’t think we needed a bouncer, I might need to reconsider that.

All I wanted right now was a hot shower and a bed. But when I walked into the house, Andrew was sitting in the living room watching a movie. He turned to me and asked, “How was work?”

“Don’t ask,” I grumbled.

“That bad?” I nodded and he continued, “Do you want me to reheat you some leftovers?”

I forced a smile and asked, “Does it come with a glass of red wine?”

“It can. Why don’t you go take a shower and I’ll have it ready when you’re done?”

That sounded perfect. All except for the fact it was Andrew doing it. I didn’t want to like anything about him. Like he said, ‘don’t mix business with pleasure.’ I was already fighting this stupid physical attraction. I didn’t need to like him on any other level. But I was too tired to argue. So I took him up on his offer.

Although I wanted to stand in the shower until all the hot water was used up, I knew my dinner would be getting cold. I was almost too tired to eat, but I hadn’t had anything since lunch. Falling asleep was good. Passing out would be bad.

I slipped on a pair of fleece pajama bottoms with an oversized t-shirt. I didn’t have the energy to get any more dressed than this. Besides, if Andrew was really going to spend the week here, then I was going to treat him like a roommate and not a guest. He could pick up after himself and have the privilege of seeing what I really look like when I wake up.

When I left my room I found him back on the couch. My dinner was on a tray, with the wine I had requested. I sat on the couch, leaving a comfortable space between us. One thing about leftovers is they usually taste even better the next day. I just hope I’ve got enough energy to enjoy it.

“You really didn’t have to do this, but I appreciate it,” I said.

“I’m a bachelor. Microwave is the appliance I use just about every day.”

Picking up the plate and fork, I took a bite. “Perfect,” I teased.

He grabbed the remote control and said, “I hope you don’t mind but I connected the television to my phone so I could watch something other than the local news. Not that there wasn’t anything interesting, but a tractor pull or Mrs. Gray’s sick alpaca might be a bit too…stressful for me.”

In a serious tone, I said, “I hope it isn’t Marvin. He’s her favorite.”

The expression on his face was priceless and I couldn’t hold back and cracked a smile.

“That was much better than your mule joke the other day,” he said.

“It must be the wine,” I said.

“You haven’t even taken a sip,” Andrew corrected.

“Just knowing it’s there is enough for me.” I put the plate back on the tray and picked up my glass of wine. The first sip tasted like heaven. The second and third weren’t so bad either. “That’s better.” I held the glass and leaned back on the couch.

“You didn’t eat very much,” he said.

“I’m too tired to eat,” I admitted and took another gulp of wine. The glass somehow was two-thirds of the way gone.

“Then you might want to take it easy on that.” Andrew reached over and took the glass from my hand.

“Hey, I’m not done with that.”

Andrew picked up my plate of food and said, “You eat while I get you a little bit more.” He disappeared into the kitchen.

That was acceptable. Of course, Andrew was taking what seemed like forever filling my glass. By the time he returned, I had finished the entire plate he’d prepared for me.

When he sat down and handed me the glass I asked, “Was that intentional?”

He met me square in the eyes and said, “Yes. I don’t need you getting drunk and having to carry you to bed.”

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