Perfume Ch. 04byMsLaLa31©
Wynston was exhausted.
After the robbery, she and Eric had gone to the hospital to have his injury looked at.
While they waited for the results of his CT scans, Eric answered all Detective Mowry's questions about the robbery and his connection to the robbers...well, almost all.
Eric had become tight-lipped when it came to his relationship with his brothers. He had infuriated Detective Mowry so badly that the detective had threatened to cite him with withholding information.
To his credit, Eric was completely unaffected by Detective Mowry's bluff.
Eric knew that he couldn't possibly be held for withholding when he'd known nothing about the robbery to begin with.
Wynston had been impressed. If it had been her, she would've folded and probably would've given names, addresses, phone numbers...everything she knew.
Thankfully, the doctor chose that moment to interrupt the heated exchange between the two men, and told them that the test results showed that there was no concussion.
Eric and Wynston had been free to go...until the detective dropped his bomb on them.
Detective Mowry had felt sure that Eric's brothers would come after them. As a precautionary measure, he had made arrangements for them to stay in a hotel which would be heavily guarded by officers.
Wynston and Eric had decided to go by his place first for a change of clothes. Then they would go to her apartment which was a short distance away.
But upon entering Eric's condo, they had found that the place had been trashed.
It was obvious that Eric's home had been lavish. He lived in sumptuous downtown Baltimore with its tall skyscrapers, affluent residents and attractive nightlife.
Even now in its wrecked state, Wynston could see that the furniture was expensive.
Dark leather couches that had once been sturdy and plush now sat gutted and marred.
Beautiful lamps and tables were broken; and Eric's black, granite floors had been damaged beyond repair.
Huge plants that once sat in tall, stately vases were turned over; there was glass everywhere, and even a beautiful, grand piano had been battered.
Wynston had very nearly freaked out.
She didn't know how much more of this shit she could take; and even more than that, she'd felt horrible for Eric.
They had immediately returned to Eric's SUV and called the detective who then had a squad car pick them up.
This time, they were going to the police station.
Once there, Detective Mowry had broken the news to Wynston.
He had sent officers to her apartment only to find that it had been ransacked as well.
Wynston had felt sick.
What if she had been home with her baby when those people had shown up?
She had never been so thankful for her ex than she was in that moment. Terrence had gone to his father's that weekend, so she knew he would be safe.
What followed was a nightmare.
The officers had her and Eric exit from the back of the police station and took them to the hotel.
They had to enter through the kitchens, taking the freight elevator up to their floor.
Once at their rooms, the detective had introduced her and Eric to the officers who would sit outside their doors.
And now, Wynston sat in her room, scared shitless. Every little sound made her jump, her nerves were so frail.
Damn this, she thought.
Wynston opened her door wide enough to poke her head out. One of the officers immediately came to stand in front of her.
"Ms. Hughes-Grey is something the matter?" he asked. Earlier he'd said his name was Officer Sloan.
"Actually, officer, there's no way I can stay in here alone all night. There shouldn't be a problem if I went into Mr. Torres's room, should there?" she asked.
Officer Sloan raised his eyebrow. The other officer behind him cleared his throat from where he sat.
It suddenly occurred to Wynston how it would look if she slept in Eric's room.
Then she got irritated.
She'd had a long damn day; and she was not going to explain herself to these two assholes who didn't know a thing about what she and Eric had gone through.
She immediately contradicted herself.
"Look, you can think what you want, but Mr. Torres protected me and saved my life today. YES, I do feel safer with him. So if I were you...I'd think about why I feel safer with a Fraud Analyst than I do with two police officers standing outside my door," she said meaningfully.
With that, Wynston stuck her nose in the air imperiously, leaving the two policemen staring after her.
Before she could even knock on Eric's door, it swung open and Eric stepped aside so she could enter.
As she walked into the room, she didn't see him wiggle his eyebrows at the officers, wickedly.
And she missed it when the two men chuckled and elbowed each other as the door closed behind her.
Once in the room, it amazed Wynston how she immediately felt safer...so much so that hunger and fatigue assaulted her in a rush.
Collapsing on Eric's bed, she groaned. "I'm starving...and exhausted. I don't know if I should eat or sleep. Maybe I could eat while I'm sleeping," she said comically.
"Well I can help you with one of those. I asked the officers if we could get a pizza delivered...should be here shortly. I hope you like pepperoni," he said.
"I'll take it," she mumbled, her face buried in the pillow.
Wynston marveled again at how comfortable she felt with Eric. No matter how hard she tried not to be, she found that she was drawn to him.
Before she knew it, she had drifted off to sleep.
About an hour later, Wynston awakened disoriented, the hunger pain in her stomach now insistent.
She opened her eyes and stared down at the pillow she was lying on...it wasn't familiar to her.
Wynston had no idea where she was.
She jumped at the sound of Eric's voice.
"Hey, Sleepy Head. I was about to give up on you," he said lazily.
Wynston turned to see that he was lying on his side, watching her.
He had taken off his dress shirt and was now lounging in a white, cotton tank. His pants were unbuttoned.
Eric had a very sexy 5 o'clock shadow that gave him an air of danger; and those golden eyes...they were smoldering.
Wynston felt a familiar ache between her legs; and her breasts immediately swelled against her bra.
He was too damn yummy for words, she thought.
Then she closed her eyes as she had another thought.
"Please tell me you didn't watch me sleep," she moaned, burying her head into the pillow.
"Okay, I didn't watch you sleep," Eric replied. Wynston looked at him with narrowed eyes.
"Lies! I hope I drooled. It would serve you right for watching people while they're asleep," she grumbled.
Eric chuckled. "You actually did. I tried to wipe it up with a napkin but I ended up needing a towel. You--"
Before he could finish, Wynston gasped and hit him with the pillow.
"I didn't!!!!" she shrieked.
Eric's deep voice boomed as he laughed at her discomfort. "Nah, you didn't," he said chuckling.
"You were beautiful. Looked like an angel," he replied seductively.
Her stomach did a flip flop. Why did he constantly have to say things like that to her?
How was she supposed to respond?
Thankfully she didn't have to.
"Pizza's here. It's a little cold now but shouldn't be too bad," Eric said reaching for the pizza box from the nightstand.
"How are you feeling?" she asked as he handed Wynston the box and a can of soda.
"My head is fine. It's everything else I'm concerned about," he said.
"Yeah, I know. This whole thing has taken on a life of its own, hasn't it? I still can't believe your brothers did that to your place," she said as she bit into her pizza.
"I have a few questions, though. Are you up to talking now?" she asked.
Eric nodded his head. "Only if I can ask you questions as well," he replied.
"Deal. First question...how did you know the bank was going to be robbed?" she asked carefully.
It had been bugging her all day that there was the slightest possibility that Eric could've been a part of the robbery.
"Actually, I owe that to you," he said.
Wynston looked up at him, surprised.
"I smelled your perfume when you walked up behind me. I'd turned around to find the source and saw you standing there. I was about to devastate you with my charm, and make your knees weak wh--"
Eric stopped when Wynston looked at him and rolled her eyes.
"You would've gone weak in the knees by the time I got done with you...trust me. Remind me later to give you a demonstration," he said confidently.
"Anyway, that's when I happened to see my brothers getting out of the van. Except at the time I didn't know they were my brothers," he finished.
"So in a way, I'm the one who actually saved our lives," Wynston said smugly.
It was Eric's turn to roll his eyes. Wynston laughed.
"Next question. What's the story behind you and your brothers? Why do you guys hate each other so much?" she asked.
That was a loaded question. Eric had been fighting with them for so long that he didn't even know where to begin.
He thought for a moment before he began to speak.
"Rob, Mike and Ethan are my half-brothers. My father was married to their mother," he began.
"Rob is the oldest followed by Mike, then me and lastly Ethan." He paused, waiting to see if Wynston would make the connection.
She sat chewing a mouthful of pizza with her head cocked to the side. All of a sudden, she looked at him, perplexed.
"You're quick," Eric said. He was pleased.
"I guess now I know part of the reason they hate you so much," she said.
"They definitely have hated me for the majority of our lives. As you've guessed, my father cheated on their mother when Rob and Mike were small. Ethan hadn't even been born yet," he said soberly.
"Ok, people have children outside of their marriages all the time. While it's not right, it's so commonplace. I still don't understand why your brothers hate you so much that they want to kill you," Wynston said.
"The story goes deeper," Eric said. "Maria—their mother—didn't know about our father's infidelity," he said quietly.
"For a long time, I could never understand why my father never stayed with my mom and me longer than a couple hours. He came by often enough, but each visit was always so short. So when I was 12-years-old, I made up in my mind that I would find out where he was spending the rest of his time," Eric explained.
He turned on his back, placing his hands behind his head.
"After one particular visit with us, I decided to follow my dad. I shadowed him not even four blocks away to a house. The way he walked in made it obvious that he lived there. Well, in my 12-year-old mind, I figured I would surprise him. So I walked up the steps and rang the doorbell."
Eric stared blindly at the ceiling.
He was so intense that Wynston knew this story could not have a happy ending.
"This boy who was around my age answered the door. It was Rob; and it was like staring into my own pair of eyes...the similarities between us were blatant. Looking at Rob, I knew something was...wrong," he explained.
Eric took a deep breath.
"Then my father came to the door with Maria, who had been holding a baby...Ethan," he said glancing at her.
"I will never forget the expression on my father's face. He looked at me like I had seen something forbidden...like I didn't belong. Anyway, he asked me what I was doing there, but he'd slipped and called me 'son.' Maria immediately put two-and-two together, and after that, all hell broke loose. She started crying and dad was trying to comfort her while simultaneously trying to talk to me," Eric said, sounding tired.
"Finally, papa told her that he couldn't let me walk back home by myself. He said he would take me home and then they would talk when he got back. But Maria had become very withdrawn and quiet...it was almost eerie. Dad and I hadn't even made it down the street when we heard the gunshot," Eric said softly.
Wynston listened quietly, dreading the rest of the story.
"My father got back to the house first, but I already knew it was going to be bad. When I got there, my dad was just screaming and crying...even with everything going on, he was doing his best to keep us from seeing the body," Eric said tenderly.
It was obvious to Wynston by his tone that Eric still loved his dad very much.
"After papa called the police, he called my mom to come for me. She hadn't known about his other life, either," Eric said shaking his head.
"He lost everything that day; and he never was the same afterward. Dad still came around, and he's always been in my life but...a part of him checked out when Maria died. When I got older, he told me the guilt was unbearable. He said he could've survived if she'd just kicked him out or never had anything else to do with him. But she took her own life. He never got over that," Eric finished.
Wynston had pushed her food away a long time ago, the story making her lose her appetite.
Now she curled up next to Eric, placing her head on his shoulder. She wished she could offer him more comfort.
Still in a daze as he finished recounting the story, Eric unconsciously turned toward Wynston, seeking more of her scent.
"After their mother died, Rob had a giant chip on his shoulder...and I was the cause. He and my brothers had to move in with Maria's sister; and from what I've heard, the sister's husband was abusive. My dad sort of disappeared on them; but he was always in my life. When Rob got wind of that, it was over. Mike and Ethan were never so bad; if anything, Mike has always been a follower. Ethan was too young to really understand what was going on; and he's always been sort of easygoing in spite of what happened to them. But Rob...he's always been the leader and he has always been angry," Eric said.
"That must've been hard for you to know that Rob blamed you for everything that went wrong. Have you ever felt guilty about it?" Wynston asked.
"I did at first. I would make efforts to befriend them or even to just talk; but Rob wasn't having it. Things progressively got worse over the years, and as you saw today, I got to the point where I got angry too," Eric said grimly.
"What made you change?" Wynston asked puzzled.
"My brothers would begin to make life hell for my mother and me. Rob blamed her as well for what happened, so the three of them would do petty things like throw bricks through our window, or steal my mom's mail. Sometimes that wasn't so petty especially when mom had been expecting money from relatives. The final straw was when they beat me up on my way home from school. Then they told an adult that my mom had beat me like that. Pretty soon, Child Protective Services was knocking on our door," Eric sad angrily.
Wynston stared at Eric in disbelief. The anger Rob felt toward Eric and his mother was insane!
What's worse is he was now a grown man and apparently none of that rage had subsided.
"My mom caught hell trying to explain what was going on," Eric was saying.
"It wasn't until my father stepped in that the authorities backed off. My brothers continued to do things like that until I got older and started to fight back," he said smirking.
At the odd tone in Eric's voice, Wynston lifted her head to see that he was grinning.
"How did your dad feel about all this animosity between you and your brothers? Did he ever try to put a stop to it?" Wynston asked.
"Yeah, he did. But I think dad is the only person Rob hates more than me. There's never been anything papa has been able to say to him," Eric said sadly.
Wynston mulled over everything Eric had told her and felt sad herself.
This had been a serious case of misplaced anger and in the end, everyone had wound up losing.
She wondered if Eric would ever have some sort of decent relationship with his brothers.
With the way things were going, she doubted it.
Still too wound up to sleep, the two of them talked for hours about their childhoods, relationships, family, friends...even what led to each of them going to the bank that morning.
The bonding they had done was more intimate than love-making.
Even as they talked, Eric would look at Wynston in that intense way of his; or he would take every opportunity to touch or compliment her.
She was absolutely attracted to him, but Eric still made her nervous.
It had been two years since she'd been intimate with a man, and the next time she had sex, she wanted it to be right.
Honestly, Wynston didn't know how she should feel about Eric. He was gorgeous, yes. She knew he was attracted to her, but she came with a 4-year-old.
And how could she even talk about feelings and a relationship when they'd only known each other for a day?
Wynston guessed she could simply talk to Eric before they became intimate...she had no doubt that this sexual man would attempt to sleep with her; and she held no illusions about her will power when he was concerned.
She liked her idea and it put her worries to rest. If she talked to him first and let him know that she was not just a piece of ass, she would be able to find out where his head was.
Wynston felt much better. And as their conversation wound down, and twilight weaved its magic on them, Wynston and Eric slumbered.
Wynston awoke once again, this time feeling completely gross.
She was still fully-dressed, tangled in her own clothes; and now she was sweating, the pillowcase and bedding beneath her completely wet.
There was nothing she hated more than sweating while she slept.
Quietly, so as not to disturb Eric, she got out of the bed and made her way to the bathroom to shower.
Fifteen minutes later, Wynston emerged feeling refreshed.
A female officer had come by earlier with a bag of toiletries, and Wynston now rifled through it.
She was very pleased to find some name brand deodorant...it was trial sized but that didn't matter.
She also found two white, Baltimore Police Department t-shirts, a couple of toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, mouthwash, and lotion.
As she smelled the lotion, her nose wrinkled.
Wynston tossed it back in the bag and opted to use her own lotion that she carried in her purse.
She noticed a couple more items and when she reached in the bag, she pulled out...underwear?
There was a package of boxers for Eric and a package of panties for her...and her correct size!
Wynston almost squealed with delight.
Once she had moisturized, she quickly put the panties and t-shirt on.
She felt a hundred times better.
Eye-balling her slacks, Wynston wondered if she should put them back on before climbing into bed.
Like hell, she thought.
She could never sleep with more than a t-shirt and panties on without feeling constricted.
Besides, Eric was asleep so she should be okay.
With that, Wynston turned off the lamp and crawled into bed.
She was careful to keep a comfortable distance between Eric's silent form and hers.
Eric listened quietly as Wynston came out of the bathroom, a trail of steam following her.
He kept his breathing even, and only opened his eyes to narrow slits.
He watched the way she tiptoed around the room, her full hips swaying gently. The towel clung to her body, outlining her curvy, hourglass figure.
When Wynston looked inside the bag the female officer had brought them, she did a little dance...something good must've been in there, Eric thought.
He tried his hardest not to smile.
As she pulled items out of the bag, she obviously was delighted with what looked to be underwear.
Then Eric's heart stopped.
Wynston dropped the towel and began to smooth lotion onto her entire body. Eric prayed she didn't look back at him...his eyes were wide open now.