He was tapping on my bedroom window. It was 2:17 in the morning.
I got out of bed, dressed in sweatpants and black T-shirt and slapped the window open. He practically fell through it, adorable in his wet tuxedo and red eyes.
“I like you. I want you to like me.”
“Go to bed.”
He leaned back out the window, paused. “Do you like me?”
“Against my better judgment, I do.”
He was so drunk he could barely stand.
“Please go to bed.”
He gave me a salute and walked right through a sprinkler, toward the front house. I closed the window. Brad was lying in the grass facedown, arms and legs in a big X, getting sprinkled on.
I could leave him out there.
I could, he deserved it. But I couldn’t.
I put on sneakers and a hoodie and went outside. He was face-first in a mud puddle. The sprinklers had shut off.
He didn’t move. I pulled his arm until he was on his back, then pulled both wrists and pulled forward. If I’m making it sound easy, it wasn’t. I slipped and fell in wet grass, and grunted like a tennis player. But I got him to sitting. Half his gorgeous face was dotted with mud.
No answer. I slapped him. Nothing. Slapped again, harder. He groaned.
Then I pulled my arm back and really hauled off and whacked him.
“You have to wake up. I can’t carry you.”
I crouched, getting my shoulder under his arm.
“Okay, I’m going to count to three. On three, stand up.”
“Do you know you’re beautiful?”
“And you smell like a fruit cup.”
He looked at me, the weight of his head tilting his face at an angle to mine.
“You’re the queen of the house.”
We lurched up. Took a step left. Adjusted. Stood steady.
“Can I just sleep here?”
“No. Nicole isn’t going to find your drunk ass on the lawn in the morning. Lean on me.”
We took one step forward, then two. I held his wrist with one hand and his waist with the other. The front of his tuxedo shirt was brown with mud. I got wet wherever his clothes touched me.
“Do you have fantasies, ever?” He hopped onto a new subject as if it was completely natural.
“Like about what?” I asked. His arm around me, his breath soft in my ear. Even his dependence was kind of a fantasy.
“You know what bothers me about fantasies?”
“Watch this chair here. Whoa.” I pulled him left, narrowly missing tripping over a lounger.
“You never know if you’re getting it right,” he said.
I turned to him, and found his eyes taking up my entire field of vision and my nose two inches from his.
“Like when I fantasize about fucking you.”
We almost tripped on the entrance. I swallowed my lungs, stomach, and heart in one gulp. He was drunk. He didn’t mean it. He never thought about fucking me.
Not Brad Sinclair.
He was my boss.