Benjamin watches me for just a moment, making sure my legs are in. He mouths the words to me again.
I love you.
I silently give them back. As he shuts the door, the last thing I see is a satisfied grin on his face.
Kathy turns in her seat. “Okay… start talking. Tell me all about yourself.”
We’re chatting away like old friends by the time Benjamin rounds the car and gets into the driver’s side to whisk us off to lunch. He doesn’t interrupt or say a word, just drives with that same satisfied smile on his face.
I force the last bite of steak in my mouth because I’m so stuffed I don’t think I can manage this last bite, but it’s so damn good I must. I chew slowly, savoring the flavor. Benjamin spared no expense on celebrating our four-month anniversary, and it’s beyond ridiculously cute he wants to celebrate it. He brought me to CUT by Wolfgang Puck, and my eyes bugged out of my head at the prices. It’s been a bit of an adjustment accepting I’m dating someone who thinks nothing of feeding me a sixty-five-dollar bone-in filet while he dines on the one-hundred-and-thirty-dollar porterhouse.
“They have the most amazing chocolate torte for dessert here,” he says as he watches me swallow my last bite of food, forearms crossed on the table.
“I can’t,” I say as I wipe my mouth, placing my napkin back on my lap. “I’ll actually explode if I eat another bite of food, and that would be very ugly. Totally ruin the mood for what I have planned for you later this evening.”
“And what’s that?” he asks with great interest, leaning forward just a bit.
I wag my finger at him. “It’s a surprise, but I promise you’ll be barking like a dog when I’m done with you.”
Benjamin wrinkles his nose. “Not sure I’m all that interested now.”
“Screaming my name out to the neighbors?” I suggest instead.
“Now that has merit,” he replies with a laugh as he pushes up from the table. “Excuse me a moment, though… I’ll be right back.”
“Take your time, babe,” I reply. I watch him only a moment as he walks away. His limp is still there, but he’s been going out more and more without his cane. He’s been working on strengthening his leg at the gym, and he’s suffering less pain with weight bearing.
Not that it matters to me. He’s sexy with or without the cane—limp or no limp.
While Benjamin’s gone, I continue to sip at my red wine and surf my phone. I shoot a quick text to Jorie to check in on her. Her pregnancy is going smoothly, and she looks so utterly adorable with her baby bump that I can’t stop buying cute, tight dresses for her that showcase my new goddaughter who will be arriving in a few months’ time.
“Well, don’t you look ravishing tonight?” a male voice says from across the table. It sounds vaguely familiar. After my head pops up, I blink in surprise at August Greenfield sitting across from me. I haven’t seen him since the night in the Wicked Horse when I’d almost had a threesome with him and Cage.
Of course, Benjamin and I rarely go to the Wicked Horse. He gave up his membership. If we’re feeling especially frisky, he’ll pay the onetime fee and I’ll use the special membership Jorie got me. But we’ve been maybe three times since he introduced me to his mom and things changed for the better.
August sits in Benjamin’s chair, giving me a wickedly handsome grin, both dimples popping. I just cock an eyebrow, wondering what his game is.
“This is where you say back to me, ‘Gee, August… you look mighty fine yourself’.” His eyes sparkle with mischief.
“You’re all right,” I say with a smirk, crossing my arms over my chest. “Funny how you waited until Benjamin was gone before you came to say hello.”
“Well, my interest isn’t in Benjamin,” he drawls.
“Well,” I reply tartly. “It better not be in me, because my only interest is in Benjamin.”
August crosses his hands over his heart, jerking like I’d just shot an arrow there. “Ouch, that hurts.”
I snort. “No, it doesn’t.”
“I thought we really had a connection, Elena,” he says with a pout.
“Your face is going to have a connection with my fist if you don’t get out of my chair,” Benjamin says as he comes up behind August. But he doesn’t say it with any real menace. It’s almost an idle promise.
Smirking, I nod toward Benjamin. “I’d do what he says. He’s also a hair puller.”
August throws his head back and laughs, easily vacating Benjamin’s chair. To my surprise, he thrusts his hand at Benjamin, who hesitantly takes it.
He glances between Benjamin and me as he shakes his hand. “Actually… I saw the two of you over here having dinner, so I just wanted to come over to congratulate you. That night in the Wicked Horse, I sort of figured Elena had gone permanently off the market.”