King of Spice – Excerpt

Trini could feel the power of Ravinder. She couldn't take her eyes off him, but she needed to before he saw her staring, so she turned to look out the window. He reached over and squeezed her hand. It caught her off guard, but she responded with a squeeze of her own. He wasn't going anywhere. She wouldn't let him, but she knew she would eventually return to Chicago. Soon these heady days would once again be gone. What the hell was she doing?

She looked at him as he parked at the front of the house. "Rav," she said, breaking the silence.

"Yes, Trinita."

"I don't know how to say this, maybe because I'm not even sure what it is I'm saying. But maybe we can't be friends—not like this."

"What do you mean?"

"It's just if we spend too much time together we're going to let our emotions control us and not our heads. We must think about this. It's a recipe for disaster."

"Why must it be a disaster?"

"Because that is what I do. It seems I always hurt the people I…"

"The people you what, Trinita?"

"People I care about. I do care about you."

"So, what choices are there?" He stepped out of the car, walked around to her side, and opened the door.

Once she was out of the car and standing next to him she looked at his mouth, dimples, sunglasses… Jesus, this person was something out of the movies. She stood on her toes and took his face in her hands, but he turned away. Trini ran her fingers behind his ears and clutched the hair that hit his open-collared shirt. She studied his face, the Romanesque nose, the strong jawline. He still did not look at her.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"You have no desire to heal the hearts you broke. Why did you come back here, Trinita? Tell me, and this time make it the truth."

"To help Kiran with Mother. Why else would I have come?"

"Honestly, I don't know. However, I do know that for all your so-called resistance it seems you want more from me, then you don't. You contradict yourself at every turn, Trini. You can be so difficult to love, yet I can't seem to stop myself."

"Why does it have to be about love? If we're attracted to one another and we care for each other, what is so wrong? Can't that be enough? Let the marriage thing go." She leaned against the car, her clothes still wet from the afternoon downpour.

"Are you really that clueless?"

"About what?"

"Never mind. Let's just drop it."

"I want to talk about it." She straightened up and stared at him. "And take the glasses off and look at me. I want to see your eyes."

Ravinder removed his sunglasses and looked at her. "Yes."

"Ravinder, I care for you."

"See, there you go again—terrified, unable to use the word love, as if it's poison."

"I'm not afraid to say it, but I'm not ready to say that to you. I don't want to hurt you again."

"All I have done is be open and honest with you since you arrived. Perhaps that makes you uncomfortable. Perhaps you don't believe me, but whether you believe it or not, I love you. Always have, always will."