There he was. Dorian Le Blanc, the man who played the star role in all my wildest dreams. The hot, recently divorced, finally single dad I’ve been pining away for since he moved in next door two years ago. Two long years, people.
Let me put this into perspective for you. That tall, dark, mysterious, and handsome romance Hero in all the best, steamy, romance novels? Yeah, that’s him. The one with the perfectly messy, full head of dark hair you just want to grab tight, lecherous handfuls of. The perpetual five o’clock shadow you can just tell he could easily grow into a full beard if he ever let it go for a few days. Dark, brooding eyes like deep pools of promising, morning sunrise, like magical telescopes with the power to see straight into your soul. A body like sex in the flesh that’ll have any hetero female crooning Shakira’s “Underneath Your Clothes.” A deep, growly voice, the tone of which shoots hot, aching desire down into all your girly bits. Yep, that’s him.
This is a guy who, every morning, before the world wakes, I drag my blankets with me over to my bedroom window and curl up on the bench to lean my head against the pane and watch. Just like clock work, he will emerge from somewhere around the back of his house, and his feet hit the pavement. Heavy sweat pants hung softly from his waist, dark hoodie with the hood covering his head. And he runs.
Voyeuristic as this may be, I can’t help myself. For one, it’s one of the few chances I get to really see him, when he doesn’t know I’m watching. But seeing his physical prowess, his powerful strides, the way his body seems to relax, even amidst the physical exertion. I wonder what kind of struggles must weigh him down so much for the rest of the day that those brief moments in the not-quite-light hours of the morning are the only time I see the strain and worry fall away from his gorgeous face.
Ever since I found out two months ago that he’d filed for divorce – yes, the fight that ensued when he’d apparently broken the news was probably something everyone on our block either witnessed or quickly heard about – I’d been dreaming of ways to somehow, “randomly” run into him. Ask him to hang out sometime. Do people still do that now at our age?
But tonight, I had the perfect idea, and my stomach flutters with nerves just thinking about putting said plan into action.
That’s why I’m standing here now in the soft glow of the light on his front porch, seeing the soft outline of him sitting on his living room sofa through the blurry glass of his front door, as I’m holding a bag of takeout in one hand, a paper bag with wine and dessert in the other, and psyching myself up to reach forward and press the doorbell. I waited for the lights to go out in the kids’ bedrooms before walking over, and I know I’m making a bold move here that could go one of two ways – one being a pleasant reward to my courageous gesture, and two being a phone call to a realtor tomorrow.
I channel all the inner Wonder-Woman vibes I can muster and lift the arm holding the wine and dessert, reaching a finger to press the doorbell and seal my fate.
My heart begins to pound violently in my chest, and I have to work to keep from rattling the bags in my hands from shaking with nerves, but there I see him stand from the couch and walk this way. Excitement swells in my chest the closer he gets. This is it! The door opens, and his dark, questioning eyes pierce me, his full lips twitching up in the faintest hint of a curious smile.
I smile back. “Hi, I’m Nicole. I live next door.” I look over my shoulder toward my house and then back to him, just in time to see him nod, still clearly confused about what I’m doing here, so I continue. “My date kind of cancelled on me tonight, and I have all this food. I thought I’d come by and share, if you’re up for it.”
Okay, so there was no cancelled date, but it wasn’t really George Strait’s chair, either, and look how that turned out for him.
He looks down at the bags I’m holding, probably smelling the soft aromas of warm food I carry in my left hand, then to the top of the wine bottle poking out of the bag in my right hand. Then his eyes meet mine. “What kind of date stood you up?” he asks with disapproval of the imaginary guy as he opens his door wide and gestures me in.
I smell him as I walk past him inside his home, my nerves prickling across my skin as I sense his closeness. He smells so good, like he’s recently showered, and he’s wearing a long-sleeved, cotton shirt with a worn pair of jeans hanging comfortably at his hips. He looks good, y’all, and he smells even better, like pure, sexy man.
“We didn’t really know each other well. I guess something just came up. I didn’t see any reason to let all this go to waste. Do you like braised chicken?” I ask as he takes one bag from me and then the other.
“Usually,” he says. “I’m Dorian. It’s… nice to meet you.” An apologetic smile crosses his lips and gives just the slightest hint of a rosy tint to the apples of his cheeks. “I’m sorry, I guess I don’t know many of my neighbors. I should probably be better about that.”
He motions for me to follow him into the kitchen of his nice, open concept home. I trail behind him, disbelieving of my awesome luck so far, and watch as he lifts the bags onto his counter.
“I understand. You seem like a busy guy. I hope I’m not bothering you,” I offer, and ladies, you know damn well I’m hoping he’s going to tell me I’m not.
“Not at all. I’ve already put the kids to bed,” he replies, and the smile on my face lingers as he begins to unpack the contents of my offerings.
I grab the bottle of wine and hold it up in a silent question to see if he wants some.
“Here, let me get some glasses for that,” he offers as I begin to untwist the metal wire caging the cork onto the bubbly brew. He sets the wine glasses down in front of me before taking the bottle and uncorking it with a loud pop and begins to pour.
“Thank you,” I say, smiling like a Cheshire Cat, taking the glass from him. “You know, I’ve wanted to come by and introduce myself for a long time now. I guess the timing just wasn’t ever right.”
“Really?” he asks, sounding surprised. “You should have. It’s a nice surprise,” he admits, and he gives me a look… Y’all know that look – one that says he’s flirting back with me! It sends a rush of excitement through my veins, and it emboldens me to settle into a mindset that this night is definitely taking a turn for the better.
We have some light conversation over the impromptu dinner. I’ve just about already fallen in love with the way he laughs, and as I help him clear away plates and glasses, he offers to pour me another glass and move the party into his living room.
“I was just about to settle in and find something to binge-watch on Netflix. You’re welcome to join me… unless you’ve got to get back.” He watches and waits for my response.
I shake my head. “No, I don’t have anywhere else to be tonight. I’m all yours!” And I mean all yours, Dorian Le Blanc.
“Good,” he says, and I swear, I can see a mischievous glint in his hazel eyes that tells me he’s thinking as naughty as I am. I can barely contain the excitement bubbling up and trying to spill over out of my chest.
I take my topped off glass of wine and follow him to sit on his sofa. He waits to let me sit down first, and I’m unsure of which seat exactly to take… The end seat? Somewhere toward the middle where I’m closer to him? I want to get closer to him, but I don’t want to come on too strong and end the night way too soon. I err on the side of caution, taking the spot at the end, and he takes the other end but angles his legs toward me and reaches an arm to rest across the back of the couch.
He gets the show going, and we exchange a few playful comments. The next thing I know, we’re both leaning toward each other like we both want to get closer but are both afraid to. Between the dinner, the playful banter, and the chemistry I feel like we’re both feeling between us – at least I hope we’re both feeling and not just me – I decide to engender the bold, courageous woman I know I can be and just go for broke. I straighten in my seat and move my derriere over closer to him.
He watches me move in closer, and I wait to measure his reaction. I’m close enough for him to easily reach out and touch me now, and if he’s going to, now is his perfect opening. He’s quiet for a minute, and I start to second guess myself. Was it too much, too soon? Should I move back over? Should I get up and ask for the restroom to play it off?
But then, he reaches to grab my hand and moves in to close the remaining distance between us. He’s staring me in the eyes, and his gaze travels down to my lips that I involuntarily sweep my tongue over in response.
“You smell very good,” he says, his voice even deeper than it had been earlier.
I chuckle softly, caught up in the feel of his warmth wrapped around me. “So do you,” I murmur. I sidle in close to him as his gaze now penetrates mine in the dim light cast by the tv screen neither of us is watching any longer.
“Would you be offended if I told you I’ve been hoping we could meet?” His eyes shift between mine, waiting for the answer, and I can almost feel the wisp of his breath against my face.
My own breath hitches at his oh-so-sweet confession, this music to my ears, this food to my soul, and my heart pounds at the thought of making a confession of my own.
“Would you be offended if I told you I didn’t have a date who stood me up?”
Oh, my goodness, y’all. The secret is out, and I hang precariously on the edge of a precipice. He could either grab hold of me or push me over it. Either way, fate is out of my hands now.
I wait for him to say something, anything, as he sits motionless before me, his eyes not leaving mine. Seconds tick by. Shit! Why would I admit this and risk ending it all before it even begins? Why…
His lips crash down onto mine, fierce and uninhibited. His hands are in my hair, gripping handfuls and pulling me closer into him. Within seconds, my initial shock wears off, and I lightly moan my appreciation as I kiss him back, my hands gripping tightly on his shirt.
His kiss… it’s hungry and needy as his hands trail down my face, brush my hair away from my neck, and slide down the curves of my body, settling at my hips that he locks his fingers onto and guides me up to straddle his lap. Of course, I eagerly oblige, reveling in the explosion of sensations flowing through me with every touch, every finger tip to my skin, every brush of his lips against mine.
I wake up the following morning, just before daylight. I look at the soft glow of numbers on my alarm clock and slide out of bed, grabbing the blankets to drag with me to curl up on the bench at the window. I rest my head against the pane and wait.
Thoughts of last night fill my mind, and my heart is giddy at the possibilities. My pulse quickens when I see the familiar rustle of movement and I watch Dorian Le Blanc come jogging around from the back of his house. My forehead presses against the window as I take in the sense of longing, deeper now than it ever has been.
Where this will go? Who knows, but I smile when I see him look up at me and wave.