At the sound of the voice, Graham turned at the same moment Jane did. A tall, dark-haired man approached them. The closer he got, the more Graham felt tension radiating from Jane. Despite his thoughts of not touching her for their own good out on the public street, he pulled his hands out of his pocket, slipping one around her fingers.
Graham’s hand tightened on Jane’s. His gaze traveled up and down Phillip’s form. He was shorter than Graham, but not by much. He had thick black hair, dark eyes, and his features appeared to be Latin in influence.
“I have not seen you in months. You look ravishing. Absolutely beautiful.”
Phillip’s gaze was decidedly approving as it raked Jane from head to toe. Was the man regretting his decision to let her go? His dark eyes slid sideways to give Graham the once-over as well. Was he…? No. He wasn’t looking at Graham the same way he’d looked at Jane, but it very similar in appreciation. Was Phillip gay? Bi?
Suddenly, Phillip’s ending things with Jane took on a whole new look, even though the man could have done it in a better way.
“Thank you. You look good too.” Her voice was stilted, measured and Graham changed his hold on her hand by lacing his fingers through hers. He squeezed tightly. “Phillip, this is Graham. Graham, Phillip.” A couple of murmured hellos were exchanged along with a decidedly awkward handshake in which Phillip didn’t seem to want to let go.
Phillip looked again at Jane, and his eyes lit up with excitement. “I am so glad I ran into you. I am opening a small coffee shop in Breckenridge and want to carry your truffles. They are truly the best ones in Colorado, and they’re unique. People will really love them. I have some new coffees that I’m wanting to pair with them. We’ll have a hit on our hands. I know how you feel about a storefront, but you wouldn’t have to be there. I will have a staff runto man the store and –”
“That sounds great, Phillip. I’ll talk to Edward about it and have him call you.”
The man deflated slightly and for some idiotic reason Graham felt sorry for him. But only a little. “Edward?”
The stiffness had left Jane’s body, and she relaxed slightly into Graham, which he welcomed. His hand let go of hers, and he wrapped his arm around her back. She was handling herself beautifully in the face of the man that had caused her such doubt in herself. He couldn’t have been more proud of her. “Yes. He handles the new clients and accounts, so it would only make sense for you to talk with him. It does sound like a great opportunity though.”
“It would be. The hint of heat in your truffles along with a rich dark coffee with a hint of chocolate and cinnamon would be fabulous together.”
“I can see that. I’ll have Edward call you tomorrow about it. Same number?”
“Okay, good. It was nice to see you, Phillip. Goodnight.”
“Yeah, you too.”
Phillip’s eyes were trained on their backs as Graham led Jane back in the direction they’d been going before meeting up with him. “Are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m good. Better than I thought. I never knew how I’d handle seeing him again, talking to him, but… Graham? I think he’s gay or something.”
Graham laughed. “I was thinking the same thing.”
“I couldn’t believe the way he looked you up and down like that. I had never noticed that about him.”
“Kind of sheds new light on your relationship.”
They walked in silence another block, and Graham slipped his hands back into his pockets. He wanted to fuck her. He’d wanted to fuck her before seeing Phillip, but now, he wanted to fuck her even more. He needed to stake that claim, needed to banish all thought of the other man from her mind, even if the thoughts weren’t romantic.
“Do you ever date women your own age?”
He shrugged. “I found women my age immature. Some of them thought about marriage all the time, and some thought about partying all night. I wasn’t interested in either. I got to the point where I loved being me, being able to have a conversation over dinner that didn’t revolve around three-hundred-dollar jeans, the latest club, or if I thought I’d be happy living in suburbia working at a normal nine-to-five job.”
“Not all are like that.”
“No, they’re not. I found I was more comfortable with older women. I’ve always been a little more mature than most people my own age. I don’t know why, but I’m okay with it. I like older women, and I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m not ashamed of it. They’re open-minded, confident and sure of themselves. I love that. It’s sexy as hell.”
They rounded the corner, a few feet from the building she lived in. She’d been so quiet the last few minutes that he wondered what was going on in that mind of hers. Was she analyzing and rationalizing her way through things? Or was part of her still trying to deny the heat between them? Maybe it was because she was scared that one of them wouldn’t measure up to what the other wanted or needed. It could be that she was thinking about the encounter with Phillip.
He didn’t know what was going through her pretty head but being able to read her just by the look on her face would come in very handy, likely more often than not.
Then, her soft voice drifted to him. “Maybe you just haven’t found the right one yet.”
“Oh but I have, Jane.” He waited for her rebuttal, for her to deny or lash out at him for making such a blanket statement, but what she actually said caught him unawares again. Maybe his intuition about her wasn’t as sharp as he’d thought.
“Are you coming upstairs when we get back?”
“No. I’m not.” His own answer couldn’t have surprised him more. It wasn’t what he’d meant to say at all.
He turned his head and looked down at the top of hers. “Disappointed?”
“Liar. If you’d just tell the truth, you’d feel better sooner.” Her laugh was soft and if he hadn’t been watching, he wouldn’t have seen her nod.
“Because it’s time for you to come to me. It’s time for you to take the next step, to make the choice. I’ve done all the work so far and while I don’t mind, it’s your turn to do some as well. You know I’m not going anywhere, or at least I think you know that so I’m going to wait for you to come to me.”
“What?” She’d stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and when he turned to see why, her hands were on her hips and she was glaring at him. “After all this, you’re now leaving it up to me? Does this have anything to do with seeing Phillip?
He walked back toward her and leaned against the lamppost. He wanted to sink his lips into hers. He wanted to open her shirt and play with her breasts. He wanted to lift her skirt and bury his face against her sex. He wanted to smear the lipstick that lingered on her beautiful mouth. “Not for me, but perhaps for you. He came at you out of nowhere, and you handled yourself beautifully. And he was right, you do look ravishing. He knows he was wrong about you, wrong to try and change you, and it seems he might have been wrong about himself too.”
“Talking business was never our problem until he wanted me to leave Edward.”
Have a beautiful Saturday.