Tessa wasn’t sure what she was expecting when Jon came back, but the mind meltingly thorough kiss at the door wasn’t it. She held on, the flu still overwhelming in its intensity, but it had nothing on Jon when he was like this.
She gripped his shoulders as he seemed to pour all his anger and all his frustration into the kiss. She lifted onto tiptoe to curl around him, drawing in all the rioting emotions that both of them couldn’t seem to expend.
His fingers slid into her hair, his touch as soothing as his kiss was wild and uncontrollable. “I’m sorry,” he said against her mouth. “I’m sorry that this has to be so complicated when it should be so easy.” He punctuated each word with a kiss, easing each one until his forehead pressed against hers and their eyes finally met.
“If it was easy, it wouldn’t matter so much,” she said, letting her cheek rest against his chest. She could feel his heart beating double time beneath her ear. She knew the kiss only had one small part to do with that. He was reeling from his reactions to Dot. “Do I want to know what happened?” she asked quietly.
He sighed, rubbing his stubbled chin against the top of her head. “I may be even angrier at myself than I was at Dorothea, but I know one thing’s for sure.”
She looked up at him, her fingers linked around his waist loosely. “What’s that?”
“Change is a coming, whether anyone is ready for it or not.”
He nodded, steering her into the living room to curl into the battered leather couch they always managed to end up on. “I’m not going to be dictated to by a woman that’s decided it was time to move on. She made her choice and now she’ll have to live with it, whether she’s ready to or not. I’m sick of worrying what or where I need to go. I have to do that too much already with my job. I’m not going to do it with my personal life as well.”
“This is a good thing, right?” she asked and cuddled into his side.
“Depends on your level of stamina, babe,” Jon said with a grin that made her stomach clench for a number of reasons. She just wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or not.
Three weeks later, Tessa was pretty sure she wasn’t ever going to mention the fact that she was feeling less than Jon’s partner. The man was relentless. As the holidays cleared, his social calendar showed its true colors. She’d been to at least three functions a week for the last two.
He’d been kind, the first week, with only one she decided. She fixed the strap of her black Mary Janes, smoothing the silk hose he’d bought for her on his latest trip into the city. She was hoping they would get a few minutes alone time toward the end of the night so she could show him properly.
She twisted the black skirts that filmed around her calves, so the slit rose up her right thigh. It was a little skirt that she’d found in the most unlikely store in their home town. She’d though the skirt was fun and flirty until the slit proved it was a little bit more on the devious side.
Flicking an almost demure green angora sweater off the hanger she pulled it over her head. Jon came out of the bathroom, his ever present cell attached to his ear as he toweled off his chest. “No, Tony don’t,” he sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose as he listened. “If you schedule that one on top of the Project Home dinner on the same night I’ll send you into the next state with the chopper, dumping you in the river on the way.” He listened again, this time his tired blue eyes opening and focusing on her for a moment before he gave her a lopsided smile and headed to his armoire.
She lifted her arms to fasten the necklace he’d given her for Christmas at the nape of her neck grinning when he came up behind her to press a kiss at the clasp. He stood behind her, wearing only his dress slacks, buckle flapping undone as the material dragged down to show a rare pair of underwear low on his hips.
Backing into him, she pressed her butt across the front placket of his pants smiling at him in the mirror. He met her gaze, the focus of the conversation starting to wane as Jon murmured his ascent but his fingers walked their way up her back. When he ducked under her arm his grin was mischievous as his nose bumped its way along her jaw, drawing in her scent.
“Tony, set the Make a Wish Foundation meet to Thursday and leave the Home meeting where it is, they have a coordinator that oversees those things.” His eyes went dark as he nipped her chin. “No, tell Audrey that she needs to send you a new itinerary so AEG can do their job.” He nodded because his tongue was too busy flicking along the back of her ear to answer his brother.
Tessa took the phone from Jon. “Tony, Jon has to go now,” she said before snapping it shut and dropping it on the dresser so he could mess up her lipstick good and proper.
She hummed into the kiss, drawing strength for the evening through his singular flavor. When his arms crushed around her middle she wiggled free. “Oh no you don’t. We don’t have time for me to find another outfit that isn’t wrinkled.”
He started pulling at the skirt, “We’ll just flip this up and…” his words trailed off as the skirt parted nearly to the top of her thigh. “Now, what do we have here?” he said with a slow, sly smile. “One of the best things about you, Tessa, is the way you look so sweet and then,” his fingertip followed the line down to her knee. “So surprisingly, not.”
She grinned, taking his hand and sliding it under her skirt for a moment so he could find the garter and the scrap of underwear, hiding underneath it. “Sweet is overrated,” she said and gave a squeak when his fingers gripped her ass and tapped playfully.
“Even better when you’re naughty.” He groaned and pulled away. “Knowing you’re nearly bare under that skirt all night is not going to make this night go any quicker you know.”
She fixed the line of her peachy pink lipstick and grinned back at him. “No? I was hoping it would at least make it shorter,” she said, wiggling at the tiny burn his light slap had left.
He shrugged into a lavender shirt, stuffing the ends into his pants before he carefully zippered up. “The only thing short tonight is going to be my attention span,” he said as she walked across the room.
She knew the flash of leg and tiniest spark of lace would be a fun addition to the night. She just didn’t know how fun it would be until just then. “I’ll meet you downstairs.”
Groaning, he tugged on his matching charcoal jacket that flapped to mid-thigh. All she heard was a muttered, “Evil woman.” Before she made it out the door.
The ride into the city was quick and painless as always. Henry was adept at getting them where they needed to go and she was slowly getting him to come around to the fact that she was now in that tiny little inner circle of Jon’s life.
Leaning back in the seat she had one leg hanging over Jon’s as they ended up riding most of the time. She’d grown accustomed to his constant use of the phone and instead of sitting quietly in the corner, she liked to keep a little connection between them. It seemed to work for them, Jon’s natural affection was appeased and she read a good three chapters of her latest ARC that had come into the store.
She’d even started ignoring the cameras as soon as they stepped out of the limo or whatever dark car they ended up riding in. It was just a fact of life that she’d be filmed on a semi-constant basis if she was with Jon. As they pulled up the venue Jon flipped his phone shut and smiled at her, sliding a hand up her leg with a leer.
“Oh, no you don’t. I can’t be flushed on camera again or we’re just going to be known as the horny teenagers.”
His hand slid around to cup her calf, hooking under her knee to hold her still. “Where’s the problem?” he said and leaned in, flicking his tongue over the corner of her mouth before he dropped an almost there kiss on her freshly painted mouth.
“I don’t look good flushed,” she said rubbed the peach ice from his lower lip.
His eyes went hot and mischievous. “Hell yeah, you do.” His teeth nipped her wrist playfully, “Especially when those pretty green eyes dilate and your cheeks get all rosy after I make you come.”
She swallowed a groan. “And you call me, evil,” she said a little breathlessly.
His grin was wide and smug. “Only a slice of the payback you’re going to get from torturing me tonight with this skirt.” His hand slid higher, parting the filmy material until he traced the line of stretchy lace at the top of her thigh.
“I’m looking forward to it,” she said and grinned up at Henry’s discreet knock on the window. “What’s this thing we’re going to again? I can’t keep them all straight.”
He nipped her chin and leaned back, letting her get situated. “Soul Foundation charity dinner for the Philly Renewal program.”
“Right, the NJ Healthcare thing is Thursday, right?”
He smiled, “You got it.”
“You know I have two planners now, right?”
He slid from the car as Henry opened the door. “I rate my own planner?” he said and turned back to help her out of the car.
“Your planner is way more active than mine.” She smiled up at him and laughed when he made sure the leg she stepped out on flashed the line of smoky silk. “You know I just flashed my leg to half the paparazzi, right?”
Laughing she linked her fingers with his as they headed inside.
They spent the evening schmoozing. She’d learned to go with the flow and treat each and every person she met like she did her customers. The warm and welcoming rush of smiles and teasing could get just as many wallets to open for Jon’s Soul Foundation as they did for her cash registers.
The speeches tended to wear a bit on her though. They all kind of sounded alike with a different foundation or charity attached to it. Wondering if tonight’s speech would last fifteen minutes or forty-five she shifted in her chair.
“If you don’t stop fidgeting, I’m going to have to drag you into the coat closet to relax you.”
She slid her legs over closer to him and let the soft silk hose swish together. “Oh really?” She let the tip of her shoe bump against his pant leg.
His fingers dipped under the tablecloth, “Yes really.”
Her eyes widened when his fingers slid up and under her skirt, tracing lazy circles along her thigh. She swallowed with a little more difficulty when he dragged her chair closer, one inch at a time and with inch closer, he moved higher and higher until his fingertips encountered the flesh of her upper thigh.
“Well hello there,” he said softly to only her. He smiled as the head of the Soul Foundation’s charity coordinator waved at him from across the round table before adjusting her gaze back on the speaker.
She swallowed back a low moan as he crept higher and nudged her legs further apart, his exploring touch suddenly frozen in time when he discovered the little secret she’d been keeping all night. His fingers gripped her thigh tight for a moment to let her know that retribution would be his as he slipped a finger inside the wide slit in her panties.
She tried to keep her face still and attentive to the speaker while he slowly drove her insane beneath the cover of cream damask and stuffy chatter. When the dark spots started to blur her vision she dropped a hand under the table to still his clever fingers.
“Can’t take it, babe?” he said in a near toneless whisper. “Can you sit here and come with a roomful of people around you and not let them know?” Her grip tightened on his hand, nails digging. “I dare you.”