1/7: Sunday Snippet for Stay (Coming 1/29!)

You know what today is…
From Stay…
Apparently, the clatter or my whimper had forced the return of the guy with the silo. I heard his footsteps as he came down the hall. He stopped in the doorway and I imagine he scanned the room a moment before he found me a few feet away on the floor. His steps drew closer. I forced myself to peek up at him. “Yo,” I mumbled.
He chuckled. “’Sup?”
“Listen, Bundy, I don’t have the energy to be coy right now. In fact, I’m downright cranky.” I moved my arm enough so he could see I was glaring up at him.
“Al?” His brows peaked hopefully.
I shook my head. “Ted.”
“I was afraid of that.” He sighed. “So, how do I redeem myself?”
“You could start by setting the knife down.” I smirked.
“This?” He hefted the imposing blade higher. “It’s a machete.”
“Not making this better, Ted.” I crossed my arms over my body and shook my head.
“I was about to go out in the garden. I’ll have you know this is the best multi-purpose gardening tool I’ve ever owned.” He shrugged and set it on the side table.
“I’ll have you know, it’s truly terrifying.” My brow arched.
He frowned. “I can see that.” He walked around my body and started to hold out a hand.
“Wait. Before you get a hernia trying to yank me off the floor, can I at least get the name of the guy who’s going to sue me for damages, unless you’ve grown accustomed to the name Ted, or…it’s your real name.” I batted my eyelashes at him and offered my most winning smile.
“Oh, right. Yeah, I’m…” His eyes flitted about the room and I had a sense he was trying to come up with some fake name.
“Got it. You don’t want me to have your real name. Ted it is.” I held out my hand. “I’m Cadence. Real name. Oh, and my dental work is up to date, so unless you do a seriously good job of the body dump, they will figure out who I am.” He hesitated before touching me.
“I’m not going to hurt you, Cadence,” he murmured. “I’m Xander.” His hand wrapped around mine. “Let me help you get back to the sofa.” Gently, he pulled me to a sitting position. Squatting in front of me, he added, “And I carried you to the car all by myself. No extra help, no dolly, all me. Now, stop downing yourself.”
I averted my eyes. My self-deprecating sense of humor had begun to develop in college when the freshman fifteen found my fanny. I felt better if I made light of what others were probably already thinking. “To the couch then?”
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