Frayed Page 103

But in general working at Plan B has been the best decision I\ve ever made. I love my job. Love, love, love it. I get to tweet, surf the Web, go on Facebook, post on Instagram. I\m building the company\s social platform me! My career is finally just that a career. But my relationship with Ben has not been so easy to define. I\ve tried to keep things casual between us, I really have, but I know we\ e so much more.

Together I feel we\ e magical, more alive, two halves made whole. We have no obstacles left between us. He knows about the baby. I\ve told my family about him, even River, although that wasn\ fun. River stayed silent, looked agitated, but didn\ say anything bad, that I could hear anyway. Still, I haven\ brought Ben to see my family, because I\m concerned he might not be as committed to the relationship as I am. And the reason is stupid. I shouldn\ be thinking about it so soon I shouldn\ be thinking that those three little words I want so badly to say to him will make him run away.

As soon as I step onto the sidewalk, I spot his mop of dirty blond hair. He\s sitting at an outdoor table with Kale.

’’I don\ know, man, but I\d say that\s an easy one,’’ Kale says to Ben, removing his black sunglasses. His light eyes almost disappear as he squints against the sun.

’’You\ e a lot of f**king help,’’ Ben says.

’’What\s easy?’’ I ask as I approach Ben from behind.

His head snaps around. He looks a little guilty about something. This past week I have felt that something\s going on. My mind might be reading too much into everything, but I can\ stop myself. He seems to be pulling back.

’’Hey, you made it.’’ Ben stands up.

I glance over at Kale to see if he\ll answer, but obviously he isn\ going to either. He\s wearing khaki cargo pants, canvas slip-on shoes, and some kind of terry-cloth sun-blocking shirt that buttons up the front. His hair is long but swept back. And he\s a man who calls it as he sees it. Sometimes I get nervous around him, but I try not to let him intimidate me.

’’Sorry I\m late.’’

’’You\ e not late,’’ Ben says, lowering his head.

I turn my cheek so his kiss lands on it.

His eyes sweep me in my short skirt and jacket and I know he has se* on his mind. He always does. Not that I don\ , but I\m also starting to feel that maybe that\s all we have. I didn\ go over there last night and we still had se* phone se* but se* nonetheless.

’’Don\ like kissing the boss?’’ he jokes, and pulls my chair out.

When he leans down to place my napkin on my lap, I whisper, ’’You know I do.’’

I\m full of mixed signals and even I know it. If it\s driving me crazy it must be driving him crazy. I should tell him tell him that I love him and maybe that will set my mind at ease.

Kale sits there with an amused look on his face.

Ben rolls his eyes. ’’What?’’

’’You\ e different when you have a girlfriend.’’

Ben flinches at the use of the word girlfriend. I see it. How can I tell him how I feel when he can\ even call me his girlfriend?

’’Hi, Kale. Thanks for inviting me,’’ I break in, wanting to change the subject.

’’Hey, sunshine, anytime,’’ he answers. ’’You ever have wheatgrass before?’’ He opens one of the menus on the table.

’’No.’’ I twist my head around to look at the restaurant name again Sprouts. I\ve never heard of it until today.

He waves the waiter over and points to the menu. ’’Three to start.’’

’’I\ll get those right away, sir,’’ the waiter answers.

’’What kind of restaurant is this anyway?’’

’’Raw food,’’ he answers, licking his lips at his choices.

Ben opens his menu. ’’Kale chips, sunchokes, seawitch? Are you kidding me? What kind of food is this?’’

I look at him with a zip it now look. ’’I\ve never eaten here. What\s good?’’ I ask Kale.

Ben bursts out laughing. ’’Let\s just say you\ll want an early dinner.’’

I glare at him again.

He tosses me a questioning look as if he doesn\ know why I\ve reacted that way. Conversation during our meal is strained and once we\ve finished I feel a little impatient to leave. I stand up.

’’Where are you going?’’ he asks me.

’’I have a lot to do.’’

’’I\ll walk back with you.’’

’’I have some stops to make before I go back to the office. I\ll catch up with you later.’’

’’Okay.’’ He lowers his head to kiss me.

Again I turn my cheek.

’’What the f**k is wrong with you?’’ he whispers.

’’Nothing. I just have a lot to do. See you, Kale,’’ I say, and turn and walk away. Tears leak from my eyes and I can\ stop them. Okay, so PMS it is.

About an hour later I feel really guilty for my behavior and for what I haven\ told Ben yet. I pick up my phone and use the intercom to call him.

’’Hey, se*y. I\ve been thinking about you. I was hoping you\d stop in when you got back.’’

’’I have work to do, Ben.’’ I stress this, but the truth is I really want to see him. I want to feel the touch of his skin on mine.

’’Well, come in here and let me see what you\ e working on.’’

’’I can\ . I\m just calling to see if you want to meet me at Pebbles tonight.’’

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