The Stillness Of You

By: Julie Bale

His feet were bare. Shit. There was something about a guy in bare feet that I adored. I don’t have a fetish or anything but still, I found it hot. Could I not find something crappy about him? A wart? An extra appendage like a finger or a toe? A third nipple?

His eyes were as dark as melted chocolate and at the moment they were focused on me with an intensity that told me a few things.

It told me he was interested. It told me that Ben wasn’t afraid of my brother and his warnings and the over protective posturing he’d pulled the night before.

Perversely, I liked that. It meant he wasn’t a wimp. It meant that he was the kind of guy who took what he wanted and if I was reading the signals correctly, at this exact moment in time he wanted me.

Except he didn’t know the real me. The one who existed behind the medication. Behind the diagnosis.

The one who was bipolar. The slut. The train wreck. The one who was damaged goods.

I took a step back. I was pretty sure if he knew all my dirty little secrets he’d run the other way. Not that I would blame him, hell, it’s what I would do. Life was complicated enough without adding someone like me into the mix.

His eyes slowly moved from mine, downward. I knew my T-shirt was damp and I knew that it clung to my breasts. I also knew that my nipples were now pebbled and hard and that they were the reason his grin widened ever so slightly.

“Lancaster,” I said clearly. “Above the chest, okay?”

He took his time, but eventually honored my request.

“I’m going to take a shower and then we’ll have a look at the properties on your list. If we can, we’ll get to all of them today.”

“Sounds good,” he answered.

I moved away and was halfway down the hall when he said, so softly that I nearly missed it, “Let me know if you need help in there.”

“I’m a big girl, Ben. I can handle it.”

He just laughed, but his laughter followed me all the way into the shower and not even the hot spray could wipe away his morning voice. Or his sexy eyes.

Or those damn boxers.

Chapter Five


Georgia King was different from any girl I had ever met. We’d spent most of the day together and I still couldn’t figure out what it was that made her special, and after I while I stopped thinking about it. What was the point?

She just was.

She was smart and she made me laugh. She liked the San Francisco Giants, hated American Idol (though she admitted to a weird crush on Simon and was glad he’d left for X-factor), and was a big fan of Georges St. Pierre the UFC fighter. Most girls I knew had no idea who that guy was and I was impressed.

And she was gorgeous. The eyes, the long hair, the petite and graceful body. Hell, she stood beside me in line waiting for an ice-cream and I felt like a fucking giant.

I kinda liked that.

Somewhere between the property we just looked at, and the last one on our list, we stopped for ice cream at a little hole-in-the-wall kind of place just off the road. A hole-in-the-wall yes, but it was obviously well known. The lineup was impressive, but Georgia wanted a chocolate-chunk-peanut butter cone and I wasn’t about to deny her the pleasure.

Besides, what was sexier than a girl with an ice-cream cone between her lips?

“So, do you go to college?” I was curious and thought of her paintings. “Do you study art?” I wanted to know more than just her likes and dislikes. I wanted to know what made her tick. I wanted to know why the faces hidden in her abstract paintings were sad. Actually, they were kind of creepy with their abnormally large eyes and mouths that hung open as if they were frozen in a perpetual scream.

I knew it was art, but still…

I wanted to know why she was living with her brother when clearly, it was a new thing. Was it a bad break up? Had some guy broken her heart? Or had she done the honors?

She deflected with a question of her own and it wasn’t until we were back in my rental that I realized she’d never answered me. She cranked the tunes as we headed to our last drive-by, a place in Haddonfield, New Jersey and I wasn’t able to ask her anything more.

The house wasn’t as rural as I was hoping for but it was on nearly four acres of land and the listing said at 1.5 million it was a bargain. Built in the 1930’s it had been empty for a year or so and the property needed some work.

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