tagRomanceComplicated Love Pt. 03

Complicated Love Pt. 03

bycrystaltears©

Chapter 5

Gavin cursed when he saw the traffic on the interstate leading towards Chris' house. The line seemed never ending.

Sighing, he turned the music on and prepared to wait. As he watched the car in front of him, thoughts of Cassie filled his mind.

He couldn't quite explain it, but he had suddenly begun to look at her differently. That night, when he had seen her at her reception, something had changed drastically. It was not just the way she looked, Gavin already knew exactly how beautiful she was, but rather the way she carried herself. Cassie had been awkward and stiff while talking to some people, but in the moments that she was with Chris, looking up at him with that wicked glitter in her eyes, smiling at him and just responding to his proximity with animation...all that had caught his attention, and kept it. She seemed free-spirited, and powerful. She had also seemed vulnerable. The strange combination had enthralled Gavin, and he could not quite understand it. He had known Cassie for years, and this was the first time that he noticed these things about her. It seemed as though this social reception was simply a background against which, for the first time, he could see Cassie stand out from in stark relief, and the picture she made was absolutely riveting. Gavin had been aware of the fact that at least half the men in the room were following her with their eyes. There were definitely more beautiful women in the room, but Cassie had glowed. Seeing her standing next to Chris had awakened feelings he had not known he even had; rage, jealousy, possessiveness. She looked so good standing next to him, and Gavin could not help but wish it was him instead of Chris.

But now, things were different. Now he knew the truth behind their marriage; there was nothing stopping him from getting her to see him in a new light.

He just had to get her to see him differently. His happiness, his entire wellbeing, depended on it.

He was shocked out of is reverie when the car behind him honked. He looked in front to see that the cars were moving. Quickly snapping back, he pressed down on the accelerator and moved forward.

"Just you wait Cassie," he thought to himself. "I'm coming to get you, whether you like it or not."

---

Chris yawned and rolled over, reaching over to hug Cassie to him. Instead of a warm body, he felt warm sheets. He opened his eyes sleepily and groaned. He had so wanted to sleep for a while longer, but it seemed that he would have to get up now. He rubbed his fantasies of curving himself around Cassie's warm little body away from his eyes and tried not to think of the other things that they could possibly do in his vast, comfortable bed. Things that involved much more than the occasional spooning that they did.

He sat up, the sheets pooling at his waist, and stretched. He rubbed his eyes and got off the bed, his lean body unfolding gracefully, like a cat's. He had not been this relaxed for a while. He padded to the bathroom to have a quick wash, and after that, he decided that he would talk to Cassie. Last night had shown him just how much she meant to him and that he had been a fool for ignoring the sparks of attraction between them. He was not about to let her go now, and he decided that she would be his, one way or the other. No stranger to empty relationships, Christ instantly recognized substance when he saw it, and the deepest part of him wanted to possess it. Cassie was the thing that had been missing from his life, and he hoped she was the answer, whatever the answer could be. After about fifteen minutes, he had dressed and went to the kitchen to help himself to some breakfast.

He saw Cassie at the table, wearing his T-shirt and a pair of old denim shorts that were stretched taut across her thighs. She was frowning into her plate of toast, and he wished he knew what she was thinking about. He realized she was skittish, and he had to tread carefully around her. He knew that with Cassie, flirting wouldn't work, but blatant seduction might. He smiled inwardly and sat down at the table. Cassie raised her big eyes to his when he sat down and lowered them again, but he had been able to see the uncertainty.

"Good Morning," he said with a smile as he grabbed toast from the pile that Ann had probably left on the table for them.

" G'morning," Cassie mumbled, her hair falling over her face and covering her eyes.

Chris had been right. She didn't say much during breakfast, and ate with her head down. Chris tried talking, but was rewarded with monosyllabic answers.

"This is going to be harder than I imagined," Chris thought to himself as he watched her.

Finally, when they had finished eating, Cassie collected both plates and began to wash them in the sink. Chris came up behind her and slid his hands around her waist, pulling her back against him. He felt her stiffen, but he did not let go. She squirmed in his embrace, but stiffened immediately when his hands shaped the contours of her hips to hold her in place.

"You needn't do that," he said, bending his head to whisper in her ear. He watched amused as she almost jumped a mile.

"Force of habit." She mumbled and finished washing. She tried to pull away, but he held her tight.

"Chris, let go," she said, tugging gently at his arms.

"Not until I have my good morning kiss," he whispered into her ear again, and felt her tremble.

"What's gotten into you this morning," she grumbled as she turned in his arms to look up into his face, her expression a mix of concern, nervousness and bafflement.

"Is wanting a kiss from your wife a crime?" he enquired, raising one sardonic eyebrow. His eyes twinkled with mischief and one other emotion she couldn't decipher.

"Let go Chris," Cassie said, annoyance and fright beginning to creep into her voice.

Chris sighed, and bent his head to hers. He knew that she would never kiss him now of her own volition. He felt her eyes widen briefly before his mouth claimed hers. Cassie stiffened even more and tried to tug away, but the minute his mouth settled over her, she lost all reasonable thought. He was tender and soft, his hands leaving her hips to softly cup her face. His tongue probed her lips, coaxing them open. Without being aware of what she was doing, Cassie felt herself letting him in, her hands settling around his neck.

Chris felt like he was in heaven. He had never felt quite like this before. He had kissed women numerous times, but never a kiss like this. Cassie's warm length against his, the gentle, uncertain way in which she was responding to his kiss and her hands around his neck felt wonderful. He felt her soften beneath him, and open her mouth. He explored the sweet depths of her mouth, tasting the sweetness of the honey she had put on her toast, and a taste that was uniquely Cassie.

Cassie didn't know what was happening anymore. She had had very few kisses, and certainly none like this. The heat, the passion and the desire that Chris managed to convey through that kiss made her feel dizzy, and she found her hands involuntarily threading themselves through his thick hair, and pulling his head down to hers in order to deepen the kiss. She had never felt so wanted. She let herself be taken in by that kiss, and let herself enjoy it. Chris pulled her to him even more tightly, until her body was pressed to his. He could feel her soft breasts against his chest, her rounded stomach against his. He buried his hands in her hair, enjoying the way she opened up for him. Although he wanted to prolong the kiss, he pulled back gently and rested his forehead against hers. She had her eyes closed, her hands now entwined around his neck.

"Now that was a good morning." He murmured, enjoying the way colour suffused her cheeks as she blushed.

A soft sound from the doorway made them both look up. Gavin stood there, with James and Ann standing beside him. Cassie yelped and moved away, and Chris let her go. He could read anger on the other man's face, but he didn't care. He wanted to tell him that Cassie was his, and that Gavin had better keep away. He had never felt particularly possessive over a woman before, but none of the women had ever been Cassie. With her, he felt himself experiencing a primal emotion that he was almost too afraid to label. All he knew was that he wanted her to be his, to hold and keep and protect, and that he could never let any other man have that honour.

Cassie was embarrassed, mortified and startled. What an awful morning it had been. First, waking up with Chris, then the kiss, and now Gavin. She wanted to tell him that there was nothing going on between her and Chris, but she couldn't.

Forcing a smile to her face, she said, "Hi Gavin. I didn't know you were coming."

"Yeah well," he mumbled, still angry. Beside him, James and Ann had identical smiles on their faces.

"We saw him on our way back," Ann said, trying to break the awkward silence, "so we just came in with him. Now that he's here, he'd better stay for lunch."

She trailed off when she saw the looks her brother was shooting her. A wicked idea began to form in her head.

"Yes, please do," James said, ever polite. But Chris thought he saw a gleam of something in his father's eyes, something that looked remarkably like mischief.

"In fact," Ann added, "Why don't you spend the weekend with us? The four of us were planning to drive down to the lake this afternoon and stay the night. We'd be back tomorrow evening."

Cassie, seeing that this was an excellent opportunity to explain things to Gavin, piped up, "Yeah, that would be good. You don't have anything important planned for the evening, do you?"

"Actually, I have," Gavin said, his gaze still on Chris's face, "But I can do it some other time."

"No really, you don't need to postpone work for us," Chris said, looking angrily at Gavin.

"Oh, it's nothing much. It is the least I could do for a friend. But thing is, I don't have any clothes and such." Gavin said, a smile on his face as he saw the Chris was disgruntled.

"I think Dad's stuff will fit you," Ann said airily. "In fact, why don't you, Cassie and Dad go and raid his closet? If you get packed now, we could leave after an early lunch."

"Sure," Gavin smiled easily and held out a hand to Cassie and the other to James. Talking and laughing, the three headed towards James' room.

Chris waited until they were out of earshot and then pounced on his sister.

"Why did you have to do that?" he hissed at her, angry eyes boring into hers. "I was just getting Cassie to like me and you.... Just exactly whose side are you on anyway?"

"Cassie's." Ann answered. "Cassie liked Gavin, always has. She needs to get him out of her system. You are confusing her, and hurting her if last night was anything to go by. She likes you too, but she is all muddled up inside. I just want her to have some time to work herself out. That's why I invited him."

"But what about me?" Chris practically screamed. "Damn it, it's obvious she's going to choose him."

Ann looked up at him, and he flinched from her gaze. It was cold and hard.

"You're giving up without a fight. You don't even know why you want her do you? I have an inkling Gavin does. Give her something to choose Chris, instead of raging at me here like a five year old who's been denied a toy. You're pathetic."

With that, she went after the others, leaving Chris in the kitchen.

"Fight? Oh, I'm going to fight." Chris thought grimly. "One way or the other Cassie, I will make you want me. I will."

--- Three hours later, Chris was swearing fluently while trying to drive through a particularly difficult stretch of road and Cassie was chatting animatedly with Gavin. Chris didn't know whether he was swearing because of the bloody road or because of the way Cassie leaned against Gavin, looking up at him and smiling whenever he said something funny.

Ann was sitting in the front with him.

"Any more swearing and you'll put a sailor to shame." Ann hissed at him. "For God's sake, pull yourself together." This last part she said in a whisper so that the people in the back wouldn't hear. Chris shot her an angry glance and switched his attention to the road. After an hour spent in the same vein, they finally reached a cabin on the lakefront. They all got out, and Chris began unloading the bags.

"So this is your cabin?" Cassie asked, looking up at the rustic building with stars in her eyes. "It's beautiful!"

Ann grinned at her. "This was our favourite place to spend the holidays when we were kids. We would go swimming, water skiing, boarding. Sometimes, we even had prolonged games of hide and seek and strange 'tests of strength' that only kids would ever think of here. Anything and everything really."

"Somehow, I just can't imagine Chris doing all that," Cassie said and then went to help Chris carry their bags and other things inside.

"Oh, he was in the water 24/7. At some point, we were all convinced he was half mermaid!" Ann said as she led them all inside. "Merman," Chris shouted after them, sounding aggrieved. "At least have the decency to not strip me of my masculinity, Ann."

Cassie laughed and went in behind her. James was right behind them. Gavin and Chris were left standing outside.

"Leave her alone," Chris said softly, his eyes locked with Gavin's.

"Or what? She isn't yours," Gavin said, his gaze firm.

"She's my wife," Chris replied, and immediately realised that it was a weak argument.

"Oh yeah? We'll see about that," Gavin retorted, walking inside behind the rest.

---

They all had dinner outside, Chris at the grill. They built a small campfire and were all sitting around it. When they all had had enough dinner, Chris joined them around the fire and they talked and roasted marshmallows. Chris sat beside Cassie, an arm around her. Ann was sitting opposite them with James and Gavin was sitting beside them, on Cassie's side.

"We should do this often," Ann said as she peeled her gooey marshmallow off the stick and gingerly popped it into her mouth. "It's so peaceful and quiet."

"It is," Chris agreed, pulling Cassie closer to him, ignoring the discomfort on her face. After a while, she gave up the struggle and leaned into him.

"So, Gavin," James said, looking at him. "What do you do?"

"I'm a photographer," Gavin replied, his eyes on Cassie.

"Really?" Ann asked, looking interested. "What kind?"

"Fashion photographer," He replied. "I work with Glamour."

"Glamour? That is so cool. It must be an interesting job."

"Yeah, it is. The travel's great, the job's interesting.....what more does a person need?" Gavin said, finally shifting his attention to Ann.

"Well, where did you and Cassie meet then?"

"We met at some awful party a mutual friend was throwing. We, Melissa was there too, decided that we would rather go to the zoo than be there. And that's what we did."

"You actually went to the zoo?" Ann asked bemused. "You all meet at a party that some poor socialite would give her eye teeth to go to, and you all decided to go to the zoo!"

"Well, not actually," Cassie said, her eyes on Gavin, a smile on her lips. "It wasn't open. So we just walked around a bit before we went to this fantastic bar. It was great. By the time we all went home, we were friends."

"That's nice," Ann remarked, peeling another marshmallow off.

"Yeah, it is," Chris agreed, offering Cassie his marshmallow. She took it gingerly and put it in her mouth.

"Well, that was four years ago, and we've always been there for each other," Gavin said, looking into the fire.

Cassie stiffened when he said this, remembering the relationship between Gavin and Melissa. Suddenly, she did not want to talk anymore.

"I'm going to turn in," she said as she stood up. "It's been a tiring day. Come on James, you'd better turn in too."

"I'm not tired!" James protested as Cassie hauled him up, but went with her anyway. "She's a really slave driver, she is." He said over his shoulder and the three sitting around the campfire chuckled.

"I think I'll turn in too," Chris said, getting up and following his father and his wife.

"That just leaves the two of us," Ann said glancing at Gavin. "C'mon, I'll show you your room."

Gavin got up and went with her. As they were walking, Ann said, "You like her don't you?"

Gavin looked down at her somewhat startled.

"Cassie. You like her right?"

"She's married," Gavin said uncertainly, not sure if Ann knew what was going on.

He didn't like Chris, but he appreciated the fact that he was putting on a charade for his father's happiness. He didn't want to spoil it.

"Yeah, and we all know that that is a farce. So just tell me the truth."

"I like her. A lot," Gavin admitted.

"Then why didn't you ever tell her before? Four years is plenty of time."

"Well, I never realised how much she meant to me until she got married." Gavin admitted sheepishly.

"Didn't know a good thing until it was taken away huh?" Ann said, stopping in front of a room. "Why are all guys so typical?"

Gavin wisely didn't reply to that.

"Well, this is your room. You know, you have time with her. My brother really likes her too, and you know, he might just fight tooth and nail for her. There is something about her that seems to get through his extremely hard exterior. You'd better be prepared to defend what you love." Ann said quietly.

"I don't love her," Gavin said, and immediately regretted his words. But they were the truth. He didn't love her. He just liked her a lot.

Ann looked up at him.

"Well, then that makes two people who don't deserve her."

With that cryptic statement, she walked away, leaving Gavin with his thoughts.

---

Cassie yawned as she pulled out the T-shirt and shorts she wore as pyjamas. It had been a long day, and the drive here had been exhausting, but worth it. The lake was beautiful, and the cabin was lovely, although more a log mansion than a log cabin. A soft smile lit her face as she tried to picture Chris as a kid, swimming in the water and having fun. She shook her head.

"No," she told herself sternly. "You're not supposed to have those thoughts. Snap out of it."

But she couldn't help it. Today had been so strange. Chris was behaving possessively towards her, touching her every opportunity he got. She closed her eyes, and could still feel her body tingle in all the places that he had touched her. The underside of her elbow, her right shoulder, the indent where her waist flared into her hips; she could feel his touch like a brand, and she shivered from the memories. That kiss in the morning had been unnerving too. She could not figure out when things had changed. One day, he was treating her as usual, and the second...

She let out a sudden yelp as Chris tackled her from behind, almost lifting her off the ground as he wrapped his arms around her. She tried to wiggle free, but like in the morning, Chris wouldn't let her. Finally, she gave up the struggle and let herself be held.Chris just stood there for a while, his cheek on her hair, his hands tight around her waist. He was tired, and he only had the energy to curl up and sleep now.

"I'm sleepy," he said against her hair.

"So go to sleep," Cassie said, a bit annoyed, but her voice was soft. She knew how tired he was.

"I can't," he replied. "I need you in bed with me."

Cassie stifled a sigh.

"You didn't need me in bed before this," she said, still annoyed.

"I did. I just didn't tell you," he replied and bent his head down to nuzzle her neck.

Cassie relented. She was drained out, and didn't have any energy to argue. She also found that she was fast becoming addicted to his touch. To his warm, firm, exciting touch.

"Fine. But let me change."

She felt him nod and loosen his grip. She slipped out of his arms and went to the bathroom to change.

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