After stopping the car and turning off the engine, Andrew thought about the past few months. Victoria actions now made sense. Andrew decided her constant flirting and gentle touches had been her way of trying to let him know she was attracted to him. He didn’t know why it had taken so long for him to realize it. If it had been any other woman, he would have recognized the signs immediately but because it was Victoria, he had been unable to acknowledge them.
"Are we just going to sit here, Dad?"
Andrew glanced at his daughter. "No, honey. Hop in the back and I’ll go get Victoria."
About once a month, Melissa and Mark spent a Sunday afternoon with Carolyn’s parents in Dallas. Earlier this morning, Andrew had called his former in-laws and arranged for the children to visit today. He and Victoria would drive the kids to Dallas and leave them with their grandparents, and then he would go with her while she looked at those properties for her friend. Andrew had decided it was a good plan if he could just convince Victoria. The children got to see their grandparents, Victoria wouldn’t be alone in any of the seedier parts of Dallas, and he would spend the day with her to see if the attraction he felt was real.
The moment she opened the door, he knew he didn’t need any more time to determine if the attraction was real. It definitely was. He had obviously caught her in the middle of changing her clothes. She had on a bright orange and white striped shirt that buttoned down the front. It was half tucked into the waist of her faded well-worn jeans. In one hand, she held a bright orange tennis shoe. Its mate was already secured on one foot. Her blonde hair was loose and fell softly on her shoulders. She had a slightly worried look on her face and a small frown marred her forehead. Andrew had a brief desire to lean forward and tenderly kiss the frown away.
"Drew? Is something wrong?" she asked.
"No," he answered. "May I come in?"
Startled, she nodded, stepped back, and opened the door wider. Something behind him caught her attention, and Andrew saw her smile widely and wave to the children.
"They really love you," he said closing the door behind him.
"I love them too."
That was another thing he had to consider in any relationship with Victoria. Melissa and Mark loved her and as things now stood considered her an honorary aunt. He also knew Victoria loved them, and he feared that if things ended badly between himself and Victoria that the children might be hurt. Andrew quickly dismissed that fear. He knew that no matter what happened, Victoria would never hurt his children. He knew she would do her best to put aside any hard feelings between them for the sake of Melissa and Mark. Andrew suddenly realized he was worrying about the end of his relationship with her before it even started.
Andrew smiled at Victoria as he walked into her living room. He had been to her house many times to drop off or pick up something or someone but he had actually only been inside once. That time had been Christmas. It was the first Christmas since Victoria had returned to Holton. She had an open house and Andrew had felt obligated to attend. Guests had flowed in and out for the brief time he had been there, and Victoria’s party had been the talk of the town that Christmas season.
He now looked around her living room as if seeing it for the first time. It was a perfect reflection of Victoria. The room was bright and cheery with clean colors and bold patterns. One wall was almost completely filled with one huge window and sunlight filled the room. There were pictures in frames on every wall and every surface. You could read Victoria’s life in this room. Pictures of her family and friends and the most important moments of her life were scattered throughout.
"Drew," Victoria said drawing his attention. He was pleased to note she had returned to the shortened version of his name. "What’s going on?"
Andrew took a deep breath. Here was the hard part. Victoria was very independent, and he knew if he said the wrong thing, she would dismiss him in two seconds flat. "I thought I would go with you to look at those buildings for your friend."
Her eyes narrowed. "Why?"
"The children are visiting their grandparents today so I’m going into Dallas anyway. Normally, I do some work while they visit but I thought about you and hoped you wouldn’t mind the company."
She studied him a moment. "Let me get this straight. You want to spend the day with me looking at buildings?"
"Why?" She asked again.
Andrew walked over to the large window and looked out. Both children were sitting quietly, albeit somewhat impatiently, in the car. Slowly, he turned back to her. He looked into her eyes wondering if he had mistaken the look he had seen last night.
"Tell me I didn’t see what I think I did last night. Tell me that you didn’t experience that moment too." He watched her grow pale at his words but he had to know. "Tell me, Victoria, tell me you don’t want me as much as I want you!"
She started to turn away but he reached for her arm and pulled her back to face him. "You can’t, can you?"
"No," she whispered.
Andrew was shocked at the relief that rushed through him. He had not realized how much her answered had meant to him. He slowly let go of her arm before saying softly, "That’s why."