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|Moonlight on Nightingale Way(On Dublin Street #6)(9) by Samantha Young|
“Oh, Logan.” Shannon made a comically disgusted face at his arrogance, and her brother broke out into a massive grin.
Once more I felt breathless at the sight of him smiling widely down at his sister. It was the first time I’d ever seen Logan MacLeod smile in a way that was pure and real and not tainted by mockery.
What a sight it was to behold.
Suddenly he looked at me, and our gazes locked.
Frantically I searched for a way to release myself.
Breathe, Grace. Breathe!
I blew out air between my lips and forced myself to lower my gaze. I opened my door and stepped inside. “As always, I’m charmed, Mr. MacLeod,” I said, wishing I’d injected more sarcasm into it.
I closed my door before he could say or do anything to throw me off-balance again.
Just as I expected, Logan’s past became a nonissue once Janice moved out of our building. It seemed everyone, like me, was reassured by Mr. Carmichael that we were in no danger with Logan in the building. Despite my aggravation with my neighbor, I couldn’t help but wonder what it must be like for him in everyday society as an ex-convict. It would seem he’d fallen on his feet regarding a job – Mr. Carmichael owned Fire and had obviously offered Logan a position there. But surely that was about knowing the right person. Not everyone was a Mr. Carmichael. Janice was a great example. So whenever Logan had to fill out a form or explain absences for whenever it was he did his time, he had to face judgment.
In a way he was still doing his time.
I knew how deep the cut was when people refused to see beyond their own perceptions and judgments of you.
Despite myself, I think I really did feel bad for him. However, and I would never admit it out loud, I was incredibly curious to know what it was he’d been sentenced for. Clearly, it was a misdemeanor in conviction terms, right? Or Mr. Carmichael wouldn’t be so assured of his stability. Maybe that was naive of me, but I was blissfully ignorant in my naïveté and quite happy to be.
It helped that, as promised, Logan attempted to be more considerate with his noise levels. There was one instance over the next few weeks of loud sex, but there was no music or partying. When we passed each other in the stairwell, we offered a polite nod of acknowledgment, mostly because ignoring each other would be bad manners.
Life was returning to a sense of normality and I was even working at night again.
What I wasn’t doing was getting out much.
After the disastrous date with Bryan, which was really the fifth in a long line of disastrous dates, I felt more than a little gun-shy, but I was also bored. Chloe’s fiancé was home for a bit and Aidan was in focused “training mode.”
So when Chloe called me up at the beginning of the week to ask me if I fancied getting fixed up with a colleague of hers, I reluctantly said yes.
To my pleasant surprise, John was handsome in an old-fashioned kind of way and nervous upon meeting me in a way that was endearing. Half an hour into our dinner date, however, I was growing concerned by the quick rate at which he was consuming wine. It seemed he needed the alcohol as fortification to converse with me, and it also seemed he just didn’t know when to stop.
And John and alcohol apparently weren’t a good mix.
His dark eyes had been friendly and kind when he approached me in the restaurant. They were warm, even if his gaze did dart around the room anxiously as we chitchatted while deciding what to eat.
By his third glass of vino, however, a mocking light entered the backs of his eyes.
“I’ve seen pictures of you, you know,” he said.
I looked up from my pasta, wondering what on earth he meant. “Excuse me?”
He grinned, the smile off-kilter, lazy with wine. “On Facebook. Chloe shows me her pictures on Facebook. I’ve always thought you were very pretty.”
I blushed at the compliment. “Thank you.”
John suddenly ogled my chest, and I tensed. “You could dress a bit sexier though – don’t you think? You’ve got a cracking figure, but we can’t really see it.”
Hiding my flinch at the far-too-close-to-the-bone comment, I looked at his almost-empty wineglass and wished I had it in me to say something, but I didn’t want to cause a scene in the restaurant. I met his glazed stare with one of quiet reproach. “I like my style just fine.”
He held up his hands defensively. “Oh, I didn’t mean to be insulting. I was just suggesting that you might not be single if you dressed a bit better.”
I almost choked on my food.
“And you might look better with your hair down. You look a bit uptight with it up like that.”
I squeezed my eyes closed, trying to block him out, because unfortunately, his criticisms were a trigger…
The butterflies swarming in my stomach threatened to upend all the nothing in it. I’d never felt so nervous. I hadn’t been able to eat all day.
My first school dance.
I stared into the mirror, fidgeting with my hair and my dress and wondering if I should have worn my hair up and if I should have worn the black dress instead of the purple one.
“Why is there a boy at the door?”
I whirled around, my pulse instantly racing at the sight of my mother leaning against my doorframe. She was frowning at me as she swirled a glass of red wine in her hand.
“I thought you were having dinner with Mrs. Ferguson this evening.”
Mother scowled at me. “Clearly I’m not. What are you hiding? Why are you dressed in that hideous monstrosity?”