The party was still going strong when I stepped back into the room. That made sense, I supposed, considering I’d been away less than half an hour. But in that time the world had shifted, and it seemed anticlimactic to go back into the room and have everything be exactly the same.
Then I saw Tyler across the restaurant, saw him looking at me. Saw the heat in his eyes.
No, I thought. Nothing is the same at all.
I considered playing it coy, but I wasn’t certain he’d stand for it. More, I didn’t want to. He’d lobbed the ball soundly into my court. Now it was my turn to return it.
I’d checked my purse with the attendant hired to work the party, so I borrowed a pen from the bartender, then scribbled a note on a napkin. I folded it, then called over one of the waitresses and gave it to her. “Just make sure he’s the one who gets it,” I said, pointing to Tyler.
She flashed a conspiratorial grin. “You got it. Good luck.”
“Passing notes in class?” Kat asked, walking up as the waitress walked away.
“Something like that.”
“Buy you another glass of wine?” she asked, holding up two fingers to the bartender.
“They’re free,” I said.
“Don’t let that discount my generosity.” She took the glasses from the bartender and passed one to me. “To success,” she said, then held up her glass to clink.
“Success? In what?”
“In whatever the hell that was all about,” she said, nodding toward the waitress, who had just reached Tyler.
I watched as he took the note, unfolded it, and then—very slowly—lifted his eyes to mine. Come here, he mouthed, and the command seemed to fill me up, warm and enticing.
“Well,” Kat said, a lilt to her voice. “How very interesting.”
I barely heard her. I was already on my way across the room.
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