Taylor shrugs and bites her lip.
“Because they’re pretty and look nice. Club Z is so lavish anyways that I figured that they’d never miss them. But clearly, I was wrong.”
I let out another low laugh.
“Well, I appreciate a woman who’s honest about her shortcomings, but don’t try stealing anything here. I’ll have your fingers cut off.”
Taylor nods quickly.
“Oh, I would never! Your belongings are safe, don’t worry.”
“I certainly hope so because I would hate to torment a pretty houseguest over missing silverware or the like.”
Taylor blushes again.
“I wouldn’t, Mr. Genovese. Cross my heart and hope to die.”
I laugh again.
“Well, that’s good to know because I hope you wouldn’t steal from a friend. But while we’re on the topic, you’re friends with Anthony, right?”
Taylor looks hesitant.
“Um, well sort-of. If I say that we’re not really friends, would that change things?”
I shake my head.
“No, it wouldn’t change anything. You would still be welcome to stay here, but I was under the impression that you and my son were in a relationship.”
She grimaces a bit while smiling.
“I think the key word in that sentence is “were,” past tense, because we’re not in a relationship anymore. We used to date, but all that went by the wayside. Anthony cheated on me, you know.”
I shake my head.
“No, I didn’t know, actually. I’m sorry to hear that, sweetheart.”
Taylor sighs, deflating a bit.
“Yeah, it was kind of a letdown. I guess people don’t really change, do they? Way back when we met, we were dating more or less. But then he cheated, so we broke up. We were in the process of exploring a reconciliation recently, but then, whoops! I found out that Anthony’s still seeing that girl. Can you believe it? I basically told him to go to hell yesterday, which is why I’m a little surprised he offered to ask if you would let me stay. It was a generous gesture, definitely, seeing that Anthony and I are on the outs. Well, maybe that’s too dramatic. We’re not unfriendly, it’s just that we’re not exactly friends either. And we’re definitelynotdating.”
I manage to stifle a chuckle at that convoluted explanation.
“Knowing my son, that sounds about right,” I growl. “I’m sorry you had to go through that, Taylor. Anthony’s just immature, and trust me, I’m his father, so I know. But it means that I should be honest with you to fill in some of the gaps.”
She shoots me an odd look.
“Well, I’m not exactly letting you stay here out of the kindness of my heart. As you intuited, it’s a strange situation and it didn’t just happen out of nowhere.”
She stares at me.
“What do you mean?”