A/N Sorry short chapter, but needed the timely suspense! Next chapter to follow asap!
“Are you sure you don’t want to go out?” Luiz asked sliding his arms around Alexis’ waist, dragging her spine against his chest, his hands linking over her stomach as his lips lowered to her neck. She’d been sorting her laundry when Luiz arrived, a really romantic chore, but something she wanted to do before it got any later.
Lex shuddered as his teeth sank into the sensitive flesh of her shoulder, and her whole body tingled. Going out dancing was tempting, but on the other hand, eating take away, drinking wine and one of Luiz’s awesome massages could be just what the doctor ordered.
They’d been dating for a month, but no one in their group of friends knew, partly because they couldn’t cope with the hassle of it all. If things worked out then they’d have to come clean...and how long would it be until people noticed that if Luiz was absent from their group, then so was she?
“I really want to stay in, have some cassava fries...” she wriggled back against him; she’d loved the food she’d sampled so far in Brazil, and loved tasting new things. Luiz seemed to know exactly what to tempt her with.
Luiz laughed, “and a sandwich from your favourite vendor too? I’ll pick you a special flavour!”
She nodded, “and beer!”
He turned her in his arms and kissed her, “sounds amazing...but if I go out to provide this feast, then I’ll expect some...err...compensation!” His eyes glittered as he looked down at her, and she merely gave him a sexy, promising smile.
“I’ll do my best!”
With a groan on anticipation he almost danced out of the door.
Peter found the apartment block with ease, but there was a concierge and an intercom system. If ha announced himself via her intercom, then she’d probably tell him where to go, push him away. Surprise was the only advantage he had. Suddenly the concierge answered a phone call, and dashed off; this was the time to get into the building.
Just as he thought he was going to have to bite the bullet and buzz her door, put the ball well and truly in her court, a man came out of the front door. Peter dashed over mumbled an “obrigado”, and slid into the thankfully cool reception. It took just a couple of minutes to find her door, and with his heart racing, his hand shaking, he knocked the door.
"What have you forgotten? You always forget something! " Usually his wallet, but quite often his coat, shirt...and once underpants! Alexis was smiling as she pulled open the door expecting to see Luiz who had obviously forgotten more than the key she’d recently given him. Then froze, her body seemingly suspended in mid air by the last thing she expected to see on her doorstep.
Peter didn’t hear any words, he merely drank her in, she was even more beautiful. Her skin was tanned, her face vibrant, eyes sparkling. The fact that she only wore a robe didn’t seem to register. He just saw her face and knew that this was where he wanted, where he needed to be.
"Oh Alexis!" it was even a treat to say her name.
Alexis was still trying to muster words, thoughts, unable to understand how the hell he happened to be in the doorway to her borrowed apartment, and it wasn’t until he smiled that she saw red, he had no remorse! He honestly felt he could arrive and just expect her to smile and say hello? She took a deep breath, "Don’t ‘Oh Alexis’ me!"
Peter recoiled. He’d expected hurt, pain, even anger, but this resentment was so complete. He felt as though she hated him, that she never wanted to see him again. He floundered for a moment, he was sorry, he knew he’d been the worst kind of fool, but everyone made mistakes, and he had never known more surely that he wanted this woman than he did at that moment, this was what was right, being here, with her. A light had come on; he was seeing things clearly for the first time. He didn’t know how to sort this out, how to manage the future, but he knew that he wanted to try; he needed her to see that too! "I’m sorry!" It was a weak offering, but a starter!
She glared at him for an age, icy cold eyes penetrating him to the core, “Sorry?”
He heard the word, but his eyes were doing overtime, he kept drifting to a happy place just watching her, and had to shake himself to wake up again, he wasn’t really processing things. "Alexis, whether you like it or not I owe you an apology. I treated you terribly, and I’ve had a good long look at myself, and I’m not proud of what I did!”
Lex was stunned, he thought this was enough? A fairly impersonal apology? “Peter I have moved on, you were a flash in the pan of my life, over, gone, dealt with. I have no idea why you’re here today; you said all you wanted to back in Geneva...or rather you didn’t! And wasn’t THAT just the point."
Her anger spurned her try and shut the door, before he said anything, before her anger faded and she truly appreciated that Peter Marlow had followed her all the way to Rio. But he wedged a foot inside the frame and stopped her.
"Don’t!" She warned, hating that she could hear the delayed onset of emotion thickening her voice.
"Alexis, I have travelled all this way to see you, because I can’t sleep, I can’t work. All I can see is how I hurt you! How I want to right that wrong. I know that you came to me, wanted to talk, and I at least listened! I’m not saying you owe me anything, but I just want a chance!" He was genuinely shocked at how difficult this was, the ego in him had imagined she’d be happy, maybe relieved. Anything but this!
She laughed, "so you want to ease your conscience?” He was doing a great job of angering her, making this far easier for her. “You are so egotistical! You think that walking into my home because YOU feel guilty is enough? You act as though you are the only man on this earth and I am still some obsessed teenager!"
“I WASN’T hoping to ease my conscience, I just don’t know how else to say sorry. I HAD to come here; I needed to see you, more than anything!”
“Well I DON’T need this Peter, it’s not fair! We had a thing, it was a momentary thing, it’s over...”
She stormed into the hallway letting him into the apartment behind her, then turned on him again. “Stockholm was fun, brilliant even, but I accept that it’s over. You meant a lot to me, you were the only person who saw beyond my family to me as I grew up, you were this beautiful older man, the only man I’d ever met who saw me as more than my father’s daughter. I lived in this big, constantly full house, but I was always ‘just Alexis’. You were the first person who made me feel like an individual. I grew up because of you. For years you epitomised all that I wanted, but I now know it was the culmination of a crush, a schoolgirl crush. Stockholm scratched that itch; I can now see it was a full stop on my crush." She looked up at him and smiled, "so thank you for that!"
Peter was stunned, shaking his head repeatedly, “no! I don’t want this to end, not like this!"
Alexis suddenly had the power, she knew that, and she squared up to him, “‘I’m too busy for a relationship!’ That’s what you told me, you couldn’t be bothered to even try, to see if there was anything between us, if we could work things out. You gave up; you gave ME up, without a hint of a fight. You know you broke my heart? Twice!” She laughed sarcastically, “but I’m over it now, so go and be happy Peter, I’m no longer a burden to you!"
With her head held high, gathering the frayed edges of her resolve, she made to walk away, back to the kitchen, and away from the turmoil of being close to him, somewhere to restock, recoup and reassert her defences. She suddenly needed distance from him, but he reached for her wrist and pulled her back; she stumbled and fell against him. Peter groaned as his arms wrapped around her, and the sound scared Alexis, not because she was scared of him, but she was scared of the affect it had on herself. His fingers reached for her and cupped her chin gently, and she was breathless from the sensation of his fingers touching her, and it was a second before she realised he was lowering his lips to hers.
And then she went from breathless to her heart almost stopping! Not from shock, this was desire. This felt like nothing else, kisses with Luiz seemed monochrome compared to this vibrant, multicoloured, multi-sensual experience that was taking over every inch of her body. How could one man and one kiss be so...indecent? Overwhelming? So confusion creating?
But it was Peter, the bastard Peter!
As she gasped for air, she pushed him away, immediately ruing letting him get to her. She may be physically attracted to him, he may kiss like no one else, he might be the presentation of perfection in her eyes, but he wasn’t fair, he wasn’t honest, and he repeatedly hurt her!
Peter was smug, looking down at her with a smile, his arms weren’t around her, but she felt as though he was controlling her, even now, when she shuddered he smiled, "now tell me that that wasn’t special!"
"Yes! Answer the question Lex; I’d love to hear this story!" The voice came from behind, and they both spun around guiltily to see Luiz standing there, arms filled with bags, a devastated look on his face.