Stevie stared at herself in her dresser mirror and wondered what was wrong with her.
Her grey-green eyes took in her brown, shoulder length hair with its natural waviness and wondered if he really did prefer blondes instead.
Her gaze moved lower to her facial features. Her eyes were slightly tilted and framed with thick dark lashes that brought out the pale colour of her eyes. Her nose was straight and perfectly proportioned for her face. Her lips were a pale pink and plump but not overly so and her jaw line was gently rounded.
Was she ugly in his eyes?
Tears filled her eyes and she blinked rapidly in the hopes of stopping them. It worked but not without one lone tear falling free and she watched it track down her cheek and halt at her chin for a second before dropping onto the top she was wearing.
For five long years she’d pined for Logan, the son of a family friend.
They’d more or less grown up together and during her teens her feelings had changed from friendship to something more. When she was sixteen and he twenty she’d confessed her feelings to him and though he hadn’t laughed in her face, he had given her an awkward smile and told her not to be so foolish; she was a child and didn’t know what she wanted. Her eyes must have filled with tears or pain because with a groan he’d pulled her into his arms and kissed her at length and she’d melted against him. Obviously feeling her surrender he’d pulled back and set her from him, a look of disgust on his face. Then he’d fled and tried his best not to be alone with her again.
It had worked…up until tonight.
Her twenty-first birthday.
She snorted as she remembered her joy and delight at seeing him, her first thought being, He’s come for me. Only for a petite peroxide blonde to follow him through the door of the restaurant owned by her parents and the light had dulled in her eyes and she’d felt utterly stupid. Logan had grinned when he’d seen her and then noticed the look on her face and faltered.
With a grimace, she’d turned away and walked to a group of elderly relatives and they’d kept her occupied for a few minutes before she’d felt a hand on her elbow and turned to see Logan. Smiling at her family he’d excused them and walked a short distance away to an empty corner and handed her his present. “Happy twenty-first birthday, Stevie.”
Her gaze had fallen on the small, light blue box he’d handed her and her hand had shook as she’d opened it, knowing it would be some sort of jewellery.
“It’s beautiful,” she gasped as she looked down at the heart shaped silver and cubic zirconia necklace.
“I’m glad you like it,” he’d said gently and leant in to press a kiss to her cheek. Then he’d backed away and joined the blonde at the bar.
Absently, she’d rubbed her chest as a stab of pain had taken her by surprise and then allowed her gaze to land on the necklace again before replacing the lid and putting the box in her handbag.
By midnight almost everyone had gone home, just her, Logan and her best friend, Millie, were left and were in the process of tidying up when Millie had turned a sickly colour and rushed through to the toilets to be sick.
Logan had come up behind her and asked her to dance and it had taken all of her strength to turn him down. “I’m tired, sorry.” His face had fallen a little but he’d shrugged it off and with one last check of the restaurant, had waved before departing.
Millie had stumbled out of the toilets, “Can we go upstairs now? I don’t feel too good.”
Stevie had nodded and locked the restaurant doors securely before leading them upstairs to the little flat above that she rented off her parents.
Now she was sat in front of her dresser wondering what was wrong with her.
Millie lifted her head off the bed and groaned, “Do you have any paracetamol?”
“There should be some in my handbag. It’s on the room table.”
Her friend rolled off the bed and clutched her head before tottering out. She came back a few seconds later and sat on the bed for a minute looking ill again.
“Maybe you shouldn’t have drunk so much,” Stevie offered helpfully.
Her friend glared at her before hunting through the bag. She paused, her brows drawing together as she pulled something out. Her eyes widened as she held the small blue box in her hand and she let out a low whistle. “Tiffany’s?”
Stevie’s heart raced as her gaze landed on the box in the mirror.
Logan had bought her a Tiffany necklace?
Millie opened the box and gasped again, “A Tiffany white gold and diamond heart necklace! Oh my God, Stevie! Who bought you this?! It must have cost a fortune.”
“Logan,” she breathed.
“Logan? As in the one guy you’ve been in love with for longer than you can remember?” When Stevie nodded, Millie continued, exasperated, “He bought you diamonds, Stevie! Why are you not in bed with him right now?!”
Her cheeks went bright red at even the thought of such a thing happening. “He doesn’t want me in that way.”
Millie rolled her eyes, “You must be the only person who doesn’t see just how much he does want you.”
Stevie shook her head, “No,” she breathed, “he turned me down.”
“You were sixteen!”
“I was old enough!”
Millie let out a noise of annoyance, “Anyone who hadn’t known you both back then would have been a bit disturbed. They’d have thought he was grooming you or something. They’d have treated him like he was twice his age, dating someone so young.”
“It was a four year age gap. Hardly anything,” she defended.
“He was twenty, you were sixteen—still in school. People wouldn’t have seen it like that! They’d have called him a cradle-snatcher or worse.”
Stevie shook her head, still in denial, even though it was all starting to make sense.
While she’d been at school, he’d kept her at arm’s length though he’d still been there for her if she’d needed to talk about things. Sometimes, she’d catch him watching her and he’d quickly look away when he realised she’d caught him out and then on her sixteenth…that kiss.
Millie grabbed her hand, drawing her from her reverie, “Don’t you get it? He waited for you.”
Looking at her friend in wonder, she asked, “How do you know all this?”
She tapped her nose and winked. “That’s for me to know and you to never find out.”
They laughed and Millie shifted causing the light to reflect on the necklace she was still holding and Stevie sobered. Reaching out she took the box from her friend and removed it from the soft cushion it was resting on and lifted it so she could have a proper look at it.
It really was beautiful, she thought as the diamonds twinkled at her. She couldn’t believe she’d thought they were cubic zirconias and dropped her head into her palm with a groan.
“What’s up?” Millie asked.
“I didn’t realise they were diamonds when I first saw it.”
Her friend grinned and wiggled her brows, “So now you’re realising you didn’t thank him properly and are planning to go to his so you can.”
Stevie’s cheeks heated again but she didn’t dismiss the idea. “Maybe I will.”
Millies eyes widened in glee and she clapped her hands together. “You so should. I can imagine his face when you turn up at his door in the dress you bought the other week and his necklace on show. Oh! You have to go!”
Excitement filled her at the thought and she put the necklace down on her dresser to walk over to her wardrobe and pull out the dress Millie had referred to.
It was made of a black figure hugging material with ruffled layers up to the bust which was decorated with silver beading up onto the straps.
“Come on, Stevie, you can’t change your mind now. You’ve wanted this too long.”
The words spurred her on and she stripped down to just her knickers before stepping into the dress. Millie did the zip and then fastened the necklace for her and whistled softly. “Just need some shoes and then you’re ready to go. You’ll knock him dead.”
She laughed nervously, “I hope not.”
“You know what I mean,” Millie said over her shoulder as she stuck her head in the wardrobe looking for the perfect shoes to accompany the dress. “Ah ha!” She re-emerged carrying a pair of peep-toe, strappy black shoes with silver jewel beading.
Stevie put them on and twirled.
“If I was into women, I’d do you,” Millie said with a wink. Reaching into her pocket she drew out her mobile and pressed in a number before holding it to her ear. “Hello? I’d like to order a cab, please.”
She zoned out as her friend spoke and glanced in her dressing table mirror at herself. Her eyes sparkled with excitement and her skin glowed.
A hand dangled something on front of her and she blinked it into focus.
“For the cab. It’ll be here in five.”
Stevie took the twenty from Millie with a frown, “You don’t have to…”
“I want to, you deserve a treat. I’ll crash here and phone you tomorrow.” She gave her a gentle shove towards the door. “Go get him.”
“Thank you,” she told Millie.
Millie rolled her eyes with a grin. “Just remember, I want details.”
The cab pulled up outside Logan’s flat and she gave the driver the twenty and got out.
She gave him a smile and hesitantly moved towards the glass front doors.
Funnily enough, she didn’t have to look at the names beside the buzzers because she’d come here many times in the past couple of years. She’d just never been brave enough to press it.
She did now and waited, her hand going to the heart at her throat.
“Who is it?” His voice came through the speaker.
There was a moment of silence. “Stevie, what are you doing here?”
Maybe it was due to the electronics but his voice sounded deeper suddenly and her skin tingled.
“I wanted to talk.”
She was sure she heard a defeated sigh before he said, “Sure, come on up.”
The door buzzed and released and she went inside and across the lobby to the stairs. He lived on the second floor so she didn’t mind the short walk.
As she entered the hallway, she glanced to the right and saw he was waiting for her.
Her heart thundered wildly as she walked towards him and she couldn’t stop her smile from widening as his eyes took in her change of outfit, staying far too long on her bare legs.
“Hi,” she breathed.
“Hey,” he answered, his voice a tad husky.
They stared at each other for long seconds before Logan cleared his throat and stepped aside for her to enter first. She gave him her best smile as she slipped past and made sure to sway her hips as she walked, knowing he’d follow her inside.
A low rumble greeted her and she grinned, making sure to hide it before facing him again.
“A birthday drink?” He asked, indicating the bottle of wine on the table.
Flicking a glance at the clock on the wall, she said, “Technically, my birthday was yesterday,” she shrugged, “but why not?”
He poured some into the glass already on the table and handed it to her and then moved to go get another glass but she placed a palm on his arm to stop him. “We can share.”
Logans eyes narrowed on her as she held the glass out to him but he accepted it and took a sip before settling on the settee.
She joined him and grabbed the glass for a sip, her gaze finding his as he watched her drink. His eyes darkened as he watched her swallow and he closed his eyes for a second. “What did you want to talk about?”
Stevie put the glass on the table and brought her fingers up to touch the necklace that was nestling just above her breasts. “I thought we should talk about this.”
His gaze landed on the necklace and then rose to hers, “What about it?”
“Diamonds?” She asked softly.
Logans gaze skittered away, “Your twenty-first is a big deal.”
“Is that all this is?”
His gaze swung back to hers, eyes narrowed. “She told you.”
Boldly, she held his gaze, “Only because I was doubting myself.”
“What do you mean?” He asked with a frown.
She smiled wanly, “Did you prefer blondes? Was I ugly in your eyes?”
Reaching across the small distance separating them he clasped her hand with his, “No and no. I prefer a brunette with sparkly grey eyes who just happens to be the most beautiful girl I’ve ever laid eyes on.”
Stevie stared at him in surprise. She hadn’t expected him to be so open with her. Pressing her palm to his cheek she smiled, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Logan sighed, “It wasn’t right for me to burden you with my feelings when you were so young—”
“But I told you how I felt on my sixteenth,” she interrupted.
He shook his head and gently tugged the hand from his cheek so he could twine their fingers together. “You were still a child. You didn’t even know what you wanted to do with your life so how could I trust your feelings for me?”
“Logan, my feelings for you are the only things that haven’t changed over the past five years. In fact, my feelings have grown stronger.”
Just from hearing how he said her name she knew he was going to turn her down again and she immediately pulled her hand back and glared at him, her eyes glistening with tears. “How dare you?” she whispered. “For the second time in my life, I more or less present myself to you for the taking,” she indicated the clothing, “and even knowing how we feel about each other, you turn me down?”
“Stevie.” He reached for her but she got up and moved out of his reach.
“No! This is the last time I’ll let you humiliate me.”
Feeling like a fool she spun on her heels and let herself out of the flat and hurried down the corridor to the stairs.
She heard the rhythmic pounding of feet on the floor and sobbed at the thought of him catching her; seeing what he could do to her emotionally.
Reaching the bottom of the first lot of steps she let out a muffled squeal when she was pulled backwards and hit the wall with a thud.
Logan loomed over her. “Never run away from me again,” he gritted out and then his lips crashed down onto hers, demanding a response.
She’d give him one alright, just not the kind he was expecting.
Her hands fisted angrily and she raised them to beat at his chest but his lips suddenly softened on hers becoming more teasing and she faltered.
His lips brushed hers softly and then again and she sighed, her hands slowly unfurling to move up to his shoulders to hold on as his own gripped her hips. Logans kiss deepened, his tongue flicking gently against the inside of her lip as though wanting to taste every inch of her mouth.
A breathy sigh escaped her as his lips moved to her cheek where he pressed a feather light kiss and then to her jaw where he did the same, then her eyelids, mouth and finally the sensitive spot near her ear. “I need you so much,” he whispered, nuzzling her jaw.
Stevie’s heart stuttered before pounding hard enough she thought it might become visible through her clothing. “Then why?” She implored, pulling back from him slightly.
Logan pulled her close again and buried his face in her hair, “Because I was scared,” he whispered.
Letting out a shaky sigh, she ran her hand through his short black hair. She couldn’t blame him for that because she was scared too. Scared of getting her heart broken by him again.
Her other hand found his. “Let’s go back upstairs?”
His eyes met hers, hope shining in their depths, and nodded.
Once back in his apartment, Stevie moved to the table and took a gulp of the wine to settle her nerves and listened as Logan locked the apartment door and then there was only silence.
Minutes seemed to pass.
She knew he had come up behind her because she felt his breath stir the hair at her neck and could feel the heat radiating from his body. Without thinking, she leant back into his warmth and his hands circled her small waist, his lips pressing to her ear.
“I’ve wanted you for years, Stevie.” He pressed closer, before continuing, “Forgive me for not quite believing you’re here, that this is happening.” Logan breathed in deeply and let it back out, “You smell amazing; like peaches. Your skin,” he paused briefly to run the backs of his fingers down her bare arm, “is as soft as silk. I’ll never get tired of touching you.”
His words caused goose-bumps to rise on her skin. Was he starting to believe that they could work long-term?
She really hoped so.
His right hand cupped her shoulder and then moved down her arm, past her fingers to her bare thigh and then traced his fingers back up her side, ruffling the layers of the dress and cupped her breast.
Stevie let out a low moan and arched into his touch. “Logan…”
His teeth nipped at her earlobe and throat as he brought his other hand up to massage her other breast.
“I want to make this last but I don’t think I can wait that long,” he breathed softly against her skin and she shivered.
“It’s not like we only have one shot at this, right?”
“Right,” he agreed, his lips moving along her nape. Logan’s hand moved to her chin and gently tilted it back and to the side so it rested on his shoulder so he had better access to her throat. “We have forever.”
A relieved sigh left her lips.
Forever sounded good to her.
Leanne Crabtree © 2012