“It didn’t,” she said instantly. “I wish we could have talked about it, that you hadn’t run off. I wanted to explain that I didn’t want you to stop, just that everything was confusing at that moment. I felt this wave of emotion over what we did, and it scared me a little, Elijah.”
“I shouldn’t have left like that, and I shouldn’t have avoided your calls.”
She looked at her hands in her lap, and for a moment didn’t respond. When she finally lifted her head, he saw the truth and vulnerability in her face. “I want you, Elijah, want you more than I should because of the history we have.”
“That was a long time ago.”
She nodded after he spoke. “But you were married to Meghan, my once stepmother.”
“I want you, Freya.” He leaned his forearms on the desk, stared at her, and hoped she could see the truth in his expression. He saw her throat work as she swallowed, saw her eyes widen a fraction, and he knew she could see all right. He pushed away from the desk, stood, and walked toward her. She tilted her head back to look up at him, her hands playing with the strap of her purse, her nerves clearly written on her face. He dropped to his haunches, took her hands in his, and gazed into her eyes.
“I know this all seems so fast, and it is, believe me. I didn’t expect to fall for a woman, even one I’ve known for years, just a week after she gets back into town.”
She licked her lips, her chest rising and falling a little harder and faster than normal.
“But I’m willing to go slow, take my time with you, with this, as long as you’re willing, Freya.”
She didn’t respond, didn’t even blink, but after several long, agonizing seconds, she finally inhaled and exhaled slowly.
“I’ll do whatever you want, Freya, as long as you think you can give this, us, a go,” he said, not wanting to beg, to put her on the spot with this. He didn’t want her to feel like he was pressuring her, rushing her.
“I don’t know how things will go, but I know I’d like to spend more time with you and see where this takes us.”
He couldn’t help himself. Elijah leaned forward, cupped her face in his hands, and for one second didn’t do or say anything, just gave her a chance to stop him, if that was what she really wanted. She didn’t, and so he leaned in and kissed her. At first he just pressed his lips to hers, but when she moaned softly and leaned into his mouth more, he stroked his tongue along her bottom lip. She opened for him, sucked his tongue in her mouth, and he was tempted to push all of his shit off of the desk and lay her on it to feast on her body.
“I want you, Elijah, but can we take this slow?”
He smiled against her mouth, needing the slowness as well. “Of course we can. This isn’t something I want to rush, Freya.”
“Good, because I don’t want to either.”
He just hoped he didn’t fuck this up, because he knew Freya was something really damn special.
It was odd to know several weeks had passed already, but Freya felt like she was still getting to know Elijah, even if technically she did know him. They’d spent time together at her home, and she showed him around, pointing out the things she’d changed, and the things she’d kept as memories of her mother and father. And then he’d taken her into the city and they’d spent time at his place.
She was in wonder and awe at the scenes she’d see from the balcony, of the sounds that rushed up to greet her from the city below. He had money, a lot of money, but he didn’t flaunt it just for the sake of showing people he was wealthy. He was discreet, respectful, and even spending time with him he never showed off the things he had. He was just a normal man, and she was just a normal woman, and when they were together this electricity zinged between them. It was undeniable, that was for sure.
They’d already finished eating dinner, and were currently sitting on her couch. The TV was showing some very bad zombie movie, but she wasn’t interested in watching the show. He was currently looking over her movie collection, probably hating the current show that was on, or maybe he, too, needed to find himself occupied with something.
He’d asked if she wanted to go to dinner, someplace fancy, out of town even, but she’d ended up making him something at her place. Freya was a very simple girl, one that didn’t need anything fancy, but of course she liked his apartment and the nice things he had. But that didn’t mean much when it came to someone that she cared about. And she cared about Elijah, very much in fact. As the days passed she was having stronger feelings for Elijah.
When he turned around he didn’t have a movie in his hand, and instead came over to her and sat beside her. They stared at each other for several seconds, and then she smiled.
He didn’t smile in return, just reached out and brushed a lock of her hair away from her cheek. “Nothing. I just like looking at you. You’re beautiful.”
She felt her cheeks heat at his compliment. “Sometimes I feel like this isn’t real.” She hadn’t realized she said those words out loud, but when she did her face got scorching hot.
She shrugged, but then cleared her throat, not about to hide how she felt. She wanted to be open and honest with him. “Because you seem too good to be true.” She chuckled after she spoke, and he did the same.
“I’m not perfect, far from it.” He sobered. “But you know why this feels so good, so right?”
She didn’t need him to tell her why. She knew.
“Because you and I are meant to be here, right now, with each other. We’re meant to be together.”
Those were strong words, especially after only a few weeks’ time, but she couldn’t deny that they were the truth.
“Tell me you feel that, too.”
She nodded, not hesitating. “I feel it, too. I felt it as soon as I saw you at the store, Elijah, and it’s only grown since then.”
He smiled and was silent for a couple of seconds. She could see him thinking because of his expression. “Come with me to a business fundraiser next weekend, and then after that come with me to my cabin for the weekend.”
She was stunned to be asked to go to a business event, let alone spend the weekend with him at a cabin.
“If you have the time off, that is.”
She had next weekend off, but spending the entire weekend with him would be hard, not because she’d be with him, but because she knew she wouldn’t be able to control herself around him. She already wanted to have sex, to just get naked, and let him touch every part of her. Even now just thinking about it made her delirious with lust, but she schooled herself and focused on what he was asking her.
But even if she’d known Elijah for a long time, it seemed like she was rushing it after only a few weeks. But still, they were adults, and wasn’t sex the next logical step to take when she cared about someone? It certainly seemed like it made sense.
Placing a hand on his chest, she leaned in and kissed him. “I think I’d love to go with you to the gala and the cabin,” she whispered against his lips.
He cupped the back of her head, held her mouth to his, and for a second they breathed the same air.
Sex was definitely on her mind, and of course she was old enough and they’d known each other long enough that it shouldn’t feel like it was rushing it, but still, she’d wait, see how everything went, and then go from there. To Freya, Elijah might be the one, might be the man that she spent the rest of her life with. She certainly could see that, hoped for it even, but only time would tell how everything went.
She didn’t care about what others thought, because this was about them, and not anyone else. It had taken her all these years to realize that she wasn’t alone, even if she felt like that. It took her four long years of being on her own to realize that she deserved to be happy, that she deserved to stop putting herself down. And she was going to start letting herself live with Elijah.
“You really don’t have to do this, Elijah,” Freya said for what felt like the hundredth time. She was currently at some expensive dress shop in the city, Elijah insisting she let him buy her a gown for the fundraiser that was tonight. Of course she had dresses, could even buy her own, but there was a part of her, a very feminine part, that was excited Elijah wanted to buy her things. She never thought she’d want a man to take care of her, but she didn’t care and wasn’t ashamed to admit that right now she loved it.
“Freya, sweetheart, for the tenth time,” he chuckled softly, “I want to do this for you. I want to be able to spoil you.”
That was definitely a sigh moment right there, and she smiled.
Freya looked at herself in the mirror of the department store, and that smile changed to a cringe. She couldn’t deny that it was weird being in this expensive part of the city, allowing Elijah to buy her a dress that cost as much as some people’s mortgage. She lifted the price tag on the side of the dress, and her throat clenched. Yeah, definitely mortgage sized prices.
The dress she had on was the third one she’d tried on, and the first she actually liked on her. She wasn’t overly large, but had gained weight and curves over the last four years. Looking at herself in these harsh florescent lights made her feel unattractive. Still, this dress was by far the best. It was an emerald color, had crystal and lace detailing under the bust and around the hem of the dress, and she had to admit her breasts looked incredible in it.