Читать онлайн "Only You" автора Rose Stephanie - RuLit - Страница 7

 
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“The morons I dated in high school looked good compared to the ones in college, and they didn’t get better once I graduated. I kept them nameless and vague whenever Jack asked who I was dating because I figured beating guys up for me in high school drained him.”

I laughed to myself. Jack always thought he was so stealthy, but I doubted all the cheating dirtbags had the same epiphany and all felt the same need to find me so soon afterwards and apologize.

“Chris, I thought at one time, was a decent guy, but he turned out to be the worst of them. I decided to step back and just be alone for a while since my instincts are good for shit——unless I found myself really interested in someone.”

“So, are you . . . interested in anyone now?” Evan leaned forward, his voice low and husky.

“Actually, yes I am.” Oh God, I was really doing this! “He’s a friend of mine, so it’s a little weird . . . but he’s sweet and sexy . . . and it annoys me that I never noticed how amazing he was. I think he might be interested, too—but like I said, my instincts are shit so who knows.” I shrugged and took a sip of my coffee, pretending to focus my attention on my computer screen.

I had never been so forward with a man in my entire life. How could I play this off that I was talking about someone else if I read him wrong?

“Maybe not.” Evan scooted his chair closer to the table and slammed my laptop shut. I had nowhere to look but into his hay-colored eyes that, at the moment, seemed to burn right through me.

“Maybe he’s noticed you for years, but never thought he had a shot. Maybe he’s sick of watching you waste your time with guys who don’t deserve you. Maybe if you ask, you’ll find out he’s very, very interested.” The intense expression on Evan’s face as he fixed his gaze on me made my pulse race.

“Maybe he figured out who I was talking about?” I crinkled my nose and gave Evan a playful grin.

He lowered his eyes and chuckled. “I need to work this weekend; the diner job starts on Saturday morning, but I’m free Thursday night. There is an awesome restaurant I know in Brooklyn if you wouldn’t mind making the drive with me.”

“I would love that. But, if you’re busy, it can wait. I know you guys are trying to get as much work as you can. We can always go out when things aren’t so crazy—”

“If things go the way I hope they will, business will always be busy and crazy.” Evan rose from his seat and threw away his empty cup. He sauntered over to where I sat and leaned over, one hand on my chair and one on the table—completely closing me in.

He pressed a soft kiss right below my ear and whispered, “I’ve waited for this date since I was fifteen years old, and I’m not waiting anymore.” I stiffened as his wet and warm lips lingered on my skin. My breath hitched, and I was sure Evan noticed as he stood with a sweet and satisfied smile.

“See you Thursday, Daisy.” I watched him stroll out the door, too tongue-tied to say anything in reply. Sweet, butter-doesn’t-melt-in-his-mouth Evan was hot as hell, and had a little alpha streak.

I had a lot to learn about nice boys, and couldn’t wait for Evan to teach me.

I didn’t have to deliver the printouts for the new sign for another week, but I needed an excuse to come back and speak to Jack alone. I didn’t like the way we ended things the last time we spoke, and after all the years of him taking care of me, it was time that I grew up and returned the favor.

I headed to his office early, but stopped to get donuts and coffee—my version of a peace offering—then steadied myself as I rang his office doorbell.

Jack answered the door with a smirk as he waved me inside.

“I don’t remember ordering breakfast.” He grabbed one of the donuts and coffee cups before strolling over to his desk.

I plopped into the chair fronting his desk and opened up my bag to take out the printouts of the sign.

“I think two and three look awesome in blue, but I could show you other options if you want. Plus, the blue would offset the red brick outside.” I handed Jack the papers and took a deep breath as I opened my coffee cup. Apologies between us didn’t come easily. My grandmother, rest her soul, used to laugh at how we were both ‘thick as shit’ when we fought as little kids. One of us would bring the other a cookie, and we would make up and move on. Twenty something years later, we did the exact same thing.

“Don’t go crazy. I think this is perfect. The early visit and breakfast really wasn’t neces—”

“Yes, Jack. It was.” I leaned back in the chair and raked one of my hands through my hair. More than apologizing to Jack, I needed to know what exactly was going on. I hated the fact he was sick, but it was a reality I couldn’t run from anymore.

“I never should have acted like that. You were always so against having a partner, and I know deciding to make Evan one is a big deal to you—and not something you wanted to do unless you had to. We always told each other everything, mostly anyway. I know it’s my fault that you kept me in the dark. I’m asking you to stop treating me with kid gloves and tell me the truth.”

He let out a long sigh as he gazed up at the ceiling, and then folded his arms as he lowered his eyes to meet mine.

“You’re sure about that?” He took a deep breath and reached for his coffee cup. I grabbed his hand and squeezed it for dear life.

“Yes. Is this drug really working?” Jack folded his hands and leaned forward.

“They pay me to take it. That alone should say something. The doctor is pleased with how I’ve tolerated it, and all the tests look good since he’s given it to me, but he has no real proof this will work. Everything can turn on a dime. I could sit and wallow and wait for it to get me, or I can keep going, make sure my family is taken care of, and try to get the most good out of my life until . . . until I can’t anymore.”

I nodded, but didn’t look away—even as the tears I swore I would hold in escaped from my eyes and streamed down my cheeks.

“I . . . I love you. You know that, right? I’ll do anything you need me to . . .”

“I love you too, you pain in the ass.” I chuckled as Jack got up from his desk and squatted next to my chair. “What I need is for you to just go on with life like I am. I could have a couple of years, or less, or more. I don’t know. I just don’t want my wake to start before it absolutely has to. You know Aunt Rose is always the first one at those things and she never leaves.” I smacked him on the arm and he nudged me in response.

“Today. That’s all any of us really have. Let’s just focus on that, okay?” He took both my hands in his and raised his eyebrows at me.

“Okay.” I gave him the biggest smile I could manage through my still falling tears. The possibility of losing Jack had been a looming black cloud over my head since he first shared his diagnosis. Not denying it anymore made me feel a calmness I didn’t expect.

Jack stood and made his way back to the chair behind his desk as I wiped the wetness off my face.

“So, now that we have that all settled, I hear you have a date tomorrow.” Jack bit into his donut and smirked at me.

“So you’re all right with that? Me, Evan—”

“Yes! I’m actually very okay with it. You need to date a guy that’s not a jerkoff. That poor bastard has had a crush on you for years.” Jack laughed as he shook his head.

I nodded at Jack. “He told me.”

“No shit? Really?” Jack’s face dropped mid-chew.

I nodded again as I reached for a donut. “He told me he noticed me for years and has been waiting for this date since he was fifteen.”

Jack chuckled and shook his head. “Yep, that sounds about right.”

“Why didn’t I ever see it? Am I that dense?”

“Yes, unfortunately,” Jack replied with his mouth full, still laughing at me.

     

 

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