Hot Single Dad(5)By: Mia Madison
“They just finished kindergarten. Sorry, but you’ll have them all the time now that’s done for the summer.”
“I don’t mind that.”
I get up and fill up her glass. I’d like to sit beside her, but that would be dangerous, so I sit back down where I was. “Watch whatever you want on TV. I hope you won’t find it dull here.”
“I’m sure I won’t.” She glances up at me with her long lashes and blue eyes and dammit if she doesn’t blush again. I could swear a look passes between us, but I must be mistaken. I’m just her dad’s friend. She’d never look at me like that.
But I think she just did. Or did she?
Fuck! This is only her first night here and I’m like some kid in high school with a crush.
I thought he just did a double take when I looked at him. And now I can’t look him in the eye. I can’t let him see how much I want him. The remote control is on the couch beside me and I grab it and start flicking though the channels again, not really caring what comes up on the screen.
I’ve wanted Reid as long as I can remember. No other guy has ever turned my head because none of them matched up to him.
It was agony going to his wedding and watching him get married to Mercia Blane. I should have been enchanted by the big affair, the romance of the event, the beautiful dresses and flowers and people, the elegant meal and sophisticated toasts. The gossip magazine taking pictures for an exclusive scoop on the wedding.
At fifteen, it was the only celebrity occasion I’d ever attended but I couldn’t enjoy it because he was marrying her. And then they had that very public divorce, and I couldn’t feel triumphant about that either because those poor kids, and he wasn’t exactly happy about it either.
I flick, flick, flick, getting more and more agitated by his closeness, until he comes over to me and takes the remote out of my hand.
“Hey,” he says. “What’s up? I hope I didn’t upset you, making you talk about the jerks at college.”
“No, I’m okay.”
“You don’t seem okay. You know you can talk to me about anything. I’ve known you for a long time.”
“Yes.” That’s as much as I can manage to say with him right beside me, looking at me so closely. He must be wondering what the hell is going through my mind. No doubt, he feels like he has a crazy person on his hands, or three kids instead of two.
I can’t look up, his hand on mine over the remote. I’ve stopped flicking. And then he takes the remote and puts it down on the coffee table, turning the TV off completely and sits down beside me on the couch.
My heart thuds. It’s like I’m being followed by a stranger on a dark night. But it’s just Reid causing my panic, a guy I’ve known all my life, and all he’s doing is showing concern.
“Is it looking for a job, then? It’s tough out there, eh?” he says. “I know babysitting is not what you want to do, but something will come up. I’ll ask around.”
“Thanks.” I don’t expect he means it. People always say that. I should never have said yes to working for him, not because it’s just babysitting, but because there’s no way I can last the whole summer and not do something stupid. In fact, I want to do something stupid right now and throw myself in his arms.
“Daddy, I can’t sleep.” Katie is standing in the doorway rubbing her eyes and clutching her teddy bear.
Reid shrugs and gets up to attend to her, and I take two gulps of my wine. What the heck? I finish the glass. I am so out of my depth with him. When he was a fantasy and I hardly saw him, I could cope. Imagining myself being part of his life was lovely. But now I’m actually living with him, reality is something else entirely.
I should just go to my room. I’ll do that once he comes back. I take my empty glass to the kitchen and rinse it. I could sneak off now while Reid is occupied with Katie, but he’s there when I come out. I almost bump into him.
“Are you running away?”
“I thought you might be making a run for it. Do you remember when you were fourteen and you showed up at my house?” he asks.