"Let's go for a walk first. I mean, I don't know where we are but I think we should take a look around, talk for a while and then go in. I don't want this to feel forced."
He was still looking at her, his earnest expression up-rooting her confidence.
"Look, I just want to make love to you. And I think what you want, is to get to know me first."
He got out of the car and shut his door, making his way calmly to her side. Abbey felt anger rising, but at least he was honest. He was identifying the situation for what it was, a date with the promise of more when they reached the privacy of his rooms, like acknowledging a package that waited for them.
Abbey got out of the car by concentrating on making her legs work, she slid the substantial distance to the ground and planted her feet firmly before she dared to meet his eyes. The green pools sparked at her, all hunger and hesitation. Highfield leaned in and she thought he was going to kiss her, hell she ached for him to kiss her. Instead, he placed his nose millimetres from her neck, in an intimate gesture and sniffed, playfully, his wet tongue darted in and out until she could feel the ticklish dampness on her nape. Abbey squealed and tried to squirm away, laughing.
"What are you doing?"
Abbey laughed harder.
"I never knew that"
"I think it's a strange habit I learnt from my friends"
In a moment the mood changed, he was still looking down at her, with a smile turning the corners of his sexy lips but his green eyes darkened and he leaned down to plant a hot, gentle kiss on her lips.
"You're very beautiful".
But Abbey thought, behind the smile and inside the to-die-for green depths she could sense a something hadn't been there before. Oh dear God. Abbey groaned, he was damaged goods.
She sure wasn't sure, how to take him. One minute he was playful and full of confidence and the next he was giving her soul-stirring kisses and searching looks.
"I never said 'Hey! wet lady in the rain, I'm an uncomplicated man who likes to smoke cigarettes in the dark, why don't we get to know each other?'" Highfield spoke softly.
"No, I guess not" She admitted slowly.
Abbey let herself be led closer to his tall frame, til their hips met. Highfield gathered her up, drawing her torso into his, until his brown hair brushed her face as he leaned down to capture her mouth, making her thoughts swim. He insinuated his warm tongue into the hollows of her mouth and she closed her eyes. She could feel the warmth of his chest through her thin cotton shirt. A moment later, Abbey fluttered her eyes open for a fraction of a second and was almost undone by the closeness of his perfect features, long lashes draping his closed eyes. His mouth teased a further response from her, and she found herself sliding her arms around his neck, craning, stretching, to be closer.
The darkness of lust descended, Abbey felt warm and languid, her breathing changed. He must have heard it. Highfield's arms shifted and he almost lost his balance. Reluctantly, he released her.
"Hey Crazy-Lady, you're driving me insane"
"Why did you bring me here?"
"I wanted a date"
"What do you suggest?"
"Dinner. I want to eat with you, not play like dumb kids."
Highfield looked her up and down. He didn't know whether to be insulted or pleased. She was a slight woman and now she stood defiantly before him, donating her forthright opinion, hands on hips. Only her flushed cheeks gave away how vulnerable she had been just moments before. He almost laughed. The evening was not turning out as he had planned but she was a woman who clearly knew what she wanted. If he was honest with himself he was having a fine time, glad they were anywhere, together. Abbey's stomach growled. She threw a look at him and wrenched the door open.
"I want to eat a two course meal. I like soup and I feel like rich, buttery food tonight, like eating a cuddle. Do you know anywhere around here?"
As it happens he did. Half an hour later they pulled into the car park of a pub, nestled in exquisite gardens, just off the main road. Warm, inviting light spilt from within the A-frame buildings' apex. Chalet-style windows and climbing ivy gave it an oldy-worldy feel that set her at ease. Once inside Abbey saw the rooms were small and the furniture was wood, accentuated by red fabrics, cream walls and stripes. A waiter greeted Highfield and no sooner had they been shown their seats when the owner joined them at the table.
"Willard, good to see you" He cast a discrete glance in Abbey's direction, she wasn't able to stop herself from adjusting a hair behind her ear. He knows this place?
"Jeremy, the place looks great."
Abbey watched the two men exchange pleasantries. They were old acquaintances, it seemed. Abbey caught herself wondering if he had met Highfield's wife. She forced her treacherous thoughts away from the subject.
"You, my dear, must be Abbey" Jeremy offered, surprising them both.
"Highfield rang me this morning. He said he thought he might try to take you bowling but if you hated it, could he reserve a table as back" The older man grinned.
"I don't discount treachery" Abbey added smoothly, smiling at them both. She was pleased.
Abbey didn't care what they ate. She knew the food was delicious, the company excellent and she didn't need the coffee supplied at the end of the meal. As it was she was already shaking. Highfield drove them home, the conversation lapsing into silence. With the lights of the city fading in and out of view, Abbey appreciated the benefits of the good red wine and almost allowed herself to relax. Where were they going?
"Is this the new way home?"
"I didn't want to go home" Highfield countered her. "I want to take you somewhere"
"Ok" Abbey was sleepy and full.
"Ok you'll come along, or Ok it's a good idea to go somwhere"
"It's a good idea, seriously"
The words were prevelant in her thoughts as half an hour later they they waded through an abandoned lot strewn with rubble, small shrubs, bits of construction debri, bricks and steel. Where the dirt was piled to the walls, every now and then, there was a break in the stones big enough to climb to a higher vantage point. The lot was resplendent with old, concrete storage towers stretching upwards towards the sun. Highfield had talked her into following him, to climb to their pinnacle, for the view. Part of his argument had been him admitting he had done just that, two weeks previously, alone. He knew the way and it was 'sort of safe'. Not the kind to demure from a challenge Abbey kept her doubts to herself. He wasn't a crazy man, she didn't think. As he scrambled helpfully ahead of her with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old, she couldn't help but wonder about him. Her stomach was full, it was dark and dangerous. A successful ascent involved paying close attention to where one feet were, at all times and trying not to freak-out whilst looking for missing rungs, holes in the floor and trip hazards. Hardly the average sort of past time for a man in his late thirties on a Wednesday night. The were probably missing 'House' on the box. Abbey giggled to herself, narrowly avoiding losing her footing.
After a quarter of an hour, Abbey had to admit it was all worth it. They were around 30 stories above the ground, with the industrial precinct below them and further out, a glimpse of other suburbs and highways. She sat on the cold concrete and looked at her companion, making very sure she was leaning with her back to solid concrete. Highfield remained standing, hands in pockets looking reflectively across the night. His fine, fair features accentuated by the shadows on the rooftop. The shadows caught under his eyes and she was at a loss to even hazard a guess as what he was thinking.
Later, in the car as they pulled into a park near the apartments. Abbey breathed a huge sigh of relief. No matter what happened from this moment forward, she had enjoyed an amazing evening. Sitting in the cabin of his plush SUV, after spending some of the night in the wind, outside - she really felt -much more so than she had in a long time. The warm rush of emotion made her want to laugh. She smiled broadly, stifling herself.
"I've had a great time"
"Want to come up for a nightcap?"
As they stepped away from the vehicle, Highfield shook his head, smiling at her.
"No. I wouldn't want to ruin it".
At the door he excused himself, without even turning to kiss her. Abbey stood, assaulted by such a lack of ... everything. After a moment of pause she was able to move off towards her own front door.