Rye and Lacey, after a concert, at Rye's condo:
Lacey left Rye to sort his mail and listen to his messages, making her way through the tastefully decorated corporate residence to the master bathroom. Of course she’d been there many times before, but since she and Rye were intimate now she looked at everything in a new light. She smiled as she surveyed his closet, knowing he liked things neat but wasn’t compulsive about it like she was. He wasn’t a clotheshorse, but had plenty of quality, items, and they were organized for the most part. She was also glad to know that the apartment, especially the bedroom, wasn’t strictly a utilitarian bachelor spot. Thanks to either Emily Ann’s or Jensen’s influence--and she hoped no other woman’s--the place had a homey feel. The modern furniture pieces were of neutral tones, but colorful accents were strategically placed for cohesion. She liked it. Before, she wouldn’t have given the dynamics of his living conditions a second thought, now she couldn’t help think how well their tastes and styles would merge.
She had no business thinking about such things.
Muttering a self-reprimand, she opened the sink doors and found a bottle of body scrub and prayed it was Jensen’s and not some hoochie’s. She sighed in relief when she discovered the seal on the fruity blend hadn’t been broken yet, a virgin bottle. Surely a shower would help wash away her angst and doubts about Rye’s ability to be in a committed relationship. Earlier, at the concert, it had been tortuous to watch the desire and longing on Dana's face as the woman gazed at Rye. Lacey had seen that look a dozen times before, but this time was different because Rye was hers. It made her sick to know that Dana knew Rye intimately, had felt his touch, could describe what he looked like when he came.
“Oh, God,” Lacey groaned, cupping her hands over her face. How was she going to get past this insane jealousy? It was so not becoming of a progressive woman and business owner. Rye had told her he belonged to her; why was it so hard to believe it?
She’d never been bold and outspoken like Monica or assured to the point of cockiness like Lisa, but she’d always held her own. No, she hadn’t dated in a while before Rye, but not from lack of opportunity. Men desired her; she’d just chosen to be alone because as Mark had proclaimed, she preferred The Thymes as her bedmate. That was then. Now she was with a man she couldn’t get enough of, who was desired by lots of women. Thicker skin on her part was definitely in order.
She toweled dry after stepping out of the shower, noticing that at some point Rye had taken her clothes away. He must have put them in the washer. Determined not to parade around his home buck-naked, she rummaged through his dresser until she found a plain white t-shirt neatly folded in the fourth drawer she opened. Donning the smallest one she could find, she smiled when she saw it fit rather snuggly around her breasts and backside to stop midway her thighs. Rye would like that; he loved anything that drew attention to his favorite parts of her anatomy. On second thought, her sweet stuff was giving her boobs and butt hell in competition for Rye's favor.
Making her way to the living room, she found him sitting on the sofa wearing only a pair of boxers. His skin was a bit flushed and his hair stood on end. He must have showered in the second bathroom.
“Better?” he asked in a low husk, his eyes burning a trail from her damp hair to her bare feet. He’d opened the curtains, revealing floor to ceiling windows and giving them a perfect thirtieth floor view of the city. Then he just stared.
She nodded, her voice forgotten, so entranced was she by the heat in his eyes. Had she bothered with panties, they would be worthless right now; she was already wet from his visual attention alone.
“Take the shirt off,” he ordered softly.
Without hesitation, she crossed her arms and caught the fabric at the hem, then lifted it over her head. The the material fluttered soundlessly to the floor and she stood naked in front of him, awaiting his next command.
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