Kitchen Affairs

By: Brooke Cumberland

“Sorry guys, but I have to go. Stella will be heading to bed soon, and I want to see her before she falls asleep,” I insisted, gesturing to Brad to allow me out of the booth. I gave him a hug secretly hoping Drake was watching and told the rest I’d see them all tomorrow. I grabbed my things and headed for the door not looking in Drake’s direction.

This is so confusing. I don’t know why I would want Drake to see me hug another man or why I would want to give Brad the wrong impression. Get it together!

I started walking towards my apartment trying to flag a cab. I had three beers, and since I was feeling light headed, I didn’t feel comfortable walking home in the dark. Fortunately, a cab pulled over next to me. I grabbed for the door handle and tripped; nearly face planting the cement. Suddenly, a strong arm reached for me saving me from face diving.

Damn, I’m a klutz.

I thanked the person for catching me before realizing who it was. My breath was taken away as I stabled myself realizing Drake was the one whose arm had grabbed me. Oh man, he’s gorgeous.

“Miss Woods, are you okay?” Drake asked with a concerned look as he held me close to him. Why is he so close to my face? Walk away… walk away….

“I’m fine, thank you Mr. Stagliano. Just… clumsy,” I mumbled. Why am I so nervous? Ugh, that was embarrassing.

“You need to be more careful. Especially if you’re going to be drinking,” he scolded. I rolled my eyes as I turned my head and continue walking to the cab that was impatiently waiting.

“Yes, I will. Thanks again.” I could feel the heat coming off him. It was so intense that I felt intimidated just being near him. Hold it together, Molly.

He leaned forward just barely grazing me and grabbed the door handle gesturing me into the cab. I nodded graciously and sat on the far side of the seat. I was expecting him to close the door, but instead he got in and sat down beside me.

What the hell?

He noticed my puzzled expression as he told the cab driver where to go. “I hope you don’t mind since we’re heading in the same direction after all,” he snickered, edging closer to me.

“Sure,” was all I was able to say practically holding my breath. We continued sitting in silence before my phone rang out in a tantrum.

“Hey baby, I’ll be home soon, ok? Tell Michael to save me some dinner. Love you too.” I hung up with Stella silently wishing the driver would drive faster.

“Kelly Clarkson fan?” he asked with a sly smile.

“My ringtone per my roommate’s request,” I snorted back.

“Who’s Michael?” Drake asked with a stern tone.

Ummm, none of your fucking business.

“My roommate,” I mumbled vaguely hoping he’d leave it alone.

“Ahhh… boyfriend?” he intrigued.

“No, he’s gay,” I barked, trying not to stare at him.

“Good to know,” he bantered, looking directly at me. I tried avoiding eye contact with him, but I could see him out of the corner of my eyes gawking at me.

“So what was your reason for stopping by last night?” I fumed, demanding answers.

“I already told you. I wanted to see you.”

“Yes, but why? We don’t know each other.”

“But I want to know you,” he said a little softer. This is odd.

“I’m flattered, Mr. Stagliano, but I’m not interested in getting to know you.” His eyebrows narrowed as he frowned. “Or anyone for that matter,” I finished so he didn’t think I was rejecting him. The truth was I hadn’t been interested in dating anyone since Liam. It’s been almost four years since he died and I still felt like I’d be cheating on him. I knew I sounded ridiculous to most people, but getting my career on the ground and taking care of Stella were my only priorities.

“Well, Miss Woods, I just want to know you as a friend,” he insisted, unconvincingly.

“Fine, Mr. Stagliano. What do you want to know?” I urged, meeting my eyes with his. Let’s just get this over with.

“What is your favorite position?” he asked with a straight face. Oh my god, what did he just ask me?

Stunned, all I could do was give him a questioning look and reply, “Excuse me?”

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