He jiggled my shopping bag. "What's in here? How much shopping did you do?"

"None of your business." I blushed, remembering my purchase. "It's just a bit of lingerie and some books. I just got a few things to make me feel better."

"Lingerie?" He peeked into the sack. I made a grab for the bag but he kept it out of reach.

"You didn't answer my question."

"Fourteenth floor," he said as the elevator door opened. "Come on."


"Not." He punched the button for his floor. I glared at him as he idly twisted the pink bag, allowing it to spin in his grasp. "Lingerie?" he prompted again.

I slid him a sidelong look. "Like I said, it cheers me up to buy fun things. It was a bit of a shock to see Steve and Melissa like that."

He gave me rueful smile. "I know what you mean. At least you weren't still married."

I laughed shakily. "It was bad enough as it was."

"What did your friend say?"

I shook my head. "I wasn't paying attention. Something about a wedding on Saturday and she wanted to tell me in person and something about being in love for years." I made a face and stuck out my tongue at the elevator door. "Well, he got what he wanted."

"What was that?" Jack asked curiously.

"Someone who's thin and sexy."

He stared at me in amazement. "He said that?" I nodded. "He must be one helluva man because if any woman got sexier than you, she'd give me heart failure." Jack swung the sack and grinned at me. "As for thin and young--you seem just right to me."

I felt briefly relieved then frowned. "You didn't act like that last night."

"I was stupid last night," he said as the elevator doors opened. "I've smartened up in the last few hours." I started out of the elevator but he angled me to one side. "Wait here." He handed me the pink shopping bag and my small overnight bag.


"Because I asked nicely."

"No. Why did you smarten up?"

Jack paused. "I sat at my desk for the last few hours and thought about you. I remembered every word you said, I remembered every gesture, every smile. That's all I thought about--you. I realized I didn't want to go another day without seeing you again. I don't know if we can make this work, Odetta. But I'm damn sure going to give it a try." Then he frowned, trying to look fierce. "Now would you please do as you're told?"

I shot him a rebellious look but waited by the elevator doors while he walked down the carpeted hallway to his door at the end of the eight-apartment corridor. What the hell had happened to change his mind so suddenly? Had he really just decided he liked me like that, out of the blue?

Then I remembered my own chaos of emotions and decided not to question his motives too closely. I watched as Jack cautiously tried the doorknob and when it didn't open, he pulled out his keys. He inserted his door key and pushed open the front door.

I tiptoed after him, peeking around the doorframe. The small end table near the door was overturned and a lamp was in pieces on the floor. He looked ahead into the living room. I followed his gaze, wincing at the mess I saw. "Heavens, Jack, I always thought you were tidy. I'm disappointed in you."

He rounded on me. "I told you to wait at the elevator."

"And I didn't." I stepped into the apartment and set my bags down. I surveyed the chaos of the living room with the upturned sofa cushions, CDs scattered on the floor, and opened desk drawers. "What were they looking for, Jack?"

He looked at the orange-bound volume of Mr. Perfect I was clutching. "One guess."