After their drinks the night before, Brodie calls Saige early and takes her to breakfast. When they get back to her mother’s house, a florist delivery is waiting. Ben has sent her flowers.
She walked in the house with her flowers, tears falling down her cheeks. Her mother was sitting on the couch again, hardly looking as if she’d moved from the night before.
“Who are the flowers from?”
“Ben. How can he afford them? It was way too extravagant.”
“Are you going to call him?”
“He can call me.” She tossed her hair, raising her chin defiantly.
Her mother nodded, smiling. “Good. So, how are things with Brodie?”
“A little chilly at the moment. Flowers from another man has a way of dampening ardor.”
“Be careful, dear. Don’t break hearts.”
“I’m not trying to. It wasn’t until last night I had a clue he was interested at all. And Stan! I didn’t tell you about that, did I?”
“He’s a draftsman in our firm. He’s also Brodie’s best friend. He kissed me too, just before Brodie did.”
“And I take it Brodie saw?”
“And how was it?”
“Pretty damn amazing.” Saige fanned herself, puffing out her cheeks.
“And when you kissed Brodie?”
“Even more amazing! God, no one has ever kissed me like that! “
“Not even Ben?”
“I don’t think he knows how to kiss like that.”
“He called again while you were gone.”
“Oh? How many times?” Her curiosity wasn’t as burning as it had been the night before.
“Three more. Should be about time for another any minute. What do I tell him?”
“I’ll talk to him this time.”
“Put the roses in water before they start to wilt.”
“The tall vase is in the pantry, second shelf.”
The phone rang while she was arranging the flowers in the vase. She could hear her mother’s voice clearly.
“Hello?” It turned a little frosty. “Why, hello, Benjamin. Yes, she’s here. I’ll see if she wants to speak to you. Saige? It’s Ben. Do you want to talk to him yet?”
Saige sighed heavily for effect, sounding resigned to the fact he’d called, rather than happy. Taking the phone, she was suddenly lightheaded, her heart fluttering. She sat down on the edge of the chair trying not to sound breathless.
“Yes?” She felt like she had the first time he called her, the day after they met at a friend’s party.
“Saige?” He sounded so anxious, unhappy, dare she hope devastated? “Did the flowers arrive?”
“Yes, just a few minutes ago.” He was going to have to work for her thanks.
“Did you like them?”
“They’re very nice,” she said more haughtily than she felt. Relenting somewhat, she let her tone melt a little. “Thank you. They’re beautiful.”
“Not nearly as beautiful as you. I’m so sorry, Saige. I know I went off the deep end. Can I see you? I want to make this up to you.”
The frostiness came back and this time she meant it. “Aren’t you assuming rather a lot?”
She was angry now, allowing it to show. Saige hadn’t realized until that moment just how furious she was. He’d thrown her out of her apartment. Her name was on the lease and she’d had it nearly a year before he even moved in. Her apartment that she paid for and now he thought he could send a few flowers and say I’m sorry and it would be all right?
“I — Saige, what do you want me to say? I apologize. I totally overreacted. I’m sorry.”
“I see. Does this mean that since you sent flowers and had a guy sing to me that I’m supposed to come back and pretend this didn’t happen?”
“Can we please talk about this without getting angry? I don’t want to fight anymore. Can you come over?”
“If I come over, I know what will happen. You’ll cover me with kisses and apologize sweetly, give me a few drinks and then you’ll try to get me to bed. You apologize the same way every time. Oh, but this time you added flowers to your foreplay. Nice touch.”
“Saige!” He sounded like she’d ripped his heart out. “What do you want? I don’t know what you need anymore. It’s like you’ve become someone I don’t know. Tell me what to do.”
“I don’t control you anymore, or had you forgotten?”
Battling tears, she hung up abruptly before she cried on the phone. She wasn’t going to let the bastard know he’d gotten to her. Sobbing hysterically, she clutched the phone until her knuckles turned white. Her mother took the phone from her, sitting down with her arms around her daughter