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|Fall From India Place(On Dublin Street #4)(37) by Samantha Young|
He slouched against the doorjamb, grinning at her with those sexy dimples of his. “I just dropped the kids off at Mum and Dad’s. I thought you and I could do date night. Starting now.” He smiled at us. “If that’s okay with you, ladies?”
“Uh, they don’t get a say.” Liv shot to her feet. “No offense.” She threw us an apologetic look. “But no kids and a hot husband? You cannot blame me for ditching.”
We snickered. No, we could not.
Liv grabbed her purse after pulling her boots on. “Nate” – she glanced over at him thoughtfully – “remember that time you broke my heart but then proved yourself to me with your perseverance and I gave you a second chance?”
Nate gave her a droll look. “Yes. And thank you for bringing it up. Good times.”
I laughed and shook my head at Liv. “You’re subtle.”
Nate sighed from the doorway. “Was there a point to revisiting a painful time from my past?”
Liv strode over to him, cupping his face in her hands. “Aw, babe,” she said as she tenderly pressed her lips to his, “I was making a point to Hannah. Marco wants to be more than friends and she’s on the fence about giving him a second chance.”
I found myself pinned beneath Nate’s soulful dark gaze. “Liv filled me in about this guy and trust me, Hannah, a man doesn’t stick around, continuously trying to win you over, just for the chance to sleep with you. I’m guessing from the way my wife talks about him, this guy could get laid easily?”
I made a face at that but nodded.
“Then he likes you.” Nate shrugged, as if it were just that simple. “If you still don’t trust that, keep him hanging for longer. If he genuinely cares about you and knows there’s something between you, he’s not going anywhere.”
I processed this.
It seemed like sound advice. And it came from Nate Sawyer, once a player, now a devoted husband and father. It was a good source to hear it from. I nodded slowly. “Okay. Thanks, Nate.”
“No problem.” He grinned at me, saluted two fingers to Ellie, Jo, and Joss, and then grabbed Liv’s hand. “Now if you don’t mind, I’m stealing my wife.”
Unmarked essays were piled on my coffee table while I sat on the floor beside my stack of marked ones. Every now and then I’d reach for my cooling mug of coffee and glance over at Marco, who was stretched out on my couch, dozing.
Dark and cold outside, it was warm inside my flat as the fire crackled in my grate. I couldn’t believe it was almost December. It had been a crazy few weeks. A crazy few weeks of hanging around Marco. A lot.
After thinking over Nate’s advice I decided that holding out on Marco longer was the only way I’d know for certain if he was genuinely interested in me and not just in sleeping with me again. My gut told me that wasn’t the type of person he was. Not with me anyway, but that nagging doubt, that memory of him leaving me alone on India Place that fateful night, held me back from believing in him all the way.
Only time would tell.
The weekend after our movie night together, Marco had had plans. However, the following Monday he turned up at my door after work, carrying a bag of groceries and film rentals. He quickly set himself up in my kitchen and I watched in bemusement as he threw together homemade meatballs and spaghetti. I don’t know why I was surprised that he could cook. His uncle owned and ran a restaurant.
We had fun that night, keeping it friendly, although Marco couldn’t help himself – he tried to flirt a little despite my lack of any outward response. He called me on his lunch break that week, he texted me a lot, and tried to tempt me to meet him for drinks on the Friday. It was a busy week, so I told him I had too much work to do. Not to be rebuffed, he asked me what I was doing that weekend and I explained I was going Christmas shopping in Glasgow. I liked to be organized about the whole Christmas presents thing.
To my utter surprise, Marco invited himself along.
That Saturday we met at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station and boarded the train to Glasgow together. For fifty minutes we sat across from each other and barely said a word. Although Marco was definitely more loquacious than he used to be and he wasn’t exactly broody anymore, he was still that guy who was comfortable and happy to sit in silence with me.
He caught me studying him as we passed through Falkirk and he smiled at my scrutiny. “What?”
“You’ve changed, but you haven’t.”
There was recognition, an understanding, in his eyes that told me he knew what I meant. “You too.”
Although I wasn’t willing to admit to my attraction to him, I wanted him to know I still remembered how good our friendship had been and that so far it had been good again. “We always had this, though. Being able to just be quiet and not have it feel awkward. Not needing to feel like we had to fill the silence. I have that with Cole, but… I mean, he’s like a brother, so… but other guys, we’ve never had…” I trailed off, realizing I was perhaps giving him more than I’d meant to.
I looked over at him when he didn’t reply, and tensed at the sudden stillness around him.
He leaned toward me. “I know I asked if there had been anyone special in your life but, honestly, Hannah, I don’t want to hear about other guys.” His jaw hardened and he looked out of the window.
That pissed me off. I was definitely not impressed with his display of alpha man possessiveness. But not wanting to have a fight in public, I stayed quiet, slowly allowing the burn of anger to dissipate. After ten minutes of now awkward silence, I replied quietly, “You and I are just friends.” And if he continued to be a possessive idiot, that’s the way we’d remain.
Marco looked at me sharply. “But you know I want more,” he answered. “So you also must understand why I don’t want to hear shit about other guys you’ve been with. Guys that got all that I’ve wanted since I f**ked it all up.”
The weight of our history, of our feelings and confusion, wrapped around me with a sense of longing then, and I felt fearful. Of us. Of our future. Or lack thereof. Without thinking, I whispered, “Maybe we shouldn’t hang out anymore.”
“You can handle it,” he said stonily, his tone brooking no argument.
I forced myself to meet his hard gaze. “But can you?”