Good god, if he thought that, I could only imagine what he’d think about my being with his daughter. “It’s not weird to me. Is it weird to them?”
He shook his head. “It doesn’t seem to be.”
“I suspect that as long as you’re happy, Leah is happy for you.”
“I am happy. Christ, Sebastian, I never thought I’d be happy again after my wife died. I certainly never thought I’d be with another woman, at least emotionally, you know?”
I nodded, even though my situation had been different from his.
“I forgot what it’s like to crave a woman.”
I lifted a brow. “I think that’s called lust, Henry. Most men have it.”
Henry laughed. “Yeah, well, that part is there too. Jesus, don’t tell Leah that. She’ll think her old man is a pervert.”
“Your secret is safe with me.” Turned out I was able to keep a lot of sexual secrets where the Hammond family was concerned.
“It’s more than that, though. For a long time, I kept telling myself to stay away. I didn’t want any emotional attachments. I thought if I avoided her, that need in my gut would go away.”
I frowned, because that I did understand.
“Then I gave into it thinking if I did, I’d get it out of my system.”
“It didn’t work?”
“Hell no. The more time I spent with her, the more I wanted her. And I don’t just mean in bed, although that part is… well, we won’t go there.”
“I understand.” Henry and I never spoke of our sex lives, although he didn’t have much of one until now, and I’m sure he didn’t approve of mine. I knew he wouldn’t approve of what I was doing to Leah.
“Anyway, I finally accepted that my heart wanted… no… needed her.”
“So, you gave in?”
He nodded. “It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. It wasn’t like that with Leah’s mother. When I met and fell in love with her, I was young and cocky. I didn’t worry about the ramifications.”
“You mean Leah?”
He seesawed his head. “Yes, although Leah has been encouraging me to date for some time. Mostly I worried about looking like a fool. She is much younger than me. Then I worried that I’d get hurt. I suppose a part of me thought I wasn’t good enough.”
I stopped short. “Henry, you’re the best man I know.”
He smiled and patted me on the back. “You’re a good friend, Sebastian.” Then he shrugged. “Insecurity is a bitch, though.”
We reached his ball, and I moved out of the way so he could take his shot. As he did, his words ran through my mind. He’d tried to avoid his new girlfriend, and later thought if he gave in, the cravings would stop. But they hadn’t. Wasn’t that what I was thinking with Leah?
Like Henry, the more time I spent with Leah, the more I wanted her. And not just sexually, if I was honest with myself. I enjoyed talking with her. I loved seeing how her mind worked when doing a business project. If I was honest, I liked how she challenged my bullshit. Valerie had done that but often I came away feeling inept. When Leah did it, I felt more enlightened.
Fuck, was I developing feelings for her? I knew I cared for her, but was I falling for her? Jesus that would be a fucking disaster, and yet, my heart did a little dance in my chest at the thought. I’d given up on the idea of love and marriage because Valerie had shown me that fairy tales were myths. But Leah was nothing like Valerie. Yes, she was as smart, and even ambitious, but she had compassion and tact, something Valerie had severely lacked. More than that, Leah’s heart was full of love and a need to give it away. I knew she wanted to give it to me, but I was too much of a coward to accept it.
Henry’s ball dropped into the hole and he turned to me. “I do believe that’s a birdie. My luck is good. Let’s hope it holds, as I’m seeing Karen tonight.”
I snorted. “TMI, Henry.”
“Oh, come on, Sebastian. You peddle in sex; you can’t say I’ve embarrassed you.”
I laughed. “Nope. In fact, if you want any toys to enhance your time with Karen, let me know. I can get you a good deal.”
Henry’s face turned red. “You’re right, TMI.”
I walked up to my ball, and in two strokes, I had it in the hole. “Par for me.”
“Your luck will improve, Sebastian.”
We walked to the next tee and hit our shots.
As we headed up the fairway toward our balls, Henry asked, “Are you still dead set against ever marrying again?”
“So, you’re going to marry Karen?”
“I don’t know about that, but this isn’t only a fling.”
“She’s young enough to want children. Is that something you’d want?”