When Gavin returned to the bedroom, he lounged on top of the covers to keep the level of temptation down. Then he initiated a conversation about their new business partner. His search for information was used to distract them both from other things. Sexual things.
“Tell me, how did an exotic French woman like Mrs. Thompson end up in a small town like Blue-eyed Hollow?” Gavin wanted to know.
“I thought you’d never ask. I love telling her story.” Ruby chuckled. Then she dived right into the heart of that topic. “Mrs. Thompson used to perform in a French vaudeville act that entertained military troops from all over. Mr. Thompson caught one of her shows while he was stationed overseas and fell in love with her at first sight. He bribed his way backstage, introduced himself to her with a red rose, and proposed to her right on the spot.”
“Wow! Mr. Thompson moved faster than me.” Gavin propped up on one elbow, eager to hear more about this fascinating couple.
Ruby laughed. “You’re telling me. Anyway, Mrs. Thompson thought he was crazy at first. But she said she was so intrigued by his rural accent that she consented to go on at least one date with him. According to her, one date and one kiss was all it took for her to know that he was the man for her. She married him within the week.”
“Wow!” Gavin reiterated. “That must have been one terrific kiss.”
“I guess so. They stayed happily married up until he died of cancer twelve years ago. As their son’s best friend, I witnessed their love firsthand and I can testify that it was the real deal. Mr. Thompson spoiled his wife while he was alive. He gave her a fresh rose every day of their marriage. After he died, Dior continued that tradition.”
Gavin smiled. “Dior sounds like he was a good son.”
“He was. He was a good friend, too. The best friend I ever had.” Ruby’s eyes glistened with moisture. “He was even going to marry me just to keep me from having to marry Logan when my father was being particularly pushy.”
“But I thought you told me that Dior was gay.”
“He was. But we were both willing to endure a marriage of convenience on account of how hard my father was pushing me to get hitched right after high school like my sisters. Plus, Dior was still trying to come to terms with his sexuality back then and thought I could probably ‘cure’ him of his desire to be with men.”
“If such a cure does exist, I’m sure a sexy woman like yourself could administer it quite nicely.” Gavin traced her full bottom lip with his index finger. “Since I know that our marriage is going to be your first of any kind, what happened to change your plans with Dior?”
“We had to come up with a better plan after we did a test kiss and found no spark, no fire, not even a flicker there whatsoever.” Ruby laughed. “Yuk! And can you say, awkward?” She grimaced in memory of that kiss. “It was like kissing a brother. Double yuk!” She winced this time.
Gavin laughed, too. “So what was this better plan you and Dior came up with?” He folded his arms behind his head as he laid back on his pillow.
“Our new plan was for me to go to my parents separately and appeal to the things that excited them the most. I went to my mother and shared how I was not in love with Logan like he was with me. Being the romantic that she is, she couldn’t conceive me being in a lopsided marriage. Especially since she and my father have been madly in love for years. I’ve caught them kissing too many times to count over the years.” Ruby chuckled.
Gavin nodded. He’d seen the love between the Hudsons during his visit. It was a quiet kind of love with ambers burning hotly underneath the surface. “How did you appeal to your father’s heart?”
“I convinced him that I could better serve the family business if he sent me to college to study business management. Dior, who was very computer literate, helped me prepare charts and graphs to back up my need for such a degree. My father was so excited about expanding the family business that he agreed to let me go for the summer session instead of waiting for the fall,” Ruby continued.
Gavin burst out laughing this time. “That was a brilliant plan! The more I hear about Dior, the more I think I would have liked him.” He returned to propping up on his elbow.
Ruby smiled. “That makes me happy. I would have liked for you two to get along.” Suddenly she frowned. “Incidentally, Logan hated Dior. He refused to believe that a man and woman could be that close without sleeping together. In fact, he thought Dior was faking his homosexuality just to get with me. As far as I know, he still thinks that.”
Gavin scowled. “Speaking of Logan, why didn’t you want to marry him? You gave him your virginity. Why didn’t you give him your hand in marriage, too?”
“Because Logan wanted to tame me. From the moment he proposed to me, he started to paint a picture of how our life would be together. That picture included me not working, me staying in Blue-eyed Hollow, and me being pregnant every year for the first five years of our marriage.” Ruby grimaced. “I like kids and all, and I certainly want some of my own one day, but not back-to-back. I want my children spaced out more to give my body a chance to rest and to also let each child enjoy just being the baby for a while. Plus, the thought of only having sex in one position for the rest of my life just didn’t appeal to me at all.”
“No wonder you took off right after graduation. I would have taken off, too, if faced with those same choices.”
“Exactly.” Ruby stifled a yawn. “Fortunately, I don’t have to deal with any choices considering Logan anymore. My mother loves the chemistry she sees between me and you. My father loves how distinguished and respectable you are. He wouldn’t dare try to convince me to change my mind about Logan now, which is what he’s been doing ever since I got back to town.”
“It’s good to know that your parents approve of me.” Gavin made room for her in the crook of his arm as she snuggled closer to him. “And for the record, I wouldn’t want you to go back to your old boyfriend for anything.”
Ruby yawned again. “I never planned to. Now that you’re in my life, I never have to,” she replied, barely able to keep her eyes open now.
Now that you’re with me, no Benjamin will ever have you again, Gavin vowed with determination, watching her drift into sweet slumber. Tomorrow he’d tell her about his family’s connection to the Benjamins.
On second thought, maybe I’ll tell her after the wedding, he mused, hoping to avoid scaring her off with stories of doom and gloom.
(c) 2014 by Mi'Chelle Dodson/Suprina Frazier
(c) 2014 by Mi'Chelle Dodson/Suprina Frazier