Katrina stretched lazily as the sun warmed her face. She rolled over and snuggled deeper into the pillow to avoid the sunlight. The sunlight?
She sat bolt upright in bed. Something was wrong. Very wrong! Sunlight? In her bedroom? On a Friday morning? It was Friday morning, wasn't it? Yes. She knew it was. She had overslept...hadn't heard her alarm. She was late for work. Her boss was going to kill her, especially since she’d made Jerilynn late too…no, actually, Jerilynn got her car back last night, so at least she’d only made herself late.
Jumping out of bed, Katrina grabbed her clock and looked at it. 10:07. She groaned. In five years with the company, she'd never been late; nor had she missed a day, either. She'd better call Mr. Leonard right away. She could be to the office within the hour if she hurried through her shower. Maybe she could grab a piece of toast on the way out the door and save another couple of minutes. Her mind was racing as she yanked the bedroom door open and sailed into the living room, heading for the telephone nook.
Gavin was just coming out of the kitchen. Seeing him, Katrina stopped short. Full memory returned to her.
"Did you hear my alarm go off this morning?" she questioned him.
Gavin looked at her for a second or two as if trying to judge her mood before he spoke. Then he shrugged one shoulder and slid a half grin onto his face.
"It didn't go off."
"But I was positive I set it."
"You did. I turned it off."
Katrina turned to face him fully, anger boiling through her. Before she could vent her feelings, Gavin continued.
"After what you had been through last night, I felt you needed the rest." The partial smile left his face as he became serious.
"Well, thank you very much!" Heavy sarcasm laced her voice. "I appreciate knowing exactly why I'm going to be fired."
"Your Mr. Leonard was very understanding, Katrina. I seriously doubt he's going to let such a valuable employee go for taking one day of sick time in five long, devoted years of service." Humor threaded through his voice instead of the sarcasm she thought would be there. His audacity in calling her boss spiked her anger even higher and she opened her mouth to berate him further.
He grinned at her. "I wish you could see your face right now. It's classic! It's a mixture of anger, disbelief and relief. I bet actors would pay a fancy price to know how to portray that particular mixture."
He smiled deeper, the dimples flashing just beyond the ends of his mustache and the effect on her was devastating. Katrina caught her breath and blushed, defusing her anger faster than blinking. Gavin saw the blush and laughed. She was caught off-balance by his actions once again. She sighed. Would she never learn to hide her emotions from him? She doubted it. But then, it really didn't matter, considering he wouldn't be around very long. The pain of that thought pierced her heart with regret.
Gavin put his hands on his hips and surveyed her thoroughly. She looked back at him nervously, trying to gauge his ever-changing mood.
"As tempting as you look, Kitten, I think you'd better go in and put on something a little more substantial. I'll have breakfast ready by that time, if you'll tell me how you like your eggs."
Shocked, she looked down at her thin nightgown and blushed again. Her eyes flew to his face. His grin was infectious, even if he reminded her of a wolf. It suddenly brightened her day. She smiled back at him, and turned to go get dressed. Over her shoulder, she called, "Two eggs, poached, and one slice of toast, lightly buttered, with apple jelly, please!" She flung a deliberately saucy smile in his direction.
"Poached! Gee, Lady, you don't want much, do you?" Katrina giggled all the way into the bedroom, then closed the door to shower and dress.