For Angelo

By: Marian Tee



He nodded.

Her heart sank. “You’re meeting with someone?” Please say no, please say—

Another nod.

“I see.” Her heart had sped up its descent at his response, and she struggled to paste a smile on her trembling lips. Infatuation and heartbreak at first sight, Lane thought numbly. Who could’ve imagined it would happen this way?

Slowly, she made herself take a step back as well. Not meeting his gaze, she mumbled, “Sorry for keeping you.”

“It’s nothing.”

Silence.

“I’ll check up on you later—”

“You don’t have to—”

The stranger cupped her chin and forced her to look up. “Why not?”

She refused to be excited, frowning unhappily at him. “Because.”

“Because…what?” Again, his lips curved in that sexy little smirk, which even in her pain didn’t fail to make her body tingle all over.

“Because you’re meeting with someone,” Lane snapped in a rare display of annoyance. “Happy now?” The words were supposed to come out a snarl, but she ended all choked up with hurt disappointment.

The stranger released her chin. “See you later.” And just like that, he turned and started to walk away.

“I said you don’t have to,” she muttered resentfully.

“Even when I tell you I’m only meeting up with the college dean for work?” the stranger answered without looking back.

Her eyes widened.

“And have I mentioned the dean also happens to be fifty years old, bald, and male?” But he was getting farther and farther away from her now, and she barely heard his next words, spoken in a musing tone. “But then, if you think I shouldn’t be checking up on you—”

“NO!” Lane clapped her hands over her mouth, shocked that she had actually ended up yelling the word out.

The stranger stopped walking.

She didn’t hesitate.

She hurried after him, and by the time she reached the stranger he had already turned to face her, a familiar smirk on his strong, beautiful face.

“You don’t seem to have a hurt ankle—”

She didn’t hesitate, pretending to limp on the last few steps.

His laughter rang out, and this time she realized what made it so different, what made her want to hear it again and again.

Lane stumbled to a stop.

She was suddenly perilously close to tears.

His laughter…reminded her of Laura.

Her brazen sense of joy, her indomitable spirit, her fierce love—

Against all odds.

“Are you okay?” Her fallen angel was in front of her again, his tone a mixture of wariness and worry, and she couldn’t blame him at all. She had to look crazy in his eyes right now, with the way she was flirting outrageously with him one moment and then fighting back tears the next.

“I’m not crazy, I promise,” she told him, trying but failing to repress her smile.

“If I weren’t a gentleman, I’d admit to being unconvinced.”

“You already said it,” she pointed out helplessly.

“Then I guess I’m not a gentleman.” And his silvery eyes gleamed in a way that told her there were other ungentlemanly things he wanted to do.

Oh, Looooooord.

And she heard herself ask breathlessly, “You’ll check on me later?”

“We’ll see.”

“Please?” She had never flirted in her entire life until now, but somehow the words came so easily to her, never mind if she couldn’t help blushing while she said them.

“We’ll see,” he repeated firmly. And it was clear in the way wickedness flashed in his silvery gaze that he liked hearing her beg, liked keeping her on her toes.

Lane watched him go, and not once did he look back even though he had to be aware of how her gaze followed his every movement.

Sadist, she thought absently, but for some reason, this didn’t displease her at all.





****





“He’s made you wait for two hours now,” Josh told his co-worker disapprovingly. “Accept it. He stood you up.” Earlier, Lane had told him about her encounter with her so-called fallen angel, and he had been aghast. He had promptly given her a lecture about stranger danger, even going as far as showing her online clips of murder victims who had fallen prey to fatal attraction.

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