Catch up here.
I text Chase as I wind down at work.
Do you need me to pick anything up for tonight?
I’ve got it under control. I’ll be there in an hour.
A grin breaks out from ear to ear. I call up to tell Trevor I am leaving for the day.
“Hang on a sec. I’ll walk you home. I need some air.”
“I’ll meet you downstairs.”
I step out of the elevator and Kate is walking away from the desk with her purse.
Trevor bursts through the stairwell door and Kate jumps, letting out a squeal.
“Sorry ‘bout that, Kate,” he says.
She lays a hand over her chest. “You’re going to break that bar on the door one day, Trevor.”
“Possibly,” he winks at her and we all head to the door.
I lock the door behind us and we part ways with Kate.
“So what’s up with you?” he asks curiously.
“What do you mean?”
“You’ve had this crazy grin on your face all day.”
“Oh, that.” I grin.
He grabs my shoulder. “You’re seeing someone!”
My cheeks flush. “His name is Chase Ashton.”
“Trust fund baby?”
“I need to meet this guy.”
“You did. He bought one of your paintings.”
Trevor is bad with names so it’s no surprise he can’t remember meeting Chase. “Hope.”
I can see the wheels turning in his head then his eyes widen when the wheels click into place. “That guy?” He squeezes my arm hard. “Holy hell, Lara! I’d do him.”
I giggle. “He’s too straight for you.”
He lets go of my arm. “Straight out of GQ hot. I remember his eyes.”
“Yes, his eyes,” I say dreamily.
“You’ve got it bad.”
I hook my arm through his and smile. “Yes, I do.”
He kisses my cheek when we arrive at my building. “See you tomorrow.”
“Good night, Trevor.”
I change into black yoga pants and a teal tank top then roll out my yoga mat to work out the kinks from my day through yoga.
A soft knocking comes from the door as I roll up the mat. I put the mat away in the coat closet and open the door.
Chase is smiling, looking impeccable in a tailored navy suit, white shirt, and a cream silk tie. He holds a reusable bag of groceries in one hand and a garment bag over his shoulder in the other.
“I approve,” he says nodding at my yoga clothes.
“You caught me just finishing.” I step to the side and let him in.
He stops and softly presses his lips against mine. “Mind if I use your room to change?”
“Go ahead. Let me take that,” I say grasping the handles of the bag of groceries.
I remove the groceries from the bag and lay them out on the counter while Chase changes in my room. The door opens a few minutes later and he exits the room in jeans and a grey v-neck t-shirt hugging his body.
Oh to be jeans and a t-shirt stretched tight against his soft skin.
“Can I help with anything?” I ask when he joins me in the kitchen.
“I’ve got it.”
“Okay. I’m going to change.” I turn to leave.
“No.” He tugs me back by my wrist.
“I like you in your yoga clothes.” He grins and skims his hands down my sides to my hips. “Leave them on. Please?” He sticks out his lower lip and knits his brows together.
The effect on me is catastrophic: my heart races, my temperature rises, my head spins.
“You don’t play fair,” I comment.
“Neither do you in that.”
I open my mouth to tell him it doesn’t make any sense, but realize I’d end up in a circular argument with him that would be fun yet completely frustrating. I turn away and leave the kitchen. “I’ll be in the living room if you need me.”
I sprawl out on the sofa and read The Count of Monte Cristo while all manner of clinking, thunking, whirring, and sizzling emits from the kitchen followed by mouth-watering aromas and the popping of a cork.
“Dinner is ready,” he announces.
I set my book on the coffee table and head back into the kitchen.
Chase artfully arranged dinner on each of our plates; broiled steak over a small portion of mashed potatoes with Hollandaise drizzled asparagus spears falling off the side.
“I think you missed your calling,” I say in wonderment.
He pulls out my chair for me. “I like my job. This just helps deal with the stress of it.”
“If this is how you deal with stress,” I sit down, “you’re going to spoil me.”
He sits in his chair. “I would love to spoil you.”
My heart thumps against my ribs. I take a sip of the white wine and it hits all the sweet spots on my tongue. “Would you be interested in having drinks with Robin on Friday?”
“If he is.” he asks cutting several bite size pieces of steak.
“Sure. Basil? We can have dinner then meet him in the bar.”
“I’ll let him know.” I slice an asparagus spear into six pieces and fork one into my mouth.
“I’ll make the dinner reservations.” He scoops a piece of steak with mashed potatoes into his mouth.
The asparagus is steamed perfectly with a little crunch to it. “This is better than the lasagna.”
“Thank you.” He smiles and his eyes brighten.
My heart melts. Those eyes coupled with his smile will be my undoing.
I tell him about my walk home with Trevor and he laughs.
We finish washing dishes and he is staring at me intensely as I dry my hands with the kitchen towel. “What?”
“I’m just waiting for you to put that towel down.”
I give him a quizzical look then toss the towel on the counter.
He swoops in, grabs my face in his hands, and brings it closer to his. Our mouths crash together in a fury. I slip my hands under the hem of his shirt and skim his defined abs with my fingers. His mouth breaks away briefly as he exhales a hot breath. I feel his stomach tremble.
He picks me up by the waist and sets me on the counter. His eyes flare as our gazes lock and he caresses my outer thighs. He leans in and kisses the dip in my neck. His hands slide under my tank top and explores my lower back, sides, and abdomen as he runs his tongue in a circle inside the dip.
“Oh, fuck,” I gasp. My whole body shudders and I want nothing more than to tear his clothes off to put out the fire he started.
He lets out a throaty laugh and moves his hands higher, toying with the edge of the shelf bra, but not lifting it. “Too bad I need to leave.”
“You really don’t play fair,” I say still catching my breath.
“I can’t always play fair at work.”
I give him a half smirk and wrap my legs around him. “Oh, so I’m work now? Am I a merger or an acquisition?” I hook a finger between his waistband and underwear and slide it across, letting my knuckle graze his skin.
He grins. “If I’m lucky, both.” His eyes dull then he removes my hand from his waist and brushes his lips against it. “Lara, I’m still not ready.”
I inhale to quell the hormone overload and massage my free hand over his chest. “When you’re ready, I’m ready,” I assure him and smile.
He enfolds me in his embrace and I feel a large breath expel from his chest.
Whatever his ex did, it weighs heavy on him. I can’t fathom what type of person would willingly hurt the beautiful man in my arms.
©Debi Smith, 2014