The heat coming from Henry had to be all in her imagination. No one could generate heat simply sitting beside her in a car. Pushing some hair off her face, she forced herself to watch the city passing her by.
They were going for Italian. Did he pick the place because she liked Italian food? How did he even know what she liked? All of her thoughts were starting to confuse her, none of them making any sense as she thought about the kind of man Henry was.
The tension in the car mounted, and she made sure to keep her attention outside rather than inside. This was the first time she’d been alone with him. He seemed to be acting different. She didn’t know why and would rather not overanalyze why he was suddenly behaving toward her with interest.
He didn’t even ask what she wanted for lunch—he assumed.
Why are you getting angry? You’re happy with anything.
Staring out of the window, she tried to get her thoughts into focus. Henry stayed quiet on the ride toward the restaurant. At times she found herself tracing over the cast that covered her thigh.
When they were outside, she opened the door and was shocked to find Henry standing with her crutches waiting for her. He offered a hand to help her to her feet. Staring at his hand, she wondered what she should do. She took the hand he offered, knowing in her heart that it would be ridiculous to ignore the help.
Henry stayed beside her as she got comfortable.
“Are you good to walk?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’m good now.” She offered him a smile then followed him as he entered the restaurant. There were no steps for her to battle. April hated steps with the crutches. There was no easy way to get to her destination when stairs were involved.
She stood slightly behind him as he made arrangements. The moment the maître d’ knew who he was they got a table within seconds.
“Wow, you know how to throw your name around.”
“I do own all rights to my name,” he said, teasingly. April couldn’t help but laugh at the smirk on his face.
The waiter approached their table holding a menu. Henry took the menu before she got a chance.
“I need to see that to order,” she said.
“No, you don’t.” He flicked it open and glanced down. “Get us two of your strong coffees with extra cream for the lady.”
April frowned. How did he know what she liked?
“I’ve been listening to you for the past few months, April. It’s pretty hard to miss what you like.”
She nodded, more confused that he knew what she was thinking.
The waiter came back carrying their drinks. They were handed another menu, and she looked toward Henry to see if she was allowed to take it.
“Order what you like.”
Glancing down the list of meals she noticed there was no cost.
“Erm, could I borrow your menu when you’re done?”
“No. Lunch is on me. Order what you like and I’ll pay for it.”
“I don’t need you to pay for me.”
Henry looked at her over the edge of the menu he held up. “You told me you were returning to work as you needed the money. Was that all lies?”
Heat filled her cheeks at his words. They were not lies, but hearing her own complaints spoken back to her hurt.
She heard him release a sigh. April chanced a look up at him.
“Lunch is on me. Don’t take it personally, April. I want to feed you, and you’re going to let me. I heard you mention to Julia that you wanted to come here. I’m making sure you get the chance. The food is wonderful.”
April smiled once again then looked down at the menu. She loved her food and took great lengths to try something new.
Settling on a dish, she told him what she wanted then sat back waiting. She tapped her fingers on the table and looked around the room. None of the people stood out, but the intimacy of the layout struck her. The tables were small with enough length to fit two plates across from each other. Underneath the table she was sure she felt Henry’s knees brush hers or it could be in her head. When she was around Henry, her imagination seemed to go into overdrive.
“You can talk to me.”
Returning her gaze to Henry, she saw he was sitting back in his seat, staring at her.
“Why do you hate me?” she asked, blurting the first words that came to her mind. Biting her lip, she glanced down at her hands wishing she hadn’t spoken.
Crap, great way to start the conversation.
“I don’t hate you.”
“Yeah, you do. You’re always looking at me as if you don’t approve or something. Ever since we’ve met and you found out I was Julia’s best friend, you were always negative.” She folded her arms over her chest wishing Julia was here now. The conversation would carry on at the table with whatever she could think of. Julia had a way about her that drew people out.