Walking On Red Line [Valentine Series: Part 6]

Christina sat across from Mark in a tiny booth in a downtown diner. She had never been taken out for breakfast before, so being there with him was a totally new experience for her. She ordered pancakes and drummed her fingers impatiently on the surface of the table while Mark looked over the complimentary newspaper. He looked up at her quizzically.

“You seem nervous. What’s the matter?”
“You’re an idiot,” she blurted.
“Really?” he asked, hardly able to keep his mirth in check.

“You know, Christina, you have this way of lashing out at me for no explicable reason. It’s intriguing. So tell me, why am I an idiot?”

“I already explained that dating you would be like a dream come true for me. I know you don’t believe me, but it feels one hundred percent impossible for us to be sitting all chummy like this at a restaurant. I’m having a hard time believing it.” He stared at her but said nothing.
“Sorry if I feel like I’ve been dropped on my head, but I’m still recovering from the shock.

“You’re a weird girl.

Can’t you just be happy that something so stupendous has happened to you?” he asked sarcastically like he didn’t believe for one second that it was honestly a dream come true for her for the two of them to be a couple. “From my perspective, I practically had to hunt you and even still, you might split at any moment. I was thinking before we left your apartment that I might have to tie you up to get you to
give me a chance.” Christina rolled her eyes. “Yeah, you’re still thinking I’m Tina, the escort, and it’s
impossible for you to get me. I keep telling you—that’s not me. If you asked me to marry you today, I’d take you up on it… if I wasn’t absolutely certain that you harbor some extremely false, funny ideas about me. You’re going to feel awfully stupid when you realize you have to dump me because I’m not what you thought I was. But don’t you worry; I won’t even say, ‘I told you so.’” “Okay,” he drawled disbelievingly as he picked up the paper again and opened the business section.

He scanned through the headlines quickly and then folded up the paper and put it behind the menu stand. Christina had already spent enough time with him professionally to know there was no way he could miss checking out the business section no matter what was happening in front of his face. “I think you’re wrong,” he said finally. “But let’s not talk about this anymore. I still have a lot I want to learn about
you and if you keep yowling we’re not right for each other, I’ll never learn anything.”
“What do you want to know?”

Mark clicked his tongue on his front teeth and leaned forward with his elbows on the
table. “What happened with Dominic last night?” Christina frowned. She should have known he would ask something like that instead of something about her. How could she answer him? It seemed like a bad idea to tell Mark that Dominic offered her five hundred dollars to ditch him the night before, and she had taken it. Likewise, it seemed stupid to tell him Dominic had asked her to take a job as his personal assistant and he’d told her that he loved her. Ouch! She’d forgotten all about it until that very second. Christina’s frown deepened. And then there was Laura’s involvement. Christina still believed Dominic wouldn’t have gone so far for her if Laura hadn’t asked him to. Since he owed Laura he had to do what she said. Christina tapped her toes under the table and prepared to answer Mark’s question.

“I’m not a tattletale. Besides, it doesn’t have anything to do with you or me,” she said.
“I don’t think I understand what you mean. If Dominic took you out than it has everything to do with both of us.” Christina sighed. Mark had been there through those two dates with her and Dominic, so he thought he knew what the two of them were like together. He didn’t know how they talked when they were alone and how different it was. The conversation would be easiest if Christina could just talk about Laura’s problem and say what Dominic had told her instead of worrying about the love issue. But she didn’t know what Mark already knew. She’d have to probe him. “How much do you know about Dominic and Laura?” she asked cautiously. “They’re twins. Alexander is their older brother, but I was under the impression that they were only born about thirteen months apart, so in many ways, they are all the same age. I’ve known Laura for about a year and a half,” he paused. “I’m not sure what else to say. I already told you I find her hopelessly programmed. As for Dominic, I have only met him on half a dozen occasions, but he strikes me as an incredibly tough character.

He’d have to be to put up with Alexander.”
Christina nodded and began to say slowly, “Do you think that it was a coincidence that Dominic asked for me to be his date on Valentine’s Day?” “Huh?” Mark gaped. “Laura asked him to hire me so you wouldn’t be able to. Did you know that?” Mark looked like there was suddenly something sour in his mouth. “I should have known.” Suddenly Christina’s heart took courage and continued. “That was what Dominic
wanted to talk to me about last night. He wanted to ask me about the best strategies to either get you to fall in love with Laura or to get her to change her mind about you.”
“What did you tell him?”
“I told him there was no way any amount of time or inducement would win you over.
I advised him to hire a male escort for her. From your conversation with her this
morning, it sounds like Dominic has already taken my suggestion and arranged a date for her.” Mark gaped.

“You can’t be serious.”
“I am.

Professionally, I thought that would be the best solution. Not because I want you myself, but because you don’t bend-over-backward for Laura. I thought if she was taken out by a heartthrob who treated her like a goddess then she’d realize the distinction between your feelings for her and concentrated consideration.” Mark’s face became clouded and Christina was positive she’d offended him.
“Please try not to take that the wrong way,” she said quickly. “It’s just that you’re not interested in her and she may be confusing your mild friendship for something more. She needs to see how a man acts when he’s infatuated, not friendly. I mean, have you ever volunteered to make supper for her?”


“That’s the sort of thing I’m talking about. Not that you’re a jerk or that you don’t know how to treat a woman properly. I think you do. It’s just that it’s clear by the way you stared off into space at the restaurant on Valentine’s Day that you weren’t thinking about her.” “I was thinking about you.” A blush rose on Christina’s cheeks like a soaring hot air balloon. “Oh, come on,” Mark said, examining her expression. “You can’t tell me that no one has ever said something like that to you before. You’re supposed to be an experienced dater.” Christina put a hand to her cheek and glared at him. “Yeah, I keep telling you that’s not the truth about me. And for your information, usually a guy who takes an escort out
isn’t thinking about how to treat her nice, he’s thinking about how she can treat him nice. That’s why I thought Laura would do better with a male escort as a rebound date rather than an ordinary guy. Ordinary guys are stupid.”
“Do you know a lot of male escorts?” Mark suddenly asked as their food arrived.
“No. They don’t hang around the shop much. I think it embarrasses them. The girls
like hanging out and talking, whereas the guys like to be on the other side of the world.”
“Huh… I wonder what type of guy Dominic will choose for Laura.”
“It would be fun to see him choose the perfect man for her, eh?”

Culled from Oboko.com

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