“You didn’t disappoint me AJ.”
“I was mad because I wanted to trust you and at that moment, I couldn’t.”
“Do you feel differently now?” he asked as he looked down at her.
She nodded and released his arm. He leaned down, pulled her up and drew her into a bear hug. Pulling her close, he whispered in her ear.
“Does this mean you aren’t leaving?”
She shivered and was quiet in her response.
“No, I still think I should go.”
Pushing back slightly from him, Max could see how upset he was. He really thought if he shared everything with her, she would want to stay.
“I should have left a while ago. I need to…”
“Can we make a deal?”
“What?” she asked as she cocked an eyebrow. “A deal?”
“Yeah. I know Bob gives everyone next week off for the 4th of July holiday.”
“So? I’m leaving on Saturday so that won’t matter.”
“I was hoping that you could stay one more week. We could hang out, enjoy some time off and do a few things I think you’d enjoy.”
“If you promise to spend the week with me, I promise to let you leave if you still want too.”
Max thought about it. “No more trying to convince me or making any new deals?”
“Cross my heart.” he answered and drew his finger across his chest.
How could one more week hurt, she thought as she watched his hopeful eyes. She could play along and then leave just as she’d planned. This was actually a better option because there wouldn’t be any more pleading.
“Ok?” he asked with surprise; he figured it would take more convincing.
“I said ok.”
“Yes!” he yelled and planted a huge kiss on her cheek. “You won’t regret this and I guarantee that you won’t want to leave after this week.”
Max just smiled. She hated to disappoint him but there was no way she was planning on staying any longer than one week.
Friday finally came and Bob wished everyone a safe and enjoyable week off. Max had already been told by AJ that he had also taken that week off and that each day he planned a different activity. The first happened to be karaoke the next night and he had warned her that two of his friends would be joining them. She didn’t want to meet his friends but she knew she had to keep her side of the bargain or she’d have to deal with AJ pleading his case again.
“So you’re ok with coming out with us right?”
“Yes.” Brian assured his brother for the tenth time. “Leighanne has some things to take care of today but we’re free all day tomorrow.”
“Did you tell her we were coming?”
“I told her two of my friends were joining us but I didn’t say who.”
“Don’t you think you should?”
“I don’t know, a head’s up maybe.”
“It’ll be fine.”
“I hope for your sake that’s true.”
Max finished her shower and stepped out to check her reflection in the mirror. She had noticed earlier that her roots were starting to show and there was no way she could let her natural color come back out. Her hair itself was starting to grow out, there wasn’t much she could do about that, but the new dye seemed to be working well.
She finished fixing her hair the best she could and gave her meager wardrobe a pained glance. Having worn some of her better clothes already, she finally decided on a nice pair of dark jean capris and a black, short sleeve, light weight sweater set. Her locket looked beautiful resting on the black camisole and she added some lip gloss as a finishing touch. The last time she really dressed up around AJ, she came home crying and she wasn’t about to have a repeat performance.
Knowing that AJ would be arriving any minute, she checked her hair one more time, grabbed her purse and made it to the front steps just as he was pulling in. She watched as he climbed out of his truck and she had to admit that he looked very handsome. He was wearing a light pair of jeans, a white button up over a white wife-beater and had a black and white plaid fedora strategically placed on his head. Giving her a big smile, he opened the passenger side door and shut if gently after she had made herself comfortable. It was a sweet gesture but it made her question how long those sweet gestures would last if she had actually planned on sticking around.