Tessa's Temptation(5)

By: Ella Jade

“I like to run. Maybe I could come with you one day.”

Hell no! I’m running to get away from you! “I get up really early. I’m sure you’d rather sleep.” He didn’t want to be rude but being this close to her triggered all sorts of inappropriate thoughts.

“Tomorrow I have to get up early anyway,” she said as she poured herself a glass of juice. “School starts and I have an early class.”

“That’s right.” Where had the time gone? He sat down on a stool at the counter. “Do you have everything you need? I didn’t realize it was here already.” He’d given her the keys to the Mustang in his garage because there were no bus stops in the gated community where he lived.

“I’m cool,” she said. “Since I didn’t have to pay rent last month I used the money to get what I needed. I’m going to start looking for a job too.”

“You don’t have to do that,” he said. “I spoke to your dad and he tells me you’re a really good student. You’re getting financial aid and a partial scholarship. You make the dean’s list every semester.”

“Was he bragging?” She chose a banana from the fruit bowl and began peeling it. “He does that sometimes.”

Seriously, of all the fruit in that damn bowl, did she have to pick a banana to eat in front of him? “He’s very proud of you.” He sipped his coffee, trying not to concentrate on her lips as she brought the tip of the fruit to her mouth. He wondered if she did these things on purpose. “In any case, you’ve been taking on too much. You were working and trying to make rent while you took care of him. He’d like for you to focus on school now. And I agree.”

“I’m going back tomorrow. I’m officially a junior.”

She took little bites of her banana, wrapping her lips around it each time. “I can probably find work on campus. You’ve already given me so much.”

He cleared his throat and set his shaking coffee cup on the counter. “I’d like for you to concentrate on school. I’ll cover your expenses. I’m having a credit card issued in your name and we’ll switch over your cell phone to my account. Anything you need you just use the card.”

“Why would you do that?”

“Because I can.” Her dad had told him about the past few years. They’d been rough on Tessa. Her mother left when she was ten and rarely reached out to her daughter. Things hadn’t been easy for this girl and he had so much. He wanted to help her. “You can sit with your dad in the afternoons if you don’t have to work. He’d like the company.”

“I would like to be there with him. I like to talk to the nurses and his physical therapists. It’s easier when I’m there. He doesn’t always remember everything they’re saying about his progress.”

“Then it’s settled. You worry about your schoolwork and keeping your dad company, and I’ll take care of the rest.” He already had his attorney looking into alternatives for Pat’s care. His doctors weren’t optimistic about him regaining full use of his legs anytime soon. Chase wanted him in a better facility. Preferably someplace in the city with state-of-the art technology and top notch doctors. He didn’t think Pat was getting the attention he needed.

“Thank you,” she said. “Maybe one of these days you’ll tell me what my dad did for you that makes you want to be so nice to me.”

“You’re easy to be nice to, Tessa, and I’m glad I can help you, and your dad.” He added as he stood up. “I need to get ready for work.” He glanced at his cell phone. “I’m going to be late.”

“Aren’t you the boss?”

“Yeah, I suppose I am.”

He’d started his architecture firm four years earlier. He’d come from money and when his trust fund kicked in he’d invested wisely. When he got the opportunity to purchase some undeveloped land in a prominent up and coming suburb just outside of Boston he’d jumped on it. Now his high-end houses were wanted all over the country. He designed for celebrities, politicians, athletes, and influential people all over the world.

“I saw some of the books of houses you designed – in the family room. They’re impressive.”

“Thank you.”

“Did you build this one?”

“About two years ago.”

“It’s amazing but why would one guy need all this space?”

“Go big or go home.” He shrugged. “I spend most of my time designing these immense houses. I see all the luxuries. I guess I just got carried away.”