Cyrus’s unhurried steps suggested he had no idea that he was already late. Tressa shook her head in disgust. Oh, he knew; he just didn’t care how his actions would inconvenience her. It was amazing how much clearer you saw things once someone had deceived you.
Once he finally approached the table, Tressa skipped a customary greeting. “I don’t have long.”
“And hello to you, too, sweetheart. Yes, I’m well, and I hope you’re the same. My day? Oh, it was lovely.”
Tressa rolled her eyes at his smugness. Why in the hell did he believe she’d offer him any type of cordialness?
“What the hell happened to your hair?”
Tempted to say her man liked it, she ignored the question instead. “Thank you for finally showing up.” Cyrus unbuttoned the caramel-colored, ankle-length wool coat he wore and placed it on top of the box containing his belongings. Why in the hell was he getting so comfortable? After removing his hat and scarf, he placed them with the coat, then eased down into the chair opposite her.
Tressa motioned toward the box. “I believe that’s everything. If anything is missing…” She shrugged.
His eyes leveled on her. “You don’t care, right?”
Cyrus clasped his hands in front of him and leaned forward. “Why are you being so damn difficult? I made a mistake. Aren’t I entitled to one?” His tone was a mix of frustration and impatience. “You’ve always been so damn stubborn.”
“Well, my stubbornness is no longer your problem now, is it?”
Those steel-gray eyes darkened. “You were supposed to be my wife and just like that you want to walk away. I was good to you. You never wanted for anything. I loved you, still love you,” he said through gritted teeth. “Even despite the way you’ve treated me the past few months.”
She stood, refusing to sing this same old song with him. “I truly wish you nothing but the best, Cyrus. Enjoy the rest of your afternoon.”
Cyrus stood with such urgency, his chair fell over. The swiftness of his action took her by surprise. In a blink, he was in her face. She’d never been fearful of him until this moment. The hardened expression he wore unnerved her. Maybe she should have given the Taser suggestion a little more consideration.
Cyrus grabbed Tressa’s wrist and positioned his mouth close to her ear. “Are you sleeping with him? Don’t think I haven’t driven by your place and seen his SUV parked in the driveway. In my damn spot.”
Tressa’s eyes widened. “Driven by my place? Are you stalking me?”
Cyrus ignored the question, his tone softening. “Baby, please. Just give me another chance. I swear I’ll be the man you need. I’ll do right by you this time.”
“You had your only chance to do right by me. Now, let go of my arm, Cyrus, before I scream bloody murder.”
Instead of loosening, his grip tightened and Tressa thought he’d snap her wrist.
“Is there a problem here, Nurse Washington?”
Tressa recognized the voice and blew a sigh of relief, thankful for the intervention. Cyrus loosened his grip, and she yanked her arm away. Facing Dr. Benjamin Pointer, one of the cardiothoracic surgeons at the hospital, she said, “No, Dr. Pointer, everything is fine.”
Dr. Pointer slid his gaze to Cyrus. If she had to translate Dr. Pointer’s expression, it stated: though I might be Ivy League–educated, I’m from the streets. Obviously, Cyrus was good at nonverbal communication, because he backed away, collected his things and left with no further complications. But she had a feeling this wasn’t over.
* * *
Several hours later Tressa and Roth were led to one of the many tables inside Tegria’s, the Brazilian steak house she’d heard only great things about.
Roth pulled out her chair, and she eased down onto the burgundy leather. The aromas wafting around the room made her stomach growl. The fact she hadn’t eaten since one that afternoon—seven hours ago—didn’t help.
“This place is gorgeous,” she said, scrutinizing the lengths of burgundy fabric draped from the high ceilings, the modern decor and the eclectic light fixtures.
“You’re gorgeous,” Roth said, taking her hand.