He needed to not be so damn serious all the time.
“You know, I used to be afraid of the dark as a child,” Phillip said.
I looked around us at the darkened space we were standing under and figured now was my chance. I could use the idea floating around in my head as an excuse to lighten the mood and get him back out into the moonlight. He looked dashing in it, anyway. No use in wasting the time, especially when I was learning so much about him that would surely come up in conversation over the course of the next week.
“Ever played tag in a labyrinth before?” I asked.
“I’ve never been in one before, so no.”
“Have you ever done anything fun in your life?”
“Does working constitute as ‘fun’ if I love what I do?”
“No, it doesn’t.”
“Then no, I don’t do many fun things in my life,” he said.
“Then... you’re it!”
I tapped his shoulder before I turned on my feet to run away from him. My giggles filled the large space as I ran down the row, then made a sharp left turn. My hair flowed behind my shoulders as the maze in front of me unfolded, and my mind began to map it out as I circled around and around toward the center.
“Elizabeth! What are you doing? You’re going to get lost!”
“You’re it, Phillip! Come catch me!”
My feet carried me as fast as I could as I darted through the maze. But I couldn’t keep my laughter under wraps long enough to get myself hidden. Every time I came to a shadowed dead end, a giggle would slip from my lips and I’d hear Phillip hot on my tail. It forced me to dash out and keep running, and every time laughter fell from my lips I’d hear Phillip in hot pursuit.
“For someone who’s never played tag, you’re good at it!” I exclaimed.
“Because you can’t stop laughing to get yourself hidden.”
I squealed when he popped his head around the corner, and I wrapped myself around another turn. I was able to leave him in my dust a few times, but he was right. No matter how many times I bit down onto my lip to keep from laughing, I couldn’t stop myself. Every time I thought I had him fooled, I’d hear his footsteps and start giggling again.
“I hear you,” Phillip said.
His hands reached through the shrubbery and grabbed on to my waist. I squealed and threw my head back as laughter fell from my lips. He stepped through the brush, covered in twigs and small waxy-looking leaves. His lips were parted in a laughter that filled the space between us. I plucked the twigs from his suit jacket and smoothed the leaves off his shoulders. I reached up and pulled a few mangled twigs from his hair before smoothing it back off to the side. His hands held my waist tightly, his grip never letting loose as we stood near the center of the maze.
I couldn’t take my eyes off him once our gazes connected.
His beautiful emerald eyes darkened as his hands slid around my waist. They planted into the small of my back and pulled my body flush to his. The sounds of soothing fountains rushed behind me as the moon reflected in his darkened gaze. The heat of his body was too much. The twinkling of the stars cheering us on was too much.
Cristoff had been right. The gardens were romantic underneath the nighttime sky of Vienna.
Without thinking, I stood to my toes and pressed my lips against Phillip’s. Wind kicked up around us and rustled the leaves, and I felt his hands leave my back. I gripped his suit coat, keeping him against my body for as long as I could have him. I wanted just one kiss. One brief moment where I actually enjoyed giving this service to a client.
Then, his hands pressed back against me and brought me flush with his body.
He groaned into my lips, his tongue pushing through and capturing mine. I felt my knees grow weak. My hands fisted his jacket tighter. His arms slid to cloak my back, bringing me closer as his head tilted off to the side. I memorized the way his tongue stroked the roof of my mouth, the way his groans filled my throat, the way his hand fisted my hair and kept my lips pressed against his.
Holy hell, the man could kiss.
His hands gripped me tightly as he began to move forward. I stepped backward in time with his movements, allowing him to guide me wherever he wanted me. The passion of his response left me breathless. I found myself drawing from his ragged breaths as his tongue battled with mine. Our teeth clattered as his hands slid to my ass. He cupped my cheeks and lifted me onto my tiptoes. I danced along with him, feeling his body twirl us until the backs of my legs pressed against something cool.