Eli Grant was mad as holy hell. He kicked off his dress shoes and tried his best to loosen the bow tie around his neck before he ended up ripping it off along with his shirt. After the day he had the last thing he cared about was making sure he preserved the clothes he was supposed to wear to marry Gabi DiMera, the woman who claimed to love him, but was far more interested in meting out revenge to his grandmother and of course Lani Price.
And Lani. Had she kissed him right after all hell broke loose at his second failed wedding? And had he allowed it to happen and even kissed her back despite all that transpired.. Did she really think they could just go on after she kept him in the dark for more than a year? Eli's blood really began to boil as he remembered the soft caress of her lips and how long buried feelings rose up in him immediately. The rest of the afternoon was basically a blur. His mother came into the park. He drove Val to her hotel. For a second he considered getting a room there himself since he sure as hell was not going back to the DiMera mansion. Instead he found himself returning to his old room at the Horton mansion, which was probably a bigger mistake than kissing Lani.
Once every aspect of his monkey suit was in a heap on the floor, Eli put on a pair of shorts and went to the fridge for a beer. Gabi didn't know this but he still came to his room a few times a week just to chill and if he were honest, to feel closer to Lani.
Memories of her were everywhere. All he had to do was to look at the window and imagine her moonlit silhouette as she gazed out at the night sky. Or Lani coming out of the shower wearing his t-shirt complaining that he didn't have any good moisturizes and hair products. In fact he still had a bunch of her crap under the sink that he always meant to get rid of.
Taking a long swig from the bottle, Eli sat on the edge of the bed. There was no way he was going to sleep that night. He felt like doing something but what? His grandmother was safe and with Doug, Gabi was in jail. Val asked him if he wanted to talk, but he knew she had an early flight to catch back to DC and an upcoming scheduled surgery. What did his misery matter to anyone anyway? Especially Lani.
Lani. He'd never been able to get her completely out of his head and now he knew why. All of the mental fog that set in when she left him at the altar was starting to clear. She could have said something to him at any time. The day of their wedding, when they were working together briefly after the breakup, when he saw her in Italy, when he confronted her about throwing the pot through the Gabi Chic window. She would commit vandalism, join a convent, confide in JJ, enlist Julie's help. All of that, but she wouldn't confide in him. Yet the very first thing she does is to kiss him? To tell him she still loved him, well she had a funny way of showing it. If she had so little faith in him, then it was a good thing they broke up, no matter the reason.
Since sleep wasn't an option, Eli poured out his half empty beer, put on some clothes and went outside. The next thing he knew he was in his truck driving a bee line straight to JJ's apartment. JJ, his best man knew as well, yet said nothing to him. Now that the shock was wearing off, Eli decided he was well within his rights to say a few words to the both of them.
Eli banged on the door, not giving a rat's ass whether or not he was disturbing JJ's neighbors. "JJ...Lani open the door I have a few things I want to say to you!" He yelled.
There was a pause and he could hear some shuffling inside. He lifted his hand to start pounding again when Lani opened the door. He walked past her without waiting to be invited in.
"Eli...what?" Lani rubbed her eyes. She had been sleeping. Meanwhile he knew based on past experience dealing with Lani, he wouldn't be able to sleep for a week. He also noticed she was wearing a nightgown that was on the same order as the number she wore to break up his wedding to Gabi. It was short and satiny, but more flowy.
"Where is JJ?" He demanded his anger only increasing. This is what she wore to hang out with her buddy JJ?
"JJ had to take care of some family business and he won't be back for a week or more," Lani said and yawned. "And I was dead to the world, which is why it took me so long to get to the door. I feel so much better now that the truth is out. I feel like this great burden has been lifted. I'm finally free…" Lani threw her hands open and her head back. He half expected her to start twirling around the room.
"Funny because I feel the exact opposite," Eli scoffed tho he was glad to hear JJ was not home and they were alone. And he could not tear his eyes away from Lani. Even sleep rumpled she was a feast-long legs, tousled hair and a face so pretty, he found himself grinning like a fool every time he laid eyes on her. But that was before.
"I know it's a lot to take in," Lani said. "But one day you'll understand that I had to do what I had to do."
"Hmmm...lets see it took you how long to tell me the truth 15 months? So how long do you think it will take me to understand this bullshit?" Eli's voice rose with every word until he was yelling.
Lani's mouth fell open in surprise.
"And why the hell did you kiss me when I was about to marry another woman."
"You know what the way you're acting right now and the fact that you were stupid enough to fall for that wench who terrorized so many people before me, if it weren't for your grandmother's life, I would say go marry her. It's what you deserve."
"What I deserve Lani is to be treated with respect. And you chose not to do that. So don't think that you can just waltz back in my life like that," he snapped his fingers.
"Well, I see that gratitude you had in the park sure wore off quick," Lani said and walked into the kitchen.
"I will always be grateful for what you did for my grandmother, but I just can't easily forget what you did to me."
"I don't expect you to," Lani said. She was rummaging through the cupboards.
"Don't think we're just going to pick up where we left off." Eli could hear his conviction waning.
"Okay I won't think that…" Lani placed two mugs on the counter.
"So I'd appreciate it if you don't kiss me again…" He wanted to add a disclaimer but the words alluded him
"I,understand where you're coming from Eli. But you kinda came to see me tonight, not the other way around. You want some water?, tea? Coffee?"
"I don't want any…" He started to say and then Lani looked up at him. Their eyes locked and he knew exactly what he wanted. He blinked and they were both in the center of the room drawn toward each other by some invisible,irresistible force.. He hesitated until Lani reached out to him placing her hand on his chest. That was all the invitation he needed before she was in his arms soft and yielding as he kissed her, his anger melting quickly into passion. Why had he ever thought he could be happy with Gabi when it was Lani he longed for every day of his life and never stopped.