I could think of better ways to put you to use.

I remained distracted, looking around the room. A few of Charlie’s drawings hung taped to the fridge, but there weren’t any other pictures or decorations. I was used to living bare—since Ollie and I didn’t decorate our rental house either—but this house had a strange coldness to it. “You need any help putting everything away?”

“I could think of better ways to put you to use.”

“Eric,” I screeched, turning on my heel. I never thought he’d do anything in front of Charlie, but that didn’t make it any less awkward. Charlie was a student. A kid. My work and personal life had never collided, and I didn’t understand how to approach the situation.

Putting away a box of cereal in one of the cabinets, he shook his head. “Why do you assume everything I say is dirty?”

“Tell me it isn’t.”

I expected an attempt to deny it—a deflection at the very least. Instead I got a lop-sided and devilish grin.

Charlie paused as he entered the room again, carrying a small, clear tote full of art supplies. Then he lifted his tote toward me.

“You trying to steal my girl?” Eric asked with a slight smile, but his eyes were a little less sold on it.

I scowled over my shoulder at him. “You said you don’t need my help and coloring sounds fun.”


He scoffed and backed into the counter, rubbing the shadow of stubble along his jawline. “That’s not exactly what I said.” 

Coming soon.

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