Roger picked up chicken soup for Makayla and sandwiches for him and Nicole. He also bought some ice cream for when Makayla was feeling better and a few staples that he was sure they would need since he assumed they hadn’t been to the store that day.
When he pulled into her driveway, Roger breathed a sigh of relief. He was there. At her house. She’d given him her address and he was going to spend the evening there.
Assuming she let him in the door.
Loaded with bags, Roger walked to her door and rang the bell. He heard footsteps and voices inside and waited.
When Nicole opened the door he was struck again with how beautiful she was. Her hair was tied up in a messy bun with some strands falling over her shoulders. Her eyes had dark circles under them, telling him Makayla had been sick the night before. She wasn’t wearing any make-up, but she was stunning.
Damn, he wanted to kiss her.
“Wow, what did you bring?” she asked with a grin when she glanced at the bags in his hands.
Roger smiled back. “I figured you ladies could use some extra supplies so you didn’t have to run out with her sick. How is Makayla feeling?”
Nicole looked away again. Roger saw a couch from where he stood at the front door. The TV was on with a bunch of kids on the screen. He didn’t know the show well since it was a little older than his usual readers watched, but it was one he’d seen before. Roger was adamant about keeping up with the trends and what his fans would like to read about.
“She’s doing okay,” Nicole finally said. “Come in so you can put all that stuff down. Can I help you with anything?”
Roger breathed a sigh of relief that she was actually letting him into the house. He smiled to himself as he stepped inside. With his sneakers toed off, Roger shook his head. “If I hand anything over I’m afraid I’ll drop it all. Just point me to the kitchen.”
Nicole laughed and pointed down the hallway in front of them. “Straight back.”
Roger headed into her domain, hoping she wouldn’t throw him right back out once he’d delivered his loot. Or even once they’d eaten. He took in the pictures lining the hall as he walked to the kitchen. Makayla grew up before his eyes, from a pudgy, adorable baby, to the little girl who’d run into him in the store. There were a few other decorations on the wall, but the only pictures were of Makayla, not Nicole and not a father.
Roger lifted the bags onto the counter in the kitchen. Nicole was right behind him, helping him untangle his hands from the handles of the bags. When he was finally free they started unloading everything. “You really didn’t have to do this.”
“I wanted to help. Besides, it’s no big deal. Having a sick kid can’t possibly be any fun for anyone.”
Nicole shook her head and tears filled her eyes. Something deep inside cracked and Roger didn’t hesitate to pull her into his arms. She tensed for a minute, then slowly relaxed into his embrace. He held her as she trembled against him, stroking her hair and keeping her close. She smelled amazing, a light floral scent mixed with what he was sure was all Nicole. He forced his body not to react.
Nicole finally pulled back and wiped her eyes. “I’m sorry. I didn’t get much sleep. I shouldn’t have done that.”
“Yes, you should have. Don’t apologize, Nicole, please.”