Entangled:An Evolve Series Novella(6)

By: S.E. Hall

I hesitantly shake his hand and smile slowly. “How do you know my name and what are you doing here?”

“Dane hired me. I’m here to build your deck.”

Of course he did.

“A deck? Do you have some plans for me to look at, maybe a business card?” I have no idea if you draw up plans for a deck, but it felt right asking. If someone’s building anything on my precious little bungalow, I want to know ahead of time, approve it, and give my thoughts! I’m not trying to be a brat or ungrateful, but this is my first “place” and I’m super excited. I want to help make the big decisions, like I’m really a part of it and it’s really mine. Is that so much to ask?

“Of course.” He smiles warily, perhaps reading the aggravation on my face. “Let me just run to the van and get the drawing and a card for you. Be right back,” he says as he hurries around the corner.

Great, I scared Hank.

I whip out my cell phone, pushing the buttons with much more force than necessary. My foot taps as it rings, my annoyance growing with each second I’m not afforded the opportunity to unload.

“Baby,” he answers, voice warm.

“Don’t you ‘baby’ me, Michael Dane Kendrick.” If he could see me, he’d know my foot is still tapping incessantly and the hand not holding the phone is propped angrily on my hip. “Would you like to tell me about your friend Hank and why he’s in my backyard?”

Is that laughter I hear on the other end of this phone? It has to be a bad connection—he wouldn’t dare! What am I thinking? Of course he’d dare. Well, enough is enough, I want some say!

“Are you laughing at me?” I growl.

“Why yes, yes I am.”

“Ughhhhh!” I yell, not moving the phone away from my mouth, sorta hoping I pierced his eardrum. “Dane, why didn’t you tell me? We could have designed the deck together.”

“Laney, there’s no height to work with, and limited yard space, so it’s not a real intricate deck to design. It’s not a big deal, babe, just somewhere to sit.”

I’m sure he has a point, and I should be grateful, and I can still plan stuff like the plants, the chairs, candles, maybe string some lights. But while it’s “just a deck” this time, what will it be next time? Too bad he’s not here right now. I have a secret tactic that, according to my stats, has a 99.4% success rate. I call it Pussy Persuasion, but never out loud. Plans this surefire and brilliant must be kept on the DL, and while it sounds funny in my head, it’s kinda crass out loud. Anyway, seeing as how he’s not here, I should probably just give in and quit fighting him in the interest of saving my energy for battles I might actually win.

I sigh into the phone, exasperated. “Fine, thank you for the deck.”

“For you,” his gritty voice replies.

Just like that, in those two words he uses to tell me what takes others sonnets to convey, I’m reminded that he does do it for me—from a good place, the place within him that loves me, wants to make me happy, yearns to take care of me and make my life easier, happier and completely tangled up in him. See? It takes me all that to analyze what he eloquently summarizes with “for you.”

Anger dissipated, I try a different approach, one that can be accomplished over the phone—the sweet and vulnerable girl voice. “Can you just try to understand that I’m really excited to have my own place for the first time, and I want to be involved in things? I love the idea of a deck, but I kinda feel left out. Okay, babe?”

“I hear you, baby. I didn’t even think of it like that. We’ll discuss things from now on, promise,” he says sincerely, not at all trying to simply pacify me.

“Thank you. Now, I bought some paint for the room I’m doing. Do I have time to get started on that or do we have plans?” I ask, my tone warmer.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to hire—”

“We have to do it ourselves, remember? That was part of the bet,” I interrupt him. “I mean, if you want to send someone in to paint your room, be my guest. Just let me know when our date is,” I tease him.

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