“You don’t have to thank me. There was never any doubt in my mind that you could do it,” I say from behind him. “So, how did it feel, driving out on the roads?”
He unlocks the door and turns on the hall light.
“Once I got past the initial apprehension, I started to feel okay. I am not saying I wasn’t having thoughts about the accident, but I pushed them aside and got on with it. That was when I remembered that feeling I always got when I drove. It felt good. But I know it’ll be a whole different ball game when I take a car out on the track.”
I step inside his house and close the door behind me. “Baby steps.” I offer him a gentle smile. “And if you need any support out on the track, let me know. I can be there.”
He takes a step closer to me. My heart starts to thrum in my chest.
“You’d do that?”
“Yes.” My voice has gone all breathy again. He’s your patient, India. “I mean, of course, it’s all part of the therapy service.” I straighten up, changing the tone of my voice.
“Of course it is.” A frown crosses his face like a dark shadow. He turns from me and begins walking down the hall. “What would you like to drink?” His tone sounds hard.
Feeling off-balance and confused, I kick my heels off and follow him. As I walk, I ask, “What do you have?”
“I don’t have much alcohol in here anymore since I cut back, but I do have a bottle of champagne.”
“Champagne works for me.”
I walk into his kitchen. It’s modern, all glossy white cabinets and silver countertops.
“Wow. This is a nice kitchen.”
“Thanks.” He takes his jacket off, hanging it over the back of a stool at the breakfast island. Then, he moves across the kitchen and gets a bottle from the fridge. “Do you like to cook?”
“Not really. I just like kitchens. They’re my thing. I want to have a kitchen just like yours and have someone cook for me. Then, I could just sit here all day, eating amazing food, while staring at my pretty kitchen.” I grin at him, and he returns it.
I remove my jacket and take a seat on a stool at the breakfast island, and set my jacket on my lap.
Leandro puts two champagne glasses down in front of me. He holds up the bottle as he unwraps the foil from the champagne.
Bollinger. Very nice.
He pops the cork with ease.
“I’m impressed,” I say at his cork-popping abilities.
“Years of practice on the podium.” He pours out the champagne into the glasses.
“And you’ll have many more years of it, too.”
He picks up his glass. “Here’s to hoping.”
I pick up my glass and chink it against his. “You will. I’m sure of it.” I take a sip of my champagne. Delicious.
“You know, this is my first drink in weeks.” He leans his hip against the counter.
“I shouldn’t be encouraging your drinking.”
He lets out a deep chuckle. “I’m not an alcoholic, India. I just used it as a tool to make me feel better.”
“But it didn’t.”
“No…but I do feel better now. Because of you.”
That makes me smile. “Leandro, all I’ve done is listen and guide.”
“No.” He shakes his head. “You have done so much more than that.” He puts his glass down, eyes fixed on me.
My belly starts doing flips. I look away.
“Are you hungry?” he asks. “I can make you something to eat.”
“As appetizing as that sounds, I have to get home. It’s my turn to make dinner tonight. I can’t leave Jett starving.”
I finish off my champagne, fully aware that he’s watching me.
“Thank you for the drink.” I slide off the stool.
My legs feel wobbly, and it’s not because of the champagne. It’s because of the beautiful man standing before me. I pull my jacket on.
“Sorry to drink and run.” I turn and head out of the kitchen.
“Don’t apologize. You have a son to get home to.”
He’s behind me as I walk down the hall to the front door. I’m fully aware of his nearness, and his delicious scent. He’s driving me to distraction.
I really need to get out of here before I do something stupid.
I slip my feet into my heels and turn to him. He’s a lot closer than I expected.
“Well, I guess I’ll see you in a few days.” I tuck my hair behind my ear.
We’re staring at each other, and I’m pretty sure I just looked at his mouth.
Time for me to go.
“Okay…well…” I fumble for the handle behind me.
He leans into me. I close my eyes, my lips parting on a breath…
Then, I hear the door click open.
I blink my eyelids apart. He’s watching me, a hint of amusement on his face.
Embarrassment floods me.
“I’ll see you in a few days,” I mumble, then, I’m out of there, lickety-split.
“Good night, India,” he calls from behind me.
Flustered, I get my keys from my bag and climb into my car.
He’s standing in his doorway, watching me.
I start the engine and slam the car into reverse. He lifts a hand in good-bye, so I throw a quick wave at him and peel out of there.
Oh my God, I’m mortified!
I really thought he was going to kiss me. And worse, I was going to let him.