Emma laughed. “No, instead you became a manwhore.”
“Hey now,” he replied, nudging her knee with his.
“How about a manwhore with a heart of gold?”
“That’s a little better.”
She smiled. “Thanks for giving me a shoulder to cry on.”
“I’m glad I could help.”
They sat motionless for a few seconds, staring into each other’s eyes. Finally, Emma cleared her throat and stood up. “I guess I better head on home now.”
When she started past him, Aidan grabbed her arm. “Why don’t you come home with me tonight?” For a moment, he thought someone else was speaking. His voice sounded foreign to him, not to mention what it had suggested was a completely foreign notion to him. He rarely invited women to his home—it was always their place or a hotel room. Only long-time sexual partners crossed that barrier. But Emma was turning him into a total emotional pansy and making him break all his rules. First, he’d stayed the night with her, and now he was asking her to his house.
If he was surprised, Emma was floored. “W-What?”
“You know, so you don’t have to be alone with everything that’s happened today.”
“Are you sure?”
He nodded. “I could throw some steaks on the grill, or I could make us some pasta or shrimp scampi.”
“You cook?” she asked incredulously.
“Yes, smartass, I cook.”
“I’m impressed. I had no idea you were such a triple threat. I mean, culinary skills, being master of the universe at work, and of course we can’t forget your bedroom talents.”
He laughed. “I’m full of surprises, babe.”
She nibbled on her bottom lip, and Aidan was sure she was waging a battle with herself on whether she should take him up on his offer. “Are you sure you wouldn’t mind?”
“I’m positive. We can just hang around and relax.”
“That sounds heavenly.”
“Meet you outside in ten?”
Emma nodded. “Want to give me directions or just follow you?”
“I can just take you and bring you back to your car.”
“Oh no, that’s too much trouble.”
“Em, it’s fine. Why don’t you meet me downstairs in fifteen minutes?”
“Okay, that sounds good.”
Emma’s mind raged war on herself the entire elevator ride back down to her floor. You’re breaking all your rules going to his house! Remember your ‘get in, do the deed, and get out’ mantra? Agreeing to let him cook for you and try to console you is sure as hell not a part of that. You’re going to regret this! She had become her own worst enemy.
“Enough!” she shouted just as the elevator doors opened. The two women waiting to get on gave her a strange look. She ducked her head and then power walked to her office. Grabbing up her purse and bag, she slammed and then locked the door.
Once she got downstairs, she paced around the lobby. Just when she thought about bailing on Aidan to preserve her own sanity, he appeared before her. “Sorry I kept you waiting.”
“Um, no, it’s fine.”
She followed him out the side door to the parking deck. When the keyless entry in his hands flashed the lights of a coal black Mercedes convertible, she gave a low whistle. “Nice car, Mr. Fitzgerald.”
Aidan chuckled. “Thank you, Miss Harrison.”
“I’m impressed I get to be escorted in such style.”
He shook his head. “There you go with that mouth again.”
Emma tossed her bag on the floorboard and then slid across the leather seat. Besides the fact it cost twice as much as her Honda, it was impeccably clean on the inside. Not a crumb or spec of dust could be found while in her car a small village could have been fed by leftover food of grabbing breakfast or dinner on the run.
“Mind if I put the top down?”
“No, please do. It’s beautiful out today.”
Aidan hit a button on the console, and the roof started to retract. As they exited the parking deck, Emma dug in her purse for a clip. After sweeping her long hair back, she closed her eyes and let breeze wash over her.
“Don’t tell me I’m so boring you’re going to sleep on me?”
Emma giggled. “I’m sorry. I was just resting my eyes for a minute.”
They weren’t on the interstate long before Aidan got off on an exit. When he pulled into an older, established neighborhood, Emma turned to him in surprise. “You live here?”
He chuckled. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess I saw you living in a sleek and trendy apartment building with a swinging bachelor pad.”
“Well, if you want the truth, I used to live in, as you say, a sleek and trendy apartment building, downtown. But then my sister, Angie, who is a real estate agent, convinced me that I needed to stop throwing money away renting and make an investment in some property. Somehow she smooth talked me into to buying in our other sister, Becky’s, neighborhood.” He glanced over at her and grinned. “I think it was more on the pretense of them being able to keep tabs on me, but it evens out because I get a lot of free meals.” He pointed to the left at an enormous two-story colonial with a wrap around front porch. “That’s Becky’s.”
“Thanks,” Aidan replied, making another turn. “She needs a big house to keep the monsters in.”
“My three nephews.”
Emma giggled. “I see.”
Aidan eased into the driveway of a two-story brick house with white columns. Emma’s jaw dropped at how typically un-Aidan the house appeared. All that was lacking was a white picket fence with toys strewn about, and he would look like a regular suburban husband and father.
After Emma got out of the car, she walked out of the garage and widened her eyes at the emerald green grass and multicolored flowers. “Wow, did you do all this?” she asked, motioning to the immaculately kept lawn.
Aidan snorted. “Oh God no. I can’t grow anything but a little mold in my refrigerator. My dad is the one with the green thumb. Not only that, but he’s retired, so it’s his mission in life to do yard-work for his kids.”
“That’s really sweet of him.” She followed Aidan up the front porch steps and into the house. He punched in the code for the alarm when it started beeping. She tried not to show her surprise as she took in the wide-open floor plan of the living room. Floor to ceiling windows bathed the room in light, and high wooden beams crisscrossed over the ceiling. Considering what she had first thought of him, she expected furniture that was functional, modern, yet cold. Nothing like the warm overstuffed chair and love seat or the antique quilt swept over a couch. “Did you have a decorator?” she asked as she trailed behind him into the kitchen.
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