“And you're here at eight in the morning because. . .” He draws out the last word, his voice climbing from baritone to soprano.
“Because I wanted to grab some old clothes to work in, something I don't care if it gets ruined.”
His eyes drift back to the paper in his hands as he gives it a flip to fix the fold in the top corner. “How did it feel yesterday?”
“What?” I ask with a flutter of surprise in my tone. “How did what feel?”
Does he know? My heart races at the thought.
The idea that my father is somehow working his way up to berating me about inappropriate behavior with his contractor is knifing me in the gut. I don't know why I feel so guilty about it, it's not like I'm a child. I'm an adult, a woman, I can do whatever I want with anyone I want.
But this isn't just about my father wagging a stern finger in my face. It's about Oliver's job. It's about not risking his career, his livelihood, everything he's worked so hard to achieve. The last thing I want is for my father to fire him because of me.
It can't happen again. I won't let it.
“How did it feel to actually work? I mean, you've basically spent your entire life in school. I've never really pushed you to do anything but learn.”
I relax a little, giving him a basic answer. “I think it was good. I helped rebuild the cabinets I broke.” I lazily pull open the fridge and take out the orange juice. “Today he said we'd sand and stain them.”
“Good. I really hope you learn something from all of this.”
I do my best to not roll my eyes. I know what he's trying to do, but I think he's really underestimating who I am. I guess that happens when you spend more time away from home than with your own daughter.
After years of choosing work over getting to know who I am as a person. I know it wasn't something he did on purpose. My father loves me, he loves his family, and all those hours were put in to give me this life.
My father thinks I don't appreciate everything he's given me. He thinks I take all of this for granted, but he's wrong. He just doesn't understand how hard it is to be on the outside. Being rich has never automatically put me in the popular crowd. Sometimes it did the complete opposite.
“If I get a chance today, I'll swing by and see how you're doing. I'll make sure you're not giving Oliver a hard time.” My father stands up, rolling his paper and sticking it under his arm. Sucking down the rest of the coffee in his cup, he sets the mug in the sink. “I’ve got to go, I'm supposed to meet your mother to pick out tiles for the bathroom at the new property.”
“Sounds fun,” I say, giving him a sarcastic grin.
He smiles back, arching his brows high. “Yeah, wish me luck. That woman can never make up her mind on a design.”
I watch him grab his keys and head out the door. I finally feel like I can breathe normally with him gone. The anxious rope around my lungs untwines, allowing the air to flow freely through my body.
I take a giant gulp of orange juice from the container and put it back in the fridge. The house is quiet, leaving me alone with thoughts of Oliver. The way his hands felt on my skin was mind blowing. They were rough and gentle, taking me with ease. His lips were hungry, stealing kisses I was far too eager to give.
It's not every day I have a guy as hot as him making advances. It's not every day I'm even in the presence of someone who isn't my family. I'm not a people person. It's hard been hard for me to really connect with anyone.
I have my reasons. It's just easier to be on my own.
The drive to Oliver's workshop is only about ten minutes. I've already decided I'm not letting what happened yesterday happen again, and I'm going to make sure he gets that point loud and clear.
“Morning,” he says to me over his shoulder as I walk inside. “You look nice today.”
“It's just some crappy old clothes. Nothing special.”
“I'm giving you a compliment.” He stands up straight, running his palms back and forth over each other to wipe away sawdust.
“I know, and I'm rejecting it.” He's walking toward me, so I go wide, walking around to the other side of the table. “What can I do?”
Oliver eyes me curiously, his mouth dangling between a smile and a frown. “Okay. Well, these two cabinets still need to be sanded before we can stain them. You want to give it a try?”