Ally wasn't sure what she'd expected by not going out to the movies but this wasn't it. A bit dazed as Grant released her hair, she took a step back. He watched her closely but didn't say a word. She remained just as quiet.
The shaking of her hands was visible, so she hid them behind her back and took a couple of steps in retreat. Grant's green-eyed gaze was intense and a bit uncomfortable. He opened his mouth as if to say something, but turned and stalked up the hall instead.
He closed his bedroom door with a bang, making Ally jump. The breath she wasn't aware she'd been holding came out in a whoosh, making her a bit lightheaded.
"What in the hell was that all about?" she asked herself, as she walked to the living room where Cherie was seated on the floor.
The tingling of her body warned that there was much more to Grant than even she was aware of. It felt as if all her bones had disintegrated, leaving her legs wobbly and weak. Ally oozed onto the couch and tried to slow her pulse by taking deep breaths. It wasn't working.
She had never, in her whole life of twenty-seven years, been kissed like that and she'd been married. Grant's toe-curling version of a kiss had her more aroused than even the best sex with her ex-husband. Ally absently wondered if she should excuse herself for a few minutes in order to run home and change her panties. The thought made her laugh.
She sobered immediately when Grant came into the room. He stopped in front of her. Looking down, he asked. "You all right?"
Ally wondered why she wouldn't be. She was confused and aroused and wet, but why wouldn't she be all right?
"Yep, just fine. And you?" She couldn't help herself. He was treating her as if she were a child with a skinned knee, not an adult woman who had been almost kissed to orgasm.
His brows furrowed and his eyes darkened. "Answer my question, Ally."
His voice was commanding, as if he would punish her if she didn't follow his orders. The gravely sound coursed over her, causing chill bumps. Even while the sound of his voice compelled and aroused, it also irritated. "I told you I was fine. Why don't you put the movie on before Cherie gets even more restless?"
The next two hours were spent in silence while the three of them watched the movie. Ally had no idea what she was watching; she couldn't get her mind off Grant. Trying to be discreet, she continued to glance his way off and on throughout the movie. On many of those occasions, it was to find him openly watching her.
Ally's nerves were wound tight and for the first time since she'd met Grant all those years ago, she couldn't wait to separate herself from his company. The thought was upsetting, and left an ache deep in her chest.
There was just something about the man, a side of him she didn't know that warned her to stay away even as her body screamed for her to jump him. This time, Ally was bound and determined to follow her head and not the ache in her chest or the tingling between her thighs. Getting involved with Grant was not something she could do, no matter how much she loved him.
There was a possessive gleam in his eyes now as he watched her, stalked her with his grass-green gaze. The new look proved that she had no choice but to start pulling herself back from him. If she didn't, she was going to find herself in an emotionally painful position.
It was disheartening to think that she'd snowed herself so well for all those years. It was sickening how easily she'd made herself believe that it was perfectly okay if she couldn't have children. She'd told herself that very thing so often that she'd actually believed it, for a while.
Tonight changed all that. Reality had been forced on her and it wasn't pleasant. There was no way she could, in good conscience, get involved with Grant knowing that she could give him no more children. For the first time since her bastard of an ex-husband had left her, Ally felt like less than a woman, unworthy of a long-term relationship.
It wasn't fair but it was reality, and the sooner she came to terms with the fact that she'd fallen in love with her best friend but didn't deserve him, the sooner she could get on with her life.
Ally moved as if on automatic pilot. She washed the few dishes they had used and straightened the kitchen while he tucked Cherie into bed. She was so lost in thought that she didn't hear the squeak of the kitchen door opening as Grant entered the room.
She almost jumped out of her skin when his big warm hand settled on her shoulder.
"Good God! You scared the crap out of me."
Grant chuckled, then tucked her hair behind her ear with a single finger. "Sorry, Brown Eyes, wasn't my intention."
Ally smiled as she took a step back, breaking their contact. "You seemed deep in thought," she heard him say.
"I'm just tired is all. I think I'll make an early night of it." Even to her own ears her voice sounded shaky. She didn't look at Grant as she gathered her purse and keys from the kitchen table.
Her knees were going to buckle any minute, she was sure of it. The house was dark and quiet as she walked through it to the front door. Ally reached for the knob to open the door, but Grant blocked her retreat. His large hand was flattened against the door high above her head. She couldn't force herself to turn around.
"We will talk about what happened tonight. Sooner or later, Ally, but it will happen."
He was back to that tone. The one that made her want to stomp her foot and cream her pants all at the same time. "I don't think that's such a good idea," she said, her back to him.
"Maybe. Maybe not, but we will talk. Count on it, Brown Eyes."