“It’s just dinner,” she said and closed her eyes. After a second she opened them again, stared at her reflection at the fact she was happy with what she saw, happy with the woman she’d become. She wasn’t some young, foolish girl that was lost, not knowing where she should go with her life.
She’d just wanted to leave, to forget about everything. Even up until she’d come back here after she graduated she’d not known if this was where she wanted to settle. But the she’d stepped inside her home, the house her father left her because he wanted her to be taken care of, and she felt like everything would be okay. She knew everything would be okay.
Turning from the mirror she grabbed her purse and keys, smoothed her hands over her pants, and walked toward the front door. Once in her car and heading into the city, her mind was a jumbled mess of thoughts about how she needed to calm down, how she needed to put all thoughts about Elijah that weren’t friendly in manner out of her head.
Freya couldn’t even understand why her attraction to Elijah had been so sudden, so consuming. She hadn’t felt this way four years ago. Of course she’d felt the strength that came from him, the intelligence, attractiveness, and power that he’d emitted. She’d always felt safe around him, and that had been so comforting.
But he’d been married to Meghan, even if he hadn’t been happy, and that had been the biggest block on her emotions, and why she’d never seen him as anything more. At least that’s what she assumed.
But things were different now. He wasn’t married, she was single, and years had passed.
“It’s just dinner,” she said again, under her breath. She was sweating between her breasts; her hands would be shaking if she wasn’t griping the steering wheel so tightly, and her heart was racing.
Twenty minutes later and she was entering the city’s limits. The buildings were high, the sidewalks crowded, and the traffic murderous. Another ten minutes just trying to get through the traffic had her hair standing on end. By the time she’d pulled up to the gate that would allow her access to the underground garage of Elijah’s apartment building, she felt dizzy. After entering the code he’d given her, the gates opened, and she descended into the basement of the garage.
Freya pulled into a spot and parked, cut the engine, and then breathed out and rested her head on the steering wheel. This nervousness didn’t have anything to do with the horrible traffic, and had everything to do with her growing emotions for a man she shouldn’t want.
Maybe you should have just taken him up on his offer to pick you up?
No, because at least with her driving herself she had some kind of control. Being confined in the same car with him surely wouldn’t have been the smartest move, not when she felt lightheaded just thinking about him.
If she was going to do this then she needed to be an adult, needed to understand that her emotions didn’t dictate how she acted around someone. Freya needed to grow up. She wasn’t a teenager looking up to a man that was much older than she was, that had his life on track while she was living one that was out of control.
She could do this, could have dinner with Elijah, and tell herself that they could have a platonic relationship, could rekindle the friendship they’d had all those years ago. Hell, that was probably all Elijah wanted with her anyway, and that was good, smart. That’s what they both needed.
That was what she told herself anyway, even if it didn’t feel right.
Elijah stared at the screen that showed him the garage, showed him Freya sitting in her car seeming to talk to herself. Even though he wasn’t next to her he could tell she was nervous.
He rubbed his palms down his slacks, his body controlled, coiled. He knew how to hide how he felt, how to be the shark he was when doing meetings, mergers, and being able to have the stone-cold and ruthless reputation he had in his business. He may seem like he was not affected right now, on the outside at least, but inside he was strung tight, anxious, nervous, and anticipated seeing Freya.
He’d seen her at the liquor store and she’d looked like she’d wanted to run. He could understand that need, because they hadn’t seen each other in so long. He watched her finally get out of the car, walk over to the elevators that would take her to his private penthouse, and knew he had to keep his collected attitude in place.
He turned and glanced at the table he’d had set, the meal in the center, between the plates, and the fact he felt like a fucking teenager going on his first date. This wasn’t even a date, wasn’t anything like that, and never could be. It wasn’t even that she was so much younger than he was. It was because of the history they had, and the fact he’d been married to Meghan, Freya’s former stepmother. Having anything that wasn’t platonic with Freya felt incredibly inappropriate.
He’d had a professional catering company come in and make the meal and create the place settings. The truth was Elijah couldn’t cook a meal that was edible if it would have saved his life.
It was about ten minutes later before Freya was knocking on his front door, and he knew it didn’t take that long to come up from the garage. He could see her standing on the other side of his door, or even in the elevator for several minutes, contemplating why she was here, what she was doing, and how things were playing out. Hell, Elijah had thought those things since the moment he saw her again after the last four years, and especially over the last week.
She didn’t have to tell him she felt something, that spark of awareness that didn’t have anything to do with the fact they knew each other. He’d felt it when he first saw her last week, saw it on her face, the way she looked so nervous, so unaware of the electricity that passed between them.
He couldn’t explain it, couldn’t rationalize it. It just was. But just because Elijah found Freya gorgeous, so fucking gorgeous in fact, that didn’t mean he’d planned this dinner to try to get her in bed. He wouldn’t do that to her, wouldn’t try to make her another notch in his bedpost.
She was special, really damn special, to him.
He’d gone too many years living a life that was successful, although it felt meaningless. He’d told himself never again would he allow himself to get wrapped up in a pretty face, to fall for a woman that wouldn’t see him as anything but a paycheck. Meghan had been like that, and that had been so many years ago, well before he’d made it as big as he had.
He just wished he hadn’t been so blind to the person Meghan had really been. He’d been stupid, blinded by superficial things, and he’d missed out on years of his life living with a woman that hadn’t wanted more than what was in his bank account.
No, Freya was different. He’d seen her back in the day as a young woman who didn’t know what she wanted in life, didn’t know where she was going. She was trapped in a life she didn’t want because that’s all there was for her, her only option. But then she’d moved out, moved on, and four years later she’d made something of herself … found herself. Elijah could see that in her face, in the way she held herself.
He took a deep breath in, and exhaled slowly.
Making his way toward the front door he opened it. Freya was wearing this loose fitting white blouse. It had these tiny blue buttons going halfway down the front, and it was hard not to notice the way her breasts pressed again the material. She’d thickened out in these last four years, but it was in a good way. She wasn’t too thin, not like the women he’d surrounded himself with since his divorce.
She was perfect all the way around.
“Hi,” she said softly.
“Hi. Come in.” He held the door open and moved to the side, letting her enter. She was looking around at his place as she passed the threshold, and all Elijah could do was stand there. She smelled incredible, and the scent that came from her, all sweet and lemony, had his cock stirring. But he had strong willpower, knew how to control himself, and he stopped his arousal as best he could. He wouldn’t ruin the relationship with his sexual thoughts, not when they hadn’t seen each other in so long and that would definitely be going in the wrong direction.
But he’d be lying if he didn’t admit he’d thought about her in the dirtiest of ways, especially during this last week. And that made him feel like a fucking bastard.
She walked in, and he shut the door. For several minutes he let her look around, didn’t say anything, but couldn’t keep his eyes off of her. She was small compared to him, probably at least a foot shorter than his height. The pants she wore did nothing to hide the fact she had a full ass, and he could see her very womanly hourglass figure. God, he felt like a pervert for thinking these things about her, for seeing her as some kind of sexual object. But she wasn’t just a sexual object to him. She was Freya, a grown woman that he’d felt protective of when he’d been married to that bitch Meghan.
God, just thinking about Meghan, even all these years later, had his blood boiling.
“Do you talk to her still?” Freya asked, her back still to him, but she was further in the house now. She took the three steps it required to get to the living room, one that had floor to ceiling windows and overlooked the city. Currently it was dark, and the lights from the buildings made a million twinkling glows in front of them.