Astrid did not see Calder or Remy the rest of the week. It was odd. Calder hadn’t come to work nor did anyone speak about him. Like a ghost of Lewis brothers’ past.
She didn’t worry as much over Remy since the hours they spent in bed Monday left her satisfied they were in a healthy place. His profession of love surprised her, but when she told him she loved him too, it was during an orgasm. She cared deeply for him. Love, a deeper commitment than she was willing to admit. Previous boyfriends never dared utter the four-letter word. Most of her relationships lasted less than a year and only if the sex was regular.
Remy changed her life without her noticing. His steadfast devotion to their friendship had at first caused her to wonder if he was as lonely as she.
Orphaned at a young age and sent to live with cold grandparents made Astrid mistrust of real warmth when it came along. How could anyone really be sincere as they appeared when she expected knives in her back? People lied to your face, looked out for themselves, and she on a good day skeptical of genuine interest.
She only accepted Remy’s goodwill after a few dates for what he offered. He just wanted to spend time with her when available and paid attention to her likes and dislikes, and vice versa. She knew he hated butter on his popcorn at the movies and that he had no family, the same as her.
The sexual tension blasted their harmony out of the water. She wondered if she should have jumped his bones early on instead of waiting. Remy was a fantastic lay. He obviously enjoyed himself too.
Friday afternoon she skipped lunch with her coworkers to phone Remy. She hadn’t heard from him in days, and okay with it because Wednesday she stayed late at the office helping Flo, but it was their date night. She could use some fun. Some of Remy’s reassuring compliments.
Surprise, he didn’t answer. She cursed, tossing her cell down on her cluttered desktop with a huff.
Astrid sat at her desk, bare feet propped up on the edge. The slit of her white skirt rode high, revealing a garter belt. Her pink blouse nipped in at her waist showcasing her hourglass figure.
Calder stared at her through the glass amused. She was oblivious to his leering, facing away from the doorway. Her legs looked too fucking good in the fine nude hose the band held. He bit his lip as she absently ran a hand through her thick, dark mane of hair. He itched to do that with his own fingers.
Astrid’s sudden appearance in his life lit something deep inside of him since he laid eyes on her. As before, silently observed her. She wasn’t aware of the fiery strength she exuded when she thought she was alone.
When she’d been up on the ladder the first time he spotted her, she seemed like a frustrated, stick in the mud by the all-black she wore. His sneaky-peek that day changed his theory once he glimpsed the frilly red satin panties. Fuck how he’d gotten hard.
Now, watching her skirt steadily work its way up as she swiveled back and forth in her chair, he realized he had the hots for her. How could his other brothers not have hit that already? He asked Cody his opinion of her only for the clueless idiot to shrug and change the subject. Maybe she drew him in because he preferred clever women. He liked them sexy sure, and she had that in spades.
Calder felt at ease with Astrid. She appeared shy around him, especially when he stood too close. He relished making her lovely cheeks red. When they were at the club, he ached to ask if she thought of him. He knew he came across as a stuck-up, silver-spoon douche-bag who had a long list of women to call on but grown tired of the fake attentions they threw out there for him to catch.
He wanted more in a woman. After spending his teenage and early adult years trying to figure out why women considered money his only virtue, changed tactics. He ignored the preening girls his last year of college, focusing on what really mattered to him.
What mattered still alluded him when it came to life in general, but wanted a real woman who got him. The Calder behind the pretty face, money and powerful family. Astrid made him laugh. She studied him with chocolate eyes which seemed to understand more than most.
Astrid’s cell rang.
She sighed, then seeing it was Remy, smiled as she answered, “I thought you may have left your phone at home… again,” She teased.
He chuckled, “Not today. What’s going on babe?”
“Sitting at my desk,” She absently tugged at her skirt, “You?”
“Nothing. It’s Friday. What do you want to do?”
She frowned, hearing an odd noise on his end. Wherever he was, it sounded weird. “Where are you?”
She could have sworn she heard a slapping sound. Slaps against flesh. She’d recognize that anywhere, she mused. The sounds quickly disappeared as if he stepped into a quiet room.
“I’m shopping,” he replied, “Want to see that movie we talked about? I may be late.”
“We shouldn’t go,” She laughed, “I hate missing previews, remember? Why not meet at Bounce? That way you don’t need to rush and I don’t have to wait.”
“Anticipation is good sometimes,” He seductively countered, “Especially the sexual kind.”
She grinned, dropping her legs off the desk, “We’ve done that Remy. Okay so, it’s a plan?”
“Yes. I’ll try to be there at 7:30. Wear a low cut shirt so I can ogle your rack.”
She rolled her eyes giggling, “I’ll be there at seven wearing something that hides all my naughty parts just because you said that.”
He groaned, “You tease! Alright… see you, baby.”
“Bye,” she hit the end button feeling odd. He sounded as if he wanted to say the words. Say, ‘I love you.’
A noise startled her, and she swiveled around. She didn’t notice anyone but someone had been there. After a few seconds, she shrugged it off then slipped her heels on and got back to work.
Remy… shopping? Where was he truthfully, because she believed his lie as much as she liked raisins which weren’t even a little? She was still curious about his job. Why wouldn’t he answer her questions? The secrecy was really starting to mess with her trust.
Flo and Mallory returned from lunch, bringing her a soda. She thanked them. Mallory slyly looked at Astrid’s fading hickey wondering if Calder had done it. They passed him coming in and he had a smug expression on his handsome face. Astrid wouldn’t have given them such an innocent look if she’d realized he spent ten minutes spying on her.