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"It never came up."

"So I probably won’t be seeing you again."

"Sure, you will." He sounded as though he meant it.

"Are you going to miss me?"

Bad question to ask, she decided, because it made her sound clingy. She really needed to get away from him, and the sooner, the better because he was messing with her ability to think about anything other than him.

"Of course."

She waited a minute and finally said, "How come you haven’t asked me if I’ll miss you?"

"I already know the answer."

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God, he was arrogant. "And what might that be?"

"You’ll miss me."

She shrugged. "Maybe," she said, and before his ego could swell, she added, "Then again, maybe not."

SEVENTEEN

The ride back to her apartment was blissfully stress-free. Until visions of his naked body flashed once again across her mind. Then calm went flying out the window. She could feel herself blushing and hoped to heaven he didn’t notice.

No such luck. "What’s going on with you?"

She brushed her hair over her shoulder and tried to act nonchalant. "Nothing’s going on with me. Why would you think something’s going on?"

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"Your face is red."

"I’m not blushing." Her voice cracked and she sounded as though she was freaking out. He must have thought she’d lost her mind, and he might have been right. "Thank you for putting up with Charlotte tonight. When she gets on a rant, there’s no stopping her. It’s best to sit back and wait until she winds down."

"I like her and I like Oliver."

"What’s not to like? They’re so . . ."

"So what?" he asked when she hesitated. 

"Normal."

It was such an odd thing to say. "And you’re not?"

"No, I’m not."

He decided not to press for an explanation. "I was wondering . . ."

"Yes?"

"What are you going to do when your sister finds out you bailed your cousin out?"

"Hide."

His smile suggested he thought she was teasing. She wasn’t so sure. If Charlotte found out, she would definitely go ballistic and lecture Allison for at least a year. She pictured it and shuddered. Nonstop speeches. She couldn’t think of anything worse.

"She would be upset with me if she found out I helped Will, but it would crush her heart if she knew I was breaking into computer systems illegally, no matter what my reasons were. She wouldn’t understand."

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She didn’t say what she was really thinking. There were very few people whose opinions mattered to Allison, but Charlotte was at the top of her list. She didn’t want to disappoint her.

"I’m worrying about something that will never happen," she said, and hoped to God she was right.

She was happy to be home. Liam unlocked her door for her and followed her into the apartment. She pointed to her laptop, which was sitting on the desk in front of the windows, and said, "Have at it."

Hungry now, she put her coat away and then went into the kitchen to make herself a bowl of Cheerios, calling out her password to him so that he could access the Internet. By the time she returned to him, he had pulled up the contract on the screen. She stood behind him eating her cereal and watching over his shoulder as he made the corrections. He couldn’t have looked any more relaxed. He’d taken off his jacket and tie and unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt. He’d also rolled up his sleeves. She had the insane urge to sit on his lap, put her arms around him, and kiss him over and over again until he never wanted her to stop. She wondered how he would have reacted to her boldness.

She wasn’t about to find out. While he worked, she cleaned up the kitchen, then went into the bedroom to put her jewelry away. She put her shoes in her closet, washed her face, and brushed her teeth. She was trying to keep busy and stay away from him because she knew if she sat next to him she wouldn’t have been able to stop staring at him, and how creepy would that have been?

What was going on with him? Did he regret what had happened the night before? Or did he even remember? Maybe this was all part of being a hookup, she thought, still not clear exactly what that entailed. What were the rules? She decided she should ask Google to define it for her, or maybe Jordan could explain the nuances for her. Allison felt completely inept and finally admitted she had been hiding in her computer far too long. Maybe it was time for her to start living life instead of reading about it.

First, she needed to get through tonight. She didn’t want saying good-bye to be awkward. She sat on the side of the bed, trying to figure out the protocol. After several minutes thinking about it without coming up with any answers, she decided she didn’t care. Now all she had to do was believe it.

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