“So you manage the building?” He asked casually as if the small episode in the hallway didn’t happen.
“No.” I walked to the kitchen and pulled out my selections of coffee. I slid three different kinds on the island before him, and he pointed at the extra bold strength. I placed his selection in the one-cup coffee maker, retrieved a mug, and hit the button to brew the coffee.
“So you just collect the rent from tenants as a favor for the landlord?” He settled onto a stool.
“I’m the landlord, Marcus. This is my building.” Placing cream, sugar, and a spoon before him, I grabbed his cup and set it down next to the items. When I looked up at him, his face was unreadable. He grabbed the mug and spoon, scooped two sugars, and poured a little cream into the cup. “I have to hop in the shower…will you be okay while I get ready? You’re welcome to turn on the television. Please make yourself at home.”
He glanced at his Rolex. “Actually I have to make a few phone calls. It’s only eight fifteen; please, take your time.” I smiled at him and then noticed that I didn’t embrace him with a hug or a kiss. Forcing myself to be brave, knowing he wouldn’t reject me in any way, I walked over to him, placing one hand over his and my other hand at the back of his neck. Reaching up to him, I set my lips against his cheek. His head slowly turned, gently brushing my lips, but I pulled away.
“I won’t be long. The sooner I’m ready, the sooner I’ll be able to spend an entire weekend with you.” Turning on my heels, I walked away. That should give him something to think about for the next hour. I felt pleased with myself.
Taking my time in the shower, I washed my hair and rubbed body wash all over three times. This was more than my usual routine, but, hey, I had to smell irresistible. After I was done, I dried myself thoroughly and slathered every inch of my skin with lotion.
I threw on my green halter top, summer dress, and gold wedge heels. I ran back to the bathroom and towel dried my hair. While it was still damp, I applied mousse and worked my fingers through my hair, deciding on the wavy-teased look. When I was done, I took my time with my makeup to make sure it was flawless. The last touch to my face was a hint of lip gloss.
It was nine o’clock, so I grabbed my travel bag and headed for the living room. Marcus was still in the kitchen on the phone. He looked over his shoulder when he heard me enter. Placing my bag on the island, I opened the refrigerator and grabbed half of a grapefruit. Not wanting to disturb his call, I stood across from him. I could feel the heat of his stare as I placed a spoonful of grapefruit into my mouth. When my eyes finally met his, he mouthed, “You look beautiful.” I smiled, reveling in the attention.
He went on with his conversation, not taking his eyes off me once. “That’s fine … yes … no, it can wait until Monday. I still have three weeks before the deadline. Okay. Yes, I have my Blackberry if you need me to review anything that is absolutely urgent. Other than that, Marvin can take care of any documents that need to be out today. Thank you. Bye.” He ended the call, which was made on a touchscreen. I heard him say he had his Blackberry with him, so that led me to believe he had two phones. I wondered why. Maybe he was one of those people who prefer to have a work phone and a personal phone. I never understood the concept of having two phones…it’s too much to keep up with. It’s like having more than one social network: too exhausting.
He slid off the stool and walked over to stand behind me. I shivered at his nearness, feeling his face on the side of mine. “You smell delicious.” I should after washing up as much as I did.
“Thank you.” I whispered.
“Are you ready to go, or do you need more time?” Gripping my hips, he turned me to face him. He was so close, invading my space, but I didn’t mind, not one bit. “Yes I’m ready…Marcus?”
“Mmmh?” he mumbled while rubbing the back of his fingers against my cheek, along my jawline, and down the nape of my neck. I felt a warm, tingling sensation from his touch.
“I don’t do this, at all, you know—go away for an entire weekend with a man I don’t know. Can you just bear with m—” He stopped me in mid-sentence, cupping my chin and rubbing his thumb along my bottom lip.
“Mia, if I ever make you feel uncomfortable, just tell me and I’ll step back. I will not make you do anything you don’t want to do. Do you understand?” I nodded. “Good, let’s go enjoy a weekend on the beach.” He took my hand and led us to my bag, which he grabbed it with his free hand. We walked through the living room, but before we got to the door I stopped.
“Wait, I need to leave a note for Jeremy.” I ran back to the kitchen and wrote on a post-it note magnet on the fridge. Will be back Sunday, stay out of trouble. Take the trash out! Call if you need anything. Love, Mia.
Remembering that my driver’s license was in my car, I walked over to it after leaving the building. He stood and watched me enter and exit my vehicle, and then I hit the alarm button. “What?” I asked at his wry expression.
“That’s your car? You drive a convertible Mustang?”
Shaking my head, I grabbed his hand and smiled. “Yes, that’s my car.” I teased.
He shook his head laughing. Most men have the same expression when they see my car. He opened the passenger door for me. I got in his car and buckled up. We took off as soon as he was in.
“Can I ask you a personal question?” He placed his hand on my bare knee. It felt nice.
“Yeah, of course, isn’t the whole purpose of this trip is to learn more about each other, personally?” I turned to see the side of his face, the side with the dimple.
He gently smiled before responding. “You don’t work, right?”
“No.” Not sure what he’s getting at.
“Yet you own a four-story building in a really good neighborhood, and you own a-top-of-the-line convertible Mustang. How could you afford something like that?”
“I sold my soul to the devil.” He laughed. “No, all jokes aside, when my father passed, he was prepared with a large life insurance policy. It was split between my brother and me. Of course I was too young at the time. My half was placed in an escrow account where it accrued interest. Anyway, long story short, I was given access to the money on my twenty-first birthday. Instead of splurging on clothes, I invested in stocks.
“I found that building two years ago and thought it would be perfect; it was a huge fixer-upper and needed more than just TLC. I made an offer and worked on it for a year. I’m happy with the outcome. I splurged on a building and a car. I don’t buy lavish clothing and go on expensive trips. I watch what I spend and live off the money from my tenants.”