What Lies Beneath - Page 16

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Will smiled, reaching to his hip for the phone that had chirped several times since they left the apartment. He thumbed through the messages but didn’t get very far before he felt Cynthia’s insistent tug on his arm. He looked up to see her pointing at one of the city’s million hot-dog carts.

“Let’s find out if I like hot dogs.”

Will slipped the phone back into its holster and followed her over to the cart. Something as simple as a hot-dog vendor had filled her with excitement. It was so contagious that he was eager to have one, too, and he hadn’t bothered to in years.

They stopped at the cart and ordered two hot dogs and sodas—his piled on with sauerkraut and mustard, hers with ketchup, mustard and sweet relish. They found a bench and sat down with their lunch.

He’d polished off about half of his when he looked over and noticed Cynthia’s hot dog was completely gone. She dabbed the corner of her mouth to remove some rogue mustard, still chewing the last bite. Apparently she did like hot dogs. “Would you like another one?”

“No,” she said, shaking her head and sipping her soda. “That was just enough. There are a million things out there for me to try. I’ll gain ten pounds if I overdo it. It’s just one of many things I have to figure out.”

Will watched her expression grow somber. She sipped her drink thoughtfully and watched a leaf blow by. He popped the last of his hot dog into his mouth, chewing and swallowing before he spoke again. “What are you thinking about?”

Cynthia sighed and sat back against the bench. “I’m thinking of what a mess I’m in. In a few weeks’ time, you could be gone. I don’t think I can go back to my old job if my memory doesn’t return. I have no real skills I remember. I didn’t even know if I liked hot dogs until a few minutes ago. What am I supposed to do?”

He’d considered this subject as he’d watched her lie in that hospital bed for weeks. She was fortunate that her income wasn’t important. Anyone else might be crippled by it. “Well, you may not know it, but you do have a healthy trust fund and stock portfolio. You could live comfortably on that for quite some time.”

“I’ll go stir crazy in that apartment doing nothing. Especially if I’m there alone.”

Will noted the way she looked at him when she said the last part. She didn’t want him to leave. And sitting here with her in this moment, he didn’t want to leave either. She needed to feel secure in her situation. At least then he would know she wanted him to stay for the right reasons. “I’ve also spoken to your boss, Ed. He understands the circumstances, and if and when you’re ready to come back, okay. But if not…you could always try working for your dad.”

“And do what? I don’t understand any of that technical stuff. I don’t want to get paid to sit at a desk at Dempsey Corp. playing solitaire just because I’m the boss’s daughter.”

He had to admire that. Working for her father or sitting around the house would’ve been the easy thing to do, but she wanted more. “You have the luxury of trying something new. You’ve got a world of opportunities ahead of you. What would you like to do? Anything interest you?”

She thought for a moment before she answered. “Clothes. Clothes are all that has really caught my attention. Not just buying and wearing them, but putting pieces together. Admiring the lines of a blazer or the texture of a fabric. I’m not quite sure what to do with it, though.”

Will had noticed the last few weeks in the hospital how she had mentioned people’s clothing, complimenting them, asking about fabrics and where they bought one piece or another. It seemed to be a natural interest for her. “Would you like to try designing clothes? Or maybe be a stylist for fashion shoots or something?”

Cynthia turned to him, her green eyes wide. “Is designing clothes really an option? I watched a lot of reruns of some fashion reality show in the hospital, and it looked interesting. I may not be any good at it, though.”

“Doesn’t mean it would hurt to try. We’ll get you some sketch paper and colored pencils. See what you come up with. You don’t have to be the next Versace, but you can play around and have some fun with it.”

She broke into a wide smile and flung her arms around his neck. He was taken aback by her enthusiastic embrace, but he didn’t pull away. He wanted to encourage this new side of her, even if he wouldn’t be around to see it come to fruition.

Instead, he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. She buried her face in his neck and he breathed in the scent of her—a mix of a floral shampoo, a touch of perfume and the warmth of her skin. He recognized her favorite fragrance, yet it was different somehow. Something underlying it all was new and extremely appealing. His body noted the difference and responded to it despite his brain’s reluctance. His pulse quickened and his groin stirred in an instant.

Tags: Andrea Laurence Billionaire Romance
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