Page 20 of The Demon in Him

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Breathing in the crisp night air deeply through my nose, I smiled as I approached him, sliding my arm around his waist and guiding him toward the door of the bistro he had chosen. It was certainly a lot more casual and low-key than my choice of restaurant, and when we stepped inside, it was apparent I was the only one in a suit, but it wasn’t a bad place. The lighting was warm but low, and the music—country, not my first choice—played softly enough I could tune it out as background noise.

Jacob told me this place had the best steaks in the city, maybe even in the state. I chuckled and pulled him against me as we were led to our table, my stomach growling, making Jacob laugh, reaching over to pat my stomach and pausing just long enough to trail his fingers over the outline of my abs.

A growl rumbled through my throat at his touch. I think he put it down to another complaint by my empty stomach.

As we sat, I said, “Why this place in particular?”

“Other than the steaks?”

Smirking, I nodded. “Yes, other than the steaks.”

“I thought it might help you relax, although…” he looked around pointedly, “… you’re slightly overdressed.”

“Maybe everyone else is underdressed.”

Jacob glanced at his own outfit—a white linen shirt, sleeves rolled up to reveal arms with more muscle than I was expecting, but then again, if he’s working on cars in his free time, it shouldn’t surprise me, and jeans. When he looked back at me, he was grinning, and I realized I had a slight smile almost permanently fixed on my face simply because I was looking at him. “Na, I think it’s you,” he joked.

“Right,” I said, smirking and picking up my menu. “Do I even need to look at it or shall I just get the steak?”

“Just get the steak, biggest one they have. My treat.”

“That’s not how this works.”

“Oh?” His eyebrow arched as I watched his face while he studied the drinks menu. “Are you going to make some thinly-veiled comment abouttaking turnsagain, or are you going to just let me get you dinner?”

“Would you rather I made a more direct comment?”

“Later, sugar daddy. I’m thinking about drinks.”

I barked out a laugh which had him chuckling too. What was happening to me? I almost felt relaxed. It wasn’t until I realized my shoulders had slumped slightly and I leaned forward to read the back of his menu that it occurred to me how long it had been since I had truly relaxed. Isn’t this what I came to Earth for? To find this inner peace within me and live as a human? I’d been on edge denying my demon for so long, was freedom found in allowing it to come through, just a little bit?

That seemed to be Frank’s theory. At least, that’s how it appeared he lived.

Was I seriously considering taking a page out of Frank’s book? If he found out, I’d never live it down.

Jacob ordered a glass of wine for me and a whiskey for himself from the waitress. Then we waited as the menus were removed, my arms crossed, leaning on the table, and Jacob with his chin resting in his palms, and we stared at each other for a moment. There was a hint of amusement in his hazel eyes, glinting with mischief and curiosity. When he was out of the workplace and away from the world he didn’t feel comfortable in, he relaxed entirely, and he became even more spellbinding to me, and I wanted that. I craved that inner calm, the ability to switch off the outside world and anything happening in business or that happened in my past and simply focus on the moment.

Here, in this odd diner with conflicting décor on the walls, everything from records to a long-horn bull skull and decorative glass vases, with Jacob, I almost grasped it. And I found myself wondering if he would help me get there and if being with him would allow me the peace I had sought for so long.

There wasn’t an uncomfortable silence as we simply watched each other, Jacob’s face telling a tale as his expressions changed. When our drinks were delivered, neither of us had spoken, and a smirk was playing on the corner of his lips.

When he lifted his middle and forefingers and pressed them to his temple, he squinted at me, and I broke first, laughing out loud.

It sounded strange. I hadn’t done more than a chuckle in a while.

“What are you doing?”

Jacob hummed before dropping his fingers. “Trying to read your mind.”

“I thought we were having a romantic moment gazing into each other’s eyes?”

“We were, but I like it when you laugh.”

In response, I huffed out a note of amusement before taking a sip. The wine was cheap, but it would do. I’m not sure when I became such a snob for wine and restaurants, but I suspect it was around the time I made my first million. I’d say Jacob grounded me, but I didn’t need grounding. I was more than aware enough of my flaws.

Perhaps what I needed was someone to show me how to enjoy the moment.

The conversation flowed as dinner was served and subsequently devoured. It was a pretty damn delicious steak, slightly overcooked for my liking, but otherwise, pretty good. Jacob appeared smug when I made sounds of appreciation as I ate, and my stubborn streak forbade me from confessing he may have been right about this place.