Her eyes fluttered back up to mine before she took the gift. And little by little, she removed the small squares of tissue paper. She settled the bag into her lap and reached for the gifts, then popped open their velvety casings. Her lips parted as she gasped, and the sound rushed me back to the evening I had spent with her and her body. Her gasps and her moans. The way she’d wiggled against me. The way she’d bent to my body’s every command and came around my cock so beautifully it hurt.
“I can’t accept this,” she said.
Her words pulled me from my trance as she held the gifts out for me.
“You can, and you will,” I said.
“It’s too much.”
“If anything, it’s not enough. Elizabeth, you earned it this week. You played your part well. In fact, you played it so well that had I not had you with me, I’m not so sure I’d be walking away a successful man right now. That type of performance deserves an Oscar. But since I can’t get you one of those, I’m getting you this.”
Her hand tightened around the jewelry, and her face stiffened. Shit. Had I said something else to offend her? That was what we had done. Put on a ruse. An act. And she had done phenomenally.
Why did that upset her?
“Thank you. I appreciate your graciousness,” she said.
But it was robotic. As if that was the answer she was supposed to give.
Dinner was quieter than I figured it would be. It was spent mostly sipping on wine and gazing out over the water. The more she ate, the more relaxed she became. She leaned back into her chair and stretched her legs out a bit. But when her feet knocked against mine, she quickly pulled them away.
It was a stark contrast to how she had been all week.
After dinner, I ushered her back to the hotel like I always had. She clutched the small bag in her hand at her side as I guided her with my hand at the small of her back. We stood in the elevator and made our way up to the room; then I did my due diligence of walking her all the way back to her bedroom door.
“Thank you for dinner. It was very nice of you to do that. And the jewelry. I’m still not sure if I can accept it, but I will.”
“The pleasure is all mine,” I said.
“What time are we leaving out in the morning?” she asked.
“So, we should be on the tarmac by six thirty?”
“Somewhere around there, yes. Don’t worry. I’ll get us there.”
She nodded, her eyes downcast to her feet. I felt her body heat radiating against me, pounding heavily against my chest. She cleared her throat and looked back up into my eyes, and I held her gaze for as long as I could. Her pale pink dress fluttered around her body in ways that made me want to rip it off her. It wasn’t as tight as that red number she’d worn at the event, but it left much more for my mind’s eye to imagine, and I didn’t want to do any more imagining. I wanted to feel her. Trace her. Kiss every part of her. I wanted her heels to dig into my back as I fucked her against the wall of her bedroom.
My eyes fell to her lips, and I watched them part as our bodies traveled closer.
I felt her breath pulsing against my lips before she spoke. And I sure as hell didn’t like what she had to say.
“The two of us should get some rest. It’s going to be a long day of flying tomorrow.”
Her bosom brushed against my chest, and I felt her breath pulsing against my lips. Our lips were mere inches away.
But I wasn’t going to force something she didn’t want.
“Of course,” I said as I took a step back.
“Good night, Phillip.”
I watched her retreat into her room before she looked back at me.
“Good night, Elizabeth.”
Another wash of disappointment crossed over her face, but this time I could sympathize. My cock ached for her. My hands trembled with the need to feel her waist in its grip again. But as she shut the door in my face, I forced myself to depart down the hallway. I made my way into my room as disappointment trickled through my veins.
That really didn’t go like I had planned.
With each cloud that passed us by in the sky, my anxiety grew. The dream really was over, and reality was about to slap me in the face. I had even received my parting gift from the only man I had truly enjoyed working with. And the jewelry was beautiful. The rubies were authentic, and the pearls were of the most incredible quality. But I was already planning on selling it. What I could get for it alone would cover a few months of my mother’s treatment, and that was the only thing that mattered.