Considering Kate Page 23

No, she would not call him again. She'd called at seven-twenty and had gotten nothing but the annoyance of his answering machine.

She had a message for him, all right. But she was going to deliver it in person. And when she thought of the trouble she'd gone to for tonight. Selecting just the right restaurant, the perfect dress. Now they'd be lucky to keep their reservation. No, she was canceling the reservation, and right this minute. If he thought she'd waltz out to dinner with a man who didn't have the common courtesy to be on time, he was very much mistaken.

She reached for the phone just as the doorbell rang. Kate squared her shoulders, lifted her chin to its haughtiest angle and took her sweet time going to the door.

"I'm late. I'm sorry. I got hung up, and should have called." The icy words she'd planned went right out of her head. Not discourtesy, she realized after one look at his face. Upheaval. "Is something wrong with Jack?"

"No, no, he's fine. I just checked. I'm sorry, Kate." He lifted a hand in flustered apology. "Maybe we can do this another time."

"What did you do to your hand?" She grabbed it by the wrist. She could see the white gauze and bandage and the faint stain of antiseptic at the edges.

"Just stupidity. It's nothing really. A couple stitches. The ER was slow, and I got hung up."

"Are you in pain?"

"No, it's nothing," he insisted. "Nothing."

Oh, yes, she decided. It was something—and more than a physical injury. "Go home," she told him. "I'll be there in thirty minutes."


"With dinner. We'll do the restaurant part some other time."

"Kate, you don't have to do this."

"Brody." She cupped his face in her hands. Oh, you poor thing, she thought. "Go home, and I'll be right along. Scram," she ordered when he still didn't move. And shut the door in his face. She was, as always, precisely on time. When he opened the door, she breezed by him, hauling a huge hamper. "You're going to have a steak," she announced. "Lucky for you my parents had one thawing out in the fridge before I convinced them to go out for a romantic dinner." She headed straight back to the kitchen as she spoke, and setting the hamper on the counter, shrugged out of her coat, then began to unpack. "Can you open the wine, or will your hand give you trouble?"

"I can handle it." He took the coat—it smelled of her—and hung it on one of the kitchen pegs. It didn't belong there, he thought, looking all female and smooth next to his ancient work jacket. She didn't belong there, he decided, looking amazing in some little blue number that looked like it might have been painted on by some creative artist who'd been delightfully minimalist and stingy with the brush.

"Look, Kate—"


He took the bottle, the corkscrew she held out. "Kate. Why? Why are you doing this?"

"Because I like you." She took two enormous potatoes to the sink to scrub. "And because you looked like you could use a steak dinner."

"How many men fall on their face in love with you?"

She smiled over her shoulder. "All of them. Open the wine, O'Connell."


He put on music, fiddling with the radio dial until he found the classical he thought she'd like. He dug out the good dishes he hadn't seen in months and set them on the trestle table in the formal dining room where he and Jack had their celebratory meals.

He had candles—for emergency power outages. But nothing fancy and slick. He debated just plunking them down on the table anyway, then decided they'd just look pitiful.

When he came back in the kitchen, she was putting a salad together—and there were two white tapers in simple glass holders on the counter.

She didn't miss a trick, he decided.

"You know you have a severe deficiency of fresh vegetables in your crisper."

"I buy those salad things that are all made up and in a bag. Then you just, you know, dump it in a bowl."

"Lazy," she said and made him smile.

"Efficient." Because her hands were full, he picked up her wine, lifted it to her lips.

"Thanks." She sipped, watching him. "Very nice."

He set the glass down, and after a moment's hesitation, lowered his head to touch his lips to hers.

"Mmm." She touched her tongue to her top lip. "Even better. And, since you're injured, you're allowed to sit down and relax while I finish this. You'll have time to call and check on Jack one more time before dinner."

He winced. "Shows, huh."

"It looks good on you. Tell him I said hi, and I'll see him tomorrow."

"You really want to do that? The movie thing?"

"I do things I don't want, but I never volunteer to do them. Go call your boy. You're getting your steak medium rare in fifteen minutes."

She liked fussing with the meal. Liked fussing over him. Maybe it was because he so clearly didn't expect it, and was so appreciative of the little things other people tended to take for granted. And though she'd never considered herself a nurturer, it made her feel good to be needed. She waited until they were at the table, until he was well into his meal and on his second glass of wine.

"Tell me what happened."

"Just a lousy day. What did you do with these potatoes? They're amazing."

"Secret Ukrainian recipe," she told him in a thick and exaggerated accent. "If I tell you, then I must kill you."

"I couldn't do it anyway. My kitchen wizardry with potatoes ends with my poking a few holes into one and tossing it into the mike. You speak Ukrainian? I heard you speaking French the other day."

"Yes, I speak Ukrainian, more or less. I also speak and understand English very well. So talk to me, Brody. What happened in your lousy day?"

"One thing, then the other." He moved his shoulders. "I got two guys out sick—your ballet flu's making an appearance in West Virginia. Since I had the rest of the crew on another job, it left me pretty short-handed. Then I mistook my own hand for a sheet of drywall, bled all over the damn place, fired my father and spent a couple hours waiting to get sewn back together in the ER."

"You had a fight with your father." She laid a hand over his uninjured one. "I'm sorry."

Source: www_Novel22_Net

Prev Next