He made a face and looked down again. “Only fine?” This man was too much.
“You know what I mean,” I said.
“No, I don’t really. If you had to describe me, what one word comes to mind?”
Gorgeous, sexy, hot… “Arrogant,” I said.
Seth threw his head back and laughed. “There’s that feisty red-head. I could see her simmering on the surface since the day we met. I’ve been dying for you to bring her out.”
With my own raised eyebrow I said, “Really? Why is that?”
“I like your spirit. I could honestly feel it the first time we met. You were interviewing for a job you seemed to really want and really be qualified for. Yet you seemed almost… perturbed with me.”
“And you liked that?”
“I did,” he said, simply.
“You have issues,” I told him. He laughed again.
“Yes I do. But my arrogance is only skin deep. I need constant reassurance.” He leaned across the small table then and when he spoke again he was so close that I could feel the heat of his breath and smell the wine there. Lowering the pitch of his voice he said, “Since you seemed to misunderstand the question, I’ll clarify it for you. If you had to describe how I look in my clothes using only one word, what would that be? I’ll get you started, handsome, debonair, cultured…”
“Rich and spoiled,” I said.
He put his hand over his heart and said, “Harsh,” but his tone was soft and he was laughing. “I still like it.”
“So you’re a masochist?”
Still laughing he said, “Not quite, but sometimes when you’re the boss’s son, or the boss you get tired of everyone kissing up and saying what they think you want to hear. Your honesty… although a bit brutal, is refreshing. Not to mention that I love to watch your face turn the color of your fiery hair.”
I chose not to comment on that. Instead, I took a sip of my wine and then said, “So Harlan tells me that your father has handed the reins to you, unofficially. What is he going to do with his time now? It would have to be hard to go from sixteen or twenty hour days to… nothing.”
Seth’s face changed when I mentioned his father. It was a subtle change, but it was there. I think his eyes even darkened a bit as he said, “I doubt that my father will ever fully retire. He doesn’t want the sixteen hour days any longer, but he has his issues relinquishing control as well.”
“And will you have issues with him keeping his fingers in the pie?”
Seth took another sip of wine. He shrugged, it was designed to look casual, I think. But the intensity of his eyes gave a completely different answer. There were definitely issues there between him and his father. I was beginning to see my “In.”
I was about to ask him another question when the waiter once again interrupted, this time to bring our dinner. He sat down the plates and then placed a platter of delicious smelling bread between us and said, “Can I get you anything else?” Seth looked at me and I smiled at the waiter.
“Nothing for me, thank you.”
Seth nodded at him and he went away. He looked at me then and said, “My father and I have a complicated relationship. Business only serves to make it more complicated. Now that he will only have his “fingers” in as you say, instead of his arm up to his elbow, I am hoping for less issues.”
I was impressed by the simple honesty of that answer. I watched him as he put his napkin in his lap and took a bite of his chicken. By the time he’d chewed and swallowed it, his eyes had lost some of their intensity.
“I’m sorry if I brought up a sensitive issue,” I told him.
He smiled and reached across the table again. I closed my eyes when he touched me. It was an automatic reaction, but it felt so intimate and familiar. He ran his fingers across my brow line and said, “I don’t like that worry line there. I like it better when you’re being feisty, or blushing. You didn’t say anything wrong. You couldn’t have possibly known about my relationship with my father.”
This guy was killing me. As soon as he pulled his hand away I opened my eyes. The way he was looking at me made me shudder. I wasn’t supposed to like him at all. He wasn’t supposed to be so… human. He finally tore his eyes away and returned his attention to his plate. I stuffed a much too large bite in my mouth just in case I was going to say something stupid in response to that touch.