The door closed quietly behind the gorgeous blond, who apparently worked in my kitchen. How in the world she’d managed to get Ms. Mary to hire her and flaunt her in front of my mother was beyond me.
“Attractive isn’t she. I need to speak with Mary about her hiring such a young girl. Did she make any advances during the meal?” My mother often forgot I no longer needed her to make decisions about my summer home. The girl wasn’t going anywhere. Getting rid of her would probably be a wise idea but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It was obvious she wasn’t here to get my attention. I’d spent most of the past hour trying to get her attention not the other way around.
“Leave her alone. She hasn’t acknowledged me except to serve my food. If I feel she is becoming a problem then I’ll handle it.”
Mother flinched at my subtle reminder that the house belonged to me alone. I’d taken over full control of my assets when I turned eighteen. I continued to supply my family with a home and a very generous monthly income even though I no longer resided with them.
Mother snapped her linen napkin from her lap and placed it on the table. I could tell by her stiff posture, I’d pissed her off. It wasn’t the first time and wouldn’t be the last.
“Very well. I will leave you to your dessert.”
I listened to the sharp click of her heels against the marble floor as she exited the room. My attention, however, was focused on the door leading into the kitchen. From the way the other server had been hovering over the girl all evening, I didn’t really expect her to be the one who returned with my dessert.
The door slowly opened and the girl cautiously stepped into the dinning room. Vivid blue eyes surrounded by thick curly lashes held me entranced as she made her way toward me. Why was she working in my kitchen?
“Ah, so he did let you come alone. I wondered if I would be seeing him instead.”
Her incredible eye lashes fluttered nervously causing the goofy grin, I couldn’t keep off my face now that I had her all alone, to grow. I could tell she was fighting back a smile. Those full pink lips were almost puckered in an attempt to keep her expression serious. As she bent down to set the chocolate dessert I’d requested in front of me, the scent of honeysuckles met my nose. Mmmm she smelled sweet.
“Do you speak?” I asked.
“Yes.” Her voice sounded as soft and sweet as the addictive perfume she was wearing.
“We don’t normally have young female employees. How did you get through Mary?” Immediately the amused expression on her face vanished. Panic settle over her perfect features.
“I am mature for my age.”
So prim and proper. I wanted to laugh but I was afraid I’d upset her further with my amusement. Needing to do something to keep the grin from breaking out on my face, I shoved a bite of the chocolate cake into my mouth. I couldn’t even enjoy my favorite dessert. The girl had my complete attention. I watched her staring out the window as if the waves were the most interesting thing she’d ever seen. Even though it was obvious her mind was somewhere else. I made most girls nervous. Those I didn’t make nervous made me nervous. This one I made nervous but for different reasons. She wasn’t acting giggly and star struck. Instead, she appeared ready to bolt if I made one wrong move. This was definitely a new experience for me.
“How old are you?” I asked wanting her to look at me.
“Seventeen.” she replied without even a backward glance. The beach could not be that fascinating. I’d never had to work this hard to get a female to pay attention to me in my life. I was use to hiding from girls her age not practically begging them to talk to me.
“How did you know I lived here?”
Her head snapped around until those gorgeous eyes were directing their attention my way. Blond curls that had worked their way out of the bun on her head brushed her cheeks momentarily fascinating me.
“It is hard to miss the photos of you as I dust and mop.”
What? My fascination with her curls was forgotten as I studied her face to see if she was telling the truth. Girls who looked liked this one could pull off a lie so very easily.
“You applied for this job not knowing I lived here?” It didn’t even sound believable when I said it out loud. This gorgeous creature didn’t clean houses for fun. Did she take me for an idiot?
“My mother has been cleaning here for two months. However, her pregnancy has progressed and she sent me in her place. I proved my worth, and Ms. Mary kept me. My being here has nothing to do with you, sir, but has everything to do with the fact I want to eat and pay the rent.”
This time I couldn’t control the grin that broke out on my face. She’d just basically told me off and looked adorable doing it. Had a female ever been annoyed with me before? Except for my mom of course. It was an odd yet liberating feeling. The frown on her pretty mouth had deepened and if I didn’t say something quick she was going to throw her apron at me and walk out the door. Pushing my chair back I stood up so I could apologize properly.
“I am sorry. When I saw you, and you were young and well…attractive, I thought the only reason someone like you would be working here would be to get close to me. I deal with females quite a bit, and my assuming you were working here to get near me wasn’t fair. Please forgive me.” Were those tears in her eyes? I’d just apologized! Why did she look like she was about to cry? I mentally went over what I’d just said trying to figure out what upset her to the point of tears.
“I understand,” she replied in almost a whisper.
I needed to make her smile. Anything to get those pretty blue eyes twinkling with amusement again. I glanced back at the door wondering if the other server was listening to our conversation. The idea that he would be the one to comfort her tasted bitter in my mouth.
“I guess I should have figured you were taken by the possessiveness of the other server tonight. I stared at you more than I should have, but I kept waiting for you to ask for my autograph or slip your number to me on a napkin.” Her eyes widened in surprise so I continued on hoping to distract her some more. I didn’t want her to cry and I didn’t want that guy holding her if she did.
“Those things are a way of life for me. I just expect it.”
A small amused smile returned to her lips and relief washed over me. “I am here to do my job, sir, and nothing more.”
Sir? What the hell!
“Do me a favor and don’t call me ‘sir.’ I am just two years older than you.”
I replied not liking the fact she saw me as her boss instead of a guy.
“Okay,” she replied.
“So, is he your boyfriend?”
She frowned for a moment as if trying to figure out what I’d just asked.
That answered my question. The stunned expression in her eyes was enough to make me grin like a love sick idiot.
“If Marcus is the guy who seemed quite determined to make sure you made no mistakes tonight, then yes.”
“No, he is…he is a friend.”
A friend. I could live with her having him as a friend. The idea of him being something else bothered me more than I wanted to admit. I leaned down until my mouth was inches from her ear and whispered, “I hope someday soon you will consider me a friend as well. I don’t have very many of those.”
Pink spots stained her cheeks making my heart beat a little faster. This girl was dangerous.
“I only have one,” she replied.
“I find that hard to believe”
She shrugged. “I don’t have time for friends.”
I reached over and opened the door for her hoping to catch the other guy listening in on us and giving me a reason to fire him. I didn’t like his being so protective of her. “Well, I hope we can find some time in your busy schedule because I happen to be in need of a friend myself…. Someone who doesn’t care who I am…. Someone who doesn’t laugh at my jokes when they’re not funny. If I’m not mistaken, you could care less about the fact I am on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine this month, and on the bedroom walls of every teenage girl in America.”
An amused smile touched her lips and she chuckled. “Not every teenage girl in America. You have never been on my walls. So, I guess you’re right, I don’t care.” She turned and left me standing there watching after her with another goofy grin on my face.