“What?” Her eyes went wide, her body suddenly stiff in my arms.
“I can’t explain it. I need to know if I’ll feel anything, kissing you.” I traced the bow of her mouth, the tremble in her lip mimicking the pounding rhythm of my heart. “Call it closure,” I whispered, lowering my mouth to hers.
“Stop,” she said a second before our lips met.
I opened my eyes when she pushed me back. Doubt clouded her expression but the motion was firm. I let her step away, creating more distance between us, too much distance.
Her normally porcelain complexion colored, a flush working its way up her cheeks. Was she embarrassed? Pissed? I couldn’t really tell. All I knew was that I wanted her as badly as I ever did—possibly more. I wanted to remember more, her smell, her taste. Harnessing my need took more than a little restraint. I wanted to touch her the way I used to, but I didn’t have that right. Not yet.
MAYA. I waited impatiently for the elevator. I briefly considered the stairs if they might burn off the surge of desire and epic confusion rocketing through me right now.
Sometimes I’d wondered if, after all this time, there could still be magic between us. Now I had little doubt. I was on fire, and he hadn’t even kissed me. I couldn’t bring myself to let him. I’d wanted him to, of course, but sitting through lunch pretending like he was just a blip in my history was nerve-racking enough. I couldn’t go down that road with him, not knowing if I could realistically survive the emotional aftermath of a failed fling with an ex. I was already a frazzled f*****g mess.
Vanessa wedged beside me. “I called you about lunch.”
“Oh, you did?” I padded my pockets for my phone. “Sorry. I probably shut it off at work and then I got sidetracked.”
“Whatever. What’s up?”
“Not much,” I lied. I’d fill her in later, once I’d figured out what the hell had just happened between Cameron and me. “How’s work?”
“Oh, you know.” She kept her voice quiet as we piled into the elevators with a dozen others. “Yesterday was hell. I swear he knows when I’m worn out and runs me harder just to watch me suffer. I honestly think he gets off on it.”
He was David Reilly, Vanessa’s boss. He was one of the big bosses, superior to Jia and any of the others on my floor. He took unique pleasure in making her life a living hell. She’d landed the job with little experience through a connection and refused to quit and have it reflect poorly on the person who’d gotten her the gig. If I didn’t care so much about keeping my own job, I would have given him a piece of my mind. But then who would I commiserate with?
“We still on for this weekend?” she asked.
“I’m pretty sure there’d have to be a zombie apocalypse to keep me from having drinks with you on a Saturday night. Consider it a running open invitation.”
She laughed and nudged me with her elbow. As we ascended, she caught a few errant tendrils of her auburn hair that had escaped from her clip and tucked them back away. The doors opened at my floor and I prepared to push through.
“Wish me luck,” she said.
“I would if I thought it’d do any good.”
“Touché.” She rolled her eyes.
I exited the elevator toward my own personal hell.
I made several unsuccessful attempts to focus on work, grateful that I’d had a productive morning. Thoughts of Cameron invaded every moment. I’d gotten off easy yesterday, having only his memory turning my world upside now. Now he was, in the flesh, which was far more disturbing. Whatever gorgeousness I’d remembered and imagined on lonely nights had been swiftly replaced by the vision of the man he’d become. I’d entertained half a dozen fantasies of rediscovering his body over lunch, and now my body was screaming for it.
Unfortunately nothing was simple about this craving. Cameron was more than a pretty face and what I imagined was an incredible body under his clothes. Cameron was a beacon of my past and so many emotions that I’d long buried. I wasn’t sure how I felt about revisiting all of that again.
Cameron… I swear, he looked at me like he still loved me, hypnotizing me with his cool blue eyes. And he touched me like he used to, tender, possessive.
No. That was impossible. He’d hurt me. He’d broken me in a way that no one ever had. I couldn’t reward him with a kiss, or a second chance.
MAYA. “Wake up.”
Eli nudged my shoulder, exacerbating the dull headache that surged upon waking. Vanessa and I had gone out for drinks after work to ring in the weekend. Too much champagne. Cheap champagne too, second only to boxed wine in the guaranteed terrible hangover department.