Sheila didn’t call Erich that night. Although she could have used an ear and maybe a shoulder, she didn’t want to rely on him too much. Not when she might not have him around much longer. Instead she watched TV until her brain was numb and then went to bed.
Sunday, she went through the motions of cleaning and making sure her wardrobe for the week was ready. She wished she could see Erich again. Their day together had been the most fun and relaxation she’d had in longer than she could remember, and she wanted a repeat. But she refused to lean on him. It was just her luck that right when she found someone she was comfortable enough to care about, she would probably have to leave him. There wasn’t any point in getting too close.
The problem was she had already let herself get close to him, and she didn’t want to lose what had developed.
She called him Sunday afternoon as she had promised. “I think I’m going to stay home and relax. I have to be in Boston at nine tomorrow, and the drive’s going to be crazy because of traffic. I’m probably going to have to leave at six or earlier to make it.”
“That’s okay,” Erich said. “How are you feeling about the interview?”
“Good. It’s going to be good.” She had no clue how she felt other than nervous as hell. She was good at her job, and she had plenty of practice talking to people. That didn’t mean she would make a good impression.
Getting the job in Boston was important to her, but so was Erich. She’d only known him for a week and a half, but she wanted to see where things went between them. She wouldn’t be able to do that in Boston. Relationships were difficult enough. Long-distance relationships were almost impossible.
“You’re going to be fine,” Erich said. “They’d be idiots not to hire you.”
“Yeah.” It sounded like he wanted her to leave, which pissed her off. It wasn’t as though she expected him to break down and beg her to stay, but it would have been nice to hear he wasn’t eager to lose her.
“Are you going to work after the interview?” he asked.
“I don’t know.” She hadn’t even contacted the director to let him know she wouldn’t be at work the next morning.
“You aren’t too talkative today.” Irritation filled Erich’s tone. “I’m glad you called. I was a little worried about you. But I don’t think you actually want to talk.”
She clenched her jaw. He had no right to get pissy with her because she wasn’t being all bubbly and shit. She had stuff on her mind, things far more important than making small talk. “I kind of don’t,” she snapped. “I have this fucking interview to get ready for. I promised you I’d call today, so I called.”
“Yeah, you did.” Now he sounded even more annoyed. “You could have just said up-front that you weren’t in a conversation sort of mood.”
“Whatever.” Her voice rose. “I’m sorry I’m not following your preferred phone call format. I have to drive to Boston in the morning. My entire life might change depending on what they say. I might have to sit back and wait for an answer from them. I have to figure out what to tell my boss about not being at work tomorrow. I don’t have time to soothe your feelings.”
“Wow. Okay.” He paused. “I still want to see you tomorrow night, but I’m going to leave you alone for now. I don’t want to argue with you or have one of us hurt the other’s feelings. There isn’t any reason for it when you’re nervous. Take care, and please call me tomorrow when you’re ready to get together. I’ll give you space until then.”
Tears filled her eyes. She was being a bitch. He intended to be supportive, and she was lashing out the way she always did when someone tried to take care of her. She should have known better. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay.” He didn’t sound angry or upset, but that didn’t do much to ease Sheila’s concerns. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow, okay? And you can call me again before then if you want to. I don’t deserve having you snarl at me. But I think this is how you get when you’re upset or worried, so I don’t hold it against you. Just please don’t call me until you’re sure you want to talk to me, okay? I’ll be here, I promise.”