Kyle was kneeling beside the redwood bar, which had been recently added to enhance the terrace for the residents. He had his iPod earphones in, and she could hear the faint throng of heavy metal music. He didn’t hear her approach, and she took a minute to admire him as he leaned forward to secure a hinge. A smile crossed her lips as she strode to the bar and placed the wine bottle down. Having been caught unaware, he sat back on his heels, kneeling before her, slowly removing the earphones. He looked at her with distrust, his sea-blue eyes lingering over her bare legs in the short dress. He looked as if her actions confused him, and he was unsure what to make of the situation.
“Peace offering,” she said, glad her words and tone, for once, were not that of a stunted third-grader.
She gave him a bright smile, but he narrowed his eyes and said, “I don’t know what game you’re playing, but I’m not interested in your scam.”
Ouch, well that was well deserved. “I’m not sure what came over me the other day, and I apologize for what happened afterward. If you got to know me, you’d see I’m a much better person than that.” She extended her hand and said confidently, “I’m Casi Roberts. I’m twenty-nine, and I’ve been a model since I was seventeen. I live in one of the third-floor apartments with my boyfriend, Alix Grey, a well-known artist. I should be at his reception, but I felt like I should formally introduce myself.”
A smile reached his eyes, as he looked her over. He rose slowly and took her extended hand, leaning against the bar. “Hello, Casi Roberts. I’m Kyle Jensen, from Blackberry Falls, Washington. I’m thirty-three, and obviously, a custom woodworker. Do you come here often?” He gave a slight laugh at his pickup line.
“Only when I need to apologize for my bad behavior, so pretty much every Tuesday,” she joked back, shaking his hand, aroused by its strength and roughness.
He reached past her for the bottle of wine, and she could feel the electricity between them all the way to her toes. “Nice choice. Do you have a wine opener?” he asked.
“Damn it! I’ll be right back,” she said, as she ran down the stairs to her apartment.
Kyle shook his head and took out his phone, quickly sending a text to his brother. “The gorgeous woman who kissed me the other day, just came up to the roof where I’m working and brought a bottle of wine?”
Jake texted back, “She probably put a date-rape drug in it. Get out of there!”
Grabbing the wine opener, Casi glanced at her reflection in the mirror over the bar. “What the hell are you doing?” she asked the fresh-faced girl, staring back at her. She didn’t know what was about to happen, but for once she felt like living in the moment.
She hopped back up the stairs and handed him the wine opener. He kept his eyes on her, as he opened the bottle and filled the glasses. He took a sip of wine and said, “I’m not sure what you’re aiming for, but it’s not the first time I’ve heard mention of a boyfriend. You’re a beautiful woman, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to grab you and throw you down on the chaise and get to know you intimately. I have two weeks left on this job, and then I’m headed home. I don’t need the distraction of a spoiled model.”
Wow! This guy cuts to the chase. Casi set down her wine glass and stepped toward him. “Two weeks?” She cocked her head as she ran her hand over his chest, and looked into his deep, blue eyes, and smiled seductively.
Kyle put a firm hand on her hip, and moved her back. “Little girl, you need to take your games elsewhere.”
She again stepped forward. “I’m not a little girl, and I’m not playing games.” She brought his head to meet her, kissing him gently. She could taste the wine on his lips as she parted his mouth with her tongue. He hesitated and searched her eyes, trying to figure out what she wanted. He returned her kiss and pulled her closer. He trailed down her neck, as he caressed her back. He kissed her more passionately, growing in intensity, as he brought his hands under her dress and over the lacy panties she had carefully chosen.
She ran her hands over his t-shirt, feeling the definition of his chest muscles and toned abs, slipping her hands under his shirt to feel the heat of his skin. Casi liked to express herself sexually, an intimacy between lovers, but there was something different about Kyle. This feeling was foreign to her, the loss of control and willingness to let her body take over. She moaned as he slid his hands further up her dress toward her breasts, and she began to unbutton his jeans. He placed his hand on top of hers, stopping her from going farther. What the hell? Why was he stopping? Was he playing a game now?
Kyle stepped back and refilled their wine glasses. She wasn’t sure how to react to his apparent rejection. He turned back to face her and handed her the glass. The silence was suffocating. “Is this what you want? A quickie on the rooftop? Then you go back to your boyfriend, and I pretend like nothing happened for the next two weeks, and return to my life in Washington?”
Casi realized she hadn’t thought it through; this wasn’t a movie, magically ending with happily ever after. It was real life, messy and awkward. “That’s not what I want,” she surprised herself with the statement. “I honestly came to apologize for what had happened, but somehow ended up in the same place. Although I’m sure the sex would be mind-blowing for fifteen minutes, you’re right, we both have lives to return to.”
“Fifteen minutes? You’re seriously underestimating me.”
She loved the way his eyes crinkled when he laughed. She kissed him on the cheek and said, “Goodbye, Kyle, I have an installation to attend. I’ll be seeing you around.”
She straightened her back, and walked down the stairs to her apartment, feeling his eyes following her. As she closed the door, she realized she had been holding her breath. She walked into the bedroom and pulled the cotton dress off, exchanging it for the black jersey, halter dress. Black liner, red lips, chignon, and she was out the door in ten minutes.