She was bored to death and she wasn’t use to the feeling. Yet, every night she did the same thing after work just different scene, she went home from her corner office job, change clothes from her corporate garb to her trolling attire, tonight a black leather mini,silk tank and heels for the evening and called on of her many men and went out for a night on the town. Today was Thursday which meant tonight was Kevin and his boring ass monoluging self. He had a nice body and definitely plenty to work to with down in the nether region but for some reason she couldn’t seem to get up the excitement she used to. Stephanie Childers looked at herself in the mirror and wondered what happened to the girl who searched for a challenge around every corner. She was thirty years old, climbing the corporate ladder and absolutely nothing but a bulging bank account to show for it. Was she complaining not really but she wanted more. She wanted some excitement. She wanted something new but the question was what? If her girlfriend Darien was here she would have said, that she could try to have one man for once and see how that worked and leave some for the poor woman who can’t find one.”
She shuttered at the thought of being with just one man. All of those delectable men in the world, black, white, latino, rich, poor, whatever. They were men with possibilities and they were hers for the taking. What in the world would she do with one man? Forever? Hell no! She liked variety in her diet and she wasn’t discriminate either, she liked men period all races and all nationalities and she could manipulate them all. Playa for life. Yea that’s right she was a woman who didn’t want love and babies and all that mess. She wanted sex and more sex and did she mention good sex. She didn’t mind having to fake it every once in a while but every now and then she wanted some curl her toes loving too. She hated always being on the giving in and not the receiving. But unfortunately that’s how the wind blew sometime and she was forced to accept it. She looked at herself over in the mirror thinking as she always did, what in the world would the big wigs that she worked with think if they saw her now. She was a dark skinned sister with big brown eyes, pretty white teeth, and a head full of long hair that flowed flawlessly passed her shoulders thanks to faithful trips to the salon since she was eighteen. Nice size breast courtesy of her mother and nice thick hips thanks to her dad. A perfect size ten thanks to the full time membership to a local gym and healthy eating habits not to mention her extracurricular activities. She worked her way from the bottom to the top earning her degree from Georgia Tech through blood, sweat and tears. At work she was no nonsense Ms. Childers, clothes so starched she couldn’t breathe, her hair pinned up so tight she wondered how she managed to turn her head. But now after hours, she was a relaxed sexy vixen on the prowl and she just wondered what the elite would say about their “hard worker”. They had no idea how hard she “worked”, she couldn’t remember the last time she had a real orgasm. But as she was saying she wouldn’t complain, it was as it was. She had friends who were married and didn’t get sex as much as she did or as good as she did and she was faking it half the time so what did that say for the institution of marriage and relationships. Granted she did have those friends who had men that did everything for them and she did mean everything from cooking her dinner to eating her out, but those were too rare and far between for her taste. Her men loved her and even though the feelings were only one sided she appreciated being appreciated. She sighed and finished her look over and headed for Kevin’s workshop. She was going to surprise him and hopefully get a surprise herself. Maybe just maybe she would get a real orgasm this time. Well at least she could hope.
“Girl you are going to wear yourself out. Why do you continue to see Kevin if he is such a drag? Don’t you have ten other men you can rotate?” Darien said with unbelievable sarcasm. She constantly tried to talk her girl out of her whoreish ways.
“Very funny honey and no I don’t have ten I have four and they all serve their purposes.” Stephanie said in defense of her male counterparts.
Rolling her eyes heavenward for strength she said, “Yea I’m sure they do. But I wonder why is it that you have four men and yet you are still unsatisfied? Hmmm? Any suggestions”
“Oh shut up. I don’t want to hear your speech right now, I’m tired. Brendan had a tough night last night with his daughter so I had to play soother last night I am exhausted.”
“I thought you saw Kevin last night?”
“I did, but after I put him to bed, Brendan called and I went over.”
“You are ridiculous, Steph. You know what I think. You are afraid.”
“Of what?” She said lounging in her hooded sweat suit with her eyes closed.”
“Commitment, that’s what?”
“What’s there to commit too? A life of celibacy because your man is too busy screwing his other chick or because he is more in love with his jobs than you. No thank you baby girl. I have four men for that reason alone. None of them will feel smothered by having to shower me with attention or feel drained by having to constantly sex me up.”
“So you don’t think that any of your men are seeing other women.”
“Girl I ain’t stupid, I know they are but for some reason they keep coming back so you tell me what that is. I can bet you that Brendan is still sleeping with his baby mama, Kevin is talking to some temp that works for him and Derrick is hanging with his ex. The only one who is probably faithful to me is Jon and that’s because he can’t get enough of his little slice of chocolate.
“And that doesn’t bother you?”
“No, why would it. I’m not in love with any of them and I don’t ever plan on being.”
“What if you met the perfect man Steph what then?”
“The point is mute because for one that man doesn’t exist, and two if I did meet him then he can take a number like the rest because I am always going to be me.”
Darien shook her head at her friend. They had been home girl for years and Steph seemed to get crazier as the years went by. She could talk all she wanted about why she was the way she was, but Darien knew otherwise she was scared of being on the receiving in of those sour relationships, so she chose not to have one or to have multiple relationships if you could even call it a relationship. Darien had met a guy a couple of months ago and they were getting a long pretty good, they had been on a few dates, she liked him but she was slow to judge what was true, unlike Steph she had been in relationships before that didn’t end so hot and she knew what it felt like to have her heart broken. Now she wasn’t saying she wanted her girl to feel that but she didn’t want her to sell herself short either stretching herself for four guys when not even together they could fulfill her desire that was just plain crazy and she hoped she could convince her otherwise. Although as of yet nothing seemed to be working. Craig her friend wanted to have a double date with his boy Nick and hopefully introduce Steph to him. Darien didn’t know if she should tell Steph or not, she didn’t want her to feel like she had to add somebody to her already full agenda. But she genuinely wanted her friend to have something lasting and fulfilling. She thought about it for a little while, and then looked over at Stephanie who had drifted off to sleep as if she didn’t have a care in the world. When in truth she didn’t. She worked in one of the top fortune 500 buildings making a killing every year working her ass off Monday thru Fri sometimes almost to the post of exhaustion then she dealt with her men on the side. She needed someone to take care of her for a change. She woke her up and asked her to go on the double date with her. She agreed quickly and went back to sleep, she definitely needed something else occupying her time.
Stephanie sat at the table with Darien and her friend Craig trying to figure out what in the world she was doing here. Out of respect for her girl she dressed somewhat casual with an off white cashmere sweater and her red leather pants and cream boots. She wore her hair down in loose curls pinned up on one side giving her an island feel. Too bad it was too cold outside and she was bored. She was glad to get a good look at her friend’s man though he was a good looking brother and he seemed on the up and up. He didn’t have shifty eyes and appeared to be all about Darien which made Steph happy. She might not want a relationship but if her girl wanted one then she wanted the best one for her. Now his friend on the other hand, had yet to show up and his tardiness was grating on her nerves. She agreed albeit half asleep out of love for her friend but she had better things she could be doing with her time. Namely a delicious looking brother on the dance floor that hadn’t taken his eyes off of her all night. She tried to keep her impatience from showing but it was kind of hard when she felt like a third wheel. After about thirty minutes of listening to Craig rattling off his friends best quality while coming up with excuses for why he was late she had had it. She ordered herself a drink and excused herself from the table. She was going dancing and she didn’t care if Nick or Mick or whatever his name was showed up or not.
She danced through a few sets with Kyle the cutie that kept throwing smiles her way and gave him her cell number. Never hurt to have one on standby she thought as she looked across the floor to see Darien pointing at her to some good looking brother in a sweater and a leather jacket. He was tall, dark skinned, low cut hair, goatee and a lovely pair of juicy lips. Whatever Darien was saying he liked because his gaze never left hers, taking all of her in in once erotically slow glance, then finally back up to her eyes. She felt a shiver that she was barely able to suppress. What the hell? That never happened before; she didn’t even know it was possible. She smiled. He returned it. Oh he was good. And dangerous too, if she was honest with herself. She who stood next to the bar ordered herself another drink. She felt like she would need it. After a few minutes she accepted her drink and turned back to find him still watching her. Darien had stopped talking to him yet he still watched her. She could end her curiosity and walk over to him but she was having fun right now plus she needed to find out what his angle was. He obviously didn’t understand what he was looking at. Because she wasn’t a fresh bunny on the block she knew the game and she knew it when she saw it. And he wore it proudly. But that she could handle at least that way if they got involved it would definitely be no hurt feelings when the curtain was closed. She smiled at her logic and notice he had stood up from his seat and was moving towards her. She was careful to stay in her spot and not meet him half way. Something in his body language spoke of authority and she had the nagging feeling of restlessness all of a sudden. As he walked up closer she looked in the pools of brandy in his eyes. Oh yes, definitely dangerous, but most assuredly worth it. She surmised in one up close glance. What was her role in this? Was she supposed to play coy or brazen it out? She shook her head, coy never. She didn’t own a shy bone in her body and hated woman who played the fool for men to feel better. Hell she was who she was and she wasn’t about to apologize for it. If this fine specimen of a man couldn’t handle a real woman who spoke her mind and knew what she wanted then he was of no use to her anyway. Now that would be a pity. She could offhandedly think of a few things she would love to do with him and they involved some baby oil, a blindfold and a sturdy bed.
“Nick” he said holding his hand out as he stopped inches from where she was standing.
“Stephanie” she said accepting his hand, only to have him raise it to his lips and kiss the back of it. Nice, a little archaic, but nice. The tingle of excitement was a bonus she thought as she extracted her hand and tried to force the tingle to stop.
“Sorry I was late, but I was otherwise detained. Glad I didn’t miss the opportunity to see you that would have definitely been a tragedy.”
She laughed; well not laughed more like giggled and shook her head. Detained her butt, he was with one of his ladies and lost track of time.
“What’s funny?” He asked before he licked his lips.
Lord, knows he didn’t need to do that too many more times, she couldn’t be held responsible if she did. As it was her gaze followed the movement as it closed back behind his lips and she looked up into his amused face. Then she remembered his question.
“You are. Trust me you don’t have to explain to me, I came as a favor to my girl so no hard feelings.”
“Is that right?” He asked amused at her sauciness and her obvious attraction. He liked that in a woman who wasn’t afraid to let a man know what she wanted.
“And what about now?”
“That depends.” She said before she finished her drink and replaced her glass on her bar.
“On whether we’re going to continue to play twenty questions or if we’re going to get out of here and go get some real answers.” She said looking straight in the eye giving as good as she got.
He looked at from head to toe again and smirked. She was challenging him, and he was thoroughly enjoying it. He could feel the course of excitement roll through him as he accepted her challenge with an air of nonchalant.
“Your place or mine?
“Which is closer? I live across town.”
“I live around the bend.”
They made it to his house, a nice two bedroom, which took her by surprise. It didn’t reek bachelor pad but actually had the full comfort of home. Definitely a woman’s touch. Other than the obvious the place was immaculate and as he pointed out he lived alone and preferred a clean house. She was impressed. Another thing that surprised her was that he was taking his time. He didn’t try to bombard her as soon as they got in the door and that was a first most times after she went home with a guy the temperature was scalding as they fought the race of getting out their clothes to get the deed done only when it was over she felt like she had been doused with a bucket of cold water and hung out to dry she felt so unsatisfied and empty. Now however everything about him was turning her on. His jeans, they way the rode on his hips and that sweater and the way it was molded to his body. His hands the way they caressed her hand as he led her around showing his place. She was slowly smoldering and he was giving her a damn tour. What was wrong with her? She needed to get a grip, this wasn’t her first time and she definitely didn’t see this happening again but she did hope it happened sometime tonight before she lost her mind. He led her into the master bedroom last and she had to stifle a sigh, the man had a bed to die for. It was huge for one and the black silk sheets on them looked soft enough to float away on. Then she looked at him and he was doing that damn thing with his tongue again. Her nipples were tingling and he hadn’t touched her yet. What was the deal? She couldn’t remember being so needy before, now she could barely stand still.
“Come here” he said with a confidence and authority that broached no argument.
She walked towards him rimming her lips with her tongue, she was hungry for him and she barely had a hold of herself. She wanted to kiss him, she wanted him to kiss her. She wanted him to do something.
“Not yet” He said shaking his head when she reached for him to ravish lips.
“Why not?” she whispered. She was on the brink of losing her sanity and he still hadn’t touched her. She was being seduced by his voice and his body language alone. Definitely a first.
“You like to be in control, not tonight baby. I will control everything you do tonight.” He said pausing for a minute to let his words seep in then he looked at her again and repeated, while touching her lips with his fingers.
“You won’t even come until I let you.”
Not having completely lost all of her speech, she managed to squeeze out, “You sound very confident, for that I’ll let you take control.”
Shaking his head he walked towards her pushing her slightly with his hands backing her towards the bed until the back of her knees hit and she stopped, almost falling backward. He caught her holding her mid air, suspended in time, drowning in his dark gaze, hanging on his every word.
“No baby, it’s not your choice. I am in control.” With that said he finally kissed her and she closed her eyes moaning into his mouth. She was greedy trying to capture his tongue at a record speed but he wouldn’t have it, every time she tried to hurry him along he withdrew, and she was forced to relent. He slowly and painfully undressed her removing every stitch of clothing from her body piece by piece after he kissed and caressed every exposed element. She was suspended, she couldn’t go back and he wouldn’t let her go forward. He would take her to the brink of fulfillment and pull back leaving her needy and frustrated. Worst of all he was still fully dressed minus his sweater and shoes. He seemed perfectly calm and she was hanging on by a thread. She never felt so out of her element in all her life. She hadn’t felt like this before, sated and yet unfulfilled, he had to do something about this!
“No! You’re not ready yet.” He said leaning over her placing more wet kisses on a trial down her stomach in the curve of her thighs. She arched high off the bed and bit her lip to keep her cry from escaping. His tongue was magic and she was dripping wet with proof yet she still couldn’t let go, he had her, he had control of her body and for some reason she couldn’t find release. She had no chose, she had to do something she swore she would never do, and she would have to surrender. If it would take her out of her misery, then she would do it.
“Nick please baby” She pleaded looking into his eyes. He saw it. She surrendered and he finally relented. She watched as he unbuckled his pants, letting them fall to the floor along with his boxers. The man was glorious and she was glad for all of the preparations he done to her body because that was probably the only way she was going to be able to take all of him. Her mouth watered and her nipples tightened even more to the point of pain and she whimpered from her excessive need. She watched him put on a condom and place his knee on the bed and settle himself between her parted thighs. He used his thighs to open her legs wider to accommodate for him. He leaned down never taking his eyes off of her he kissed her gently on the mouth treasuring her as if she was precious porcelain.
“You ready for me baby?” He asked softly against her ear
“Yes” she said arching her body up to meet him but he halted her movements.
He covered her body completely with his and entered her slowly. Carefully moving inch by inch all the time watching her face, she closed her eyes to savor the moment but when she would he would stop until she opened them and look at him. He continued until he was in as far as he could go. She was shaking she felt so full, but he stilled her movements, trying to give her body time to adjust to his size, there wasn’t ever going to be enough time for that, she thought but he could always hope.
His muscles were wound tight straining to keep himself in control and she noticed a slight quiver in his arms as they held her body still. Not able to move her hips, she clinched him with her inner walls eliciting a groan from him. Finally some of his control was slipping. She repeated it until he took the hint and let her go, but when he did it was only so he could take control, he moved in and out of her slowly at first then with more sure and even strokes that caused her to roll into one orgasm after another. After her second one he became relentless, although he was still gentle he was taking no prisoners. She was clinging to him calling his name begging him to end it one minute, and then begging him to never stop the next.
His control was gone and his thrust became wilder as she nibbled on his ear, while closing her legs around his waist holding him in a lovers embrace. He couldn’t hold back any longer,
“Come with me” he said his voice thick with unspent emotion.
“Yes you can, now” he said demanding everything as he hit home one last time taking them both over into oblivion.
Stephanie doubted if she would be able to stand let alone walk the next day but she never felt better. He rolled over after he could breathe again and brought her on top of him. She winced at the tenderness between her legs but didn’t complain. She got what she wanted and she loved it. She felt her eyes getting heavy as he rubbed softly her lower back and massaged her legs gently lulling her into a satisfied sleep. “Go to sleep babe, I’ll wake you up in the morning.” And she did.
Nick Robinson was at a loss for words for the beauty lying in his arms and didn’t know what he did to be so lucky or so cursed. And to think he almost didn’t come tonight even though his boy begged him to come. He was tired of high power females thinking they were god’s gift and that men like him should bow. Hell no! And Ms. Stephanie was definitely a work of art, but he knew her type. He used to be her type. Playing the field looking for the next big thing. Unfortunately for her she thought he was it. He said shaking his head, too bad he would have to let her go tomorrow. If she was different, he might have made a play for her but she was out of his league, he had no desire to chase tail anymore, he wanted something stable. Rock solid. Yet, no matter how good she was in bed or how beautiful she was Stephanie Childers wasn’t it.
Stephanie woke up in bed alone, and took the time to get her bearings. She saw her clothes neatly stacked in a chair in the corner. She listened for a moment but heard no noise and wondered where Nick had run off too. She looked at the clock and noticed it was after 12. She bolted up. What in the world was she doing sleeping past twelve in another man’s bed? She got up and walked into the bathroom. There was a wash cloth and a towel lying on the counter along with a comb, and a new toothbrush. She thanked the lucky stars for his insight and took a much needed hot shower trying to dull the soreness that worsened every time she moved. She finished quickly and combed out her flat hair and let it hang. She dressed just as fast as her aching limbs would allow and walked out of his bedroom to be greeted by Nick sitting at the kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee checking his email on his laptop.
“Good morning sleepyhead. Or should I say good afternoon.” He said smiling after looking at his watch on his wrist.
She smiled she could appreciate his humor, “You should have woke me up, I have never slept this late.” She said
“You obviously needed it, so I didn’t see any point in bothering you. I brought your phone in here this morning it was ringing and I didn’t want it to wake you up. I hope you didn’t miss any important phone calls.
She shook head thinking it was only Darien calling her to see if she had lost her mind. She looked at the phone and noticed she had several missed calls and only two were from Darien the other was from Brendan and another was from Jon. She stifled a groan, she forgot all about she was supposed to have lunch today with Jon. And why was Brendan calling. They didn’t have anything planned for today.
“Something wrong?” Nick asked
Realizing she was frowning she quickly cleared her face and put her phone in her purse, she would deal with them when she got home. She smiled a carefree smile and answered his question.
“No, everything is cool”
“UH huh” Nick said but didn’t say any more. He knew why she was looking like that. She had obviously missed some important dates and didn’t want him to know. Silly woman. He had been there done that and wasn’t looking to go back there again. He saw who called and even though he didn’t answer he knew what was up. He just couldn’t help but wish things were different.
“I’m going to call a cab and I’ll be out of your way.” She said bringing her phone back out.” She suddenly felt uncomfortable at the way he was looking at her and she wondered what he was thinking and why she suddenly cared.
“No need to I can take you where you want to go, whenever you’re ready to go.”
“That’s not necessary”
“It is if you live across town like you said, you will pay a fortune in cab fair to get there when I can just take you.”
She couldn’t argue with his logic, but she still felt uneasy and she knew the quicker she got home the better.”
“Sure if you don’t mind” She said not all that sure it was better than paying the fair because something told her she would be losing something a lot more important than money once he dropped her off she just didn’t know what that was.
Stephanie’s day didn’t improve as she would have hoped it would. She suffered through the drive home with Nick feeling out of sort and she couldn’t place why. Nick was the complete gentlemen, continuing to create conversation with his humor while she felt like she missed a vital part. She was glad that she allowed him to escort her home, traffic was awful and they were stuck in a traffic jam for the better half of thirty minutes before they made it to her house. Once there Nick didn’t ask to come in, didn’t ask for her phone number, and didn’t appear to be in a hurry to have a repeat run with her. Although it definitely wasn't a first for her, she couldn’t help but think of how much it mattered over the rest. Of course she shook off the feelings and smiled through it. She kissed his cheek, told him thanks and disappeared into her house hoping to sort through her wayward emotions. It didn’t happen that way. As soon as her doors closed her phones started ringing. First call was from Darien cussing her out trying to make sure she was alright, then cussing her out again. She apologized absent mindedly for worrying her and then hung up promising to call her later. No sooner than she hung up the phone it was ringing again. This time it was Jon, he was upset wondering how she could have forgotten their date. She was taken back at first at the bite in his voice as he fussed at her for standing him up. She quickly found her voice and gave him what for and he quickly backtracked apologizing and promising her everything except the moon and the stars to forgive him. Jon for all he was worth was filthy rich being that his family owned several restaurants and were in the process of having a grand opening for their latest project. After securing her forgiveness he reminded her about the opening and hung up. Keeping her frustration level at a minimum she shook off her clothes and changed into something comfortable. She had one more day before the weekend was over and she was thoroughly exhausted and true to form still a little dazed from the happenings of the night before. After she ate a bite and had yet another shower she felt a little better and chalked her emotions up to exhaustion and promised herself that she was going to slow down a little and spend some time for just herself which included sleeping the rest of the day. The next day it was back to business as usual with work. She assumed everything was back to normal in her life until Wednesday around lunch time she received a call from Brendan saying that he needed to see her. At first she didn’t think anything about it until she recalled the hesitancy in his voice. She quickly thought something was wrong with his daughter and was anxious to find out what he had to say. Needless to say it wasn’t that at all when she finally saw him when she got off of work. He wanted to tell her in person that he and Andrea his daughter’s mom were getting back together. She wasn’t surprised she already assumed he was still sleeping with her and she definitely wasn’t upset. She told him she was happy for him and that she hoped it worked out. He of course was relieved but he felt bad because he kept murmuring apologizes to her. She assured him she was alright and he would be too. They parted on good terms and she went home, relieved. She liked Brendan out of the guys she was with he was the softie but he was true and she knew that his girl Andrea had a good one on her hands if she would just act right. She shook her head as she walked in the house that night. She couldn’t even imagine what she would do with one man, but she knew what her men needed and Brendan needed affection and someone that was constantly in his corner. She was happy to be off the hook. She shook off her starched clothes and exhaled after removing the confining clothes and settled herself in for the night. Before she went to bed she found her mind wondering to Nick and wondered what was his thing, what did he need from his woman? She went to bed on that thought.
“What happened between you and Nick?” Darien asked the next day when she stopped by her office to take her to lunch.
“Nothing the same old same old. Why?” Steph was wondering what if anything Nick had bragged to his boy about. Obviously it was something because Darien couldn’t look her in the eye.
“Nothing. I just asked Craig about it and he said that he had talked to Nick and he said that you weren’t his type is all. But I got the impression when we were at the club that ya’ll had hit it off pretty nice.” Darien said her face scrunched up in confusion. Steph however didn’t hear a word of what she said after the phrase of she wasn’t his type. She like all people of her position could probably use a class in humility but if this wasn’t a blow to her pride she didn’t know what was. She knew she felt something that night with Nick although she would be damned if she admitted it out loud but she also knew he felt it too. Or at least she thought he did, until she woke up that morning and she felt the shift in the atmosphere. At the time she couldn’t put her finger on why she felt uneasy and now she was even more confused. She tried to think back to that morning and what all changed and she couldn’t come up with anything. But she remembered the way he looked at her as if he was looking straight at her soul and she didn’t care for the feelings it brought on. She shook off her brooding and continued to listen to Darien carry on about how she didn’t understand it and Steph was hard pressed not to admit she didn’t either but she let it slide. “You can’t have them all” she said and let it go. She had no idea how prophetic her words were until the next day when she talked to Kevin and he also apologized in advance before he told her that he wanted to end things with her because he found someone he really cared about. She of course let him off easy telling him it was cool and wishing him the best. She would have laughed about being dumped twice in one week if she wasn’t still smarting from her conversation with Darien.
What did he mean she wasn’t his type? She couldn’t tell by the slight soreness she still felt in her body from the good loving he gave her. She wouldn’t believe it, not even if he told her that to her face. Point blank he was lying but the question was why? She racked her brain all night for the answer to that and only when she was closing her eyes did it come to her. The phone calls, he knew.
She sat up quickly and wondered why did it matter? It was all game anyway, so why did it matter that he saw her for what she was. What was she? If you asked her she would say a realist. True love wasn’t true at least not for her anyway and she didn’t see any point in placing herself in a situation just for it to go bad. She wouldn’t apologize for who she was and wouldn’t give him another thought either. If he thought she wasn’t good enough or whatever then that was fine by her because she already had plenty to contend with. With that thought she fell into a deep sleep.
If it was possible for her following week to be worse than the previous she wouldn’t have believed it if it wasn’t happening to her. Jon continued to hound her about the opening coming up and sent her a beautiful white halter dress and shoes to wear to it. She accepted but not without reservations. He was starting to get clingy and she was getting annoyed then then too add insult to injury Derrick called and wanted to meet her for lunch. She didn’t know if she could take much more. Her work loads were already overwhelming and leave it to her men to stress her out. She cleared her schedule and met Derrick for lunch, might as well get it over with; it couldn’t possibly be that bad right. Wrong.
Out of all of her men Derrick was the most laid back. He worked as an EMT and out of all of them he was the one that resembled her own humble upbringing, which meant he didn’t pull any punches when it came to dumping her. He met a woman that he wanted to get serious about but he needed to cut all loose ends, his words. She laughed. She couldn’t help it, but she still wasn’t mad. She actually respected him for being honest about it. What surprised her was when he made the comment, “Now that we’re done you have time to spend with your other man” She only shook her head. She didn’t dispute or deny the point.
“You know what I think I might actually miss you” She said smiling.
“Yea” he said laughing.
“You know you could get serious about somebody yourself and stop playing the field.”
“What makes you think I am” She said surprised where the conversation had gone and wondering how he read her so easily. She must have had the questions on her face because he said softly
“Game recognize game”
“Yea, well I am going to finish up my lunch then I have to go back to work, take care of yourself Derrick” She said after a few quiet moments.
He stood up from the table leaving enough on the table to cover the bill and leaned over and kissed her on the lips. “If you need me you know how to reach me” he said.
“Alright” and with that said he walked out of the door. She meant what she said, she was going to miss him, and she just only realized how much truth was in that. She sat there eating until she felt the hair on the back of her neck stand up and she turned to see Nick and a young lady seated across the way, only thing was he wasn’t looking at his friend but he was looking at her. She held his gaze wondering what it was about but didn’t dare voice it or let the question show on her face. He turned his head looking towards the door where Derrick had just moved from and then back at her, then turned away totally ignoring her. She felt his brush off as thorough as if he slapped her. What the hell was wrong with her? Why did she even care that he saw her with another guy. She for a minute caught herself checking her appearance until she realized what she was doing and quickly stopped herself. She tried to finish her food but it turned to ash in her mouth and eventually she left the plate uneaten and went back to work feeling edgy and unsure of herself.
Nick watched as she left the dinner trying to tell himself that he didn’t care that she was with another guy or that the guy could make her laugh and smile, or that he kissed her. He didn’t care, remember she wasn’t his type. Which was true, she was playing the field and he wanted a woman that would be true to him and no other. He kept reminding himself that he was doing them both a favor by staying away from her, but he couldn’t seem to make himself believe it. He wanted her like no other and no amount of ignoring her would stop that. He turned his attention back to Monica, his date. A beautiful woman with a nice body and a brain to go with it, but he found himself comparing her and he knew that it wasn’t fair. Stephanie Childers wasn’t for him and he needed to remember that and move on.
Steph dressed in her all white ensemble looked at herself one last time in the mirror and went to the door and met Jon and left for the restaurant. It had been a week since she saw Nick in the diner and thoughts of him all but consumed her although she wouldn’t let on about it. Darien constantly asked her what was wrong wondering about her lack of focus but she wouldn’t’ talk about it she would just make up something suitable and be done with it. Jon sat beside her in the limo and held her hand talking to her about what all was going to happen at the grand opening and for the life of her she couldn’t work up the excitement to go along with him. He noticed of course and commented on her subdued manner. She produced a brilliant smile for him squeezing his hands trying to reassure him while on the inside she was praying for the night to end. They got to the restaurant and found it swarmed with people dining in and others waiting outside. She was forced to sit at the family table with his relatives as the festivities kicked off. She managed to relax and enjoy herself for the most part. Jon and his uncles were circulating the building meeting and greeting everyone and she was stuck at the table with his aunts and sisters. They talked she laughed, they ordered she ate. She was definitely putting up an award winning performance. Because on the inside she was trying to figure out how she was going to cut ties with Jon. At that moment her cell phone rang bringing back to the present. Jon threw her a disgruntled look but she ignored it and excused herself from the table while answering her phone. She was halfway to the restroom when she stopped midstride.
“Steph, its Craig, Darien’s in the hospital I need you to come down here”
“What?! Is she alright? What’s wrong?” She said throwing a million questions at him.”
“We were on our way out of town for the weekend when we were hit and … she’s been hurt pretty bad Steph, but I know she would want you here.”
“Where are you?” She said whirling around headed back towards the table to get her purse. “I’m on my way” she said after he gave her the information she needed. She hung up the phone and skirted her way around tables trying to get to her things as quick as her legs would carry her. On her way to the table she passed Nick and the same young lady she saw him with last week but didn’t stop or spare him a glance, she had to get to Darien. She could worry about her wanting him later.
She made it back to the table and managed to pull Jon aside to tell him the problem. She didn’t drive but she was leaving and she wanted him to know. He of course wanted to go with her and she didn’t object, she needed a ride and he was as good as any at the time. She would think later about his possessiveness, it was passed time she let him go, she definitely could do without the headache.
Steph blew in the E.R. in a fury of white, looking for any word on her friend, Jon in tow. Craig spotted her and walked to her.
“She’s back in surgery. Her leg was broken pretty bad in a couple of places, and they said a few ribs were probably broken as well. They had to cut her out of the car.” He finished with despair in his voice. He didn’t look like he faired much better with his arm in a sling and scratches covering his face.
She took a few deep breaths feeling slightly better that she was still alive. “Ok what happened?”
Craig led her over to a deserted corner of the waiting room and forced her to take a seat while he rehashed the details of the accident. She felt like she would be sick at the thought of her friends crushed body. She wanted to see her to know she was alright but the beasty nurse at the desk was giving no quarter when asked for information. Steph wanted to slap her across her manly face but she somehow managed to restrain herself. One of them had to be sane in this situation and Craig was virtually no help at all due to his worry. It was clear in his downcast head and the slumping of his shoulders that he truly loved her girl. And she was relieved if not even a little jealous. Of course she discarded that notion as quick as it came. She liked her life the way it was, love would only complicate it. She sat down by Jon who hadn’t once said anything since they arrived and tried to pull in her emotions that were hovering dangerously close to the surface. She could have screamed in frustration, she hadn’t cried in years and when she looked to see Nick and his bobble head girl friend walk into the waiting room she stiffened her spine and sucked up all her unspent emotions. Now was not the time and she would be damn if she cried in front of him. She watched him walk in with his hand interlocked with hers and walk straight to Craig. She took her time giving her the look over. She was a pretty girl, average size and body type with a serene smile on her face. She had to keep herself from snorting in disgust, hell if she was on his arm hell she guess she would be smiling to. She grudgingly admitted to herself how much she would like to be there. Jon’s low growl brought her out of her musing and she turned to look at him. His jaw had tightened and his body grew tense, still he was quiet and looking at her as though she was glass. When did that happen? When did he become such an ass hole, she wondered. She was definitely going to have to let him go, he was becoming a liability. She chose to ignore him for the time being, she was anxious, she wanted to see Darien. She stood up and began to pace back and forth blocking everything and everyone from her mind except the click of her shoes on the marble floor. She had to have walked that for a good ten minutes when she heard her name being called. She stopped and pivoted towards the sound to see Derrick in his uniform coming towards her. She met him halfway.
“I brought her in Steph, she was busted up pretty bad but she’ll make it through”.
She almost sagged in relief and he took a hold of her elbow to keep her upright. She couldn’t afford to fall apart now. Not now when Craig who had obviously recognized Derrick walked closer with Nick hovering near. She refused to fall apart. But she couldn’t seem to do anything about the hovering tears in her eyes, to know her friend was alright. Derrick saw them and commented in grand style.
Lifting her chin he said, “Hey what happened to my brave girl.”
She smiled and sniffled back the unwanted tears and said, “She left when you left”
He laughed shaking his head, “The Stephanie I know wouldn’t dare cry in front of anybody especially a man.”
“And she won’t” She said, meaning every word then added, “We haven’t heard anything and she’s been back there for a while. And that old bat over there is a tight lipped as a virgin in a strip club.”
“Hold on, I have a friend that works back there, I’ll see what I can do. Just don’t give up, she’ll be alright. And remember what I told you.”
“I remember” then she watched as he disappeared behind the double doors. She turned to resume her pacing when she found Nick looking at her again. She wasn’t sure how much of the conversation he heard or didn’t hear, and at the moment she didn’t care. If was unhappy with her then he could join Jon with his frowning ass and leave her the hell alone. She was sick and tired of all of it at the moment. Unfortunately people never the hint, because Jon picked that moment to step in her path and with a jerk of his head said briskly, “We need to talk, now!”
She was surprised that he could even manage to say anything with his mouth wired shut so tight. She drew herself up and prepared to herself to lose yet another man. She followed him outside to avoid showing out in the hospital and getting thrown out or worse arrested. She was at the point so sick of men and their damn attitudes, she welcomed celibacy. She followed him outside the elevator towards his car in the parking garage. For the life of her she could not have predicted the next scenes in her worst dream. All of a sudden he spun around grabbing her arm roughly and slamming her against his car. She grunted at the pain in her back but didn’t scream out. She admitted she was stunned. This was not her Jon, sweet, sensible, soft spoken, this fool looking at her now was borderline psycho. He stepped towards her hovering dangerously close to her face, “If you ever disrespect me like that again Stephanie I swear I will hurt you. Ignoring me then you stand there ogling some other damn man when I’m sitting right beside you.”
Now most women would have been extremely scared and would have keep quiet to prevent upsetting him more but she wasn’t most women by far and she stepped towards him rimming with rage. “Well excuse me if my best friend is laid up in the hospital her life possibly hanging in the balance and I ignore you. I apologize if you feel neglected but I have more pressing matters on my mind than to worry about upsetting your damn sensitive sensibilities.”
“Stephanie I swear I have put up with a lot of your shit because I love you but if you ever pull that shit you pulled up there again.”
She was mentally kicking herself for becoming too comfortable and not carrying her protection as always. Her mother’s words sounded loud in her ears, “What good is a license to carry if you never carry the weapon, Steph?” She knew her mother’s words rang true and she wished to hell she hadn’t thought she was being overprotective again. She use to never go anywhere without her gun or her knife, now here she was outside with a crazy as man fueled by jealousy in a poorly lit garage and she was unarmed. Damn she felt stupid.
“Jon I’m done, just leave me the hell alone” She said trying to side step him and defuse the situation. He wasn’t having it, not only did he grabbed her forcefully again, but he slapped the shit out of her knocking her back on his car. Only by grace did she manage to stay on her feet, heels and all. She looked at him walking ominously towards her and she tried to right herself while sliding away.
“Steph, baby I’m sorry…”
“If you touch her again, I swear I will kill you with my bare hands”
Steph looked sharply at Nick who uttered the words and didn’t know if she was safer with Jon or with him. His angered radiated off of his strong body in waves and she wasn’t absolutely sure if all of it was directed at Jon. She swallowed, tasting blood in her mouth and stood up straight. Jon hadn’t moved from his spot nor did he turn around, he stared at her as if he couldn’t believe what transpired. She could hardly believe it herself. Not only did she just get slapped, but Nick witnessed the whole humiliating scene. What she would have done for her gun at that moment. Nick who at the moment hadn’t moved from his spot behind Jon said to her, “Steph go back in the hospital”
She looked at him about to say something but he wasn’t finished, “Now!”
She walked around Jon headed towards the elevator saying for his ears only, “If you come near me again I will be armed and I will kill you.” Then kept walking trying to ignore the quivering in her legs as she made it to the elevator. She wanted to call Nick and tell him to come in with her but she didn’t want to look at him and see his rage or disappointment so she pushed the button and drew herself against the wall in the elevator. She made it back to the waiting room to see that it was empty except for Monica, Nick’s girlfriend. She looked up when Steph walked in and looked concerned.
“Where’s Craig?” Steph asked hoping that nothing had gone wrong with Darien while she was gone.
“They let him go back to her room. She’s in recovery”
She leaned against the wall in relief afraid she might take her body’s hints and slide to the floor and cry like a baby. Not yet, not here.
“Are you alright?” Monica asked.
“Yea, I just need to freshen up, excuse me” she said disappearing into the restroom and locking herself in. She ambled over to the mirror and took in her face. Thankfully he didn’t bust her lip, so she could manage to see Darien without raising suspicions. She worked the muscles in her jaw hissing at the pain it brought on, at least it wasn’t broke. She closed her eyes when a flashback came to her from another place and time. When she opened her eyes she saw herself at sixteen standing in a similar mirror only that time she was nursing a swollen face and a split lip, courtesy of her father. He came home briefly from one of his many other women to complain about the house not being clean and the dinner not satisfactory. He then proceeded to beat her mother and having stood all she could, sixteen year old Stephanie stepped in the middle and took the rest of the blows for her mother. Never mind that the bills weren’t getting paid or that they barely had food on the table because he spent it all on his women, everything was their fault. She closed her eyes again shaking the images clear. When she opened them again she saw herself as she was now, and couldn't help but notice the irony of the situation. At least she didn’t love him, she thought. It still baffled her how he could come home beat her mom, take whatever he wanted from her then leave her and she still loved him and refused to leave him. Thank God she didn’t find herself in that situation. She didn’t love Jon. No you love Nick. A man who thinks you’re a slut and he doesn’t want to give you the time of day! Wahoo!
“Damn” she mumbled as a lonesome tear fell from her eyes and she realized the truth for what it was. She loved Nick!
“Ain’t that a bitch” she thought while wiping her face dry and rinsing her mouth out to clear the blood until it ran clear. All she had to do was see Darien and then she was going home to lick her wounds, literally and figuratively and then she’d come back tomorrow. Now all she had to do was face Nick.
She knew she had to be quick about her visit because she knew it was only a matter of time before her face was going to swell, she could already fill the sting and tightening taking affect. She checked her appearance once more and opened the door to find Nick seated beside Monica listening as she whispered something in his ear. He turned and looked at her when she opened the door, at that moment she felt something move and take hold of her and she fought to stay on her feet. She broke contact first and walked towards the desk where a nurse had replaced the beast and asked for Darien’s room number. Just a little while longer she kept telling herself as she felt Nick and Monica walk up behind her obviously intent on following her. She held her tongue and stifled a groan. A little while longer.
She sucked in a deep breath and walked into Darien’s room to find Craig seated as close as possible to the bed without actually being on the bed. Stephanie felt her heart take a leap as she saw the love simmering between the two of them, her heart suddenly hurt and she had to force a smile to her face and words out of her mouth or she would cry.
“Hey babe, how you feeling?”
“Like I got hit by a car” Darien said in a scratchy voice smiling.
Shaking her head she walked closer and kissed her friend on the forehead. “Girl you are mess, what are we going to do with you?”
“I don’t know about you but I am going to marry her first chance I get.”
Darien turned to look at him with tears in her eyes, her love flowing down her face. Everyone else in the room had disappeared from her sight, all she saw was Craig, Steph was sure and she fought hard not to look at Nick who lounged against the wall with his arms crossed. She lost the battle and looked at him to find he was looking at her, she quickly looked away, afraid she would show too much. In the fog of her brain she heard Darien say,
“Are you serious? You want to marry me?”
“I have never been more serious, I love you and if you will have me I will marry you as soon as humanly possible.”
“Of course I’ll marry you. I love you too.”
She felt as though she was intruding on a private moment and would have escaped if Darien hadn't saw the movement and turned towards her. “What’s wrong Steph?”
“Nothing girl, I just got a little bit of a headache. Don’t worry about me. Congratulations she said smiling a smile that felt brittle on her face but was there. She didn’t feel that bad, she told the truth she did have a headache thanks to Jon’s backhand. It took much restraint not to bring her hand up to her face to check for swelling, she knew it was inevitable and she wanted to be home before it reached that point. She tried not to grimace but her head was suddenly pounding and she had to used all her strength to keep her eyes open and not gripped her throbbing face and head. She saw Nick stand up straighter out the corner of her eye and she forced her face to relax.
“You alright?” He said bringing everyone’s gaze to her. She could have slapped him. She instead turned her brittle smile on him and said with a spunkiness she didn’t feel, “Never better”
He didn’t like the answer because she saw the thunderstorm brewing behind his dark eyes and the grim set of his mouth. So what he’d get over it.
“Yea, girl you don’t look so good” Darien stated looking at her trying to see what she was hiding but Steph closed herself off and she knew her friend noticed but what was wrong inside of her wasn’t going to be discussed in a hospital room with everybody watching. Darien resigned blew out a breath in what could only be considered hurt and disappointment and Steph knew she had had enough. “Look girl I‘ll talk to you tomorrow, just not right now. You need to worry about healing up and getting ready for your wedding not worrying about me.”
She looked like she wanted to argue, but the look on Steph’s face stopped her, she knew short of the truth serum she wouldn’t get anything out of her. So she said, “I’ll hold you to it and I mean it.”
“So do I. now I am going to go home and sleep, I’ll be to check on you tomorrow.” She said kissing her forehead. Then she looked at Craig, “Take care of her”
“How are you getting home, Craig said you were with a guy” She said looking curious.
“Don’t worry about it, I’ll get there” She said saying bye to everyone and trying to dodge Nick’s all seeing eyes and walked out of the room closing the door softly.
Darien looked at the closed door for a minute, worrying about her friend. She never seemed so subdued before so lonely. She looked at Craig who squeezed her hands.
“I’m worried about her, something’s wrong. I’ve never seen her like that.”
“I’ll make sure she gets home, alright.” Nick said taking his body from the wall and extending his hand to Monica.
Darien looked at Monica briefly then back at Nick whose face didn’t give anything away. Something wasn’t right; she just didn’t know what it was. “Thank you, Nick but...”
She would have finished but Craig squeezed her fingers slightly and she didn’t finish. Nick looked at Craig and something passed between them and then he led a silent Monica towards the door.
“I’m sorry man” he heard Craig murmur
“It’ll work out, as it should, don’t worry just take care of your woman.” While I go and take care of mine he said in his mind.
Steph felt his presence before she saw him. She willed the elevator to hurry up but it didn’t arrive until he stood off to her left side with a very silent Monica. She knew her nightmare was just beginning and not ending as she so surely hoped.
“You can ride me and Monica” He said as the doors opened and they stepped on.
Oh hell no! I won’t she thought but said to him, “Thank you but that’s ok, I just called a cab”
“Well I guess it was for someone else because I’m taking you home.”
She held her tongue she was too tired and too upset to even argue, not to mention Monica was standing in between them utterly clueless and she felt sorry for her. They rode the rest of the way in silence. The outside doors opened and she felt the cold all the way to her bones. She had previously been heated by her worry and then her rage now she felt drained and chilled. She wrapped her arms around her middle and wondered when had she become so absent minded and left her coat in Jon’s car. She tried to grit her teeth to keep them from chattering but that only brought immense pain to her and she bit her lip to keep from complaining. She walked briskly following Monica who had broken contact with Nick and walked ahead of them. She wondered was there a problem in paradise at the same time she felt the weight and warmth of Nick’s jacket go around her shoulders. She would have loved to have had the energy or pride to spare to give it back to him but she was spent and simply mumbled a thank you instead and thanked God when they reached his car. She seated herself in the back and closed her eyes, she thought her head was going to pop off of her shoulders and she didn’t want watch. She stayed that way until he pulled up in front of her house asking for her code. She gave it to him and waited impatiently as the gate to her condo opened and he drove through. She was already unbuckling her seat belt and sitting up looking out her window watching as the condos past by counting until she reached hers. She refused to look at him, she felt his stare through the rear view mirror and though she wanted to see him, she refused she already had enough. She slipped out of the warmth of his coat and felt a profound loss and coldness settle into her. She opened the door, saying thank you and making a dash for her door. He didn’t move, until she opened the door and walked inside. She waved and closed the door locking it behind her. She saw his lights receding from her drive way, only then did she relax and felt herself begin to crumble. She managed to make it to the couch before she collapsed into a fit of nerves shaking uncontrollably. She knew the signs, although she didn’t want to admit it. She was having a panic attack her first in years and she didn’t like it. She kicked off her shoes and took a few deep breaths forcing herself to relax. Her headache only worsened with the effort it took but she was home and for that she felt slightly better. Once she felt her legs would hold her she rose from the couch and went to retrieve some pain meds and a bottled water. She swallowed the medicine with a grimace and started to pack a bag full of ice for her face when a knock sounded at her door. She felt herself in a panic at first then she calmed herself and disappeared in her room and retrieved her .38 she would not be caught unaware again. The knock sounded again and she walked towards the door. “Who is it?” she said peaking out the window not believing what she was seeing. It was Nick.
“Nick. Open the door Steph” He said sounding irritated and tired at the same time.
She removed the chain and unlocked both locks to see him standing there in the flesh as if he had every right to be there.
“You going to let me in?” He said
She backed up opened the door wider. He walked past her absorbing all the air from her lungs it seemed. She closed the door and turned towards him.
“Lock the door, I’m not going anywhere.” He said while taking his jacket off and laying his keys on her coffee table.
“Nick I am tired and I don’t have the time or the strength for this tonight, please just leave.” She said ending it sounding strangled. Why in the world did she pick him of all people to fall in love with and why did it just dawn on her the night everything in her life went to shit.
He ignored her comment for the moment looking at the gun resting in her hand. He looked back her, “Do you even know how to use that thing?”
“Want to find out?” she said
“Put it away, you don’t need it, we need to talk.
She laid it on the end table next to her leg, but didn’t budge from her spot in front of the door.
“What do you want?”
“I think that is pretty obvious.”
“You came over here for sex?” She asked trying not to sound hurt. Failing miserably.
“Do I look like I’m hurting for sex?”
When she didn’t answer, he repeated, “Do I?”
“Then what do you want?” she said finally walking away from the door. She almost made it past him when he grabbed for her arm, she drew herself away almost out of reflex and he dropped his hands. Damn she didn’t mean to do that.
“Do you think I’d hurt you?”
She wanted to say no but then again what the hell did she know, she didn’t think Jon would ever hit her but he did, she didn’t think she would ever fall in love but she did, what the hell did she know?
“I’m not one of your men!” he said through gritted teeth
“Is that what this is about? Look, I’m not your woman or your anything for that matter so what I do is my business. But to set the record straight I don’t have any men. As of tonight I am officially single and plan on staying that way indefinitely. So if you don’t mind I would like to change clothes and go to bed”
“Go ahead; I’ll be here when you come out!”
“Nick I am not going to argue with you, see yourself out, please.”
“Why? You don’t mind hanging with guys who don’t give a damn about you and hit on you but as soon as you run across a brother that does, you won’t me to leave. That’s rich”
“You care! Now that’s what I call bullshit! I’m not your type remember and did you forget about Monica your girlfriend you’ve been squiring around with the last couple of times I’ve seen you! Now that’s what I call rich.”
“You don’t know how much” he said looking directly at her. She fell silent at his word not knowing what to say to that, her anger was deflating leaving a aching that was becoming unbearable.
He walked towards her slowly hoping she wouldn’t bolt and glad when she didn’t. He reached out his hand and tilted her face towards him seeing the red undertone and the swelling that was making it way to the surface. He noticed she was shaking and he knew he wasn’t much better, “I meant what I said, if he touches you again I will kill him Steph”
“He won’t.” she said softly as she relished in his touch.
Unable to resist any longer he leaned down and kissed her lips softly. He would have loved to devour her but she wasn’t ready and truthfully neither was he. He didn’t know where he wanted to start.
The shaking in her legs started until it extended through to her entire body. She tightened her body trying in vain to stop the shakes. It was useless and the next thing she knew Nick had her scooped up in his arms walking her towards her bedroom. She tried to calm herself but her body wasn’t cooperating and her shaking only intensified when he sat her on the counter in the bathroom while he ran the water for her shower. He came back to her after stepping out of his shoes and began to undue her upswept hair from the abundance of hair pins, allowing the heavy mass to fall over her shoulders. Then he begin pulling her dress up and over her head exposing her body leaving her naked except for a strap of thong.
“Wait- a- minute-, Nick” she said brokenly trying to catch her breath
“No, baby you’re in shock and I want to bathe you before I put you to bed”
The bathroom steamed as he stripped her completely and picked her up placing her under the spray of the warm water leaving her briefly while he undressed down to his shorts. He stepped back in the shower holding her up as she clung to him silently crying. He felt so helpless and strong at the same time. He wanted this woman with a fierceness that threatened to choke him and obviously he did a piss poor job hiding it. When he dropped her off it killed him the twenty minutes it took to take Monica home. He felt bad for leading her on but he knew his heart wasn’t into it and was about to apologize about it when she turned him and said, “I hope you’re on your way to check on Stephanie she needs you tonight. And don’t say you’re not. It's obvious you love her” What could he say? No he didn’t, when he knew it would be a lie. He just didn’t realize it until he saw her tonight. He didn’t know how he managed to not kill Jon when he walked out of the elevator to see him hit her. Everything in him went still, and blind with rage. He doubted if he touched him he would have been able to stop before he killed him. He forced himself to calm down so he could go back in the hospital and make sure she was alright. When they were in Darien’s room watching the two love bugs at work he wanted to suddenly confess his love for her but knew he couldn’t for one he didn’t know where they were going if anywhere and he didn’t want to disrespect Monica. Now as her shakes subsided and her tears stopped turning into sniffles he felt like he was where he wanted to be. He knew they had a whole lot to talk about but he didn’t plan on leaving until a definite decision was made. He took her rag and lathered it with soap and began to wash her body gently as she sagged against him. Finished with the task, he shut the water off and wrapped her in a towel and walked her into her room and sat her on the bed.
“Is your head still hurting?”
“No, but my face hurts”
“Hold on” he wrapped a towel around himself and walked into the kitchen retrieving the bag that contained the melting ice, dumped it then refilled it and went back into the bedroom to find her on the bed sleep. He shook off his wet clothes dried off and laid down beside her covering them both up after removing her towel and drawing her into his arms hoping sleep would soon come knowing it wouldn’t. Although he was where he wanted to be, nothing was finished and he had no idea what would happen when they awoke to daylight and new awareness.
Steph woke up to find a cold compress on her face, she swatted it away trying to fight for those few more minutes of blissful sleep until she felt his naked body on hers and the cold compress back on her face. The coolness in the bag did nothing to cool the heat creeping into her body.
“Stop moving and keep this on your face, it’s slightly swollen and I know you don’t want it to get worse.”
“Nick stop that’s cold, let me wake up first.”
“You’re awake” he said but his voice changed and he wasn’t looking at her face any longer but her breast. She swallowed when thinking about her body’s reaction to him. It was crazy. Lord she loved this man, and he what cared about her.
“Yes it is, I felt the change in your body. Tell me what’s wrong.”
“I said nothing” but she wouldn’t look at him. Her feelings were too close to the surface and she felt she would fall apart if she was forced to admit her feelings. She always said she couldn’t win them all but losing him before she ever had a chance of having him would be a loss all in its own right.
He removed the ice pack and planted himself in between her thighs holding her head between his hands forcing her to look at him. He stopped short when he saw her eyes shining bright with unshed tears.
“Tell me what’s wrong”
She shook her head not trusting her voice to say the words.
“I love you, you know that don’t you”
She shook her head again, sending loose tears down her face. “No you don’t. So don’t even say it”
“Yes I do. I probably have for a while, I just didn’t know it.”
“No all you knew was that you hated me”
“I never said I hated you. I might have hated to see you with other men but I never hated you.”
“I didn’t…” she started then stopped not knowing why she wanted to tell him that. It didn’t matter anyway
“You didn’t what?”
“You didn’t sleep with him. Is that what you were going to say?” He asked when she didn’t finish with obvious discomfort.
“No Nick, I didn’t sleep with him. The last person to touch me was you.”
“I think I already knew that, but thank you for telling me” He said with what sounded like relief and gratitude.
“Why does it matter?” She said in a soft voice, feeling the heat radiate from his body scalding her at the contact.
“It matters because you’re mine and I don’t want anyone else touching you but me. Do you understand?
“This is crazy!” she said partly due to her body reacting to his and her heart reacting to his words and the sincere look in his eyes.
“Do you love me, Steph?”
“This is insane, Nick. Just the other day I swore you hated me and thought me the biggest whore in town.”
“Do you?” He says totally ignoring her statement.
“Yes, but I don’t know why.”
He leaned down kissing the side of her neck, running his hands over her body bringing a reaction from her in the form of a moan as she opened her legs wider for his body stating clearly what she wanted.
“Why don’t you know why?” he said as he readied her body with his hands and mouth.
“Steph?” he prompted when she didn’t respond.
“Because you’re not my type” she said on a sigh as he inserted his fingers inside her bringing moisture from her core, expertly he removed his fingers to exchange for something with a lot more substance.
She gasped at the feel of him filling her to the brim. She wanted to move but he stayed her sliding slowly in and out driving her crazy.
“I thought I wasn’t your type” He said holding himself in check already on the verge of losing control and he just started.
“You’re not. But I love you so you’ll do.”
“We’ll see about that” then he proceeded to prove that he was just her type.