Layne was about to get undressed to take a shower after his ride across the moors when the door opened and Sable went in. “I was just about to take a shower,” he informed her.
“When were you going to tell me, Layne?” she demanded.
“Tell you what?”
“That you’re planning to move out and that you’ve been seeing that real estate agent who has been helping you to find a flat. I had to find these things out from your father. When were you going to tell me?”
“I was going to tell you–“
“When? After you moved out?”
“All right. I was going to wait until after I found a flat. That way, you wouldn’t talk me out of moving out.”
“Why can’t you continue living here? Why do you have to move out?”
“You know why, Sable. And besides, I’m not moving that far away.”
“You were originally going to move all the way to London. What made you decide to move to Manchester instead?”
“The commute to work is about 90 minutes. If I had moved to London, it would have been over three hours both ways and I couldn’t deal with that. I would have had to quit my job here in Yorkshire and find another one in London.”
“I suppose I ought to be grateful that you won’t be that far away and I can come and visit you often, but I still hate that you’re leaving, Layne. You belong here, close to me.”
“I don’t think it would be a good idea for you to visit me in Manchester, Sable.”
“Why not?” she demanded.
“You know very well what would happen if you do.”
“Are you worried that your real estate girlfriend will drop by and find me there?”
“Olivia isn’t my girlfriend–“
“What exactly is she then?”
“She’s a friend.”
“She’s the reason why you haven’t had dinner with your father and me three times this week.”
“Is she pretty?”
“You’ve met her before.”
“When and where?”
“Last year at the North Yorkshire Open Studios. You and I went together. Dad didn’t go. Olivia walked right up to us and I introduced you.”
“I don’t remember. I can’t keep track of the women you’ve thrown in my face.”
“Look on the bureau and you’ll see her business card.”
Sable walked over to the bureau and picked up the card. She looked at the picture of the smiling woman. “She’s very pretty and young,” she remarked resentfully. She was tempted to tear the card up but she dropped it back on the bureau. Her eyes were flashing with jealousy when she faced him. “Do you plan on seeing her again?”
“Of course. She’s helping me to find a flat, remember?”
“Tell me, Layne, is your friend in the habit of having dinner with men she’s helping to find apartments for?”
“Then, why did she ask you to have dinner with her?”
“We’ve known each other for a while and she thought it would be nice for us to have dinner together, that’s all.”
“And what exactly happens after you and she have dinner?”
“Nothing. I come home.”
“So, you’ve never been to her place?”
“What happens after you have found the flat you want and everything is settled, are you going to see her again?”
“I don’t know.”
“Damn you, Layne. I wish you wouldn’t flaunt these other women in my face.”
“I’ve never flaunted any of them in your face–“
“Oh, yes, you have and you’re doing it now with this so-called friend of yours. You enjoy tormenting me.”
“You should be one to talk about torment,” he muttered tightly. “How do you think I feel when I see my father put his arms around you and kiss you? It’s his ring you’re wearing and his bed you go to every night.”
She stared at him. “You’re jealous of your father?”
“Bloody pitiful, isn’t it?” he muttered, turning away in disgust.
She went up behind him and put her arms around him. “You’ve no reason to be jealous of him, Layne. It’s you I love.”
“Do you and he still have relations?”
“Hardly and when we do, I close my eyes and pretend that I’m with you.” She began to kiss him on his bare back.
His breath quickened and he closed his eyes. “Sable…” The feel of her lips on his skin was driving him crazy. “You’d better go.”
“No, I don’t want to go and I know that you don’t want me to either.”
“Damn you,” he muttered as he swung around and faced her. Their eyes met for one charged moment before he grabbed her by the front of her shirt and she gasped when he ripped it open. After dragging the torn material off her, he tossed it and her bra on the floor. Her pants followed along with her underwear. He quickly removed his jeans and briefs.
Instead of going over to the bed, he dropped to the carpet and pulled her down so that she could lie on top of him. Gripping her hair by the nape of her neck, he jerked her head down so that he could kiss her. She stretched out on him and eagerly responded to his hungry kisses. His hands left her head to travel down her back. She moaned against his lips when she felt his hands on her buttocks.
For several minutes, they exchanged wild and passionate kisses, both groaning as their desire for each other consumed them. Then, he rolled over so that she was lying beneath him. Pulling her legs wide apart, he entered her.
Outside of his bedroom window, a silver grey Rolls-Royce pulled up in the courtyard. The chauffeur opened the passenger-door and Mr. Wharton stepped out. He ascended the short flight of steps leading to the front entrance of the mansion. As the Rolls-Royce drove off, he opened the door and let himself into the foyer. He was greeted by Preston.
“You’re home at the usual time, Sir,” he remarked.
“Yes, Preston. I changed my mind about working late. Too beautiful an afternoon to spend in an office. I was thinking that after I’ve changed that perhaps, Mrs. Wharton and I could go for a drive or a walk on the moors if she’s up to it. Where’s the good lady? In the drawing-room or the conservatory?”
“Mrs. Wharton went upstairs to lie down, Sir.”
“Oh. I won’t disturb her, then. I’ll be in the library instead.”
“Very good, Sir.”
An hour later, Sable slipped out of Layne’s room, her hands clutching the torn shirt against her chest and scurried down the long corridor to the master bedroom. She hid the torn shirt in the back of her closet, intending to discard it at her earliest convenience. Then, she took a quick shower and put on her silk bathrobe. After brushing her hair, she lay on the bed and that was where her husband found her when he went upstairs to check on her.