526: Long Time, No See (excerpt)

His eyes danced across her face, her hair, her shoulders. They devoured her, every inch of her. She flushed red under his scrutiny and smiled. “So…”

“So,” he said, returning her smile.

He wanted to touch her. He couldn’t remember how her skin felt, or how her hair smelled, or how her mouth tasted. He’d done everything in his power to rid himself of her before, and now he only wished he’d left himself just a little something to cling to. She was sitting right in front of him, close enough to reach out to, yet she seemed so far away. She wasn’t his anymore. This new Mia. He had no idea who she was.

“How have you been? What have you been doing? Look at you,” he said. He was indeed looking at her. He couldn’t stop looking at her. “You’re so…” Beautiful. Glamorous. Sexy. “Grown up.”

She nodded. “Yeah. I guess I am.”

“You’re  stunning, you know,” he said, finally dropping his gaze. This time, it was Mia who couldn’t help but stare at him. “I mean, you’ve always been. But. But now—”

“Mia!”

Both Mia and Maxim jumped as the back door slid open and Abel appeared. He paused a moment and looked from Mia to his brother. “Sorry. Am I interrupting?”

Mia parted her lips to reply but Maxim got to his feet before she could do so. “No. We were just…” He looked at her again and smiled. “Catching up.”

Mia nodded. “Yeah. Do you need something, Abe?”

“My mom wants us in the living room. She wants us to sing.”

Mia’s face burned even more red and she shook her head. “No, no, I don’t sing anymore. Tell her I can’t.”

“Oh, c’mon. One song and she’ll leave you alone.”

“Yeah, right. One song will turn into one more song—”

“You know she loves when you sing,” he insisted. “When’s the last time you’ve done that for her?”

The guilt trip. As if she needed that. “I’m sorry, I just don’t—”

“Mia Nora,” came Maxim’s voice. Mia lost her words. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d heard him say her name. Her full name. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d heard anyone say her full name. “One song. I’d love to hear you. After that, I will personally make sure my mother doesn’t bother you,” he promised.

Silence fell over the three as Mia stared up at Maxim. Her bottom lip hung slightly agape, her eyes were wide and full. Full of something. Abel couldn’t quite make out what it was, though for the life of him, he tried. Finally, she, too, rose to her feet. “Alright.,” she conceded. Making her way past Abel into the house, she said, “One song.”

Maxim followed close behind her with a smirk, briefly meeting Abel’s eyes as he passed.

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