“Tell me,” I growled, my adrenaline spiking.
He shoved me back, confusion replaced with an anger that met my own. “Christ, get hold of yourself, Cam.”
“She looked like hell when she ran out of here. You must have said something to her.”
“F**k.” He shook his head and rubbed his forehead. “Raina.”
“What about Raina?” I frowned and took a tentative step back, not entirely sure I was finished with him.
“Maya asked if there was anything going on between you two. I reassured her there wasn’t but that Raina’s got a thing for you. She seemed pissed about it for a second but then nothing. It was like she shut off. We went through the rest of the workout, and she didn’t say more than three words to me.”
I was all too aware of Maya’s ability to shut someone out from what she was really thinking. I struggled to think of what would have upset her so much. I walked away and paced a line in front of the desk.
“With your reputation, she probably thinks you were bullshitting her, trying to cover for me or something.”
“My reputation?” He grimaced, the words laced with challenge.
I faced him again. “We’re brothers, best friends, and we work together. She hasn’t seen me in five years, and I don’t think she’s seen you in here once without some woman all over you or vice versa. She probably assumes I’m on the same plan and she’s nothing but a new conquest.”
“She isn’t a conquest? You haven’t had your hands all over her every time she’s been here? I’m not f*****g blind, you know. What makes you so g*****n noble?”
“You and I are not the same,” I gritted out, though my anger toward Darren was waning.
“No? Because I don’t want to settle down and have a litter with the first girl who gets all starry eyed after a wild night?”
We both caught our breath, a tense silence between us. This wasn’t the time or the place to get into Darren’s lifestyle with women. I had bigger issues to deal with. Something else—someone else—had inspired this cold attitude from Maya.
“Sorry, this isn’t about you,” I finally said, though it burned me to utter the words.
“Apology accepted.” He straightened and his furrowed brows ironed out. “Believe it or not, I want this to work with you two, Cam. I wouldn’t make things difficult between you intentionally. I hope you realize that.”
I nodded. “I know. She’s…s**t, I don’t know. It’s hot and cold with her. Every time I think we’re getting close to where we were, something happens, some shift between us and I feel like she’s slipping away. I can’t stop it because I’m afraid I’ll push her away completely. It’s driving me crazy.”
“Yeah, I can see that.” He laughed. “You haven’t slept with her, have you?”
I shook my head.
“You think you’re going to screw everything up with her if you f**k her, don’t you?”
“It’s a concern I have, yeah. I don’t want to rush into things, have her regret it, and freak out.” God knew, I wanted to, but she was cagey enough. The blowback from sleeping together too soon could be enough to push her away for good. The other night had proved that.
“I know you think I don’t know anything about women, but Maya strikes me as the type of person who knows what she wants. Do you think it’s something she wants?”
“I don’t think it. I know it.” She didn’t have to tell me outright, her body had. Small gestures, the subtle reactions of her body, the not-so-subtle reactions of her body. I could have capitalized on any number of them and had her, but still I held back.
“Then what the hell are you waiting for? You’re just giving her more time to come up with some excuse not to, to push you away like you’re already afraid she’s going to.”
“If all I wanted was to get her into bed, I could have done that already. Maybe she deserves time to decide whether or not it’s something she wants. I left her without a word five years ago and never looked back. I’m sure she harbors some doubts about whether this is even a good idea. I sure as hell have.”
“Obviously not enough to stay away.”
Darren shook his head. “If you care about her that much, Cam, you should just be with her and see what happens.”
I sighed, beginning to feel as tired as Maya had looked when she pulled away from me tonight. I wanted nothing more than to track her down at her apartment and get to the bottom of this, but maybe we both needed a night to think and make sense of what all of this meant between us.