“You want to take a walk?” Sam asked Leanne.
She still had her arms folded across her chest and a scowl on her face directed at his brother, Lyle. Getting her out of the room and away from the source of her anger might be just what she needed.
Sam knew going for a walk would help him. He wanted to be alone with Leanne, to talk things over, see if they could resolve her anger toward him for offending her the day after Nicholas and Adele’s wedding.
“I guess.” After standing, she kept her arms crossed as if to imply that he’d better not try to hold her hand. If she wasn’t ready for that, he would respect her boundaries.
They walked in companionable silence down the hall past doctors’ offices, most of which still had patients coming and going. There were no patient rooms in this direction and that was more comfortable then walking past people in beds with blinking and beeping monitors, a variety of unpleasant smells, and the risk of infection.
Sam tucked his hands into the pockets of his slacks, still in his business suit, having left his office in the middle of the afternoon.
“How did you girls get down here from Jerusalem so quickly?” Sam asked.
“Mirium called this morning, crying that she was scared and heading to the hospital. Your dad called in some favors and chartered us a private jet to get down here.”
“I’m sure Mirium’s glad you’re here,” Sam said, not wanting to come right out and say that he was glad also. Leanne beat him to it.
“You’re not disappointed either, are you?” Leanne bumped her shoulder against his and he took the opportunity to wrap his arm around her back, not pressuring her to offer her hand but wanting to be close.
“I’ve missed you,” Sam said.
“I’ve missed you too.” Leanne sighed. “I didn’t want to admit that I missed you, but you and I used to text back and forth all day long. I’ve watched Rachel text Liam these past few weeks and laugh with him and flirt with him and everyday I just wanted to ask her if she could ask Liam how you were doing.”
“Same here. Liam’s insufferable.”
“I have a feeling they’ll be the next in our families to tie the knot,” Leanne said.
“You think?” Sam considered whether to mention Liam’s tendency to sleep around, and how he was probably having an affair with his secretary but chose to wait. Nothing good ever comes from gossiping about someone else.
Still, he would have to address the situation eventually in order to prevent Rachel from stepping blindly into a marriage with a jerk like Liam. Dang, was he really thinking that way about his own brother? Yep. And Liam deserved the designation. He was a jerk.
“They sure spend a lot of time texting back and forth.” Sam avoided the admission for now.
“What about you and me?” Leanne asked with quiet apprehension. “Do you think we’ll ever get married?”
They had rounded the corner at the end of the hallway and found themselves completely alone at the doorway to a stairwell with a red Exit sign above the door. With nowhere else to go, Sam took the opportunity to lean against the wall and pull Leanne close. “I’d marry you today if you’d let me.”
“Even if that meant moving back to Jerusalem?” She avoided eye contact but allowed herself to be pulled into his arms.
Sam lifted his hand and raised her chin, leaving his hand cradling her cheek. “At this point I’m ready to ignore everyone else’s expectations and follow you anywhere.”
“Even if that means defying your father’s wishes?” she asked.
“Yeah.” Sam didn’t even hesitate. “He raised me to become a responsible adult and plan for my future. You’re my future.”
“What if he disowns you or something?”
“One, he wouldn’t. My father knows we’ll all go our separate ways eventually. That’s the nature of raising sons. Two, I’m already a millionaire on my own merits so I don’t need his money. And three, I really don’t care about the money. I’d rather live in a one room apartment and sleep next to you each night than live in a mansion without you.”
“I feel the same way about you,” Leanne said. She finally met his eyes.
Dare he hope she would have him to be her husband, even though she hadn’t spoken to him for over a month? That’s how he perceived this conversation was heading. He didn’t want to ruin the moment by forcing her into a commitment. Instead, he gazed into her eyes and glanced down at her lips, considering how this kiss would be different than any others prior.
They’d been kids goofing off, getting drunk together, playing at being adults without actually stepping into a position of responsibility. This was serious all of a sudden. They were ready to make a forever commitment.
Sam grazed his thumb across Leanne’s cheek then moved his hand down so that his thumb grazed her lips. She parted them with a sigh and relaxed into his arms. He didn’t hesitate or waste any more time, just pressed his lips to hers with a soft hunger and passionate desire.
Without registering his actions, Sam turned Leanne around and pushed her gently against the wall, his lips never leaving hers, his hunger for her growing stronger, wishing they could be truly alone and not stuck in the hallway of a hospital. He wished they were already married, and this kiss could lead to far more physical connections. The removal of clothing being one of many desires.
Leanne gripped her hands into Sam’s hair, pulling him even closer. His lips left hers and lowered to her neck, taking a play from Prince Marcos’ playbook. She moaned audibly as he trailed kisses along her neck and up under her earlobes. Yeah, this was working as well on her and it had on Lyla.
They were interrupted by the door to the stairwell opening. Liam and Rachel emerged and stopped short. Liam chuckled. “Dang, guess we weren’t the only ones who needed to hook up while we had the opportunity.”
As Sam pulled away from Leanne, he realized Liam and Rachel were both tucking in their shirts and straightening their clothes. Yeah, they hadn’t been just making out.
“Really, Rachel?” Leanne sneered at her sister. “In the stairwell? Gross.”
“Where were you gonna do it? In the hallway? Where anyone can walk in on you?”
“Like we just did?” Liam chuckled so hard he snorted.
“We weren’t going to do anything at all,” Sam said, disgusted at his brother.
“Oh, you were heading in that direction from that passionate kiss we just witnessed,” Liam said.
“That’s so uncouth, man,” Sam said to his brother. “We’re here to support Lyle and Mirium not sneak off to do whatever it was you were doing in the stairwell.”
“You’re one to talk, you hypocrite.” Liam stepped closer and got right up in Sam’s face. “You were already going almost as far as we did.”
“Not even close.” Sam stood toe-to-toe with his older brother. “Having sex in the stairwell at a hospital is almost as disgusting as having an affair with your married secretary.”
“What?” Rachel and Leanne said at the same time.
Sam and his brother stepped apart and looked over at the girls, both of whom stood with their arms folded across their chests and scowls on their faces. Oops.