Jax watched me as I spoke, and I focused on staring at my hands.
“I don’t want to be getting into your personal space, so tell me if I ask something you feel is none of my business. Where is the baby’s dad?”
I laughed at his question because, yes, it was personal, and the answer was sordid, but something about him made me relax and tell him things I didn’t normally talk about. “My mother is beautiful, but unfortunately she has no common sense. She likes the attention she gets from men and picks the worst ones.” I gave a small smile I knew wouldn’t reach my eyes. “When I say worst ones, I mean the worst! They are married or engaged, or so worthless they would never consider settling down. The man who donated to my conception is married, and I even know who he is and where he lives, but I never intend to go introduce myself. This baby’s father is also a loser. He isn’t married, but he doesn’t have any intention of helping out or contributing to the raising of this child.”
I was sharing too much dirty laundry, so I stopped talking and stared out over the ocean waves. He sat up, and his arm brushed against mine. Warmth rushed through my body.
“You’re the grown up at home, aren’t you?”
I tensed at his correct description. I nodded since I could feel his breath close to my neck.
“No wonder you’re so different. You have too much on your shoulders to even consider hanging posters of some shallow teenage rock star on your walls.”
I smiled at his humor. “You’re not shallow. Granted, I thought you would be in the beginning, but you surprised me.”
Long fingers slid across my thigh and took my hand. “Is this job what pays the bills, then? When you mentioned it paid for your food the first night we met, I thought maybe you were joking or being melodramatic, but now....” He stopped.
I picked up where he left off. “She is too far into her pregnancy, and it is too difficult for her to work. She doesn’t hold down jobs well. During the school year, she struggles from job to job. She worked here until my first day out of school.”
He didn’t say anything, and neither did I. We just sat there holding hands and watching the sun set over the water. Just before it sank, Jax stood up.
He held out his hand for me to take. “We better head back before the sun sets completely.”
His fingers never left mine as we walked back to the house. The only way to explain it is to say it was very close to an out of body experience. Holding hands with Jax Stone and feeling like we connected. He didn’t seem like a rock star anymore. He wasn’t the guy I saw on posters and in magazines. He wasn’t the hottie I’d seen on MTV. He was just Jax. I thought about the times Marcus held my hand, and how casual it seemed. But the warmth from Jax's hand sent a tingling sensation up my arms. He was a rock star, and
I was his maid, for crying out loud. I cleaned his vegetables!
We stopped outside the kitchen entrance.
“Thanks for the walk today.” He smiled down at me again, and my insides went to mush.
I was in trouble. I liked this guy way more than I should, considering the circumstances.
“You’re welcome.” I know it sounded stupid, but I really didn’t know what else to say.
“When do you need a ride home?”
I shook my head. I’d almost forgotten about his promise to supply me a ride home “I will be fine, honestly. I have been to the store a million times on my bike. Marcus just doesn’t realize it is very manageable.”
“Out of the question. I will have a car waiting on you at the front entrance. Whenever you’re ready to leave, you may do so. The driver will take you wherever you need to go.” I started to argue and he placed one of his very talented fingers over my lips. “Don’t argue. I don’t like the idea anymore than your friend does. He’s right. It isn’t safe.”
I knew it would be fine, but I didn’t want to stand out here arguing over his doing exactly what he promised Marcus he would do. “Okay, I will go see if Ms. Mary needs any help before I leave.”
Jax smiled apparently pleased that I wasn’t going to argue. “Thanks for the walk,” he said again and turned to leave.
I wanted to watch him walk away, but I knew it wouldn’t do me any good. No matter how insane the idea of a friendship with Jax Stone seemed, I really believed we were in the beginning of one.
I helped Ms. Mary finish up the dishes, and then went back to the laundry to change. I wanted to get home, lie in bed, and think about my time down by the water with Jax. I wanted to memorize each word and glance. I wanted to slap myself because my reaction bordered on ridiculous. I needed to be hoping he would keep his distance and not pursue a friendship with me because I feared I just might become one of those crazed girls with a crush.
I said my goodbyes to Ms. Mary and exited out of the hired help entrance. I walked around to the front of the house and stopped short at the very expensive silver utility vehicle waiting on me. I should have expected extravagance since I doubted Jax owned anything normal. I walked toward the car. A man dressed in black stood beside the machine. He stepped forward with a serious expression on his face and opened the door. I remembered him as one of the large men who’d been here the first day I arrived.
“Thanks,” I said and stepped inside.
I hadn’t been expecting anyone else.
“My intention was to let you go home alone, but I didn’t like that idea. I hope you don’t mind the company.” Jax sat in the seat directly across from me, drinking an expensive bottle of water and watching a baseball game. He held a remote in his hands and clicked off the baseball game showing on the television above my head.