I wasn’t tryingto be a total bitch when I didn’t take the chair Eros pulled out for me. I mean, I want to be one after the rude comment he made when he’d gotten into the car, and it also annoyed me how the maître d’ was falling all over himself to give Eros a table. But the reality is, it really had nothing to do with those two things; it was just a matter of me wanting my back to the restaurant.
I might not go to all the events my parents do, but sometimes I do get roped into a few. It’s not uncommon to run into people. My mom and dad might have sticks up their asses most of the time, but I do still love them. It’s just that our love is a bit different than a lot of other kids have with their parents.
Well, normal kids. The kids I went to boarding school with before I got to break away to college understood. A lot of them had the same kind of relationship with their parents. This world is so strange. I want to get up and walk out of here, but I stay put for Blake. Plus, Eros might be a jerk or maybe we got off on the wrong foot, but either way, he’s handsome. That’s not a word I use often, if ever, unless we’re talking about a cat.
Blake doesn't understand how things can be with my parents. They are polite to her, but I believe that’s only because I drew a hard line in the sand for them when they came out for a weekend visit during my freshman year of college. I made sure they understood that Blake was off-limits to any comments that weren’t anything but nice.
That is one plus to my relationship with my parents. We both have boundaries we’ve set in areas, and we do our best to respect those. Plus, I can be a bit of a snitch to Grams when I don’t like something they do. What?! I tell Grams most things, so they should already expect it.
Blake, however, can make me feel guilty at times with how I avoid my parents while she has none at all. She’d only ended up at the same fancy ass college as me because she worked her ass off and got scholarships. I shelter her a lot from the bullshit my parents can dish out at times. Blake has gone through enough in life. She doesn’t need their uppity crap.
I know she’d give anything to have a day with her parents again. It's part of the reason why I’d talked her into moving back to the Hoffman estate with me. Grams can be like a mom, and really, everyone should have a Grams in their life. I can feel my phone vibrating in my bag, and I know it’s her texting me. Getting her that iPhone was the worst and best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I bet you she tracked my location and is laughing her ass off at where I’m at.
It’s funny how Eros thinks he’s the only one that can get a table here. Little does he know that my parents are investors in this restaurant. When I realized where we were heading for dinner, I wasn’t too excited about it.
This date is going downhill quickly. I’m pretty sure no one will recognize me. That is as long as Chef Louis doesn’t come out. The last time I met him, I think my hair had been a cherry red. I was here for the opening of the restaurant and for my father’s birthday six months ago, so I’ve only met the man twice.
“Good evening. I’m Porter, and I’ll be your server tonight. Can I start you all off with some wine?” The waiter arrives, handing the wine menu over to Eros, who takes it but passes it right over to me. It’s actually a sweet gesture. I might have a wine cellar bigger than most people's homes, but wine has never been my thing.
“I’m not really a wine girl.” I hand the menu back.
“A girl or wine?” I smirk. He smiles at my teasing, a dimple forming in his left cheek.
Damn, do I have a thing for dimples? His is mostly covered in a nice layer of scruff. He hadn’t shaved for the date. I’m not sure what to make of that. Either he thought he didn’t need to because he was charming enough to get laid without trying, or he is only being himself. I’m having a hard time reading which one it is.
“Neither,” he says with a chuckle before offering the menu to Matty and Blake.
“I’d love some champagne,” Blake says without looking at the menu.
“The Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial,” I tell the server for her. It’s Blake’s absolute favorite.
“I thought wines weren't your thing?” Eros tries to tease me back.
“They aren’t, but knowing my best friend is.” I lay that right out on the table for both of them. Fuck with her, that means you fuck with me.
“Shall we do a glass or bottle?” Porter asks.
“Bottle, I’ll have it with you,” Matty offers. Point for him. Blake beams over at him. They really do match well together. This is the first time in a long time that I’ve seen Blake look this happy.
“And for you two?” Porter asks us next. Eros waits for me to answer first.
“I’ll take a Scotch. Glenfiddich but eighteen-year-old, please.”
“I’ll take the same,” Eros says, his eyes never leaving me. I fight not to fidget under his gaze. That’s new for me.
I’m not really one to get nervous. I mean, I grew up with my parents. Having a backbone is a requirement. But there’s something about this man that has me off-kilter. Why is he staring so intensely? More than that, who is Eros? He doesn’t scream money from the way he’s dressed, but the maître d’ knew him. I’m not buying the whole designer thing.
I might not be into high fashion, but I’m around it enough to know what's in and recognize the names. Grams buys me crap all the time to wear when I have to show up to some family event or charity. I just put it on because she has impeccable taste. We don’t even have to go shopping. They deliver the clothing and everything else right to our front door. Grams shuffles through what she wants to keep and tells them to come back and collect whatever is left. Eros is a name I would remember. I can’t place it, but the name does sound familiar.
“I’ll get those drinks right in. Would you like sparkling water or still?”
“Whatever comes out of the tap,” I respond. Eros chuckles under his breath again. His chuckle is sexy. How is that a thing? A chuckle being hot? “What? It’s weird when the water is sparkling. It doesn't taste right.”
“Tap all around,” Eros tells Porter. A boy in all black rushes over to fill our water glasses while Porter removes the wine glasses from the table.
“Are there any food allergies or such I should let Chef Louis know about?” Porter asks.