Preview of A Portrait for Toni
Grunting with frustration, Carter tossed the pieces of the useless paintbrush into the garbage can under the counter and left the other two by the sink. He grabbed a rag and wiped remaining paint thinner off his hands as he strode over to his phone, where there was indeed a message waiting for him. Then with trepidation, he sat at his desk to listen to the message. He tossed the rag aside and picked up his phone.
“Hey, it’s me. I’m in a bind and hope you can help me out. It’s the dance studio’s annual Valentine’s Day party, and my date bailed on me. Thing is, if I don’t bring a date, Allen will never let me hear the end of it. Party starts at eight thirty. I’d really appreciate it if you’d be my plus one. Call me back as soon as you get this, ’kay? Love ya.” With a click, the message ended.
Love ya. He heard that often. What he wanted to hear was I love you, Carter. I’m in love with you. Or something remotely in the ballpark.
His phone was silent, but he kept it against his ear, eyes closed, as he pressed the fingers of his other hand against his eyes.
He should tell her no, because at this rate, she’d start thinking that he was always the easy fallback. She needed to realize that he had a life outside of her. That…
Who was he kidding? He’d known the second he heard her ring that he’d do whatever she needed. He pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it, willing it to send a text with the right words. Something. Anything.
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