Hardwired

Author: P Hana

Page 17

   

“Tell me why you were crying.”

I shook my head, emotionally drained and unprepared to be with Blake at this moment in time. “Maybe this was a bad idea.”

I started to get up, but Blake took my hand.

“Hey, I’m sorry.”

I paused, wanting desperately to be falling apart somewhere where Blake wasn’t in the audience.

“Stay,” he said.

My anger melted away. I sat back down, letting my hand stay in his. His touch had a calming effect that I both resented and cherished.

“Why did you want to see me, Blake?”

“Well, for one, you didn’t give me a chance to say goodbye. Do you always run off like that?”

“I didn’t think you’d care,” I said, embarrassed about the whole affair, even though I’d thought of almost nothing else since I left his suite two days ago. “Anyway, I had an early flight home.”

“Have you heard from Max?”

I took a deep breath, relieved to be talking business again. “Yes, we’re meeting next week.”

“How’s the housing hunt going?”

I rolled my eyes and groaned. “Now that Alli is officially moving to New York, I suppose it just got simpler.”

“That doesn’t sound like good news.”

“Yeah, I’ll have to start dressing myself again, which will be tough,” I joked.

I wasn’t lying, but obviously her fashion sense wouldn’t be the only thing I’d miss. Alli was my best friend, my confidante, my wing-woman. I still couldn’t believe my roomy wouldn’t be my roomy anymore. We’d only be an hour’s flight away, but I held onto an irrational fear that our lives would begin moving in different directions that would eventually take their toll on the friendship we’d worked so hard to build. Only time would tell.

“I have a good broker.” Blake fished a business card out of his wallet and handed it to me. Fiona Landon, Licensed Real Estate Broker.

“If she’s related to you, I doubt she’d have anything in my price range.”

“She’s my little sister, and you never know. She’s known for digging up good finds. Just tell her I sent you.”

I sighed. “I told you about my situation to make conversation. It wasn’t a cry for help. I’m perfectly capable of figuring this out on my own.”

“I know you are,” he said quietly, rubbing his thumbs over my knuckles.

I pulled away from his grasp. Physical contact with Blake seriously affected my decision-making.

“Give her a call,” he urged.

I stuffed the card into my purse, knowing I would for the simple reason that Blake wanted me to and he wouldn’t let it go until I did.

The waitress brought our breakfast, which was delicious and fattening, two requirements for comfort food that I thoroughly appreciated at the moment. Washing it down with a few sips of Guinness wasn’t too bad either. When I wasn’t in emotional turmoil and when Blake wasn’t throwing me headfirst into a professional roller coaster, I did enjoy his company. We chatted about sports, one topic any two Bostonians could agree on. Little by little, he coaxed me out of my grim mood.

Outside the sun warmed the cobblestone streets as we walked back to the car. After all these years, Boston still dazzled me. The streets had history and its people had a kind of character that always made it feel like home. It was impossible to live here and not feel a passion and possessiveness about it.

On the way home, Blake’s phone rang. A casual photo of a beautiful brunette showed up on the LCD panel next to the name Sophia. He ignored the call and stared straight ahead at the road, showing no emotion. I had no right to ask who she was. We were hardly in a relationship, and the idea that someone as rich and gorgeous as Blake wouldn’t be playing the field was pretty unrealistic. Still, the thought of other women in his life stung me.

We pulled up to the house, and Blake circled the car to let me out before I could figure out the handles. We walked the steps up to the entrance. When I paused to say goodbye, Blake pulled me close. The breath rushed out of me.

“You owe me a goodnight kiss, Miss Hathaway.”

Before I could respond, he covered my mouth with his own.  I melted into the kiss and the warmth of his body. Mercy, his lips. The stress of the morning became a distant memory, replaced with a hunger that neither of us was in a position to satisfy at the moment.

“Come home with me.” His voice was raw.

Somewhere in the distance, my inner voice started psychoanalyzing everything, pulling me out of the moment.

“I can’t.”

Technically, I could. In fact, I wanted nothing more than a repeat of my night in Blake’s Vegas pad, but I had no idea what that meant for my mental stability. I needed to focus on work. Getting screwed to oblivion by Blake on a regular basis probably wasn’t going to help me in that department.

“Dinner, then.”

“No,” I insisted. “Besides, you were hardly the perfect gentlemen last time.”

“Wasn’t I? As I recall, you were the one who asked for the tour of the bedrooms.”

He ground his hip into me, eliciting a whimper. I tried to care that we were in plain view of anyone passing by, but I worried more that I was slipping further away from myself and deeper into a dangerous attraction that already had its hooks in me.

“Blake, seriously, Vegas was...really great.” I paused, desperately trying to pull myself together. “I’m just not in a good place for this—whatever this is with us.”

I kissed him gently, breathing him in one last time before slipping from his grasp. He released me, but by the wanting in his eyes, I could tell he wasn’t happy about it.

“Goodbye, Blake.”

CHAPTER SEVEN

With only a few days left before the dorms closed, I was running short on time and options to find a new place to live. I couldn’t believe how far behind I’d fallen with this, but life was throwing me curve balls lately so I decided to reach out to Blake’s sister and hope for some quick results.

Fiona Landon was stunning. Her light brown hair curled under into a stylish simple bob. Young, professional, and elegant, she was dressed in a navy blue polka dot dress when we met to begin the quest for my first apartment.

The first few places she showed me were in line with what I expected—on budget, smallish, and fair location, but a decent hike to any public transportation. I quickly realized that I’d either have to make some concessions or come up with a more realistic budget.

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