Charlotte’s eyes were wide like a child at Christmas. “I wonder how many seafood courses there will be,” she said. She carefully selected an oyster from the huge tray and slurped it down, then took a decadent sip of the champagne. “Ohhhhhh so dry. Lordy, this is gonna be fun.” She settled herself happily in her seat and chose another oyster. Oliver watched her, his jaw hanging slightly, as she spooned vodka cream sauce into the shell, put the jagged edge to her parted lips, and then sucked the oyster down her throat. She drank more wine. Oyster juice dripped down her wrist and she licked it unselfconsciously.
When she noticed him watching her, she said, “Get in there, buddy, I don’t play fair. Just because there’s two of us and twelve of them doesn’t mean you get six. All’s fair in love and dinner.”
Oliver picked up an oyster and slipped it down his throat, still watching Charlotte with her wine and her oysters. She chose the next one and tried the cocktail sauce.
“Ooooooh, super-lemony,” she said. She bounced a little in her seat, like an exuberant child with a new toy. She drained her glass and Oliver refilled it. “So gallant!”
“This will triple your income,” Oliver said suddenly. “You’ll have access to resources you’ve never even imagined.”
Charlotte rolled her eyes. “But I wouldn’t own anything.”
“So keep the bakeries. Get someone to manage it.”
“Why are you still trying? Can’t we just eat? How about we don’t say anything for a while?”
Oliver relented with a sigh and watched Charlotte tug at another oyster with her upper lip, slurp it down, and then lick her lips in delight.
“Christ,” he whispered to himself, sitting back uncomfortably. Charlotte glanced at him from the rim of her champagne flute.
“What wrong? You love oysters.”
“I do, but it turns out I like watching you eat them even more.” Oliver raised one eyebrow as Charlotte’s oyster paused on its trip from the tray to her lips. She flushed pink.
“I don’t know what to say to that.”
“It shouldn’t surprise you.” He twiddled his salad fork and allowed his eyes to stray to Charlotte’s ample cleavage, her lips, her earlobe, the wisps of hair around her temples. “You’ve turned me on from the day I met you. Hell, you turned me on the day you left. Why not now, dripping in mollusk juices and licking and slurping your way through a $200 bottle of wine?”
Charlotte looked skeptically from her oyster to Oliver. “Is there any way I can eat this oyster without it reminding you of sex?”
“Well,” she sighed, “then you’re gonna suffer.” She met his eyes squarely, put the shell to her lips, and slurped down its occupant.