But she knew the answer to that and it wasn’t just because he was wearing a suit. When they were working together she knew the rules. She teased him, needled him—they spent their day locked in a game of banter. Tonight, she didn’t know the rules. But she knew what was under the suit. “Who did you have to bribe or kill to get this table? It’s seriously cool.”
“I have contacts.”
“You mean Paige. She’s awesome. She helped me sort out my childcare for Mia. But you know that.” She clamped her mouth shut, trying not to chatter.
The room was bathed by soft candlelight, and they were serenaded by the clink of glass and the soft murmur of conversation from the other diners. Through the large windows was Manhattan at its glittering, glamorous best. The Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building—all her favourite landmarks were laid out in front of her. It was as if the city had joined them at the table.
She gazed, feeling overawed. “When you look at it from here, you’d think the place was perfect, wouldn’t you? When it’s all lit up like this, it’s like Christmas every day. You kind of forget there are things going on behind all the glitz. Stuff you can’t see because you’re dazzled.”
“Much the same as people.”
“See?” She sat back. “That’s the kind of thing I’d never think to say. You’re so smart.”
“You’re smart too, Roxy.”
“I’m street-smart—that’s not the same thing.”
“I’d say you were everything smart.” He watched her for a moment. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s just that when you praise me, say nice things, it makes me feel like a dead plant that’s been watered. Shouldn’t be that way, I know. I should know my own worth, shouldn’t need anyone else to make me feel good about myself, blah blah—” Oh, shut up, Roxy! She was chattering. Letting the words tumble out without thinking because he was making her nervous.
“Everyone likes to know they’re valued, Rox. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“Yeah, well, I didn’t get much praise growing up. I think I might have been left with a praise deficit. There!” She smiled, triumphant. “I used my word of the day. Anyway, what I mean is that giving me praise is like handing a cookie to a starving dog. I’m so desperate I might take your hand with the cookie.”
He smiled. “You, Roxanne, never fail to make me laugh.”
“In a good way?”
“Definitely in a good way.” His gaze lingered on her face. “You never had any praise?”
“No, but to be fair there probably wasn’t a lot about me to praise. I made a lot of bad choices growing up. And you wouldn’t know anything about that because you only made good ones.”
“Not true.” He picked up his wineglass. “Everyone makes bad choices occasionally, Rox. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s what you do about the mistakes that counts.”
“Okay, tell me one mistake you made and what you did to fix it.”
He hesitated. “I became a lawyer. And I gave it up.”
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