The Exception(14)

By: Adriana Locke

He stood straight and the mood in the room shifted. “What can I say, Jada? You made an impression last night.”

I squared my shoulders and fought the urge to smile at his playful tone. “If you want to list this property, it would be my pleasure. But if there are ulterior motives, please spare me.”

A smirk slowly made its way across his lips. “I was trying to keep this professional and you start talking about pleasure.”

I rolled my eyes, smiling despite myself. “I don’t even know what to say to you right now.”

“Words can be twisted to mean a million different things.” His eyes locked onto mine, sparkling with mischief.

“That’s true, I guess.”

“It is absolutely true. Words can mean anything. It is actions that really speak.”

I nodded my head and bit my lip to keep from smiling, staying silent.

“If you would rather figure things out physically, I’m good with that. Very, very good from what I hear …”

I couldn’t help but laugh. While I was absolutely sure that, on some level, he was serious, his carefree way and lighthearted tone put me at ease.

“Yes. Let’s get physical immediately,” I said, watching his eyes darken. “Let’s take some measurements and I will let you get back to your day.” I sat my bag down and grabbed a notepad and my measuring tape.

“There are a dozens of innuendos that could be taken from that. But,” he said, growing serious as I flashed him a warning look, “I will refrain from making any comments.”

I led him to the main room and he chuckled as he followed.

“Okay, grab this end of the tape and walk down there.”

“How long have you done this type of work?” He moved gracefully to the other wall, holding the tape against it.

“I grew up helping my dad do this kind of thing. I worked for him before I moved to Boston and I worked in real estate there, too. Really, I’ve done this my whole life.”

“What sent you to Boston?”

My throat constricted. “I moved there with my husband. I’ve just been back here a few days, actually.”

“You aren’t married now, right? Or did I misunderstand something?”

“No, I’m not married anymore.” My voice gave a little more away than I intended, earning me a suspicious look from Cane. I noted the measurements and started to the other room, his footsteps close behind me.

“Are you all right? I didn’t mean to pry.”

The genuineness in his voice took me by surprise. “Yeah, I’m good. Things happen, you know?”

“This explains a lot.” He held the tape against the far wall and I scratched down the number.

I looked down at the notepad for a moment longer than necessary, trying to get ahold of my rioting thoughts. I didn’t want to discuss this with anyone, but especially not a client. Regardless of his flirty nature, amazing looks, or this new side I was beginning to see from him, that is what he was—a client. Nothing more, nothing less.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I huffed, giving in.

He held a hand up in defense. “I didn’t mean anything. Just that you are so, I don’t know, halfway pissed off all the time.”

“Well, maybe that’s what ended my marriage. Maybe I’m hard to deal with.”

“Well, you are hard to deal with.” He leaned against the wall, crossing one ankle in front of the other. “But what I really think happened is that guy did a number on you. Just saying.”

“Yeah, well, I don’t really want to talk about it. Just saying.” I made a few notes in my notebook, avoiding his pointed stare.

“I didn’t mean anything by that. You’re just a hard one to figure out.”

I shook my head. “That’s not true.”

“I could form a better opinion about that if you weren’t so damn hard to deal with.”

My face jerked to his to see a teasing look. I shook my head, walking back in the office and putting my things inside my bag. “Thank you for your help today.”

“Thank you for coming by on such short notice. Let me know if you need anything else.”

“I will.”

He stroked his chin with his thumb. “I think we made a good team, even though you came in here with a bit of an attitude this morning.”

I winced. The sound of him calling me out embarrassed me a little. “I’m sorry about that. I just wasn’t sure what was going on when you were sitting there all smug.”

“Words are hard for you, too. We should have started off with the physical. I knew it.” He snapped his fingers in the air.

I shook my head, making my way to the front door. I needed to get out of there quickly. He was being nice—that wasn’t playing fair.