Collecting a few items from the fridge, she laid them out on the counter. They could remain at the cabin for several months and never run out of food. Mr. Glen’s wife had stocked the place as if she’d been expecting a famine and didn’t want Roth to suffer the fallout.
Nettie. Tressa laughed to herself. For a split second at the general store, she’d thought Nettie had been the woman Roth was supposed to spend the weekend with. That conjured another question. Who was the woman she’d replaced? And what had been their status? A friend with benefits? A booty call? An on-again, off-again lover?
Well, whatever was taking place between them was not just a passing fling. She was all-in and needed to know that Roth was, too.
Coffee. She needed coffee. Without caffeine, she never thought clearly. Abandoning the bacon and eggs, she brewed a pot of the morning roast. Once it was done, she poured herself a cup, leaned against the counter and trained her gaze through the window.
Enjoying how the first sip of the hot liquid pleasure warmed her nicely, she closed her eyes and moaned in delight. This would certainly help with clarity.
Tressa opened her eyes to see Roth propped against the wall, watching her. How had she not heard him come down? His voice was raspy and his usually brilliant eyes weak. He still wore his pajama pants. Instead of a shirt, a thin blanket draped his shoulders. “What are you doing out of bed, young man?”
“I feel better. Not 100 percent, but much better than I felt last night.”
He sneezed into the crook of his arm, paused, then sneezed again.
“Bless you.” Nope, definitely not 100 percent. She felt so bad for him.
“Thanks,” he croaked. Ambling to the sofa, he snagged a box of tissues and collapsed down onto the cushions. “My esophagus still burns from that poison you forced me to drink.”
“I’m about to cook breakfast. Any special requests?”
He coughed, sneezed, then blew his nose. “I’m not really hungry.”
“You have to eat something, Roth. Even if it’s only a couple of bites of toast. It’ll help you get your strength back.”
“Yeah, I need my strength.”
If she could see his face, she knew there’d be a roguish grin spread across it. She hated not being able to at least kiss him, but she didn’t want the cooties, too, though her training told her she probably already had them. Maybe she’d better double up on the orange juice. They both couldn’t fall ill.
“Okay. I request a couple of bites of toast,” he said.
It sounded as if his face was buried in a pillow when he spoke. Even sick, he still found a way to make her smile. “A couple of bites of toast it is. And some orange juice,” she added.
“And some orange juice.” He peeped over the back of the sofa, then collapsed out of sight as if he didn’t have the energy to maintain the position. “I’m supposed to be taking care of you, remember, beautiful?”
Tressa dropped four slices of bread into the toaster. “You are taking care of me, handsome. You have been taking care of me since the moment you found me in your SUV.”
Roth lazily chuckled. “I’m glad you chose my SUV to stow away in.”
A smile touched her lips. “So am I.”
After a hearty breakfast of bacon, egg, toast and juice for her—half a piece of toast and several sips of OJ for Roth—he fell asleep with his head in her lap. She used this time to continue the book of Maya Angelou quotes and poems she’d started.
Love is like a virus. Tressa snickered to herself. Maybe Roth didn’t have a cold virus; maybe he was falling in love with her. Wishful thinking. With thoughts like these, she obviously hadn’t had enough coffee. In her defense, the text did state love could happen to anybody at any time. But after only a few days? Nah. She wasn’t buying it.
Then it dawned on her. This thing between her and Roth hadn’t just grown wings at the cabin. It’d been soaring for months; she’d just chosen to ignore it. Had to ignore it. Her gaze lowered to Roth. “It took flight the moment I first laid eyes on you,” she said in a whisper.
“What took flight?” Roth asked, his eyes still shut.