by Victoria Palmer
“I can't believe you enticed me here to be Greg's partner!” I hissed at Helen, my best friend and host. We stood in the kitchen serving salad into little white dishes.
“Honestly, Ruth, I thought you two were getting on better.” She gave me that wide-eyed, innocent look of hers.
“No! Whatever gave you that idea?”
“He asked if I would invite you.”
That shut me up.
“Perhaps he's itching for a fight?” was the only explanation I could think of. Helen growled in frustration then marched off to the dining room with a tray laden with salad.
Greg was talking to Lorraine, Helen's accountant. She definitely didn't fit my idea of what an accountant should look like, especially not in that dress. She had her hand on Greg's arm, which I thought was rude considering I was Greg's date for the evening and her fiancé was sat right next to her. I plopped ostentatiously down in my chair, feeling Greg's eyes flick over me. Nice to know I wasn't invisible. I found myself contemplating how nice his eyes were and then my brain found it necessary to acknowledge that he also had fabulous dark hair and smooth olive skin. Well, damned it, I had to admit that he had the most fantastic physique of any man I'd ever known! I was aghast to find a small curl of jealousy set in the pit of my stomach.
“You two seem nice and cosy. Planning on making it a threesome tonight?” I snapped, when Lorraine finally left him alone.
“Why are you offering?”
My skin, already flushed from my private assessment of his charms, grew rather red.
“No, I'm not.” I growled. He always twisted things to make me seem foolish, no wonder I despised him. “Its just that knowing what a slut you are, I rather thought you would fit the bill.” My voice was rather loud and the people closest to us grew quite. I cleared my throat, feeling embarrassed and Helen's eyes flashed a look of warning. Greg just sat back, grinning that slightly lopsided smile of his, infuriating me.
“Is that why you wanted me here tonight? So I could sit and watch you flirt whilst making a fool of myself.” I was trying to keep my voice low, but I was annoyed and I'm not very good at holding in my emotions.
“Helen told you about that did she?” It was the look on his face that stopped me in my tracks. Greg was always so in possession of himself, always coolly leading me into saying the most outrageous things. I would never have thought him capable of vulnerability. I was flummoxed.
We spent the rest of dinner in silence. Well, with each other. I felt awkward and it seemed impossibly difficult to look at him. Yet every second I was totally aware of him next to me, so close I could almost feel every move he made. I thought that if we touched I might shatter. He was talking to Lorraine again, but this time when she tried to pull the hand-on -the-arm stunt, he quickly moved out of reach. I saw her look of frustration before she turned her back on him. A small flame of triumph sparked inside. Had he done that because of me?
The man sat on my other side, Tony, married to Monica, was talking to me, but I didn't hear a word he said. Greg leaned closer, his arm pressing next to mine, sending a dizzying jolt of electricity through me.
“Are you all right?” his tone was soft and his breath warm against my ear. What the hell was happening to me? I nodded moronically at him, not capable of anything else.
As Helen was serving coffee, he excused himself. I sat there, staring after him.
“What's going on with you?” Helen whispered at me as she placed my coffee before me. I just shrugged and then excused myself. I wasn't sure I was actually looking for him until I found him. It was dark and he loomed ahead of me, filling the space, at once familiar and terrifyingly unknown. I didn't speak, I just reached up and kissed him. Instead of pushing me away, he pulled me closer and deepened my very chaste kiss.
When we finally appeared back at the table, we both sat down, neither one looking at the other. Helen was giving me one of those “What the hell have you been doing?” looks. I tried to suppress a grin as I stirred my coffee, suddenly feeling bubbles of joy swelling and rising through my body.
I glanced across at Greg, he caught my eyes and gave me a dark smouldering look which echoed all the way down to the pit of my stomach and beyond. It wasn't lost on Helen either. She gave me a smug grin. I rolled my eyes at her as if to say, “All right, yes, I do like him, rather a lot.” In return she gave me a beaming smile. How nicely that all worked out for her. Her best friend and her brother, gorgeous Greg, falling in love with each other, because that was what followed, later.
Author's Peronal Information/Bio:
This is my first story. I love reading romantic fiction. In another life I work with special needs children playing games, actng plays and admiring their appetite for life. I hope some of it has rubbed off on me!
Author's Web Site: @v_palmer_2014
Author's Blog: http://victoriapalmer2014.wordpress.com/