When Tiffany walked into her flat and saw Sebastian standing by the window, to say that she was astonished to see him would have been a gross understatement. He turned when he heard her, his gaze traveling over her slim figure in the short sleeve turquoise blouse and navy blue pencil skirt.
Ignoring the accelerated beating of her heart, she tossed her handbag on the sofa and going over to him, she demanded, “How did you get in?”
“Your room-mate let me in before she left.”
“I’m going to have a talk with her about whom she lets into the flat when I’m not here.”
His mouth tightened then. “I will ignore that remark,” he muttered tightly.
“Why are you here?”
“I had to talk to you.”
“Let me guess. You’re here to warn me to stay away from Elliot again.”
“That’s one of the reasons.”
“And what’s the other?”
“My mother asked me to give you this.” He handed her a white envelope.
Curious, she took it and opened it. It was an invitation to a dinner party next week Saturday. She put it back in the envelope. “Please thank her for me.”
“Are you going to come?”
“Would you prefer if I didn’t?”
“Whether you come or not doesn’t matter to me,” he retorted.
That stung and she turned away. “Yes, you can tell your mother that I will be there.”
“Now about Elliot…”
“Why are you so bent out of shape about our relationship?”
“I’m not bent out of shape as you so eloquently put it. I just don’t think that you’re suitable for each other.”
“And what makes you an authority on who is compatible and who is not?”
“So, you’re basing your misgivings about Elliot and me on your failed relationships?”
“My past relationships are not the issue here, your relationship with my brother is.”
“Well, my relationship with your brother is none of your business.”
He glanced around. “It feels like a sauna in here,” he said, removing his jacket and placing it on the window seat so that he could loosen the top button of his shirt. “Don’t you have air conditioning?”
He was right. It was hot in there. She tried not to notice how snug the rather expensive looking light blue shirt was snug against his broad chest as she walked past him to the wall where the panel for the air-conditioner was and turned it on. “Are you satisfied now?” she quipped when she rejoined him by the window.
He glowered at her. “Very. Now, back to the main reason why I came here today—”
“You’re wasting your time,” she informed him crossly. “I will not end my relationship with Elliot because of you. Now, if you don’t mind, I would like to unwind after a very busy day at the office.”
“Do you love him?” He asked abruptly, startling her.
“Yes, I love him.”
“I’m not convinced,” he said, much to her chagrin.
Raising her chin, her eyes flashing, she retorted, “I don’t care if you’re convinced or not.” When she would have turned away, he caught her by the arm, forcing her to look up at him. Their eyes met and held for several tense minutes during which she hear herself breathing heavily or was that him? Her heart was racing and panicking, she tried to pull her arm away but his grip was firm. “Let go of me.”
“Not until you convince me that you love my brother,” he muttered tightly, his eyes stormy as they met her wide ones.
“Let go of me or I will scream,” she threatened.
Instead of letting her go, he pulled her closer. His eyes dropped to her lips where they lingered for a tantalizing moment before returning to her face. “Go ahead and scream,” he dared her.
Stumped, she could only stare at him. Just then, the doorbell rang. He released her arm and she practically ran past him to answer the door. She fumbled with the latch and jerked the door open. Elliot stood there grinning but he frowned when he saw her face. “What’s the matter?” he asked.
“Your brother’s here,” she explained as she grabbed his arm and pulled him inside.
“Sebastian’s here?” he exclaimed. “How come?”
“He–he dropped by to give me an invitation to your mother’s dinner party on Saturday.”
“Oh. That was nice of him, I guess. Well, I’m here to take you out to dinner and a movie—if you’re up to it.”
“Actually, I just got in from work and was planning to spend a quiet evening.”
“Would you like me to leave then?”
“No!” she cried, panicking. “Please stay. We can order in pizza or Thai while we watch a movie.”
“What about Sebastian?”
“He was just about to leave. Why don’t call one of the take out numbers beside the phone while I get rid of him?”
Shrugging, Elliot did as she asked while she hurried into the living room. Sebastian was standing where she left him. She went over to him but not too close. “Elliot is here,” she informed him tightly. “He and I are going to have take-out and watch a movie.”
His expression darkened. “I thought you said that you were going to unwind.”
“I got the impression that you wanted to unwind alone.”
“I changed my mind. Now, if you don’t mind—”
“Don’t worry, I’m leaving. I wouldn’t want to ruin your plans with Elliot.” He strode over to grab his jacket from the window seat and then he left the living-room. She followed him.
Elliot was on the phone but he covered the mouthpiece to say hello to his brother who acknowledged him with a withering look before he turned to Tiffany and bidding her a rather curt, “Good evening.” He tugged open the door and stepped out, closing it firmly behind him. After locking it, she leaned against it, trying to get catch her breath.
Elliot hung up the phone and went over to her. “The food will be here in about twenty minutes,” he told her. “What’s the matter? Did I miss something? Why did Sebastian leave in such a hurry?”
“I’ll tell you after I get changed,” she muttered before moving away from the door and hurrying off to the bedroom.
It was while they were having the Thai food that she told him everything that had happened between Sebastian and her. Elliot whistled. “No wonder he stormed out of here. Tiff, why did you let him think that you’re in love with me when he’s the one you’re in love with?”
“I don’t know. I guess I was upset with him because of some of the things he said.
“Well, my advice to you is that you tell him how you really feel.”
She shook her head. “No way,” she protested. “I can’t do that when I don’t know how he feels about me.”
Elliot stared at her. “You’re kidding, right?”
She looked bewildered.
“Tiff, Sebastian’s in love with you, that’s why he’s so bent out of shape over our relationship.”
“But he said he wasn’t bent out of shape.”
“He said a lot of things but his actions said differently. And you and I both know that if I didn’t show up when I did, things would have gotten hot and steamy between you. Now, my advice to you is to go and see him. Tell him how you feel.”
“No, I’m not going to do that. After the way I treated him tonight he’s not going to want to see me and I’m not going over there and embarrass myself.”
“All right,” he said. “I won’t press you anymore on this. Let’s watch the movie.”
Two hours later, Elliot stood outside of Sebastian’s flat. He rang the doorbell. Shortly after, the door opened and his brother stood there, scowling at him. “What do you want?” he asked.
“I know it’s late but I need to talk to you and I’d rather not do it out here.”
Sebastian opened the door wider for him to go in. After he closed it and locked it, he turned around to face him. “What do you have to say to me that couldn’t wait until tomorrow?”
“It’s about Tiffany.”
Sebastian stiffened at once. “What about her?” he asked tautly.
“You’re in love with her, aren’t you?”
“Is that why you’re here, Elliot, to gloat?”
“Yes. You came here to gloat because I love Tiffany and she loves you.”
“You’re mistaken about two things. I didn’t come here to gloat and Tiffany isn’t in love with me.”
“I asked her if she loved you and she said yes.”
“She loves me, yes, but as a friend–nothing more. She made you believe otherwise because she was upset with you. Besides, she said that you weren’t convinced that she was telling the truth.”
“I didn’t want to believe that she was. I didn’t want to believe that she loved you.”
“Well, you can rest assured that she doesn’t love me in a romantic way. Besides, if one of us has something to gloat about it would be you.”
Sebastian looked confused and then it dawned on him. “You mean…?”
Elliot nodded with a grin. “Yes, Brother, Tiffany’s in love with you.”
Sebastian ran his fingers through is hair, a stunned expression on his face. “I had no idea,” he said. “Earlier when she and I were alone together, I suspected that she might be attracted to me but I never imagined that she was in love with me.”
“Well, now that you know, what are you going to do about it?”
“I’ll go and see her tomorrow evening.”
“Good. I’ll be taking off now. Have a good night, Sebastian.” He patted his arm before turning to unlock and open the door.
“Goodnight, Elliot,” Sebastian said with a smile. “Thanks for stopping by.” After he closed the door, he went straight to bed, although he knew that sleep would elude him. His mind was racing. Tomorrow, he was going to see Tiffany and confront her about their feelings for each other. His heart skipped a beat at the thought.
Tiffany had just finished taking a shower and changed into a tee shirt and slacks when the doorbell rang. Frowning, she went to answer it and like clockwork, her heart began to race when she saw who it was. She opened the door. Her gaze slipped over his tall frame, thinking how amazing he looked in the black silk shirt and black trousers.
“Hello,” he said quietly.
“Hello,” she replied as she stepped aside for him to enter the foyer. When he walked past her, she caught a whiff of his aftershave. Her hands trembled slightly as she closed the door and locked it. When she turned to face him, their eyes met and held for a long time. She could tell that he was nervous too. “Before you say anything, I want to apologize for my behavior yesterday.”
“I owe you an apology too. It was very presumptuous of me to interfere in your life.”
“When you asked me if I loved Elliot and I said yes, I panicked when you said that you weren’t convinced. I thought you had seen right through my little white lie.”
“I said that because I didn’t want to believe that you were in love with him.”
“You-you refused to let go of my arm unless I convinced you that I didn’t love Elliot. How were you going to get me to do that?”
“By doing this,” he muttered and reaching out, he pulled her against him and his mouth found hers.
Unable to help herself, Tiffany put her arms around his neck and kissed him back. They stood there, kissing each other wildly, consumed with desire. Then, she broke off their kiss to ask rather breathlessly, “Are you convinced now that I don’t love Elliot?”
“Yes,” he muttered thickly. “No woman would kiss a man the way you just did if she were in love with someone else.”
“You’re right about that,” she managed to say before he kissed her again.