For the A-to-Z April Blogging Challenge, I’m writing a story, aiming for 1000 words a day (every day except Sundays). Continuing today with the next part of the story about the character Codie Snow.
If you’re new to this series of posts, you might want to start here:
NOTE: I don’t really like what I wrote today, but I have to plow through it. Revision can happen later. I’m not sure what it was that wasn’t working for me, but I’ll make it work later. I think I need to get into Codie’s head in the second part of this scene more and, once I do, I think it’ll be better. For now, though, here’s what I’ve got!
Lovely, eh? So Slade was gonna lay it on thick.
It wouldn’t be the first time. Codie recognized the pattern. After being separated for a few weeks, Slade was beginning to realize (again) how much he liked having her around. He’d said as much before. This time, though? Too damn bad.
He pulled her into a tight embrace before she could even try to rebuff him. “I’d like for you to come to dinner as well.” Slade was talking in his bigshot lawyer voice. It was not an invitation; it was an order. And, for some reason, that always affected her. In spite of the fact that she hated feeling bossed around, Slade acting forceful was a bit of a turn on.
But that wasn’t going to happen tonight. “Thanks, Slade, but—”
Matthew leaned over—a little too close to both of them, but that wasn’t anything unusual for her sometimes touchy-feely friend—and said, “Yeah, Codie. You have to come with us. It’ll be fun!”
“No, really, I—”
“I insist. I’ll be buying the finest wine in the house.”
Matthew tittered. “Not if I pick Burger King.”
Slade frowned, his brow lovely when he used it to show frustration. “That’s right. I told you you could pick.” He sucked in a breath through his nostrils. “Choose wisely, my friend.” Matthew wiggled his eyebrows, taunting Slade, but the lawyer said, “If we go to a fast food burger joint tonight to celebrate a victory like the one we had today, I will never let you pick again.”
Codie couldn’t believe Slade even tried to lecture Matthew. Her roommate had champagne taste beyond that most people’s imagination. She knew he would never blow this chance to experience something he rarely did.
Matthew’s lips curled upward slowly before he asked, “Are we limited to places in Dalton?”
“Yes, my friend, we are, because you and I have work tomorrow.”
While Matthew fretted over his decision, Slade returned his attention to Codie, his brown eyes burning into her brain. How had she forgotten his captivating aura? As much as she wanted to say no to him, she was already contemplating going with them—wherever it might be. But she didn’t want to say that. “What were you planning to have for dinner, Codie?” She started to say she didn’t know, but before she could, Slade added, “Be honest. I’ll know if you’re lying.”
Part of her flared anger at that statement, because it was actually none of his damn business nowadays, but she found herself telling him anyway. “A peanut butter sandwich. Because I’m not that hungry.”
Slade’s face remained neutral—something he was able to do when presenting a case as well—but Codie could see the twinkle in his eyes. “You could have sirloin and a fine red, but you’d rather eat a sandwich?” He blinked once before saying, “Go change. We’ll wait.”
Time to dig in her heels. “I’m not going.”
Slade blinked twice more. “I won’t force you, Codie, and this is the last time I’ll ask…but Matthew and I would love the pleasure of your company.” The purr of his voice was what convinced her.
* * *
Half an hour later, Codie was sitting in Dalton’s only French restaurant, feeling underdressed. She’d put on a summery dress, but next to Slade, she felt like she was slumming. Yes, Matthew was dressed casually, but she just felt out of place.
Well, truthfully, it wasn’t the clothes making her feel that way. It was Slade. He’d invited her along but had hardly spoken to her since they’d arrived.
He had made it a point to flirt with their waitress…a girl who very obviously knew and liked Slade. A lot.
The girl had brought the wine to the table and she and Slade were discussing grapes. Codie had never cared much for wine, and so she certainly didn’t give a shit about how the proper choice of a wine signaled a person’s place on in the hierarchy of affluence. If wine choice indicated a person’s financial state, then she was nonexistent.
And she definitely felt that way right this minute.
The girl giggled. Matthew had been chatting with Codie, trying to keep her mind and eyes off Slade, but it wasn’t working. After blushing, the girl touched Slade’s shoulder, and Codie felt a flare of anger burn in her belly.
Okay…so it was jealousy.
“Mr. Sheppard, I heard about your win today.”
“You did, did you? Word gets around that fast in Dalton?”
“No.” She tilted her head toward the other part of the restaurant—the bar area. It wasn’t the kind of place where one of Dalton’s homeless could wander in with loose change gathered from sympathetic passers by. It was a place the moneyed people in town would go when they wanted a drink or two. “The defendants are nursing their wounds with some thirty-year-old Scotch.” She leaned over and whispered loudly. “I heard something about an appeal.”
Slade sneered. “Let them bring it.”
God, Codie hated this place. She’d never been a fan anyway. The few rich people in Dalton gathered here while the rest of the town slaved away to make them feel pampered. Most of the rich had left Dalton long ago, especially after the local MC made the town feel its influence, but there were a few old ones left—ones who’d made their money in Dalton and planned to die there.
Like Slade’s dad, for instance.
But Codie was trying to choke down her bitter feelings, because, much as she wanted to scratch the waitress’ eyes out, she found herself remembering how desirable that man was: wanted by every woman in town, rich and working girl alike, and he seemed to only have eyes for Codie.