“Do you ever finish? Or are you always working?” she asked.

“When you own the company, it’s hard to warrant a day off.”

She shrugged. “I can understand that. Do you ever need help?”

“Not with stuff I do at work. Nah, it’s easier to just do this when I’m relaxed.”

With everything served up, they went to his dining table, and they ate. Xavier moaned around mouthfuls of food, and he opened up a bottle of wine. The atmosphere was slightly tense, a little awkward.

Sipping the red wine, she loved the fruity taste, and it complemented the food. She didn’t finish all of her pasta, and was surprised when Xavier took the plate from her and finished it off.

“You’ve got a big appetite.”

“I happen to love food.”

“If you love food so much how come you didn’t learn to cook?”

“It’s not a skill that makes me money. Over the years, I only worked on skills that made me more money. I’m not going to make a living out of cooking.”

“It can be for your enjoyment. I know growing up many of my memories are because of food. I love eating. I love cooking. When I go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, I know I’m going to be spending a lot of time with my mom.” She was old, but she didn’t allow anyone to take her place in the kitchen.


“She sounds amazing.”

“My dad, he doesn’t do much in the kitchen but take stuff. It’s always funny because Mom will slap his hands, and he says it’s always worth it. Of course, he’d grab her around the waist, and kiss her. They kind of got really touchy-feely growing up. It made bringing friends home a little difficult.”

“You love them very much.”

“They’re my parents. I hope with our child, he or she will feel the same.”

“What if we say children? We can have more than one.”

“I never want to presume something.”

He leaned back, staring at her. “You think I’m going to change my mind?”

“It’s difficult to predict the future, Xavier.”

“But we can plan for a future we can’t predict.” He sipped more of his drink. “Anyway, I was wondering how you’d want to handle a wedding. Would you like a big lavish affair, lots of guests, media, and such?”

“Media?” she asked.

“Yeah. I’m not in the public eye so much, but a rich guy getting married could get a lot of attention.”

Anya wrinkled her nose. “I don’t want any more attention. We can just go to the, erm, the court’s filing office. I’ve heard you can literally go in on your lunch break, and be done with it. No lavish affair, no planning, or expense. It’s very cheap.”

“Money is not the issue.”

“I don’t want a big affair.”

“You’ve not dreamt about your big white wedding?”

“No. I haven’t. I’ve been very practical in life. When I was growing up I was more interested in books than in boys.”

“We all grow up differently I guess.”

“What about you? Any plans for marriage?”

“Other than right now, no. What if I told you this is the most fun I’ve ever had, and we’re not even on a proper date?”


“Honestly, I’ve been with women, and I’ve been completely bored. I took one to an Italian restaurant—this was about four years ago actually. She spent the entire time at the restaurant pointing out certain celebrities, telling me gossip. I don’t do gossip. Nor do I do drama.”

“I didn’t think you did,” she said, smiling.

“I can’t actually recall a time I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a woman’s company, apart from the obvious.”

“Yeah, I don’t want to talk about the women you’ve been with before.”

“You can tell me about your men.”

She chuckled. “No. There’s not a lot to tell. I’ve been on dates, and I’ve done the whole steady relationship thing. I’ve never gone for moving in, or taking the relationship to the next step. I’ve always been hesitant about that.”

“You like your own space.”

“I do.” She took a sip of her wine. “This is nice.”