The Forgotten Claim - The Claim: Book 1

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Chapter 14 - Cameron (Part 2)

Silence fell and as much as he wanted to dig deeper into the issues holding her back, he could smell their food coming. Tangy mandarin oranges upon a bed of crisp spinach followed by sauteed sweet peppers, carrots, and snow peas on steamed rice.

Her evading eyes caught sight of the waitress approaching and her shoulders relaxed.

He cleared his throat as the waitress set their food before them and said she would be back soon with their tea.

When the waitress left, Olivia chanced a glance at him before picking up her fork and piercing it into the bright leafy greens on her plate. “Your stir-fry smells good.”

He glanced down at his plate before looking back up at her, hunched over her salad with a view of her cleavage. “Almost as good as you.”

Sweet heat rushed to her face and it was all he could think of. All he could smell. The food before him was irrelevant. It would satisfy him for a few hours. But she would satisfy him for a lifetime.

He wanted that feast.

Until then, he would starve. Empty calories would fill him day in and day out. Never fully sated.

Food was a temporary relief to sustain a temporary body.

He picked up his fork and pierced it into a small off-white cube he guessed to be tofu, and shoveled it into his mouth. It was chewy and dense, nothing comparable to meat or the texture he imagined her skin to be under his own teeth.

“How is it?” she asked, lifting a second bite to her lips.

“It’s alright. I can think of something better to sink my teeth into,” he replied, still fixated on her chest.

Her eyes narrowed. “Is that all you can think about?”

“At the moment? Yes. I’m starving, can you blame me?”

She brushed him off. “Well, you have a hand. Learn to use it.”

“This hand has seen more action in the last two weeks than it has my entire life. I anticipate that changing in the future but am willing to make sacrifices in the meantime.”

She rolled her eyes. “I really didn’t need to know that.”

“You brought it up and I cannot lie to you,” he countered playfully.

She flashed him an annoyed look, but her scent and the slight tilt of her lips hinted otherwise. Piercing more leafy greens with her fork, she lifted them to her lips as she shifted her weight in her seat.

Between bites of his food, he decided to change the subject to take his mind off the increasing tightness of his jeans. “So, what you like to do in your free time?”

“Free time? The only free time I get is after I put Chloe to bed.”

“So what do you like to do then?”

She shrugged, chewing on another bite of her salad and gulping it down. “Unwind. Watch a little TV, maybe a movie, read. You?”

Masturbate. He cleared his throat as he pushed that thought back. “I’ve had too much free time in the last two weeks. It’s boring. I’m not interested in most of the shows on TV or reading books. I enjoy a good action movie every now and then. I’ll read a couple of men’s fitness magazines and spend time in the condo’s gym—which is shitty—but otherwise, I spend most of my free time thinking about you and Chloe. And the past.”

She didn’t respond and he suspected that she didn’t know how to respond.

He didn’t want the conversation to die. He wanted to know more about her and Chloe. He missed so much, it would take days for him to catch up.

“What about Chloe? What does she like to do?”

“Cameron, let’s keep the conversation about us and where we go from here,” she said as the waitress came over with a tray topped with tiny black Asian style teacups and matching stout pot.

She set everything in the middle of the round table and poured tea into the little cups before leaving.

Olivia reached for her teacup and sipped the hot, earthy brew.

He reached for his own cup and was surprised by its weight. “Are these made of iron or something?” he asked, wondering if that was the odd smell under the tea’s aroma.

“Yes, they always serve milk oolong in cast iron pots and cups here. They take their tea very seriously—almost ceremoniously,” she replied.

“I see that,” he blew lightly on the liquid as steam curled up in soft wisps.

She hummed, savoring the drink before setting her cup back down on a cast iron leaf-shaped saucer.

“So, about us,” he said, getting back on topic before taking a sip of his own tea and finding it too hot to drink. He set his cup back down on his matching leaf-shaped saucer. “What else is there to say?”

“Well,” she said as she gathered her thoughts. “You’ve reiterated that you want to be with me and Chloe, and I need to confirm that you genuinely want to be with us. Not simply out of a sense of duty because you’re her father because if that’s the case—”

“Is that what you’re concerned about?” He could hear the frustration bubbling up his throat. “After everything I’ve said?”

She clenched her jaw. “I told you. I can’t take risks when it comes to Chloe.”

“I never would have left you after that night if it weren’t for that damned emergency that almost killed me,” he growled. “Never.”

“You say that now—”

“And I would have said it then too,” he snapped. “I would have followed you around like a love-sick puppy every day, trying to steal kisses when I could and make love to you every night. And the moment you found out you were pregnant, I would have asked you to marry me. Not out of a sense of duty because I’m pretty sure the moment I met you, I wanted to be with you forever. And I can say that with conviction because that’s how I feel right now.”

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