Was he saying what I thought he was? Emboldened by his words, I took a step forward and reached out with trembling fingers. I laid a palm flat against his chest, feeling his heartbeat beneath my fingertips. It was fast, just like mine.
“What do you think of me as, Uncle Bastian?”
I knew I’d made a mistake the moment the words left my lips. I’d called him Uncle, just as I had all those years ago. It was an old habit though, almost like a title. It wasn’t because I actually saw him as that type of family. I was sure he was going to pull back now, break the tension. The moment would be over.
But Bastian didn’t move back. Instead, he raised his clenched hand to my face, running his knuckles over my lips in the lightest of motions. I saw stars. I wanted nothing more than to beg him to kiss me. But I was frozen in the moment, watching him and waiting for his next move.
“I think you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.” His voice was a faint whisper, his words like a kiss against my skin.
“Holly, are you up here?”
We sprang apart like we’d been struck by lightning. I flushed so deep I felt heat in my cheeks burning me up from the inside. Daddy was standing in the hallway, oblivious to what had just—almost—happened between his best friend and me.
“Holly, get Bastian the plaid bedding from the laundry room, please,” he went on. “And set up the bed in the guestroom.”
“Will do,” I called out, my voice shaking. I turned away from Bastian, even though that was the last thing I wanted, and opened my door. I made my way down the hallway, thankful my father hadn’t realized Bastian was in my room. There was no explaining that.
I heard Bastian and Daddy talking, and when I reached the laundry room, I leaned against the door, whispering Bastian’s name, wondering if that had all really happened.
Had we really almost… kissed?
I tried to distract myself by grabbing the bedding and heading into the guestroom. I set up Bastian’s bed for the night, fluffing up the pillows, smoothing my hand over the comforter, imaging being on the bed with him.
My face got even hotter at the images that slammed into my mind.
My hands slid down the smooth, rich cotton and I bit my lower lip. Rosie’s words rang true in my mind, reminding me that I needed to make a move. If something fell through with the New Year’s party, this could be my chance. Besides… I only lived once. I loved Bastian, so much so that no other guy compared to him. No other man would ever compare to him. The very thought of being sexual with anyone but him had distaste filling me.
I moved away from the bed, more toward the door where no one would be able to see me. I touched my hands to my hips, trembling fingers pushing the hem of my red dress up. Hooking my fingers at the waistband of my pink lace panties, I carefully slid them down, wiggling out of the material and feeling bolder by the moment. God, this wasn’t like me… but then again, it felt so right.
I held the panties in my hands, contemplating whether I was brave enough, then adjusted my dress back in place and walked back to the bed, lifting the pillow and placing the material under it. I left just a little bit of lace peeking out.
But I wasn’t done just yet.
Bastian’s presence had made me ache, and the tingling between my legs just wouldn’t go away. Checking to make sure the two men were still busy, I got on the bed in the guest bedroom and pulled up my dress. My fingers found their well-known groove, massaging the spot that needed attention the most. I had to put a hand over my mouth to stifle my moans, Bastian’s name a faint whisper on my lips as I brought myself closer and closer to the edge of madness.
It was only when I heard voices outside that I allowed myself the sweet pleasure of letting go. I came with a soft cry, fingers buried in the duvet and legs spread wide on the bed Bastian would sleep in that night. I was still shaking as I got up, smoothing down my dress and glancing at the panties peeking out from Bastian’s pillow.
I forced myself to walk away from them, my heart pounding as I bumped into Daddy in the hallway.
“Thank you for making the house feel lovely,” Daddy said with a heartfelt smile. “I’m so lucky to have you, honey. Your mom would be incredibly proud.”
“Thanks, Dad.” I managed a weak smile.
I retreated to my room where I slowly undressed, critically observing my body in the mirror.