Jack saw her through the crowd as though he were magnetically drawn to her. He leaned against the bar and for a moment studied her profile taking all the ways that she had changed in the year that they had been apart. Her hair was twisted into a high elegant knot and while the short black dress she wore flattered her tall slender frame, it was possibly the most sedate thing he had ever seen on her. More strangely, Aria Wainwright was standing in a corner by herself instead of the lively centre of the party that she had been known for for so many years.
Jack threw back the last of his whisky and signalled to the bartender for two glasses of her favourite champagne before crossing through the crowd to where she stood.
“You look like you could be having more fun,” he said quietly coming up behind her. Aria started and turned swiftly. Jack caught the look of surprise in her eyes before a slow smile spread across her face.
“Jack. What are you doing here?” she asked, reaching up to brush her lips against his five o’clock shadow. The scent of her perfume engulfed him sending a wave of desire into his belly and making the spot on his cheek where her mouth had touched burn.
“A little bird told me you were in town and I had to see it for myself,” he said mischievously handing her a glass of champagne. “I’ve missed you sweetheart,” he said grinning down at her and clinking his glass gently against her own. Aria grinned back at him, looking more like the girl he had fallen in love with than the serious recluse his little bird had described her as. Aria took a sip of her champagne and felt the tension that had been building all week begin to ease.
“I’ve missed you too,” she answered honestly, unable to tell him how grateful she was for a friendly face even though the look in his eyes said he was ready to devour her right then with the least invitation. As was always the case with them, Aria felt her body thrum in response but for the first time ever she put her six inch stiletto firmly on that feeling and took a step away from him.
Jack took it in his stride. Right now he was satisfied that regardless of whatever she had gone through in the last year and how indifferent she tried to act it was still the same between them.
“How long are you in town for?” he asked taking a sip of his champagne.
“Just the week for the release. I have a shoot booked in Milan next week. What about you?” She asked trying keep her voice light and unaffected.
“I haven’t decided as yet. I didn’t think you were modelling any more,” he asked curiously.
“I’m not really. Working on the other side of the camera these days,” she answered vaguely.
“And what else are you up to these days?” he asked.
“Oh you know, keeping my head down, being a good girl,” she answered wryly.
“I’ve noticed,” he answered with a chuckle. “I don’t think I’ve seen your name in the rags in months.” Although he new it was not for the lack of trying. After the accident, Aria had dropped off of the map and the papparazzo had gone wild looking for her until it had become a frenzy of Where in the World is Aria Wainwright.
“Jack don’t tell me they’ve lured you in too,” she asked, a mischievous twinkle in her eye. Jack leaned in close to her.
“You know I’ve always taken an interest in everything you do,” he answered meeting her eyes. “Are you planning on spending any time with me while you’re in town?” he asked, daring her to say no.
“Jack,” she said but hesitated, desire bending her willpower. Could she really say no to him? He stepped in close to her, so that she had to look up to him. The heat coming off of him was dragging her under but for the first time she didn’t revel in that feeling, she felt hopeless to it. When he lowered his head to hers, her eyes closed automatically, the scent of him going to her head faster than the bubbles in her champagne.
Jack brushed his lips against hers and thought the pleasure of it would make him come undone right there in the middle of this crowded room.
“Jack,” she whispered his name against his mouth while her brain tried clutching onto the reasons why she should not surrender to temptation.
“Tell me where you’re staying,” he murmured back. Aria met his eyes and saw the glint of humour and a knowing gleam that said he knew she couldn’t say no.