Sienna exhaled slowly, trying to calm down her racing heart and pulse. Antonio had just kissed her moments ago. On the dance floor. In front of all their family and friends. She lifted her hand to her lips and smiled softly. Nothing could have prepared her for that spine tingling, make your toes curl kiss. She had never had a kiss like that in her entire adult life. Sure, she’d been kissed before but never had it been so erotic. What was he thinking though? I mean they were best friends. Had been since they were toddlers. They knew everything about each other. Except this. He had kept this from her. What exactly was THIS though? When had they ever had secrets before? She wondered. Okay, that wasn’t fair. She had a secret of her own but now that he’d done this, what was she suppose to do? She really needed some answers and the only person she could get them from was Antonio. Turning to go back inside to the party to find him, she and Antonio bumped right into each other.
“Oh!” She cried out as she almost fell backwards before Tony caught her.
“Sienna, I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” He searched her eyes.
Physically, yes. Emotionally, no. “I’m okay.” She tried to stand up but instead he lifted her into his arms. A few people on the terrace were looking and she blushed. Despite that she linked her arms around his neck. It felt good to be this close to him “Antonio, you can put me down.” Why did she sound breathless? Her gaze dropped to his lips and lingered. Maybe she should initiate this time. Sienna, cut it out!! Her inner voice yelled but she ignored it. She lifted her eyes to meet his and she watched, fascinated at how his green eyes blazed with hunger. Hunger for her. Wow. This was definitely different.
He trailed a finger down her cheek and cradled her closer in his arms. “Not a chance of that happening. Are you sure you’re okay? I didn’t hurt you did I?”
“No, Tony. You didn’t hurt me, physically. I’m just confused about what’s going on between us? You’ve never kissed me before.”
No he hadn’t. He wasn’t sure what had possessed him to do such a thing in front of everyone. All he knew was that he’d been jealous for most of the night, as she danced with other men and not him. And he’d gotten tired of it. It was no secret to his family nor hers that he loved her as more than his best friend. Sienna was the only one who didn’t know the full truth. He’d wanted to tell her so many times but could never find the right words. Hell, where there any right words? He prayed the truth wouldn’t make her run. Sienna had a bad habit of not facing things head on.
“I know we need to talk, Sienna. You ready to get out of here?”
She smiled. “Sure. But can you let me walk? Not that this isn’t nice but we have spectators.”
He could care less about who was watching but he didn’t want to embarrass her any further. “Okay, sweetheart. Down you go.” He placed her on her feet and led her down to the parking lot. When he reached his car, he didn’t unlock it. He leaned back against it and brought her flush against his chest. “Is here, okay?” He let his hand slide down to her tiny waist. She looked incredibly beautiful tonight with her strapless ivory gown.
She nodded because she couldn’t speak. Her body was too aware of those muscles beneath his shirt and pants. She swallowed hard as she looked into his eyes. She had always loved the color of his eyes and his olive skin against her mocha skin. Too many times, she’d convinced herself not to dwell on it. He was caressing her back now and she shuddered from the contact. “What’s happening with us, Tony?” She finally asked him.
He let out a deep breath. “I love you, Sienna.”
“I love you too, Tony, but…
He placed a finger on her lips. “No, love. Not like I love you.”
Her eyes widened in surprise. Oh God. She swallowed hard. “You love me as more than a friend?”
He nodded. “Yes.”
But…But how?” She sputtered
He almost smiled at her reaction but he held it in. “It started senior year. The moment I realized you weren’t my pesky best friend anymore was at prom. I saw the woman you were. The woman I wanted to get to know. The woman I wanted to love me back just as desperately.”
“Oh, Tony.” She laid her head on his chest and sighed. “Why didn’t you say something?”
He stroked her curls and kissed the top of her head. “I didn’t want to lose you. Us. But now I’m tired of holding it in. I know you may not feel the same way, but at least now you know.” He secretly hoped that she did.
She lifted her head from his chest. “You could never lose me, Tony. I will admit that I’ve thought about us as a couple before but as for loving you that way…I don’t.” That wasn’t the complete truth but she didn’t want to risk their friendship. Not for something that may or may not last. Lord, how could she just lie to him like that??? She asked herself.
He sucked in a sharp breath at her words. He’d known that was a possibility,but why did it hurt so much? “Don’t worry about it. At least I know, now.
He untangled himself from her and immediately felt cold. “I gotta go. I will call you later, okay?” He placed a kiss on her cheek and opened his car door to get in. He didn’t dare look at her as he backed out of the parking space. She might see his true emotions. As he zoomed out of the parking lot in his Corvette, with his heart in his throat, he knew things would never be the same between them again. He should have just kept his mouth shut.
(A week later)
Nearly a week had passed, and Sienna had not seen or heard from Tony. He didn’t drop by for coffee, nor did he take her to work like he normally did. They didn’t workout together or have dinner in the evenings . She felt like she was going crazy. He wouldn’t even answer her calls. She couldn’t even remember the number of times she’d called him. Ugh!! She was going over to his house. She was tired of him ignoring her. Before she could reach the door to leave, her phone rang in the kitchen. She rushed to the phone, hoping it was him calling her.
“Tony?” She answered on impulse. Silence. “Hello??”
“Hey, sweetie. It’s Samantha.”
She slowly sank onto the bar stool by the counter. “Oh. Hey sis.”
Samantha laughed softly. “Well, I’m guessing that I wasn’t the one you wanted to hear from.”
Sienna groaned. “Sis, I’m sorry. I’m just worried and about to go a little stir crazy over here. He’s my best friend.”
“I know, sweetheart. And you love him.”
She shook her head even though her sister couldn’t see her. “I…I don’t want to discuss that, Sam.”
“But you do. Tell me something. Why can’t you be honest with yourself?”
“I don’t want to lose our friendship. What other reason could there be, Sam?” Sienna asked in a frustrating tone.
“Honestly, I think you’re afraid to take a chance. It could be the best thing that ever happened to you, little sis. You deserve to have some joy, don’t you? The man is in love with you, girl. Now, I know he’s Italian but so what? The man pampers you all the time. Who wouldn’t want that?”
Darn, she hated it when Sam started to make sense. She was right. She loved Antonio. For a long time, she’d repressed those feelings and had gotten use to doing it. Now when he revealed his feelings to her, she lied to protect herself. She was being a coward of the worst kind.
“Sienna? You still there?”
“Yes, I’m here. I’m going to go see him.”
Samantha sighed. “Sienna, that’s why I called. I saw him today.”
Sienna frowned. “You did? Where?”
“At the market. He looked…really bad, sis. Like he was distraught..Like he was..
“Heartbroken?” She knew the feeling.
“Yeah. I agree that you should go to him. He’s a good man and you know it. So go for it.”
Sienna smiled. “You’re only encouraging me to go because you’re married to his brother.”
Sam laughed. “Whatever. You know I’m right. Get off the phone and go.”
“I will. Give that bun in the oven, a hello from his auntie.” She cooed
“I will. Bye, sis.”
“Bye.” She jumped off the bar stool after hanging up, then ran out the door.
Antonio flipped the channels on the television, trying like hell not to think about Sienna and how she’d broken his heart. He’d been avoiding her and knew by now she was worried sick. It was unfair for him to treat her like this but what else could he do? He wanted a life with her as his girlfriend and at some point his wife but she didn’t want that with him. Or at least that’s what she’d said. Uh huh. He was not going there. He’d done enough ‘what if’ scenarios and frankly he was tired. But apparently his brain wasn’t. He couldn’t help wondering if she’d lied to him about her feelings. He hadn’t thought about this all week until now, but her actions said something totally different. The way she’d wrapped around him that night at the party and she’d kissed him back for crying out loud! If she hadn’t felt the same way, she would have stopped him,right? Other little things stood out like how she would curl around him during a movie or hold his hand when they went sight-seeing. He jumped up from the couch to get dressed. He had to find out. He had to see her. Just as he was putting on his pants, he heard the doorbell. Damn! He wondered who that could be…
Part 2 coming soon…