Fable thinks the world of him.
I let the warm water run over my hands as I stare out the window, my gaze locked on Wade. He’s tall and broad and muscular. His dark brown hair is overgrown, like he needs a haircut but doesn’t care enough to get one. But the look works for him, because his hair curls around his gorgeous face and the back of his neck, and it looks soft. Makes me want to touch it.
His eyes are brown and warm, and he has this intense way when he looks at me. Like he sees right through me, which is sort of intimidating and exhilarating, all at once. He’s big and broad, with shoulders as wide as a mountain and arms that look like they could crush me if he squeezed just a little too hard. His mouth is full but he doesn’t smile often enough, and he has a jawline that looks like it could cut glass, it’s so sharp.
“Hey, isn’t California currently in major drought conditions?”
Fable’s teasing voice breaks through my thoughts, and I hurriedly shut off the water, embarrassed that I got caught watching the guys outside. “Sorry. Got distracted,” I mumble as I open the dishwasher and set all of the sippy cups and their lids in the top rack.
“Understandable.” Fable leans against the kitchen counter, smiling at me. “Please tell me you were checking out Wade.”
“I wasn’t,” I automatically say. I don’t want her to think I’m only here to ogle all the guys that are constantly hanging around. It’s definitely an unexpected benefit, but I don’t want her to think poorly of me. “I was just…staring off into space. And thinking.” I shut the dishwasher door and grab a towel, quickly wiping down the sink before I throw the towel in the dish drain.
“Uh huh.” The knowing smirk on her face makes me feel guilty. “Wade is single, you know.”
“No, I didn’t know.” I’m sure girls throw themselves at Wade on a constant basis. He’s a newly minted professional football player. The world is his oyster or however that dumb saying goes. He could have anyone he wants—he’s that good looking. I’m a nobody. A dumb girl who’s made a lot of mistakes and is now paying for them by having to get a job and take care of herself rather than rely on her parents’ money.
Though supposedly that’s going to make me stronger—at least, according to my parents. But right now, I don’t feel stronger. I feel weak and useless and I worry most of the time I got this job only out of pity. The Callahans only interviewed me as a favor for a friend of a friend of my brother’s.
Sad but true.
“He’s such a good guy, though he’s never really had someone steady in his life—a girlfriend,” Fable continues. Both of her children are napping and that’s when we usually talk. Or we go to her office and try to organize her schedule, which is a big job considering she practically lives and dies by her schedule. She’s a planner, and I get it. With everything on her plate, she needs to be. But we’re easily distracted. Sometimes we get right down to business, and other times we gossip a little bit, though right now she seems to want to talk about…
And I’m not going to protest, though I probably should. I need to keep this business only. I don’t want to cause any problems by possibly flirting with Wade. Not like he’s shown any interest. He wouldn’t bother with someone like me.
Honestly, I’m totally reaching.
“I’m sure doing what he does, he probably doesn’t want one,” I tell her, and when she sends me a blank look, I add, “A girlfriend.”
“Oh. Yes. Well, I’m sure you’re right. He’s just starting on his career and that’s usually when they have to fight off the women, especially a guy as good looking as Wade. Or maybe he’s just been waiting to find the right one, you know?” The smile she sends my way almost implies I could be the right one for Wade, which is impossible.
I’m not. I’m a complete mess. Plus, I’m too young and I don’t know what I want or need and oh my God, I sound like my parents right now. Like the lecture they’ve been giving me over the last few years has totally sunk in and my thoughts are filled with their disapproval.
Ugh. Maybe I am young, but I’m also an adult. I need to start acting like one and not letting what my parents think of me shape who I’m becoming.
“I’m guessing he has no desire to find a steady girlfriend right now. And I’m not looking for a steady boyfriend either,” I tell Fable, my voice firm. I don’t want her getting any ideas that I’m interested in Wade. I’m really not. I don’t even know him. Besides, I want her to take me seriously. This is my job. I don’t want to flirt with a hot guy while I’m working. Yes, it’s a perk to have football players around all the time, but that’s all it is. A perk. I can look, but I can’t touch.
Now Fable’s frowning, and I feel like I’ve said the wrong thing. “Yes, fine. You’re probably right. I always want to put people together, I swear. Drew says I need to stop my matchmaking ways, but I can’t help it. I want people to be as happy as we are.”
Aw, that’s sweet. I soften a little bit at her words because I can see she genuinely means it. But we all can’t have the perfect life that Drew and Fable Callahan have. What they share is rare and beautiful and we could all be so lucky to have a love like theirs.
“I just worry. Wade is having a rough time. Practice has been tough and his confidence seems low. He’s afraid he’s going to get cut from the team, and Drew has been giving him a lot of pep talks lately to keep him encouraged,” Fable explains.