“Twelve days on, twelve days off. I’m in my twelve-days-off stretch. And I don’t start new culinary classes until the spring.” Man, she was really pleading her case. And for the first time, she considered that maybe Roth’s plans had changed because he hadn’t wanted to spend a full week with her. Backpedaling, she said, “But you’re probably right. Staying a week is probably a bad idea.” When Roth laughed, she shot him a disapproving look. “What’s so funny?”
He shook his head. “Nothing.”
“What?” she repeated, adding a hint of bass to her voice as if it would force this rugged man to yield to her demand for information.
“You’re delaying the inevitable, Tressa,” he said plainly.
Delaying the inevitable? Inwardly, she sighed. Of course, they were back on the engagement party again. “I’m not delaying anything, Roth. I’m—”
Tressa shot him a narrow-eyed gaze. “Excuse me?”
He flashed his palm. “You know what? It’s none of my business.”
“You’re right. It’s not any of your business. So please stick to designing airplanes and refrain from trying to analyze me.” She rolled her eyes and stalked off. Running? Ha. The nerve of him to make such an outlandish assessment simply because she wanted to enjoy the beauty of the mountains. Just like a damn man.
She wasn’t running from anything. She planned to face her situation head-on, but not until she was ready.
A few steps from Roth’s SUV the lights blinked twice, letting her know he’d unlocked the vehicle. Yanking the door open, she hurled herself inside. A second later the doors locked and Roth activated the auto-start feature. It wasn’t long before warm air blew through the vents, and she closed them in protest, then laughed at herself. The only one who would suffer if she froze to death would be her.
Why was Roth so damn considerate? Why was he being so damn nice to her? It made it that much harder to be angry at him. And why was she so annoyed with him anyway?
Because he’s right. She was running.
She’d ignored every phone call, text message, email and IM Cyrus had sent her. But she didn’t have to explain herself to anyone. If she wanted to refrain from adulting for a while, it was her choice. No one else’s. She glared toward The General Store. Not even to the man who’d altered his life for her.
Tressa closed her eyes and allowed her head to ease back. Pressing two fingers against her temple, she attempted to knead the pain away. What was going on with her? She was usually more in control than this, a warrior. Now she simply felt like a battered peasant.
She chastised herself for not at least grabbing a piece or two before storming out of the store. Now she would have to wear the same outfit the entire weekend. Well, it served her right for being so juvenile.
Time ticked by. Why hadn’t Roth emerged yet? Was he waiting for her to return? Recalling how she’d reacted filled her with regret. He clearly had her best interest at heart and had told her what she needed to hear, whether she wanted to hear it or not. Wasn’t that what friends did for each other?
Friends? Could she even classify them as friends? Acquaintances probably worked better. How about potential cuddle buddies? This made her laugh.
Roth finally exited the store, carrying several overstuffed bags. When he opened the back door, a gust of cold air rushed in. He unloaded his haul, then slid behind the wheel.
“I grabbed you a few things,” he said.
Grabbed her a few things? “You don’t know my size.”
Or maybe he did. She tossed a glance in the back seat. A few things? It looked as if he’d outfitted her for the entire month. Even after she’d treated him like crap, he’d still looked after her. Who was this man? “Thank you,” she said in a low, yielding tone. “I’ll pay you back.”
“That’s not necessary.” He sighed. “When you stormed off, I had to make an executive decision about what to get. You probably won’t be runway ready, but you’ll be warm.”
God, she felt horrible about how she’d acted. “Roth—”