“Kat.” The sound of my name leaving his mouth has goose bumps breaking out across my skin and anxiety turning in my stomach.
“Mike.” I try to take a step back, but his hands hold me a little tighter as his eyes travel down my body, taking in my dress and heels.
“You look beautiful,” he says as his hands slide down my arms and his thumbs run over my bare skin. My stomach flips at the look in his eyes.
“Thanks.” I try to take a step back again, but he leans in, his nose running along my neck.
“You smell good, too.”
I take a shaky breath and close my eyes as his nose runs up my neck towards my ear.
“What are you doing here?” he asks, his lips brushing my lobe.
My hands come up to grip his shirt so I don’t fall on my face.
“Kathleen, are you okay?” Steve’s voice cuts in.
I let go of Mike immediately and take a step away from him. “I’m fine, Steve,” I say, taking another step back, trying to get my body back under control.
“Dinner’s just arrived at the table and I can’t eat until you get there,” he says, slightly annoyed.
I look from him to Mike and take a breath when I see the look on Mike’s face. “I’m coming now,” I tell Steve, who mumbles something before crossing his arms over his chest watching us.
I start down the hall towards him when he clears his throat. If the feeling of guilt weren’t running through me for what just happened, I would tell Steve where to shove it. When I reach the end of the hall, I feel eyes boring into my back. I turn my head to look over my shoulder and look at Mike.
“It was nice seeing you,” I tell Mike.
He doesn’t say anything. He just lifts his chin in my direction before looking over my head and glaring. I turn back around and head out to the dining room, following behind Steve. When we sit at the table, he looks at his food, grumbling under his breath about the temperature before he starts eating. Why the hell I needed to be here in order for him to eat is still confusing me as I start to cut up the ravioli that I ordered.
Suddenly, I feel eyes on me again, so I lift my head. My eyes lock on Mike’s from across the restaurant as he sits at the bar with a guy who I know is his brother. His hand, which is holding a beer, comes up in my direction before I lower my eyes to continue eating.
This date will go down as the second worst date of my life, and that’s second to the one I had a week ago with a computer programmer who thought he was God’s gift to women. Sadly, he reminded me of the aliens from Men In Black—the ones with the giant, beefed-up bodies and teeny tiny heads. Yeah, that was not a good time.
“I can’t believe that you were making out with someone while we’re on a date,” Steve says, catching me off guard and bringing me out of my thoughts.
Guilt turns my stomach at his words. My ex-husband cheated on me. He was having an affair for two years and I didn’t even find out until he was packing his stuff to move out. I begged him to work it out, but in the end, he chose his new girlfriend and her kids over my son and me. I hate cheaters, and even though I have no commitment to Steve, I still feel guilty for what happened with Mike.
“I wasn’t making out with him,” I say defensively.
“His mouth was on you.” Okay, so that was true. “I would appreciate it if you didn’t touch other men when we’re out together.”
That wouldn’t be too hard because I’m thinking this is going to be the last time I will ever see Steve.
“Don’t worry. It won’t happen again,” I tell him, really wanting to stab him.
I sit there for a few more minutes, not eating while feeling holes being drilled into me from across the room. It’s taking everything in me not to look at Mike. My body knows he’s near. I swear I can feel my blood cells pulling me in his direction.
“I’ll be back,” I tell Steve.
His eyes narrow, but he nods like I need his damn permission. I grab my bag and start toward the restrooms, but instead of walking all the way down the hall, I turn to the left and head towards the hostess.
“Is everything okay?” the hostess asks as soon as I make it to the front of the restaurant.
“Actually, I need to leave. I have an emergency.” I pull out a hundred-dollar bill and hand it to her. “Can you please give that to our waitress and give a message to my date that I left?”
“Sure,” she replies, giving me a knowing smile. She seated me with Steve thirty minutes ago, so I’m sure she understands why I want to get out of here.
I smile, lift my bag up over my shoulder, and head for the front of the restaurant. Once I reach the parking lot, I find my keys, quickly get in my car, and take off like the hounds of Hell are on my heels.
When I reach my house, my cell starts ringing from my purse. I pull it out and slide my finger across the screen when I see that Mike is calling.
“That didn’t last long,” he says, his tone almost playful.
But something about his words pisses me off. I know what I want out of life, and I know that I deserve to have a man who is supportive at my side. I have been single for a long time, but I miss having someone to wake up to or someone to call when I just need to vent.
“He was kind of lame, babe.”
“Seriously?” I hiss. My stomach tightens and the urge to throw my phone across the room consumes me. “You’re a jerk!” I say, hanging up.
When my phone lights up again, I hit the power button. Screw him.
I look at my coffee and rub the space between my eyes. I need to get dressed, but since everything went down with Kat, I haven’t felt like doing shit. I hear the front door open and slam then the sound of Beast’s dog tags jingling together before I ever see November come around the corner.
“Hey, Daddy!” my daughter says, walking into the house.
I watch as she tosses her bag across the room and onto the couch before coming to sit down at the island next to me with a huff. Her eyes search my face for a second before I turn away from her.
“Hey, baby girl,” I mumble, taking a drink of my coffee, setting my elbows down on the counter.
“Okay, spill it,” she says, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh lord. Don’t play dumb. You’ve been moping around for a while and I’m tired of it.”
“I’m not moping.”
“If you don’t tell me what’s going on, I’m going to call Grandma,” she says, standing and walking around the island into the kitchen. Then she grabs a coffee cup out of the cupboard before pouring herself a cup of coffee.