Ioan Gruffudd Ch. 03bymadam_noe©
A month passed in bliss, despite Helen's razzing and Danny's utter disbelief that I'd taken an actor for a lover. How continental to have a man to fuck whenever I wanted, however I desired.
Sometimes Ioan talked, but not too often. I was afraid he'd get too close and find out my secret. So we discussed his brother and sister, his friends. I met Rhys, his best friend, and his wife. We all had dinner twice. I liked them, they liked me, and Ioan and I fucked like teenagers in his car. It was great in a melancholy way.
We got ices at a place that had been selling them longer than America had been a country. We walked the park and talked about his movie, shared funny stories, and had good meals all over town. Neither of us cooked. It was nice but it wasn't perfect and I just knew that was somehow my fault.
At night we fucked like minks. Despite both of our busy schedules we missed only two nights in that month and then we were upon his birthday. I invited him home for cake after he'd spent dinner mysteriously elsewhere. I didn't ask, didn't really care because I strangely trusted him. We spent all night together, and the morning, the first time we'd done so. By some unspoken rule we'd never spent the full night together but on his birthday he slept over. And when I awoke it wasn't as uncomfortable as I thought.
I made bacon and eggs, an American farmer's breakfast after he crammed his broad shoulders into my small shower along with me. That alone proved to make spending the night worth it. I made his coffee white, took mine black, and we chatted. He asked more in depth questions about my book and I tried to answer with as much vagueness as possible, feeling slightly queasy from the guilt.
I sent him off to work with a smile even if we'd only gotten all of two hours of sleep. I put on my ABBA's greatest hits and as Waterloo came over, bopped around and began to write.
I spent most of the time before lunch writing at rapid speed. I was clean but in my usual jeans a t-shirt, comfy first, beauty second. I'd finished my look floppy slip-on sneakers on and a sloppy top knot hairdo.
At just after one a knock came at my door jolting me from my laptop. Only Danny, Helen and Ioan were friends who had the building access code, all others had to be buzzed in. As all three were working that day, Ioan was on call until after midnight, it had to be a neighbor.
I closed up my file and set my screen saver, smoothed my face and opened the door. Ioan stood there with a guarded expression, his hands holding something in front of him. I looked down and saw it was a boy. He couldn't have been more than six or seven, he had curly brown hair and bright blue eyes, but he had his father's cheekbones and jaw. I was shocked.
I recovered quickly. "Hi Ioan." I crouched down to the child's level and stuck my hand out. "And who might you be?"
"I'm Rhys," he shook my hand. "You talk funny."
I laughed at that. "I'm an American, we all talk like this. Well, most of us. Besides, you talk funny."
He grinned and shifted on his feet.
"Nicky, this is my son."
"I gathered. He looks just like you but for coloring. He's beautiful Ioan." I was puzzled, why did he not tell me he had a son? None of my business I guess, but why introduce us now? Had we gotten hotter and heavier than I thought? I gulped and knew he could read it on my face, the panic I felt inside.
"I'm so sorry, but I need a favor."
I raised my brow.
"It's my day to watch Rhys, I have him all weekend. He was going to come on set with me but the shooting schedule moved up. We'll be filming some scenes not appropriate for young eyes. His mother is out of town and I can't reach anyone else."
He didn't ask but I knew what he wanted. So I crouched back down to Rhys' level and jimmied his baseball cap back. "Hey Rhys, my name is Nicky and I'm friends with your dad. But I'm new around here, what's say you show me around town?"
He shrugged. "I dunno."
I smiled. "Have you been to the zoo? I haven't."
His dad breathed a sigh of relief. "Rhys you can show her the zoo. You love the cats there."
I nodded. "I like jungle cats too, tigers are my favorite. What's yours?"
"Lions," he mumbled.
"Figures, everyone in the UK loves lions. All right, have you had lunch yet?"
He shook his head. "I'll make us some sandwiches and then we can go to the zoo, how does that sound?"
"Like fun. Is that okay, dad?" He asked looking up at his father. Ioan smiled down at him, a true beaming parent.
"It's fine. Nicky's very nice, you'll like her. But mind her and I'll see you tonight after I get done with work."
I stood up and sighed with a smile. "Still on call 'til the wee hours?"
"Rhys can snag my bed then, the couch folds out."
"I owe you, Nicky. I wouldn't ask this if I didn't have to."
"I understand. We'll be fine, I'll get Rhys here to down a hot dog and root beer float, true American faire."
He smiled and ruffled his son's hair, pulling the cap off. "All right Rhys, be good, all right?"
Ioan passed me a slip of paper. "My cellphone will be off but you can reach the production staff at this number in case of emergency. Rhys is allergic to shellfish and he hates peanut butter. All I can think of. Oh, and here's his bag." He slipped a bowlers case towards me.
I chuckled. "So no PB and Shrimp sandwiches, got it. All right Rhys, are you hungry?"
He nodded and Ioan smiled, leaving with a nod. I made us tuna salad sandwiches and he was amazed to discover how Americans did it. With mayonnaise, mustard, celery, and chopped hard boiled eggs. With chips on the side and a cola he was in heaven.
We bundled against the chill fall and made our way to the zoo. It took the whole afternoon but we explored every stop and exhibit. We spent a whole hour watching the cats, jungle and savannah, and commenting. I bought him a small poster of the Lion exhibit and we stopped at a hardware store for some stic-tac.
I took him to this American ex-pat diner I knew where the owner fed me quite often. We got real Chicago style hot dogs with celery salt and no ketchup, chili cheese fries, and cherry-syrupped cokes.
"Do you like my dad?" He asked over coke and fries.
I almost choked. "He's a good friend. He's my mate." Well, to an American it meant what we were, to him it meant friend.
"Women always like my daddy and they're weird. He doesn't like them though, nobody but my mom. They're okay friends but they seem sad."
"I'm sure they're not, they're good friends."
He nodded. "He's never had another girl friend, and I'm glad you're it. Can I tell my mommy about you?"
He touched my heart. "You have to ask your dad about that, okay? But you and me, we're friends right?"
When I was assured he was stuffed silly we rented DVDs from the store, one a kids action and the other an animated Disney film, then toddled home. I popped popcorn and got out the caffeine free diet soda and made him change into his PJs.
We stayed up past his bedtime giggling over the movies and when he fell asleep I had to carry him to the bed. I tucked him and marveled at what a sweet soul he was. And damn it, my heart tripped and I fell in love right then with the man who'd raised him.
So this was why he'd taken a sabbatical. His wife must have been pregnant just before they divorced so it couldn't have been easy. And to keep Rhys from the spotlight he'd kept him hidden, even from me.
What right did I have to be mad? I had more secrets than that, bigger ones and not as honorable. But I had to keep them, all the same, to protect everyone involved, and yes, that included myself. Feeling low as a worm I made up the couch as a bed, slid a couple of planks beneath to stave off the middle back bar pain, and pulled my bra from my shirt. In the bathroom I slid on some loose shorts, washed my face, and brushed my teeth. I flossed for good measure and then slid between the cool sheets, alarm set.
Ioan would be over some time later and I knew his knock would wake me, but I needed sleep. I had an early appointment with Helen about the movie. I had to fly to Los Angeles the next week, and boy I was not looking forward to the jet lag.
I was asleep and it felt like minutes but when I awoke I saw it had been almost three hours. It was three a.m.
I crawled from bed and smoothed my long hair, answering the door. Ioan was there looking rumpled but spry. "Sorry to wake you."
"Come in," I stepped back and snapped on the light.
"How was it?" He asked with a gleam in his eyes.
"Rhys is a terrific kid, really smart and sweet. We went to the zoo, ate hot dogs, and rented some kids movies. He's been out like a light since eleven, I let him stay up late."
He smiled. "Thanks so much."
"No problem, I actually had fun." I yawned then, politely covering my mouth.
He looked me up and down with a teasing grin. "So that's what you sleep in, hunh?"
"Actually I usually sleep naked, but then again I do live alone. These are my workout clothes."
From the look in his eyes one might have thought I'd been wearing lingerie. I'd heard about this, actors doing love scenes all day coming home hornier than a toad. They cheated a lot because impatience led them to seal the deal with their costars.
"Ioan, we can't. Rhys is sound asleep."
"So? The door is closed and you must have another room in here with a door." He closed the front door behind him as he spoke low.
"Come on, be reasonable. We shouldn't."
The bulge in his pants matched the hard gleam in his eye. He advanced on me, something he seemed to do that a lot. "Ioan, Christ in a sidecar, it's three in the morning, I have a meeting in four hours, and your son is in the bedroom. We can't do this."
He grabbed my arms and I knew he felt the pebbles my nipples had become against his chest. He smiled like a hunter that had its long relished prey in hand. "I can be quiet, how about you?"
I couldn't speak and he kissed me hard. Next thing I knew we were in the bathroom, the little light on, its pull chain swinging. He lifted me up and set me on the low windowsill. My shirt was pulled off and yet I never felt his lips leave mine, I just responded to the urgency.
He swore as he tugged my shorts off and groaned to see I was naked beneath. He undid his buckle and slipped his pants down, his erection hard. I pulled up his printed t-shirt until his chest was bare and ran my nails down it. He batted my hands away and forced them onto his shoulders.
Without a word Ioan squared his stance. He slid into me without preemption and sunk until he hit home. I moaned into his mouth against mine to swallow any noise I made, gasping as he bumped my cervix hard. He began to pump furiously and he was focused solely on his orgasm. I recognized that I was being used and I didn't care. It felt so goddamn good that when he came I came barely a second later.
When I calmed down he was still coming and I moaned, enjoying the look on his face. He collapsed inside himself, keeping his body rigid as he laid his head on my chest.
"I'm so sorry."
I understood that meant that he didn't realize I'd had an orgasm. I couldn't speak though, mine had shattered me so much. His mouth made its way down, one hand capturing the breast to raise it to his lips, the other slinking around the front.
"Ioan I- oh!"
He found my clitoris with unerring ease and sucked hard on my nipple. He was still swollen inside me though softer and I clenched tight, still ready. He pulled and sucked and bit while the other hand flicked a continuous rhythm. I climbed higher and higher and when I came he tossed his left hand from my breast to clamp over my mouth.
Jesus, no one had ever so diligently worried about my pleasure.
I was still trembling inside and out and when we kissed it was so gentle it was beyond anything. More than the sex, more than words, it stripped us naked and what I felt moving beneath my lips was love. What I felt inside me was love.
I jerked back so fast my head rapped the glass.
"Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. Just want to get down."
Frowning he pulled out and stepped back, letting me hop down. I grabbed a towel and cleaned off, passing it to him. While he toweled off I slipped on my clothes again and straightened with a ram rod spine.
"What just happened here?" He asked at the same time. "It's like a switch flipped inside you, what happened?"
I took a shaky breath, then another. "I don't think this is working."
He couldn't have looked more shocked than if I'd slapped him. "We agreed upon a certain...arrangement and for a time that worked, but things have changed. I can't go on like this."
"What the hell, you're hiding again!"
His voice was quiet for Rhys but still raised. I whipped around with my hand on the door. "Quit saying that. I'm being reasonable. I asked for no complications and you, we, this has become a big one!"
He grabbed my shoulder and wasn't going to let me leave. I wasn't angry enough to resent that, I was hurting and scared and childish. I knew that.
"Damn it, who hurt you Nicky?"
I looked away. "It's not what you think. No one hurt me."
"Then what is it? Why do you run every time I look at you with more than lust or polite interest? Why is it you're never the one to call, or never want to sleep with me after we fuck? Why is it you make me say fuck, why can't I call it making love or having sex? Why so impersonal? Why the hell are you using me?"
"I'm not using you!"
"Yes you are!" He let go of me and swiped his hair back. "God damn it, you want me to fuck you, you want to fuck me. You want to talk about things that don't matter and pretend I'm nothing more than a friend, a convenience. I'm not a fucking tart, Nicky, and I won't be treated as one."
"Then you'd better go. Take your son with you and just go, Ioan."
"Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you?"
He picked me up and moved me. I was startled, at my height no one had ever done that before. He set me on the edge of the claw foot tub and then he leaned against the door, arms folded. The message was clear, there was no escape.
"Ioan, what the hell do you want?"
"Normalcy. Do you know I'd been living like a monk for years before you came along? You were the first woman to know who I am and not fall all over herself for me. I liked that. You're smart, you're funny, and you're sexy as hell. I love that. But you have the mind of a child sometimes. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Like that Americanism?"
I didn't answer.
"Damn it, what is it Nicky? Is it me? Am I just not your type, or not good for anything more than this?" He gestured with palms open. "Is it my job, do you not want to be associated with that? Or are you just chicken?"
"Quit bullying me. I'm an adult, I have my reasons."
"Than act like one. Don't send me off thinking it's just a tantrum. Tell me you really want me to go, tell me you mean it and I will. Tell me why and I will."
I looked away. "I can't handle this. I just can't. All right? I'm not suited to be a girlfriend or a wife. I'm not suited to be anything more than a cheap lay.
"With you it seemed great. We had this and you never bugged me for more like so many other people do. And if you must know you're the first person in a long time to like me for me, not for my money or what writing has done for me. I can't handle any more."
"What do you mean? Did somebody try something?"
I leaned back and laughed softly. "Back home people know me. Too many people, and my life wasn't my own. I was hounded night and day."
"So your books sell well there."
"It's more than that. I'm the only relative of NM Lee."
He knew that name and nodded.
"In my own right I have over nine and a half million pounds in the bank, though you'd never know it the way I live. In years no one has looked at me as anything other than a gateway to the interview of the century or a paycheck."
He laughed. "Is that what you're worried about? That I'd do the same?"
"No, that's the thing. I never had to worry with you. But yes, if I'm seen with you and the paparazzi snaps a picture it could be trouble. No one knows I'm here, no one bugs me. I can walk down the street and no one knows who I am. No reporters go through my garbage. I like that."
"So? Get some security if that worries you."
"There's more, Ioan. NM is developing a movie from his novels and if people know we have a relationship, when he asks you to take the lead role people will talk. It could damage all our careers."
"So I know he'd been planning this two years ago, but other people won't. You just have to trust me that this is the best thing."
"Fuck that. I trust you, but I know you better than you think. Fear is not a reason. All right, you want to back away for a bit, that's fine. I know you're going to the states next week. I won't call you 'til you get back. But you get your head on straight and we'll talk then."
He opened the door fiercely and marched into the bedroom. I stayed hidden during the interminable minutes he got Rhys ready and watched him walk out the door with a look I couldn't read. I'd bitten off more than I could chew.
Dumb me, I'd taken a lover and found a challenge.