Rock With Me(9)By: Kristen Proby
“What made you tell him no?” Leo asks.
“Luke is fiercely private. There is no way in hell I’d put him in my magazine. Besides, it’s insulting to ask me to write a piece on my family, and then get pissed when I say no.” I scowl, pissed all over again.
“Okay, so what does that have to do with you getting fired now?” He asks and eats his pancakes.
“How can you eat pancakes and stay thin?” I ask before thinking.
He smirks, that piercing catching my eye. “Genetics.”
“Lucky bastard,” I mutter, earning a belly laugh from him and my whole being just stills.
My God, he’s amazing when he laughs.
“Anyway,” I continue, shaking myself awake. “Last week the same boss came to me and ripped me a new asshole for not telling him before that I’m linked to Will Montgomery through my family.”
“Fuck,” Leo whispers.
“He wanted me to pull some strings, get an exclusive set up for the magazine, and again I refused.” I shake my head and push my plate away, too angry to eat. “Leo, they’re my family. I’m not ever going to use them to further my career. Ever.”
“What did he do to you?” He asks quietly. His fingers have gripped his coffee mug tightly in anger on my behalf.
“He yelled, called me a pussy.” I smirk as Leo takes my hand in his again. “I said, ‘No, Bob, I have a pussy. I understand if you don’t know the difference.’”
“Good for you.” Leo chuckles. “I bet he didn’t like that.”
“No, he wasn’t impressed.” I sigh and absently trace the letters on Leo’s fingers. “He said that I wasn’t a team player, and if I’m not willing to go the extra mile for the good of the magazine, then maybe I shouldn’t be with the company anymore.”
I bite my lip, tracing the ink on his hand now. “Maybe he’s right,” I whisper. “I loved that stupid job.”
“What does your family say?”
My gaze jerks to his and my stomach twists painfully. “They don’t know. Please don’t say anything.”
“Why don’t they know?” He frowns.
“Because, they don’t need to worry about me, and I don’t want them to feel obligated to help me. I’m fine. I’ll figure it out. I have job offers in other cities, but I don’t want to move away from my family. Stupid, huh?”
He turns his hand over and grips my own tightly. “It’s not stupid. This is your home. I missed it too.”
“Why are you home?” I ask, enjoying him. He’s so damn easy to talk to. Maybe too easy. I probably shouldn’t be talking so much, but I can’t talk to my family about this stuff.
They’d freak the hell out.
“I missed Meg. Tired of the road. I needed a break.”
“How long since you had a break?” I ask and sip my juice.
He laughs humorlessly. “We’ve been going non-stop for the better part of five years. The three last tours were back to back, three years long.”
“Three years of traveling?”
“No wonder you’re tired.”
He nods and smiles, but his eyes suddenly look bone-tired. Weary.
“You ready?” He asks.
“Sure.” He pulls me out of the booth, pays the check and leads me back out to the sidewalk and toward home.
“How are your legs?” He asks casually as we walk down the busy sidewalk. The city is waking up.
“I mean it, don’t do that again.”
“I’ll do whatever I please,” I retort.
“Stubborn woman,” he mutters and glares down at me. I can’t help but laugh.
“Gee, I’ve never heard that before. I’m so easy going.” I flutter my eyelashes at him playfully.
We approach the front door to my condo.
This could be awkward.
He just pulls me in for a hug, wraps those strong arms around me and pulls me into him, against his chest and rocks me back and forth for just a moment. I feel him kiss my head and frown.
What is this?
“I’ll see you tomorrow morning,” he whispers and pulls away, his gray eyes soft and a smile on those lips. “Are you sure you don’t have a favorite band?” he asks hopefully as he backs toward his car.