Where We Meet Again (Arrow Creek 1)

Page 20

I locate him in the middle of my kitchen. My house is modest with three bedrooms, one-and-a-half baths, and a fully finished basement. The size exceeds our needs. Having Law standing in the middle of my average kitchen, however, cramps the space. I can’t pass through the kitchen without bumping into him. Shaking my head, I belatedly register his question.
“Um, no. None.”
His eyes find mine as I speak, lingering for my full attention. Once received, he jerks his head toward my pantry. “May I?”
God, I’m an idiot. “Yes, sorry. Do whatever you need to do.” I nibble the inside of my lip. He’s essentially a stranger. I need to keep my guard in check before it slips even more. The silence between us feels as simple as always, and I wait without the need to fidget.
He moves from the pantry down the hall to Evelyn’s room. From my spot in the kitchen where I lean against the counter, I hear the basement door open, and his booted steps thud down the stairs. A few minutes later, he returns and deposits his work bag on the floor by the refrigerator. His thick forearms cross his expansive chest.
“All clear. Have you seen or heard any mice since the other day? Movement in the walls? Chew marks in the pantry?”
“No.” My unconcealed disgust makes Law smirk. He glances out the wi
ndow and passes a hand over his unruly hair.
“I can leave the traps for you, and you can always call if they catch something. I haven’t seen any evidence of a problem, though. It’s up to you.”
“I think it’s best if you don’t come back here.” I blurt. The thought occupied my mind all weekend, and my unfiltered brain decided now is the time to let him know.
That slight smirk on his face fades into a scowl. “What?”
“I’m sorry. If I had known you worked for pest control, I would have called somewhere else.” He stares at me skeptically. I sigh, knowing there isn’t anyone else around this small town. “Or bought a cat,” I add. “This isn’t right. Running into you at the coffee shop was… well, it sucked. And if you live here now, I think it’d be best if we weren’t around each other.” The more I talk, the faster my words run together until I’m nearly breathless at the end of my speech. Getting those words out hurt. What perplexes me more is the anger. Anger for needing to express them at all. Anger at Law for not avoiding me like he should. Like I deserve after all this time.
“You owe me coffee,” he returns. Now it’s my turn to frown.
“I don’t owe you anything.”
“You do.” He steps closer. Not so much that we touch, but in the dwindling space, it’s damn close. “You asked for coffee the other day. Said we could catch up and talk about things. Now I’ll admit, I was damn pissed to see you, but I’ve changed my mind. I want coffee.”
My confusion rises. “So you can leave, and we can plan a better day to have coffee.” Like, say, never.
“I’m feeling like I could use a cup now.” His voice drops with the murmur.
Oh, shit.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“It’s been a long day and your house is the last on my list. I don’t know if I can make it back to the shop without some caffeine in me. Thirty-minute drive, I might fall asleep.”
I’m overcome with the desire to stomp my foot. “Are you guilt-tripping me right now?”
“I don’t know, am I?” His stupid grayish-green eyes twinkle with humor.
I dart my gaze around my kitchen in search of something to save me. They land on the empty coffee pot. “I don’t have any coffee made. It’s probably best for you to get on the road now. There’s a gas station on the way out on highway 31. They probably sell coffee or energy drinks. Mountain Dew is good when I’m tired too.”
He follows my gaze to the coffee pot, but his body doesn’t move. “Cami,” he says low, and if I’m not in such deep denial, kind of hot.
“It’s ten minutes. One cup. Let’s talk so we can move on. Don’t make it any harder than it needs to be.”
My mind struggles for another excuse. Anything to convince him to leave. The only way is to put my foot down like an adult and demand he go. To prepare to shift into a bitch and threaten to throw him out if he continues to refuse.
And I know deep down into the part of my heart that still loves Law, I could never do that.
I mutter my acquiescence beneath my breath. “Fine.”
Giving in isn’t hard, but the next task seems impossible. I need to make a pot of coffee, and in order to accomplish this task, I have to cross to the other side of my kitchen. Which means squeezing by Law, preferably without touching him.