Home > Love with Me (With Me in Seattle #11)(4)

Love with Me (With Me in Seattle #11)(4)
Author: Kristen Proby

Because hello, abs aplenty. Like, he has enough for about three people.

It’s not fair.

“Why are you staring at me like that?” he asks, pulling me out of my ab-fog.

“I’m not staring at you,” I lie, taking the plate from him and dishing up his food, then trading him for an empty plate to do the same for myself. “Do you want extra parmesan?”

“Duh.” He reaches for the tub of shredded cheese and dumps it onto his pasta, then joins me at the table. Nancy immediately rests her chin on my thigh, waiting patiently for a handout.

“So, what do you want to do tomorrow?” I ask and take a bite of the chicken smothered in sauce and cheese, then let out a long moan of delight. “God, I’m hungry.”

I glance up to see him frown, his fork halfway to his mouth.

“Well? What do you want to do tomorrow?”

“Whatever you want,” he says, diving in for another bite.

“We could go browse through Pike’s Market. Or go to the Pop Culture Museum. I heard they have a Marvel exhibit. Oh! We could take Nancy to the new dog park over by your house.”

“Sure.”

“To which one?” I lower my fork and study him. He’s quiet, and he doesn’t look at me. Of course, he’s had a shit day.

“I’m fine with any of them, Joy. Honest.”

I take a bite of pasta, then whip my scrub top over my head, tossing it onto an empty chair. I’m left in my white cami. “Cooking always makes me hot.”

“I already put your laundry in.”

My gaze meets his, and I’m surprised to find a little frustration and something else that I haven’t been able to put a label on these past few weeks.

It can’t be lust. I’m the one who’s pined after Jace for years, not the other way around.

“It’s okay, I’ll do another load later.”

He shakes his head and finishes the food on his plate, then carries it to the kitchen, rinses it, and stacks it in the dishwasher.

I slip a small piece of chicken to Nancy and laugh when she resumes her position on my thigh. I’ve taught her manners but haven’t been able to break her of begging.

“Hey, I hate to eat and run, but I’m going to head out,” Jace says, reaching for his keys. “Thanks for dinner. It was excellent as always.”

“Okay.” I swallow and frown. “Well, since we didn’t decide on an activity for tomorrow, why don’t I just meet you at your place at ten and we’ll go from there.”

“See you then.” He shoots me a half-smile, waves over his shoulder, and walks out the door. I sit back in my chair, chewing my food, and reach down to pet Nancy on the head.

What in the world was that all about?

“Saturday,” my sister, Noel, says in my ear. I’m driving to Jace’s house, and Noel has called with an emergency.

“I’m on call this Saturday,” I reply.

“This is the semi-annual sale,” she says as if that trumps my animal clinic. “We have to go.”

“You can totally go,” I insist. “Noel, the only reason I go is so I can buy something I don’t need and get you more rewards points.”

“Exactly. It’s the last weekend for the sale, and we have to go.”

“No can do, sis. Sorry.”

She sighs heavily, making me smile. My sister is one year older, to the day, and my closest friend. We also couldn’t be more different.

“Why are you so good at adulting?” she asks, disappointment heavy in her voice. “And why can’t you have a regular job like the rest of us?”

“I’ve always been a bit different,” I murmur as I turn down Jace’s street. “You’ll go find some cool things.”

“But it won’t be as fun without you,” she says. “Let’s get together for dinner one night, then.”

“I can do that. Just text me.”

I cut the engine, end the call, and frown at the red convertible Mini Cooper in Jace’s driveway.

Shit.

Is this a booty call that hasn’t left yet? Did he forget that I was coming over this morning?

He didn’t sound particularly excited about hanging out with me today. Maybe he feels like I’m forcing him to go look at Captain America at the Pop Culture Museum.

“I’m so stupid.” I groan and lay my forehead against the steering wheel. It’s probably not a booty call. It’s just a person.

Jesus, why am I always overthinking everything? Always.

I reach for my bag, lock the car, and ring Jace’s doorbell.

“Hey, sugar,” Wyatt, Jace’s brother, says when he opens the door with a smile.

“Hi there,” I reply and walk right into his arms for a hug. Being best friends with Jace means that I’m close to his family, as well. “I’ve come to take Jace’s mind off of serious things for today.”

“Excellent,” he says with a grin.

“Where is he?”

“I’m here,” Jace says as he walks into the room, pulling a shirt over his head and giving me a peek at those lickable abs.

Damn.

I glance at Wyatt and connect the dots.

“Wait. Is that your car in the driveway?”

“Yep, I bought it for Amelia yesterday.”

I frown. “Did you at least know that Lia wanted that car first? Or did you spring it on her? Because women still want a say in what they drive.”

“She went with me.” He glares at me. “You always bust my balls, Joy Thompson.”

“It’s what I do and who I am, thank you for noticing.” I offer him a deep bow, making him laugh. “And I like the new car. It’s super cute.”

“She looks hot in it.” Wyatt wiggles his eyebrows. “And I need to go pick up my fiancée so we can go to the florist and finalize the flowers for the wedding.”

“How many days do you have left?”

“Six,” he says immediately. “And it can’t get here fast enough.”

“You guys are adorable.” I prop my hands on my hips and smile at him. “Aren’t they, Jace?”

“The cutest,” Jace says, smiling at his brother, who flips him the bird.

“On that note, I’m out of here.” Wyatt says goodbye and leaves me alone with Jace.

“Good morning,” I offer.

“’Morning. Do you need coffee?”

“Like I need air,” I reply, following him into his kitchen where he already has my favorite mug waiting for me. It says: Good morning. I see the assassins have failed.

“It never gets old,” I say with a chuckle as he pours the cream in, just the way I like it. “Thanks. Did you sleep at all?”

“A bit, in my office,” he says, sipping his own coffee. “I was reading through the records again. There’s just nothing there, Joy.”

“Because you didn’t do anything wrong.” I walk up beside him, mirroring the way he’s leaning back against the countertop, both of our arms folded, each of us drinking from our mugs. “The family is grieving, and sometimes the anger brings on something like this.”

“Have you ever been sued?”

“No, but I’ve been threatened with it,” I confess, and shrug when he stares down at me.

“Seriously?”

“Of course. When a pet dies unexpectedly, it’s like a family member has died for many people. It’s sad. But today, we’re going to have fun.”

“What did you decide on?”

“Well, first, I need to make sure that you want to do this. You didn’t seem so sure last evening.”

“I definitely want to.”

“Okay. We’re going skydiving.”

He freezes. “Uh—”

“Kidding.” I bump his hip with mine, making him laugh. “I know you hate heights.”

“You’ll pay for that.”

I smirk. “Sure, I will. You know what, why don’t we just head downtown and we’ll just make it up as we go?”

“Let’s do it.”

~Joy~

Downtown Seattle is bustling for a late Thursday morning. Then again, I don’t think this city is ever truly quiet. Even on Sundays, there are races and other events happening, especially along the waterfront.

   
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