”Oh, I suppose that I would have an aversion to peas, then. But, just when they
e by themselves. I can eat them if they
e mixed into a dish, ” she said thoughtfully.

Nathaniel chuckled. This might work. She seemed to be loosening up a little.

”Well, I can have my car pick you up. Dinner will be at 8? We can go to La Mer. ” It was a very nice restaurant that had a romantic atmosphere. He would request a private table. Well, Rhonda would request it.

Paige knew how expensive La Mer was and was uncomfortable with spending that amount of money on food.

”Oh, you really don have to go through that amount of trouble. Besides, theres a burger place down the street thats pretty good, ” Paige suggested.

”Honestly, its not trouble at all. I insist. They have a private table for us to have our business discussion, which will be much better than the noisy atmosphere that doesn provide much privacy, ” he said. He really wanted her alone. Besides, whenever he went in public, if he got recognized he was usually accosted by women, regardless of who he was with. Once it happened when he was taking his mother to lunch. He did not want that to happen.

”Im really uncomfortable spending that amount of money on a meal. You could pay someones rent with how much it costs, ” Paige said quietly, looking at her shoes.

Nathaniel studied her before replying: ”Lets have dinner at my place, then. Im afraid Ill have to insist, as I have my own security that I need to worry about. ”

Paige looked up at him and replied ”Okay, ” with a small smile.

”Whats your address? Ill send a car for you, ” he said, pulling out his phone from his pocket and tapping on it, then looking at her.

”I can drive. Just tell me your address, ” she said hurriedly and pulled out her own phone.

”Ill text it to you. That way, you can text or call if you have any concerns while driving there. Some people get lost, ” he replied smiling. He was smiling because he was having dinner with her, alone in his house, and he was getting her number.

”Okay, its 567-891-2345. ”

He inputted the number into his phone and sent her a text with his address. He watched as her phone lit up. She showed him the message.

”Got it. Okay, Ill see you at 8, then, ” she replied with a smile, then quickly added, ”I appreciate you making time to meet with me about this. ”

Paige felt like she needed to not give him the impression that this was a date. This was about business, but she was smiling like a fool. Then, she frowned.

”Whats wrong? ” Nathaniel said, noticing her frown.

”I was trying to figure out what to wear. I don usually do business dinners. Sorry, thats unprofessional of me. Ill figure it out, ” she said with a tiny, forced smile.

”Cocktail attire for this is fine. Or, you could wear jeans. Let me know, though, because I will wear jeans, too, so we match, ” he chuckled.

”Ok, Ill let you know, ” she replied with a laugh.

This version of Nathaniel Donovan is one I can handle, she thought. He seemed friendly and warm. He was carving out time from his schedule to spend it talking about her vision for the shelter. She was grateful. It also wouldn hurt to have a friend like him. Maybe I can talk to him about an annual clothing or toiletry donation at his company as well by workers. Some companies do that. Paige pondered the possibilities.

Nathaniel looked at the lovely woman in front of him. He wanted nothing more than to walk over to her and kiss her. He wanted to run his hands through her dark, curly hair and he wanted to feel her hands on him. Maybe then, hed act normal. He wasn uncomfortable with his actions, necessarily. He had his mother and close friends that he smiled and showed emotion with. But, before he died, his father instilled in him that outside of the people you are closest to, you need to show no sign of weakness. Show no emotion or they will use it against you. So, he was confused. Why was he acting this way around Paige? He was letting his guard down for someone he just met.

There was a knock on the door to the office, causing them to turn their heads in that direction. The door opened, revealing Haley and Alex.

”Mr. Donovan and Miss Everett, the press are here, ” Alex stated while holding the door.

Nathaniel got up and offered his hand to Paige. She politely refused and walked through the door first at his insistence.

They made their way outside and there was indeed about a dozen different news outlets present. There was a podium with microphones on it and Jamal was holding a large cardboard check next to the podium. There were also two people dressed as security guards that Paige had never seen before. She supposed that they were Nathaniels security.

Nathaniel walked over to the podium and stood next to Alex while Paige stood at the door. She was nervous and didn want to draw any attention to herself. She knew that she had to accept the check so thats why she was out there. Haley would be handling everything else.

”Thank you for coming today. Im Alex Hernandez, PR for Donovan Global. We are very excited to be partnering with Second Chances for our charitable outreach this year. Donovan Global chooses a community partner that makes valuable impact to the wellbeing of others and we are thrilled with what Second Chances accomplishes daily. Now, to talk more about this, let me introduce to you Mr. Nathaniel Donovan! ” Alex exclaimed excitedly. He stepped aside as his boss took his place at the podium.

Nathaniel pulled a single index card from his breast pocket and placed it on the podium. He cleared his throat, looked at the cameras and started talking.

”Community is something that is very important, not only to Donovan Global, but to me. When the community thrives, we all thrive. There are members of our community that are more vulnerable than others, and I believe that we have a duty to help those in need. That is why not only has Donovan Global donated $500,000 to Second Chances, but I have personally matched that amount for a total of $1 million donated to this shelter, ” Nathaniel waited for Jamal to come on cue with the check and hold it next to him. ”Here is the Director of this shelter, Paige Everett. ” He stepped to the side of the podium and gestured for Paige to take his place.

Paige approached, nervous on the inside but you wouldn know it by looking at her. ”On behalf of Second Chances, thank you so much Mr. Donovan and Donovan Global. The impact of this donation will help us expand our programs for years to come. Here at Second Chances, we believe that people have the strength and courage to overcome the obstacles of their past and be the person that they were meant to become. We are happy and so very grateful that Donovan Global recognizes this message and chose to partner with us. Thank you, again, Mr. Donovan, and thank you, Donovan Global, for your extreme generosity. ” Paige ended with a smile and walked around to the opposite side of Jamal. Nathaniel grabbed the check from Jamal and held it towards Paige, who grabbed one end of it. They stood there, smiling and facing the press, for several minutes while reporters took photos and spoke into their cameras. Nathaniel waved Alex over, who began chatting to the press again, and Jamal hurriedly came and held the check for him.

”Jamal, take this and place it wherever Paige would like it. Rhonda, ” he waved, ”have the driver pull the car around and meet me there. ”

Nathaniel paused, looking at a bewildered Paige. Paige remembered that she needed to have Haley escort the press.

”Haley, ” she said loudly, grabbing the womans attention, ”can you please assist Alex and give the press a short tour? Ill be in my office. Jamal, you can put the check in my office. ”

Paige was ready to get the heck out of there. The cameras were making her extremely uncomfortable and she needed to work on a proposal for tonight, anyway. She watched as Nathaniel approached her and held out his hand. She grasped it, shaking his hand and shuddered as he leaned in and whispered, ”See you tonight. ”

He turned around and left. Paige stood there for a moment and finally came to her senses and went inside into her office. She ran her hands through her hair and sighed as she leaned back into her chair.

”Get ahold of yourself, ” she whispered.

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