Although he didn’t show it, the slight contact with Yvonne was disturbing Terrence on a sexual level. He could feel the heat of her skin through the black material. He smelled her fragrance emanating from her skin, every time she moved. He heard the slight chuckle she made in her throat when someone said something witty and he wondered if she made such sounds during lovemaking. And he could distinctly feel his body longing for her, being awakened by her closeness and he hoped it wasn’t showing to anyone at his party.
The real world seemed to recede and all she could really pay attention to was Terrence’s right hand on the back of her neck, tracing a sensual pattern as he spoke to his other guests. She hadn’t been touched in such a manner in a very long time and she had to resist the urge to close her eyes and moan out loud. Perhaps it hadn’t been a good idea to sit so close to him after all- clearly she wasn’t ready for this. She found a moment when everyone else was occupied elsewhere to turn to him with a smile.
He smiled back and Yvonne could tell he was oblivious to what effect he was having on her. “Stop it, Terry,” she whispered. “I’m ticklish.”
Terrence’s smiled widened, but he put his hand on the back of the sofa.
They finished the evening with a round of charades. Everyone had a partner and would have to act out whatever the previous team gave them. When it was Yvonne’s turn with Terrence, the previous pair gave them The Kiss of Death.
At first they just stared at each other, not sure how to act it out, which made the previous couple laugh out loud. After a little planning they came up with something.
Yvonne held up four fingers.
Jenna said promptly, “Four words!”
“The?” she ventured on the first word.
They nodded again and then began acting out their phrase.
Yvonne kissed him lightly on the lips and then he put his arms around her and kissed her more deeply. Soon after that she went limp in his hands and he placed her on the ground, where she lay, lifeless.
It took a while for people to figure it out, with a man named Bob saying it was Sleeping Beauty. Everyone looked at him as though he were crazy.
“She didn’t touch anything, babe!” his New Yorker wife said, as though it was obvious.
He just shrugged, “It’s been a while since I watched the cartoon.”
Finally Michael said quietly, “Kiss of Death.”
Realisation dawned on everyone’s faces and they started to laugh at their foolishness.
“Oh, duh!” Tony said.
“Yeah,” Terry mocked his older brother, “duh.”
Mike and Flora were two of the first to leave. Yvonne was one of the last and as she left, she and Jenna promised to keep in touch and get together soon.
Terrence went to his spare bedroom and lifted Kendo up. The child made no protest.
“What, T? You’re chasing her out?” Jenna asked.
He grinned, “Nope. K is my excuse to walk her all the way to her car.”
Only when Terry was putting him in his car seat did Kendo whimper, but he didn’t’ wake up.
“You’re really good with kids.”
“Nah, just the ones I like.”
She laughed. They walked round to her side of the car, but she didn’t open the door immediately.
“I enjoyed that kiss in the kitchen,” he said.
“And the one during charades?”
“Yes,” he admitted.
“Did you and Mike ever..?”
At first she looked confused, but once Yvonne understood what he was saying, her eyes popped.
“Date? Become lovers?” she shook her head. “No. No, no...”
“Oh.” He seemed relieved.
“What did he say to you in the kitchen?” she asked him lightly.
“What?” he tried to pretend as if he didn’t understand.
“I saw you two talking, Terrence. You weren’t too happy about something- whatever was said- when I came back.”
“Terrence, come on! It was about me, wasn’t it?”
Terrence looked away. “He wants me to back off.”
“What do you mean ‘back off’?”
“He doesn’t like the fact that I’m interested in you.”
Yvonne groaned. “I’m sorry. He’s always been out to protect me.” She looked at him. “Even when I don’t need protecting.”
He nodded and told her not to worry about him and Mike. Then he said, “Yvonne… I know that this may seem like a bad time to ask you, but I felt something- no, I felt a lot tonight and I was kinda hoping that you did too.” He looked at her questioningly. She nodded once. “Great, because I was hoping that I could convince you to date me exclusively. I don’t know if you’ve kissed anyone else lately, but I’d like that to exclusively be my right, too.” He took a deep breath. “So, what do you say?”
She returned his gaze and smiled. “I’d like that.”
“Super.” He grinned. “What say you to us getting exclusive right now?”
“I’d like that too.” She reached for him and brought his face closer to hers.
Bracing himself against the car, he put his free hand around her waist and pulled her near him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and moaned as his hand traced a pattern through the material of her cat suit.
He broke off the kiss when they were almost breathless. “You should go and put Kendo to bed. I’ll see you tomorrow?” he opened the door for her.
“Yeah, okay. Good night.” She stepped in and waved as he closed the door.
The following week in the office, Terrence called Yvonne just before lunch.
“Hello there, beautiful.”
“Yeah, forgive the phone call but I’m trying to multitask so that I have enough time to take you out to lunch.”
That made her smile. “Are you planning on taking me out this year?”
“You are also known as men, the ones who can’t multitask,” she chuckled, signing a document and handing it back to the courier who was waiting in her office.
“Well then, let me be the first to surprise and impress you.”
“How are you going to do that?”
“Well, I’m going to keep you on the phone and finish this report all in time to take you out to lunch this very day.”
“Oh really?” Yvonne could hardly keep the smile out of her voice. “Well, shouldn’t we keep the line open for business calls?”
“Yes, we should. The minute I hear my line beeping, I’ll hang up on you,” he chuckled.
She could hear the faint tap of keys in the background and she realised he was actually working.
“So,” he began, still typing on his computer, “I just thought I should tell you that you’ve been on my mind since last night when I let you go home.”
“Let me,” she echoed.
“Trust me, I could have made you stay,” he told her softly, “but I figured your son would get a little confused waking up in strange surroundings without his mother.”
Her jaw dropped. “Terry!”
“I guess there will be plenty of opportunities to try it out in the future.” Pause. Smiling to himself he added, “Now that we’re exclusive and all.”
She laughed. “Is that what this is all about?”
“No,” he said seriously. “I just couldn’t wait another moment to let you know how special you have become to me.” He heard her say ‘wow’, but he wasn’t finished. “Jenna told me last night how you had to tell her about Kendo at my dinner party the other night.”
Yvonne held her breath, waiting for a question about if she was over the father of her child.
It didn’t come, instead, he said, “She told me how sad you looked when you had to tell her the truth and I wanted to drive over to your house and just hold you and tell you that you never have to be alone like that again. It made my heart ache, Yvonne.”
“I know how special he was to you, how special he probably still is since you had his son, but that doesn’t matter to me. Well, it matters because it matters to you but it won’t stop me from coming after you. I’m glad you know what real love feels like. Because now when I tell you that my feelings for you have grown into something I’m scared to define, you’ll see what it really is.”
Pause. “I’m sorry, did I say something that upset you.”
“No, but you’re about to make me cry.”
“What? Oh no. I am so sorry Yvonne.”
She managed to laugh a little. “No, it’s nothing to apologise for. You- just basically said whatever love I have for Kendo won’t stop you from being there for me.” She hesitated a moment. “That was- so sweet!”
Yvonne heard Terrence breathe out. “Ok. Good.” Pause. “I’m almost done with my report.”
“Yep. Will you go to lunch with me?”
He still asked anyway? She had a big smile on her face when she said, “Yes, I will.”
“Awesome, I’ll see you soon.”
Then he hung up.
A few minutes later he knocked on her door. When he walked in, she was just picking up her coat. Terrence took it from her and held it out for her to put on.
Soon after that, he led her out of the office, careful not to touch her until they were outside.
When he placed his hand on the small of her back, she glanced at him.
“My car is that way.” Then he winked. “I won’t touch you at the office because I need to prove to myself that I’m capable of some restraint. Otherwise I’d take every chance I can get.”
That made her laugh so hard, it got rid of any odd tension lingering between them.