Laura Ch. 02

byshandal©

This is a romantic thriller with various characters and lots of twists and turns. The two main people, Chris and Laura are starting to get to know each other.

As usual in my stories there are lots of people that touch and swirl around the lives of the central characters, and nothing, as in life runs smoothly.

Please read and enjoy.


*

Chris stretched his long body in the bed, turning his head to his right he watched as Tricia slept next to him in the gloom of the early morning hours.

He felt a prick of remorse, which was stupid. He didn't even know the girl from the bus stop, but he still felt as if he was being unfaithful to her. Tricia had been passionately exciting last night, adventurous and eager, but she wasn't her, the one he wanted, and even though his body had responded to the woman in his arms, his mind kept wishing it was that other person.

Wishing it had been her light brown hair that had swirled over his body as she kissed and licked him, and not the thick auburn hair that fell around Tricia's heart shaped face as it had swept over his body last night.

Carefully slipping out of the bed, he bent down to retrieve his jeans and slipped them on, just as the girl in the bed opened her eyes, and then leaning up on one elbow said in a sleep rough voice "Running out on me?"

He leaned across the bed, kissing her softly on her mouth and in a deep whisper "No sweetheart, I have to get to work."

"What! This early? Must only be four in the morning"

"I need to get back to my place and pick up my tools before going in. I'll give you a ring, what's your number?"

As he pulled the white tee shirt over his head, she wrote it down on a piece of paper from the drawer next to her bed, handed it to him, and he tucked it into the pocket of his jeans. With a smile she said "Super heroes are definitely getting sexier every day, and next time bring your Lycra suit."

"You betcha." And leaning over the bed again he kissed her mouth, an open mouthed kiss that seemed to promise more to come in the future.

Climbing off the bed he bent down, grabbed his boots and jacket and quietly left the bedroom, walking down the hallway to the front door of the small flat he let himself out into the crisp night air. Sitting on the step he pulled on his socks and boots, and sat there for a few minutes breathing in deeply with his elbows resting on his knees, his head bowed down, his eyes closed. "Shit," he thought to himself, "I really have it bad, I'm leaving a nice warm bed and warmer body, just so I can be on time to meet a bus and see her." and he shook his head in self mocking despair.

Walking across town to his own place, he told himself he would do it this morning, he would stop her, start a conversation, ask her name, ask her out, ask her if she was OK, ask her anything. Maybe she wouldn't slap him for being so forward. Maybe she wouldn't run away from him and down the road to the house that she went into each morning. Maybe she would smile at him and tell him she felt for him the way he felt for her. And maybe pigs can fly!

Who was he kidding, in the past couple of months she hadn't even noticed him, hadn't once smiled up into his eyes. Just got off the bus, and calmly walked past him, as he stood there dumbstruck and transfixed. Except yesterday when she bumped into him, and he had felt her fragility, and the bolt of electricity that ran through him as he touched her, steadying her from falling over.

Letting himself into his apartment across the road from the bus stop and the house that she disappeared into each morning, he walked into the bathroom. Turning on the shower and peeling out of his clothes, he stepped into the hot water, looking up as it rained down on his face. Soaping his body, the water dripped down through the rough hair on his well developed chest and flat abdomen, down through the curly black hair in his groin, down the long strong thighs and calves, and down past the wide feet planted slightly apart washing away the soap and the musky smell of last night's sex.

*

She had lain curled up and scared all night next to her husband in the big bed, scared that he would hurt her again, her body sore and stiff from tension, her head aching from lack of sleep. But he had slept, gently snoring as if nothing had happened, and the woman next to him was of no consequence. She arose earlier than normal, and slipped out of the bedroom to get ready, then going downstairs she cleaned up the kitchen and prepared the breakfast he liked, orange juice, cereal and set the coffee percolator on.

The noise upstairs told her he was up, and standing at the sink, her back to the door she tried to act as calmly as possible as he came into the kitchen. She felt his arms wrap around her middle and braced herself for another onslaught but instead she felt his head bend down and his mouth nuzzle her neck.

"Morning my love," he whispered in her ear and pulling her back so her body was tight against his he breathed into her ear "make yourself pretty tonight and I'll take you out for a meal and drinks." And stepping back he gently patted her bottom and sat down at the kitchen table to eat the food and drink laid out.

Laura glanced round at her husband, unsure and confused. He was like Jekyll and Hyde, one moment almost like the man she had fallen in love with, the next a violent and abusive control freak. She never seemed to know which version of the man she was dealing with.

Robert sat happily at the table; he had her where he wanted her, unbalanced and unsure. He knew she had no confidence in herself, he had known that from the moment he met her, and she was so easy to manipulate, so eager to please him and do what he wanted. He looked up at her standing there, a small frown across her forehead, her eyes reflecting her confusion. Her eyes always revealed her emotions to him, whether it was love, anger, happiness or fear.

And he loved to watch her eyes reflecting the fear she felt, it made him feel powerful. Powerful and in control.

And control was everything to Robert.

*

Chris sat on the wall by the bus stop, blue eyes fixed on the road to his right, waiting for a sight of the bus. He didn't notice the interested looks from the two girls standing at the stop, or the slight drizzle starting to dampen his unruly black hair. She hadn't been on the last bus, and his stomach had tightened with a fear that she may not be on the next one either. What if she didn't come ever again? He didn't know where she lived, what her name was, who she visited every day.

A panic came over him as he sat there waiting, a panic that he might never see her again.

He looked around, up the road at the house she disappeared into each day. Maybe he should knock on the door of the house and introduce himself. Find out as much as he could about her. Satisfy the craving in his soul for some form of contact, of just a small connection to the woman of his dreams. He turned his head back to see a bus in the distance, and his heartbeat quickened. The bus slowly came nearer, stopping and starting in the heavy morning traffic, and the people at the stop started to jostle ready to get their place in the queue. Chris just sat quietly, eyes focused on the large vehicle moving its sluggish way towards him.

Eventually it arrived and stopped, doors opened, and holding his breath he watched as first a mother with a child buggy struggled to get off, and then two schoolboys, trying to push past the struggling mother. Where was she? His heart pounded in his chest, his eyes staring unblinking at the empty entrance to the bus.

And then she was there, silky brown hair framing her small oval face, her sweet almond eyes looking down at the pavement as she stepped down. Chris arose and stood watching, no thought of getting on the bus, he just stood there drinking in the gentle beauty of the woman that owned his heart.

He watched as she walked slowly and stiffly past him, her body language shouting out tension and something else he could not recognise. Without realising it his feet started to move and follow her the fifty yards down the road until she got to the garden gate of the house, never taking his eyes from her slim back in the short beige jacket she wore.

As she entered the house with her key, Chris stood at the garden gate, rooted to the spot, unsure what to do next. The bus had swallowed up the people in the queue and was moving off, into the traffic, taking the passengers to their daily lives as the tall man stood still and transfixed staring at the wooden front door. The barrier between him and his love.

Did she live here? He didn't think so, as he never saw her the rest of the week except to arrive in the mornings. Who was she visiting each day? Her family, friends, who?

He took a deep breath and slowly opened the gate, stepped through and walked down the short path to the front door. Standing there, his hand raised to knock, a hundred opening lines rushed through his brain. Taking a deep swallow he knocked and stood heart pounding, palms sweating, waiting and listening for movement the other side of the door.

Laura heard the knock as she stood carefully taking off her jacket from her aching body, and turning round to open the door thought to herself that the nurse was early this morning.

It wasn't the nurse, but a very tall man that stood there, nearly a whole foot taller than she was. His ice blue eyes gazed down into hers, a straight nose led down to a slightly smiling mouth that was surrounded by dark black stubble. The man's intense stare slightly startled her, and then he seemed to pull himself together and clearing his throat said in a deep quiet voice "Hi, I live over the road" and he half turned pointing to a house further down the road on the opposite side of the street. "I couldn't help notice that the garden needs some clearing and work done, and I'm a handyman by trade and was wondering if you would like some help tidying it up?"

Laura looked past the large man at the overgrown front garden, the weeds taking over the once immaculate flower beds and through the cracks in the paving, old rubbish littering and an overgrown hedge.

"Please wait here whilst I ask Mrs J" she smiled up at him, the now dark bruise on her cheek more visible to Chris, and his body stiffened with anger at the man that would do this to this slight women. Any man that raised his hands to a woman was a coward and a bully in Chris's eyes, and that it should be this woman on the receiving end brought out the protective side of his nature to the full.

He heard a muffled conversation and then she reappeared, "Mrs Jackson says for you to come in." and she stepped back gesturing for him to come through.

Chris stepped into the hall past the young woman, noting that the top of her head was level with his mouth, the perfect height for him to bend down and kiss her nose, if she would let him. He smiled to himself, and as he walked into the room that she pointed to he noticed a tiny old lady sitting propped up by cushions on a large floral sofa. He grinned down at the old woman, putting out his hand as he bent down, balancing on his knee to be at her level. "Hi, I'm Christopher Rubin, I live in one of the houses opposite and I've noticed that your garden needs some work done on it. I'd be happy to do some clearing up for you" and he glanced up at the young woman standing in the door way, her arms folded across her chest, watching him with suspicion in her eyes.

"Young man that is very thoughtful of you, but I really don't need much done, just a small tidy up maybe. How much are you looking to charge?"

Chris looked back at the old lady, and replied "A nice strong cup of coffee and maybe a biscuit served by the pretty young lady standing over there giving me the evil eye." and his grin turned into a smile, revealing the dimples in his cheeks.

"Young man you have yourself a deal when can you start."

"No time like the present, I just need to go over the road and pick up my spare work gloves and some tools and I'll be back in no time." Rising to his feet he winked at the old lady before crossing to the doorway and the object of his obsession.

Laura stepped back, letting him come through, and then watched as he walked up the hall, opened the front door and stepped through, turning he winked at her and then left. Walking into the sitting room, frowning Laura wondered out loud "Now why would someone like him want to clear up the garden for free?"

"Laura my love, don't be so judgemental and suspicious. He is just being neighbourly. Besides I like him, reminds me of my old man. Twinkle in his eye and very masculine, don't you think?"

"I think I am going to get your pills, and get on with the shopping."

"Don't forget to get the application for the bank account and find out how much the ticket is worth when you go to the shops."

Chris ran across to his place, dodging cars as he crossed the road, his couldn't believe his luck, not only had he managed to meet her, he was going to spend some time with her. He was on a high. He had told a little lie about being a handyman as he was really a master carpenter, much in demand, and currently working on an old Georgian house restoration. He would do the front garden this morning and go into work this afternoon. No sweat, he was his own boss and his time was his to manage. All he knew was that he was going to spend some time close to her.

Grabbing a pair of old work gloves and a pair of secateurs from the downstairs flat's shed , he sprinted back and knocking on the half closed door called out "Hey I'm back, start the coffee." and turning round removed his leather jacket and surveyed the garden, deciding to cut back the overgrown rose bushes first.

Laura gave Mrs J her pills, went into the front room to tidy up. This was where Mrs Jackson now slept, in a bed set up where once a dining room used to be. The old lady was now too weak to go upstairs, and her whole time was spent in almost the two rooms in the downstairs of the lovely home, her needs taken care of by Laura and a night home help. As Laura set about straightening the bed, she glanced out the window at the man now working in the front garden. His black tee shirt outlining his long back as he leant over the rose bushes pruning them back.

Laura stopped what she was doing and absentmindedly rubbed her left breast gently where there now was a pale red mark where Robert had bitten last night. The man in the garden was so different from Robert she thought, his clothes were clean but worn, a black tee shirt and black jeans ,his hair unruly, thick and layered as if the last time he went to a barber was months ago. But he gave out an air of easy confidence and power, whilst Robert, always dressed immaculately in the most fashionable clothes, hair styled by the best hairstylist in town worked hard to project his confidence with an outward show of affluence.

She carried on tidying up the bed, and then moving into the kitchen, started heating the kettle to make the coffee. Poking her head into the sitting room and checking on the old lady she found her sleeping. She was sleeping more and more now, and not really eating anything, just preferring to sip at the water or tea, and a little soup. In the five months she had worked for her the old lady had seemed to shrink to half her size, and although she never let on when she was in pain, Laura could see that the medication had to be increased now almost every other day.

The young woman had become so fond of the old lady; she knew she would miss her terribly, just as she had the others she had cared for as a home help with the Hospice Charity that employed her.

The door bell rung and Laura walked up the hall and opened the door where she found the man leaning against the door frame. "Got any rubbish bags to put the cuttings in?" he enquired.

"I'm not sure." she replied and turned around going back to the kitchen to look in the cupboard.

Chris followed her down the hall, inwardly smiling. It had taken him a good ten minutes to figure out an excuse to come inside to talk to her, and as he stood quietly in the kitchen doorway leaning against the door jamb, the young woman opened draws and cupboards looking for the bags and muttering to herself under her breath.

"You haven't told me your name?" he said as casually as he could muster.

Laura jumped, she didn't realise he had followed her down the hall, and was standing there watching her with those clear blue eyes of his.

"Laura."

Laura. He turned it over in his mind. It suited her.

The kettle started to boil, Laura started to reach for it, but a large hand got there first. "Let me. What do you want tea or coffee?"

She looked at him startled, and stammered "No, it's alright, I'll do it."

"Nope, you sit down and I'll make it, and as a reward for me making it, you can keep me company while I drink it. Deal?" He asked grinning "and by the way where are the biscuits, I'm a hungry man and I need a lot of filling up."

Laura took a step back; he seemed to take up the whole kitchen. But she didn't feel frightened of him, just a bit overwhelmed. His easy going nonchalance and ever present smile seemed to calm her down, and she pointed to a cupboard near his head "they're in there."

He reached up and his black tee shirt pulled up, revealing an expanse of flesh at the base of his spine, just above the low slung edge of his jeans as they rode low on his hips. Laura flushed and turned away shocked at her reaction. Stammering she told him which cupboard the cups could be found in.

"Why don't you go into the other room and make yourself comfortable, I'll bring it all in. By the way what does Mrs Jackson like?"

"Tea, not too strong" and with that Laura walked into the sitting room and sat down at the end of the walnut table.

Chris came in minutes later carrying the cups and biscuits, he looked over at the old lady still asleep on the sofa, softly snoring, and placing the cups down on the table pulled out a chair and sat down. Picking up a box of medicine that held the vials of pain relief he quietly said "What wrong with her?"

"Cancer, nearing the last stage. Very soon the hospice I work for will place her there. She wanted to hold out as long as possible in her own home, but I'm afraid the time is getting very near for her to go in." And looking down at the cup in front of her said in a small voice. "She's so sweet, I'll miss her. She's become a surrogate Granny to me."

The hand that had been toying with the box of medicine now covered her hand and gave a small squeeze. She looked up with eyes that glistened, and the hand that covered hers now lifted up and gently stroked her cheek brushing away the tear that rested there.

"I'm so sorry, she seems a lovely lady. Have you known her long?"

"Five months."

A peaceful and comfortable silence fell between them as they sipped their drinks.

"Look I don't mean to pry but that bruise on your cheek looks kind of fresh......."

"I walked into a door over the weekend." Laura interrupted defensively.

His left eyebrow rose high up on his forehead, and his mouth tightened as he said "I had a colleague's wife who did that quite often. Fell down the stairs a couple of times too." He paused "If you need a friend I'm available."

A blush ran up Laura's face. "I don't want to talk about it! Please just leave it alone." and standing up she said "I'm going shopping, I'll get you some black plastic bags at the shop. Be back in half an hour."

Chris sat at the table, drink and biscuits forgotten. He heard the front door shut, and he sat there with his eyes closed, aware of the hard empty feeling in his gut. A small voice, almost a whisper, behind him floated up at him.

"Her husband is a bastard. Doesn't deserve her. He's broken her spirit, and now he's working on her body."

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