Dearest Ivie Page 3

Which did not include a male like that.

Nope. Not even close.

Chapter Two

The following evening, Ivie leaned into the mirror over her bathroom sink and tried to hold herself steady so she could hit her eyelashes with some Maybelline that was probably…three years old?

Yeah, yeah, she knew that you needed to throw makeup out after a year—or was it six months?


Either way, the stuff had ossified in the tube, reverting to a solid that got her nowhere.

Pitching the green-capped wand and the pink lower half into the trash, she killed the lights and went into her bedroom. Her apartment was your bog standard starter, with a galley kitchen, two windows, and floors that were pine and stained with a low gloss. The walls had been freshly painted so many times, the linen white was thick enough to qualify as wallpaper, and the appliances and plumbing fixtures were new-ish. But the building was secure, and her neighbors were humans who slept at night when she was working, and away at jobs when she was sleeping.

Was it the safest for someone who faced molecular immolation if they were exposed to sunlight? Probably not. But her bedroom didn’t have a window in it, and there was an interior staircase to the communal basement that she could use if necessary. A fire during the daytime would put her in some difficulty, although in her opinion, you couldn’t spend your life worrying about what-ifs. You made yourself as safe as you could and then you just did your thing.

Right before she left, she smoothed her skirt and checked to make sure that she had everything on correctly. Yup, bra was under the blouse, not on top of it, and her flats were on the right feet—

Coat. She needed a coat—no, not the puffy parka that made her feel like Violet Beauregarde from Wonka’s chocolate farm. Yes, the wool one she’d had on last night—

Oh, God, she smelled like a cigar now.

Ivie shuffled back to the bathroom, and looked around for some perfume. No luck. The one bottle of DKNY stuff she had was nearly dried up. What could she…

Febreze. Fair enough.

After giving herself a good misting, she wafted her way to her door and let herself out, making quick work going down the stairs and through the little lobby. By the time she reached the sidewalk, her heart was pounding like she had bench-pressed a Civic.

It took her about a decade and a half to dematerialize…and when she re-formed it was in the shadows of Salvatore’s Restaurant. The time was ten o’clock on the dot.

And clearly she had lost her mind.

Walking forward like she knew what she was doing, she had no one around to impress with her false composure. The parking lot only had three cars in it, the humans who packed the place for normal dinner service hours gone, so, yup, it was just her and her nerves as she strode under the awning and entered the place. Inside, it was all Rat Pack chic, the flocked wallpaper and red-and-black high-end everything making Sal’s feel like a throwback to the past when life was more interesting and sophisticated.

The hostess wasn’t at the stand, but Ivie didn’t need anyone to show her where to go.

Looking into the dining area on the left, she saw him.

Silas was the only one at a table, the other two dozen four-, six-, and eight-tops empty, and as if the staff recognized his station, they’d given him prime position next to the huge stone hearth. Which was kind of not fair…like putting a Rolls-Royce under special showroom lights.

Wow. He’d worn a suit. A proper, deep navy blue suit with a bright white formal shirt and a pale blue tie that had a subtle pattern in it. And as he sat there, he looked more businessman than date. Flickering yellow light from the low fire played over his face, creating dark shadows all around his intense expression. With his brows down low and his eyes trained on the crackling logs, it was as if he were searching for some kind of answer in the kindled heat.

Running her palms down her skirt, which was exactly where it had been when she’d left her apartment, she went over to him. With every step, she expected him to look up at her, but whatever he was thinking about was consuming.

Maybe this was a mistake.

Well, duh—

At that moment, he shifted his stare, and the instant he saw her, a slow smile transformed his face. Pushing his chair back, he got to his feet.

“I didn’t think you were going to come.”

“Neither did I,” she said.

As she stopped in front of him, it was awkward. Hug? No hug? And yes, she was eyeing that broad chest of his and wondering what it would feel like under her hands.

“Let me help you with your chair.”

He pulled the seat across from him out, and then pushed it in a little as she lowered herself down. God…that scent of his.

“Would you like another vodka and tonic?” he asked as he sat again.

“No. I’m not much of a drinker, actually. Last night I was frustrated.”

“About what?”

“It’s not important.” Except then she realized there was going to be a whole lot of silence if she didn’t get to chatting about something, anything. “A job interview, actually. It didn’t go well.”

“Why not? If you don’t mind me asking.”

“I’m not a right fit for that household. You know, as a private nurse. Too young.”

“How old are you?”

“Eighteen years out of my transition. You?”

He raised his cocktail glass. “Three hundred fifty-eight years and two months.”

“Not even middle-aged.”

“No.” He smiled. “Not old. Now, if we were humans, this would be inappropriate.”

“Well, you would be dead. So yes, necrophilia is creepy.”

Silas blinked. And then laughed. “Yes, that would be…creepy, as you say.”

The human waitress who came up to their table was in the wrong job. Dressed in a tuxedo that somehow managed to emphasize her spectacular body, she had blond hair pulled back in a sleek bun and a beautiful face so expertly made up, she needed to be in Manhattan getting waited on after a photo-shoot.

This whole slinging linguini in Caldwell thing was a waste for the likes of her.

And as Silas looked up, Ivie braced herself for his inevitable double take. After which was going to come the joy of watching from afar as two physically perfect specimens did the secret handshake of the photogenic set.

Actually, it was probably more like a brow arch, two snaps, and an air kiss—

Unbelievably, Silas didn’t seem to notice the woman one way or the other. Instead, he looked across the table. “Would you like a glass of wine, Ivie?”

Ivie put her napkin in her lap and smiled a little. “Sure. The house would be fine. White, though, please.”

“Would you like a little more time with the menus?”

Naturally, the blonde addressed Silas, and he was pleasant enough to her, telling her, yes, they needed more time, and could she please bring some bread. But that was it.

When they were alone again, he cocked his head to the side. “Yes?”


He leaned in. “You know, I’m fine with silence, and if that’s all you’re comfortable with, I will sit in front of this fire with you and relax. But I’d find it even more interesting if you’d tell me what is on your mind.”

“I guess I was just thinking…compliments don’t have to be spoken. That’s all.”

Silas’s voice dropped down. “Is this the part where you look at my mouth again? Because if it is, I am so ready for that.”

Ivie put her hands up to cheeks that were suddenly hot.

He chuckled and sat back again. “I’ll stick to safer topics—for now. Why don’t you tell me what changed your mind about having dinner with me?”

She took a sip of water. “I don’t know. I guess I thought of something else my father always told me.”

“What was that?”

“Take a chance. I mean, I have the night off. I was just going to binge-watch Gilmore Girls and eat popcorn—which is not a bad gig. Especially when the alternative is a full nursing ward and all kinds of bodily functions that aren’t working right. But the thing is, I do that a lot, you know? Stay in. Rubes is always telling me there’s more to life than work, and I know that’s true. I am just so tired a lot of the time.”

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