“And with any other aspect of your life, what do you do when you want something?”
“I get it.”
Alex shook his head. “You don’t just get it, you tackle it. When you wanted to be student-body president, you campaigned like no one else. When you wanted to be the captain of the polo team in college, you worked harder than any other guy on the field. Cynthia could’ve had any man she wanted. But you set your sights high and you made her fall for you. You make things happen. It sounds like she’s interested in you and you’re interested in her. What’s the problem?”
“It’s not that simple. Yes, in your scenario it seems that way, but all those other issues still exist. I don’t live in a vacuum.”
“Yes, but what would it hurt if you guys gave this new relationship a solid try?”
Will knew the only thing that could get hurt was him, but that was only if he let it happen. Cynthia had the potential to really get into his head and into his heart, but he couldn’t allow it to go that far. He didn’t have a head injury to forget what Cynthia was capable of. But if he could keep his heart out of the equation, it would be better for business, and maybe he wouldn’t mind coming home at night. “It wouldn’t hurt anything,” Will admitted.
Alex took another sip of his Scotch, a smug smile curling his lips. “Well, it’s not my life, man, but if I were you, I’d go for it. March right out of this office and seduce the panties right off of her. Then enjoy it while it lasts. If she recovers and you hate each other again, so be it. You leave. You haven’t lost anything that wasn’t screwed before that plane went down.”
“And if she doesn’t recover?”
“They you’ll live happily ever after. Simple as that.”
It wasn’t as simple as that, but it did give him something to think about. Will got up and poured his own small tumbler of Scotch.
Alex was right. He had told Cynthia he’d forgiven her, but deep down, he was still holding back. He hadn’t committed himself the way he should’ve. And that wasn’t fair to either of them. Will needed to let himself enjoy her, even if he couldn’t let himself love her. Eventually something would ruin what they had, and he needed to take the chance while he still could.
* * *
Cynthia did the last bit of stitching and snipped the thread that ran from the cloth to the needle. She turned the dress right side out and shook it in front of her. It had taken her a few days, but her first piece was finished. She held it out to admire it and smiled. It wasn’t bad.
She’d opted to start with the first design that called to her, regardless of whether it was too hard to tackle. It was a sleeveless shirtdress with a sort of fifties-era vibe. It buttoned down the front, with a sweet, rounded collar and a belt that tied at the waist. The skirt was full and fell just below the knee. She even considered constructing a crinoline underneath for fullness but opted to wait until it was finished to decide.
The silhouette was sophisticated, but it veered from the traditional with black-and-white zebra-printed fabric, splattered with hot pink and purple. The moment she saw the bolt of it sticking out of the racks, she knew it was the perfect choice for this project. She’d trimmed the edges and fashioned the collar and belt out of black satin that gave it a touch of shine and richness.
It was rockabilly meets the eighties. Funky, fun and unlike anything she’d seen people wearing. At least on the Upper East Side.
But now the real test. Slipping out of her clothes, she unbuttoned the dress and slipped it on. Turning and admiring it in the full-length mirror on the door, she was pleased and relieved to find she’d fitted it just right. After fastening the last button and tying the belt, the dress fit perfectly, flattering and forming to every curve.
It was just screaming for some black, patent-leather peep-toe sling-backs. Cynthia dashed down the hall to the bedroom and searched through shoeboxes until she found just the right pair. She slipped them on and then walked out into the living room to give the look a turn around the floor.
The sound of a loud cat-calling whistle made her spin on her heels.
Will was standing in the doorway, a look of open appreciation lighting his eyes. His heated gaze took in every inch of her, and she was fairly certain her skills at the sewing machine didn’t have much to do with it. He smiled, shutting the door behind him. “Look at you,” he said.
“Do you like it?” she asked, taking a twirl to make the full skirt swirl around her and torture him with the quick flash of bare thigh.
“I do,” he said, swallowing hard. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it.”