A WARNING hum vibrated low and deep inside Patrick’s ears. The metallic scent of ozone followed. He rolled over in his MILAN bed, savoring the MODENA memory-foam mattress. Five more minutes. C’mon, just five more minutes. The CASA shoppers can hold their horses. The would-be Martha Stewarts and Nate Berkuses were the worst with obsessing about color coordination and feng shui. Because they saw it in a magazine, they were all of a sudden the next HGTV Design Star.
He tucked the black-and-gray duvet up under his chin and kicked it off his legs. Optimal for regulating body temperature, though never logical.
Click-click-hmmmmm. The overhead fluorescent lights announced their unwelcome luminosity into Patrick’s darkened sanctuary.
“Goddammit,” he groaned and buried his face in his pillow. He had at least ten minutes before the shoppers arrived. Fifteen at best. It always took them ten minutes minimum before they trickled into his showroom.
The fluorescent light wasn’t as kind in letting Patrick have his blessed ten minutes more of solace to relish the happy ending of his dream about the cute guy in the café he’d seen for all of three seconds last week. His gut clenched with the last bits of recollection of the dream. The cutie had been a screamer, for sure. It was always the innocent-looking ones.
He was dancing on the edge of drifting off once again when he had an unfortunate sense of spatial relations and tumbled naked ass over teakettle onto the floor.
“Fuck,” Patrick mumbled with his face planted in the thin carpet.
“What do you think of the MILAN frame?” an older woman said just over his head.
He scowled, eye-to-eye with her obnoxiously blingy and blinding Yellow Box flip-flops. It was way too early for this bullshit.
“It’s on special,” a young, bubbly blonde said, her neon pink Converse sneakers coming across his line of sight.
They both stood over him, dangerously close to kicking out his teeth, blissfully unaware of the crumpled pile of sleepy naked man between them. By the power of elementary-grade deduction, Patrick put together the mother-daughter connection.
“The frame color needs some tweaking, but the mattress is perfect. And the gray-and-black duvet makes a great accent,” the daughter said.
Did no one notice the guy in the middle of the CASA showroom?
Out of one dream about a sexy rendezvous, and waking up naked in CASA. Terrific. Just what did he eat last night? Must have been the meatballs, and the sweet tomato jam was probably laced with opiates from that one weird guy who got fired a week ago.
Patrick pulled himself up, standing between the pair as they considered his MILAN bed. He scrutinized the mother with a myopic squint, close enough to see the stray white hairs on her chin. She didn’t give him a single glance.
The mother brightened. “Let’s see what the delivery fee is.”
And then the daughter committed the ultimate atrocity of lying upon his bed. She rolled over to her side, her body meshing into the impression left by his.
Oh hell no.
“It seems a little… lived in?” The daughter wiggled on the mattress, trying to get comfortable. “I think a CASA employee has been sleeping here.”
Patrick crossed his arms. “You get your happy ass out of my bed and go feel happy inside somewhere else.”
Neither of them blinked. Mother. Fucker.
They went on obliviously chattering as the daughter continued to smear herself across his beloved bed. He had broken in the mattress perfectly. There was a notch at his shoulder and knee he had carefully cultivated.
The mother scrawled through thumbnails of room plans. The daughter gestured, and the mother nodded. She pointed at Patrick, and he tensed his grip on his upper arms. They made eye contact, and he counted the seconds until recognition.
“I think it’s too big,” the mother said regretfully.
Patrick took a quick downward glance at himself and then back at her, unamused. “For you? You bet it is.”
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