I take a deep breath and it shudders out. “That would be great, but I don’t expect a job just handed to me.” I bite my lip.
Tatianna turns to Collins. “You know, babe, I have some pretty great talents too.” She opens her mouth and shoves the entire banana in. It’s meant to be sexy, but it’s too big for her mouth and she struggles to chew it down without choking on it.
I take a sip of my coffee in an effort to hide my smile. But Collins watches her thoughtfully, then looks at me and smiles, planting both his hands on the table as if he’s about to stand. “Well, sorry to leave you to eat alone, but Tatianna and I have some things to take care of before I head out.”
“Oh. Sure,” I say. Things? What things? And what about our talk?
But Collins’ expression is blank and tells me nothing. Damn his poker face.
Tatianna’s face is talking enough for both of them, though. Her screw-me eyes are drilling a hole all the way through Collins’ head and into the wall behind him. She slips her arm up his chest, hooking her hand around his neck. I try to turn away, but find my eyes glued to them in some sort of sick envious gape.
He stands up. “Good luck with the job hunt. I’ll see you later.” Tatianna gets up and follows him out of the room leaving me alone in the kitchen. I glance around the large room blankly and realize I’m no longer hungry.
My face is getting hot. I’m angry.
He said we were going to talk this morning. “Meet me in an hour,” he said. Well if he thinks I’m going to wait around while he screws his girlfriend, he must be confusing me with some push over. I scoot out of my chair, get up, and find myself storming back up the steps to my room.
By the time I reach my room, my vision is all blurry. I wipe away tears as I close the door and drop down on the bed. How had I allowed myself to get so worked up? I think back to how Sophie said Colton thought Collins loved me. I hadn’t meant to, but I must have grabbed on to that. It had snuck its way into my subconscious, and made me think I had a shot, that happily-ever-afters do exist.
Hell, it isn’t just that. He led me to think I have a shot. What other reason do we have to talk? If he isn’t interested, then there isn’t anything to talk about, so why does he want to talk?
But this question no longer matters. I have all the answers I need in the form of him currently screwing his girlfriend. Why else did they need to suddenly retreat to the bedroom alone together?
I stand up and find my suitcase, and open it on the bed. The answer is finally forcing its way through my thick skull.
It’s time to go home.
I follow Tatianna upstairs, intent on finishing our conversation. Her little stunt with the banana tells me she thinks we’re coming up here to sweep everything under the rug.
When we enter our bedroom, I close and lock the door. She turns to me, smiling, not at all in tune with how frustrated I am. As if to avoid any further discussion, Tatianna pulls her tank top over her head and shimmies out of her shorts.
“What the hell are you doing?” I ask.
“I’ve been away for two days, and now we’re about to be separated again. I thought that’s why you wanted to come upstairs.”
Before she can unclasp her bra, I stop her. “No. I want to talk. Sit down.” I gesture to the bed, and Tatianna reluctantly sits on the edge of it. I hand her the shirt she just took off and watch as she puts it back on. Her eyes latch onto mine, and her smile fades. I don’t have time for her games right now. She’s used to pouting her lip and getting whatever she wants.
“Where is this going, Tatianna? You and me?”
“What…what do you mean?” she asks, looking confused.
I’ve never posed a question like this before, never talked of our future, but I think maybe it’s time. “I think we need to discuss this relationship. What do you want out of this? What are your goals?” I ask.
“My goals?” She chews on her lip. “I don’t know, to be on the cover of InStyle magazine, to walk all the biggest shows in New York and Milan fashion week next year.”
For the first time in my life, I feel a hole inside of me. A hole that deepens and grows larger with each passing heartbeat. Booking over our trip to Paris only reinforces the fact that I don’t rank on her list of priorities. Her future goals mentioned nothing about me, about us, and only included herself. It’s typical Tatianna, but it’s starting to really fucking bother me. She has no expectations for the future, and while most bachelors in my position might like the no promises, no attachments arrangement we have, I find that I don’t anymore. I want to hear her say she can’t live without me and that she needs me. We’ve been together for several years now, and things shouldn’t be quite so casual between us. We’ve never even said I love you. I look her over, taking in the way her long blonde hair falls nearly to her waist, her almond shaped blue eyes, and painted red lips. I care about her—I would hate to see any harm come to her. However, I worry that I don’t feel as strongly as I should. We’ve been dating long enough that I should know by now if I love her.
When Mia looks at me, I feel more heat and emotion between us than I do between me and my girlfriend of three years. And Mia’s only been back in my life a handful of days. That realization causes something within me to stir. This disconnect that’s been building between Tatianna and me rises to the surfaces and demands attention. I want more. A lot fucking more. I mean, there has to be more than this, right? Mia’s hope-filled eyes told me there was—if I’m man enough to embrace it. My life has been devoid of emotion for the last several years as my attention has been focused on growing my business, and yes, I’ve had my needs met with a warm, willing female to share my bed, but it’s lacked any real intimacy.