By the time Trevor finished scrubbing the machine oil from his hands, Chassie and Edgard had returned to the kitchen.
Chassie said, “Who wants coffee?”
“Sounds great, Chass.”
“There’s cookies, unless Trev ate them all. The man has a serious sweet tooth.”
“Then I oughta munch on you, darlin’, since you’re so durn sweet.” Trevor nibbled the side of her jaw and Chassie squealed. He reached above her head for the coffee cups on the pegs.
Trevor turned and saw Edgard staring at them. Not with jealousy, but with longing. Simple affectionate moments had been rare between them and Trevor remembered it was one of the things Edgard had needed that Trevor hadn’t been able to offer him. Why did he feel just as guilty about that shortcoming now as he had back then?
Chassie poured the coffee. Trevor automatically grabbed the milk jug from the fridge and set it next to Edgard. He snagged a spoon from the dish rack, passing it and the sugar canister to Edgard, ignoring Chassie’s questioning stare.
Didn’t mean a damn thing he remembered exactly how Edgard liked his coffee. Not a damn thing.
“So, Edgard, what are you doin’ in our neck of the woods?”
“Reliving some old memories. I drove past my grandparents’ place yesterday. With the shabby way it’s looking I’m wishing I would’ve bought it when I had the chance.” He smiled wryly. “I’m kicking myself for letting another thing slip through my fingers.”
“Grandparents?” Chassie repeated, not noticing Trevor’s rigid posture after Edgard’s comment. “You from around here?”
“Yes. And no.” Edgard relayed the story about his mother. Getting pregnant as a foreign exchange student, giving birth to Edgard before his biological father, a young cowboy, died in an accident. She’d returned home to Brazil and married Edgard’s stepfather.
“Whoa. That’s kind of soap-operaish, isn’t it?”
“Mmm-hmm.” Edgard blew across his coffee. “But it does make me an American citizen so I can come and go as I please in the good ol’ U.S. of A.”
Trevor listened as Chassie asked a million questions about Edgard’s life and Brazil. They finished off the pot of coffee and the time passed pleasantly. He even managed to meet Edgard’s gaze a couple of times.
The phone rang and Chassie excused herself to answer it.
Silence hung between them as heavy as snow clouds in a winter sky.
Eventually, Edgard said, “She doesn’t know anything about me. Not even that we were roping partners. Not that we were…” He looked at Trevor expectantly.
“No.” Trevor quickly glanced at the living room where Chassie was chattering away. “You surprised?”
“Maybe that she isn’t aware of our official association as roping partners. There was no shame in that. We were damn good together, Trev.”
The word shame echoed like a slap. As good as they were together, it’d never been enough, in an official capacity or behind closed doors. “What are you really doin’ here?”
Edgard didn’t answer right away. “I don’t know. Feeling restless. Had the urge to travel.”
“Wyoming ain’t exactly an exotic port of call.”
“You think I don’t realize that? You think I wouldn’t rather be someplace else? But something…” Edgard lowered his voice. “Ah, fuck it.”
“Want the truth? Or would you rather I lie?”
“Truth between us? That’s refreshing.” Edgard’s gaze trapped his. “I’m here because of you.”
Trevor’s heart alternately stopped and soared, even when his answer was an indiscernible growl. “For Christsake, Ed. What the hell am I supposed to say to that? With my wife in the next room?”
“You’re making a big deal out of this. She thinks we’re friends, which ain’t a lie. We were partners before we were…” Edgard gestured distractedly. “If she gets the wrong idea, it won’t be from me.”
“Maybe I’m gettin’ the wrong idea. The last thing you said to me when you fuckin’ left me was that you weren’t ever comin’ back. And you made it goddamn clear you didn’t want to be my friend. So why are you here?”
Pause. He traced the rim of his coffee cup with a shaking fingertip. “I heard about you gettin’ married.”
“That happened over a year ago and you came all the way from Brazil to congratulate me in person? Now?”
“No.” Edgard didn’t seem to know what to do with his hands. He raked his fingers through his hair. His voice was barely audible. “Will it piss you off if I admit I was curious about whether you’re really happy, meu amore?”
My love. My ass. Trevor snapped, “Yes.”
“Yes, you’re pissed off? Or yes, you’re happy?”
“Then this is gonna piss you off even more.”
“Years and miles haven’t changed anything between us and you goddamn well know it.”
Trevor looked up; Edgard’s golden eyes were laser beams slicing him open. “It don’t matter. If you can’t be my friend while you’re in my house, walk out the fuckin’ door. I will not allow either one of us to hurt my wife. Got it?”
“Good. And I’m done talkin’ about this shit so don’t bring it up again. Ever.”
Chassie bounded back into the kitchen. If she sensed the tension she didn’t remark on it. “My coffee break is over. Gotta get back to the grind. What’re you guys gonna do?”
Trevor gathered the cups and dumped them in the sink. “I’ll help you finish up outside.”
“No, that’s okay. You stay and catch up with Edgard.”
“Darlin’, it ain’t every day I offer to let you boss me around,” Trevor pointed out with a teasing smile.
Edgard stood. “If it’s all right, I might stretch out. I’m bushed. Been a long morning and a long walk this afternoon.”
Trevor stared at him. Edgard had walked the twenty-five miles from town? In the cold?
“If you’re hungry later, help yourself to whatever you can find. I already showed you where the towels and stuff are in the bathroom so make yourself at home.”
“Thank you, Chassie, you are very kind.” Edgard headed for the stairs.
When he was gone, Chassie hooked her fingers in Trevor’s belt loop. “Come on, you’re my slave for the next couple hours.”
“Mmm. I like the sound of that.” He lowered his head, teasing her lips before plunging his tongue inside her sweet, warm mouth. Kissing her until her heart raced beneath his palm and her body swayed closer. Trevor pulled back so they were a breath apart. “But I get my shot at bein’ the master to your slave later, right?”
Her soft moan smacked of sexual need and instantly stiffened his cock. “No ropes this time.”
“That ain’t no fun.”
“Neither is disinfecting the birthing equipment in the barn.”
Trevor groaned. “That’s what we’re doin’ today?”
“Yep. Has to be done when it’s not sub-zero outside and you volunteered, bucko.”
“Lead on, master.”
She grinned. After she turned around, Trevor whacked her on the ass hard enough to elicit a yelp and she ran away from him, laughing.
Damn. He loved being married to this woman. He’d be wise to remember that.