Page 56 of Buying the Bride

My breath goes short and my fingers tighten on his shoulders. “I changed my mind,” I say. “Let’s do that.”

He chuckles. “Your friend won’t worry?”

“Are you kidding?” I roll my eyes. “She’ll throw us a fucking parade.”

He laughs, taking my hand and pulling me toward the back entrance.

Andrew’s apartment is predictably gorgeous. A downtown apartment overlooking the High Line with clean lines and a truly impressive number of windows. I can’t imagine how much it would cost to live here, but I’m going to enjoy it.

“Welcome,” Andrew says, ushering me inside. “Make yourself at home.”

Now that we’ve gotten the frenzy out of the way, there’s an ease between us. We’re going to fuck again, and I will make him keep that promise about his mouth, but there’s no rush now. We both know that we’ll get there.

He takes his jacket off and hangs it up, and steps into the kitchen. “Do you want something to drink?” he asks.

“Just water, thanks.” I peek my head into rooms, the apartment is spacious, and I have the urge to continue exploring until I poke my head into what is clearly his workspace. The entire room is covered in piles of fabric, swatches pinned to giant fabric boards on the walls. There are a couple of mannequins with finished designs and piles of sketches. It’s a huge contrast to what I’ve seen in his studio and the rest of the apartment. The creative frenzy and mess doesn’t even seem like him, yet here it is.

I wander closer to the pile of sketches and start to sift through them. It’s the beginning of the fall collection. Chunky off-the-shoulder sweaters, gorgeous trousers and dresses you can wear with boots and leggings. That classic fall aesthetic crossed with his own individual flare.

Andrew appears at my shoulder with a glass of water. “Do you like them?”

“I really do, not that my opinion matters.”

He turns me to face him. “Of course it matters. I hope that you’ll be wearing them, so I want your opinion. Also,” he says, giving me a stern look, “never sell yourself short. Your opinion should always matter. If it doesn’t, you’re in the wrong place.”

I duck my head at the sudden burst of emotion that surges through me at those words. “We barely know each other; you can’t know that.”

Andrew pulls me away from the sketches and into his living room where he settles us on a short couch, close enough to touch, big enough that we’re not crowded. “It might sound strange to say, but in fashion you learn to judge people quickly. People almost always reveal themselves with their clothes, even if they’re not honest. I’ve been doing this a long time, and have learned what to look for in the people I want to know better. The people I want to spend time with.” He smiles and it seems more relaxed than I’ve ever seen him. “All that to say that I saw who you were when you walked into that room, and I was blown away.”

I blush again, and he laughs. “I like it when you blush, though it’s funny that someone who has such a strong exhibitionist streak is so shy.”

“I’m not an exhibitionist,” I say, shaking my head.

He raises an eyebrow. “I’d say our experiences together show that that’s not true.”

“But it’s not them, it’s you,” I blurt out. “I was a mess in the exhibition until I saw you, felt you watching. The same at the gallery. I had no idea what I was doing, and then you were there and suddenly…you being the audience made everything make sense. I don’t care if people see me—only if you see me.” My blush deepens and I’m suddenly afraid of that admission which seems too deep and intimate despite the fact that we just had sex.

He reaches out, fingers brushing along my skin to cup the back of my neck. “And what if I had decided that I did want to fuck you in the middle of that gallery, in front of anyone. How would you have felt?”

“At that point, I honestly don’t think I would have cared.”

Andrew pulls me closer, a wicked grin on his face. “And tonight at the club? You’re going to tell me that it was only me touching you that was turning you on? Not the fact that we could be caught—could be seen—at any moment?”