Hearing a sharp set of knocks on her office door, Kristin invited the visitor in. “Come in,” she said, secretly hoping that it was Van. When she saw who it was, she quickly hid her disappointment. “Oh hello, Claudia. How are you today?” Kristin looked down at her stack of client assessment forms, anxious to get back to them. She wanted to finish before closing time.
“I’m fine. How are you feeling? Better I hope.” She studied her long sculptured nails, completely failing to even glance at Kristin as she spoke.
“Yes, I am, thank you,” Kristin answered guardedly. Living in
Sitting down, Claudia immediately began to spew her poison. “I can only imagine how you must feel, losing your husband and all. You must have really loved him dearly. I know if I were married for such a short time and had lost my husband, I probably wouldn’t date again for at least a year. Out of respect for my husband’s memory and all.” She plucked at an invisible piece of lint on her white satin blouse.
“Well...” Kristin began, feeling the first twinges of discomfort attack her conscious.
“Yes, I would concentrate on getting past all of my grief before starting a new relationship. You know, in honor of my husband,” Claudia rapidly continued, throwing her words like darts into Kristin’s mind. “What about you?” she concluded, now glaring directly at her opponent with narrowed eyes. She must think she’s Pocahontas or something, Claudia thought with envy and amazement. She had no idea that Kristin had that much hair wrapped up in that matronly bun she usually wore.
“I guess so, Claudia.” Kristin frowned, feeling guilt creep up her spine as she remembered Van’s passionate kisses and how much she’d enjoyed them.
Realizing that she’d hit a nerve, Claudia quickly rose to leave Kristin alone to stew in her guilt. “Well, let me get back to work. Talk to you later. Bye.”
“Bye,” Kristin mumbled, disorientated as Claudia strutted away. She felt as if she’d just been run over by an emotional truck. Was that satisfaction I saw running across Claudia’s face? she mused, thinking clearly for a split second before another rush of unmerciful guilt attacked her mind.
Then pulling her thick hair up into its usual bun, Kristin buried herself in her work, temporarily escaping her troubling thoughts.
* * *
Around , Van knocked on her office door. “Come in,” Kristin called out. At the sight of him, a lump formed in her throat. Him and that suit. Aloud she said, “Oh it’s you, Van. I thought you had been called away to one of your other businesses.”
“I was, but I had some paperwork to pick up here. Then when I noticed your car outside, I couldn’t resist stopping in to speak to you.” Although he smiled, Van was disappointed to see Kristin’s hair in a bun again. Maybe she works better with it up, he mused, trying to alleviate his disappointment with a compromise.
“Well, now that Mama Gray has her own car, I don’t have to rush home anymore. Thanks to you.” She smiled sweetly at him, then stood up to stretch her legs.
That smile. Van felt himself move quickly towards her as a sensation of delicious warmth enveloped his heart. “Everyone else is gone. Would you mind if I got a kiss?”
Then before Kristin could answer, Van seductively licked her bottom lip and proceeded to gently suck its sweet nectar. It was heavenly and Kristin didn’t want him to stop. Nor did she stop him from undoing her bun. With his fingers now buried wonderfully in her hair, Van deepened their kiss, holding her close to him.
Soon Kristin’s arms were firmly around his neck as they continued to exchange a wild, passionate kiss that left them both gasping for breath. When they finally came up for air minutes later, Kristin’s body and mind began to wage war with each other. She wanted Van, but her guilt hindered her from going any further.
“I’ve wanted to do that all day,” Van whispered huskily, oblivious to her present turmoil as he continued to hold her close, her head nestled snuggly against his chest. “Come home with me tonight. Let me cook dinner for you. I’d love to show you another one of my hidden talents.”
“I don’t know about this, Van. I mean, I think it’s too soon. We’re moving too fast. I need more time,” Kristin said, moving away from him. It was hard to think clearly being so close to him.
“It’s just dinner, Kristin. Nothing else has to happen.” Van tried to assure her, now noticing her guilt-ridden countenance as she paced the floor in front of him.
Kristin stopped and started straight at him. “Look at us now and think again. Something will happen. You know it and I do, too. The attraction we have is strong and has been from the beginning.”
She paused in her speech and smiled tenderly at him. “You sweet, hazel-eyed wonderful man, we are a fire going somewhere to happen. Van, no matter how much I want you physically, emotionally I’m not ready for a serious relationship and I can’t allow myself to make love with you without one. That’s just not me.”
“I understand, Kristin,” Van said, wanting to deny her words, but recognizing the truth in them. It was all true. At the current rate they were going and with the degree of intense attraction they shared, they would no doubt end up in bed together tonight. And if they did, then what? What affect would it have on their working relationship? More importantly, on Kristin’s fragile heart?
“It’s just that I’ve never felt this way about anyone before.” He pointed to his chest. “This thing I feel for you is so deep. So deep. I don’t even know how it got this deep, so fast,” Van said with thick emotion. His hazel eyes revealed that he was honestly bewildered by the effect she was having on him. He just didn’t understand how such intense feelings could come about so quickly.
“Me either and it scares me. Even while dating Sammy I never had any problems keeping my desires in check. Being around him felt comfortable, easy, no pressures of any kind. But every time I’m around you, with those sweet dimples and gorgeous eyes, all of my senses get in an uproar and I become consumed with thoughts of us together in every way. To be honest, Van, I’m starting to feel guilty.” She sat down at her desk again.
Although he didn’t like what Kristin was saying, her honesty was one of the things he loved most about her. She had a way of getting right to the point of a matter. “Okay, so what do you need me to do, Kristin?” he asked, still standing, still wanting to pull her back in his arms and kiss her senseless until she changed her mind.
“I need for you to give me some space to heal. Space to make a mark for myself in this company. Space for us to make sure this is what we truly want.”
“I don’t need space to know that. You are what I want, Kristin. But nevertheless, you win,” Van said as he reluctantly surrendered. A few minutes ago, Kristin’s lips had taken him to heaven, now he felt snatched down to hell. Van walked to the door and turned the knob. He had to get out of there, away from this woman he wanted, but could not have. Now if he could only get away from the nagging feeling that this was indeed the right thing to do.
“It’s not about winning. It’s about doing what’s right for right now,” Kristin said to Van’s quickly departing back. She felt bad knowing that her decision had hurt him. “Oh boy,” she exhaled into the now lonely office. “What next?”
© 2007 by Suprina Frazier