“You know what you need?” Brandon turned his head from the road to glance over at me in the passenger seat. I shrugged. “Retail therapy.”
“What are you doing?” I asked.
Brandon had made an unexpected turn into the Walmart parking lot, pulled into an empty spot and put the car in park. “We’re going shopping. I need clothes.”
“You’re shopping for clothes at Walmart?” I opened the passenger door and met him around the back of the car. I didn’t want to set a precedence that he should be chivalrous when what he really wanted was me to be his sister.
“Yes, and you’re going to help me pick them out,” he said. “I’m not wearing the same clothes three days in a row. Plus, I need some soap that doesn’t smell like roses.”
“What’s wrong with roses?” I crossed my arms in mock horror. “You smell roses all day every day in the summer.”
“They’re wonderful in the yard, and you smell beautiful, but I want to smell like a man.” He came up behind me and wrapped his arm around my shoulder as we walked into the building.
I loved having his arm around me even though I wanted to complain that he was confusing me with his mixed signals. I let him hold me until we got to where the carts were stored, and he released me to grab a cart.
He took charge and steered straight to the underwear and grabbed a bag of boxer shorts and then a bag of socks.
It hadn’t occurred to me that he probably had to wear yesterday’s boxers when he got out of the shower this morning. Poor guy. I was so caught up in my own grief I hadn’t considered how this was affecting him.
Next, he perused the jeans and seemed to know exactly what brand and size he needed. He then grabbed a couple of basic solid-colored t-shirts, a pair of sweats, and a hooded sweatshirt.
“Feel better?” I raised my eyebrows.
“I will when I get these on my body,” he said. “Next stop, deodorant.”
“Laugh it up, I used yours this morning.”
“That’s so gross.”
“What would be gross is if I didn’t use any at all. You wouldn’t want me to sleep with you if I stopped using deodorant.”
He thought he was being funny, but I pulled away, even more confused. Sleep with me? Why couldn’t he make up his mind? Was I his sister or his girlfriend?
“I’m kidding,” he said, raising his hands in surrender. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything by that. I’ll sleep in my own bed tonight. I promise.”
Darn it. I shouldn’t have reacted that way. Now he thought I didn’t want him with me. I did. I definitely did. I wanted him with me every night from now until eternity. But he didn’t like me that way. I cleared my throat. “Let’s go buy you some deodorant.”
I turned and walked in the direction of the pharmacy department.
Ugh! Just when things were progressing. Why did I have to say that? Now she thinks I’m presumptuous. I promised myself I wouldn’t push Sammy into any type of physical relationship. She deserved better than that.
I followed her, pushing my cart and racking my brains how to deal with this. I was in love with her, but I’d never considered her feelings. Maybe she wasn’t in love with me. We’d had a great date, but I was just her backup date. Maybe she really liked this guy, Charlie. I needed to take a step back and be out of the way.
We didn’t speak again as I picked out the correct deodorant, shampoo, soap, shaving cream, and a nice razor. That night I’d be sleeping out in my apartment above the garage. All I wanted was to sleep with Sammy, but it wasn’t meant to be.
I paid for my supplies and kept my face stoic. How could I have read this all wrong? She almost kissed me a few hours ago while sitting on my lap. I mean seriously almost kissed me. Lips almost touching. And now? She treated me like an enemy.
We drove back to the bed and breakfast in silence. Gone was the teasing and holding hands. She stared out the passenger window as I steered, peeking over at her every few minutes, wondering how I was going to fix this.
I parked in my typical spot near the garage and turned off the car. Neither of us moved. I fumbled with my car keys and she kept her hands in her lap.
“Sammy, I’m sorry.” I turned to face her, and my brows pulled together.
“I get it.” She held up her hand to stop me. “If that’s all I am to you, that’s okay. I’ll just deal with it.”
How could she think that? I’d been a perfect gentleman since the day I met her. I never came on to her or took advantage of her. I’d never done anything to compromise her. I wouldn’t do that to her. But how could I get her to see that?
I would just have to continue to treat her like a lady and hope she’ll eventually forgive me.
Running To You
Click here to read the next chapter in my work-in-progress!