"Good morning, Neal." Though he'd hardly stirred when the coffee service had been set down or when June had taken her seat, Neal straightened at the sound of her voice. "I know Peter's got you on a schedule, but up at the same time two days in a row? That's not like you."
His attention shaken free from the morning headlines, his smile dawned as dazzling as always. "Morning, June. Twice is coincidence." He folded the newspaper crisply and set it well to the side, all his focus switching to the moment and her.
June's heart beat a little faster as she slid a smile right back across the table. It was a dangerous game she played, riding the edge between being charmed and forgetting the fact, but there were some things that deserved the 'just like riding a bicycle' adage.
"Sugar for your coffee?" She nudged the dish forward with a fingertip. Neal seemed the type to have a sweet tooth, a vice he could indulge in amongst company and keep whatever other bad habits he had at bay.
"Thank you." Neal forged sincerity better than anything. Soft in a way her husband never was, the truth leaked into his words to lend them weight and yet proved as damning as only the truth could. Byron had loved her, certainly, but he'd had the instincts of a shark and it showed in his every smile. In all her dealings with Neal, she hadn't seen a glimmer of anything near as sharp. An entirely different sort of thrill, it was a bit refreshing, to be honest.
"Don't hold back, take another."
Neal's gaze flickered away from the dark mirror of the coffee and he grasped another sugar cube with the tongs, dropping it delicately into his cup. He watched her as he stirred. "You spoil me."
"Of course I do." June poured herself a cup to match, thanking Neal as he passed the sugar back. "And I enjoy it too, or else you wouldn't be taking in the view."
Neal raised his cup, smile lost in a sip. "That was a prime opening for flattery," he said, attention still keenly fixed on her as if she were all that existed in his universe. Not the least bit the shark, but more the hound, lean and earnest, eager for the chase and with just enough of a bite to make it prudent to run. "June, I believe I'm starting to see your angle."
"Not everyone needs an angle, darling."
"But everyone has one." Neal abandoned his coffee as carefully and precisely as he had the paper. He rolled his shoulders and ran his fingers down the lapel of the suit that had fit so keenly without needing any help from a tailor's needle. "Unless you're trying to tell me that all you're looking for are a few trite words tossed across the table."
June smiled demurely as he rose from his seat. She plucked a cube from the dish and popped it straight into her mouth, the too-sweet crunch of it dissolving quickly but not absent from her tongue when Neal leaned in, lips shivering near the corner of her mouth. His breath fanned warm across her cheek, inviting her to turn into a kiss, but her patience outlasted Neal's and as expected he came begging for the sugar on her tongue.