Time Changes

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Part Five


And from his expression it seemed he’d not noticed their tryst. Fortunately. Stunned and unsure of herself, or her feelings, Alexis took a second to compose herself then, Peter on the other hand leaned back in his chair and smiled at Bob.

                "I was dreading you wanting another dance!" Lex finally managed when it was obvious Peter was going to sit in smug silence!

Bob guffawed loudly, "Maggie always says I’m no good dancing! You should show Alexis your moves Peter! See if you’re better at this dancing thing than me!"

Chuckling, he pooh-poohed the idea, "I’m bushed Bob...."

The older man laughed tweaking his shoulder playfully, "Go on, these nights are meant for the younger people!"

                "How can I refuse that?" Peter asked awkwardly, as Alexis shrugged feeling even less in control as the evening progressed.

He led a still disorientated Alexis to the dance floor, just as the band switched to a ballad. "Typical!" he muttered, forced to pull her into his arms.

She snapped out of her daze at his harsh word. "What do you mean?" She asked, moulding to his dance position, but leaning back to look into his eyes.

                "I said it’s typical that a ballad comes on as soon as we dance. This could be awkward!"

She stopped dead, "why is that an issue? All evening you’ve been trying to rekindle our childhood friendship, despite my concerns. Now you don’t want to touch me?"

Peter’s eyes were sad, "it’s not going to work Alexis, this is too difficult. And it only becomes more difficult if we’re smooching like this."

Alexis had had enough of the mixed messaged he was emitting, and she squared up to him, "too difficult? All night you’ve been watching me, dropping hints that you want me, they may have been subtle, but I’m not stupid! You can deny it all you want," she thrust her pelvis into his and smiled at the reward of feeling him hard against her stomach. "But this tells me you do! We’re two consenting adults..." She had no idea where her bravado had come from, she was hardly the most confident person when it came to men, but he was angering her, making her confront how she felt about him, then running away. It was ludicrous!

He grabbed both her arms and shook her gently, "STOP! Nothing is going to happen, of that you can be sure! So go to bed little girl!"

Alexis saw red, this was the final straw, she hadn’t thrown all her eggs into his basket for him to throw it back at her, patronise her. Had she read this all wrong? Was she really about to make a fool of herself? Either way he was insulting her."Little girl?" she stepped away from him, "Is that what you think? Shit! And to think I would’ve..."

But the words died on her lips, turning she stormed away from the dance floor, not stopping until she was back in her room.

Peter, after watching her leave, drank himself to oblivion. She was right, he’d been fighting his attraction for her since he’d first set eyes on her, but she’d been full of anger and animosity, that only made her more desirable, but the second he’d managed to penetrate her defences, he’d thrown cheap gibes at her. He shook his head, he was a bastard. And her parting comment had killed him, would she have what? It had taken every ounce of his self control to let her walk away.

Alexis woke with a headache, and as her eyes opened and the room came into focus, her memories of the previous night came flooding back. Oh God! She rolled onto her back, keeping an arm sprawled across her eyes, how the hell did she face Peter today? Part of her was still furious with him, the insult was still fresh in her mind, but she was also aware that she’d dropped her guard. He knew she was interested in him, and that hadn’t got her far last time. It had taken SO long to recover when he’d abandoned her at sixteen so dramatically. Looking back now, she could see that it was all wrong, she was too young, it would never have worked, it couldn’t have. But after promising her everything, he’d disappeared, left her to face the music alone. That was what hurt. Whilst he thought she hated him she could cope, she was safe, but now he knew that she wanted him, and it gave him far too much control over her.

Lex knew from the schedule she could quite easily miss most of today’s talks. She wanted to see more of Stockholm, she’d read it had a more romantic history than many cities, not that she was in the mood for romance! It also had some top class museums. That was more her scene, she liked nothing more than losing herself in a sliver of history. Expanding her knowledge.

She headed to the dining room for breakfast as late as possible, hoping not to bump into anyone. The food was awesome, and she filled up on the lightest breads, scrambled eggs, cheese, tomatoes, cold meat and the extravagance of caviar. After several large mugs of coffee, she felt replete.

Dressed in her long coat, flat boots, thick leggings and a long sweater dress, she still felt the cold. But her hat, gloves and scarf helped. Despite the chill she was never more glad for both the fresh air, and the distance between herself and that damned hotel.

She walked miles, enjoying the scenery and the bustle of the City. She ended up at the Royal Palace around lunchtime, so after a brief look around, she made her way to a nearby restaurant for lunch, despite knowing that there would be a full spread available for her back at the hotel. By three o’clock she was shattered, so she started to head back to the hotel, and probably a confrontation with Peter.

A swim helped, and a long cool shower. Lex was in her room recovering, brushing her wet hair when there was a knock at the door.

Peter had realized for most of the day that he needed to apologise to Alexis. He’d behaved horrendously; one minute flirting outrageously, the next pushing her away telling her she was immature! He’d treated her as though she was some cheap tart. He felt terrible, but at least he’d managed to avoid taking things any further with her. He couldn’t cheapen her, sleep with her in a casual gesture, the past meant too much to him, and he wasn’t in a position to offer her a relationship, something more than casual, even if he hadn’t promised her father he’d never touch her.

The previous night, drink hadn’t help him feel any better and he’d woken with the hangover from hell, which only meant every tedious moment of the day had been ten times harder than necessary. He’d searched everywhere for Alexis all day, and he was now worried that she may have run off, that she may have left without him having chance to apologise. And he hated the thought that she’d hate him forever, especially as she’d only just seemed to stop hating him.

So after the reception desk informed him that she was finally back in her room, he found himself outside her door with very little recollection of the thought process that led him there. All he knew was that he HAD to see her.

When Alexis opened the door clad in just a robe her neck and face still flushed from the shower, her hair damp around her face, he let out a slow exhale. She literally took his breath away, and he was once again enthralled by her. How the hell he’d resist her again he had no idea. In fact it would probably take even worse tactics than insulting her!

Then he saw her face contort into a scowl, she hadn’t even begun to forgive him.

                "Alexis!" He reached for her hand, but she shrugged him away. "I’m sorry, I really am, I didn’t mean to lead you on! And I definitely didn’t mean to hurt you!"

She shook her head, "Hurt me? Why would I ever think that you’d hurt me? Not like you’ve ever hurt me before!” She grimaced at that, hating that she’d let that slip out. “I hate you Peter Marlow, and to actually hurt me I’d have to give a..." she shook her head, the expletive being lost in her anger. "It’s not your behaviour that pissed me off, but the way you dismissed me as an annoying child. Flirt with a woman, chastise a child! Says more about you than me I feel!”

He groaned and made to protest but she stopped him, “in case you haven’t realised I’m an adult, a grown woman, so don’t you DARE hint otherwise, you hear?” He nodded in a mute fashion, he was FULLY aware of exactly what she was. That was a huge part of the problem. “Anyway, I’m willing to accept that we were both drunk, we both said and did things we regret. So let’s draw a line under it, this is where it ends! OK?"

With a firm nod, she tried to shut the door, but he blocked it with a foot.

                "Don’t push me away! I am really sorry! You deserve better from me, I know that. Because we are friends. Can we discuss it properly? Can I call on you for dinner?"

She shrugged, "when I’m ready I’ll head down, if you’re there then I see no reason why we wouldn’t eat together. But I’m not meeting you, not like a date!"

Peter shrugged, "so I’ll see you in reception there, an hour?"

She didn’t bother to meet his eyes as she murmured, "probably half an hour....." she looked up at him, "is that long enough for you to preen yourself?"

With a laugh he turned and left.

Alexis checked out her reflection, a black cocktail dress, mid thigh, heeled black shoes, and a fake fur wrap looked classy yet not too over the top. She left her hair down, straightened and glossy, and light make up. Then taking a deep breath she stepped out into the hallway, heading for the foyer, and then the dining room.

Peter was pacing the floor, he’d been sat in the reception for a few minutes, but it all felt a bit contrived, so he stood and read a poster, some leaflets, anything to make him look like he wasn’t waiting for a woman who might snub him. Still he waited, checking his watch he realised it was only twenty minutes since he’d left her.

Alexis spotted him before he’d seen her. He was leaning against the reception desk glancing at a leaflet for some tourist attraction. He was a delicious looking man, dark, moody but those pale eyes were an enigma. He wore a black shirt, open at the neck and a black suit, and he was a striking sight. Not that she’d ever tell him again.

Pausing, she waited for him to look up. When he did she strolled purposely towards him. Attack was the best form of defence! "So what did you have in mind?"

Peter was speechless, she was beautiful in jeans, and the long red number the previous evening had driven his lust off the metre, but this dress, those shoes...God those legs. She was stunning. It took him a few moments to register her question.

Shaking his head, he looked up to her face, "well there’s dinner here, then cocktails, or......I could take you on the town? There are some awesome places to see at night...so I’m told!"

                "I am hungry!" She announced heading towards the restaurant, confident in the knowledge that he’d follow her.

                "So we sneak away before the cocktail party?" he asked trying not to run after her in desperation.
Alexis shrugged, "we’ll see."

Peter was once again reduced to following in her wake, but then that was a grace he didn’t entirely deserve. He’d been a bastard to her, and he could only hope she’d give him the chance to amend that, he wanted some time away from this hotel, this contrived situation to apologise. And then?

He shook his head, there was the conundrum.

They ate opposite each other, barely talking until they were joined by Bob, who was the life and soul. Giggling at his antics, they’d soon finished their meal. By that point Lex had become engrossed by conversations and stories from the other guests who’d joined their table, she loved meeting people, but soon she craved a little down time, somewhere quiet. The whole week had been full on and mentally exhausting.  

"Can I tempt you to a cocktail young lady?" Bob asked at full boom. As she turned to answer him, she saw Peter watching for her answer intently. He’d asked her to leave, to go somewhere quiet. Bob didn’t offer the same tranquillity, her choice here said everything.

Taking a deep breath she smiled, "Not just now Bob, I have to go and make some phone calls. I may join you later?"

Smiling at the table she stood, and headed out into the foyer.

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