Couldn’t she see that she was his friend and he didn’t screw over his friends?
Adam stopped halfway up the stairs, cursing again as he finally realized that, while she might have played things wrong this morning, he sure as hell hadn’t done much better by snapping at her as soon as she brought up her worries.
Kerry had been clear from the start about meeting at hotels and keeping sex separate from everything else. First it was his family and the wedding that she hadn’t wanted to be affected by their hooking up. Now, they’d added in a house.
She was right. Things could get complicated if they let them.
So they wouldn’t let them.
He put her bag on the seat of the leather chair by the fireplace, laid out her dress along the back, and put her shoes down beside it, then headed into the kitchen to make some coffee and wait for her. When she came out fifteen minutes later, looking and smelling fresh and beautiful, he didn’t waste any time in handing her a cup of coffee—or getting straight to the point.
She had the cup halfway to her mouth when she froze. “You’re sorry?”
“Very.” His parents had taught him loads of important things over the years, but one of the most important was knowing how to apologize sincerely, and not to feel like less of a man for it. “I like you, Kerry. I like you a lot.”
She still seemed unsure about where he was going, but she said, “I like you, too.”
“I know we started off all of this”—he gestured up to his bedroom the way she had earlier—“as strangers, but we’re friends now. Aren’t we?”
She nodded. “Yes.” She seemed almost surprised to realize that it was true. “We’re friends.”
“I don’t hurt my friends.” He took the cup and put it on the kitchen counter so that he could take her hands in his. “However long you and I decide to keep having sex, once it’s over, I’m not going to hurt you, and I can’t see you wanting to hurt me, either.”
“I don’t want that. I would never want to hurt you, Adam.”
He had to smile at the way she said it so sweetly, so earnestly. “Good.”
Finally, he did what he’d been wanting to do since the moment he’d awakened and seen her staring at him—he kissed her. Long and deep and sweet, so that she couldn’t help but press close and wrap herself around him in that way he absolutely loved.
“I’ve heard the suites at the Fairmont Olympic are top-notch. How does next week look for you?”
For a moment she seemed surprised by the question, but she was quickly back to her usual practical self as she reached for her phone in her bag to check her calendar.
“It’s pretty packed. What about you?”
After checking his own calendar, he said, “Mine is jammed, too. Everything but Thursday night.”
She looked at her schedule again. “You know,” she said slowly, “I could probably shift my Thursday night meeting without much trouble. Do you want me to try to do that?”
“Does it rain in Seattle?”
She laughed, and the sweet sound of it helped relax the muscles in his chest that had been clenched from the moment she’d jumped out of his bed.
“I’ll text you as soon as I know for sure if Thursday will work.” She moved back against him and kissed him again. “I have a big wedding this afternoon so I really do have to get going now, but thank you for an amazing Saturday night.”
The offer to give her just as amazing a Sunday morning was on the tip of his tongue, but now that things seemed back on an even keel again, he didn’t want to ruin it by begging her to stay, especially now that he knew she had to work today.
“Let me just grab a shirt, and I’ll take you home.”
“Thanks, but I’ve already called a cab, which I believe is waiting for me outside.” She gave him one more quick kiss, then said, “See you Thursday,” and walked out his front door without a backward glance.
Adam had never been with a woman this self-sufficient or independent.
It almost stung a guy’s pride.
Kerry had been to hundreds of weddings, but she was enthralled by them every single time. No two weddings were the same. Some were sweet. Some were fun. Some were out-and-out parties. Some were formal affairs. Some mixed together a dash of everything. But at the core of them all was love.
When people found out she’d taken over the family wedding-planning business from her mother, they often asked her if she’d rather be doing something else. But weddings were where Kerry’s heart was—in that moment when the groom lifted his bride’s veil and tears of joy slid down people’s cheeks as everyone gave in to a moment so radiant, so pure that it didn’t matter how cynical, how steeped in “reality” they normally were.
But today’s wedding was already on her favorites list, and the guests were only just beginning to arrive at the beautiful grounds of the private arboretum on the shores of Lake Washington. The reason was simple: The bride and groom were clearly each other’s best friend. Every time she’d met with them, she’d been struck by how wonderful they were together. Over the months that she’d worked with them on the large wedding, she’d seen them laugh and kiss and dance like lovers—and she’d seen how well they worked together to deal with difficult things, too.
Over the years, Kerry’s vision of the love she wanted for herself had taken clearer and clearer shape as she’d not only watched so many couples come together, but also paid close attention to which ones stayed together.
Of course, she wanted heat and can’t-keep-their-hands-off-each-other passion. But more than anything, she wanted her husband to be her best friend, and she wanted to be his. She wanted him to be the person she whispered all her secrets to in the middle of the night. She wanted her shoulder to be the one he cried on behind closed doors.
The thing was, Kerry had never really been friends with a man before, might never have thought it was even possible until this morning, when Adam had said he was her friend and she realized she was his, too.
She’d been full of angst and worries over everything when she’d awakened in his bed. She’d been so afraid that they had made a huge mistake. But after they talked things through—with Adam ending up being the surprisingly rational, calm one when she hadn’t been able to find one single rational, calm bone in her body—she was able to smile again as she thought about him.
How unexpected their relationship was. Adam Sullivan was the last person she would ever have thought she could become friends with. And yet, their relationship was one of the most wonderful she’d ever had.
He not only knew just how to make her laugh, but also precisely when she needed that laughter.
He was easy to talk to about the things that mattered to her, and she loved listening to him talk about what got him juiced up, too.
Seeing him smile always made her smile.
And few things in her life had been as comforting as simply holding his hand.
At first, she’d wanted to keep things straight and clear between them because she’d been afraid of getting her heart broken. But now, there was even more at stake. Because she didn’t want to do anything to lose his friendship. Not when he’d come to mean so much to her, so quickly.