She wasn’t sure what was in the lotion that Reggie had rubbed into her sunburn, but an hour later, the burn had faded, and she felt fine. Moving through the house, at ease now with being clothing-free, she stopped to look at a painting in the hallway. Reggie, in his soundless fashion, appeared beside her. Silently the two looked at the image of a giant tentacled beast surrounding a beautiful hapless maiden. It was disturbing, and oddly erotic. He tapped her shoulder.
“I’ll put another dose on it before bed, but it looks better.”
“It is better. Thank you.”
She wasn’t sure why he got under her skin. Maybe it was his always-calm demeanor. Though he played the part of the butler, there was much going on under the surface between the two men that she didn’t understand. He was not obsequious. He didn’t fawn, he seemed every bit as confident as Sir was. He was strong and big without being burly. Reg just defied explanation, she decided. She moved away, feeling lost. He didn’t follow.
She meandered into the kitchen and decided to cook dinner for the two of them. She was hungry from her labors in the garden, and he was there. It just seemed too rude to not cook for him as well. Plus, he had put the salve on her sunburn. As she gathered the tools she needed, she heard the phone ring somewhere in the front of the house. Knowing Reg would get it, and having never cleared it with Sir to answer it anyway, she continued her work, chopping an onion, green pepper, and a bright fat tomato. She wondered if it was Sir, and if he would ask to talk to her if it was. For as long as she had been here, she had not heard the phone ring even once before. As she broke eggs into a bowl, Reg came into the room. She looked up expectantly.
“He won’t be home tonight. He says to tell you to be in bed before ten, to sleep in his bed and dream of him.”
She was both disappointed, and surprised. Disappointed that he hadn’t wanted to talk to her, and surprised that he’d had Reggie deliver such sweet talk to her. Taking a breath, and trying to appear unaffected, she gave a half-shrug as she moved about her task.
Reggie’s left eyebrow rose. She rolled her eyes, broke another egg into the bowl with one hand, then looked back at him.
“Okay, fine. When will he be back? I miss the bastard. So sue me.”
Reg let the smile slide onto his face slowly, making her blush.
“Three weeks ago you would have done the dance of joy to hear he would be away overnight.”
“That they do. Tomorrow, kitten.”
He moved closer, peering into the pan that sizzled merrily.
“That smells good.”
She gave the pan a quick shake, throwing the tomatoes into the mix, stirring the contents with a flick of her wrist on the handle.
“Lucky for you, it’s for both of us. I thought a veggie omelet would be a nice light dinner.”
“Mmmm. Your hidden talents never cease to amaze me.”
There. That just-faintly-there sarcasm was what bugged the shit out of her. She chose to take the high road, and ignore it. Maybe some people couldn’t help being assholes. Inwardly she smiled.
“I worked in a kitchen for a few years while I went to college. Majored in business, but one doesn’t forget.”
She poured the beaten eggs over the veggies, set the pan on a lower heat, then buttered some bread and put that on a second pan she had heating. The quick sizzle sent a cloud of steam up. Reg leaned around her, his warm hand pressing against the small of her back. She tried to quell the nerves. After all it was her, naked, and him, alone in the house. He was much stronger than her. He flicked on a switch, and the overhead fan sucked up the steam. He mouth at her ear startled her.
“You are his. I don’t poach.”
He stepped away and began to set the table in the kitchen. For a moment she paused, holding her breath, then released it with a sigh. A dash of guilt ran through her. She squeezed her eyes closed against the rush of embarrassment, then opened them to attend to the meal.
She buttered the backside of the bread, flipping it, then flipped the eggs in their pan. Folding them expertly, she let the omelet set for a moment, then slid it onto a waiting dish beside her. In moments the buttered bread had crisped, and she slid that onto another plate. Carrying both dishes to the table, she set them down, then placed her hand on his.
He inclined his head, which she took as “accepted”.
Sitting, they dug into the meal with no further conversation between them.
He drove slowly past the stone fence, taking in the wrought iron gate. The fence was on the low side, and looked easy enough to scale. He thought about driving right in and demanding his wife be returned to him, but decided against it. The asshole probably would quote that lawyer-ese chapter and verse to him, and show him the stack of papers with his signature on it. Shit, he’d been under fucking duress when he’d signed. He hadn’t understood at the time what all of it entailed. He’d been screwed. It was time to get what he came for. Concentrating on the property lines, he continued to case the property.
~nilla throws up her hands defensively…I know, know! This is too short! But you know, I had to work hard to sneak in time to write this! Snowstorm and frigid weather meant the cancelling of work and other things, giving us more family time…and me waaaay less writing time than I’d planned. I promise (crossing my heart hear!!) that I’ll have more for you guys early in the week. The tale has me by the throat now, and begs to be finished!