Chapter 20: Seduction
I don’t dance, but here I am, spinning you round and round in circles It ain’t my style, but I don’t care, I’d do anything with you anywhere Yes, you got me in the palm of your hand, girl, cause I don’t dance
Jacob found himself identifying with the words to the Lee Brice song playing on the radio as he completed the project he’d been working on since the crew left for the day. It was as if the country artist had written the song for him and his feelings for Cassie. He would do just about anything for her. He was pleased she had called earlier but was disappointed she hadn’t made her daily visit to Tara. He missed her. It had been nearly forty-eight hours since he had held her in his arms, inhaled the sweet aroma of her perfume, felt the softness of her skin, touched her soft, moist lips with his own.
He understood why she had chosen not to visit Tara after her full day with vendors. He knew how exhausting it could be, both physically and mentally, making choices of even the smallest things, the pressures of making the right decision or having to live with a bad one. It didn’t make him miss her any less, though.
Meow. Meow. Meow.
He glanced up from his work to see Prissy. He’d already put cat food down for her; she seemed to want something else.
“Yeah, I know. You miss her too, don’t you, girl.”
He watched the small cat as she licked her bowl clean, then licked her paw to wash her face. When done, she turned and headed out the front door.
“I feel the same way, Prissy. No need to hang around if she’s not here.”
With his project completed, he began cleaning up and preparing to head home for the day when she walked in and stood. He was surprised to see her, but even more surprised by her appearance, finding her dressed more for an evening out rather than a visit to Tara. She wore more makeup than usual, her lips thick with dark red lipstick. Though her eyes were dark with heavy liner and mascara, he at once noticed a new sadness in them.
“Cassie, what are you doing here? I wasn’t expecting you. Why so dressed up? What’s up?”
“Jacob, I want you to make love to me.”
“You heard me. Make love to me.”
She slipped the black dress off her shoulders and down, allowing it to drop to the floor, leaving her standing there in front of him in nothing but sexy black lingerie.
Her nude body was even more beautiful, more perfect than he had imagined. It was his dream come true, what he had wanted and fantasized since he first met her. There she stood several feet in front of him, offering herself to him.
“What’s going on, Cassie? What’s this about?”
“I just told you, I want you to make love to me. Right here, right now.”
Jacob closed his eyes for a second. Lord, give me strength, he prayed before approaching her. When he bent down, he felt her fingers run through his hair. He picked up her dress from the floor and began pulling it up around her.
“What are you doing!” Cassie’s voice was frantic.
“I’m helping you put your dress back on, Cassie.”
“I don’t want my dress back on! I thought you wanted me, Jacob. Here’s your chance.”
“Put your dress back on, Cassie,” he said, holding it for her to slip her arms through.
She jerked it away from him and quickly slipped into it.
“Fine! If you don’t want me, I’m sure I’ll have no problem finding someone who does!”
She turned and bolted for the door.
Jacob ran after her, grabbing her around the waist. Wrapping both arms around her, he pulled her close against him. He nudged her behind the ear, inhaling the intoxicating scent of her perfume which he noticed immediately was not her usual floral, but heavier, more seductive. When he felt the touch of her hands on his, felt her lean back against him, it was all he could do to keep his lips off her neck. He had never wanted her more than he did at that moment.
With his face close to hers, where she could feel his breath on her neck, he whispered, “Cassie, you know I want you. I’ve never wanted anyone more in my life. I am so in love with you it makes my head spin just thinking about it. But not now, not this way. This is not you. Something has happened to bring you here like this. Something bad.”
He closed his eyes once again, took in her scent, the feel of her body a few moments longer, then stepped back, turned her to face him.
“Come on,” he said, reaching for her hand.
He led her over to the area where he’d been working. Reaching into a small cooler, he pulled out a cold bottle of beer, twisted off the cap, and offered it to her.
“Sorry, I’m fresh out of wine.”
Her lips turned up just a bit in the way of a smile as she accepted the beverage. Relieved, he reached in and pulled out another one for himself. Opening a nearby cabinet, he retrieved the quilt they had used for their picnic dessert. Spreading it on a bare area of the floor, he said, “Let’s sit.”
Once they were both seated Cassie downed some of the beer, then held the bottle in both hands as she focused on it.
“God. Jacob, I’m so embarrassed. I can’t imagine what you must be thinking of me right now.”
He reached over and touched her face, brushed her hair back.
“I’m thinking you’re hurting. Badly. Want to tell me about it? If not, we can sit here and drink our beer.”
He sat in silence as Cassie recounted the events the night of her birthday party and afterward, and then about seeing their wedding announcement in the paper.
“I see,” he said when she finished. He paused, then, staring at his beer, asked, “So, then, you’re still in love with him?”
“I don’t know, Jacob. Phillip was my life for twenty years. He was everything to me. And suddenly, with no warning whatsoever, he was gone. Margo kept telling me to move on, but it wasn’t that easy. I want to move on, with you. I thought I was ready.”
“Until you saw the wedding announcement.”
“It just threw me for a loop. I wasn’t expecting it, though I have no idea why not.”
She downed the last of her beer, held the bottle up.
“Got another one of these?”
“That I do,” Jacob replied. He retrieved two more beers from the cooler, one for each of them. Once he rejoined her on the quilt, Cassie continued.
“I’m not sure what I feel. I worked so hard over the past several months to hate Phillip—and Melanie—I never allowed myself to think about anything else. But I think a part of me wanted him to come back to me. When I saw that they had married, I knew that would never happen. I wanted Phillip to realize he had made a mistake, that he was wrong to leave me, that he still loved me. A pride thing, maybe, more than anything. Does that even make sense?”
“I think it makes perfect sense. I certainly understand the pride thing. My marriage was over way before I admitted it, but it still hurt to know Remi wanted to be with someone else. It’s not supposed to be that way.”
“No, it’s not. I wanted Phillip to regret leaving me. I wanted him to leave Melanie for me, the same way he left me for her. They broke my heart, the two people I most trusted besides Margo. I wanted them both to suffer the same pain I had. Does that make me a bad person?”
Jacob chuckled. “Not at all. It makes you human.”
“I’m sorry, Jacob. I shouldn’t have come to you like this. It wasn’t fair to you. You deserve so much better.”
He leaned over and kissed her.
“You deserve a whole lot better than Phillip. And me. But you have me. I love you, Cassie. I’m here when/if you’re ever ready. I already told you once; I’m willing to give you all the time you need. Come on, let me take you home.”
Jacob stood and offered her his hand.
She looked up at him with pleading eyes. “Can we sit here for a while longer? Can you hold me for a while?”
“I can do that.”
He sat next to her and pulled her close with her back against him, his arms around her waist. He held her while Garth Brooks sang "To Make You Feel My Love" on the radio.