Neva stared helplessly at her sister.
“So?” Kaitlyn was literally bouncing. “What did you think?” She clapped her hands lightly and looked at Neva, her eyes not so unlike her own.
Neva swallowed and then pretended to think it over for a long moment.
“Well..” she hesitated on purpose. She saw Kaitlyn go still, her smile dropping.
Neva grinned and looked right at her. “He is amazing!”
Kaitlyn looked stunned for a second and then gave her a smile so bright, Neva knew she could be potentially blinded. Kaitlyn threw her arms around her neck and squeezed her tight. Her sore ribs protested lightly but Neva bit back the cry that threatened to pour out of her mouth.
She hugged Kaitlyn back and smiled through the discomfort and the slight pain that was now blooming at her side.
“I knew you’d like him!” She exclaimed loudly and then dropped a kiss on Neva’s cheek.
Neva smiled and then laughed a bit. “How could I not? He said he’d love to let me see the library at his home anytime I wanted.”
Kaitlyn giggled, the sound making Neva laugh even harder.
“Of course, that’s the only way any sensible guy can win your heart.” She winked at Neva.
“Oh yes. That’s the only damn way you could know they’re sensible in the first place.” She teased her right back, holding her mug of hot cocoa and seating herself comfortably on the couch in her living room. Kaitlyn grabbed the bag of chips from the shelf and made her way around the table, sitting down and curling her feet underneath her.
Neva turned to her and smiled, seeing her munching on a couple of chips already.
Kaitlyn could eat and eat and never have an issue of putting on the pounds while it was the complete opposite for Neva. One huge piece of chocolate cake and she could be a pound or two heavier. She sighed and shook her head. “I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I envy your metabolism so so much.”
In response, Kaitlyn leaned in and kissed her cheek again, making her smile.
“I love you too, sexy.”
Neva shook her head, “Shut up.”
Kaitlyn grinned. “So, how’s the applications going so far?”
Neva shrugged, “It’s going okay. I received a couple of responses pretty quickly, but they were looking for someone who’s experienced for a while. I need to look for positions that are more suited for my profile, given that I haven’t worked particularly as a Business Associate yet.”
She turned fully to Kaitlyn, “How’s school been?”
Her sister sat up straight and nodded her head, “It’s good, just a bit crazy with everything moving so fast. Graduation is looming up ahead already and I’m preparing for it. I don’t think I can afford to waste any time at the moment.”
Neva took a sip of her cocoa. “I’m proud of you, Kate. You know that, right?”
Kaitlyn’s eyes went soft. “Thanks, Neva.” Scooting closer, she wrapped her arm around her shoulder, resting her head on the other side. “I love you, Nev.” She lifted her head and looked up, “And I’m so happy to have you back.”
Neva swallowed through the sudden lump that formed in her throat.
It was a long time before Kaitlyn let go of her. When she left for the evening, Neva cleaned up a little bit, making sure that she had everything in place before she turned on her laptop again and began browsing the open positions available.
She was smart. She was hard-working. Yes, she lacked experience. But she would make it up. She would do whatever it took to get her life back on track. She owed it to herself. She deserved to get a second chance and a shot at putting the pieces of her heart back together.
She began looking for companies local to the area she was now residing in. It would certainly be good to get a job that she could commute to. At least till she could buy a car for herself. She didn’t have much in her savings, given that she’d had to quit her job at the bookstore when the incident had happened.
She tried not to think about it as much as she could.
Sometimes, late into the night, nightmares drove her sleep away. She’d wake up, breathing hard, her chest feeling constricted, the side of her face tingling as though he had just slapped her, like he’d done when he was pissed about something. She’d had to remind herself to breathe. To not grip the sheets so tight, her fingers hurt. She never dared turn off the nightlamp in her room. She had grown accustomed to sleeping with it on through the night.
Kaitlyn didn’t know about this and Neva didn’t plan on telling her about it anytime soon.
She was dealing with it in the way she could. At least, that’s what she kept saying to herself, praying that it would soon be her reality.
It had been just two months now, so she still expected the best. It was too early to consider the damage permanent.
She began typing out some keywords looking for anything she could find that would be helpful in her search. Taking a pen and a notebook, she jotted down the names of a few companies that she thought might be a good fit.
When she was done with her list, she began editing her resume.
A knock at her door made her pause.
She looked at the screen of her phone. There wasn’t any message from Kaitlyn.
Cautiously, she made her way to the door and lifted herself up on her toes to peer into the peephole. It took her a moment to recognize him.
Her heart lurched in her chest, beating wildly.
Grayson was here.
Through the rapid palpitations, she noticed the first inkling of pleasure creeping up on her. She realized she was happy to see him. On her face, a smile was already forming.
She unlocked the door and swung it open.
He stood tall and handsome, dressed in a casual shirt and snug jeans. His green eyes focused on her and the corner of his mouth lifted in greeting. “Hi.” His voice made something in her stomach settle.
Neva felt her breathing quicken.
“Hey.” She responded, her cheeks flaming when she heard the high-pitched sound that was her answer.
His grin turned slightly wide and he took a small step toward her.
“Can I come in?”
Neva felt embarrassment take over. “Of course,” she said hurriedly, stepping aside and letting him walk in.
She watched him take in her apartment, his head swiveling as he made his way further. “This is for you.” He said slowly, turning back to look at her.
It was only then that Neva noticed the brown package in his hands.
He held it out to her.
“What’s that?” she asked softly.
“A housewarming present.” He gave her a solemn look, but Neva noticed the slight smile in his gaze.
She accepted it and placed it on the tabletop.
“Thanks.” She smiled at him, noticing how his eyes never left hers. It was beginning to make her feel unnerved. Reaching inside the bag, she took out the package and smiled when she saw a chocolate cake.
When she looked up at him, her smile turned wider. “It’s chocolate.”
Grayson smiled back this time, “Does that mean you like it?”
She laughed, “I love anything chocolate.”
He leaned against the table, “I’m really happy to hear that, Neva.” The way he said her name made the butterflies in her belly take flight.
He took a step toward her, “Now for the idea I had.”