4th of July With Dad's Best Friend - Page 14

The movie is as awful as I expected, but I grin and bear it. It’s worth it to be able to spend some time with her although when the running time starts to drag into the third hour, I wish I had gone for the rom com. I glance over at her.

She’s asleep. The shock and heat must have gotten to her, and she looks adorable all tucked up with her lips half parted and eyelashes dusting her cheeks. I shake her softly.

“Jenny,” I murmur, but she doesn’t respond, other than to burrow further into the cushions. I look around to see a throw over the beanbag in the corner and I fetch it, then lay it carefully across her shoulders. Then I turn off the TV, pick up the bowls and pad quietly out of the room to let her sleep. Full of a gnawing frustration, I go up to my room and fire up my laptop. I don’t strictly need to do any more work right now, but it’s the best way I know to distract myself.

I check my phone before I get to work on my emails and see a missed call from Jeff. No doubt he wants to know if I’m settling in okay and let me know what time he will be here tomorrow.

Which means I won’t have to worry about resisting Jenny any more. I should be relieved but instead I feel crushed, knowing I’ve missed my chance, even if it’s a chance I never should have had in the first place.

I just can’t face talking to him, so I text him instead, letting him know we went to the beach, and everything is fine. I don’t tell him about the boat, figuring that’s for her to decide. I don’t want to worry him when I know he must already be stressing about getting here in time for the fourth of July celebrations. The conflicting loyalties make my headache.

Jeff is my best friend and I love him dearly. But although I didn’t choose this reality, I can’t run from it either.

I’m in love with his daughter.

Chapter Nine

Jenny

I wake up with a stiff neck and wonder where I am. With a jolt I remember falling into the sea and Alex coming after me.

Where is Alex?

I adjust myself to my surroundings as I sit up and I see I’m in the den. I remember coming in here with Alex to watch a movie. I must have fallen asleep. How embarrassing. There’s a blanket wrapped around me that I don’t remember using. Alex must have done it.

What time is it? The TV is off and the dimmer switch is on, but I can tell it’s getting dark outside. I get up and twitch back the curtain.

It isn’t just getting dark. It is dark. I must have been asleep for hours.

Which means Alex has gone to bed. Damn, I was lying here cuddled up on the sofa, the perfect opportunity for us to kiss again, and I fell asleep. And Dad will be here tomorrow which means I’ve missed any chance that I had to convince Alex I’m not just some young girl out for a laugh. This is serious for me.

I go up to bed, shower and put on panties and a t-shirt before brushing my teeth and getting into bed.

I can’t sleep. I lie here staring at the ceiling for the better part of an hour, willing sleep to come, but all that I can think of is Alex, and that if I don’t make a move now, I may never get the chance again. I have to at least tell him how I feel and how much that kiss meant to me, and then he can do as he pleases with that information.

I get up and make my way to his bedroom, my heart hammering in my chest as the more sensible side of me screams at me, what the hell are you doing? I ignore it. I know exactly what I’m doing,

I knock lightly on the door of the guest room where Alex is staying.

“Jenny?” He’s awake, although his voice sounds sleepy.

“Can I come in? I have to talk to you about something.”

There’s a moment’s silence, and then I hear him say, “Sure.”

Mustering my courage, I walk into his room, blinking as he turns the bedside lamp on. He’s sitting up in bed, looking at me quizzically and, I think, slightly warily. I stand at the end of the bed, nerves threatening to get the better of me.

“Sit down,” he says kindly and I perch myself on the edge of the bed. His brow is creased with concern.

“Are you okay? I did try to wake you downstairs but you seemed comfy. I thought it was best to let you sleep. That was a pretty big shock you had today.”

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