The shower is hot and perfect and I stay under the water a good ten minutes longer than I need to before washing my face, shaving my legs and turning the water off.
I dry my body, blow my hair dry and pull on a tank and short shorts before climbing onto my bed and tug my iPad to me to go over the schedule for the rest of the month.
My phone is mocking me. Mark’s number is right there. How many times over the past ten years did I lie in bed at night and wish with all my might that I could call him and hear his voice just once?
After two years I mustered up all of the nerve I could and dialed his number, but it had been disconnected.
And now I have his number and he encouraged me to call.
I bite my lip and lift my phone, staring at his number in my contacts. He not only punched in his number, but instead of typing in his whole name, it just says, M.
I swear I can hear my mother in my head saying, “You only live once, baby girl. Just call the boy.”
Before I can second-guess myself, I press the green send button and hold my breath as I wait for him to answer.
But he doesn’t. An automated voice comes on the line saying that the person at this number isn’t available.
I end the call rather than leave a message. My shoulders sag in disappointment, but I shrug one shoulder and set my phone aside then return my concentration on my iPad.
Less than one minute later, my phone rings.
“Tell me this is Meredith,” he says. He’s panting and I can’t help but wonder what he’s been doing.
“What if I say it’s not Meredith?” I ask with a grin.
“Then I’ll be pissed that I ran away from remodeling my bathroom to call this number back. I need my shower back.”
I have a shower you can use.
I almost say it out loud but catch myself. We’re not there yet.
“Remodeling your bathroom, are you?”
“So this is Meredith then?”
“Like you couldn’t recognize my voice.”
He chuckles and I hear him swallowing. God, I bet his throat looks amazing when he drinks water.
“You said I should call,” I begin a bit uncertainly.
“Yes, I did. Do you have plans tonight?”
I look around my bedroom and laugh in spite of myself. “Yes, I’m in bed working.”
“Hmm, dancing in bed is always fun.”
“No, the business side of it, funny guy.” Oh, how I’ve missed this funny side of him. “I was going to call it an early night.”
“Running in the morning?”
“You remember my running routine?” I ask in surprise.
“I remember everything, M.”
I bite my lip as tears fill my eyes. “Me too.”
“I work tomorrow,” he mutters and I can just hear the wheels turning in his head. “But I am free tomorrow night and I have the day after off.”
“My schedule is the same,” I reply.
“I’ll pick you up tomorrow evening around seven?”
I pause, the words come over now hovering on my tongue, but I suppose I can wait until tomorrow to see him.
I’ve waited for ten freaking years.
“Yes, that’s fine.”
“Great. I’ll see you then.”
“Wait, I need to give you my address.”
“You’re not at your mom’s?”
“No, I sold the house. I’m in Seattle. Jax and I share an apartment not far from the studio. It’s easier.”
“You share an apartment with Jax?” His voice is suddenly harder and I can’t help but smile in satisfaction.
I’m not the only one who’s jealous.
“Yes, we do. Different bedrooms, M.”
“Okay. Text me your address and I’ll see you tomorrow night.”
“Are you sure about this?” My voice is quiet.
“Never been more sure.”
“Okay.” I nod once. “It’s a date.”
Twelve hours. I only have to get through the next twelve hours and I’ll have Meredith all to myself.
Jesus, I’m so fucking nervous it’s ridiculous. I’ve been with my share of women over the past decade, and not one of them made my palms clammy or my stomach clench.
Because they didn’t matter.
And Mer matters.
I pull up to the construction site and park. I’m early, as usual. I want to check the site, progress and quality of work being done before the rest of the crew arrives.
I’ve worked as a site foreman for Isaac Montgomery since I moved back home almost two years ago. I love my job. I’m fucking good at my job. I have an excellent crew, but I don’t put up with bullshit, and they know it.
It works well for us.
Just as I make a full circle around the outside of the multi-million dollar home we’re building just north of Seattle on the coast, Isaac pulls up in his truck.
“Not in your office today?” I ask and cross to him. He’s holding two Starbucks cups and passes one to me.
“On site today. Brynna has the office covered.” He shakes my hand and glances up to the house. “This is coming along nicely.”
“Thanks. I was just about to go inside. Want the grand tour?”
“Let’s do it,” he agrees and follows me through the front entrance. The door hasn’t been hung yet, and when I glance around the inside of the great room, my eyes narrow menacingly.
“Fuck,” Isaac whispers.
Someone snuck in during the night and spray painted one of the walls with gang graffiti. Thankfully, the drywall hasn’t been hung yet either, and we can easily cover this up.
“Fucking kids,” I growl and shake my head.
“I’ll call Matt and have him arrange to have this neighborhood patrolled more regularly,” he says grimly, referring to his younger brother, one of Seattle’s best detectives.
“I’ll make sure the doors and windows are installed today so it’ll be locked up from now on,” I reply.
Isaac nods and follows me as I walk through the eight thousand square foot home.
“This is going to be impressive,” Isaac says.
“I agree. It’s one of the biggest I’ve ever built, that’s for sure.” When we walk back out through the front entrance, we both sit on the temporary concrete steps and sip our coffee. “How are the other sites coming along?”
“No complaints today,” he replies and then shakes his head. “Except that remodel at Alki. The owner has changed her mind on the master shower four motherfucking times.”