Downstairs he followed the voices to the dining room where Maureen O’Brien had set out cereal, muffins and bagels for breakfast. Jake skipped both and zoned in on the coffee where Charlie stood pouring herself a large mug.
“You’re up early. I took you as more of a night person,” she said sparing him a quick glance.
Jake watched as she poured cream into her coffee. “I’m meeting with the town administrator in about thirty minutes to assess the damage down by the river. And the first shipment of supplies from the foundation is arriving later.”
Charlie didn’t reply. Rather she studied him over the rim of her coffee mug. “Do you always go where the foundation gives out aid?”
Jake nodded. “There have been a few times that I haven’t, but I try to get there.”
She made a surprised sound in the back of her throat but didn’t comment.
He didn’t know why she was surprised by his answer. She probably knew that he was in charge of the Falmouth Foundation. It wasn’t a secret. “You seemed surprised?”
Stepping away from the coffee so someone else could get some, she took a sip before answering. “I assumed you were more of a poster boy for the foundation. I didn’t picture you as the hands-on type.”
Annoyance swept through his body. She didn’t see him as the hands-on type after all the work he’d already done. “And how do you see me?”
Perhaps hearing the anger in his voice, Charlie’s eyes narrowed and her back became ramrod straight. “You’re not exactly described as the hardest working man alive in the media,” she answered matter-of-factly. “According to them you’re out with a different woman every night driving around in expensive cars. I assumed someone like that wouldn’t be interested in physical labor.” Her tone wasn’t rude. Rather she sounded as if she was reciting facts from a book.
The media was great at portraying people in a way that was best for their ratings. Very rarely did they get the truth right. This wasn’t the first time someone had assumed he was nothing more than a spoiled rich playboy and he was confident it wouldn’t be the last. Normally, he would shrug it off. If someone wanted to believe the media’s image of him he wouldn’t bother with them. However, this time it troubled him. For some reason, he wanted to prove the doctor wrong. He wanted to show her the real Jake Sherbrooke.
“I’m not going to lie. I like fast cars, but a different woman every night isn’t my thing. You can’t always believe what you read.” Jake clenched his teeth to keep his anger from creeping into his voice. “Why don’t you spend the day with me? See what I really do.” He expected her to say no.
Tilting her head to the side she studied his face. “When do we leave?”
Jake forced himself not to smile. “Meet me by my truck in ten minutes.”
Once again Charlie nodded and then headed in the direction of the kitchen. Jake couldn’t help but watch and admire her retreating form. There was no mistaking her confident no-nonsense step. By inviting her along he knew he’d made his day more difficult, but he didn’t regret his invitation. Not one bit. Only an insane man would regret having a beautiful woman by his side all day.
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