Bane's Heart (Avaleigh's Boys #2)(5)

By: Sandra R. Neeley

“It’s okay. I don’t mind waiting; just come out, I’ll be here.” He leaned in and kissed the tip of her nose, murmured “Have a good day, Baby,” and watched as she walked back into the store. His life, that’s what she was, his life.

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The next day when she was finally given a break, Janie walked through the sliding doors at the front of the store and couldn’t believe what she saw. Bane had parked his brother’s truck under the big pine tree off the right side of the parking lot. The tailgate was down, and there were blankets spread out in the bed of the truck. He had a jug of what looked like sweet tea, some sandwiches, and some little bowls filled with fruit salad. He grinned at her as she came to a stop right behind his truck. “What did you do?” she asked him.

“I made us a picnic. Since you weren’t sure you’d get a full lunch, I wanted to be sure that you had something to eat before you finish your shift.”

“I can’t believe you did this.”

“Why? It’s just a little food.”

“Nobody but my mom’s ever done anything to take care of me, and then it was only after my dad was taken care of first.”

Bane just looked at her for a minute, realizing that she’d never had anyone to take care of her before, to put her first. Since he’d never had anyone take care of him either, he knew that she would feel awkward at having him try to do so now. But even that thought wasn’t enough to dissuade his Bear from needing to do for her. He hopped down out of the truck bed and wrapped her in his arms, much too quickly for her to have time to struggle. He deposited her gently in the bed of the truck, “Eat, woman, I’m starving!” He took his place across from her and dug into his plate, hoping she’d take his cue and follow suit. Janie reached for her sandwich and took her first bite. Grilled cheese with thin sliced ham and tomato tucked inside the melted cheese. As she closed her eyes and moaned in appreciation, Bane’s Bear chuffed with pure bliss that they had pleased their Mate. She finished off her sandwich and then reached for her fruit salad. “Bane, this is so good. I still can’t believe you did this for me.” Bane answered without even thinking as he spooned up another bite of his own fruit salad, “I will always take care of you, Janie.”

She froze mid-scoop as she looked at him, waiting for him to realize what he said. He looked up at her and saw her look of wonder. “What?” he asked. She just continued to look at him, shaking her head almost imperceptibly. “You don’t even know me. Why would you say that?” she asked quietly.

Aw fuck, he thought, I just blew it. “No, I don’t. But I’d like to know you. I hope you’ll let me get to know you better. Is that okay? Will you let me know you, Janie?” The look he gave her was full of longing, so sincere. She didn’t answer, but just kept looking at him, as though she was trying to see inside him. “Tell you what, why don’t we just take it slow. One thing at a time, okay?” he offered.

She relaxed a little, “Yeah, I’d like that, slow.”

He smiled at her, not looking away from her eyes as he took another huge bite of fruit.

She did the same, digging back into her fruit and wondering what the hell she’d done to make this beautiful man want to know her better. It made her kind of sad, really. Because as soon as he knew her well enough, he’d realize that she really was nothing, and on top of the hell she lived in at home that would be enough to make any man run, then she’d be alone again. But even the thought of being lonely after Bane lost interest couldn’t take away from the happiness she felt when she was with him. He made her feel happy. She’d never felt happy before, at least not like this.

Bane watched as an array of emotions flitted across her face. She was so expressive, so innocent, so beautiful. He couldn’t wait to kiss her again. So, he didn’t. He leaned across their food spread between them and cupped her chin in his hand. He looked into her eyes as he brought their lips together so softly, brushing against hers, for just another small taste of her. Her eyes drifted closed as he kissed her once more, with just a little more pressure. The cat call from a couple of teen-aged boys leaving the store brought them back to reality. She blushed and smiled at him. He kissed the tip of her nose, as he settled back onto his own side of the blanket.