The P.U.R.E.

The P.U.R.E. by Claire Gillian

Book: The P.U.R.E. by Claire Gillian Read Free Book Online
Authors: Claire Gillian
pass unmolested by nothing more than his phony smile.
    Jon hovered outside the door, waiting. “Everything okay?” He took the box from my arms as we walked toward the shredder.
    I peeped over my shoulder.
    Doug stood in the frame of the door, his gaze right on us. No question he’d known Jon waited outside the door for me. The presence of a witness explained his restraint.
    “I think so … for now. I have to shred before I can go. Would you mind waiting?” My bravery had ebbed, and no doubt it showed.
    He smiled. “I wasn’t going to leave you alone with him. I’ll help you, then we can both get out of here.”
    I gazed at the man who walked by my side, who carried my burden and offered his protection. He’d been passing me tiny puzzle pieces of who he was, one by one, day after day. I finally glimpsed how all those pieces might fit together to include me. The picture both frightened and thrilled.
    I’d never had a bigger crush on anyone in my life.

14
    The doorbell rang moments after I’d thrown on my sweats and a T-shirt. I peered through the peephole and, with a sigh of relief, unchained my door.
    “Hey, Jon. Come on in.”
    “Were you aware the second you put your eye to the peephole, the lighting changes? You alert your visitor that you’re home and standing just on the other side of the door when you do that.”
    “Okay, Clousseau.” I shut the door behind him. “Did you get the note I left in your jacket?”
    “What note?”
    “I guess the answer would be ‘no’.”
    “What did it say?”
    “Just to call me tonight so I could tell you what happened. “
    “Assuming you haven’t eaten yet, can we talk over dinner?”
    “I could make us something quick here, except … I haven’t been to the grocery store in a while, so … ixnay on that idea.”
    “Get your purse.”
    I grabbed my bag off the sofa and trotted to the door like a dog with a leash in its teeth. “Where are we going?”
    “To my apartment. I’ll make us something. We won’t have to fight over the check that way.”
    “Okay. I guess I can stand another turkey, bacon and avocado sandwich,” I said with mock resignation.
    “Not quite what I had in mind.” As if he needed to bolster his suggestion’s merits, he tacked on, “We also won’t have to worry about anyone overhearing us.”
    “Right. Good thinking.”
    I was a little confused as to the evolving nature of our relationship. Were we just friends, or was one or both of us working up the nerve to make a move? My own wants in that respect ran the gamut. Despite a raging crush, I had an inviolable rule against dating a co-worker. Worse, he had the added complexity of rebounding from a long-term relationship.
    Neither of us seemed to be sticking to our script.
    • • •
    An hour later, the citrusy aroma of chicken piccata with some kind of fancy pasta, salad, and red wine filled Jon’s apartment. I shared all the details of my meeting with Bob as we ate and drank the amazing food he’d cooked. Jon doled out my red wine a thimbleful at a time.
    Smart man … or a dumb one, depending on his end game.
    “I can’t believe you put Bob on the spot. If he’s the one who killed Kenneth, he could be very dangerous.”
    “Of course I realize that now, but he had me seeing red, and it sort of slipped out. I will say this though. He either has a stellar poker face, or he had nothing to do with Kenneth’s death.”
    “He did at least call in your complaint. Talk about a fast turnaround.”
    “I find that rather odd, to be honest. I’d been told Bob watched out for Doug. Maybe Doug finally ran out of rope.” I held out my wine glass for a refill.
    Jon hesitated.
    “I’m fine!” I cried.
    He obliged me a few drops I downed with a dramatic toss of my head and fell off my chair onto his floor.
    “Gayle!”
    I got up, laughing. “Chill out, Jon. I was only messing with you. I can’t have drunk more than three or four ounces at the miserly rate you’ve been

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