Warning: Mild nudity.
Six months. It had been six months since she told Glasgow that she couldn’t be with him anymore. And she hadn’t seen him since. She could have dealt with that, if it hadn’t been for Alistair. Her son asked for his daddy all the time. She hadn’t realized how deeply her decisions would impact him. But she didn’t regret it. Better they break it off now rather than have Al grow up in a household where his parents fought all the time, or worse, he was neglected and lived in a silent home.
Eva spent most of her time – now that she didn’t have to worry about parties and fundraisers and such – painting. Her main source of income was her art and with all the extra time, she was contemplating creating a new art show. It had been almost ten months since her last one. The one where she’d bumped into Matias. She put her paintbrush down and took a deep breath. It was four years ago now, but she still couldn’t stop a slight shiver from passing through her whenever she thought of Matias and their one night together. She wondered where he was and what he was doing. True to his word, he had not tried to contact her after that visit to her home back in the Fall. Her phone rang, pulling her out of her thoughts.
“Hello?” She turned around to watch Alistair play with his toy. He was banging on the toy xylophone. Mozart, he was not.
“Hello, is this Lou Torres?”
“Yes, this is she.”
“Yes, hello ma’am. I was calling with a request for some art and I was wondering, do you do erotic art?”
Eva frowned and was shaking her head before she even said, “No. I don’t do that kind of art.”
The person on the other end of the line sounded disappointed. “Oh, that’s too bad. I really like your work and was hoping that you would consider this. We would pay whatever fee you decided…”
“No. That’s not something I’m interested in. Thank you, but no.”
“Well, okay. If you change your mind –”
There was a long pause before the man sighed, “Goodbye Ms. Torres.”
Eva hung up and shook her head. She got all kinds of weird calls but this one, erotic art? Nope. No thank you!
Today was her birthday. She was twenty-five, a single parent and life couldn’t get any more sucky. Andrei took one look at her and said, “Whatever is making you so sad, stop thinking about it.”
Eva looked at him and gave him a hug. “It’s nothing. I’m just feeling my age.”
Laughing, he said, “You’re twenty-five Louey. It’s not the end of the world.”
“Well it feels like it. I’m twenty-five and this is how I’m spending my birthday.”
“Umm, you’re spending it with me. I think this is a great way to celebrate.” He pulled back and winked at her. “At least that’s my humble opinion.”
“Oh shut up!” She smacked him on the arm and turned to walk into the living room. “Go do something with yourself; I can feel you jumping out of your skin already.”
“I will, but first we eat.”
They sat down at the kitchen counter to eat the spaghetti he’d made. “This is really good Dre. When did you learn how to cook like this?”
“Living on a boat away from civilization will do that to you. Forces you to learn all kinds of things.”
Eva rolled her eyes, “You live like forty miles off shore.”
“Whatever Eva. Don’t judge me.”
Eva ate her meal but noticed Andrei staring at her. “What?”
“Louey, can I ask you something?”
“Sure.” Uh oh.
“How are you, really? I mean, I know it’s been almost a year since you and Glasgow…”
“Dre, honestly, I’m okay with him gone. It’s not like last time when I was pregnant. I’m settled now, Al is happy. We’re good.”
“Okay then, have you been dating?”
She gave him a look, “Pot, kettle. Have you been dating?”
Dre made a face. “Fine, fine. I’m just wondering about the welfare of my favorite sister.”
“I’m your only sister.”
“Technically. That still doesn’t negate the fact that you’re my favorite.”
Eva laughed. “Thank you Dre.”
“So, now that that’s outta the way. What’s going on with your clothes?”
She looked down at herself and frowned. “What’s wrong with my clothes?”
“You look like an old woman.”
“I do NOT!” She said indignantly. She looked perfectly fine. Thank you very much!
“Yeah, you look old. But if these clothes are what you like now that you’re ancient…”
Eva threw a piece of spaghetti at him and laughed. Ancient, the nerve!
Eva was shaken awake from her power nap. “What, what’s wrong?”
“Sorry, nothing’s wrong but it’s almost six. If we’re going to make it on time, you gotta get ready.”
She yawned, stretched, and sat up. “Yeah, okay. I must have been tired if it’s already six.”
“Yup. You were out cold. Are you always that tired?” Dre frowned and sat down beside her.
“It’s fine. Alistair is just a handful. He’s at the age where he wants to do everything by himself. I’m going to put him in daycare after this next birthday.”
“I can’t believe he’s almost five. He wore me out today! It’s a lot harder to play chase now that he can run.”
Eva laughed. “Yeah, he’s so full of energy. It’s exhausting.”
She shook her head, “I don’t know. I was playing with magic as a toddler; I haven’t seen him doing anything magic-related yet. He could be human, Glasgow is and I haven’t done any magic since I was pregnant.”
Dre turned to look at her, incredulously. “None, in over five years? Why the hell not?”
“I don’t know. Glasgow was getting more important at work and I didn’t want to slip up and do something that would get the attention of the media…you know how they can be.”
Dre growled, “Have I ever told you how happy I am you’re not with that prick anymore? Can I maul him the next time I see him?”
Eva smiled sadly. “No, Dre. We ended on bad terms but he’s still Al’s dad.”
“Fine, but you know what would be an excellent way to start using magic again – because you will start!” He gave her a stern look. “A curse. A nice, wart inducing, curse.”
They both started laughing. Her phone rang just then and she picked up. “Hello?”
“Happy birthday Eva!”
Eva laughed at the sound of Tony’s exuberant voice, “Are you having fun for me all the way over there in no man’s land?”
She cut him off before he could start apologizing again. She was a little peeved that he hadn’t made the trip for her birthday, but she knew his situation with Franco. She was the last person to judge someone. “Let’s not fight tonight okay? I love you very much Tony and want you to be happy. I’m your older sister, it’s my job to worry about you, but that doesn’t mean I don’t support you in everything you do. You are happy, right?”
“Yes, Eva. I am.”
She could hear the noise of the Halloween party he was having in her honor. Rolling her eyes, she said, “Gotta go baby brother. Love you.”
“Love you more Lou. Bye.”
“Bye.” She hung up and reached over to hug Dre. It was good to have him around.
Eva stared at her reflection in the mirror. Dre was right – she looked old and unhappy. Picking up a lock of hair, she grimaced. She was only twenty-five, yet she acted like she was sixty. Eva closed her eyes and thought, ‘purple.’ She watched as her hair slowly changed from reddish-brown to a deep purple, like her aunt Kaylynn. That had taken longer than it should have. But…
“It’s a start,” she said aloud.
Her brother was back in Isla Paradiso now and she felt a bit bereft without his presence. She didn’t do well alone, it was one of the reasons she’d stayed with Glasgow for so long. She had mommy abandonment issues. Whatever.
She was heading out when her phone rang. “Hello?”
Her heart stuttered than began to beat triple time. “Matias?”
His deep masculine voice filled her ear and she closed her eyes, imagining his face. Goddess, save me! She thought. He said her name like a caress and she found herself desperately wanting to swoon – wait…what? She shook her head, trying to clear the cobwebs of lust.
“I’d like to see you,” he said.
Over the freaking phone? Seriously? She cleared her throat. “Put a damper on the magic Matias, please!”
He laughed and the sound shivered down her spine. “But I’m not using any real magic Eva. This is just regular ol’ me.”
“Well ‘regular ol’ you’ is about to give me a heart attack over the phone. Control yourself.”
Still chuckling, he said in a more normal tone. “How’s this. I can’t get any less irresistible than this.”
“You are an evil man, Matias.” But she smiled. Evil and sexy and dangerous. She felt her newly freed power try and reach out to him, but she was still very much out of practice. If Siobhan could only see her now. She’d freak at the abysmal strength of her magic.
“Now that we’ve covered all the niceties. Dinner tonight.”
That hadn’t sounded like a question and she knew she should try to assert some sort of boundaries but she hadn’t seen him in over a year. At least not outside of her dreams. “Dinner tonight, say 7?”
“Make it 8:30. I have a late meeting. Pick the place and I’ll meet you there.”
“Okay.” She sounded like a teenage girl with a crush but she didn’t have it in her to be disgusted. He wanted to see her!
“Goodbye Eva.” Without waiting for her to reply, he hung up.
She arrived promptly at 8:20 in front of her favorite Bistro. She would have been there sooner but she couldn’t decide what to do with her hair. Eventually she’d decided a more subdued style would be best. With Andrei’s words ringing in her ear, she had carefully picked out her outfit. It wasn’t too conservative, but she was still in the public eye – now that Glasgow was Mayor – so it wasn’t too flashy. It was fun and flirty, she hoped.
She turned around to see Matias standing behind her. She inwardly sighed when she saw the appreciative look he gave her outfit. Good, he liked it. “Matias.”
“Call me Matt, please.” He walked up to her and gave her a kiss on the cheek before they walked into the restaurant to be seated. As they walked to their table, he leaned down and said, “You look fantastic.”
Eva blushed, inordinately pleased. “Thank you. You look great too.”
They sat and were given their menus to look over. “I take it you’ve been here before.”
She was beginning to realize that Matias didn’t ask very many questions. Or he did, he just didn’t phrase them as such. She nodded. “So what do you do for a living?”
“I’m in branding at a company called uGenex.”
Eva placed her fork down and narrowed her eyes suspiciously, “Then you must know Dr. Brian Gates.”
Matias laughed, “I know of Dr. Gates. But I’ve never met the man myself. I’m surprised you know of him. But I guess he would be the type of people you sell your art to.”
“Type of people?” She still wasn’t convinced that he didn’t know Dr. Gates. How convenient would that be? A little too much, really.
“You know, obscenely wealthy people who don’t know the real value of art. They just want to say they paid a ton for it.”
She blinked at him and then laughed. If that was his opinion of Dr. Gates, he truly didn’t know the man.
“I said something amusing.” He smiled at her, slightly confused.
“No. It’s just, you described some of my best customers…” She grinned.
They slipped into talk about her work and why she chose painting as her vocation. It was clear why he was in branding. He was good at figuring out what people wanted. Even in something as mundane as his job, he was deeply dependent on his magic. Eva shook her head. He was the epitome of a natural witch. His power was an extension of himself; it was as natural for him to use it, as it was to take a breath. Even though Eva was born into her powers, her family hadn’t nurtured it as much as his had apparently.
Even now she could feel his magic, a subtle seductive push coming from him. Testing her boundaries and pushing up against her defenses; searching for weaknesses, for holes, of which she had several after so many years of active neglect.
“This might seem like a redundant question, but are you seeing someone?”
She shook her head. “No.”
“That blonde guy I saw leaving with your son…”
“That’s Glasgow, Alistair’s father.”
“Hmm, I’d been hoping you’d say he was the nanny.”
She laughed, the momentary sadness she’d felt when her ex was mentioned, gone. “Don’t all parents feel like glorified nannies at least once in their lives?”
He shrugged, “I wouldn’t know.”
“Do you want any?” Yeah, real first date convo…
“I thought about it once.”
When he didn’t elaborate, Eva let the subject drop. She felt tension coming from him. “What about parents, siblings, nieces or nephews?”
“Two parents. One sister – older. She has no children.”
“Hmmm.” Short answers and again, no detail. He wasn’t comfortable talking about family.
“What about you? Any family?”
“Two parents,” she began, laughing. “Two younger brothers. So far, I’m the only one with a child.”
The conversation turned back to their careers, a topic Matt seemed more enthusiastic about. Before she realized it, they were finishing dinner.
He drove her home and waited while she paid the babysitter. Alistair was already tucked in bed and she realized just how alone they were. Would he…and would she? If they…it had been a very long time since she felt nervous around a man.
He was sitting on her couch, watching her as she moved around the room, picking up discard toys, turning off lights – basically avoiding him. When she could procrastinate no more she turned to find him standing right behind her. She gave a little yelp. “Goddess, you scared me!”
“Sorry.” He stepped closer, invading her personally space. “I had a fantastic time tonight Eva. I hope we can do this again.”
“I-I did too. Me too. I mean…” She didn’t get a chance to finish because Matias leaned down and kissed her. It was a soft, brief kiss and then he was stepping back, getting ready to leave. “Wha – wait.”
He smiled at her, “I thought we’d do it differently this time around. I’ll call you.”
She blushed, embarrassed and then berated herself for being embarrassed. Six years ago, she would have laughed at that comment. Eva walked Matias to the door, where he kissed her again and then left.
She closed the door and made her way upstairs. They would definitely do things differently this time.
Eva stared at her reflection, “This will have to do.”
She had another date with Matt. Alistair was with his dad for the weekend. After over a year of silence, Glasgow finally called and asked to see his son. Al had been excited and wanted to go, so she was alone for the weekend. When Matt had called and asked to see her, she said she’d make him dinner at home. She thought about how easy it had been to make a meal now that she was using her magic again. She really should thank Andrei the next time they spoke. She hadn’t realized how much she’d missed her craft until she started practicing again.
She’d also been watching Alistair. He seemed interested and fascinated by what she was doing but had yet to show any signs of magic.
The doorbell rang and brushing a hand through her hair one last time, she went to answer.
Opening the door, she found Matias – Matt – standing with a bouquet of flowers. She smiled. He’d gotten her flowers every week since they’d started seeing each other. “Thank you. Come on in.” She took the pink roses and leaned up for a kiss. He was such a good kisser and she suspected it was because he put a little of his magic into it. She wasn’t complaining though.
“Hey.” As Matt walked in and headed into the kitchen, Eva watched him. He was so delicious! Grinning, she followed and placed the flowers of the table.
“How was your day?” She loved this; being able to ask someone how their day had been. Cooking dinner and having a nice conversation. She’d never had this.
Matt opened a bottle of wine and placed it on the table while she made up two plates. Sitting down they dug in. “It was good. We’re trying to create a marketing plan for a potential client but I have no idea what the techie’s are talking about. Can’t sell it if I can’t understand it. So I’m going to have to head to headquarters on Tuesday for a demonstration. It will be fascinating, I’m sure.”
Eva giggled. “I lived with a techie for most of my life. I still don’t understand half of the things he says.”
“Anthony, your brother. The one who invented the time machine.” Matias was very skeptical about that claim and he always brought it up.
“Yup, Tony.” She smiled. She wasn’t allowed to talk about Tony’s inventions, most of which were classified by the government. If he became overly ambitious, her brother would be very dangerous, indeed. Even now, he was wealthy enough to buy half the country if he wanted. Instead, he worked for a small company making gadgets. She shook her head, she would not judge.
“Where’s your son?”
“Alistair is with his father for the weekend.” She frowned, they really needed to discuss his avoidance of using Al’s name. “So you’re free until Tuesday?”
Her hand accidentally brushed his and she felt a jolt of energy. She smiled at him tentatively, they’d been dating for a month now, but he’d never done anything more than kiss her. She was hoping tonight would be different.
“Yes.” He lifted an eyebrow in question and she shrugged. She didn’t know if she was saying yes to her name or to the clear but unspoken request for permission. Maybe both.
Matt laughed, grabbed their plates and headed to the kitchen. She sat and tried not to let the embarrassment show. She was twenty-five, a single mother and hadn’t had sex in a year. She had a gorgeous man who was interested in her and she couldn’t seem to get him to sleep with her. Ridiculous and a little pathetic.
She took a drink of her wine and stood up. She was going to have sex tonight and if she was lucky, several times in the next two days. She giggled at herself but sobered up when Matt turned around to face her.
“I can practically hear your thoughts Eva.”
Walking up to him, she asked, “And what am I thinking?”
Matt wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into him. “I can show you.”
She smiled but didn’t get a chance to say anything before he pulled her into a deep, drugging kiss. His hand snaked down from her face to her waist, squeezing gently. She sighed. This is what she needed.
Matias pulled away and looked down at her. “Was I right?”
When his words penetrated the haze of lust surrounding her, she giggled. Was that a question? A full-blown, question mark-at-the-end, question? “Oh yes. Hit it right on the head.”
Matt grinned and grabbed her hand and she felt another jolt of lust course through her body. She looked down at their joined hands and frowned, even as she let him lead her up the stairs. She looked up at him in time to catch him smiling at her and she thought, “You are perfect.”
Laughing he said, “Thank you.”
Blushing furiously, Eva let him pull her into the bedroom. After all these years, he still remembered where it was. He stopped in the middle of the room and turned to look at her. He kissed her hungrily, while his hands moved up to the buttons on the collar of her top.
It fell away easily and as he continued to undress her, his kiss gentled and he moved down to her throat; then her sensitive collarbone; and when he knelt in front of her to unsnap her jeans, he kissed the sides of her belly, nibbling at the flesh there. By the time he finished undressing her, she was trembling in anticipation. She’d forgotten how good he was at this.
“My turn?” She asked softly. She really wanted to touch him, to get him as naked as she was. She didn’t know if she had much patience to go as slowly as he had though. “Actually maybe you should do it. My hands won’t stop shaking.”
She smiled apologetically. With a quick kiss, Matt removed his clothing and soon they were both nude, staring at each other, seeing how their memories compared to the real thing. She smiled; his shoulders were broader than she remembered.
Matt pulled her closer to him and leaned down to kiss her again. “We have a lot of catching up to do Eva.”
“We have all weekend.” She grinned as Matt laughed then she pulled him over to the bed.
What was he doing? Matt looked down at Eva, cuddled underneath him. She looked relaxed but had a slight frown forming on her face. His expression was probably no different. This night just proved that their first encounter wasn’t a fluke. They were good together.
He was supposed to stay clear of her, had promised that he would. But these last few weeks he just couldn’t stay away. After tonight, he didn’t want to. He heard her sigh as he began to stroke her back and said, “I want to see you again.”
She peeked up at him. “Matias, what we’re doing here; are we thinking long-term?”
He smiled. “I was just asking myself the same question. I honestly don’t know. I would like to get to know you better, though.”
“Okay, that’s a start, right?”
He nodded. “A good start.”
A few minutes later, she said. “And you’re okay with me having a child?”
He was startled by the question; he hadn’t really given her son much thought. Past the, “is he mine” question.
“Pure honesty?” She nodded. “I hadn’t really thought about it. I’ve never dated anyone with a kid before. Is it much different?”
She shrugged and shifted in his arms. “Every situation is different. But Alistair is a huge part of this package. You’ll have to be okay with that.”
“Can we take it one day at a time? I can’t promise that everything will be fine, but I’m willing to try.”
“Okay.” She flashed a quick smile and then looked contemplative again, like she was trying to think of other reasons they wouldn’t work.
He came up with one first. “What about the father? Will he be a problem?”
“Glasgow? I don’t see how.”
“Do you love him?”
“No.” She answered immediately.
“Did you?” He continued to stroke her back and she smiled. He was using his magic again, encouraging her to relax into him; sending soothing thoughts to her. She seemed to like it, although he didn’t know if she even realized he was doing it.
“I thought I did. Once. We were going to get married. He was going to change the world and I desperately wanted to be part of it. We were children playing make-believe. When I found out I was pregnant, my world shrank to one little human being. Our goals weren’t the same anymore.” She looked up at him. “To be honest, we’d drifted apart long before that. We’d called it quits before I met you. It’s the baby that made me try again.”
She shrugged and got out of bed, she was agitated talking about her ex. He almost told her to stop but she said, “Glasgow is nothing if not dutiful. Once he knew the baby was his, he was the perfect partner. At least for a while.”
He caught the slip and sat up. He heard the pain in her voice and it pissed him off that someone had hurt her like that. “What does that mean, ‘Once he knew the baby was his?’”
“He knew about us. And he was understandably hesitant to claim a child that might not be his.”
“He didn’t help you during the pregnancy at all?” There was nothing worse than a man who wouldn’t take care of his own. If he’d known…
“I had my family.” She came back to him, reaching out to stroke his chest, pouring a bit of her own magic into him. She was clearly done with sharing so he kissed her, a long, slow, drugging kiss. Then pulled back to look at her.
“Do that again,” she whispered.
Matias looked at the beautiful woman standing above him. He wondered if he would still feel like this ten years down the road. He stilled. Was he ready to commit to her for that long or longer? He reached up and kissed her, tapping into her magic and amplifying her emotions. “Again?”
She grinned and he had his answer. “Yes.”
Author’s Note: Sorry for the length and any typos. I wanted to post this on the weekend so I’ll make edits tomorrow.