Boston to Birmingham Ch. 01byqhml1©
She smiled back.
"Yes I am. I'm sure I could bring a very good offer to the table."
They had pulled up outside her townhouse. When he got out to escort her to her door, she turned and dismissed the driver.
"Well," he said, staring at the disappearing taillights, "there goes my ride home."
"Don't worry, my darling, I'll get you home."
As she turned to unlock her door she said under her breath "Eventually".
She put on a pot of coffee, his weakness. He was a coffee junkie, constantly buying expensive brews and experimenting. He got hooked in Iraq, after drinking the local crop. He used to laugh that lots of guys came back with bad habits, but he was the only one he knew who was a caffeine addict. She always had a few exotic blends on hand.
Excusing herself, she slipped out of her dress and into a short robe. When she returned and sat, his eyes immediately went to her legs. She knew she had very nice legs, so she wiggled around a bit for his benefit before tucking them underneath her on the couch.
He had prepared the coffee, and they sat, sipping in companionable silence.
"I think you owe me something for being mean to me tonight."
He was startled, brought out of his reflections by the abruptness of her words.
"What would you consider a fair payment?"
She crawled across to straddle him.
Holding his head in her hands, she said "I consider ten kisses to be a good start. After that we'll negotiate ."
The first two were gentle probings, the next two more demanding. She pulled back.
"Whew, I've never been so hot during negotiations, I need to be a little more comfortable."
She untied the robe and let it fall open. There was nothing underneath but her. His eyes flew wide and then narrowed, hooded by lust.
As his hands slipped underneath and began stroking her body, she sighed contentedly.
By the sixth kiss the robe was on the floor. He abandoned her mouth, concentrating on her neck, trailing down to her nipples. They were hard enough to cut glass by the time his tongue left them. She could feel him growing under her. Arching her back, she ground against him.
"I think," she said, breathing heavily, "I think...."
She didn't get to finish her thought before his lips clamped down on hers. He rose easily, sliding an arm underneath her legs. Even in her arousal she marveled at his strength.
Carrying her into the bedroom he threw her down, and started removing his clothes. She lay on the bed admiring him, admired the power radiating out of him, before she scrambled to the edge and started helping him.
When his pants and boxers fell to the floor, she got a nice surprise. His cock wasn't the biggest she ever saw, that guy was a freak of nature, but it was very nice, very nice indeed.
She grabbed it, trying to pull it to her mouth. He stopped her, threw her back on the bed, grabbed her legs, and rammed it all the way in on the first thrust. She came instantly, with a scream.
No gentleness, no words of endearment, just a firm and steady pounding, increasing in speed and strength for about twenty minutes. She screamed her way through two more orgasms before she felt him stiffen, then collapse on her. She was gasping for breath, while he was breathing slowly, regularly. He hadn't made the first sound while they coupled.
She finally found her voice.
"Wow. That was great, I can't...."
That was all she got out before he flipped her over, grabbing her hips and pulling her onto her knees.
"He can't possibly be ready again" she thought,
That was the last of her coherent thoughts as he rammed home again, just as hard as he was before.
It probably lasted half an hour this time, but she had no idea. She came again within two minutes, screaming his name. Then he slowed down, varying speed, depth, rhythm, sliding to the side, moving her up and down like she weighed nothing. Soon she was begging for release, but he teased her another five minutes before thrusting, pushing her over the top. She thought at one time she passed out, only to regain her senses as she orgasmed yet again. When he finally collapsed and spooned her to him, she was asleep within seconds.
She was still sleeping the next morning when she felt drops of water hitting her face. Looking up, she saw him freshly showered, wrapped in a towel, flicking water off his body.
"Good morning, sleepy head! Wouldn't happen to have a razor lying around, would you? If I kissed you now it would feel like sandpaper."
She rippled across the bed, making sure he took in her toned body as she moved.
"And do you intend to kiss me?"
His smile was radiant.
"As the man in the movie said,'hard and often', but if you prefer it rough..."
He leaned over and rubbed his cheek across her stomach, it did feel like sandpaper.
"Ouch! You've made your point."
Gwen scrambled off the bed and found him a razor.
"Hope the color pink doesn't offend you masculine sensibilities" she giggled, handing him the razor.
"It'll be our little secret" he grinned back.
"Tell me what you like and I'll make sure we have some next time."
His cool grey eyes looked into her ice blue ones.
"Are you sure there's going to be a next time?"
She looked back, just as seriously.
"No, there's not going to be a next time. There's going to be lots of times."
It was the right answer.
Hardy shaved as she showered. She stuck her head out.
"Honey, would you wash my back?"
Moving to the shower he took in her glorious body. water cascading off her breasts and flowing down to her shaven pubes. Abandoning all pretense, he climbed into the shower with her, for what would be the second of three showers he would take that morning.
Soon he had her in his arms again, carrying her to the bed, not even stopping to towel off. Once again she was tossed on the bed.
"Damn", she thought, "he must be a throwback to the cavemen. I wonder if he does anything with a woman besides pound her?"
The thought was answered quick enough when he dropped to his knees beside the bed and pulled her to him, his tongue finding her pussy with the accuracy of a guided missile. She feared an onslaught, but he was very gentle, at first.
She didn't scream when she climaxed because it took her breath away. She couldn't even beg him to stop as he kept up his relentless licking, sucking, and nibbling. It was only after the second one, when she felt like she was trying to squeeze his head off his shoulders, before she found her voice.
"Please, baby, no more, not right now, let me res.." was all she got out before he was on the bed between her knees. After a few hard minutes he rolled over, putting her on top. Gwen didn't know where she found the strength to ride him, but she gave it all she had. Losing count of the orgasms, she felt him grip her a little tighter, thrust a little harder, then hold her in place for a minute. She could actually feel him pulsing inside her.
They lay intertwined for a few minutes before he rose.
"Wanna take another shower and start again?"
"No, baby, let me lay here for awhile."
She looked at his back and ass as he went into the bathroom. Who knew there were that many muscles under those suits?
"It's not supposed to be like this" she thought,
"he's the one who supposed to be reduced to rubble, not me. Where the hell does he get that energy?"
Truth be known, it was all Hardy could do to keep his legs from shaking as he went into the shower.
Thinking of his grandfather as he lathered, he was sure he was right.
"The first time you bed a woman, boy, give it to them hard and fast, and last as long as you can.
That way they'll know they have a real man. Love 'em slow and gentle next, and they'll know they got a good man."
All told, he thought, probably the best advice he could ever get.
It wasn't all sunshine and roses afterwards, but she slowly moved him to her way of thinking.
The only way he could get him to agree to consider marriage was to live together for awhile.
They knew they were compatible sexually. Socially was another matter.
"I grew up dirt poor, Gwen. I've never had much, never really wanted much more than to be able to give my family a good life. I lack both your desire and social skills to move in your world."
"Silly man, everybody can learn. And would you please stop worrying about money. I've already told you, I've got all we'll ever need."
"That's kind of the point, hon. It's your money, not ours. It will always be your money, I'll never touch it. IF we marry, there will be a prenup stating I will not profit from a breakup, and that we'll split just what we accumulate after we wed. This isn't negotiable, counselor."
Her dad was touched by the gesture, but it was just what he expected from Hardy. It surprised them both when her Dad stated that he would represent Hardy in the prenup negotiations, no argument. He made Gwen get another lawyer outside the firm to represent her.
The meeting was a surprise to all concerned. The senior Canaday had a contract that was not to be deviated from, or the marriage was off.
In the event of dissolution because of irreconcilable differences, both parties left with what they brought in. If they separated due to his infidelity, Hardy lost everything. Then it got interesting.
Due to the extreme disparities of net worth, should Gwen stray before five years, Hardy got forty million dollars, one quarter of her trust fund from her grandmother. For every year they stayed married, it dropped a million, until at the end of the term all he could ever expect to get was one million.
Since her father was trustee until she reached the age of thirty five, and as his lawyer,he would oversee the disbursement. Plus, it was to be paid immediately upon proof of infidelity, regardless of whether they stayed married or divorced. Everyone was shocked.
Her lawyer was almost screaming with protest, so was Hardy. Gwen was numb.
Hardy was fuming.
"I'll not accept this. Why won't you honor my wishes?"
"Hardy, will you wed her without my permission?"
He had him there, knowing his code of honor.
"No,sir. I couldn't in good conscience do that."
"Then this is what it's going to take to give you my blessing. You're going to be together forever, this is really a moot point. Just sign the papers and set the date. Do it to please me."
He turned to Gwen. Only she could see his eyes.
"He thinks I'm going to cheat." she thought, "I hope he lives long enough to see how wrong he was."
She gave her Dad her best smile.
"I think the whole thing is foolish. I didn't want a prenup anyway. Where do I sign?"
Against the strong advice of her lawyer, the agreement was signed and filed.
The wedding was the social event of the season. Nominally Catholic, the service was held in the largest cathedral in town. It was well attended, mostly by business and political allies. The only ones attending from his side was his maternal grandfather and an aunt. His parents were dead, and he never mentioned any siblings.
The ceremony, the dress, the reception were all beautiful and outrageously expensive. Hardy said something to Greg, her dad, about it, but he just laughed and said it would all be worth it if he didn't have to go through it more than once.
The only flaw in the marriage was the presence of her mother. She had called and told her of the engagement. She was living in France, with her sixth husband.
"I'm so happy for you darling! Is he from a good family?"
"He's from Alabama, Mom."
"Goody! Old steel money?"
"No Mom, he's..."
She cut in.
"let me guess, cotton, shrimp, timber?"
"No Mom, he has no money."
Her enthusiasm cooled instantly.
"Oh no, he's not a gold digger, is he?"
"No Mom, in fact he wanted to sign a prenup to insure he would never touch my money."
"I always knew you were a smart girl. You must have him trained pretty well."
"Not exactly, but I have gotten him to stop peeing on the rugs."
"Just kidding Mom. Are you and Henri coming?"
"I'd love to honey, but Henri has me a short leash, and you know how he hates your father."
"Why would he hate Dad? He was five husbands ago."
"I don't know, because of his success, I think, or maybe because when I was tipsy once I let slip he was the best lover I ever had. I'd love to come honey, I just can't afford it right now."
She knew what she was asking.
"Don't worry, Mom. I'll arrange a first class ticket, and reservations at that five star hotel you like so much. You can even use the amenities, just charge it to the room. We'll go dress shopping when you get here."
"Thank you, my darling. I'll see you soon."
She loved her mother, but she was a terrible parent. When they split, she got custody. She immediately took her out of school and to Europe, promising Greg she would get her first class tutors. They spent ten months touring the continent, and she didn't open the first text book.
She finally squandered the settlement she got, generous in spite of the prenup, and then thought she could use Gwen to get more. Her Dad played hardball, and won custody. Gwen spent the rest of her teen years being tutored, entered college at the age of sixteen.
She was the youngest lawyer to enter her Dad's firm.
Her Mom went through husbands and money like there was a never ending supply until she met Henri. He loved her, but was no fool. She had a monthly allowance, and when it was gone she got no more until the next month. Gwen used to slip her money until her Dad found out and hit the roof, threatening to both fire her and cut off the trust fund. After that she was on her own.
Gwen had to get permission to pay for her trip.
She loved her Mom, but as she matured she could only take her in small doses. They did have several shopping adventures while she was there.
It felt like role reversal on occasion, having to tell her no like a child.
Mom didn't like Hardy, at all.
"Get away from that one, honey. He's too much man for you."
"Mom, why would you say something like that?"
"He won't let you control him, and you have enough of me in you to want to. He won't bend much, if at all. Trust me honey, he'll either break your heart, or you'll break his."
Gwen, of course, laughed off her fears.
Secretly, she was happy to see her go home to France.
The honeymoon was a month long cruise, paid for by her father. The only mar was when she wanted to go on a nude beach. He refused. She called him an old prude but didn't push it. He tried to explain it to her.
"I'm a little old fashioned, you knew it when we married. What you did before was your business, but you belong to me now, and I want to be the only one to see you. Please understand."
Privately she didn't, but agreed to his wishes.
They settled into her townhouse. It was paid for, and she loved it. He liked it, but reminded her when the children came along he expected a house with a nice yard.
Things were great for a year. They christened every room in the house several times as a married couple, maintaining a strong sex life, only pausing when she had to travel for business.
Her job as a contract lawyer specializing in international business kept her traveling. At first she cut it back as much as she could, but soon was traveling at least twice a month for several days each time. He went with her when he could, but had his own responsibilities.
When she was home, much of her business was done over dinner meetings, and he had to be in court early every day. The home life started to suffer.
The little things soon magnified in importance.
He was pushing her to cut back and start thinking about children. He was thirty six, his biological clock was ticking.
"But I love my job!" she exclaimed as he talked to her once again.
He was trying to be reasonable and make his point too. He was a trial lawyer, after all.
"Honey, I'm not telling you to give it up. You're very good at what you do. I'm sure your Dad and the partners are very pleased. I'm just asking you to cut back a bit, explore other options. Your Dad wants you to get trial experience, you know he's grooming you to take over one day. Why don't you give that a try? We could work together, and spend a lot more time together."
Hmmm, spend time in stuffy courtrooms with criminals, or take meetings in London, Lisbon, Marrakesh? She would never admit it to Hardy, but she loved her jet set lifestyle.
"I know honey, and I will, in a year or two. I want to be the best at this first, it's important to me."
This was disconcerting to Hardy, it wasn't what she promised going into the relationship. He didn't press it, a tactical mistake. She thought it implied agreement, she could move when she was ready.
Another six months went by, and she became more and more distant. He was a runner, had done two marathons in Boston and one in New York. His goal was to finish, not win. She hated that he ran, said it took time away from them.
He held his tongue, barely. He ran early mornings, and she was not an early riser. Often he would do five miles, shower, and be ready for work before she even woke her up. She was the one who often missed dinners at home, stressing the urgency of business.
Gwen became resentful of his friends. He didn't cultivate the power brokers, instead he often spent time with the local police at their gym, working with at risk youth. He knew every cop in a ten block radius, as well as the chief and commissioner, often stopping to chat with the beat cops when he ran. Considering he was a defense lawyer, this was rare. But he was always fair, upfront, and never attacked a cop personally. All he wanted was the truth.
They liked him before, but when he came up on a patrolman trying to subdue a suspect and saw another angling up behind him with a bat, his military training kicked in and he flattened the guy, his reputation was made. The second suspect was going to sue him, but he was a lawyer and an officer of the court, and the public defender let him know things would go very badly for him if he tried.
But what really irritated her was his church friends.
It was Sunday morning, Gwen was in London, so he went running, taking a route new to him. It was amazing to him that just twenty five blocks separated the upscale town homes from the projects. Wisely deciding not to tempt fate, he turned and started back. There was a church on the corner, and as he passed he stopped. The doors were open, and he stopped to hear the choir singing.
An old man was sitting on the steps, smoking.
"Come on in, son. We always got room for one more."
"Thank you, sir. But as you can see, I'm not dressed for church."
He was dripping with sweat, and his shorts were soaked.
"Don't make no difference to Him," he said pointing up, "but come another time. We'll always be here, and you'll always be welcome."
The man stood and dusted off his seat.
"Well, I got a sermon to preach. Hope He forgives me for sneaking a smoke. Everybody thinks I'm composing myself for the sermon. Putting the flock on the road to glory and all that. Ya'll have a blessed day."
Hardy looked at the church sign out front.
"Williams Street A.M.E. Zion Church"
There was a lot of those in Alabama. A.M.E. stood for African Missionary Expedition, an offshoot of the Methodists, designed to bring the blacks into the fold.
Hardy had attended church while in service, and kind of missed it. He asked Gwen once if she ever went to mass, and she just laughed.
The next Sunday found him standing out front of the church, in a suit.