The thought of other women, she hated it.
Seeing Bishop, hearing him, there was no feeling because there was nothing there for her to be jealous of.
There was no point in caring.
They were best friends.
Their married state was because their family needed them to be, but other than that, there was no connection. She’d always care about him, love him, but it was never on the scale that Bishop wanted. She didn’t even know if he loved her, or if he just thought he loved her.
Pressing her foot to the gas, she gunned the engine, needing to clear this matter up in her head once and for all.
The drive felt way too long, and she didn’t try to think about the possibility of rejection. She had to know the truth one way or another, and the only way to find it out, was to confront it head on.
Finally pulling into Preacher’s driveway, she turned off the ignition and didn’t see any sign of another car that would let her know he had company.
Climbing out of the car, she took the steps and moved toward the door. She went to grip the doorknob, but stopped herself, stepping back.
What the hell are you doing?
Why are you stopping?
What do you have to lose?
What did she have to lose?
Her feelings for Bishop were never going to change. They hadn’t changed in the past eighteen years. Their friendship was more important to her than sleeping with him.
She stepped into Preacher’s house, closing the door, flicking the lock into place. Her heart raced, and she felt a coil in the pit of her stomach, which made her feel sick.
Still, she didn’t back down.
Soft, classical music played. The kind Preacher liked.
She took each step, one at a time, moving closer into the room, before finally she saw him.
He sat with no shirt on, on the sofa. A few candles were lit, a bottle of beer beside him, and what looked like a steaming mug of hot chocolate. His foot was perched on his knee, and leaning forward, he was drawing.
She stepped on an odd floorboard, and he looked up.
“Robin,” he said. “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be at the party?”
He put the sketchbook down, closing it and getting to his feet. Staring at him now, words failed her.
What exactly did she say to him that didn’t make her sound like an immature girl?
“I don’t want to be at the party,” she said.
“What’s wrong? Did Bishop do anything?”
“Not to me.” She looked away. Get your shit together.
“I can’t help you until you tell me what it is you want,” he said.
“You want to know what I want?” she asked.
“Yes. I want to know so I can make your life better.”
Staring at him now, she knew there was no getting away from what she wanted to ask him.
“Do you want me?” she asked.
“You know what I’m asking you.” She took another step toward him then another, only stopping when she was right in front of him. All it would take was a little poke and she’d be touching him. There wasn’t a chance of poking him though, but touching his heavily inked chest was something she really wanted to do right about now. Would it be so bad to touch him, to feel his naked skin against her own?
“I know what you’re asking, but you belong to Bishop.”
“Says who? You? The world? The engagement ring? We all know this is a falsehood to keep the cops off our backs. I love Bishop. He’s my best friend and I wouldn’t want to see him hurt for anything, but that’s all it is. We’re friends. Nothing more.” Lifting her hand up. “Tell me you don’t feel this? Tell me you don’t want it.”
He didn’t say anything.
“I know Joanne was coming to you tonight. She wanted to be your present. I hated it. I was jealous of her because she could go to you to be your present, but I, I couldn’t.”
She wasn’t going to let him push her away out of guilt or a misplaced sense of trying to take care of her.
Gripping the back of his neck, she pressed her body against his, and brought his head down so she could kiss him.
Preacher didn’t fight her.
He didn’t push her away.
As his lips brushed hers, she knew deep down, she was making the right decision. At first, he didn’t do anything. His lips were next to hers, and suddenly, one of his hands was at her hip, and the other sinking into her hair, holding her close.
The kiss turned from cold to passionate within a heartbeat.
She moaned his name, but it didn’t get a chance to be expelled into the air as he plunged his tongue into her mouth.
Closing her eyes, she wasn’t afraid, or nervous. This was what she wanted. His touch was everything to her.