I open and close the car door for Willow and try to calm myself down. I went from wanting to fuck her to wanting to strangle her for gossiping about me. Jesus fuck, I don’t need this shit right now.
I knew to expect some social circles to gossip, and guess as to why, a man, like me, one who is at the top of his career would walk away and start a new path. I knew people would assume I’m sick, going crazy, looking at starting another firm, joining the dark side, fuck only know what people will think. I don’t give a fuck about that. What I do give a fuck about is people guessing and talking about my personal and sex life.
I fasten my seatbelt and decide not to look over at Willow. I can feel her staring at me. I pull out into traffic and start the twenty-minute drive to our part of town.
After a few minutes of silence, she asks, “Why didn’t you take an Uber? I like this car, what model is it?”
“It’s a Porsche. I decided to swing by after visiting with my mother.”
“Oh that’s nice, did you have a nice visit? She must live close by, do you see her often?”
She fires off twenty questions. I realize the topic of my mother didn’t come up last night. Our conversation didn’t make it past her children and my pain in the ass, Ryan. “Mom lives in a condo over in the Portland district. I grew up in that area of the city. She’s eighty-two, and I had to force her to move into the condo. Our old house was too much for her and because she refused to allow anyone in to help. She lives on a golf course, has a little dog that hates my guts, and I visit her every week when she is in town. She’s a snowbird, she’ spends half of the year in Miami. I speak to her daily, let me rephrase, I listen, and she speaks and bitches to me once a day over the phone.”
She giggles, and goddamnit, I look over. She’s smiling, and now I could care less about what the fuck people are gossiping about me.
“It’s nice you’re close to your mom.”
I shake my head, “She doesn’t give me a choice.” She laughs and nudges my arm. I ask, “Are you close to your parents?”
“I would be, but my mother died a few hours after I was born, and my dad dumped my sister and me off on my grandma and pap, my mom’s parents door, when I was one.”
“Shit, sorry, Willow.” I take her hand and hold it, squeeze it.
“That’s okay, thank you. I never met my mom, Lily. She died three hours after I was born, of an aneurysm. My parents met at a Grateful Dead concert in 1974 when they were both twenty-two years old. Mom was an only child; she went to college in Kentucky and saw life for the first time outside of the confines of small Roseway, Ohio. Grandma bragged how she flourished at school and how bright she was with her academics. Right after her college graduation, she followed The Grateful Dead. She met my jobless hippie father and became pregnant with my free-spirited sister, Violet. They decided to move to Roseway. My mom took a job as an elementary school teacher and much to my Grandma’s dismay, my dad, Casey, was a stay at home dad. Two years later, I was born, and mom passed.
“When I turned one, Casey left Vi and me on my Grandma and Pap’s doorstep and disappeared forever from our lives. Vi spent years trying to track him down after she graduated from college. She found out he moved to Seattle, Washington, shortly after leaving us in Ohio. But she couldn’t find anything else out, like where he went when he left Seattle in 1979. I have never missed him because I never knew him. Poor Vi, it still hurts her to this day. I guess that usual. She has vague memories of him. She remembers he loved to play dollies with her. My memories are only of Vi and Grandma Rosemary. I don’t even remember Pap Dan; he died when I was four. There is no need to feel sorry for me because I had a great loving childhood.”
I look over, she shrugs, “I never knew anything different, and it was a good life. Tell me about your dad, is he living?” She rubs her thumb across my knuckles.
“He passed ten years ago, heavy smoker, lung cancer took him when he was seventy-five.” I won’t elaborate any more on my father. What can I say, we had a fucked up complicated relationship, but we loved the hell out of one another.
“Were the two of you close?”
I bark out a laugh and swing the car in a parking spot in front of her house. “Unfortunately, yes, we knew entirely too much about each other’s business.” I leave it at that. I’m sure as soon as she starts questioning Lexi and who the fuck knows else, she’ll hear some crazy shit about my old man too.
I decide to get this night back in order. I unfasten our seatbelts, “Two things can happen right now, Willow. I can give you a good night kiss and pick you up at noon tomorrow or,” I kiss her parted lips. “Or, we could start our date now.” I put my hand in her hair to hold it away from her face so I can see her eyes. “What do you want, Willow?” My lips descend on hers again. Please fucking Christ, I hope she wants me to come inside and bury myself deep inside her.
She puts her hands on my face and whisper, “Now,” in-between kisses.
I have no idea why Aiden’s face became so hard when we talked about my dream in Lex’s bedroom. My guess is he was upset because he thinks I was asking around about him or worse yet that Lex was asking questions. Of course, she was and will probably continue because she’s my best friend. It’s what best friends do; it is their job. I think it’s clear now, after witnessing the transformation of Aiden’s handsome face, he doesn’t get that.
My stomach growls again, and I watch my face turn red in my vanity mirror—what a way to break the spell between us in my downstairs hallway. My stomach growled so loudly; I couldn’t pretend it didn’t happen. Aiden heard and demanded he fed me before we got carried away like last night. As soon as he left to pick up Chinese food, I’ve been holed up in my bathroom talking to myself.
I grab my hairbrush, bend, and brush my hair vigorously, bringing some life back to it after being outside in the wind and a three-hour nap. I hear the front door alarm beep. I gave Aiden the code to let himself inside.
I rush out of my first-floor master bed and bathroom and meet him in the living room. “That smell so good, I’m past starved, here.” I take the bags from him.
“When was your last meal? I hope not our pizza last night.”
I smile and wink, “It was our pizza. I ate the last piece after my run this morning.” I sit out plates, silverware, and place everything down on the island. “Thank you for going out and picking this up.” I dig into the bags and open containers.
“My pleasure.” He opens a beer, loads his plate, and sits down at the counter.
“I’m sorry ahead of time; I’m not going to eat ladylike, I’m too hungry,” I announce and shovel a massive bite into my mouth.
“I took your advice. I had a meal with Ryan today at the house. I only asked him a few questions, got his smart ass answers, and I let it go. We ate in silence.” He smirks.
I told him to try being in Ryan’s presence without questioning and lecturing him. I smile around my chopsticks, “Good.”
We are quiet while we both eat. After a few more bites, I slide my plate away, “That was yummy. I’ll order from there from now on.”
He pushes his plate away too. His hair is not fully waxed over tonight like it always has been when I have seen him. Tonight his dark blond hair is lying on his forehead. I know why he wears the Pomade in his hair, his hair is curly. His thick bangs and the longer strands on top that are free from the gel are curling. He looks boyish with his hair loose, and stubble covering his chin. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him without his whiskers.
“What are you looking at, Willow? Do I have something on my face?”
I blink, “Sorry, no, I was looking at your hair.”
He chuckles. “Come here, Willow.”
He takes my hand, and I stand in front of him. He takes me into his arms, and I wrap my arms around him and press my lips on his. We slowly kiss, and soon, I’m lost to him and the feeling of his mouth on mine and his arms around me. I moan, “Mmmm, take me to bed now.”
He doesn’t utter a single word in response, only smiles against my lips.