Willow & Aiden After Forty

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Chapter 10

Aiden

My feet pound the pavement, I’ve already had one hell of a bad morning. I don’t know how much longer I can handle Ryan living under my roof. The little fucker is working every day. He’s made it a month now of working forty, fifty hours a week. No, it’s not his working situation that is the problem, it’s that the little fucker likes working at the auto mall.

Currently, he is living the life. He has a weekly paycheck, no bills, and he’s living in a prime fucking real estate. He’s eating and drinking free food and leaving his shit all over the house without a care. The little shit is now friends with Jill, my housekeeper. She’s picking up his garbage, babying him, and not helping my situation at all.

After hearing him come home last night, again, at one in the morning, I was so pissed off I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night. Finally, at breakfast, I let the prick have it. I asked him how much money he had saved, and when he answered two hundred dollars, I lost my shit. I laid down the rules. If he wants to continue to live under my roof, he has to pay me rent. I’m going to charge him almost all of his measly fucking paycheck. I didn’t tell him and don’t plan to say to him that I will give it all back to him once he moves out and onto a better life than washing cars for a living. Everyone the kid comes into contact with, at work or anywhere else, instantly takes a liking to him. He treats everyone but me with respect. He hates my fucking guts.

I slow my stride down when I see her, Willow. I see her running at least four, five times a week. I always slow down, change my direction, and run the trail behind her, following her path until she turns into the park. The woman is still clueless about her surroundings. I’ve made sure she doesn’t have anyone other than me watching her daily routine. I’ve seen enough shit in life to know you cannot go through it with blinders on. I could be a deranged, mentally ill man who has spotted her and is obsessed with her. She has made herself an easy target. For fuck’s sake, I can pass her, running the opposite way, and she never notices me or anyone else. She is in her own world.

I thought after we experienced sparks outside of The Outline, she would take notice and see me, but she is still completely oblivious. I quicken my strides and catch up with her and run up beside her.

We run for twenty paces before she looks over, stops suddenly, and smiles. “Hey you, how are you?” She breathes heavy.

I want to advise her about running daily in the park without noticing what the hell is going on around her. But once she smiles, one look at her pretty, pink, flushed face, I decide to wait until a different time to lecture her. “Hi Willow, it’s nice to see you again. How’s the new job at the bridal store?”

“I love it, and it’s going well. Thank you for asking Aiden. How’s your stepson?”

I don’t remember telling her Ryan was my stepson. She has asked some questions about me, good to know. “Ryan is currently alive,” I smile.

She shakes her head at me and mumbles, “Men,” under her breath.

She looks at her watch and bends down to touch her toes. Two thoughts enter my mind as she bends down, showing me her ass in her running pants. Is she trying to turn me on and play some fucked up head game with me, or is she completely fucking clueless about more than her surroundings? Fucking hell, she’s giving me all sort of dirty thought. She lays her palms flat on the ground, and I almost groan out loud. I’d love nothing more than to spank her little heart-shaped ass for many reasons.

She looks up and smiles, rises, and put her hands on her hips. “Are you running?” She gestures with her hand to my sweat pants.

“Yes, I run every day.” I raise my brow, hoping she’d stop to think back on one of the many times we have passed each other, wondering if she now will realize we see each other all the time.

No, she doesn’t; a pretty smile and a light of her green eyes tell me no, she has no clue. “Me too. If you want to chat right now, you can run with me. I don’t mean to be rude, but I need to keep to a schedule, and I need to get a move on. Do you want to join me?”

She starts to jog in place, and I nod my head yes, “Sure, but I don’t want to mess with your pace.” I quickly scan her sweet body in her tight running pants.

She shocks the shit out of me when she visually checks me out from top to bottom. “I’ll try not to go too fast for you.” She winks at me and jogs away.

I stand, still shocked at how bold she was in checking out my body and then saying she will slow down for me. Yeah, I definitely see me spanking her ass in the near future.

Willow

I wish I could wipe the smug smile off Aiden’s handsome face. When I went to turn on the center trail into the park, he nudged me with a smart ass, good looking grin, and ask me to run his morning route. I did, and now I’m about to fall to the ground. I just ran over six miles, and I’m at least a half-mile away from my house.

I stop running. I decide to walk the rest of the way back to my house. Aiden slows and walks beside me. “Don’t stop now, Willow. Push yourself, we’re almost there.” He grins, the jerk isn’t even sweating. His waxed hair isn’t even out of place.

“I need to walk; I only run three miles each day.” I look up at him. I know I have beads of sweat rolling down my face and neck. Hell, my whole body is sweating like it’s July instead of November. “I need to walk, Aiden. I’m good; you can keep going, I don’t want to put you off your run.”

He smirks, the man isn’t even winded. The only visible sign of him running six miles is the redness on his cheeks. “I’ll walk you home, Willow. You have quite a fast gait, how long have you been a runner?”

“My whole adult life, I don’t consider myself a runner. I’m not like a lot of people who do it to clear their minds. I do it to stay in shape. I look at it as a job, a chore. How about you, have you always been a runner?”

“No, I was an athlete in high school and college. It was when that part of my life was over, and in law school, I became a runner. I jog every day, no matter what. If I didn’t, it wouldn’t be pretty.” He checks his Apple Watch. “Willow, I have a meeting I need to prepare for. Would you like to have dinner with me?”

My tummy drops, and I break out in a new wave of sweat. “I, uh, sure, Aiden.”

He smirks at my stuttering, “I would like your opinion about the situation I find myself in at the moment, with Ryan.”

My cheeks turn pink. He wasn’t asking me out on a date, he wants advice about his stepson. This handsome, successful, tall, green-eyed man doesn’t want to date me; he just wants mom advice. I feel foolish for thinking otherwise. He is way out of my league. He doesn’t want to date a middle-aged woman. I bet he only dates younger women who are in their twenty and thirties.

I try to mask my disappointment. I’ve been foolishly daydreaming about my first date in twenty-seven years. My daydreams happen to be with the handsome Aiden Markley. “I work every night this week until close, till eight o’clock, so it will have to be next week.” I see my front door and stoop, and I almost cry with relief.

I stop in front of my house, “I know I’m off next Wednesday.”

“What about this Saturday night?”

He steps directly in front of me and looks down. My sweat-covered body chills, and I shiver. I look into his bright-green eyes, and they look amused. His cheeks are flushed red from running, and he has dark blond and gray stubble covering his square chin again today. I really like his nose, it fits his face, and it has a little crick in it. I bet it’s been broken before. His mouth curves into an ornery smile, and my eyes watch his full lips, mouth, and white teeth behind his whiskers.

“Willow,” he calls softly, and my gaze flies to him.

“Yes,” I answer.

He takes me off guard when he lifts me from underneath my arms and places me two steps up on the stoop, so we are eye to eye. “You would make a horrible witness, sweetheart. Saturday night, I’ll pick you up at eight-thirty for a late dinner.” He kisses my lips quickly, and without saying anything else, he jogs away.

My hands go to my lips, “Oh my god! I have my first date Saturday night!”

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