Monday, March 25, 2013
20. Dominic Takes Katy Home...
Dominic carried Katy to his rental car, tucked her into the passenger seat and buckled her in, then as he walked around the car, a movement on the top floor of Lily’s building caught his eye. He watched the windows for a moment, idly wondering who Lily was sharing all that food with, but when he didn't see any more movement, he shrugged and got behind the wheel. Then the sight of Katy drove all other thoughts from his head. He could almost see dreams stirring in the irresistible sapphire depths of her sleepy eyes as they glittered under the streetlight. She toed off her shoes, then pulled her legs up and tucked her feet under the costume's cloak, turning in her seat to give him a soft smile. “Home James,” she murmured. Dom grinned as he leaned over and kissed her nose. “And where exactly would that be, Little Red?” He knew where she lived, of course, though she wasn’t aware of that.
Giving him the address, she closed her eyes, the sweet smile still on her face. Staring, he wondered how she’d gotten under his skin so quickly, so easily. No, he thought ruefully, not under. Inside.
As he drove slowly toward her apartment, he had a hard time concentrating on the road, the traffic lights, the stop signs. Just the thought of finally having her, being with her, touching her-- Dominic fought the ache, the true physical pain of what had become a near constant desire. How many nights had he stood in the darkness outside her apartment, fighting the urge to give in, to just go to her?
All of them. Every night he battled his need. But finally, tonight the wait was over.
A wave of restless impatience swept over him, followed immediately by a stunning realization: this tiny waif of a woman had turned him upside down; without even being aware of it, she had seduced him right out of his mind. When had the tables turned? Which precise moment over the past week was the one, the defining moment when it all backfired, turning him from predator to willing prey?
Since their meeting at the bakery, Dominic had begun a single-minded pursuit of the luscious Katy Montgomery. His plan had been to entice her so effectively, by the Halloween party she would be falling all over him. Unbeknownst to her, he had followed her home, to work, shopping. Everywhere she went, he was there in the shadows.
He'd called her several times each day, and occasionally they had met for lunch or coffee, but he held her at arms length. Seduction from a distance. He’d loved the whole plan. But then, an unexpected thing happened: As he followed, watched, learned what she liked, what things made her laugh with such delightful abandon--and those things were legion he discovered--he began to wonder if his plan was just plain stupid as he agonized over how bloody long one measly week could be.
One day, about halfway through the interminable week, he couldn’t resist the temptation to see her apartment, touch her things, breath her scent. He wanted to see how she lived, visualize her in bed, in the bath.
After following her to work, he returned to her apartment, the second floor of a large Victorian house, one that outwardly had seen better days. Once inside however, Dominic discovered her rooms, though small, were pleasantly charming with high ceilings, wainscoting in the tiny dining room, an old-fashioned claw-foot tub in the bathroom, and beveled glass windows that looked out over the quiet street in the front, and the large, wild Ravenna Park to the back. Her furniture, cast-offs and thrift store purchases, had been repainted or reupholstered in bright, cheerful colors in a style that reflected Katy’s personality. One entire wall in the living room was a bookcase, stuffed to overflowing; he found two more in her bedroom, one on each side of her cast iron bed--a bed covered with an assortment of quilts, and pillows of every shape and size. Nothing matched, and yet it worked perfectly; a kaleidoscope of colors, textures, and sensuality.
The whole place made him smile as he wandered from room to room, lightly touching the quilts, the overstuffed chair in the corner by a large window, books piled on a small end table, the soft throw tossed over the back of the couch in the living room. When he began to imagine her in the bathtub, with steam and bubbles flushing her face, her body, he left the house in a dizzying rush of hunger.
Nearing her apartment now, Dom shook his head, a slight smile curving his lips. He hadn’t gone back after that day. Once had been enough. Just thinking about it, about being with her, made him burn. Not only had he never waited for a woman, he’d never wanted one like he wanted her.
Dom held tightly to the hope that once satisfied, once he'd finally had her, this madness would stop and he could get back to work on the real issues: his father, the book and Daniel Valentine. As he pulled the car to the curb, he looked over at Katy, her face soft and beautiful in sleep. And tried to ignore the coil of regret that settled in his belly.