See it Sultry class
|Adam and Nolan headed into Nolan’s house, and Adam noticed that Jessie seemed to be loosening up. She stood off in the corner now talking to Jill West. He wondered if she left a boyfriend from wherever she came from. She was too pretty to be all alone. He loved the way her dark hair hung over her shoulder in a soft wave, picking up the light and shining. She must have sensed him watching her again because she turned her attention from Jill to him. A huge smile lit up her face and he found himself wanting to make her smile that way, to know what it would take to bring that out of her.
“Careful there little brother,” Anna said.
He tore his eyes from Jessie, sighed, and looked at Anna. “Your point?”
“She came home to find her parents dead. Her entire life just turned upside down. She needs to get comfortable here; figure out what it is she wants to do. The last thing she needs is you leading her on.”
Adam took offense to that statement. “Whoa, what are you talking about? All I did was smile at the girl across the room.”
“Look, I know Debbie broke your heart. I feel really bad about that, wish I could have warned you or prevented it from happening.”
“Not your job.”
“Just tread carefully.” Anna squealed, the delight of the evening taking over. “Time for the big announcement.” She moved to the center of the room. “Thank you all for coming,” she began, her voice booming and quieting the crowd. “As you all know, I am pregnant, due in four months. The Grayburg’s have decided it’s high time we had an affordable maternity line, and I have started work on it already.”
Adam watched as his parents moved forward and hugged Anna tight. It still amazed him that after her ten-year stint in New York, Anna had eased back into life in Endurance flawlessly. His family seemed to grow stronger when she returned, and he loved having her around, watching all the excitement she brought with her. He even found it amazing that she married Nolan but saw what a perfect match they were. Adam stayed off to the side and watched as everyone gathered around Anna, celebrating her latest conquest in the fashion industry.
Again, he spotted Jessie. He turned and went into the kitchen to grab a beer, with every intention of going over and introducing himself. He yanked a bottle out of the refrigerator, twisted the cap off and took a long swig, draining half the bottle. Adam headed around the corner, back towards the great room, but stopped short. Jessie walked towards him, the corner of her mouth tugging into a slight smile.
He smiled, could not stop it from happening even if he wanted too. “Hello, Jessie. I’m Adam, Anna’s brother.”
She nodded, crossed her arms over her chest. “Hello.”
He waited, hoped she say more. Instead, she continued walking, leaving him to stare after her until she disappeared around the corner. He leaned up against the wall, thought about waiting for her to come back, but decided against it. He headed back to the party and walked right over to Jill. If he were a good judge of character, he knew that when Jessie returned, she would come looking for Jill.
“Hey, Jill, how are you?” Adam asked stepping up to her. Jill’s golden-brown hair hung straight down to the middle of her back. He grew used to seeing her hair this way, always hiding her best assets. When she wore Anna’s Originals for the launch parties, her hair would be up showcasing her long, slender neck.
“Good, Adam. How are you?” She held the wine glass up to her lips as if she had to take a drink before asking about Debbie.
“Not bad. I suppose things are busy with the new line.”
She nodded. “They will be, that’s for sure. I hear Corey’s house is still under construction.”
“You hear right. He has been dragging his feet when it comes to picking out tiles. I don’t understand why he just doesn’t leave it all to Megan.”
Jill laughed, “Because he’s a man. And Corey believes that he knows Megan’s taste when it comes to the house or could pick out what she would choose for the two of them. He’s on this big mission to make that house perfect, as a late wedding gift to her.”
Adam stared at her in disbelief. He had no idea that Jill knew Corey that well. She must have heard this all from Megan, he assumed. “Glad someone can figure it all out.” A few times Adam thought about sending samples to Megan for approval, but Nolan stopped him time and again. “How’s Mike?”
She sighed and shook her head, that long mane swaying. “He’s fine, working his butt off. It is the same thing every year. Income tax time and everybody finally wants to fix their cars, stop putting off all the maintenance they should have had done months ago. He and Will are working Sundays for the next few weeks just so they can catch up.”
“It helps that they are good at what they do and reasonably priced. Nolan takes every vehicle for the business to Parker’s Garage.”
“Adam, have you met Jessie?” Jill asked.
He turned to see her moving toward them as predicted. He fought to hide the smile that began to tug at his lips. “Yes, a few minutes ago.” He watched as she drew near, noticed that she pulled her hair away from her face, in a clip high on the back of her head. He stared at her neck, drawn to it like a magnet. To Adam, it was the most delicate area on a woman, one that could always make them melt with the slightest touch. When she stepped up beside him, Adam realized that he towered over her.
“Feeling better?” Jill asked.
“Yes, thanks. Really, I know that Anna asked you to look out for me. It’s not necessary.”
Adam noticed how she clung to the strap of her black purse as if it were some sort of life support system for her. No one else carried their purse around the party with them. Most sat on the floor beside tables or other furniture. Only Jessie kept hers close.
“Is that what you think?” Jill questioned, her posture stiffening and her face turning serious in an instant, the easy smile fading. “Anna told me you were new in town, would be living here now. I chose to talk to you. There are not a lot of women in this town that I care for. Most irritate the hell out of me.”
Jessie smiled, and then a laugh erupted from her mouth. Adam found himself laughing as well. Seeing Jill all worked up over Jessie’s comment was a sight to behold. But what really grabbed his attention was Jessie’s ruby lips, delicate, full, and he predicted kissable.
“Good to know where I stand. And I appreciate your subtle honesty,” Jessie said, the smile still on her face.
Being this close to her, Adam could smell the perfume, a gentle powdery scent, nothing overpowering like his sisters wore. He found he liked it. “Jill is known around here for her brutality.”
Jill scoffed, smacked him on the upper arm. “Don’t scare her away, Adam. She is the first decent person to come to Endurance in years. If you are ever interested in seeing a movie or want a tour of the town, or just to get out of the house, call me. I’ll be right back.” Jill walked away.
Neither spoke. Adam hated the silence, tried to come up with something interesting to say, or think of a question he wanted an answer to, but everything that came to mind revolved around her parents and her childhood. He did not want to say anything that would upset her. The thought of losing both parents at once robbed him of breath. God, she’s brave. He wondered if she were really doing this well, or if it were a facade she wore well. He needed a conversation starter.
“How do you like living at the ranch?”
She shrugged, began moving toward the corner of the room next to the fireplace. “It’s nice. My aunt and uncle are truly kind.”
Adam followed. “Yes, the Brady’s are great people. I work for Nolan and he is my brother-in-law. Corey and Anna were best friends since they were little, so I got used to seeing him around all the time.”
She looked up at him, those brown eyes filled with a deep sadness he had never seen before. His heart clenched in pain for her. He wanted to take her into his arms, hold her and promise that things would get better, but they just met. How awkward would that be? He shoved his hands deep into his front pockets, preventing him from taking such action.
“Take this,” Jill said, handing Jessie a card. “It’s my card from the boutique and I wrote my cell phone number down as well.”
Jessie looked at the card and nodded. “Thank you.”
Just being near her sadness swamped his senses. It did not make any sense. He felt bad for others before, tried to identify with their feelings when things happened, but somehow, this was different. He had to step away.
“It was nice meeting you, Jessie. Hope to see you around,” Adam said.
He walked away, hoping that he would see her soon.