Pregnant On The Upper East Side?(10)By: Emilie Rose
“I will, of course, cover the cost of appropriate attire.”
God, he smelled good. “Alex, you don’t need to do that.”
“This evening will be as important for me as it will be for you. Buy yourself something.”
Definitely bossy and not what she needed. “If I don’t have anything suitable I’ll consider it.”
The hard look he shot her should have sent her scurrying to comply. Instantly. But she ignored it thanks to practice. She’d learned to deal with a similar look from her father. She reached for her fork. “This looks yummy.”
“Aglaia’s is one of my favorite places. Eat. Then we’ll talk.”
The salad was delicious, perfect in flavor and texture, as were the other dishes. They consumed the meal in silence. Unfortunately, the lack of conversation made it far too easy to get hung up on each shift of his body and each bump of his elbow, and it drove her to her wineglass more often than her water bottle.
Had she ever noticed he had great hands? Long fingers, blunt nails, sparse dark hairs on the backs. She couldn’t remember experiencing this all-consuming awareness with anyone else.
Get a grip.
Finally, Alex forked the last bite of moussaka between his lips, chewed and swallowed. “Last night you said we had to choose a theme for the party. What did you have in mind?”
So he had listened before changing the subject.
He angled in his chair, his right thigh nudging her left. His heat penetrated the thin layers of their clothing and her thoughts snarled. She struggled to untangle them. Under the guise of shifting her empty plate out of the way she put an inch or two between them.
“That depends on whether you want a formal, traditional sit-down meal or something more relaxed and fun.”
“Which do you recommend?”
“Your office is formal and conservative. If you want this to be a reward then I’d go for a ‘festive drinks and hors d’oeuvres’ event. You said your employees worked hard. Let them mingle and loosen up a little.”
He reached for his wine, pursed his lips and sipped. She found her gaze locked on his mouth again and pried it away.
You really must stop doing that.
She fumbled for her water bottle, hoping the chilled liquid would satisfy her sudden oral fixation. The last thing she needed was more wine. Her head was already spinning, and she wasn’t sure alcohol was the cause.
“Would you consider a masked ball? You could still have a formal affair, but donning masks allows everyone to let down their guard a little.”
His left eyebrow hiked.
“Not full costume,” she rushed on before he could object. “More of a Mardi Gras in November. We could even have New Orleans cuisine and music, if you like.”
“Sounds like a good plan. Can you get a jazz band?”
“I’ve used a couple of good ones before. This afternoon I’ll call and see if either is available. Since we’ve decided on a theme, I have invitation and decoration suggestions.”
She reached for her laptop, booted up and then picked up the paper file. Inside she’d tucked samples for several different party themes in different pocketed folders. As soon as he made choices she could enter the info online and e-mail it to her supplier.
Alex rose and carried the plates to the wet bar in the corner. When he returned he sat down closer than before, his long legs bracketing her chair and his arm resting along the back of her seat. His position hemmed her against the table. If she leaned back she’d be in his arms—one of the places she’d been avoiding for the past three-plus months and intended to continue avoiding.
She fought to block out his nearness and focused on pulling up the images on-screen. “Here are sample schemes.”
She clicked her mouse, scrolling through each page. He leaned closer. His breath teased her cheek and stirred the hair at her temple. Her mouth moistened and her pulse quickened.
“Stop. Back up.” He spoke quietly, directly into her ear.
It took a few seconds for her brain to relay his words to her fingers. She cleared her throat. “This page?”
It was no surprise he’d chosen the most conservative of the bunch. She extracted a sample from the folder. “This?”
She picked up a pen with a hand that wasn’t as steady as she would have liked and made a note, then did the same on the computer. “With that I’d recommend these.”
She flipped to the next item on her list. Thank goodness the program she’d installed prompted her or else she would be floundering. What was wrong with her? She loved planning events. And yet today she could barely connect the dots.
Concentrate. “I’ll make sure to order an assortment of spare masks for the guests who don’t bring their own. Would you like for me to get one for you?”