Although the interview goes extremely well, Austin is so stunned and moved by Liz bringing some of the Magician’s Fund children on the show, he’s exhausted. Instead of going out to celebrate, he simply wants to go home.
“I know it would be fun to celebrate, but I honestly just want to go home and take a nap. That was emotionally draining.”
“Let’s plan on dinner,” Gordon suggested. “You can go home, relax and we’ll all meet up—where?”
“There’s a great restaurant in my building. Owen Rhys is the chef.”
“Sounds perfect,” Elaine agreed. “At eight?”
“I’ll call for a reservation,” Dwight said, taking out his phone. Moments later, he’d confirmed their reservation.
Stu dropped off Dwight and Austin at their building before heading to the Vogel Building. They went up the back elevator again.
“When did life get so bloody complicated?” Austin asked.
“About the time you got famous,” Dwight replied. “My phone is ringing like crazy.”
“I don’t hear anything.”
“Vibrate.” He pulled the phone out of his pants pocket, waving it around. “Only action I’m likely to get for awhile. Maybe I’ll just let it ring.” He winked and went home.
Austin started undressing as soon as he closed his door. He headed to the shower and let the hot water pound his back, unknotting his shoulders. Controlling his emotions had been exhausting. As much as he appreciated what Liz had done, it had brought all the horrors back. How he wished someone had done for him what he was doing for others. If he could save even one child or family from the fear and humiliation he’d felt, he would judge himself worthy.
He dressed in loose fitting jeans and ratty T-shirt. Walking around barefoot, he enjoyed the deep pile carpet. A lunch of Naomi and Dexter’s leftovers filled him up. He sipped a single beer and watched Farscape on DVD. He didn’t watch much television, but he loved to run marathons of favorite TV shows. He was deep into season one when someone knocked at his door. He paused the show and opened the door.
Liat stood there, grinning. “Mind if I join you?” She also was wearing jeans and a baggy shirt.
“Love for you to. I’ve been watching John Crichton whilst deciding whether or not to take a nap.”
“Can I interest you in something other than a nap?” She tugged his belt loops, pulling him close.
Austin smiled down at her, putting his hands on her waist. “I’d like that. I’d love to hope it involves getting naked.”
Liat playfully pushed him away. “I’ve known you since Thursday.”
“So, that’s a no.”
“That’s a be patient.”
Holding her waist, he walked backwards toward the couch. He sat down, pulling her down to straddle his lap.
“After all the sights I’ve shown you. Super novas in the beta quadrant.”
“That was just the light bulb going in one of the lamps.”
“Meteor shower in Sol Bea.”
“Styrofoam rocks hurled at us from the catwalk.”
“Bloody hell, I’m useless.”
“Almost entirely,” she replied, pushing him back against the couch.
“Well, the question burning in everyone’s mind, is this. How much of the last three days may we count as dates?”
She climbed off his lap, sitting close beside him. “Hmm. . . . We can count dinner the first night.”
“How about the snogging in my trailer.”
“But I want to count it.”
“Because it was such fun. And now, may we include now?”
“Maybe. Depends upon what you want to do.”
“I’m a thirty-two year old man in a room with the most beautiful woman in the world. What do you think I want to do?” He loomed over her, his face mere inches from hers.
“Play Trivial Pursuit?”
“Not even close.” He smiled as his lips brushed her cheek.
“We’re having dinner with my parents soon.”
“And?” He nosed her hair, his tongue tickling her ear.
“And, if we do anything inappropriate—Daddy will know.”
He fell back, lying on the couch. “Dammit, that’s done it.”
“The cock block I needed after the first time I kissed you. There it is. Your father will castrate me if I even think of shagging you.” He groaned, putting a pillow over his face. He pressed against it as if trying to suffocate himself.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes