Fall from India Place Page 35

Marco wasn’t even paying attention.

I relaxed somewhat at his utter lack of interest, jealousy slowly seeping out of me.

Yup. Definitely not just friends.

Damn him.

“So,” he said as he slipped back into the booth beside me, putting my wineglass gently down in front of me as he lightly gripped his pint of lager, “How was work?”

Small talk. Yes, I could do small talk.

I opened my mouth to speak but was immediately distracted by the arm he slid along the back of the booth we were sitting in. I felt surrounded.

What the hell did he just ask?

Work! Right, work. “Good.” I took a quick sip of my wine, hoping the alcohol would help me relax a little. “It’s busy and stressful, but I love teaching.”

“And you were always good at it.”

Not wanting to take another trip down memory lane so soon after our last one, I shrugged and then smiled coaxingly into his handsome face. “You seem to be doing well. Adam speaks highly of you. Says you’ll be a site manager one day.”

“That’s the goal. You work hard, you learn, you get there.”

I smiled softly. “You say you’ve changed, but you had that attitude when we were kids. You took those classes when you didn’t need to. You were always challenging yourself to be better.” Except when it came to me.

“Not always,” he replied pointedly, as if he’d just read my mind. “In that way I’ve changed. I go after what I want now, no matter what.”

I looked away before we ventured into dangerous territory. “How’s your aunt Gabby?”

“She’s good. Real good. Gio eased up on me a lot over the last few years and I know it’s mostly because of Gabby. I’m pretty close to her. It’s nice having family over here.”

“Do you still talk to your family in Chicago?”

“Sure. Magic of the Internet.”

“Of course. I’m glad for you. I’m happy that, for whatever reason, you’re not carrying around all that stuff your grandfather piled on you.”

“Thank you.” His eyes did that intense roaming of my face thing again and I had a sudden vision of throwing myself at him. I mentally slapped my wrist. “And what about you? How’s your family?”

“Really good. Ellie had a little boy, William. She’s pregnant with their second child. “

Marco raised his eyebrows. “Full house, huh?”

I laughed. “You have no idea. Joss and Braden have two kids now, Beth and Luke. My parents’ house is a zoo every Sunday.”

He grinned. “It sounds nice.”

“It is.”

“And your parents and Dec? How are they?”

“They’re well. At least I know my parents are. I wouldn’t know about Dec. He’s eighteen now and spends most of his time in his room with his girlfriend.”

“He’s got a girlfriend. He’s ahead of the curve.”

“Yeah, don’t tell him. He’s brainy and cute and an arrogant little bugger.” I groaned, but Marco smiled at the obvious affection in my voice.

“You always had a nice family, Hannah.”

“Yeah,” I agreed softly.

Marco tensed suddenly. “And Cole?”

I glanced up at him in confusion. “Cole?”

“The guy you were at the wedding with.” Marco shrugged. “Anisha told me who he was.”

“You certainly did your homework,” I murmured, taking another sip of wine. “Cole is Jo’s little brother. He’s my best friend. He’s… been there for me.”

Marco frowned at my answer, not seeming to like it much. “But you’re not together.”

“No, it’s not like that between us.” I put my glass down, my gaze on the table. “Maybe we should steer clear of relationship talk.”

“That’s fine with me.” He tilted his head to the side, eyeing me through his narrowed gaze. “Is Finding Nemo still your favorite movie?”

I laughed at the randomness of the question, relieved by the subject change. “You remember that?”

“Of course.”

I shook my head. “I don’t know what my favorite movie is anymore.”

“We’ll need to do something about that.”

“I don’t know. I quite like not having an exact favorite. Is Training Day still yours?”

“Nah, that movie Lawless. Now that is a f**king movie.”

“I don’t think I’ve seen it.”

He smiled and even before he said the words I knew I’d just fallen right into his agenda. “Thursday night, your place, me, you and Lawless.”

I opened my mouth to shoot him down, but stalled when I saw the glimmer in his eyes. He was expecting me to say no, and it suddenly occurred to me that my refusal might reinforce the idea that I was scared of spending time with him. And he could only assume that my fear of spending time with him stemmed from my attraction to him.

I jutted my chin out defiantly. “It’ll need to be later on in the evening. I teach an adult literacy class on Thursday after school.”

Marco chuckled. “I know that. And there’s no need to sound so excited about spending time with me, by the way.”

“Spending time with you doing what?” a familiar voice asked.

I whipped my head around, tilting it back to stare up at Suzanne. I hadn’t seen her since our last night out together, but I wasn’t surprised to bump into her out on the town on a work night.

She raised an eyebrow. “Hi, stranger.” Her eyes moved quickly to Marco and lit up. “So who’s this then?”

“Suzanne.” I hurried to think of something to get her to leave. She was the last person I wanted around Marco. She had no filter whatsoever. “Uh… aren’t you with someone?”

“Date.” She jerked her head in the direction of the bar and I saw a good-looking blond guy watching us. Her gaze was still fixed on Marco as she leaned across the table, deliberately showing off as much of her cle**age as possible. Holding out a hand for him to shake, she said in a faux husky voice, “I’m Suzanne.”

Marco quickly shook her proffered hand. “Marco. I’m an old friend of Hannah’s.”

I stiffened as Suzanne froze at the name.

Right then I cursed our nights at university together, especially the night we got rip-roaring drunk and Suzanne asked me if I was a virgin because I hadn’t slept with any boys at college yet. Drunk and overly emotional I told her about my night with Marco and how I never wanted to let myself be vulnerable with the wrong guy again.

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