Good Girl Page 33

Especially when I see she’s holding out a cocktail, a sweet little smile on her face. The whole thing feels rather…domesticated.

What game is she playing?

“Sorry it’s not water,” she says, her eyes drifting over me. “You look…”

I don’t have to glance down to know how I look. “Sweaty?”

She merely smiles, drink still outstretched, and I reluctantly take it from her, letting my fingers brush hers just to see what happens. But if she notices my touch she doesn’t say anything, because she’s picked up my iPhone, where I’ve been referencing the instructions on the swing.

Jenny glances from my phone to the worktable. “Is this what you’re making?”

“Probably not a good sign if you have to ask.”

“No, I see it,” she murmurs, running a hand over the wood. I tell myself it doesn’t matter what she thinks, but my eyes track hers hungrily anyway, wanting—needing—someone to validate that I’m not wasting my time.

“Are you going to hang it?” she asks, looking back up at me. “Here at the house?”

“Depends if it turns out.”

“It will,” she says confidently. “My grandparents had a swing just like this. Sat on it every night while sipping their evening cocktail.”

She glances down again, running a finger along one of the slats that will make up the bench seat. “So what’s the story here? You have one in your childhood?”

My laugh is harsh. “No.”

The trailer park didn’t have porch swings. Or porches. Come to think of it, this finished swing will probably be half as big as the “home” I grew up in.

And as far as my dad’s house went, he and his ex wouldn’t have been caught dead with something as quaint as a swing, or even a porch. Their house was a modern affair that would have been just as at home in California or Chicago as Baton Rouge. Not quite ostentatious, but big and generic as hell.

Her eyes are studying me, and her gaze is too shrewd, too knowing, as though she senses that some part of me wants the picture she painted about her grandparents and the swing and watching the sunset on a lazy summer night.

I’m not ashamed of wanting it, but I’ve got zero intention of spilling my guts to a girl who’s merely playing house for a few months until she goes back to Hollywood or wherever.

And yet she wants to buy this house.

I push the thought—and what it might mean—aside.

“What’s with this?” I lift the glass in question.

“Oh.” She blushes a little. “I just…it’s five o’clock somewhere, right?”

I don’t let her off that easily. “Why’d you make one for me?”

She takes a small sip. “Never drink alone?”

Another evasion. She’s nervous.

She’s also up to something.

“What are you playing at here, princess?”

“If you don’t want the drink, you can just say so,” she snaps, stepping forward to take it out of my hand. “I’m sure I can find another guy whose arm I won’t have to twist to have a drink with me.”

Over my dead body.

I lift the glass to my lips before she can snatch it back. It’s good. A little sweeter than I’d normally go for, but the whisky in there makes it tolerable.

“It’s a whisky sour,” she says, watching me. “My grandparents had one together every night before supper.”

“The porch swing grandparents?” I ask, before I can remind myself that I don’t care, and that exchanging small talk with Jenny Dawson over cocktails seems as strange as it does…nice.

“Yeah,” she says with a little smile. “Ironic, really, that I decide to make this drink on the same day you decide to make the porch swing. Our timing is off—I should have waited to bring you a drink on the day the swing was finished and hung so we could have enjoyed it.”

The mental image of sharing a drink with Jenny Dawson and all her warm laughter and gentle voice is more appealing than it should be, and also so fucking unrealistic that I strike.

“Your cocktail’s not half as good as your blow job,” I say, taking another sip of the drink.

Fuck. Fuuucck.

Jenny looks stunned, but only for a second, because the shock’s replaced almost immediately by hurt, and I just…Fuck.

Without a word, she turns on her heel and leaves the work shed.

I swear again, rubbing a hand over the back of my neck, trying to convince myself that it’s better this way, better if she hates me, because then she won’t get any ideas. And I won’t either.

But the pain in her eyes…

I can’t.

“Jenny,” I call. “Hold up.”

She doesn’t, of course, doesn’t even slow down as she strides back toward the house. But she’s in high platform sandals that slow her pace, so I have the advantage. I catch up to her easily. “Jenny.”

She ignores me, and I maneuver myself in front of her so that her options are to run into me or stop.

She stops.

But she doesn’t meet my eyes, and then I hear it…

A sniffle.

My stomach bottoms out, and before I can think better of it, I’m reaching out, hooking my forefinger under her chin and pulling her face up to mine, hoping I’m wrong.

I’m not.

Jenny Dawson is crying.

She jerks her head back and wipes angrily at the tears on her cheek. I guess anger is better than hurt, but the fact that she doesn’t want me to see her cry makes it all the more devastating.

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