Thairon thought that Gwen was dead until he ran into her in the woods while on vacation--or at least a woman who looked just like her. Setta is 20 years too young, but she has all of Gwen's memories, and Thairon has no intention of losing the love of his life a second time! This scene takes place while they're still trying to figure out how to reconnect.
Stomping outside the door drew his attention. He opened it and raised an eyebrow. Setta paused in the act of removing one of her boots, looking up at him. She blushed and pulled her other boot off, setting them both outside the door.Hope you enjoyed it! You see what I mean when I say it's kind of minimalist? I'm still trying to decide if that's a good thing or a bad one.
“What did you get into?”
“The river bank is muddy.” She shrugged and slipped past him into the cabin.
He let her and shut the door again. “Aren’t you worried the wildlife will run off with your shoes?”
She laughed and walked to the kitchen sink, grabbing a glass down and pouring herself some water. “Why would they want my shoes?”
“Don’t wolves like to chew on things?”
“The wolves won’t bother my shoes.”
He raised both eyebrows at the confidence in her tone. “I guess I’ll take your word for it.”
“I guess you’ll have to.” She smiled. “What did you do this morning? Work? Aren’t you supposed to be on vacation? Who does work on vacation?”
“A lot of people. Especially when they’re CEOs of international corporations.”
“I miss your non-workaholic days.”
He grinned. “I’ll work on it. If you’ll provide me with something to come home to of distraction.”
“Hmph. We’ll see. Where’s Mr. Hale?”
“You know, he won’t be offended if you call him Marcus.”
She shrugged again and tipped back her water glass, draining it before getting herself a refill.
“I gave him the rest of the day off. Because you’re going to shout at me shortly, and I didn’t want him to have to cower in the bedroom while we went at it.”
She laughed. “Oh yeah?”
“Exactly what did you do while I left you alone for four hours to make me that annoyed?”
He cleared his throat and walked around the kitchen so that the table was between them. Just in case she decided to try to scratch his eyes out. “I paid off your credit cards.”
She set the glass down. Loudly. “Excuse me?”
“You said we were going to fight about it. And I was going to win, ultimately, so I just went ahead with it.”
“How can you even do that?”
“Banks don’t care who is paying them, as long as they get paid. I called them up and told them that I wanted to pay the balances. They were more than happy to accept my money. They even offered me a line of credit, when they realized who I was.” He smirked.
She glared at him. “I’m going to pay you back.”
“If you do that, then I can’t write it off on my taxes.”
“You’re so impossible! I’m not your charity case! I thought I made that clear!”
“You’re right. You’re not my charity case. If I gave you the money I give to charities in a single year, you’d be able to live off the interest for the rest of your life.”
“That’s not the point. At all. You can’t just sweep in here and co-op my personal finances without my permission. It’s none of your business! Did it never occur to you that maybe I have something to prove? To myself? To my family?”
“Which you, Setta? Which family? And since when have you measured your success by the money you make? Take your pride out of the equation and realize that I’m going to do everything in my power to take care of you, now that I know you’re here. Whether you want it or not. Whether you want to be with me, or not. Even if it means paying for your wedding to some other man.”
“So what else then? What next? What else are you going to take from me? My choices about what I should eat for dinner? Are you going to regiment my meals, so that I have perfect nutrition, so I’ll never suffer from high cholesterol? Where does it stop?”
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
“Oh. I’m being ridiculous. For wanting to pay my own bills. What isn’t within your power? Just so I know what you won’t be getting involved with.”
“You could get me fired, couldn’t you?”
He didn’t say anything. It would have been folly to admit to it when she used that tone.
Her eyes widened and she stared at him, taking a half step back. “And blacklisted everywhere?”
“It would be more trouble than it was worth to do so.”
“But you could.” Her face was white.
He walked around the table, reaching for her. “Setta, I wouldn’t.”
She stepped back. “Wouldn’t you? If you thought that it would be better for me? If you thought it would make me happy? If you were convinced of it?”
He stopped before she backed up into the counter. He didn’t want her to feel trapped. He didn’t want her looking at him that way either. He wasn’t a monster. Or at least he wasn’t a threat to her. Never to her.
“I wouldn’t. I would never take that away from you. Taking care of your financial woes is hardly the same thing.”
She shook her head. “You can’t do this. You can’t just… You can’t just do these things without my permission.” She looked like she was going to cry, but her jaw was tight and she blinked back the moisture in her eyes. “This isn’t going to work Thairon. I can’t do this. This isn’t going to work.”
“Setta.” She was already brushing past him, on her way back to the door. He grabbed her by the arm, pulling her up short. “Gwen, wait.”
She pulled her arm away. “I’m sorry.”
And then the door slammed behind her, and she was gone.
(You can find two other Thairon scenes, if you are so inclined, as my contributions for the Love At First Sight blogfest and the Flirt Fest!)