She rode the subway back to Brooklyn and thought about James all the way.
Was she the only one who had dreams she never shared? Did it happen to other people, too? The people crushed on the subway, crowding the sidewalks, standing in line to see Santa or gaze in awe at the giant tree outside Rockefeller Center. Did they have dreams?
Whether they did or not, it was reality that waited for her when she emerged from the subway.
The temperature had plummeted and it had started snowing.
The forecasters were warning of a severe storm, or “winter weather emergency.”
It was a ten-minute walk to her apartment and she felt every step. She’d been standing since 5:00 a.m. and by the time she put her key in the door, her feet were agony.
The apartment was quiet and Frankie was curled up on the sofa, lost in a book. She looked comfortable and at home, probably because this had originally been her apartment until she’d moved in with Matt upstairs. Frankie ran an events and concierge company with her two friends, Paige and Eva, and all three women had been nothing but supportive to Roxy. Paige had helped her find childcare and Eva had given her some basic cookery lessons. As someone who was used to living life with no support, Roxy was grateful. She appreciated their help, but most of all she appreciated their friendship.
She shrugged off her coat, scattering snowflakes, and Frankie looked up.
“It’s snowing? I haven’t looked out of the window.” She closed the book. “You look exhausted. Too many people wanting to see Santa today?”
“Felt like most of Manhattan.” Roxy toed off her shoes, promising herself a hot bath before she started studying. “I saw James.”
“You see James every day. You work with him.”
“He came into the store to buy Mia a Christmas gift.”
“Yeah? The man is solid gold.” Frankie studied her face. “Ah, I get it, so now he knows you’re working a second job. Does that matter?”
“I don’t know. I don’t want him to think badly of me.”
“Why would he think badly of you, and why would you care? Do you have feelings for James?”
Only Frankie would be that direct.
“No! I mean of course I like him, and respect him, and I admire him because he’s smart, but he’s like a brother— Why are you smiling?”
“Because that’s what I used to say about Matt.”
“You’re in love with Matt. He’s in love with you.”
“Yes.” Frankie put the book down. “Are you sure you don’t have feelings for James?”
“Even if I did, it wouldn’t make any difference. He doesn’t have those feelings for me.” They spent hours together working in close proximity and he hadn’t even touched her. “And I’m not in a position to have a relationship. Even if I had an ounce of energy left at the end of the day, which I don’t, I want to be the best mother I can to Mia. I’m making good choices.”
Frankie grinned and stood up. “In my opinion hot sex with James would be a most excellent choice.”
Roxy felt her face heat. Hot sex with James was something she thought about late at night in the privacy of her own bedroom. It wasn’t something she discussed.
“Thank you for babysitting. Was she trouble?”
“Never. She fell asleep easily, but not before she insisted I read Green Eggs and Ham three times. That girl is a little bookworm.” Frankie left the apartment, closing the door quietly behind her.
Roxy tiptoed into the bedroom and stood for a moment gazing in wonder at her daughter. Then she took a quick bath, pulled on an oversize T-shirt and settled herself on the bed with her books. Stuck on the walls were little notes with her daily word on them. On impulse she reached for the pad and started scribbling other words. Grinning, feeling wicked, she stuck each one to the wall. She’d keep them up there for tonight. Why not? It wasn’t as if her daughter could read.
And now she was going to work and she wasn’t going to think about having hot sex with James.
But maybe she’d take a cold shower first.
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