As they shared the pizza and caught up on the years apart, Emilio wavered between cursing the interruption to their almost-kiss and appreciating the extra time to think about what was happening between him and Cass.
Because the things he felt for her weren’t like what he’d experienced with other women. The attraction was hotter. Deeper too, since it was based on so much more than superficial physical chemistry. He had a shared history with her that was meaningful, no matter that they’d only been together a few months. He’d never sought her out in the past because he hadn’t had anything to offer her after they’d both aged out of the foster system. For years, he’d been busy trying to make something of himself.
But now that she was here, with the old connection sparking between them, he didn’t want to do anything that might send her running. Because he wanted to explore this thing between them. Learn more about her. If he acted on the attraction too quickly, would he ruin his chances of getting closer to her?
Now, as he cleared their plates from the meal and walked them over to the sink, he slanted a glance at her as she transplanted a sleepy kitten to a cushy blue pet bed near the couch. “So what drew you to working with animals? You’re very good with them.”
“Thank you.” Her eyes met his, a pleased light in the blue depths. “It took me some time to figure out what I wanted to do in the years that I was saving up for my education, but I always knew that working with animals had a soothing effect on me.”
Emilio rinsed the plates before loading them into the dishwasher. “I appreciated the foster homes that had pets. Even slobbery Brutus.”
Cass laughed. “I don’t know what possessed us to try giving him a bath that day.”
“I’m sure the drool was a factor.” He wiped down the counters, then steered the conversation back to her plans for staying in Silent Spring. How much time would he have to get to know her all over again? How long did it take to find out if someone he’d once cared about—someone he’d hurt—could find a place for him in her life? “But will this time working with Hope help you as you pursue the next stage of your education?”
“It will either count toward the work hours I need before I’m fully certified as a vet tech, or else it will be good experience for my resume. Maybe both.” Cass refilled their water glasses and brought the drinks back into the living room.
His gaze followed her movements as her hips swayed gently. He’d been keyed up all through their shared meal, his thoughts never far from the kiss that had almost happened.
“Have you applied to programs yet?” Drying his hands, he followed her into the other room where she had taken a seat on the couch.
“Yes. It’s expensive, but it’s the closest to St. Paul.” She tracked his movements as he moved toward her, and the feminine interest in her eyes made it tough to think about anything else.
Especially as she shifted on the sofa to face him when he took a seat.
But he was determined to talk to her. To learn everything about this woman who still fascinated and drew him in after all this time.
“Why not apply for a program here?”
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