Second(8)

By: Chantal Fernando



Yes, a shitty card to play, but it’s also the truth.

“Who are you?” the older one asks, eyes narrowing.

Great, she probably thinks I’m his new girlfriend and is going to try and fight me or start a hate page on social media or something.

“I’m his lawyer,” I say, smiling evilly. “Any other questions?”

She shakes her head.

I take two photos, and then grab Dean by his bicep and pull him on out of there.

“My lawyer?” he asks, sounding amused. “You dropped out of law school.”

I roll my eyes. “I didn’t drop out, I changed my mind and chose a different degree.”

I ended up in business and finance, and now work in a bank. Law just wasn’t for me. Then again, neither is working at a bank, but it pays the bills and then some. We check out in peace and then rush to the car. Dean won’t let me help lift the bags into the back, because apparently he’s a Neanderthal, so I sit in the car waiting for him. He didn’t let me pay, either. I tried, but he won. I don’t like it when he wins. I watch as he puts the trolley away then slides into the driver seat.

“Let’s just order the groceries online next time,” I announce.

Dean throws his head back and laughs.



*****



“Is it always like that?” I ask him as we unpack the food together.

“Worse usually,” he says, shrugging. “I don’t know, I’ve kind of gotten used to it now. It comes with the job, you know?”

“What are you cooking tonight?” I ask, changing the subject. I line up the four bottles of alcohol I bought on the way home, wondering which one we should drink first. Maybe we should just have the red wine with dinner. I find myself looking forward to it, since it’s been so long since I had a good meal.

“Chicken fried rice,” he says casually, his back to me as I pin my gaze on him.

Chicken fried rice is my favourite thing to eat. How did he know that? I guess Tara must have told him. In this moment, I acknowledge just how thoughtful a man Dean really is. The fame hasn’t seemed to change him one bit. He’s obviously as humble as ever, otherwise he wouldn’t be standing in my kitchen, helping me, never mind getting ready to cook me a meal.

“Do you cook often?” I find myself asking, wondering if he’s like this all the time, or if it’s just because he’s worried about me.

“Not really,” he says, turning to face me. “I’m hardly home. If I’m not on tour, I’m usually still doing some kind of travel for interviews or appearances, or I’m in the studio.” He pauses and shrugs. “And when I am home, I have a chef.”

A chef.

The man has his own personal chef.

“Wow,” I mutter under my breath.

“That’s it?” he asks, leaning against the countertop. “You’re not going to give me any shit?”

Do other people give him crap for living a life of luxury? I wonder if they do, and that’s why he made that comment. The thought annoys me.

“Why would I give you shit for doing so well for yourself that you have a chef?” I ask, arching my brow. “You work hard, Dean, and you’re amazing at what you do. Own it. Don’t worry about what other people have to say. They’re probably just jealous.” I shrug and add, “And to be honest I was just thinking about how humble you still are. That’s what matters. You have everything, but you’re still the same person.”

He ducks his head, as if shy. “We have to be at breakfast at nine.”

“Great,” I murmur, and then feel like a total bitch, because the woman did just lose her son. “No, you’re right. I should be there.”

He nods, obviously agreeing. Yes, she’s not the most kind-hearted woman out there, but she is still Ben’s mother. It’s the least I can do to go over there and see how she’s holding up. I have only spoken to her once since the funeral, when she rang to ask when she could come over and pick up any of Ben’s possessions that she wanted to keep. I told her to come whenever, but she never did, or she did and I was in my haze of sadness and didn’t hear her at the door.

“What should we do until dinner time?” I ask him, having nothing to do now that all the food is put away. “Or can I go back to bed? I think I did well, for day one.”

“Definitely not going back to bed. Forward not backwards, Sabina. Why don’t we go to the beach or something? I’m sure you could use the exercise after being in bed for so long,” he says, flashing me those dimples of his. They are so deep that I want to poke them with my finger.

“The beach actually sounds like a good idea,” I tell him.

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