Chapter 2 of 4 – Progeny
Alex looked at the clock. 6:41. A minute later than the last time she looked. She knew Bobby was always on time, if not early. "Shit!"
She'd chosen to wear the tan-colored linen and silk blend pants suit she'd splurged on two months ago because she liked the light-weight feel of the fabric on her skin and the way it draped and moved with her body. At the moment she wore only the pants and no bra as she tried to decide what top to wear. There was the black, sleeveless v-neck that fit nicely against her curves and allowed her to wear a bra (always a plus since the surrogacy). Or the red, silky, basically-backless halter she just had to go out and buy this afternoon because she wanted to interpret Bobby's 'nice' into something new and daring. Now she was having second thoughts – she didn't want to look like she was trying too hard.
Fuck it! Alex hung the black knit in the closet and slid the red silk over her head. There was a three-inch wide band at the bottom that buttoned behind to fit snugly around her waist. That band and the halter at her neck were about the extent of the back of the garment. She grabbed her make-up mirror and turned her back to the full-length one to see the effect. The expanse of skin and straight line of her spine were certainly attention-getting. If she lost her nerve, she could always leave her jacket on the entire evening.
She was finishing her make-up ('Don't go overboard,' she told herself – although she did apply an extra coat of mascara) when she heard the doorbell. 6:59.
Her stomach did a flip and she paused a moment to stare at her reflection. It's just Bobby – nothing to be this nervous about. Slipping into her jacket, she gave herself one final inspection. Not bad.
Alex opened the door and her stomach decided a few somersaults were now in order. Black slacks with a black silk crew-neck sweater. Light-weight gray and charcoal tweed sport coat. Hands stuffed casually into his pants pockets. He'd been looking down the hallway and when he turned to smile at her, she wondered what the hell she'd been thinking. This was Bobby, and there was everything to be nervous about.
"Hi yourself," she tried to sound casual. "Come in a sec. I just need to, um, change my earrings."
Standing at the bathroom sink, she gripped the edge of the counter while trying to find her confidence in the face of the woman in the mirror – the same confidence and courage she'd felt that afternoon when she finally asked him for what she'd decided four months ago she wanted. This was important to her and she really couldn't think of anyone other than Bobby she would choose to father her child. She hadn't really known what to expect as far as the … implementation … if he agreed to it, but she certainly hadn't been expecting a date. Now that she thought about it though, she realized that was stupid. Of course Bobby would want this to be more than just a clinical exercise. One more thing to love about him.
Joining him in her living room where he was exercising his habit of examining everything on bookshelves, she cleared her throat and tried to look exasperated by his quirk.
"Oh, sorry," he looked sheepish. "You ready?"
"Yeah." She grabbed the small evening bag off the hall table as he followed her to the front door.
"You changed your mind," his low voice tickled the hair at her temple.
Alex froze and turned to look at him in confusion.
"Your earrings," he pointed to where she was still wearing the same gold hoops she'd put on half an hour ago.
Sonofabitch! Nice, Alex. "Uh, yeah," she reached up to touch one of them. "I decided I liked these after all."
"Yeah … they look good," he said then leaned a little closer to her ear. "You look good."
With her heart in her throat, she really wasn't able to speak, so she smiled a thank you over her shoulder as he closed the door behind them, checking to be sure it was securely locked.
It was going to be a long night.
He didn't know where this façade of calm was coming from. Maybe those years of undercover work were paying off in a new way because, God knows, he did not feel as confident as he was acting.
Alex looked incredible – 'You look good' didn't begin to cover it. Now that they were at the restaurant and seated, it was more appropriate for him to let his eyes linger on her than it had been during the cab ride over. He'd never seen the suit she was wearing, and as closely as the red silk draped over her breasts, he could tell she wasn’t wearing a bra. If he wasn't mistaken – and he was sure he wasn't – Alex was either cold, or excited.
It was going to be a long night.
Their waitress came to the table and asked for their drink order. Bobby looked expectantly at Alex, but she appeared hesitant – nervous.
"Gin and tonic?" he asked. She nodded. "Lemon instead of lime," he told the waitress. "And I'll have a Dewar's on the rocks. Thanks."
He looked back at Alex and frowned – he couldn't ever remember seeing her so tense. Her right hand was toying with her silverware and Bobby reached across the table to still it.
"Alex," he so rarely used her first name that she looked shocked. "I'm nervous too," he confessed gently. "This … doesn't have to be about … anything more than dinner. We made an important decision today. I just … I thought it deserved an event to mark the occasion." She visibly relaxed and finally gave him a natural smile – the first one of the evening. "No pressure tonight, okay?"
"Okay." It was good to see the sparkle back in her eyes.
"Would you like dessert?" he asked.
"You're joking, right," Alex answered as she placed her hand over her stomach. "I don't think I could eat another bite."
The dinner was excellent, as he knew it would be. This was one of his favorite restaurants. In addition to great food, it had a comfortable candle-lit ambiance with crisp white linens (black napkin for him because of his black slacks), and an attentive but discreet wait staff.
He grinned at her. "Not even an Irish coffee?" Alex groaned but didn't say no so he took her hesitation as a yes and motioned for the waitress.
"Order for me?" she asked. "I'll be right back."
"Sure." He rose up out of his chair as Alex stood. She hesitated a moment, then brought her hands up to the lapels of her jacket to remove it. "Here, let me help you," he said and stepped closer to her.
Alex turned her back so he could grip the collar as she slipped her arms from the sleeves of her jacket. "Thank you," she murmured before stepping away to head to the ladies' room. Bobby barely heard her. He had a moment of panic as he wondered how he had managed to remove her blouse along with her jacket before realizing there were still two strips of red silk at her neck and waist.
He stood there unable to move, staring at the pale expanse of her beautiful back until she finally turned the corner and was out of his sight. Closing his mouth, he started to drape her jacket over the back of a chair when the waitress came over and asked if she could take it and hang it up for him.
"No," he said a little too forcefully. "No … uh … thank you. She'll want to put it on when she comes back." Which as far as he was concerned was too late because every man in the restaurant had already seen her.
It was official. She was trying to kill him.