I read it one more time, my finger hovering over the send button.
I am ready, no doubt.
But I’ve been learning that being ready means doing things right.
I’m not an expert on love, or women, or even great sex. But I’ve discovered this much from being with London and working out what I want.
A text isn’t enough.
When you want to tell a woman you’re in love with her, you need to show up in person.
Bring her a gift.
Do things the right way.
I hit delete.
The moment the last song of the night fades out, I grab my gear, tap the doorframe twice, then stop by Archer’s office to finish our conversation.
But his door is shut.
I shrug. So it goes. He’s not the priority any longer. London is. I’ll catch up with him another day.
Sam waits by the front of the club, and I tell him I need to swing by Target before I head home.
“Sweet. I’ve been jonesing for some Cinnamon Life cereal, and Target has those big-ass boxes.”
“Are you so hungry you’re going to eat a whole box tonight?”
He frowns. “You’re right. Six-packs don’t grow on trees. I’ll get some yogurt instead. Thanks for looking out for my abiliciousness.”
“Yes, that’s exactly what I was doing.”
A little later, Sam is digging into his yogurt, I have a bag of home-baked dog treats in the center console, and we’re cruising along the streets of Los Angeles after midnight on the way to London’s house.
Sam hums thoughtfully. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it almost two in the morning?”
The green display on the car’s dashboard confirms he can tell time. “It is.”
“Does she want you to show up at two in the morning?”
I smile as I turn onto her street. “That’s where this gift comes in.”
“Oh. She’s one of those women who likes you to leave gifts at two in the morning? I’ve heard of the existence of such ladies, but I haven’t met any.”
I roll my eyes. “I’m going to leave a gift on her doorstep. It feels like something a Jane Austen hero would do.”
“Leave dog biscuits?”
“Yes. Captain Wentworth would, and he’s the bomb,” I say as I pull over, parking at the curb.
He seems to consider this, then nods. “Sure. I’m down with that. You’re a regular Mr. Knightley.”
I jerk my head back. “From Emma? Who are you?”
He scoffs. “Dude. How far do you think abs like these can take me? Only so far. Gotta back up the sixer with what’s up here.” He taps his temple. “I worship at the altar of Jane Austen. And for the record, Mr. Knightley wins. He was no bullshit with Emma. You should go the Knightley route.” Sam adopts an aristocratic Victorian tone. “‘I cannot make speeches, Emma . . . If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me . . . Yes, you see, you understand my feelings.’”
“Is that what I should say to London?” I ask.
“No way.” He smacks my sternum. “Don’t recycle another dude’s words. Speak from your heart.”
That should be easy enough.
My heart is full for London.
I grab a pen from the glove box, scrawl out a sentence on the front of the bag, then bound up the lawn, around Nate and Eli’s house, and over to London’s studio.
I stop short when I see all the lights are off.
There is no barking pumpkin.
No London either. Where could she be? What if she left for San Francisco?
I shake my head. The interview was earlier today—no way would she have moved cities yet.
But that fear only reaffirms that I’m doing the right thing.
My heart hammers with worry as I set the bag down.
When she returns, she’ll see my note.
Happiness in life is entirely a matter of dog biscuits. And finding the person you’ve fallen in love with.
The next morning, I’m up at dawn.
Sleep is for another day. Today is for action. Today is for finding the woman I love and telling her that even one more day apart from her is too much.
I do send her a text though.
Because, you know, details matter.
Teddy: Hey! Are you still here? Are you heading up to San Francisco for the job? I can’t stop thinking about you, and I would love to see you. Ya know, today.
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