She nodded slowly, frowning into her coffee. The silence dragged on until it bordered on
awkward. Finally, she murmured, "I thought…"
When she didn't say anything further, I prompted her, "You thought what?"
When she looked back at me, something in her expression had changed; it was still friendly, but
much of the warmth I'd come to expect was missing. She shrugged, and gave me a smile to
match the look. Lots of nice, white teeth but her eyes stayed wary and cool. "Doesn't matter, I
guess." She nodded at the coffee pot. "Mind if I have a little more?"
I shook my head and silently filled her cup, trying to read her expression and maybe get some
clue as to what I just did wrong. No clues were forthcoming, so I decided to just ask.
"Robyn," I asked hesitantly, "did I say something wrong? You seem…" I couldn't finish, unable
to put into words what I was seeing.
Her cup paused on its way to her lips. She smiled behind the cup, a little sadly, I thought, took a
sip of coffee before speaking. "No, Caid, you haven't done anything wrong. I
just…misunderstood some things."
The tones of a cell phone coming from the living room stopped my reply, and Robyn excused
herself to answer it, seeming eager to escape the conversation. I poured myself a little more
coffee, holding off on the omelet preparation, betting that a phone call this early in the morning
meant I wouldn't have a guest for breakfast.
She came back into the kitchen, holding up her phone apologetically. "That was Rick Price. They
moved the schedule up an hour," she glanced at her watch, "so I really need to get home to
shower and change. Thanks for coffee, and the breakfast offer…can I take a rain check?"
"Anytime," I replied.
She handed me her mug, and we looked at each other awkwardly for several moments. "Thanks,"
I said finally. "Thanks for being here last night, and for staying. I…it was nice to have you here."
She smiled softly. "You're welcome." The smile faded momentarily, and she looked down at her
hands. "When Liz told me…and then when I saw the bike…" She looked back up again, her dark
eyes swirling with emotion. "It really scared me, Caid. To think of something happening to you.
Her cell rang again, and she swore softly, looking at the display. She hesitated, looking at me,
and then answered. "Hello…no, Rick, I'm not at home. I'll be there shortly…have him leave it on
the doorstep then. It'll be fine - there aren't people creeping around my house at six in the
morning looking to steal scripts." She sighed, and pinched the bridge of her nose in annoyance.
"Fine. Tell him to wait, I'll be there as soon as I can." She straightened, her voice now tinged
with anger. "It's none of your damn business where I am, Rick. Tell him I'll get there when I get
She closed the phone with a snap, scowling at it for a moment before looking up at me. "Caid…"
I pushed off the counter with a wry smile. "You have to go, I know." I turned her around and
pushed her gently towards the living room.
She walked to the couch and picked up an oversized black leather bag, slipping the phone into it
and pulling out a set of keys before sliding it onto her shoulder. She started towards the door
slowly, and then turned to me abruptly.
"Have dinner with me tonight. I'd like…"
"Yes." I said immediately.
Her smile was like sunshine, warming me through and through. "I'll call you later." She looked at
me for a moment more, and reached up a hand to brush my injured cheek. "Take it easy today,
"Yes ma'am." I smiled, somehow managing to stop myself from turning my head and brushing
her hand with my lips.
She gave me another crooked grin, and was gone.
After Robyn left I ate, showered and dressed before driving to the site of the shoot in the
Financial District downtown. Once there I struggled into my wardrobe, patiently endured Jules'
annoyed attempts to make my face appear as though it hadn't recently had an encounter with a
pine tree, and tried to appear perky when I presented myself to the crew.
Unfortunately, attitude did not translate to ability, and it became apparent within fifteen minutes
that although Jules was able to hide the damage to my face, the injury to my ribs was going to
keep me from doing any kind of physical scene. Arrest scenes, chase scenes…basically all the
kinds of shoots scheduled for the day were out for me until my ribs healed for a few more days,
and by eleven o'clock, Nate had sent me home with ill concealed annoyance, grumbling about
'stupid macho nature freaks' under his breath.
At home I took a few pain killers, grabbed a book and settled into my backyard hammock,
managing to read a few chapters before the pills kicked in and I nodded off. I woke at three,
made myself a sandwich, took a few more pain killers, and lay down on the couch where I dozed
until the phone rang at 6:30.
"'Lo," I answered groggily after stumbling into the kitchen to answer it.
"You should have seen it today, Caid, we had this huge crowd of people watching us shoot, and
two women practically got into a fist fight when Arturo was signing autographs…"
"Liz?" I croaked, blinking blearily at the clock.
She paused. "Well of course it's me." Her tone conveyed her disbelief that I would consider it
was someone else.
"Sorry…just woke up…"
"Well, I'm glad you're awake now. Listen, Paula and I are on our way over now to bring you
some dinner, okay?"
"Liz, that's nice of you, really, but I'm…"
"Caid, you need to eat." Her tone was final. "We'll be there in about twenty minutes."
"Liz…" I tried again, but she had already hung up.
"Shit." My attempts to call her back went unanswered, and finally I sighed and headed for the
Twenty-five minutes later I had showered and changed into a t-shirt and pair of faded jeans and
was running a hand through semi-damp hair as I opened the front door to reveal the grinning
faces of Liz, Paula, Danny, Micah, and Josiah.
I blinked in surprise. "Hey, guys."
I received a chorus of greetings in return, and Danny hefted two large pizza boxes. "We thought
you'd be hungry."
Liz breezed past me, heading straight for the kitchen. "I wanted to pick up something from that
rib place you like but Danny insisted on pizza. Do you have any wine?"
I sighed. "There's white in the fridge," I said, and resignedly stepped back to let the group in.
Micah was the last to enter. He stopped and looked down at me. "We don't need to stay, if you
don't want us to. Liz said you knew we were coming, but it's pretty obvious you weren't
I shook my head and smiled, threading my arm around his waist to give him a brief hug, which
he returned carefully. "It was a surprise, yes, but a nice one. Don't worry about it."
"We won't stay long - you look beat." He nodded and moved by me.
I started to push the door closed, then caught sight of a tall, familiar form walking up my drive,
curiously eyeing the three extra cars parked there.
I pulled the door open and leaned against the doorframe, not even bothering to hide my
appreciative gaze as I watched Robyn approach. She was dressed to be appreciated, after all, and
walked with a confidence that said she knew it. Her hair was loose and wild down her back, and
she wore a tight black leather skirt that stopped mid-thigh, stiletto heels held on by two skinny
black straps, and the real attention getter; a silvery, gauzy top that consisted of two strips of cloth
covering her breasts and not much else, casually displaying miles of smooth, tanned skin and
I was mesmerized by the play of muscles beneath that skin as she walked, and the slight hallows
just above the low waistband of the skirt. I wanted to put my lips there, in those hallows; feel that
skin against my cheek, run my tongue…
I didn't know how long she'd been standing in front of me, watching with a hint of a smile
curling her lips as I stood gawking. I slowly dragged my eyes up, blinking slowly as though
waking from a dream.
I didn't think about what I said next, I just blurted out what I was thinking. "Jesus, Robyn, you
Real smooth, Caid. I thought, but then was rather happy with myself when I saw the startled but
undeniably pleased expression on Robyn's face.
"I…thank you, Caid." Her lips curled up even more, into a full smile.
I shrugged, and cleared my throat, giving her a shaky smile. "Just stating the obvious."
One dark eyebrow crept into sight over the rims of the dark glasses she wore. "Why, Caid Harris,
if I didn't know any better, I'd say you were flirting with me."
Her tone was light, teasing, and I replied in kind. "Why, maybe, Ms. Ward, you don't."
She frowned - I could see the slight furrow in her brow behind her glasses. "Maybe I don't
"Know any better," I said lightly, wondering at my sudden spurt of boldness.
I saw a flicker of movement behind dark lenses, and her smile faded. "What…"
"Caid," Danny bellowed from inside, causing us both to jump. "What the fuck are you doing…"
He came careening into the entryway and stopped short. "Robyn."
Damn. Bad timing, Dano.
"Danny," she said, shooting me a surprised look.
"Whoa. You look fucking incredible," he said after an eyeing her up and down. I smiled slightly
at that, agreeing whole-heartedly. "Got a hot date with the tennis bum?"
Oh. I'd been so overwhelmed by her appearance that I hadn't stopped to wonder why she was
dressed to annihilate. I doubted dinner with me called for an outfit like this.
"Thanks, Danny. And yes, we're going to a party one of his sponsors is hosting." She turned to
me with an apologetic look. "That's why I stopped by, to tell you I'd have to cancel tonight."
Josh wins again. The unkind thought came unbidden, and I pushed it to the back of my mind.
"I understand." I gestured at Danny, then behind me. "Turns out I've got some company for the
Without meaning it to, my tone had become cool, and Robyn pulled off her glasses and looked at
me searchingly. "I really am sorry, Caid. I'd forgotten about this, and Josh only reminded me this
afternoon. I would have called…"
Someone yelled for Danny, and Robyn looked past us into the house as he excused himself. "Just
how many people have you got in there?"
"Danny, Micah, Josiah, Paula…and of course Liz."
She raised an eyebrow. "You're a popular gal, aren't you?"
I shrugged. "I left the set early today - they decided to come by and check up on me."
Concern flashed across her face. "I heard about that - I wanted to call earlier, I didn't want to
disturb you. Are you okay? How are you feeling?"
"I couldn't do much today. They had me set up to chase some guy down a set of stairs, and I
made it about three steps and nearly passed out. Nate wasn't too happy with me."
"Nate's an ass sometimes," she said bluntly, "but he'll get over it."
"Yeah, I know, he always does. I slept most of the day, took some pain pills…feel a lot better,
doesn't hurt quite as much."
"Good." She nodded, and looked at me intently. "You look better than you did this morning,
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