Bellamy Tanner was completely taken by surprise when she opened the door and saw Sebastian standing there. She had anticipated she would have to go back to the club just to have an opportunity to see him again. She also had the trepidation that she would go back to the club and realize he didn’t want to see her again and that she had made a terrible mistake that night in the alley. Finding out that he was the neighbor across the hall had never been a consideration for her.
Trudie stepped out of the kitchen, “Bella, let Seb in the door, will you? Stop being so rude. Welcome Seb, can I get you something to drink?”
“I’ll just take water if you don’t mind,” he said as he walked in past Bellamy and towards the kitchen. He glanced back over his shoulder, smiling at Bellamy, she just glared at him in utter disbelief.
“Please have a seat, Seb. Excuse the rudeness of my niece; she went out with her friends last night, and she had a bit too much to drink. She is nursing one hell of a hangover today, and I think her manners have disappeared.” Trudie glared at Bellamy as she took the seat next to Sebastian.
“It’s okay, I understand,” Sebastian remarked as he took a sip from his water bottle. He looked back at Bellamy who seemed to be doing what she could to avoid looking at him.
“Seb, didn’t you tell me that you’re a bartender?” Trudie suddenly asked.
“Yeah, I bartend several nights a week, why? Are you looking for a job, Trudie?” He winked at her and let out a little laugh before taking another drink from his water bottle.
“Ha! No, I’m not looking for a job, sweet cheeks! But I do want to know where you work. It seems my little Bella met some hot bartender last night, and she wanted to see him again but forgot to get his number. I’m wondering if we could get lucky enough that you two work at the same bar and you could maybe help her out,” Trudie was completely oblivious that while she asked her question, Bellamy was turning bright red and Sebastian was trying to stifle a laugh.
He took a minute to compose himself, “You met a hot bartender, huh?” He asked as he looked at Bellamy.
“He wasn’t that hot,” she shot back at him, her tone sharp.
“That’s not what you said earlier,” Trudie remarked, her back was to Bellamy and Sebastian, so she had no idea that they two of them were exchanging looks. “Matter of fact, I’m pretty sure you had lots of lust in your eyes when you were talking about him. I think he’s a good prospect for you to get laid.”
“Trudie!” Bellamy stood up and shouted over Sebastian burst of laughter, “Would you please not be so damn forthcoming with strangers in the house!”
“Sebastian is not a stranger, Bella. I’ve been talking to him since he moved in. Just because you haven’t seen him doesn’t mean he’s a stranger.”
“Well, he’s a stranger to me,” she continued to protest.
It was Sebastian’s turn to stand, he moved to Bellamy’s side and slipped his arm around her waist, pulling her toward him. He put his mouth near her ear and said in a husky voice, “I wouldn’t really say we’re strangers, Bella. I think we know each other rather intimately after last night, don’t you think?”
A shiver went up her spine at the same time the heat flared between her legs. Damn, he had one heck of an effect on her. “You better sit down before she catches you,” Bellamy whispered back to him. His lips grazed her ear and then he released her and did as she asked, taking his seat at the bar and pretending nothing had happened.
Bellamy walked into the kitchen and offered to help Trudie, giving her an opportunity to cool down and step away from Sebastian. He was even better looking today than he was last night. Although, today he was hiding his tattoos. He was wearing a blue button up shirt, but the sleeves were down and buttoned at the wrist. His neck tattoo was peeking out above the collar, but he had the top buttons done and was wearing a thin tie. His jeans were tight and accentuated his slender figure. The prevailing thought in her mind was how he would look out of those clothes. She began to wonder if he had artwork on his torso or on his legs, places she didn’t get to see last night in the alley, yet yearned to explore.
Trudie dropped the subject since it appeared to bother her niece. The three of them sat down to eat and carried on light conversation. Trudie told stories about the neighborhood and how things were before the revitalization. She also told wonderful stories about the building and the characters who inhabited the building over the years. But Bellamy’s eyes glazed over when Trudie began to tell stories about Coco and their life together.
“I’m sorry I never got to meet Coco, she sounds like a wonderful woman,” Sebastian offered as he reached out for Trudie’s hand. “I think I would have liked her very much.”
“Oh, she would have thought you were a doll,” Trudie told him, with a big smile. “I think she would have tried to adopt you, most likely. Maybe instead of adopting you, I’ll just set you up with my niece, instead.”
Sebastian laughed, and Bellamy just hung her head as if she was completely embarrassed by the entire exchange. “Well, I guess there are worse things in the world, Trudie. All in all, I couldn’t complain if that was your plan.”
“See, know that is the spirit. Bella, why can’t you be as open-minded as this handsome young man?”
“I’m going to clean up the mess, are you done eating, Trudie?” Bellamy’s tone was clipped and a bit angry. She stood up and began to remove the dishes. Trudie stood to help her, “You cooked, so I’ll clean up. Besides, you need your rest, quit acting like your not sick. Go relax on the couch and entertain your guest and I’ll clean up.”
As Bellamy took the dishes into the kitchen, she turned to see Sebastian bringing in dishes as well. “I thought I would help. It doesn’t seem fair to make you do all the work,” he gave her a big smile and then moved to back her up against the counter. She was trapped, and they were out of sight from Trudie. Sebastian put his hands on the counter to keep her pinned in, then leaned forward, pressing his body against hers and claiming her lips. As he pulled back from the kiss, he looked her in the eyes, “For the record, I texted you earlier today and was a little worried when you didn’t respond.”
She stuttered back at him, “You, um, texted? Why? Um, how?” He had to admit that her frustration and fear over the situation turned him on, she didn’t know quite how to react. “My number, who gave it to you?
“Your friend, the one who paid the bill last night. I think her name was Heather,” he leaned forward again for another kiss, this one was softer, “You were extremely drunk when you left last night, I wanted to make sure you were alright.”
“I, um, yeah, well I drank more than I should have. I’m a little hungover like Trudie said, but I’m all right,” she had to admit that it thrilled her to know he was worried about her. Did that mean he had feelings? Surely she was imaging everything and reading into his words more than she should. “I slept until almost 3 pm, so that’s probably why I didn’t get your text.”
“I was afraid you were avoiding me. Maybe having regrets over last night,” his voice was somber, no playfulness in his tone.
“Yeah, well there are a few things I regret about last night,” she replied, unable to look up at him and make eye contact. She was embarrassed at how much she had to drink and how forward she had been with him. Her friends wanted her to come out of her shell, but she felt like she didn’t just come out of it, she had destroyed it and couldn’t even reassemble it if she wanted to.
He lifted her chin, forcing her to look up at him. His face was serious and his eyes were soulful as he asked, “Am I one of those regrets, Bella?”
“Oh, Sebastian, no that’s not what I meant. I don’t feel that way about what happened between us. Although, I regret that I came on a little strong and have given you the impression that I do that sort of thing often.”
“Do what sort of thing often, flirt with bartenders who are flirting with you? Make a move to go after what you want?”
“I was referring to coming on strong to a random bartender and then going out and fucking him in the alley on his break,” her cheeks flushed, and she let out a laugh as she said the words to him.
“Oh, I know you aren’t that kind of girl. I think it was the alcohol and the flirting and the right circumstances. I believe you needed to let loose because you were so fucking tight,” he growled into her ear and then kissed down her neck. Bellamy moaned as he kissed her, the heat intensifying between her legs.
“Do have any regrets about last night?” Bellamy’s words came out breathlessly.
Sebastian stood up and cupped her face in his hands, “Yeah, I regret that last night was only fifteen minutes and it was in the alley. And most of all, I regret that I didn’t bring you home with me and treat you properly, the way you deserved,” he leaned in for a soft kiss, pulling on her bottom lip as he pulled back. “Any chance you come home with me tonight?”
Bellamy looked up at him, “How am I supposed to explain that to Trudie?”
“Tell her the truth, that I’m your hot bartender. She likes me already, I don’t think she’s going to give you any grief over it,” he had a devilish smile. Bellamy had to admit she was finding it hard to resist him.
“Yes, she does seem to like you. But instead of going home and sleeping with you, shouldn’t we get to know each other, first? Or are you only interested in sex?”
Sebastian could not help but smile, his entire face lit up when he did. Damn, he was handsome. “It’s not just about the sex, Bella. Need I remind you that I was flirting with you before I took you out in the alley?”
“No, I know that, but I’m not that type of girl, and I don’t want you thinking I am just going to fall right into bed with you.”
Sebastian kissed her forehead and then rested his against hers, “You’re right, Bella. I shouldn’t push, it’s not fair. But I want you to know that you do something to me.”
“We better clean up this mess before Trudie wonders what we’re doing in here,” she put her hands on his chest and gently pushed him back. She immediately set off to begin cleaning up the mess and Seb just watched her for a few moments. He then went back to the table and finished clearing off the dishes. “Thank you,” she offered as he brought in the last of the dishes and grabbed the rag to wipe down the table.
“I thought I’d let you know that Trudie is sound asleep on the couch. I’m willing to bet she had no idea we were in here getting up close and personal,” Sebastian picked up a dish towel and began drying the dishes that Bellamy was washing.
The two worked in silence to wash and dry the remaining dishes. Bellamy wanted to give into her desires. The fact that he had admitted he was interested in her; well, she wasn’t anticipating that. Sebastian was the opposite of the type of guy that Bellamy went after. He worked in a bar, he had tattoos, he had gauges in his ears and looked like the prototypical bad boy. She dated refined, college educated men, with jobs on Wall Street. Honestly, she dated guys with sticks up their ass and were far less than sweet than Sebastian.
When they were finished with the dishes, they walked back into the living room. Sebastian took the afghan off the back of the sofa and covered up Trudie. He then turned to Bellamy, “You wanna walk me home? I think I should leave you two alone for the evening. I had intended to invite Trudie over tomorrow to see my new project, and since I know you are here, I’d love for you to come, too. What do you say?”
“What time? And what kind of project?” She was suddenly intrigued.
He put his arm around her waist, pulled her to him and claimed her mouth, “The project is a surprise. I’ll make brunch, come over around 11:30.”
Bellamy gave him another kiss and then walked him to the front door. She stood in the entryway and watched as he crossed the hall and entered his apartment. She felt a pang as he closed his door and disappeared into the night. It took everything within her not to follow him. For all of her comments about taking it slow, she was kicking herself in the ass for them now. She slowly closed the front door and walked into her room, picking up her phone and seeing Sebastian’s missed text from earlier in the day. She thought she would have a little fun and sent a quick message his way.
~ * ~
Bellamy awoke the next morning, butterflies in her stomach over the idea of going to Sebastian’s. She pulled herself out of bed and padded into the kitchen to start the coffee before she jumped into the shower. Trudie was already awake, coffee in hand and reading the newspaper.
“Morning, did you and Sebastian have a good time last night?” Trudie asked without looking up from the paper.
“He left after we cleaned up the dinner dishes. You were already asleep on the couch by the time he walked out the door,” Bellamy poured a cup of coffee, doctoring it to her liking and then joining her Aunt at the table. “He said he had asked you to come over and look at his latest project, so he was adding me to the invite. Told us he will make brunch and we should come over around 11:30.” Her voice remained cold, and she tried to show no emotion when referencing the visit to his apartment.
“Ah, okay,” Trudie took another sip from her mug and then looked directly at her niece. “I think he took a shining to you. I think you two would make a cute couple.”
“You’re just trying to pawn me off on some poor unsuspecting guy,” Bellamy laughed to hide the giddiness she was feeling over the subject of the hot bartender across the hall. “He does seem like a good man, though. He certainly has an abundance of ink.”
“Yes, he does. Those artsy boys always seem to feel the need to mark themselves in some way. He would be handsome without it, but it does give him a bad boy quality. Isn’t that what you all go for anyway?”
“Can we not talk about whether I have the hots for the neighbor? And no, I don’t go for the bad boy, I want a good guy, plain and simple.” Bellamy picked up her coffee mug and retreated into her bedroom. She was totally bullshitting her way through the discussion with her Aunt, but she couldn’t be honest about her feelings. She wanted to hold back just a little.
“Whatever you want my dear,” Trudie offered to appease her niece. She knew that Bellamy was hiding something, she just wasn’t positive what it was exactly. She finished up her coffee and then retreated to her own room to begin getting ready for their visit to Sebastian’s for brunch.
As the two women met in the living room, Bellamy decided to ask a few questions to see how much Trudie really knew about the man across the hall. “So, Sebastian didn’t tell me what kind of project he was going to show us. Do you know what it is?”
“Ah, so he didn’t tell you what he does when he isn’t bartending?” Trudie let out a little chuckle. “I guess it was hard for him to talk about his life when his tongue was down your throat, eh?”
“Trudie!” Bellamy’s eyes lit like fire, she was outraged that her Aunt would say something like that. She knew that she was always going for shock factor, but this was over the line. “I did not kiss Sebastian last night, and that comment was out of line.”
“Wow, you are a bit defensive, child. Leads me to believe you do have some feelings for that boy,” Trudie could not contain her laughter at this point. She moved over and pulled Bellamy into an embrace, “Relax my dear, I think it’s adorable. I would totally be for you and Sebastian getting together; believe me, you could do far worse than being with that boy.” Trudie stepped back, then brushed Bellamy’s hair behind her ears “To answer your earlier question, he’s an artist. He does sculptures and paintings, he’s quite talented.”
Bellamy let out a little huff of laughter and let a smile cross her face, “Of course he’s an artist, why wouldn’t he be?” She shook her head and began walking toward the door. Bellamy hated art, she never quite understood it. She could look at a painting or a sculpture and say it was pretty, but she wasn’t one of these people who could stare at something for hours and get the deep meaning of it. So now she was going to have to go to Sebastian’s apartment and pretend that she understands art and pray that she doesn’t say something to offend him.
As Trudie opens the apartment door, Bellamy is amazed to see Sebastian’s entire apartment wall opened up. He is walking around in a pair of tight blue jeans and a white v-neck, ribbed short sleeve shirt. The shirt is a little tight and shows off his toned torso, and Bellamy can’t help but have impure thoughts about taking that shirt off of him. She realizes the ink on his arms is not a full sleeve, as it does not extend past his elbow. She also notices that the tattoo on his neck extends across his shoulder blade but not down the center of his chest. He isn’t aware that the ladies have exited their apartment and are watching him, so he continues to putter around the kitchen and work on brunch.
As she approaches the opening to the apartment, Bellamy sees three metal sculptures sitting in the living room. She was going to assume these were the latest projects that he was working on. Trudie was eyeing them carefully as she approached. Sebastian finally saw them approaching and stopped to watch at Trudie looked over his artwork. He said nothing, not wanting to interrupt her thought process.
After several minutes, she finally looked over at him, “Are you planning on putting these in the gallery or did you just do these for yourself?”
Sebastian was leaning against the counter, this ankles and arms both crossed, watching Trudie intently as she moved about the sculptures. As she asked her question, he pushed himself away from the counter and made his way toward her, “I haven’t decided yet. I wanted your opinion on what you thought about them before I made my final decision.”
“Put them in the gallery, without hesitation, I am telling you that. These things will sell, and you will make a tidy profit on them. They have clean lines, beautiful structure and convey a sensuality that is not overbearing but is just smoldering enough to ignite the senses,” Trudie continued to walk around the pieces, eyeing them carefully. She didn’t look up at her niece, but if she had, she would have noticed Bellamy starting to blush slightly. “They evoke emotion and passion. You definitely know how to use your hands, Sebastian. And you are very talented with your torch, this metal work is immaculate.”
Suddenly Bellamy’s body began to heat, the idea of him all hot and sweaty doing welding work became an erotic image in her head. That along with hearing her Aunt speak in sexual innuendo about his artwork, well, Bellamy was about to come undone. She could only hope that it wasn’t showing on her face. Her panties were soaked, and she was aching to touch Sebastian and to have him touch her. No man had ever had this effect on her before. Damn it, why did Trudie have to be here right now?
“Bellamy!” Sebastian’s voice was loud, and her head snapped. He let out a soft laugh, “Where did you go? Did we lose you for a minute?”
“Sorry, yeah I guess my mind was wandering. Did you say something?” She flushed with embarrassment now, knowing he caught her.
“Yeah, I asked what your thoughts were on the art pieces.”
“Oh, well, I am not nearly the art expert that Trudie is. I mean, I don’t know that I can really offer any enlightened critique.”
“In other words, you don’t like it?” Sebastian asked quietly, trying not to sound dejected.
“I didn’t say that. My words just aren’t as eloquent. I like the sculptures, they are unique and beautiful, but they don’t evoke the same response in me that they do in Trudie. No art does, so don’t take it personally, please.”
“It’s true, Seb, she has a shitty eye for art. I’ve tried to bring culture to the poor girl, but she just doesn’t get it. I love her and adore her anyway, but she is never going to be an art critic.”
A slight smile crossed Sebastian’s lips as he realized that she was not off-handedly rejecting him. “Ok, then I won’t press you for more specifics. Come on, I’ve got brunch ready.”
The three of them made their way to his kitchen island where he had mimosas prepared along with eggs benedict, fresh fruit, bacon, toast, and waffles. The spread was impressive, and this was something Bellamy could easily gush over. “Ok, I may not be an art critic, but I know food. You have done a great job with the brunch. I was not really expecting this, did you do this all on your own?”
“Yes, I did. Why do you seem so surprised?”
“Well, I don’t know,” Bellamy replied as she took her place beside him and nudged him with her hip. “I guess I wasn’t expecting a man who was a talented artist, a cook, and a bartender.”
“Don’t forget roguishly handsome and has a great personality,” Trudie interjected.
“Right, how in the world could I forget that?” Sarcasm dripping from Bellamy’s words as she responded to Trudie’s comment.
Sebastian let out a deep belly laugh and handed each woman a plate, “Just get something to eat and stop talking.” Everyone filled up their plates and moved over to the table to sit and eat. The conversation was light, and there was an easy banter between them. Trudie took every opportunity to poke little jabs at Bellamy and Sebastian; she desperately wanted the two of them to get together.
As they finished eating, and they began to remove the dishes, Trudie started to move a little slower. This caught the attention of Sebastian and he immediately moved to her side, “Are you alright, Trudie? You don’t seem like you feel well.”
Bellamy stood back and watched. Trudie was okay and was merely looking for an opportunity to escape so that Bellamy could stay behind with Sebastian. However, since it was her Aunt, she figured she needed to at least make this look good. “Trudie, do you need me to take you home and get your medicine for you?”
“Oh, I’ll be fine. I just get tired so quickly these days. I’m just going to go home and take a nap, and I don’t need any help doing that. So, Bella, you stay here and visit with Seb and don’t let me spoil your afternoon.” Trudie walked over and embraced Sebastian, “Thank you for brunch, my boy. And thank you for showing me your new projects, they are magnificent.”
“Thanks, Trudie, I appreciate your kind words and your expert opinion.” He squeezed her a little tighter and then whispered in her ear, “And thanks for giving me some time alone with Bella.” Trudie patted his back to acknowledge what he said and then pulled away and began moving toward her apartment. Seb turned back to look at Bellamy, for someone who was so confident that her Aunt was alright a few moments ago, she now wore a look of concern.
Seb walked to her side, sliding his arm around her waist and pulling her to him, “I thought you said you weren’t worried? Are you going to be okay?”
The brightness in her eyes had started to wane. She took a deep, cleansing breath and tried to appear upbeat, “Yeah, I’ll be okay. Deep down I know she’s going home to give us some time alone, but there is that overwhelming fear that it could be more and she would never tell me,” she looked over at Sebastian and her heart skipped a beat. He had this amazing ability, in the short time she had known him, to provide a sense of calm. “You know she’s dying, right? I mean, that’s why I live with her, not just because she’s my favorite Aunt, but because I’m helping take care of her.”
At her admission, Sebastian felt his chest tighten. “No, I didn’t realize that. Do you need to talk about it?” He wasn’t all that sure he could do much for her, but he was willing to listen and comfort. He was ready to sit on the couch and wrap his arms around her and comfort her and let her cry if that is what she needed. He wanted to hold her, to feel her soft skin under his fingers. He wanted to nuzzle his nose into her hair and inhale her scent. She was getting to him, and he wanted to wrap himself around her.
The weight of her admission to him, as well as the heat she had felt when she entered his apartment, were almost too much to bear. She had a need for Sebastian, it was almost primal. It wasn’t appropriate or ladylike, but she could not help herself. She took charge and prayed he would not be offended or put up a fight. Bellamy turned herself to face him, his arm still around her waist. She placed her hands on his chest and gently raised her head to look up into his eyes.
“You wouldn’t be offended if I kissed you, would you?” She asked, her voice had a sultry and seductive quality to it. His lips broadened into an electrifying smile, and Bellamy took that as approval to move forward. She moved one hand to the back of his neck and pulled him toward her. Their lips came together, and he immediately gave her access, her tongue stroking his. Sebastian moved his other hand to the side of her face, holding her in place, the intimacy not lost on Bellamy at all.
The two finally broke, needing to catch their breath. Bellamy was confused when he released her and walked away, she was beginning to think she had done something wrong. Then she realized he was pulling the wall closed. “I’d really hate for Trudie to wake up and come wandering over here and see me making out with her niece,” he called out as he secured the wall sections.
Bellamy blushed and watched as he put the final wall section in place and secured it. He then turned back toward her and asked, “Now, where were we? Oh yeah, I think we were right here,” he leaned down and kissed her again, this time the passion was a little more intense, and she could feel her juices flowing. Sebastian swept Bellamy off of her feet and carried her into his bedroom, right as he was about to cross the threshold into his room he paused. “You don’t have any objections, do you? I’ll stop if you want me to.”
Bellamy shook her head. She didn’t want him to stop, at least her heart and her aching need didn’t want him to stop. Her head was protesting, but she had learned to ignore it at times like this. Which was probably not a good habit to have? Sebastian walked her over and gently put her down on the bed. Unlike their first encounter in the alley, this time he was going to take his time and enjoy every moment with her. He wanted to explore her body and learn what she liked and how he could please her. He just needed to make sure he remembered to send flowers to Trudie for this opportunity, no matter how tawdry that might seem.