This is from the short story that new newsletter subscribers receive when they sign up.
Beth yawned. The work week had been far too long and she needed to relax. The soft reddish-brown leather couch had probably not been the best place to sit if she planned to stay awake.
She couldn’t fall asleep, though. Not with Chase sitting only a few feet away. His condo had become as much a home to her as her own apartment, and she was as comfortable with him as she had ever been with anyone, but sleeping with him right beside her would have been rude. She was his company, not his girlfriend.
She hoped that would change someday soon.
“What do you want?” Chase asked.
Beth jumped and opened her eyes. “Sorry. Um, I think I zoned out.”
“I think you fell asleep.” He grinned. “Figures. I have a beautiful woman here and she’s only sleeping with me in the literal sense.”
“I wasn’t sleeping.” Her face heated and she turned to stare at the TV, even though she had completely lost track of the show that was on.
She and Chase had met on an “adult dating” site, where people looked for sex as well as relationships, and he had yet to make any move on her. If she’d had a clue how to initiate something with him, she would have. After years of denying she was interested in sex, and with no sign of interest from Chase, she didn’t know how to even begin.
In her annoyance and half-asleep state, she blurted, “And you don’t want me to sleep with you euphemistically anyway.”
“Who says?” He moved closer to her, smiling. “I don’t remember ever saying that.”
She blinked in surprise. “You’ve never said you do.”
He sighed and backed off. “What do you want? To drink, I mean.”
“Oh.” Evidently he had only been teasing. She should have known there was nothing serious behind his comment. She laughed, playing along despite her disappointment.
She couldn’t decide what to ask for or if she needed a drink at all. It was almost time to leave, and since he hadn’t been to the store lately, he probably didn’t have much in his fridge. After months of the closest friendship she’d ever had with a guy, she knew as much about Chase’s life as her own, and she didn’t want him to go to any trouble for her. “Um, is water okay?”
“Are you telling me or asking?” Chase shook his head. “Seriously, Beth. I have sports drinks, soda, milk, and OJ. What do you want? And don’t ask me, tell me.”
She rolled her eyes. One of Chase’s favorite pastimes was joking about her reluctance to ask for anything. If she hadn’t known better, she would have sworn he did it because he knew it bugged the heck out of her. “Water’s easier.”
“Water is you trying to avoid making a decision.” He stood. “You take what you get if you don’t answer me.”
“I did answer you,” she said.
“You asked me a question. That isn’t an answer.” He gave her the smug grin which always drove her crazy. The combination of arrogance and sex appeal got her every time. “So?”
She sighed. “You can be kind of a jerk sometimes, you know that?”
“And you’re a pain in the ass.” He opened the fridge and took out a can of ginger ale.