Home > Womanizer (Manwhore #4)(6)

Womanizer (Manwhore #4)(6)
Author: Katy Evans


He moves and I step back.

“So it’s a phony.”

“It’s not a phony, it’s a real diamond!”

“It’s a phony engagement ring.”

“It’s not. I’m engaged to myself.”

He shoves his hands into his pockets and rocks back on his heels. “Ahh, surely because nobody else would want you?” he asks, looking deathly somber.

I nod, also deathly somber. “Actually, that’s precisely why. I’ve got clusters of freckles on every part of my body and a personality that’s even worse.”

“Worse than freckles.” He scratches his chin.

“Clusters of freckles.”

“You might find someone one day,” he eyes the ring and then eyes me, “with a freckle fetish,” he draws out, laughing. “And he’ll see exactly why you’re special. But that ring could deter him from even trying to discover all those clusters of freckles underneath.”

I wonder what that would feel like. To be loved like that. In the way my brother loves Regina. My dad and mom love each other. “If he can’t take a little competition and would let something like hardware prevent him from knowing me then I’m not interested. He gets none of my freckles.”

He smiles quietly, and I wonder about him.

If he’s ever loved, if he’s ever been loved, if he even wants to be. But don’t we all want to? Even when you think you don’t want to, there’s this feeling of waiting in the back of your head. Of waiting for that to happen. To know what it’s like and to be swept away.

“I think I’ll have a cigarette now,” I say, flushing.

I can’t believe I opened my big mouth, but I’m desperate for some real conversation and some silly conversation and to just be me, to talk with someone who won’t judge me or look at me like the lowly little intern whose brother got her the job.

He lights up, and this time when I set the cigarette to my lips, there’s a low throb deep in my stomach just knowing my lips are on the exact spot his were.

The wind tosses his lovely brown hair about recklessly. He gives the impression of control but in a way that makes you wonder what happens when all that power is unleashed.

“So. You have a brother,” he says.

I nod. “Yep. He taught me to put my thumb on the hose and aim the stream at an angle to the sun so I could make a rainbow. We were silly like that. Though I hate his big-brother condescending bullshit. He wanted me to stay in his building in some posh apartment. I insisted I pay for an apartment I could afford with my salary.”

He lifts his brows, impressed.

“He put money into a trust for me when I turned eighteen, but I haven’t touched it. It’s not mine. I want to know I can earn my keep . . . and then give it away to something special. Some noble cause.” I shrug. “He makes plenty of donations, but I want to give something that comes from me so I can earn points up there.” I point to the sky.

He listens attentively, the cigarette forgotten in his hand as he looks at me with the merest hint of a smile.

“I had a friend who died . . . of leukemia, so young. You only live once, and you never know how long you’ll have to do anything, really.”

“I’m all for going all in,” he agrees.

“Me too. Or, I suppose I was all for going all in until a few failures made me a little less enthusiastic about it,” I admit. “Like my first crush! So, my first crush was at camp, on a counselor. Mike Harris. He was older and of course so mature, and he swam like a shark. One day I decided to go for it and I kissed him, and he gently turned me down. Listing all the reasons why we shouldn’t when all I wanted to know was if he wanted me back.” I laugh. “We’re still friends.”

“Are you?”

“Why do you ask as if the concept is alien to you?” I burst out laughing. “Yes! We’re friends. Guys and girls can be friends. I did camp every year, and he was there for several. I’m even friends with his wife, it was just a crush.”

“Have you had many crushes?”

“A few.” I laugh again. “But not another big enough to go after him like I did with Mike.” I eye him. “You?” My voice goes soft, as if the mere word you is something intimate.

He takes a drag from his cigarette, frowning, as if trying to decipher the answer to my question. “I suppose I never let my infatuations run that long. When one starts, I nip it in the bud.” He uses his free hand to make a scissor-like movement in the air.

“How so?”

“After a night or two.”

“Just enough to get it out of your system? That’s really dickish of you.”

“Dick is the best word you have for me?” His laugh is low and deep and so very pleasant it makes me quiver.

“You seem to have a pretty big one on you—”

“I don’t make any promises, though—”

We both speak at the same time and stop when we realize what I said.

My cheeks start to burn.

I can’t stop thinking of his package now under his pants.

“Are you thinking about it now? It’s liking the attention.”

“Shut up!” I laugh and shake my head. “My mouth is always getting me into trouble. When I was a little girl and one of my mom’s friends came to visit, I asked her flat out why she had the voice of a turkey. It wobbled!”

He reaches out as he simultaneously peers into my face, and when I realize he’s going to brush my hair back so he can look at me as I tell my story, I nervously push it back and keep going.

“My mom couldn’t apologize enough,” I add.

Why did I do that? He was going to touch me and I stopped him.

I got too nervous about it . . . by the way he was looking at me.

I fall silent and drop my gaze to my feet, letting my hair fall back in a curtain as I hope recklessly that he’ll try to do it again.

He doesn’t.

“So why did she talk like a turkey?” he asks with a puzzled frown.

I laugh, and he laughs too.

It’s weird. He makes me feel like he is so interested, like it’s important for him to know.

“Are you this curious all the time?” I ask.

“Curious? I’m not curious, in fact I’ve zoned out this whole time.” He makes a dismissive move with his head. “Zzzzz, heard nothing.”

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