Anderson couldn’t believe his luck! The one woman he wanted to see and she was at his sister’s home. Xander had called and asked him to drive Evan Matthews to the gallery.
“Evvy deserves a break from the man. Can you drive him?”
“Sure. When should I pick him up?”
“My house ten-fifteen. Drive him up, feed him and make sure he is dressed appropriately. I have sent his tux to the gallery. Evelyn went up yesterday with Lauren to set it all up.”
“Okay, see you then.”
“Why are you here?” she asked, her voice passed over him and his tiger instantly calmed and purred. They were near their mate again. For the first time in weeks, he felt calm. It confirmed she was his mate, and he needed her.
“I am driving Mr. Matthews in my car. It is part of my new job,” he replied and watched Evan physically relax at his words.
“Are you okay?” he asked, she looked a little sickly pale and he could smell a change happening in her body. The smell was familiar but he couldn’t place it.
“Just fine,” she replied with a smile that didn’t reach her eyes. He wanted to go over and hold her in his arms, but they were in front of a client. He also wasn’t sure she wouldn’t slap him. He needed to get her alone and talk to her.
“Mr. Matthews are you ready to go?” he asked him. Evan nodded and stood.
“See you at the gallery, Evvy,” he said and walked out of the house. Unlocking his truck, he opened the passenger side door for Evan.
“I sit in the back,” Evan announced staring at the small back seat.
“Okay, but you might be more comfortable up front,” he replied.
“No thank you.” Anderson shrugged and popped the seat forward. He left it as is so Evan would have space and got into the driver’s seat.
“Do you need anything for the drive up?” he asked starting up the truck.
“A bottle of sweet tea and peanut butter crackers.”
“Okay, we can stop at a gas station and get it. You go in and I’ll get gas for the truck,” he explained and watched Evan gasp.
“You mean I have to go in and get it myself?” Anderson looked at him in the rearview mirror. He could see the shock and disgust in the man’s eyes. How had Evelyn dealt with him?
“Yes, that way we aren’t wasting time,” he replied.
“Ugh, well if I have to,” Evan whined and Anderson’s tiger bristled. The man was a spoiled brat. He stopped at his favorite gas station and hopped out of the truck. While he pumped gas, he watched Evan hop down from the truck and march into the quick mart. Anderson looked him over, he was much shorter than his six feet four inches and did not have much muscle tone. What did women see in the man? He’d done his research on him when Xander asked him to drive Evan to the gallery. He was very popular with women in their early twenties and sold almost all his work every time he had a show. He recognized a print from Evelyn’s apartment. The thought of her having a piece of his work bothered Anderson. With his truck filled, he moved to park out front and wait for Evan. He watched Evan walk up to the register and struggle to figure out how to pay for his items. The cashier had to help him, and Anderson rolled his eyes. The guy might be a genius painter, but he had no self-help skills. Evan walked out and climbed into the back seat of the truck.
“How old are you Evan?” he asked as he pulled out of the gas station.
“How long have you been selling your work?” Anderson realized he was almost ten years older than the boy at thirty-four.
“I was seventeen when I did a first art show.” Anderson put two and two together. He’d never been treated like an adult. Everyone did everything for him so he wouldn’t lose his creative process.
“Can I say something to you man to man?” he asked, pulling onto the highway.
“It might be in your best interest in learning how to do certain things for yourself,” he suggested. He waited a minute before looking back at Evan. He was sitting there with a confused expression on his face.
“Buying your own snacks. It would give you more control over your choices,” he offered as an example.
“Huh. Maybe. I enjoyed seeing all my options, and I picked a different snack than the peanut butter crackers,” Evan replied.
“Didn’t it feel good being in charge of your choices?” Anderson asked hoping he was getting his point across.
“It did. In fact, I will insist on it from now on. Thank you, Anderson.”
“You’re welcome.” They fell into a comfortable silence for the rest of their drive to the gallery. They made it by eleven-thirty. Anderson parked in the employee parking lot and got out. Evan followed and said,
“The other assistant said I needed to walk through and approve the setup.”
“Who?” Anderson asked.
“That woman you saw at Xander’s house,” Evan answered waving dismissively.
“You mean Evelyn? The one who has taken care of you these past two weeks?” he asked shocked Evan didn’t know her name.
“Yeah, I guess that is her. I need to check everything,” Evan replied, and Anderson’s tiger rumbled angrily in his chest. Evan gave him a shocked look.
“She isn’t an assistant. She is the manager. We will need to wait for her so you can let her know what needs to change,” he answered, angry Evan didn’t bother to learn her name. No wonder Evelyn had been frustrated and short with the others. This man was wearing on Anderson’s patience and they’d been together a little over an hour.
“I thought she was just an assistant. She spent most of her time answering my phone calls.”
“No. She was helping with you until I could come back and take over. I travel and meet with artists then help them here to show their art,” he explained.
“Oh.” Anderson shook his head and paused when he heard another car pulling up. He recognized Xander’s car with Evvy in the front seat. He felt a knot if jealousy form in his chest seeing her laughing at something Xander said.
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