"I've missed you," I whisper into Jeremy's ear.
His warm, lean body positions itself over mine and I inhale his intoxicating scent. His erection rubs against my stomach and an excited giggle bubbles from my throat. I wiggle beneath him, my hands reaching up and urging his lips to mine.
"I can't Stella," he says and weakly fights against my hold.
His voice is so husky and deep. If he really wanted me to stop, he'd be more forceful. And he wouldn't be so….excited.
So I try again.
I swipe my tongue across his supple lips and his breath hitches in response. His grip on my hips tightens and I smile proudly. I'm driving him wild.
And loving every minute of it.
He dips his head down to mine and trails air-light kisses across my face and neck. And when he kisses my lips, it's as if a summer breeze is caressing my soul, seducing my senses quickly and completely. I have never experienced such a gentle kiss in all my life. Jeremy's tongue slides into my mouth, intertwining with mine and tasting as delicious as honey.
I want to ask him why he left me, why he didn't say good-bye…..
….but all my questions evaporate the longer my lips are captivated by his…
"Stella. Stella, please wake up."
Strong hands are around my shoulders, vigorously shaking me awake. I blink my way to consciousness and squint into the darkness. Jeremy's image falters in my mind and his soft touch evaporates into the very air that I compared his kisses to just minutes ago.
"Stella, are you awake? Are you ok?"
I'm becoming aware of my surroundings and recognize Evan's deep and masculine voice that is now just inches from my face.
"Evan - w- what are you doing?"
I move away from him, kicking my feet from underneath the covers. Evan immediately backs away, his expression masking the hurt in his eyes.
"I guess I uh…. Well I talked to Gavin. He said he hadn't seen you in a few days…We, well I, just wanted to make sure you were alright."
"I know. I'm sorry. I've just been busy with work."
Evan gives a slight nod and scoots another precautionary inch away from me.
"How's Connie?" I ask.
"Better. She got out of the hospital this morning. Can you believe she was in there for over a week?"
I shake my head and make a mental note to go see her tomorrow. I should have visited her these past few days. I know I should have. But I've been so preoccupied with researching this Richard character that time has seemed to slip away from me.
"Where's Jeremy?" Evan asks. "I stopped by his bedroom and all his stuff is gone. What's the deal?"
I reach across my night stand and grab for my glass of water. I sip on it slowly, gathering my thoughts before blurting out an answer that I know will surely bring me to tears. When I set the glass back down, I turn on the crystal lamp winding the up the side of my headboard.
Its light is dulled but it does the job in helping me see Evan. I draw my arms up around my legs and give him a cautious glance. He is cleanly shaven, his dark hair falling around his face in a haphazard way. His bold green eyes stare back at me and despite all that's happened, I still find him handsome….which of course irritates the hell out of me.
He starts to blush under my gaze and shifts his body further away from me. His snug jeans mold to his muscular legs and lean hips. He's just wearing a plain white t-shirt and I shake my head thinking about how such a simple outfit can look so damn good when it's on the right person.
"You haven't looked at me this intently since the first time we met," Evan comments and lets out a nervous laugh.
"Yea…It drives me crazy, to be honest."
I raise a brow but my steady gaze lingers. "I apologize."
Evan holds up his hands and smirks. "No, no it's fine. Really. Yes, it drives me crazy. But it's in a good way. I promise."
A beat of silence passes between us.
"I'm sorry. I didn't even give you a chance to answer my question. So is Jeremy moved out and everything? Or…"
I frown and scratch my forehead at his question.
"Uhm….no he's not still living here. He moved out over a week ago…I'm sorry - how did you get into my house?"
Evan gives me an impish grin and shrugs his shoulders.
"Back door was unlocked."
"So you broke into my house?"
Evan's grin vanishes, his eyes pleading with me to see reason. Since Jeremy has left me, only bad things seemed to have happened in my life. First Connie in the hospital, then Richard hunting me down….now Evan breaking into my house. I glance towards the clock and see that it's only midnight. I must have fallen asleep earlier than I'd planned.
Well, at least it's still early enough to have a drink.
Without waiting for Evan's response, I hop off my bed and start making my way down the stairs. My night wear is a bit sparse and I bite my lip thinking I should have put on more clothes. A black tank top and booty shorts tend to give off a less-than-conservative message to any ogling eyes.
Stop Stella. Evan's not here to do anything with you. He doesn't even want you - remember? He only pretended to want you because he was paid to.
My demon growls at the notion, beyond furious that I allowed myself to be duped by a perfect stranger.
Evan shuffles down the stairs behind me, and when we're both in the kitchen I can feel his curious eyes peeking risky glimpses at my curves. I pull a bottle of wine from my top cabinet and uncork it with ease. I pour the sweet red liquid into my favorite wine glass and pause, turning my attention to Evan.
"You want some?" I ask, tipping up the wine bottle to him.
"Ahh, yea. I guess I'll have some."
I can't help but wish the man behind me waiting for his glass of wine was Jeremy….and not Evan. I hand Evan his drink and move into the living room. I sit on the far left of the couch and Evan takes a seat near the middle. He's leaving just enough distance between us to not come off as too pushy or overbearing. Smart man.
"So what's been new, Evan?" I ask in a neutral voice and take another sip of my delicious wine.
"Not much. I'm actually looking for a new place. And a new job."
The reminder of his former 'employment' leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I take another sip of wine.
"Why are you moving out? The rent on your one-room-hut too much to handle?"
My question is dripping with sarcasm and even though he deserves every mean comment I can muster, I regret it instantly. Evan blushes at my hurtful remark and shakes his head.
"No actually I'm looking for a place to settle down. An actual house. I've got quite a bit of money saved up from my last job and I haven't spent hardly any of it. I could easily afford to put a down payment on a modest-sized home and cover the mortgage for the first year or two without having to work again…."
Evan drones on about this topic for what feels like hours…. where he's applying for work, what he thinks will turn over the best profit, the best houses on the market, which ones are in his price range… I completely tune him out and just focus on the gnawing thoughts that are tumbling through the back of my mind.
Of course they all revolve around Jeremy….
Where is he? What is he doing? Is he thinking about me? Do I ever cross his mind? Does he regret our last night together? Will I ever get to see him again? What will happen if I do?
I finish my glass of wine and pour a second.
And then a third.
It's not until my fourth glass that I realize Evan has completely switched topics and is now staring back at me, clearly waiting for some type of response from my end.
"I just asked if you'd given 'us' any thought from the last time we'd spoken?" Evan repeats himself slowly.
My fuzzy brain processes the question as if there's a million dollars on the line. I look at my wine bottle and see its insides have been sucked dry. Time for another bottle.
"Doyawantmorewine?" I slur to Evan as I push myself off the couch.
The room sways as I steady my feet to make it stop, but my feet fumble beneath me. Before I reach the kitchen, Evan scoops me up in his arms and carries me upstairs. He brings me to my room and sets me gently on the bed. My wine glass is still clamped in my right hand as I glare up at him.
"I wanted more wine," I say.
"I know you did Stells. But you have work tomorrow. So I think that's enough for tonight."
In a childish fit I throw my wine glass at the floor. I must have not thrown it very hard because its glossy sides just roll across the carpet, unfettered by my poor behavior. Evan's fingers clasp the bottom of my chin and he turns my face to his, demanding my attention.
His features are tensed but his eyes are soft. I've always compared his eyes to emeralds before, but now…now they look so much gentler and more subtle. Like a field of wild green grass on a warm summer's day.
"I miss you, Stella," Evan says. "And….and I know what I did was wrong. Terribly wrong. But Stella you have to believe me when I say I'm willing to spend as long as it takes, and do whatever it takes to get you back. I don't know why that guy had me follow you or learn all that I did about you. But I can't say I regret it."
"Because it led me to you."
Evan's voice is so soft and his immovable gaze makes the prickly ice around my heart melt into a puddle of forgiveness. I nod my head and give him a small smile.
"I forgive you, Evan."
Evan's eyes are wide and his body is rigid. I wish I could read minds. It would help so much in cases like these.
"So, you're willing to give me another chance?" Evan asks, his voice so small and hopeful.
I want to tell him yes. Not necessarily because I want to be with him, but I just don't want to be alone anymore. I've done it for centuries. That's long enough. Evan must detect my indecision because he starts moving his face towards mine, his gazed fixed on my lips.
I hold my breath and close my eyes in defeat.
Jeremy, I wanted it to be you.
Evan's lips move across mine, capturing my mouth in a soft but passionate kiss. He moves his body closer to mine, his hands moving down my back and holding on to the sides of my waist.
And then I feel it.
A tingling feeling creeps up my stomach and rises all the way up the back of my neck. This is a feeling that not so long ago I hated, but now it's becoming something I dream about…
It's the feeling of being watched….by none other than those beautiful, beloved angel eyes.