‘I should go,’ she said, squeezing her reluctant toes into the wedge heels. ‘It’s going to take a very long walk up a bloody big hill to get rid of this hangover.’
While she gathered her phone and bag, he perched on the same windowsill he had the night before, but this time Winston would win the war. There was no way she was letting herself get involved with Xander – too young, too good-looking, too much like heartbreak waiting to happen.
‘Well, thanks for everything,’ she said, flashing a cheery smile. But Xander didn’t look up. He stared at his feet, the little muscle in his jaw twitching away. ‘Your Grandad would be proud.’
He gave a half-laugh but still didn’t look up. Was he cross with her again?
‘I really needed yesterday,’ she went on, ‘and…’
His frown deepened.
‘And well… that was the best… toast I’ve had in a long time.’
Finally, he raised his head, his eyes twinkling with amusement. ‘Come with me to a party?’
‘It’s my friend’s birthday in a couple of weeks and he has a huge party. DJs, dancing… like Pacha in a Windermere mansion. You can wear one of your three pairs of high-end shoes.’
Oh good God, no. Was he expecting more of the same? This was worse than the awkward phone number conversation. ‘Xander, I don’t want… I’m in the middle of a hideous divorce and okay, I totally needed a…but I don’t–’
‘It’s okay,’ he said, flashing an affable smile. ‘I get it, but I was thinking we could go as friends. We’ll hang out, have fun and you’ll see it’ll be okay for you to move in.’
‘Are you desperate for someone to do the cleaning while you play on your Xbox?’
‘Mrs Oxford down the road does the cleaning and I don’t have an Xbox.’
‘Because you’re fun.’
‘I don’t mean shagging. Friends, I promise.’
This was not the usual post-one night stand conversation. He wanted to hang out with her but not shag her… Well, that was okay. It was, wasn’t it? Besides, she had to give him a chance; his cottage was a dream come true.
Oh who was she kidding? Dancing, music and a new friend to play with – that was better than a dream come true. Not quite the life she’d planned when she moved to the middle of nowhere, but her smile grew. This would be okay, absolutely okay.
‘Is that a yes, Fitzgerald?’
As that Colgate smile took over his face, she shot him her cheekiest wink and left.