I knew the plan well, I truly did, yet this was something to be explored… well, for me anyway. I suppose she didn’t feel the same. Maybe she was ready to explore her sexuality with someone else. Well, whatever it was, I wasn’t pleased at all. In fact, I was bothered.
“Is there a man? I noticed Derek’s been calling you quite a lot.” I wasn’t jealous or anything because that was just not me… but I was getting royally irritated for some reason.
She looked to the side, avoiding my gaze. “Derek wants me back.”
Of course he did, I knew the jerk was going to. Men tended to go ballistic when they couldn’t get something they wanted so badly. He had probably manipulated the entire breakup to make Stella realize that she’d have to give it up to keep him happy. If that were the case, he was a soddy bastard. The big question was, what was Stella going to do about Derek?
“And?” I frowned, wanting for her to elaborate. “Are you going to?”
“Derek… well, I’m not so sure. I liked him a lot.”
Ahhh, there it was, she still liked the man. Still. After what had happened between us… she still liked Derek. “That’s understandable.” I tried to sound convincing; however I wasn’t even fooling myself.
Grey eyes sought mine. “This has been amazing, Cal. I can’t thank you enough, but I might see Derek again…”
Derek. AGAIN. The sound of her saying another man’s name pushed me to go in deeper, harder, as though I needed to make a point about who was in charge of the situation. However, what troubled me was that I didn’t like the feelings her statement had evoked in me. It truly was disconcerting. So I reacted like any other man would, insecure and a tad irrational.
I had to make her scream my name as my dick fucked her to the deep end. Her pussy was the greatest I’d ever graced. As disappointed as I was to leave it, I knew I had to respect Stella’s decision.
One offer. That was all.
I never gave out a second invitation, even though Stella was the first woman to decline it without thought. Her immediate rejection was new to me, true, but I wasn’t going to risk being declined twice.
My ego couldn’t take it; not from her.
It stung. It shouldn’t have, though for fuck’s sake, it fucking did.
Sleep completely left me because my mind was bombarded with questions.
Tomorrow was a new day, one where I had to put this past week aside; leave it where I couldn’t remember it often or, better yet, forget it completely.
Yeah, I had to forget about her come tomorrow.
When dawn broke in, I was wide-awake and contemplating if I should enjoy a last taste of the woman who was lying right next to me, naked. We were leaving right after breakfast and I there wasn’t much time to consider it.
Finally, I decided to hold off.
Sex was something I could get anywhere, but I shouldn’t take advantage of her when she was thinking of going back to her ex-boyfriend.
Rolling to my side, I reached out to gently trace the curve of her breast, her bottom lip and her arm. Stella looked so peaceful and simply breathtaking. Her gentle beauty evoked something in me.
Stella, my ephemeral wife.
We consummated the marriage after three years. In the eyes of the law, she was mine.
I had to mentally put the brakes on where this train of thought was heading. Going there wasn’t a feasible idea.
I had to stay in this secured circle because once I ventured out of it, she could potentially get hurt.
No, Stella deserved a good man, a great man.
I surely wasn’t one.
The first few days of waking up alone in my bed was weird, but after the fourth day—thank goodness—I was almost back to normal. A week wrapped in his arms and I was reduced to being a sentimental idiot.
Yeah, the first week was difficult. Since we both agreed that we were going to go back to how things had been between us. I somehow still expected something, though. Maybe a text or a phone call, possibly even flowers selected by Eleanor; something. I hadn’t expected this nothingness. When I insisted on going back to our normal life, I wasn’t completely expecting the usual normal. Okay, did that even make sense? Yeah, I was dwelling on Callum for reasons I couldn’t even understand.
Or maybe it was because I declined his arrangement proposal… when I had desperately wanted to say yes. The major thing was, I was reluctant and scared to say yes. If it were any other man, it wouldn’t have been difficult, but this was Callum; the man who I’d had a big crush on since I was fifteen. Not to mention the blatant fact that I always ended up getting all hot and bothered when he was around. It was great and all, yet I didn’t want to risk falling for him. My first boyfriend was a playboy, too—much like Callum—and I had ended up getting my heart broken when I caught him cheating.
Besides, Callum had done so much for me already. I couldn’t risk ruining our friendship, or what was left of it anyway.
It had been almost two weeks since he dropped me off in my flat… and still he lingered in my thoughts. Yeah, I’d been counting down the days, wondering when this feeling would subside. I was giving myself another week, two maybe, a month total to get back to normal. If there was no improvement by the end of the month, I was going to be in big trouble.
“Hiya, sweet cheeks!” Mark knocked before letting himself into my office, carrying coffee with him. “Thought a good caffeine boost would do you a world of good, sour puss.” He slid the lidded cup towards me, grinning like mad.
“Don’t get a habit of calling me that, Mark. I loathe it,” I muttered, sipping from my hot beverage.
I rolled my eyes as I got up from my seat and strolled towards the comfortable sofa I sometimes took naps on. “Aren’t you supposed to be working with Alec or something? What are you doing here at two in the afternoon?”
Mark plopped next to me, tickling my footpads. “Well, I came to remind you about the dinner reservations we have tonight and the cocktail party afterwards for Alec’s birthday bash?”
“Stop it.” I tried to kick him, but he was too quick for my own good.
“Tickle fight!” he declared.
I was making a lot of “squees” and a lot of giggling because he was attacking me relentlessly.
Our little foot and fingers war halted when we heard the sound of a throat being cleared, as if to try to get our attention. Mark looked up as I twisted my neck to the side to see who it was.
It was Lucia, looking furious… next to a stoic-looking Callum.
“Are we interrupting?” Lucia raised her brow, green eyes murderous.
Mark casually shook his head. “We’re just relaxing a bit. Anything we can help you with?” He darted Callum a steady gaze. “Kensington, right?”
Duh. He knew who Callum was, so why pretend like he didn’t? Mark was such a wanker.
Callum, however, was detached and completely ignored him. “Stella, may we have a moment?”
Not looking directly at him, I blushed. “Yeah, sure,” I grumbled, shifting my skirt that had ridden upwards.
“You can let go of her foot now,” Callum demanded, voice chilly and with an underlying threat evident in how he said the words.
Mark, the total teaser geezer that he was, seemed unfazed as he eyed me with amusement. He even had the gall to kiss my big toe before he whispered into my ear, “Looks like big bad wolf is the jealous type. I love you, but please be cautious with him? He’s not like Derek. He’ll annihilate you like the rest of them.” Mark then kissed my cheek and then stood up. “See you tonight. By the way, don’t forget to look smashing hot.” He departed with those words, not even making an effort to greet Lucia.
The woman was sending me murderous glares as she looked at the open door and then back at me. She made a scary growl before she walked out of my office, slamming the door with her.
Fuck, she was mad.
Mark and I always fooled around like kids, what was the big deal now? Was I missing something here?
“Was that Derek?” Callum broke through my thoughts.
Still not glancing his way, I shook my head and tried to compose myself as I slowly stood up and placed my foot into my shoe, one after the other, with care. “No, that was Mark, the other man in my life.” I always referred to my best friend as such, but when I finally met his gaze, I began wondering if my words were taken in the wrong context.
Seeing him now, it seemed like I had reverted back to the woman I was when we had been together. I wanted to fight the pulling power he had over me, but the images of him touching me explicitly in the garden—his touch, his seductive voice that lulled me into a deep sexual coma and the power this man exuded—placed me back in a capsule, one where I could only see him. I couldn’t hear anyone except him.
I bit into my bottom lip as I recalled the first time I felt him nudge inside me. My body had reacted in a manner that was of a nympho, but God help me, the images were driving me insane and I couldn’t help other than to clench to prolong the heated memories in my mind. It was arousing. Intoxicating. Titillating.