A humble heart, p.9
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       A Humble Heart, p.9

         Part #1 of Hollywood Hearts series by R. L. Mathewson
 

  The man looked like he was considering it. “I tell you what, if you send me an autographed copy of Constant Nights I will build your kids a playground that will knock their socks off.”

  She smiled. “I think I can do that, but I was actually wondering if I could hire you to build a playground for Griswold’s House,” she said.

  The man looked surprised. “The foster home that specializes in handicapped children?” She nodded.

  “Ma’am, it would be my pleasure. I’ve been waiting for the city to ask me to do it for a long time now. They approached me twice, but what I asked for just to cover the materials and my men was too much for them even for the basic set up. They finally came up with enough money?” he asked curiously.

  She shook her head. “No sir, they didn’t. They don’t have the money for this.”

  “But I don’t understand,” he said, frowning.

  She looked at the card for his name. “Brian, they don’t have the money, but I do. I’m hiring you to do this if you want the job.”

  Brian nodded happily. “I would love the job, ma’am. My wife and I have been dying to do that for a long time.”

  “Okay, but I don’t want the basic set up. Can you handle tricking it out? The kids deserve the best. You’ll have to adapt your plans for the disabled. Is that a problem?”

  “No, ma’am.” He reached out and took her hand into his. “Thank you so much, Dana. Oh my god, this is great! I have to go tell my wife!” He began to turn away.

  “Brian?”

  He turned to look back at her, still grinning hugely.

  “Yes?”

  “I need your card so I can call you.” She reached into her purse and pulled out a card with her name and number on it. “Here, so you can call me with your ideas. The sooner the better. Those poor kids have nothing to do in the backyard.

  Oh, before I forget the physical therapist that works at the house will want to talk to you about ideas. Is that okay?”

  “That’s fine,” Brian said, grinning hugely.

  “Oh, one last thing. I don’t want you pricing this to cover just materials and the men. You charge me what you need to. I understand you’re in business to make a profit and from what I hear you’re the best,” she said, smiling. His grin widened as he walked away in a daze staring at her card.

  Edward watched the conversation in total disbelief.

  Every time he thought he had her pegged she did something to knock him on his ass. “That was really nice of you. Those kids will absolutely love you.”

  She shook her head and smiled. “No, they won’t.”

  “I don’t understand.”

  “They won’t know it was me. I never attach my name to anything. This particular project will be named after Deana’s son like the rest of them. I have a foundation in his name. It was something Deana tried to get off the ground.

  She was struggling to do it. She was barely keeping a roof over her head. She made okay money, but it was all going to this foundation. I took over and gave her a job. She oversees most of it for me. I have a lawyer that handles the business aspects and we pick the projects.”

  He reached out and took both of her hands into his.

  “You are a wonderfully kind woman, Dana,” he said, looking into her eyes. She looked nervously away. “I truly mean that.” He leaned down, intending to kiss her mouth, but thought better of it and kissed her forehead instead. “Those kids are very lucky to have you.”

  “Thank you, but it’s really Deana. She got me involved with Griswold House and the foundation.” She stepped back awkwardly. Edward released one of her hands, but kept the other one firmly in his hand.

  “That was so much fun!” Deana said as she walked the kids towards them. She took one look at their entwined hands and grinned wickedly. Dana knew that look all too well. Deana was about to play matchmaker.

  “Dana, the kids were just asking about the Ferris wheel.

  I told them we would go on it next. I know it’s one of your favorite rides so I thought we could all go together.”

  “Okay,” Dana answered cautiously. Edward released her hand when Cole walked over and pulled her hand into his. Edward thought the little boy was upset that he was touching his mother until Cole took his hand as well so he was walking between the two of them.

  “Swing me, peease!” Cole begged.

  Dana and Edward nodded and began swinging Cole gently. He giggled that cute little toddler giggle that could melt even Scrooge’s heart. They walked to the Ferris wheel while swinging a very happy Cole. Deana had Elizabeth on her shoulders and was pointing everything out to the little girl.

  The man taking tickets at the Ferris wheel looked the kids over. “I’m sorry, I can’t let the kids on. I have a height requirement and no seat belts.”

  “Oh, that’s okay,” Dana said, sounding a little disappointed.

  “No, its fine. I’m taking the kids on the carousel.

  Edward, do you mind going with her? She hates going by herself. She gets a bit freaked out when the ride stops.”

  He smiled hugely. “No problem.” The first chance he got he was sending Deana her favorite thing in the world, a huge chocolate basket. Something he discovered a week ago when someone sent one to Dana and Deana went nuts over it. He couldn’t remember if Dana ate any of it. He was now curious if she liked chocolate, but that question would have to wait. He was about to be alone with Dana on the Ferris wheel.

  The man stopped the ride and gestured for Dana to get in. Edward waited until she was seated before he turned to the man. He slipped the man a hundred dollar bill. “In a few minutes make sure we’re stuck up there for a good five to ten minutes.”

  The man took the money and winked at him. “You got it, buddy.”

  Edward sat down next to Dana, happy to discover that it was a snug fit. He had the perfect excuse to put his arm around her shoulders. The man locked the safety bar over their laps and started the ride.

  They sat silently as the ride moved for several minutes.

  He was in no rush to make his move since he would have her undivided attention in a few minutes. His hand began moving of its own accord, gently rubbing her shoulder.

  Something occurred to him as they reached the top.

  Something he overlooked in his excitement to have her alone. He was deathly afraid of heights. His hand froze on her shoulder. “Oh shit,” he mumbled.

  “What is it?” Dana asked nervously. She turned to look at him, which rocked the seat. Edward bit his lip.

  “Please, don’t rock the seat.” He felt his stomach twist.

  “Are you sick? I’ll tell the attendant to let us off the next time the carousel brings us to the bottom.”

  Edward shook his head while he squeezed his eyes shut. “He won’t. I paid him a hundred bucks to keep us on this ride

  .up top.”

  “Why?” she asked.

  “Because I wanted to get you alone and I’m an idiot. I forgot I have a serious fear of heights.” He pulled his arm from behind her and dropped his head into his hands. “This is so embarrassing. Can we forget about this, please?”

  She laughed. “Oh, I’m not going to forget this, Edward,”

  she teased. “The great Edward Pierce is afraid of heights.”

  He groaned.

  “I don’t remember reading that in any of the articles about you, very interesting.”

  “Hey, heights is a common fear. You can seriously get hurt or die from a fall like this. It’s the body’s natural response to something that is dangerous. At least it’s not as lame as being afraid of spiders.”

  He felt Dana’s entire body freeze next to his. “Why did you pick spiders? Oh my God! You don’t see a spider right now, do you?” she asked, clearly panicking.

  Edward’s eyes shot open in time to find her looking around frantically. He had to smile, she was so damn cute.

  When she wasn’t looking he snuck his hand behind her and ever so gently ran two fingers up her back.
Yeah, you have one on your back.”

  She screamed and tried to move away from the seat.

  Edward put his arms around her, holding her tightly. He didn’t care at that moment they were a good two hundred feet in the air and that their seat was rocking, he started laughing and couldn’t stop.

  It took Dana a minute to realize it was Edward’s fingers that moved up her back. He was laughing hard against her as the seat rocked. “You jerk,” she gasped, giving him a playful swat on one of the arms still holding her. “That’s not funny!”

  He couldn’t speak so he nodded.

  Dana tried to stay mad at him, but he was so cute and relaxed at that moment. She loved it when Edward was happy. They were stuck high up, which she knew scared him. Well, she knew now that he paid so he could be alone with her. It was sweet and endearing.

  He didn’t even seem concerned that they were rocking back and forth in their seat, because of his laughter. She leaned in and kissed his cheek. “Edward, you’re really cute when you’re laughing, but if you ever tease me about spiders again I may be forced to hurt you.” That only made him laugh harder until she reluctantly joined him.

  By the time they stopped laughing the ride had stopped again. He moved his arm back around her more naturally this time. He ran his fingers over her bare arm. “So, tell me about this mystery guy that caused you to turn down Mike.”

  Her face squished up into a guilty look. “There is no one. I just felt like I was being put on the spot.”

  He shook his head back and forth. “Dana, I’ve seen men ask you out on a daily basis and I’ve never once seen you react the way that you did today.” He reached over with his other hand and pushed back a strand of hair before she could.

  “I’m not sure I know what you’re talking about, Edward.”

  She looked off in the distance.

  Edward placed two fingers beneath her chin and gently pulled her face towards him. “Dana I’m

  I’m

  ..” He looked into her wide beautiful blue eyes and was lost.

  “What’s wrong?” she asked. Concern took over her features. She thought he was trying to tell her he was going to pass out or be sick. “It’s okay, Edward, we’ll be off the ride soon. I’ll get you a cold drink or something and you’ll be fine.”

  His eyebrows shot up confused. Then understanding hit.

  “No, I’m fine. What I’m trying to say is that I really like you, Dana. More than I ever thought possible to like a woman.”

  She looked even more confused. “No, that didn’t sound right. I mean I like women. I’m not surprised that I like you.

  It’s just that I like you a lot, wait no, I said that already,” he babbled. To his horror he felt himself blush. Damn, he was messing this up. He never lost his cool with a woman before and now he was acting like an idiot. She looked amused, which made it all the more embarrassing for him.

  “Damn, Dana, can we please forget this ever happened?”

  Dana sighed. “Edward, you’re so cute when you get nervous.” She leaned in and pressed her lips to his softly and pulled away before he could do anything. “I really like you, too, Edward, babbling and all,” she teased.

  “You do?” His voice cracked.

  “Yes, I do.” She smiled shyly.

  “Thank God.” He leaned in and kissed her tenderly.

  Before he could deepen the kiss he felt the seat rock.

  “Alright, guys, time to go.”

  Edward broke the kiss to see the man smirking at him.

  He nodded and removed the safety bar. He stood up and held his hand out to Dana. They walked off the platform to find Deana with two excited children who each held a big stick of cotton candy.

  “Mommy, can you take me on the bumper cars. The man said we had to sit with an adult,” Elizabeth explained.

  Dana released Edward’s hand and picked Elizabeth up. Edward put his arm around her shoulders as they made their way to the bumper cars. She felt nervous and excited and she was pretty sure it had nothing to do with the bumper cars.

  *******

  “I don’t know how you do it,” Edward said, plopping himself onto one of the lounge chairs that surrounded Dana’s pool.

  She laughed. “Do what?” She walked around picking up toys and wet towels.

  “Do what? Do all of this.” He gestured around them. “It’s only ten o’clock and I’m exhausted,” he said, dropping his head back and closing his eyes.

  “I enjoy it,” she said softly. Dana walked around the patio, straightening everything while keeping an eye on Edward. He was turning into a really good friend, someone she could count on.

  “I can see why. Your kids are great.”

  “Thank you, but I can’t take all the credit,” she said.

  “Yes, you can,” he said seriously, making her stop and turn around. He was getting up from his chair and moving towards her.

  She instantly felt awkward. He walked over to her and kissed her cheek. “You’re doing a great job with them.”

  Dana pushed a strand of hair back. “Thank you, do you want to work on the book?” she asked, hoping for a diversion from this uncomfortable moment. They kissed once on the Ferris wheel, but he made no move since then to do it again. It made her feel self-conscious and nervous.

  He smiled. “Sure, but I pick the music this time.”

  She rolled her eyes playfully. He chuckled as they walked to her office.

  ********

  He woke up stretched out on a couch. It took him a moment to figure out where he was. His eyes focused on the room and he realized he was still in Dana’s office. She was asleep at her desk. He looked at his watch, two in the morning. Damn, he meant to spend some time kissing her properly, but they got right to work and he started to doze off before he got the chance.

  A small sound at the door caught his attention. Cole stood in the doorway with eyes half closed, doing what was unquestioningly the pee pee dance. Edward rubbed his face and walked over to the little boy. He didn’t want to disturb Dana, yet.

  “Come on, buddy,” Edward said, taking Cole’s hand and led him into the bathroom. After tucking Cole into his Mickey Mouse bed he checked on Elizabeth and pulled the covers over her.

  He made his way back to the office and couldn’t help but smile at Dana. She looked so peaceful. He didn’t want to disturb her, but he also didn’t want to leave her sleeping at the desk. He picked her up carefully in his arms and carried her towards the only room he hadn’t seen yet, her bedroom.

  Her room was exactly the way he thought it would be.

  Clean and organized with a large bed. There were no frills in this room. It was a bedroom and that was it, clean and simple. The kind of room he liked. Too many of his exgirlfriends had lacey things everywhere, make-up spilling over the bureaus, dirty clothes everywhere. It was a huge turn off for him. Not that he had a lot of girlfriends in the past. He was too guarded to date as often as his family would like him to.

  He laid her gently on the bed and pulled a blanket over her. She instantly snuggled into it and rolled onto her side.

  “Mmm, Edward,” she said sleepily.

  Edward froze and stared at her. Did she just stay his name? He was surprised and intrigued. He wondered what else she might say. He looked around for a chair and realized there were none. He made his way around the bed and carefully crawled into bed with her. He lay on his side to watch her sleep.

  His eyes wondered over her hair, her face and the shape of her body beneath the blanket. He reached over and moved a lose strand of hair off her face, knowing she would hate that. She murmured something that he didn’t quite hear. He dared himself to move closer to her until he was practically spooning her.

  He felt sleep pull at him again. He fought it at first, but it was late and he was exhausted and in minutes he was falling asleep. He closed his eyes, planning on leaving before she woke up. He nuzzled his face into her blonde hair and fell asleep smelling vanilla.

  ********
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br />   Dana woke up feeling a strong arm holding her waist tightly. She felt something warm snuggled against her back and hot breaths on her neck. It took her a moment to figure out what was going on. She looked around to see she was in her room. She didn’t remember going to bed last night.

  Her last memory was dropping her head onto her arm at her desk.

  “Edward?” she said. No movement. “Edward?” she said a little
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