Home Run Page 11

Victoria nodded and watched as Scott quickly descended down the stairs. She stood there alone with two flutes of champagne and a party within a few feet of her, but she didn’t move. Instead she stood there looking out over the people that moved about in the atrium.

“Aren’t you and your date going into the party?” The slurred speech was still too familiar.

Victoria turned around to see Christian behind her with a bottle of water in his hands. His tux coat had been discarded and his bow tie hung untied around his neck. He must have run his fingers through that dark mass of wavy hair enough times to create tunnels.

She swallowed the lump in her throat and took a breath to speak. “He had to leave.”

“Stranded you at the prom?”

She nodded. “Something like that. But I can get a cab or call Sonia.”

He took a few crooked steps toward her. “I’ll get you home,” he offered very sincerely.

She coughed. “You? Please tell me you have a ride home.”

Christian dropped his shoulders. “Clara has my keys.”

“Good. She’s brilliant.”

“She’s a pain in my ass.”

Victoria had to laugh at that, because she knew the Kellers too well. There wasn’t anything that one wouldn’t do for another.

He moved toward the railing where she stood. “You gonna drink both of those?”

She lifted the untouched glass and handed it to him, but he took the glass she’d been drinking from. “I’ll take this one. You’re far behind me on drinks.”

He tapped the glass to hers and drank down what was left. Victoria took a long sip of hers and it went straight to her head.

She batted her eyes and Christian grinned. “You never were a big drinker.”

“Neither were you.”

“It’s my crutch tonight.” He balanced his hand on the railing. “Was kinda having a hard time.”

“Because of Darcy?”

He crinkled up his expression. “Darcy? Why would I have a hard time with that?”

“Because you liked her.”

“Oh, pftttt.” He waved his hand through the air. “I liked that I lived in the same house with her and it pissed off my brother because he was in love with her. She took care of me when I needed it.” His face became more somber. “It had nothing to do with Darcy.”

As a waiter walked past with another tray of glasses, Christian exchanged the empty ones for full ones and handed Victoria a glass.

This time she drank down half of it in one drink.

“A little more relaxed?” he asked.

“Yeah.” She needed to be. She didn’t like being nervous around Chris.

They’d parted on terms that they’d remain friends. That’s what she still wanted. This was the perfect opportunity to prove that she could just be his friend.

Christian moved in closer to her. “There are a lot of people in there having a good time.”

“I see that.”

“It seems silly for us to just stand in the hall and drink alone. Let’s dance.”

“Oh, Chris, I don’t think…”

He brushed his fingers down the scar on her arm and it sent a shiver through her that had her gasping. “It’s just a dance. Among friends.”

She should have left with Scott. She should have never stayed alone at the wedding. What did she think? That she’d be okay with him there and her alone?

“Just friends,” she reiterated and took Christian’s offered arm.

They were a pair limping along side of each other into the room full of people. The lights were low, music played, people mingled.

They set their glasses on a table and Christian led her to the dance floor. He’d seen his mother elbow his father and point in their direction, but he pretended not to.

The rest of the Kellers would be vital in him making a move on her. They liked her—he still loved her. He didn’t think he could be a father, but he sure as hell didn’t want that Scott guy taking the job either.

As they stepped onto the dance floor the music changed, slowed, and the lights dimmed more. Christian wrapped his arm around Tori’s waist and pulled her as close as he possibly could to him. She rested her hand on his shoulder and clasped her hand into his other.

They’d never danced well, but they were a pair with their limping and their scars. Still, they swayed together and he managed to get her even closer, until they were cheek to cheek.

“Did you pay the DJ to play this?” She said softly in his ear.

He finally listened to the song. Unchained Melody played and the verse, “Are you still mine? I need your love,” rang in his ears.

“That would be giving me too much credit.”

He’d noticed that her hand was no longer on his shoulder, but instead her arm was draped behind his neck. He pulled their clasped hands in closer until they were rested between them.

How was it that in a matter of minutes he had her pressed so close to him, swaying to a song that was so close to ending.

It was a sign, right? She had to miss him as desperately as he missed her. There was no other reason to be able to hold her so close.

One song melted into another slow dance and she stayed in his arms. In a bold move, he slid his hand from hers and laced it around her waist forcing her to take her other arm around his neck too. Now they were completely pressed together. Their cheeks rested against each other’s and he was sure he could feel her fingertips massaging the nape of his neck.

He closed his eyes and breathed in her perfume. Chanel No. 5. He’d bought her a bottle at Christmas last year and she’d sworn she’d only wear it for special occasions. He couldn’t think of a more special occasion than this one—and he didn’t mean his brother’s wedding.

Tori’s breath was laboring, meaning she was feeling something between them. He could feel her heart racing since she was pressed so close to him.

Suddenly, the numerous Jack and Cokes and two glasses of champagne swam in his head.

“I think this going around in circles on the dance floor is making me more drunk than I already was. Take a walk through the atrium with me.”

She pulled back enough that he could see her face. Her lips parted. Her eyes closed and opened again in a slow, sexy blink.

“Okay, and then I need to go home.”

He nodded in agreement, but he had no plans on letting her leave his side for at least a few hours. Maybe a nice long walk would help sober him up so he didn’t say or promise anything stupid. Right now he just wanted her close. He needed her. He’d missed her.

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