"You look stunning," Peter eventually rasped with a dry throat.
Lex smiled for a second, and it just completed the picture of absolute perfection...for a second. Then she scowled. “I was just phoning your room...to return the champagne!”
Smiling he walked past her in to the room, “lucky I pre-empted that.” And before she could complain, he had reached for the bottle.
For whatever reason she didn’t fight him further, in fact she stayed, half propped on the dresser across the room from him, the dress split to reveal those long shapely legs in all their glory.
How he managed to open the bottle, pour glasses and converse, he had no idea. Later he remembered odd word or topics, but the clearest memories were of her smile, that infectious laugh, and her long neck accommodating the champagne as she sipped it elegantly. There was definitely no sign of the little girl he remembered. She was a hundred percent vixen, and he had no idea how to deal with the conflict that fact created.
Eventually after a tortuous time, the closeness to this ice maiden had backfired on Peter, he was leading her into the dining room. And not one pair of eyes didn’t try and discreetly glance at her as she entered the room. No one else came close to her, that was for sure. Within moments of arriving she was swamped by Bob and various other friends of Oliver, and he left her in their hands, talking about International Politics and Olympic medallists.
They were sat at different tables, he with some old college friends, her again with Bob and his cronies, and he was glad, how the hell was he meant to socialise when he could barely think in her presence?
The evening was a laugh for Alexis. Bob was like the favourite and humorous relative at Christmas, full of stories and wit, but he still had an eye peeled to protect her from everything. The food was divine, salmon mousse followed by roast duck, and her favourite cheesecake for dessert. It was very un-Swedish, but she was uncaring, and the wine was exceptional too. And for every moment that she thought about the food, or inane topics of conversations, she wasn’t thinking about Peter. And that was a definite plus.
When the dancing started, Bob insisted on dragging Lex onto the dance floor. She laughed at his antics, he took ‘Dad dancing’ to a whole new level. After a few dances with her other dinner mates, she found a stool at the bar where she could peruse the room without being thrust into the middle of everything. The wallflower’s view of a dance. Her usual place.
Ordering a glass of wine she sat there happily. Lots were dancing, and there were more than a few drunk people, so there was plenty to watch. It was one of her favourite things, people watching, and drunk people watching was even better!
"Is this seat taken?" a by now more than familiar voice asked.
She shrugged, not in the mood to argue, she was full from the delicious food, and relaxed from the wine and champagne, "be my guest!"
Peter sat on the adjacent stool, "Another drink?"
She smiled, "that’d be nice! Thanks!"
She tried not to study him as he ordered a beer and another glass of wine of her, paying the barman with a generous tip before sliding the glass in front of he and sitting down.
"Did you enjoy the meal?" When she glanced up Peter was studying her intently.
She nodded, "I love food, and good food even more! It’s a quality place here! Though I’m surprised it wasn’t more Swedish. Henrietta didn’t half enjoy winding me up about pickled fish and gherkins!"
He giggled, “how is your sister? I see she married Daniel eventually. The perfect society wedding!”
“She’s great, due her first baby in eight weeks, and blissfully moaning about every change she’s experience whilst relishing it! Think she’d actually like pickled fish, sounds like a weird craving. Do they really eat that here?”
Peter shrugged, “all I know is they insist on five star quality for all these conferences. It attracts speakers, and those attending have a little luxury!"
It was Alexis’ turn to laugh, "And for me it’s all at my father’s expense! How good does that sound?" Somewhere through the evening they’d forgotten their animosity, and it was nice to just talk, laugh, enjoy good company.
He laughed, "in that case we should order champagne!"
Looking at him, Alexis nodded, "you know you’re right!"
So she called over the barman and ordered a bottle, with two glasses and charged it to her room.
They tucked into the bottle with relish, sat on the adjacent stools, knees touching, chuckling like naughty school kids. It didn’t take long for the years and the anger to peel back, and they were soon talking amicably; Peter started to fill her in on his life. He was working out of Geneva, though did spend vast parts of his time in New York, London, lots of the major economic centres. He had a house overlooking Lake Geneva, and as he told her of the views, she could see the sparkle in his eyes. He really did love his home, and the freedom his life afforded him. He wore no wedding ring, and he mentioned no significant other, and as he talked about his jet setting ways, she knew no wife or girlfriend would tolerate that in their relationship.
Rather than speculate, the alcohol gave her the confidence to question him, “so, do you live alone Mr Marlow?"
He turned to her and smiled, the alcohol making him equally as loose tongued, "are you asking me if I am married Dr Carmichael?"
She chuckled, "you’ve no wedding ring,” she voiced her earlier conclusions, “so I presume not....."
"I was engaged once, but it didn’t work out. And to be honest I’m too busy to start a relationship with someone, it wouldn’t be fair, all the travelling. So I am boringly, yet happily single!"
"That’s not a boring thing,” she insisted, hiding the waft of pleasure that the news brought, “it’s great, you’re young, why shouldn’t you play the field? Look at Henrietta, twenty six, married and now having a baby. Almost game over for her!"
Peter was quiet for a while contemplating that comment, "it’s funny, I’d always presumed I’d get married and have kids, and I’m almost thirty, seems time may be running out for me!”
Shaking her head vehemently, Lex looked at him imploringly, "But it’s not like it used to be, people get married and have kids later and later. Enjoy life I say! Live for today!"
Peter laughed, "so are you not that serious with your man?"
Lex shrugged, until tonight she’d been devastated at missing out on time with him, and the trip of a lifetime, suddenly, sat with Peter, Steve seemed the pale vision from a distant past, and not Peter! "Suppose not. The fact that he hasn’t contacted me since he left two days ago means that maybe the holiday was the only reason we were together! Maybe my father could see that?"
Slapping his hand to his head dramatically he teased, "Whoa! Your Dad’s right...you are admitting that?"
She laughed, "not to him, and I’ll deny it if you ever tell him! But I’m here and missing the trip, but not particularly him. In fact I can honestly say he’s not really featured in my thoughts!" Not when you’re around! She tried to ignore the voice in her head.
Peter watched her for a moment over the top of his glass, then glanced at the barman who was opening the bottle of champagne, "so absence hasn’t made the heart grow stronger?"
"I’ll call him later, see how that goes, but otherwise, no I’m not professing my undying love to Steve Mackenzie." And she knew that was the truth. For the first time in months, Steve Mackenzie wasn’t her first...or even her last thought!
At some point their knees had interlocked, and they were as close as they could be without falling off their stools. Peter’s eyes were a hypnotic influence in their study of her, “so you’re just a field player like me?"
Lex nodded enthusiastically, but as she looked up at him and their eyes met, there was a change in the atmosphere between them. Suddenly there was tension, a slight awkwardness. She reached for the champagne and filled the two glasses as something to do to try and break the abrupt change in mood.
"Are you trying to get me drunk?" he asked as he took his filled glass.
She smiled coyly, and it was doing bizarre things to his libido, "I’m merely being generous!"
Peter laughed, unable to stop himself leaning close to whisper at her ear, "I’ve never got this much from your father for nothing! Keep it up!"
The feel of his breath on her neck made her hairs stand on end. Involuntarily she leaned towards him, gasping as her ear brushed seductively against his lips. A deliberate and provocative gesture.
Peter was a step away from hyperventilating. She was doing wild things to him through the power of suggestion. He was unable to fight the moan that escaped his lips, and eventually he voiced the words, "Alexis, don’t do this!" But despite those protests he didn’t pull away from her.
The room had faded away and she was only aware of him, and his mouth, a hair’s breadth from her head. Her body pulsed in both recognition and anticipation. She’d never realised it was possible to want something, she shook her head, this was more than want, no - to desire something with her whole body. Lex thought she’d worshiped him as a child, but she now realized that this was a whole different ball game, and a different type of desire.
Aware of every inch of him, she was barely able to think, turning her head to look at his face, she found she was almost touching his cheek with her own lips, "Peter?" she asked in a confused whisper. He wasn’t moving away, he was saying that this was wrong...but he wasn’t pushing her away, stopping anything.
Peter finally lifted his head to look at Alexis, her cheeks flushed, her eyes full of desire and gulped. It had been a long time since he’d felt the need to throw someone on the floor and devour them there and then regardless of who was watching, but he felt like that now. She was beautiful, desirable, and possibly the most passionate woman he had ever encountered. If he leaned forward now, he could bite her bottom lip, flick his tongue to meet her dainty pink one that darted nervously, and rather erotically over her lips.
But if he touched her, he’d have no control, be unable to stop. She was Ollie’s daughter, a man who had always looked out for him, respected him, and he respected the man back. He hadn’t lied earlier when he said he was off relationships, it was the last thing he wanted or needed, and with the schedule he had the next few months, there was no chance of anything more than a quick affair for the next few days. She deserved so much better, and so did Ollie.
But her face was so close to his, her breath warm on his cheek, her eyes wide, watching, every inch of her primed for his next action. He knew what he wanted to do, and what he should do, and he was having a huge battle of wills, and was failing badly. she was so bloody sexy!
"Alexis," he breathed back, his lips almost touching her. "This can’t happen, you know that?"
She shrugged and rasped "why? Cos this all feels right to me."
Her hand slid onto his thigh as though she was steadying herself, but he knew her motives were different, and heat bolted through his body in daggers from her touch to his pelvis where he started to throb unbearably so.
With a groan, he succumbed, leaning forward he brushed her lips with his, and like electricity, they both jolted. As he swooped, poised for the second touch, the replay, they heard a voice booming across the bar.
"So THAT’S where you kids are! Been looking for you ALL over!"