Hard Working Hero (Hard Working Hero 1)

Page 19

I stop outside her door. Her front window is glowing, and there's another light on to my left. The light to my left goes off as a shadow crosses from one room to the next. My finger rests against the doorbell. Letting out a slow breath, I just push it.
It feels like I'm standing forever just waiting for her to answer, but in reality it's only a couple of seconds.
“Who is it?” she asks, her voice wary. It's dark out, and from the way she asks, I can hear a sliver of uncertainty in her tone.
“It's me,” I say.
The door inches open. Narissa peeks through the thin opening as the chain catches at full length. “Oliver?”
“Surprise.” I hold out my arms and smile.
She closes the door, and I can hear the sound of the chain as it slips it free. The door opens wide, and the most beautiful woman I've ever laid eyes on is standing in front of me.
Narissa is in a tight pair of jeans and a silky orange sleeveless shirt. Her hair is crinkled with perfect tight curls that bounce across her shoulders. A hint of pink tints her cheeks, but I'm not sure if it's blush or if she's flustered that I'm here.
Her plump lips are coated in a clear gloss, and her eyelids are shaded with a light peach color. Bold black lashes fan her lids like petals blooming on a flower making the green from her eyes glow like emerald rocks.
She twists her toe into the floor as she holds the edge of the door in her hand. “What are you doing here?”
“You said you weren't feeling well, I came to see if you were alright.” Looking her up and down, I smirk. “I take it you're feeling better.” I say it as more of a question than a statement. But it's obvious to me she wasn't sick to begin with.
Narissa's cheeks turn red and she diverts her eyes to the inside of her apartment. “Uh, yeah, I'm better. It was just a bad headache, but it went away.” There's a tremble in her voice. She's trying to come up with the lie on the spot, and it isn't going so well.
“Good, I'm glad.” Taking a firm step forward, I place my hand on the door. “You going to invite me in?”
“You know my house isn't really clean, and I was planning on going to bed soon because I'm actually pretty tired.” She yawns, a big fake yawn and waves her hand in front of her face. “It's getting kind of late.”
“It's eight thirty.” My eyes stay on hers as I take another step forward. “I don't care if your place is a mess. You should see my place.” Giving the door a light shove with my shoulder, Narissa takes a long step back as I invite myself in.
I'm not leaving without finding out what's going on with her. She's been hot and cold with me. Flirting, touching, turning me on to the point I can't control myself. And then she's ice, pushing me away and trying to act like nothing's happened between us.
But I can't just pretend and go back to the life before her. Something happened to me the second I met her, acting like it didn't would just mean I'm lying to myself.
Why is she trying so hard to stay away from me?
There's no need for her to hide and make up lies. We're both adults. If she doesn't want this to go any further, she just needs to say it.
“You know what, I'm sorry. Forget all about what I said. I'll help you finish the cabinets, all right? We can go to the house tomorrow, or right now if you want. I don't mind. Let's go, I'm ready.” Narissa reaches for her jacket, but I brush her off as I look around her place.
“It's too late for that,” I say. My eyes scan her walls, and there are so many pictures.
Drawing after drawing of women in large puffy dresses and big feather hats. Men in three piece suits with tall leather boots and what looks like scarfs around their necks. Some of the women have huge pearl necklaces and fancy lace fans. Their hair is pulled back with long curls that dangle over their shoulders.
“What are these?” I ask, examining one at a time.
“Oh, those, they're nothing, just some artwork I've done. It's just a hobby, that's all.”
“They're really good. Who are these people?”
“It's called fanfiction.”
“Fanfiction. These are all characters from Bridgerton.” I give her a curious look, because I have no idea what she's talking about. “It's just a stupid hobby I have, that's all. Nothing special.”
I'm impressed. The pictures look almost real. Some are just sketched and shaded in pencil, others look like they're done with water paints.
“One thing these are not is stupid. They're really good,” I say. “I have no idea what Bridgerton is, but you're an amazing artist.”