I was going to be down for whatever happened tonight.
Reece was sitting on the couch, long legs stretched out in front of him, feet kicked up on the coffee table. The TV was on, volume down. For a moment, all I could do was stare at him as my stomach fluttered madly and dangerously, because I could . . . I could get used to seeing him sitting on my couch, waiting for me to get off work. Me waiting for him. Preferably naked.
“Um.” He looked up, brows raised. “Is there something you want to tell me?”
I stiffened. “What?”
A slow grin crossed his face. “Your toilet seat lid was up.”
“What?” I repeated.
“When I went into your bathroom, the toilet seat was up. I was wondering if there was something you weren’t telling me. Like if you were trying a new method or something,” he teased.
What in the world? The only time I’d ever accidentally left the toilet seat up was when I cleaned it. My mind raced to find a plausible explanation to how the seat lifted up by itself. Poltergeist. It was official. The Victorian was built on an old Indian burial ground. We all were screwed.
Could I call Ghost Hunters? Or The Dead Files people?
“Sit with me?” he asked, stretching his arm along the back of the couch.
Reece had easily dismissed the toilet-seat thing, and I almost blurted out my Haunting in Plymouth Meeting suspicion, but decided against sounding like a lunatic for the time being. I’d prefer to talk to my mom or Katie about that. He probably wouldn’t believe me, and think I was being kooky Roxy.
Making my way over to him, I sat down with what I considered was appropriate space between us. When I pulled my legs up and crossed them, there was at least an inch. Plus, if I leaned back, it would be against his arm.
Why was I even thinking about this?
“What are you watching?” I asked, picking at the hem of my pants.
One shoulder rose in a shrug. “Looks like an infomercial for music of the eighties. Thinking about buying it.”
I snorted. “I don’t even own a CD player.”
He sent me a sideways glance. “You don’t own a DVD player either.”
When I’d been in his apartment, he’d had an impressive collection of DVDs. Not that I got a chance to scope them out, but I bet he had every movie from the last two decades. “Why would I, when I have On Demand?”
Shaking his head, he picked up his glass. “You don’t have a DVD collection and you still got your momma making tea for you. What am I doing here?”
“Whatever!” I smacked his thigh—his extremely hard thigh. Wow. My fingers tingled when I drew my hand back. “How do you know I didn’t make that tea?”
“It tastes just like your mom’s tea,” he countered, blue eyes twinkling. “Plus, the last I remember, your sweet tea tastes like watered-down engine fuel.”
A laugh burst out of me. “It does not.”
He arched a brow.
“Okay. Fine. The ratio of tea to sugar always throws me off.”
Reece chuckled. “You know, I was being serious about learning how to shoot a gun earlier. It’s just a smart thing to do.”
“I don’t know. Guns . . . I don’t have a problem with them, but they scare me,” I admitted. “It’s having the power to end a life in your hands. All you have to do is pull a trigger.” I shook my head. “That’s just . . . that’s just too much power.”
“Babe, you damn well know a rock in the hands of the wrong person can change lives, end them even. A gun is no different.”
Unsettled, I had to admit that he was right. But guns were also a part of his life and they weren’t a part of mine. Growing up, Dad had hunting rifles, but I rarely ever saw them. He kept them locked up, and never once did it cross my mind to get one for myself.
“You just have to be responsible,” he continued. “Just think about it. For me?”
“I’ll think about it.” Smiling, I looked at the TV. Some dude with a Mohawk was waving a CD around. “So, what were you doing at your dad’s house?”
Reece took a long drink and as he sat the glass down, the ice clinked around. A moment passed, and I wanted to kick myself. Reece . . . yeah, he was never a fan of talking about his dad. Shock rippled through me as he looked over at me and answered a second before I tried to change the subject.
“Divorce Number Three.”
I gaped at him. “What? When did this happen?” That was kind of a stupid question, because I hadn’t exactly been friendly with him for the last eleven months.
“You know, I really don’t know. Everything was fine at the beginning of summer. He and Elaine were going on vacation in Florida.” He tipped his head back against the cushion, flipping his gaze to the ceiling. He barked out a short laugh. “Then again, Dad doesn’t know how to be up front about anything. So him telling me or Colton that things were good doesn’t mean shit. The man’s nothing but a liar.”
I pressed my lips together for a moment. “Did he say what happened?”
His gaze returned to me. “What do you think?”
A sigh rose. “Did he cheat on her?”
“Yep.” A second passed and then I felt his hand in my hair, causing me to suck in a short breath. The touch was light, as if he was just running his fingers over it, but every cell in my body became hyperaware. “With a younger woman he met on a business trip. Told me that it was only a one-night thing and that Elaine was overreacting.”
“Overreacting to being cheated on? How does one overreact to that?”
“You know my dad. The man knows no wrong,” he said, shaking his head. “While I was there, he left his cell phone on the hood of his car. The thing rang. A woman’s name was on the screen. Never heard of her before. I’d bet my savings account it was the ‘one night stand’ chick. I’m not surprised his marriage is ending that way. By the time my mom wised up and left his ass, he’d been with five other women. And not a ‘wham, bam, thank ya ma’am’ kind of thing either. Five other relationships.”
“That’s so sad,” I murmured, lowering my chin. Franklin—his father—was a habitual cheater. At least, that’s what I had heard his mom saying once. “I’m sorry. I know you’re older now, so is Colton, and maybe it doesn’t hurt as much as it did when you were younger, but it still sucks.”
Instead of denying it, he smiled softly. “Yeah, it does.” His fingers had left my hair, but his arm was still there, warm and beckoning me to lean back. “I didn’t get too close to Elaine, but she seemed like a good woman. She didn’t deserve that. No one does.”