Christine was nervous. She hadn’t been on a date since before Angela was born. Now that her daughter was over a year old, Christine knew she had to take back some part of her life. Even if dating was only a little part.
She followed the hostess across the restaurant and prayed for courage. If the date went poorly she would drown herself in ice cream later, but Christine was determined to make it a good night.
Until she saw him.
He was gawking at her like she had toilet paper stuck to her shoe. She surreptitiously checked behind her and didn’t see a trail, but he was still staring at her. His Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat and he took a healthy sip of red wine before Christine reached the edge of the table. The hostess motioned for Christine to sit then left.
Christine stood, unable to lower herself into the vacant seat. She could tell by the look on his face that Mac didn’t want to be there. His face was pinched and his chest heaved with his breathing. He was nervous, which made her nervous.
“Should I go?” she asked, drawing on the strength of the tough CEO inside. She wasn’t going to sit through a dinner with a man who didn’t want to be there with her. Her time was too valuable to just sit back and waste it. If he didn’t want her there, she would go home and have dinner with Christine, put her to bed, and get some work done.
It was sad that working sounded more appealing than spending a few hours with the man before her.
“No,” Mac finally choked out. “Please sit.”
Christine kept her eyes locked on him as she sat on the edge of the chair waiting for her. She draped her purse over the back and covered it with her coat. She lifted her menu and studied it, trying to forget about the awkwardness hanging between them.
Mac cleared his throat. forcing Christine to lower her menu. She raised an eyebrow at him, silently asking him what was going on. He took the bait. “I don’t know why I agreed to this. You deserve much better than me.”
Christine rolled her eyes. “The whole, ‘It’s not you, it’s me,’ line has gotten old, don’t you think? Seriously, if you don’t want to be here with me then man up and admit it.”
Mac looked at her as though he couldn’t think of a response. Maybe no one had called him on his shit before, but Christine wasn’t going to sit there and let him tell her he was the problem. It was a cop out.
“It’s not a line,” Mac began. “It’s the truth. The last woman I dated died because of me. You have a kid to worry about. You can’t get involved with me.”
“Are you telling me you’re a murderer?” Christine asked, her throat suddenly feeling tight.