Glaring up at him, hot rage colored her face. “I don’t need you to take care of me.”
“You know, Candy; you have real issues. Grab your stuff and let’s go.”
Pumping her shorter legs as quickly as she could to keep up, she screamed, “I have issues? I am perfectly fine, thank you very much!”
“Yeah, I know,” he tormented her with his tone and opened the back doors to the Suburban. Dropping the bags inside, he slammed them shut and faced her squarely. “You just lost everything you own. It’s not a crime for you to accept a little help.”
“Yeah, and you’re not above suspicion; I’m still not convinced you didn’t have anything to do with it.”
“Fair enough,” he walked around to the driver’s side and climbed behind the wheel. After she had buckled herself in, he backed out of the spot. “Let’s call a truce; really. I’ll make you a promise, if you’ll do something for me.”
“Huh,” she grunted, “Ok, let’s hear it.”
“I won’t ever ask you to go out with me again. I’m over it, ok?” he cut his eyes over at her briefly while he drove on the slick pavement.
“Sounds good to me,” she threw her arms across her chest.
“Wait, that’s my part. Your part is, you will accept my help; no complaining. Until you have a new place to live, and your mother and son are both home and healthy.”
“I can’t ask you to do that,” she whined.
“You didn’t ask me to, I volunteered. What I want you to do is shut up and let me!” his tone had grown loud, and she felt a twinge of fear of him for the second time that day.
“Boy, you sure are bossy.”
“It comes from being an only child,” he replied smoothly.
“Well, I’m an only child, too; but you don’t see me running around giving orders like a drill sergeant,” she clipped.
Catching the angry pout on her lips in his peripheral vision, he laughed quietly for a moment. “Damn, woman. Will there ever be a day we’re not shouting at one another, and at each other’s throats?”
“We had lots of those days,” she recalled aloud. “But you ruined it.”
“I know; I wanted to go out with you; to get to know you better. But I just took it back, see? So now we can be friends again,” he smiled, pulling into the driveway of a huge wooden structure. Hitting the button on the control above his head, the garage door in the back building swung open, and he pulled inside. Killing the engine, he didn’t move, and instead stared straight ahead. “I liked it when we were friends, Candy. If that’s the most you can ever give me, I’ll take it. But please, don’t shut me out completely.”