Melina used her fingertips to swipe the tears away without disturbing her mascara. “It’s just…” She lifted a shoulder. “He seems to have lost interest in me. I don’t think it’s someone else—if he says he’s working, I believe him. I’m just afraid that work is an excuse.”
The two women sipped their wine, and Melina forced a bright smile. “Sorry. No need to dump all over you.”
“It’s okay. I don’t mind. What makes you think he’s lost interest?”
Humiliation bubbled up in her as she recalled her failed seduction attempts, and she found herself sharing the stories with Abby, not every detail of course, but the gist of them.
“Oh, wow,” Abby said. “You’ve really been trying to get his attention.”
“Yeah,” Melina sighed. “One day I went to his office at lunch time to take him for lunch, but he was too busy to go. There wasn’t even sex involved with that one.” She sighed. “I just hate to think that when this project is done, we’re probably done, too. He won’t have a built-in excuse for not being with me.”
“Oh, no. I doubt that.”
“I don’t. And—” she sighed again, a whoosh of air that came from deep within her, “—I can’t go on like this. He doesn’t like to talk about feelings, but I need to know what’s going on.”
“Most guys don’t,” Abby said. “That’s doesn’t mean anything.”
“But sometimes you have to talk,” Melina insisted. “Don’t you think?”
“I guess. I’m probably not one to give you relationship advice.”
“I don’t know what else to do.” Melina took another sip of wine. She’d had several glasses that evening and hadn’t eaten much, her appetite squashed by depression. She was starting to feel pleasantly buzzed.
“Flirt with someone else,” Abby suggested with a devilish grin.
Melina laughed. “I couldn’t do that.”
“Why not? It’s just flirting. I’m not saying go out and have an affair. But maybe if he sees you flirting a little, jealousy might just give him a nudge. Make him realize what he’s almost losing.”
Gavin and Duncan had come in and were standing in the adjoining dining room near the food. Bowls of chips and dips were the attraction now. They stood there, talking and laughing, each with a beer in one hand and chips in the other. Gavin was so damn gorgeous, his T-shirt showing off his muscular shoulders, dark low-slung jeans hugging his tight butt, his handsome face shadowed just slightly with a day’s growth of beard. When he laughed and smiled, it just made her melt, damn him. And he hadn’t even waved at her when he’d come in from outside. One corner of her mouth turned down.
She looked around the room. Even if she wanted to flirt, there wasn’t exactly a lot to choose from. Most of the guys there were partnered up with wives or girlfriends and she wasn’t about to do that to one of them. All she needed was a reputation among Gavin’s friends as a man thief.
And the only single guys weren’t even flirt-worthy. Flirting with Chuck Bedson, with his skinny body, jeans up around his waist and premature bald spot, would make Gavin laugh as opposed to make him jealous.
“There’s not even anyone here to flirt with,” she complained, thinking that it actually didn’t sound like such a bad idea. When she and Gavin had started going out, they’d run into her old boyfriend, Steve, at a party. She’d just been talking to him, wasn’t interested in him at all any more, but Gavin had gotten bent out of shape about it and later admitted he’d been jealous. It had been kind of exciting. Maybe a little jealousy would be a little kick in the butt for him.
“Yeah, you’re right,” Abby said. “So, flirt with me.”