“Her?” Elijah had an idea of who she meant, even if no name had been said. Freya was either a mind reader, or this was just as awkward for her as it was for him because of their past, and the one person that had connected them for those years.
Freya stopped at the couch, ran her fingers over the back of it, and looked over her shoulder. He could tell she was nervous, but she was hiding it well. What she couldn’t hide was the fact her fingers lightly shook.
“Meghan?” Her voice kind of cracked at the end, but she turned away quickly, obviously realizing she’d just voiced her uncomfortable feeling.
Elijah hated this, hated the tension, and so he walked toward her, stopped behind her, and as much as he was trying to look at the view and not her reflection, he couldn’t help it. She stared back at him, the glass creating this false confrontation between them. He was a few feet from her, not touching her, but he could feel her body heat, could smell the sweet scent of her.
“She moved away with her new husband. I haven’t talked to her in years, but the last time we spoke, which happened to be by chance since we ran into each other, she made sure to tell me about how wonderful her life was.” He lowered his gaze to Freya’s cleavage, what he could see in the reflection that was.
“Is this as strange for you as it is for me?” she asked in a very soft voice.
He didn’t respond, just nodded. He took hold of her shoulders, turned her around, and as much as he wanted to kiss her these feelings were coming out of left field.
“Listen, it’s just you and I here, just friends,” he said, wanting her to be comfortable. Her eyes widened for a second, and then she lowered her head. The dark fall of her hair covered her face so much that he couldn’t get a good look at her.
“Friends, you’re absolutely right.” She lifted her head and looked at him again. “I think it’s just weird seeing as we haven’t seen each other in so long.”
His heart was beating fast, and the urge to say fuck that invisible line he shouldn’t cross, waged war inside of him. But, he took a step back, gestured to the table, and put on the fakest fucking smile he could muster.
“How about we eat before it gets cold?”
She seemed to relax slightly, nodded, and they made their way to the table.
For the next hour they ate and talked, and he asked her every conceivable question he could think of. He wanted to know everything about her, and the longer they spoke, the more he listened to her the more he realized she’d grown so much. He wasn’t speaking in the physical sense, although she had done that as well. Elijah was speaking about the fact she was so damn smart, so witty and intuitive.
He could listen to her for hours, and that’s what he did instead of eating, finding the taste of his food bland compared to the melody of her voice.
Fuck, he sounded like a schoolboy now, for sure, but he couldn’t help it. Compared to the women he’d associated with before and after Meghan, Freya was a breath of fresh air. She wasn’t conceited, didn’t think about herself before others, and in fact had made it her career aspiration to help the less fortunate and the ones that were sick. Just looking at her, seeing her face light up as she told him about her time in college, about the fact she’d been afraid to come back home, to have everything resurface again, made this very protective part of him rise up.
“Dinner was wonderful. Thank you for inviting me.” She smiled, and he was glad to see there were no more visible nerves showing from her. She seemed relaxed in his company, and that made him happy.
But still, he had this urge to hold her, to kiss her … to make her his. She was so different from what he was used to, and damn was that a good thing, a refreshing thing. Being with her made him feel like he wasn’t alone, that his life didn’t have to be lonely and solitary. All of these feelings came out of the blue, but the fact remained they were real. Despite always being surrounded by people because of his profession, spending these last few hours with Freya made him feel … alive.
He didn’t know why he felt like this, but he knew he wasn’t going to walk away from what he felt for her. He couldn’t.
This might be what a stalker did, or at the very least a very creepy man. Elijah stared at Freya’s house, a house he’d lived in for several years, but now it seemed foreign, almost as if he’d dreamed the entire thing. But he hadn’t moved, and instead was just sitting in his car, not having the nerve to go up and ring the doorbell because he worried about what she might say at his unexpected arrival.
It had only been a few days since Freya had come to his house and they’d had dinner. He’d said he’d call, that they’d meet up again, but nothing had been set in stone, and he was really just trying to go off of her body language on how to proceed next. But he hadn’t tried calling in these last few days, not sure what he’d say without coming off as persistent. He wanted to see her again, wanted to have dinner, see a movie, hell, do something normal that people did on dates.
Yeah, he wanted to take her out on a fucking date, but bringing this up to her, telling her that, might be the very worst thing he did. It could ruin their friendship, make her feel weird being with him, or even just conversing with him. She’d especially feel that way if she had no feelings for him and he’d totally read her wrong.
Elijah hadn’t even been on a date in years, couldn’t remember the last time he even was interested in a woman long enough to want to spend more than one night with her. He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel, his nerves running wild inside of him. But just as he was about to start his car and leave, maybe call her later and talk to her, the front door opened and she stepped outside. She had a large brimmed hat on, sunglasses in her hand, and was wearing these little shorts that had his cock instantly hardening. God, even now, with just the sight of her, all he could think about was how much he wanted her. But even if he had her in his bed Elijah knew it wouldn’t just be for that one night.
He sat there for a few seconds, watched as she made her way over to the side of the house where the garage was, continued to watch as she grabbed a bag of potting soil, and proceed to start planting flowers in the pots by the side door. It was such a mundane act, but it still brought a smile to his face, knowing that she was at a comfortable place in her life, and in this house.
He knew she’d hated living here, especially after her father passed away. Legally she’d had to stay with Meghan as she was her legal guardian, and Freya had no other family, but even still being around a person that she hated, in a place that had to have memories, was an awful thing.
Elijah let go of the steering wheel and climbed out of the car. He walked over to where she was, clenching his hands at his sides when she reached out and grabbed a gardening tool, the shorts she wore molding to her ass. God, she had a gorgeous ass.
Focus, man. Fucking focus.
He stopped right behind her, and could hear the music coming from the ear buds she had in her ears. She didn’t know he was standing right behind her, and that made him feel even more like a fucking creep. He reached out and touched her shoulder, and she jumped and made a squeaking sound of surprise. She spun around, pulled off her glasses as if on instinct from her fear, and pulled her ear buds out.
“Elijah?” she asked and squinted. The sun was behind him, and without her glasses on he could see a swatch of light cross over her face.
“Hey. Sorry for just showing up like this.”
She stood, brushed off her hands on her shorts, and smiled. “No, don’t be sorry. I’m surprised to see you, but it’s nice you’re here.”
He shoved his hands in his jean pockets, didn’t know what the fuck he was doing here or what he was supposed to say.
You know why you’re here. You know you want her, want her to desire you the same way. Be a man and grow a set. She’s not a kid. She’s a grown woman, and you’re not with Meghan anymore. This isn’t wrong.
“I should have called, but I was in the neighborhood.”
She smiled, and the way it looked on her told him she knew he wasn’t telling the truth.
“You’re at least a half hour from here, and that’s if traffic isn’t bad,” she said and chuckled.
Yeah, she’d just called him out on his lie, and all he could do was laugh.
“I wasn’t in the neighborhood, obviously.”
“I figured,” she said as she laughed. “You want to come inside for something to drink?”
Elijah nodded. He followed her toward the front door, and once inside he took a look around. She’d remodeled, or at least superficially she did. The house was still structurally the same, but he was pleased to see she’d made it her own.
He walked into the living room when she went into the kitchen. The couches were new, gray with white and yellow bulky flowers all over them. There was a light yellow rug under the glass coffee table, a few floor lamps, and the pictures on the wall were black and whites of her mother and father, and of what he assumed were her friends from college. But one picture piqued his interest, even had his heart racing a little.
He walked up to it, picked it up off the bookshelf, and the longer he stared at it the more his body tightened. It was a picture of him and Freya the day she went off to college. He remembered that day well, remembered everything about it, in fact. She was smiling at the camera, and he had his arm wrapped around her. Meghan had been the one taking the picture, and she’d bitched the entire time. Fuck, she was such a bitch to both of them, but to Freya especially, and he hated her for that.