Standing on The Edge Of Goodbye (4 page)

BOOK: Standing on The Edge Of Goodbye
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He could have smacked his forehead at the stupidity of the question. She'd already told him she liked working with Amy and Herman.

Kate turned
in her seat. Even in the darkness, he could feel the warmth of her smile.

“Believe it or not, yes. I really
do enjoy working there. It’s nice, they’re nice, and I’ve gotten a chance to meet just about everyone in town by now. I’m really blessed.”

Matt parked behind the diner, but he wasn’t in a hurry
to end the evening. Kate was talking to him.

“Have you made any plans concerning the future yet?
" Her brows knitted together and she appeared even more confused. "I mean are you staying here in Silver Mountain once the baby is born, or are you planning to return to Texas?” The moment the words were out he wished them back. He could almost feel her mentally shutting the door on his curiosity.
Way to go, Matt
, he thought to himself. Just when she was beginning to warm up to him.


Forget I asked. It’s really none of my business.” He got out of the truck, opened her door, and then walked silently beside her to the apartment.

“Is it
okay if I come in for a minute? I haven’t seen the place since Amy and Herman redecorated it.”

She
hesitated a second then unlocked the door and held the door open for him. “Of course. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be rude. Please, come in. I’m just not used to having company, I guess.”

He stepped inside and a
glanced around. “It’s okay. I’m the same way, really. Actually, I’m a bit of recluse, so at least you’ve got me beat there.”

“Why are you trying so hard to be my friend, Mr. Stevens?” Kate asked quietly.

Matt closed his eyes for a moment and found himself praying, actually praying to a God he wasn't sure he believed in any longer for answers. “Why not? Would being friends be so terrible? After all, we’re probably the only two single people under forty in this town. Maybe we have more in common then either of us want to believe?”

Their eyes met, locked, and held as time stood still.

“But only if you stop calling me Mr. Stevens,” he added. “I expect to see my dad every time you call me that. My name is Matt…” He stopped. Had he offended her?

“I’m not good at sharing things,” Kate
admitted at last. “I keep things inside and I’m not sure I know how to be a friend.” Her honest confession shocked him.

“Kate
, it doesn’t matter what happened in your past. I’m just as broken as you are. I want to change. Maybe we can help each other move on and perhaps even heal. What do you think?”

Kate
stared at him then slowly nodded. “Yes, I’d like to. I’ll try.”

“That’s all anyone can ask
,” Matt told her softly. “Are you sure you're all right?”

She stifled a yawn before grinning. ”Yes, I’m fine. It’s just past my bedtime.”

Matt leaned in close to kiss her cheek. “Get some sleep. I’ll check on you in the morning.”

As soon as he was back in the truck
called Amy at home and left a message letting her know that Kate was okay. He tried to ignore that tiny voice that told him friendship wasn’t all he wanted from Kate. There was something about Kate Alexander that gave him hope again.

Chapter Four

 

When Matt aw
oke the following morning, he grabbed a cup of coffee and went to his home office, determined to finish his latest project for
Secure Connections
, the software business he’d started upon leaving the Denver Police Department.

But his thoughts kept straying to Kate.
Finally, he gave up on work and left the house. A nice drive might clear his head for work. Yet he knew exactly where he was heading.

The diner’s early morning rush was finishing up by the time
he walked in. He spotted Kate right away and stopped half way down the aisle.

She’d twisted her blond curls up in a makeshift knot held in place by two pencils. Already several strands had worked their way loose, framing her face. She wore her usual uniform of jeans and a black tee shirt.

Matt watched her grin at the young men she waited on. The two worked at the local lumber mill just outside of town.

Kate
seemed oblivious to their admiring glances. She caught sight of him watching her and their eyes locked. After a moment's hesitation, she smiled, really smiled.

It was so easy to
get caught up in it. Forget the past.

Matt dropped into the booth and Amy slid in opposite him.

“You’ve got it bad, and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.” She turned the coffee cup over and motioned to Kate.

Matt wasn’t so sure he was ready to face the object of his
infatuation just yet.

“Amy…”

“Oh, just relax. She doesn’t have any idea how you feel about her. But if you keep on making public displays like the one you just did, it won’t take her long to figure it out.”

As always, Amy
had read his mind. Matt found his hands were actually shaking as Kate stopped next to him. He stuck them under the table while Amy’s amusement level rose and she chuckled.

“Hi,
Kate,” Matt said, while throwing the woman across from him a furious scowl. Kate returned his greeting a bit hesitantly.

His gaze lifted
to hers and his heart started a crazy rhythm that threatened to drown out any response.


What are you doing waiting tables?” That sounded like he was judging her and he scrambled to recover. “Sorry, I didn’t mean it that way. I’m just glad to see you’re feeling up to work.” Somehow, Matt kept from slapping his own forehead at the lameness of that statement.

“Kate, why don’t you ask Herman to make some of his famous French toast for Matt?”

Matt swallowed hard and Amy continued to grin at him.

“Sure, I’ll be right back.”

Kate started toward the kitchen and Matt was unable to resist the urge to watch Kate’s retreating figure.

This is crazy.
He could hold his own in any high-pressure business meeting, so why was he acting like some lovesick teenager?

“Don’t say it.” He correctly interrupted Amy’s amused
expression. “It’s not what you think, Amy. I’m just trying to be her friend.”

“Hey, I know what I see. You’re crazy about her. What’s wrong with that? I think it’s great.”

“No, it’s not. She doesn’t want that from me or anyone else right now. So please,
please
, let’s just drop it before I get any deeper into trouble than I already am here. Okay?”

Matt was saved the embarrassment of Amy’s caustic reply when Kate came back carrying a plate of French toast.

“Far be it from me to point out what you already know, Matt Stevens,” Amy said, as she stood and motioned for Kate to take her place. “Sit down and rest for a minute, child. The rush is over. Talk to Matt while he has his breakfast.”

He focused his attention on Kate. “Th
ese look good. Herman’s famous for his French toast.”

Kate set the plate down and
grabbed Amy’s vacated seat.

With any luck, his hands would stop trembling long enough to eat the toast.

“I know, I’ve heard all about them. You wouldn’t believe how far people come each morning just to have Herman’s French toast.”

“You haven’t tried them?” Matt glanced up to see her shake her head.
He cut a small piece off and held it out to her. “You can’t really recommend them if you haven’t tried them yourself.”

She to
ok the bite, closing her eyes in sheer appreciation while a small drop of syrup trailed across her lip. The tip of her tongue captured it and Matt’s eyes followed the movement as if mesmerized.

She
appeared embarrassed and he managed to drag his gaze from her.

“Told you they were good.” He cut off another piece and popped it in his mouth.

She laughed. “You’re right. So why is it you’re not rushing off to work somewhere? What do you do for a living anyway that allows you so much freedom?” She was teasing him.

“Don’t tell me, you’re independently wealthy and you don’t need to work
.”

In the short
time, he’d known Kate they’d never talked about each other. He knew only the things Rachel had told him.

He laughed at her description of him.
“Not exactly. I work at home. I have my own software business and that allows me a lot of freedom. I create security software programs for large corporations.”

“Wow, I had no idea.
Kind of James Bond stuff, only with the computer. You must really be a whiz on the computer. I can barely turn one on.”

Matt sho
ok his head. “Your grandmother told me about your full scholarship to the university so you're not fooling anyone. But I guess I’ve always been something of a computer geek. Since I was a kid, really. I loved figuring out how different programs worked and what it was needed to make them fail. I guess it was just an easy transition for me. Creating software just seemed to come natural. It’s challenging.” He sipped his coffee.

“What’s the name of your company? Maybe I’ve heard of it?”
             

“Probably not. We haven’t any clients in
Texas just yet.” He liked her honest curiosity. Kate Alexander was turning out to be nothing like he’d expected. “It’s called
Secure Connections
." He watched her repeated the name to herself and he smiled. "Ah, I see you’ve never heard of us.”

“No, I’m sorry, I haven’t.
" She shook her head. "Do you like what you do? I mean working from home and all. You don't get lonely up there on the mountain all alone?”

It was hard to keep his voice steady. “I suppose it can be at times. But it also allows me to think clearly without a lot of outside interruptions. I still have the office in
Denver in case I miss the rat race.”

“And then someone like me comes along and interrupts all that peace and quiet.”

He actually chuckled at that. Yeah, that had been one interruption he hadn’t counted on. “You certainly shocked me out of my quiet, complacent world.” He’d said the wrong thing again. He could feel her retreat.

“I’m sorry
. I never really meant to upset your life like that. It must have come as quite a shock to have me arrive on your doorstep out of the blue.” She shook her head. “I really am grateful for what you did for me.”

Matt cover
ed her restless hands with his. “You don’t owe me an apology.”

After a moment's hesitation, she grinned at him and he felt as if he'd passed a test.

“You must be really successful if you can afford an office in Denver and still work from home.”

He wasn't accustomed to talking about himself.
”Yes, I guess.” He polished off the last bite of toast and pushed his plate aside. “Okay I’ve told you something about myself. Now it’s your turn.”

She swallowed hard.
“What do you want to know?”

This would be harder than he thought. “Tell me what you were studying at the university? Your grandmother never mentioned details.”
Matt’s breath caught as her face lit up.

“Well, believe it or not, I’m studying the law, family law to be exact. That is, I was.” she added
as her brows knitted together in a frown.

“A lawyer, huh?” He grinned
. He was determined to keep their conversation upbeat. Whatever dark secrets she held from her past would wait for another day. "How close are you to finishing? It can’t be much since you started so young.” Matt was thrilled she was actually opening up to him.             

“Less than a year.”
She'd grown cautious again.

“Have you thought about finishing some of your courses online? There’s so much you can do on the computer these days. You could probably complete most
of the classroom stuff.”

“Maybe
. I don’t know. I can’t really think about that, now. I have to stay focused on the baby. That’s all that matters. What’s best for my baby.” She stumbled to her feet. “I should go now. I need to help Herman out with lunch. I'll talk to you later.” She turned and walked away.

 

****

 

“I never would have believed it possible to see so much improvement. Not after examining you that first day.” Denny got to his feet when Kate joined him in his office again. “I’m very pleased with your progress. You should be able to get back to your usual routine, within reason. No skydiving or running marathons, though. Just take things slow.”

Kate sat across from his desk and nodded. Denny’s willingness to listen without judgment helped bring her
out of her emotional despair.


Don't worry. I have no plans to run a marathon any time soon. Thank you, Denny. I really don’t think I can ever repay you for all your kindness.” Kate was still surprised at the way God worked His miracles.

BOOK: Standing on The Edge Of Goodbye
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