Want to start at the beginning?
“What?” His voice was slurred, but he lifted his face from the curve of her neck.
“Come home with me,” she said again. She could see his eyes now. Even in the semi-darkness of the car she could see the naked desire in his expression.
Dan opened his mouth, and then closed it again. He drew a deep breath through his nose. “I’m getting carried away.”
“I got carried away.” He cupped her face in his hands. “I want to go home with you. I want to make love to you. I want you so much I would rather stop breathing than not spend the night with you.”
“But?” A weight of panic sat on her chest. She couldn’t imagine why he was refusing her. He was a man and men liked sex. Further, he claimed that he wanted her, but he was still saying no. It didn’t add up.
Dan swallowed hard. He leaned back against the car door as if that small distance might help. “Colleen, I know you don’t want to hear this, but I love you. I have loved you from the moment I saw you and nothing is going to change that.”
“That doesn’t explain why you don’t want to sleep with me.” Colleen pushed back against the passenger door. Dan had something in this distance thing. She was feeling more clear headed all the time. Unfortunately, she also wanted to cry again.
“Colleen, I love you and I want to do this right. I’m no Boy Scout –“
“– and I’m not above just sleeping with a woman I’m interested in, but I want to do things right with you.”
“Right? Jesus, Dan, are you asking me to marry you?”
“Not yet. Not until you’re ready.”
Colleen’s mouth fell open. “Are you kidding?”
Dan’s jaw flexed. “No, I’m not.”
“Well, the answer is no. I’m not doing that again.” Colleen fumbled for the door catch behind her. His car seemed to be shrinking around her. She had to get out and she had to get out now. This much distance was not enough. Time zones would not be enough distance.
“Never. You never want to get married,” Dan snapped.
“No, never.” She caught the door handle and the door popped open behind her and she spilled out on the asphalt. His door banged against hers.
“Colleen, wait.” Dan lunged across the seat.
“No. You’re nuts, you know that?”
“Are you hurt?”
“I’m not hurt, just a little disillusioned.” She pulled her hand away and scrambled to her feet.
“Join the club.” Dan jumped out of the car. “Five minutes ago you were crying because you thought I didn’t want to see you anymore and now you’re flipping out on me because I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with anyone.”
“And you don’t want to spend it alone either.”
“No.” Colleen frowned. That sounded awful. Plus, her head hurt. It had been a really, really long day and she decided she’d give ten years of her life to have never gotten into this conversation in the first place. “Dan, it’s entirely possible that the stresses of the day have driven me to a temporarily unstable mental state.”
“Would you like to repeat that in English?” Dan snarled across the roof of his car. She could see a vein throbbing on his temple.
He was angry. He deserved to be. Colleen sighed. How could she explain to him what she wanted when she hadn’t figured it out herself? “I think I’ve had a really bad day and it’s making me a little crazy.”
“I hate to tell you this, but you’re like this on a normal day.”
Colleen leaned back against her car. Something about his anger calmed her. “And what does it say about you that you’re in love with me anyway?” She smirked.
Dan took a step back. He blinked at her for a few heartbeats before closing his car door and walking around to lean beside her. “Neither one of us is really up to snuff here, are we?”
“I guess not, but I’m willing to be that I’m further from snuff than you are.”
He folded his arms tightly as if he needed to keep them under close control or they would do something he would regret. “Honey, everything I said was true.”
“Even the part where you said I was nuts?”
“Well, unfortunately, yeah. But keep in mind I only say that because I love you.” Dan grinned at her. For a grin like that she could forgive anything, even the truth. “What I meant was that I love you. I know you’re not interested in anything long term or permanent right now and I know why, but I’m a very patient man.”
“So I’ve heard.”
Dan ignored her. “I’ll wait until you’re ready. I’ll even keep things casual, if that’s what you really want. Just don’t tease me.”
Dan looked at her very seriously. “If you ask me to bed again, I’m going to ask you to marry me.”