Pete watched Kirsten from the kitchen where he was cooking dinner. She sat at the table typing away on her laptop as she did every night since Jeremy’s death. It hurt his heart to see her so despondent. He missed the vibrant Emma, always quick with a laugh or sarcastic statement. Never before had he felt so comfortable with a woman, so at ease. The way she acted around him, as if he had always been there, led him to believe she felt the same way towards him. If only….
He shook those thoughts out of his head. They would only hurt both of them in the end, and Kirsten had enough loss for one lifetime. Still, he needed to do something to brighten her eyes.
An old song from the 70’s came on the radio. One of those songs everyone knew and would always sing and dance to. Suddenly he had an idea. Turning the stove down on low, he went to the stereo and turned the volume up. When Kirsten looked at him with a puzzled frown, he grinned at her, holding his hand up.
“Dance with me,” he said.
The small smile she awarded him was worth the effort, but it wasn’t enough.
“Come on, dance with me,” he said again dancing his way to where she sat. His grin broadened when she started laughing nervously.
“I can’t dance to this?” she exclaimed her face turning red.
“Of course you can!” Pete exclaimed grabbing her hand and pulling her to her feet. “You’re with me so of course I will make you look good.”
This got a big laugh from her as he whirled her around the small living room. Soon they were both singing and laughing as Pete expertly twirled her around, moving as if they were one. As if they were made to dance together.
Too soon for Pete the song was over. He finished it with a flourish, bending her over in a dip that would impress Fred Astaire. Pulling her up so he held her against him, both of them breathing hard, he suddenly had the urge to kiss her. Then the music changed. Something slow and sensuous began to play. Wanted by Hunter Hayes. Before they realized what they were doing, they were once more moving to the music, only this time something was different. The intensity between them had changed. As the room grew unbearably warm while they locked eyes,
Pete slowed their dancing until they were stopped.
“I should get back to work,” Kirsten whispered her voice breathless.
“And I should get back to dinner,” Pete whispered his eyes going to her lips.
Neither one moved.
“Pete?” Kirsten said. Whether it was in warning or wanting Pete did not know, nor did he care.
“I know,” he answered.
Still, they did not move from each other’s arms.
Unable to stand it a moment longer, Pete slowly lowered his lips to hers. When their lips finally touched it was everything he thought it would be and more. When she did not pull away he began to deepen the kiss, his arms tightening around her as she melted into him. Heaven could not be as sweet as the taste or feel of the woman in his arms.
Something in the background invaded his nirvana. As he slowly backed Kirsten to the couch the sound kept nagging at him, pulling him away from what he knew was right on so many levels.
“Pete?” Kirsten’s voice called gently. “Pete? Wake up.”
Pete woke with a start, gasping for air as he jerked up onto his elbow trying to get his bearings. He wasn’t in the living room and Kirsten was not in his arms. Instead she was standing at the end of his bed frowning at him.
“Are you all right?” she asked walking over to the side, sitting down next to him, her frown deepening.
Pete could only stare at her. A dream. It had only been a dream, yet it had felt so real.
Kirsten reached up, putting her hand on his forehead. “Are you feeling okay?” she asked again.
“Fine,” Pete said hoarsely, taking her hand in his and pulling it away from his face. Swallowing hard he tried for a smile. “I’m fine,” he assured when he saw Kirsten did not believe him.
“I was going to go into the office and do some work.”
“It’s Saturday,” he said looking at the clock. Seven in the morning. What the hell? “Why are you up?” he asked sitting up, this time his face held the frown of concern. Absently he realized her hand was still in his, but he was reluctant to let go, and she did not seem to mind.
“I couldn’t sleep,” Kirsten said looking down at her other hand that lay in her lap. “I can’t stay here. It’s too quiet. I need to do something,” she added suddenly standing.
Pete watched as she paced his bedroom, wringing her hands. The last month had not been easy. Panic attacks followed by hours of despondency. Pete was starting to worry she would never pull out of her grief. Throwing herself into her work seemed to be the only thing that worked. Still, it was not where she needed to be on a Saturday.
“Let me get dressed and we will go do something,” he suggested.
“No,” Kirsten said a bit too quickly, her eyes going to his then just as quickly looking away. “Justin said he would take me. I just didn’t want you to wake up and find me gone. I didn’t want…”
Pete had climbed out of bed and went to her, stopping her babbling by taking her hands in his. “It’s no trouble Kirsten,” he said touching her cheek with his fingertips, drawing her eyes to his.
The kiss in his dreams flooded his memory, as real as if it had actually happened. Swallowing he dropped his hands.
“Just give me a minute,” he said again.
“All right,” Kirsten whispered her eyes still locked with his. “I would rather it was you. I feel safer with you.”
Those words said with such honesty and vulnerability set Pete’s heart rate speeding. Smiling, he touched her face one more time then walked past her and out the door. Once he was in the bathroom with the door firmly closed, he leaned his hands on the sink and let his head fall, his body shuddering. What the hell was he thinking, touching her like that. If Alex ever found out, if Alex had seen the way Kirsten looked at him and how he returned that look, he would be dead.
Turning the shower on to cold, he quickly washed off the last vestiges of sleep and the dream. Quickly getting dressed he joined Kirsten in the living room talking to Justin.
“I’ve got her,” Pete said smiling at Justin.
“You sure man. You don’t look so good,” Justin observed.
“Nothing a few gallons of coffee won’t cure,” Pete sighed. Grabbing his keys he opened the door for Kirsten. “We have to hit Starbucks before we do anything.”
“Sounds good to me,” Kirsten smiled as she walked past him.
Justin went back to his apartment as Pete and Kirsten headed for his car. It was going to be a long day sitting in Alex’s office as Kirsten worked, but as long as he was with her, he knew it would be a good day. When Pete turned on the radio, the song Wanted by Hunter Hayes started playing.
2013 © Heidi Barnes
I heard a song on the radio and this scene came to me. It is during the second book of my series Obsession, called Seduction. I can’t remember what the song was that started this, which is bugging the hell out of me, but I did end with another song because this piece started out very differently than it ended.