Deadly Infatuation

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Chapter 2

Max

“Has it really been eight years?” I ask, rubbing my chin. I’m surprised how long it’s been since I’ve last seen Lily. There was a point in my life when I saw her nearly every day because of her being friends with my sister. She would either be at my parents’ house hanging out with Paige or I would pass her in the hallway at school. Though, I guess when I moved out of my parents’ home and got a place of my own, I didn’t have had a reason to see her as we barely spoke to each other, which explains why it has been so long.

She nods her head and gives a small smile. “Yes. The last time I saw you was at your parents’ beach house the summer before I went to Western Oregon University.”

That was the summer I brought my then girlfriend home to celebrate our summer break from the University of Michigan. I remember how we spent most of the break either in my room having sex or at each other’s throats fighting about meaningless things. Paige complained throughout our stay at the beach house we were ruining her and Lily’s vacation and looking back, I can see why. I squeeze the back of my neck and look contrite. “Yeah, sorry about that. I was a bit of a douche back then.”

She shrugs, seeming unbothered. “Don’t worry, it was a long time ago.”

I always liked Lily’s kind demeanor and the caring effect she had toward others and I’m happy that this still seems to be the case. I can safely say that she had a positive impact on my sister, keeping her out of trouble and being there when Paige needed her the most, and I will always be grateful for this. “Thanks.”

As we reach the end of one of the pebbled paths, I lightly take hold of her arm and steer her to the left so that we can walk in the vineyard’s direction. “It’s just this way.”

I notice the quiet hitch in her breath as I touch her and I have to bite the inside of my cheek to prevent my mouth from forming into a smile. I always knew that she had a slight crush on me when she was younger and her reaction to me now makes me wonder if she still harbors some of these feelings. Looking at her blushed cheeks under the moonlight, I’d say that she does and I can’t deny that doesn’t please me a little. Lily always had a cute girl next door look, but as my sister’s close friend and being two years younger than me, back then I never saw her as anything more than Paige’s friend. Though, when I saw her for the first time this morning going about her duties, unaware of my presence, I couldn’t believe the woman I was looking at. I was stunned at how she is even more beautiful today than she was in her teens and when she finally noticed me and walked up to me in her pale pink dress and smiled warmly I felt something inside me I had never felt before when thinking of her. I have tried to shake off the feeling for the rest of the day, putting it down to a re-connection of two people after years of not seeing one another but every time I catch sight of her I have wondered what it would be like to taste her lips or to bury myself inside of her; thoughts I absolutely should not be thinking. I’ve even faked that I have a woman lined up to be in my bed for tonight just to stop the temptation of doing something irrational and enticing Lily up to my room and having sex with her to get this wanting need for her out of my system. Hell, I could have had that bridesmaid back at the bar for tonight as she was more than willing to sleep with me, but her dark hair and slight frame reminded me of Sarah and the last thing I want to do is to have sex with someone who reminds me of my ex fiance.

As we walk into the heart of the vineyard, we become surrounded by masses of grapevines all running in perfectly neat lines. I can just make out the purple bunches of grapes hanging delicately, waiting to be picked, and it brings back memories of how I used to do this with my dad when I was a young boy.

“This place is still so beautiful, Max,” Lily murmurs while looking around the acres of grape vines before her.

“It is. You can see why I decided to work for my dad’s company. It’s rare I get to come down and visit the actual sites, but when I do, it takes my breath away.”

“It sounds like it’s worth it then,” she responds softly, looking up at me with her expressive blue eyes.

I clear my throat and pull my eyes away from them. “Hmm. What about you? I heard you took over your parents’ florist business.”

A sad smile touches her face, causing lines to form around the edges of her eyes. “Yeah, I have. Since my father’s death last year, I wanted to give my mom a break from working all the time, so I stepped up and took it over.”

I instantly regret bringing this subject up, as I see her crestfallen face. I remember how close Lily was with her dad. He was an amazing man and I remember when he would accompany my dad and me on many fishing trips when I was a kid. It’s hard to believe that he’s not here as he must have only been around 59 years old when he passed; too young for anyone. “I’m sorry that I wasn’t there for his funeral. I wanted to be, but I was stuck in London. They have a dusting of snow and the country grounds to a halt.” I shake my head, remembering the difficult time. Paige was beside herself when Arthur died as she saw him as a father figure, and being thousands of miles away, I could not console her properly. I tried my best by talking to her over the phone but it wasn’t the same, and with Sarah fussing that I was ruining our vacation, I hated every minute.

“It’s not your fault. These things happen. Paige gave me your card, and it was nice for you to be thinking of us.”

“I was going to send flowers, but then I thought you might be sick of seeing them.”

“I was a little,” she laughs softly. “Though I think I was more fed up with the endless casseroles. We were eating them for weeks.”

I laugh along until we both go quiet. “Your dad was a good man, Lily. He didn’t deserve to go so young.”

“Thank you, Max.”

I nod my head and we both quiet again. We walk the rest of the trail in silence. The only sounds in the air are of our shoes walking along the ground and of the music playing faintly in the background as we walk further away from the wedding party. I glance at Lily to check her mood, hoping that I haven’t ruined her evening, and I’m relieved when I see she looks happy and is running her hands along the leaves as we walk. Her blonde hair sways in the gentle breeze as we move and I can’t help but think how attractive she looks. Yet as soon as this thought comes into my head, I slam a door on it, stopping myself from thinking further about Lily and what I would like to do with her.

When we reach the end of the trail, I motion for us to walk around to the next trail, which leads back up to the marquee. It’s not until we get halfway up this that I think of something new to say that will probably make her smile. “Paige told me how hard you worked to help her get this wedding ready.”

“Oh, it was nothing.”

“Trust me Lily, it’s not nothing. You did a wonderful job with decorating the marquee and all the bouquets for the bridesmaids and for my sister.” I’m actually glad Lily was doing this, as Paige was driving me up the fucking wall sometimes. I was bored out of my mind when she spent two hours discussing what color tie I should wear and in the end I told her I wouldn’t wear one if it meant we could stop talking about it, but that only caused her to debate whether it should change to a bow tie and I wished I hadn’t had opened my mouth. It’s an understatement to say that I won’t miss her sharing every detail about this wedding with me.

A small blush creeps over her face, and she bows her head. “Thank you, but it was all Paige’s idea, really. I just placed the flowers where she wanted them to be.”

“I doubt that. My sister has talked nonstop about this wedding and all the ideas you had for the floral arrangements. You’re really talented.”

“Your compliments are too kind.”

“I only give them out when they’re deserved.”

She bites her lower lip and I fixate on this motion, thinking how much I would like to bite that lip myself. Lily catches me staring at her and I quickly turn my head away, praying that she can’t read my mind. As we near the lights coming from the marquee, I look down at my watch and see that there is only twenty minutes until Lily does something to commemorate my sister’s marriage.

“So, what surprise do you have for Paige later?”

She looks at me with a shocked expression on her face, unaware that I’ve been told about some plan she has. “How did you know I’m doing something for Paige?”

“My mom let slip. She didn’t tell me what you have planned.”

“Oh.”

She crosses her arms along her waist, pushing her breasts up beneath my jacket, and I have to raise my eyes to the heavens to avoid staring at them.

“I’m going to sing Celine Dion’s ‘Because you loved me’ for the father-daughter dance.”

“That’s Paige’s favorite song. She’ll love it.”

“That’s exactly why I’m doing it. She’s always said she loves my singing voice, so what better gift than to sing for her? I just hope she likes it.”

“She’s going to love it, Lily. I remember how you used to sing in the school plays. You out performed everyone there. I don’t know why you never pushed it.”

She gives a faint laugh. “I enjoy performing, but I love the business more. Plus, a career in singing means I’d have to move away to make anything for myself, and I love this city too much to leave.”

I smile, knowing that I could never leave this place permanently myself. “I guess that makes sense.”

When we finally make it back to the marquee, Lily slides my jacket off her body and hands it back to me. I put it back on and notice the delicate floral fragrance from her perfume on it. Wanting to spend a little more time with her, I’m about to ask if she wants to join me by the bar to get a drink but Taylor runs up to her and declares that I’ve taken too much of her time up and drags her away which is probably a smart idea. The more time I spend with Lily tonight, the more I’m in danger of doing something foolish that I’ll later regret.

My phone vibrates in my pocket as I make my way to the bar. Looking at the device, I see that I have an incoming call from my security, Johnson. I frown knowing that he would only result to calling me if it’s something serious. I lift the phone to my ear and speak. “What’s wrong?”

“We have a situation at the front of the house, Sir.”

“What kind of situation?”

“I’m afraid she’s here, Sir. We’re doing our best to resolve this, but she’s refusing to leave, and I doubt you would want us to call the police.”

“No, don’t.” That’s the last thing I want to happen. “I’ll be there in a few minutes. Make sure she stays where she is and keep her away from any of the guests, especially my family.”

“Of course.”

Ending the call, I shove the phone back in my pocket, my mood taking a nosedive. I was worried that this could happen and because of this; I took the precautions to cope with this situation. When I told Lily that security was keeping me updated, I was mostly telling her the truth about the reasons why. We have had some kids from town trying to gatecrash, but the main reason they are here tonight is to prevent Sarah from entering the premises.

Do you think Max will be able to resist Lily? What do you think will happen with his ex next?

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