Greg didn't like picking her up at her place. It wasn't just because he had never actually been inside her apartment. Or that he was forced to wait in the lobby for her after the doorman called up to let her know he was there. It wasn't even that he felt out of place with all of the very well dressed and obviously well funded individuals that came and went while he waited. It was the homeless guy who sat outside the building.
Look, he was a good guy, he really was. And he knew that people got down on their luck. And hell, he had lived in the city his whole life so it wasn't like homeless people were something he wasn't used to, it was just something about this guy. When Greg walked past him the little hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Something about him just wasn't right. The constant mumbling or the blank stare. Greg was never sure exactly what, but there was something that just bugged him. He hated being this way. It made him feel badly about himself. In fact he had made a big donation to the Sisters of the Road mission to help feed the homeless population to try and ease his own guilt at how much this guy bugged him. But it didn't stop it from happening. He just really bugged him.
But he still would pick her up at her place if that was the plan. Because no matter how much that guy bugged him he would never pass up the opportunity for the invite upstairs. They had been going out for a month already and the most affection he had received had been an almost chaste kiss goodnight at the elevator door. Never the invite for a drink upstairs. Never a request to go back to his place. Never even a lingering touch. But he still held out hope. He had wanted her from the second he first saw her. He was self aware enough to admit how shallow that made him sound, but there was no other way to phrase it. He wanted her. And once he got to know her he realized that she really was worth wanting in every way.
Smart. Funny. Kind. Successful. Greg's friends liked her, even though he was technically the last one to meet her. Tina had known her since they were little kids and the rest had seen her off and on over the years, but they still all liked her. They didn't even all like each other all the time, but her? They all liked her. So Greg knew she was great in a completely not shallow sort of way.
But he still wanted her. She was beautiful, but it was more than that. She was sex incarnate. All curves and smooth skin and shining hair. She moved like water. Not really walking so much as undulating across the floor. A man couldn't help getting bad thoughts just watching her go from point A to point B. She was incredible.
Which made the fact that she was so untouchable maddening.
She even knew the effect she had on him. They talked about it. Honest, open, communication. He wasn't used to that. But she had let him know on the first day that she moved very slowly. She took things like relationships very seriously. If he wasn't willing to go at her pace, to understand her reluctance to move to the next level, then he was free to go. No hard feelings. They could still be friends. But if he wanted to date, to try for more, she was willing. Just very slowly and seriously.
Normally a woman talking about getting serious on the first date would have made him turn tail and run. But did he mention how much he wanted her? He was willing to take the time. And if it all took too long and he decided that even she wasn't worth that much of a wait then he would move on. It wasn't like he had completely abandoned the other women he had been dating after all. Helena might might have wanted to take things slowly and seriously but that didn't mean he was taking things exclusively.
He turned as he heard the ding of the elevator and saw her just as the doors opened. That moment before she started to look for him. That moment that was just her, lost in her own thoughts, waiting. Then she looked up and saw him standing there waiting for her and he watched as the smile spread across her face. Every feature involved, from the curl of her lips to the crinkle of her nose to the spark in her eyes. Stunning. He always remembered how beautiful she was while at the same time always seemed to forget until he saw her. She was everything.
"Greg! You look wonderful! I hope you haven't been waiting long. The elevator took forever to get to me. I almost decided on the stairs."
"Ms. Helena, I have a cab waiting for you both and I will call Carl to take a look at the elevator while you are out."
Greg nodded to her doorman, was it Charles? James? Something like that and took Helena's arm to lead her to the waiting cab.
"Oh thank you, Terry, I so appreciate your help."
Greg hustled her out the door and in to the cab trying to ignore the mumbling coming from the homeless guy leaning against the building. He seemed to have gotten louder while Greg was inside. Probably had a pint tucked in his jacket and was on his way to drunk.
"Where are we off to tonight?"
"I made reservations as Cassidy's Place at 8, and before that I thought we might stop by the bar for a quick before dinner drink. Tina's cousin is in town and was hoping to see you before she left."
"Fabulous. I haven't seen Shelly since summer camp way back in, hmmm, I want to say 8th grade! What a great surprise!"
With that Helena patted Greg's knee sending a spark up his leg that made it very difficult to remember that this was a slow and patient game he was playing.