Today she was wearing more casual clothes than she had the last three days. I was thinking it was more because she was running out of things to wear since she hadn’t packed that much than because she wanted to be comfortable.

I made a mental note to run by her apartment when I had free time tonight before I went to pick her up from her shift, and then turned my attention to the food truck that she was pointing at instead of the way her ass looked in her jeans.

“Which one?” I asked since she was pointing in the direction of all of the food trucks. Not just a specific one.

She took me by the hand and led me through the maze of people to the truck with perhaps the longest line there, and said, “This one.”

I studied the truck.

“It’s grilled cheese,” I said.

Not that I cared.

I could pretty much eat anything.

But, saying that, it was grilled cheese. I could make that shit at home.

“I know,” she said. “It’s fantastic. Plus, look at the line. It has to be good, otherwise there wouldn’t be this big of a line.”

She did have a point there.

I crossed my arms over my chest and waited in line behind her, listening to her talk about her day.

“And then there was a call about a stalled vehicle on the freeway. A stalled vehicle in the fast lane. Did you hear about that one?” she asked.

I grunted out an affirmative as I studied the menu.

“I was writing a ticket at the time, but I remember hearing about it,” I admitted. “What are you getting?”

“I think the Cheesemeister,” she answered. “Do you think the jalapenos will be super-hot?”

I shrugged and bent my head to say, “Probably not. Sounds good, actually. I might get that, too.”

She turned up to me and winked. “But if you get the same thing as me, how am I going to get to taste yours, too?”

She had a point there.

“Then what do you suggest?” I asked. “Because honestly, it’s just a cheese sandwich.”

“That one has meat on it. Pepperoni. That sounds good.”

Actually, it did sound pretty good.

“I’ll get that one, then. You get the other. We can split them,” I suggested.

She shot me a beaming smile then practically clapped when the last person in front of us moved aside with their orders in tow.

After placing our orders and receiving them, we turned to look for a place to eat, finding one right near the truck.

The table itself was a rather large spool that came up to my belly. It came up to mid-chest for her.

Placing our food and drinks down, I walked back to the truck and gathered napkins.

When I got back, it was to find two other people also sharing the space.

Royal rolled her eyes when I gave her a ‘why didn’t you tell them no’ look.

“Excuse me,” I said as I pushed into the gap. “I was right there.”

The woman turned and looked at me with anger on her features. “There’s not anywhere else…oh, sorry.”

I snorted as they gathered their stuff and walked away.

Royal was laughing quietly as she snacked on her chips.

“What?” I asked.

“Nothing,” she said. “But, just sayin’, you’re just as intimidating in that uniform as you are in dirty jeans and a black t-shirt while working in your garage. Those pants may be tight, but they don’t detract from your scariness.”

I shrugged.

I’d been told that I was scary before.

But it wasn’t like I could help it.

“Genetics,” I said. “My dad’s a big guy. Plus, my ex likes to say I have resting asshole face.”

She snorted. “You don’t have resting asshole face. You’re just big and intimidating. The beard makes you look kind of dark and sexy in a brooding kind of way. Plus, you have those glasses back on, so your eyes are hidden. Which is kind of why I knew you weren’t so bad when I first met you. Your eyes are kind—at least when you want them to be.”

I was processing her words when she spoke again.

“Who’s that?” Royal suddenly asked.

I placed my hand on her hip and leaned down into her so I could better hear what she was saying. “Who’s who?”

She brought her hand up to cup my face, then turned it so that it was in the direction of another food truck.

“That woman that’s staring at you with her heart in her eyes,” she whispered.

I looked over to see Natalie Coffee, my ex, staring at me like I’d just gutted her.

“Speaking of exes,” I said. “That’s her.”

I turned away, uncaring and unwilling to give her any more of my life than she’d already stolen from me.

I wasn’t bitter anymore—at least I didn’t think that I was.

But I wasn’t really wanting to have anything to do with her, either.

I pulled Royal’s hand into mine and then squeezed it before dropping it and picking up my sandwich.


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