Home > Man Candy(10)

Man Candy(10)
Author: Melanie Harlow

Now I was even more embarrassed than I’d been in the first place. Jesus, this was twice now he’d turned me down. Twice!

I flopped facedown on my couch.

I’d been so proud of myself for playing it nice and cool, then I ruined everything by trying to get him to kiss me!

Ugh, he was probably downstairs laughing his ass off, and up here I was all hot and bothered by how close he’d been to me. Even closer than the night of the doomed seduction, his entire body grazing against mine.

Holy smoke, his body.

I was dying to know if it would look as good naked as it appeared in photos. Did it really have all those ridges and lines? Was his skin really that smooth and perfect? He’d been so close I could smell his soap.

Or maybe that was his hair product. Yeah, he looked like the kind of guy to have hair products—pomades and waxes and gels and pastes—I bet he spent more time in front of the mirror than I did.

Whatever it was, he’d smelled good enough to eat. I’d wanted to take a big old bite out of him. And I would have too—that’s what made me even madder. If he’d have kissed me, I’d have dropped that wine glass and jumped up on him like bacon grease hopping off the pan. We’d probably be fucking each other’s brains out on the kitchen floor by now, which sounded like a pretty good time.

So why hadn’t he done it? Was it his mission in life to torture me? Make me hot for him only to reject me again? OK fine, so ten years ago he’d been worried about crossing the line because of Alex or my parents or whoever, but what was his problem tonight?

He doesn’t have a problem. You do.

I howled into the cushion, kicking my feet and pounding my fists like a toddler throwing a tantrum. I didn’t care what Alex said—Quinn Rusek was a sadist. And this was the last time—the last time—I was going to let him make a fool out of me. No way would I agree to a date with him.

He’d probably stand me up anyway!

I dragged myself into the kitchen and poured another glass of wine (well, it was probably more like two glasses, but since it fit in a single big glass, I’ll call it one), then took my laptop into the guest room where I had my home office set up. I opened it, but instead of going to client files, I went right to Quinn’s Instagram account. His last post was a selfie (of course, did he take any other kind of picture?) with the MacArthur Bridge behind him that looked as if it had been taken on Belle Isle. Snow blanketed the ground and chunks of ice floated in the river, which stood out in the picture because it was the exact blue of his eyes. He wore a navy baseball cap with a white Old English D on the front, and the caption was just a hashtag: #BeautifulDetroit.

To the right were all the usual comments from friends, followers, and creepers, everything from a gazillion smiley-faces with hearts for eyes or blowing heart-kisses to marriage proposals, actual compliments like wow gorgeous pic, and just plain weird crap like do you like helicopter rides? next to a banana emoji. Lots of the comments were not in English, and I wondered if Quinn had actually picked up any foreign languages during the last ten years with all his traveling for work. I wondered what countries he’d been to, which were his favorites and why, and where he’d like to visit again.

But I couldn’t ask him those questions. Or any questions at all. My only mission for the next month where Quinn Rusek was concerned was to avoid him. Protect my dignity. And if my curiosity (or my desire) threatened to get the better of me, as it often did, I’d remind myself how I’d felt the night of the graduation party—rejected, ashamed, foolish. Since then, I’d been lied to, cheated on, and taken advantage of, but I’d never felt as heartbroken as I had the night Quinn turned me down. Why should I invite him to hurt me again?

Because he would. I knew he would.

They always do.

Don’t be drunk and depressing. Get to work.

After a big gulp of wine to fortify my strength, I closed out of Instagram without even scrolling down (I deserved a medal) and opened my work files, looking over my notes from a meeting I’d had with a new client this afternoon. My task was to create some content ideas that would increase brand awareness and grow potential customer engagement—pretty standard stuff.

But it was impossible to concentrate knowing he was right beneath me. Every noise had me wondering.

What was that thump? Did he drop something?

I hear hangers on the closet rod in the guest room down there. I bet he has so many clothes he needs two closets. Total peacock. (Never mind that I used two full closets too.)

Rod. Now I wonder what his rod is like.

Was that the front door closing? Where’s he going?

He’s back. Wonder if he got dinner. I’m hungry.

The toilet just flushed. Great, now I’m thinking about his rod again.

His bedroom TV is on. Wonder what he likes to watch at night. What if it’s porn? (That thought intrigued me so much, I went into my bedroom, lay down on the floor and pressed my ear to the hardwood.)

Nope. He’s catching up on Game of Thrones. Bummer. But also cool, because GoT is awesome. Wonder who his favorite character is. For a moment, I entertained a little fantasy about the two of us watching together, maybe even sitting on the couch, with a pizza and a bottle of wine on the table.

No. I bet he doesn’t even eat pizza.

Mmm, pizza.

I love pizza.

Hauling my tipsy ass off the ground, I gave up on work and went into the kitchen, where I found a French bread pizza in the freezer. I debated using the oven, since frozen pizza nuked in the microwave always turns out a bit soggy and flaccid, but decided I was too hungry to be picky. While it cooked, I studied the box. “French bread” was a bit of a stretch, and I wondered if it had been a marketing idea. (“I know!” I imagined someone saying in an advertising meeting. “Let’s call it French, that sounds fancier. Maybe they can make the one edge a bit bullet-shaped so it vaguely resembles a baguette, but make it wider, like a baguette after a piano was dropped on it.”)

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