Irresistible(Buchanans, Book 2)(33) by Susan Mallery
Sometimes Elissa thought she would try to speak with them again. But fear of another rejection always made her hold back.
When she got home, she found her daughter waiting impatiently on the porch.
“Did you see her?” Zoe asked as she raced toward the car. “Is she nice? Does she want to have me in her class? Are we going to have fun?”
Elissa caught her and swung her in the air. “Yes, yes and yes. Miss Beamer is very nice and smart and she’s very excited about how much you already know. You’re going to have a wonderful year.”
As she spoke, she found herself glancing up at Walker’s apartment. Of course he wasn’t there. After leaving her a single phone message, he hadn’t tried to get in touch with her. He showed up late and left early.
It shouldn’t matter. She’d made it clear she didn’t want anything to do with him, and he’d taken her at her word. Wasn’t that good news?
She tried to convince herself it was. The thing was, she’d thought he would at least want to know why. She’d thought her sudden disappearance might concern him. Obviously she’d been wrong. She’d read far too much into their conversations. She’d thought he’d been interested and he hadn’t been.
“Can we go look at my clothes?” Zoe asked. “Can we pick what I’m going to wear the first day? And the next day? And the next?”
Elissa set her daughter down and took her hand. As they walked into the apartment, she felt an unfamiliar sense of emptiness. It took her a second to realize she was lonely for someone who was more than a friend.
She wasn’t looking to get married or for anything permanent, but every once in a while she thought it would be nice to have someone hanging around for a while. Someone to share things with. Someone to care.
SHORTLY BEFORE NINE on Friday evening, there was a knock on Elissa’s door. Her first thought was that the horrible old woman had returned. That somehow she’d found out how much Elissa missed Walker and she was back to exact her revenge.
Instead, when she stared out the peephole, she saw Walker standing there.
When she opened the door, her first instinct was to throw herself in his arms and demand to know where he’d been. Her second was to rip off her T-shirt in invitation. Instead she went for something a tiny bit more subtle and simply invited him in.
“You okay?” he asked as he closed the door behind him.
“Fine. And you?”
“Not bad.” He held out a bottle of red wine. “I thought we could talk.”
Not words she usually expected to hear from a man. “And you need to get me drunk first?” she asked.
He smiled. “I hadn’t planned to.”
She led the way into the kitchen and handed over the corkscrew. He made quick work of opening the bottle. She put glasses on the counter and he poured.
“So what is the topic of conversation?” she asked, before taking a sip of the very smooth wine. The flavor burst on her tongue without being overpowering. Must be nice to be able to afford something over three dollars a bottle.
Determined not to react, Elissa led the way into the living room. “What about her?”
“I know she was here.”
He glanced around the empty, quiet room. “Zoe in bed?”
“Yes, fast asleep. I just checked on her a few minutes ago.”
“Because I might be using some language not appropriate for a five-year-old.” He motioned to the sofa and sat across from her in a club chair.
She wasn’t sure why he was here. Was he planning to take his grandmother’s side or hers? “Walker, I don’t know what—”
“Gloria threatened you,” he said flatly. “I know the generalities, but not the specifics. Want to fill me in?”
“Not really.” When his steady gaze never wavered she added, “She obviously doesn’t want us involved. As we’re not, I don’t see a problem.”
“My grandmother isn’t a subtle woman. I’m guessing she threatened your job somehow, or even Zoe. Am I close?”
Walker frowned, then leaned back in his chair. “Sorry,” he said. “I don’t like her. No one in my family does. She’s a manipulative bitch who will do anything to get her way.”
She relaxed a little. At least he hadn’t assumed she, Elissa, was in the wrong. “Okay, then. Yes. She threatened to get me fired and evicted if I didn’t get out of your life.”
He swore again. “I’m sorry. One day you were gone. I wish you’d told me what had happened.”
“It’s not your problem.”
“It happened because of me.”
“Maybe. I didn’t want to…”
“You weren’t sure whose side I’d be on,” he said. “I’m on yours. Don’t worry.”
“I wasn’t worried, exactly.”
“Of course not.” He smiled at her. “You don’t have to sweat it. She won’t bother you again.”
“Did she get back on her broom and return to the mother ship?”
“No. She’s in the hospital. She had a heart attack, fell and broke her hip.”
Elissa didn’t know what to think, let alone say. Gloria had been horrible, but even so she wouldn’t have wished for something like this to happen.
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