Perfume Ch. 05byMsLaLa31©
Eric was worried about Wynston. They had been in South Carolina for two days, and he hadn't seen her any during that time.
She seemed to have entered into a sort of depression, and wasn't interested in anything except sleeping.
He checked on her often, and tried to encourage her to get out of the house and explore Summerville with him.
But Wynston would simply mumble something unintelligible and remained confined inside her self-imposed prison.
After seeing how she cried on the plane, Eric had decided that once they landed, he would try to pull some strings with the investigators.
Within two days, the large, brown envelope was delivered to the Sheriff's Department.
As Eric waited for the package to be brought to the house, he prayed this would work.
If it didn't, he honestly had nothing else; and had no idea how to pull Wynston out of her melancholy.
Eric admitted to himself that when he'd thought of the plan to bring them to South Carolina, he'd done it for very selfish reasons.
Of course his primary concern had been keeping her safe. Eric knew that he would be able to protect her if they were together.
But he also knew that if they were holed up in the same house for a length of time, he would have limitless access to her.
He had definitely planned on seducing her.
But Eric had not counted on how strong her feelings would be about leaving her son behind.
It had been lax of him, he now knew.
But in his mind, once Wynston understood that her son would be safer with his grandparents, she would be able to cope.
He had been completely wrong; and Eric beat himself up over that. He felt like he should've tried harder to find a way to bring the boy with them.
A knock at the door interrupted his thoughts.
Grinning, he walked to the door and looked into the smiling face of his best friend.
"They sure grow 'em ugly down here," Eric drawled.
"That's not what your mom said while she was running my bath last night," Bo said, good-naturedly.
Eric laughed. "I'll be sure to tell her you said that."
"You tell your mom that, and I will fuck you up," Bo returned as the two men embraced.
Eric had known Bo Warren for 23 years, and he was the closest thing Eric had to a real brother.
Ironically, they had met that first summer when Eric had come down to South Carolina.
His mother had become fed up with the hostility and constant fighting with his brothers, so she sent Eric down to live with relatives for the entire summer.
When Bo and Eric had met, they were both 12-years-old. Eric had gone to the community pool with his cousins and some of the neighborhood kids.
On the way there, they had come upon a scrawny kid getting his ass whooped by a bunch of bigger kids.
The scene was all too familiar to Eric. Back home, he usually played the part of scrawny kid while his brothers kicked his ass.
So he hadn't asked questions, but had stormed up to the bully kids and started swinging.
Lucky for Eric, there was safety in numbers. His cousins and the rest of the neighborhood kids all followed suit.
Soon the bullies had all run away with their tails between their legs.
Bo had been that scrawny kid; and after the fight, he walked up to Eric and thanked him.
They had been inseparable ever since.
Every summer, Eric couldn't wait to come back to South Carolina. He and Bo kept in touch throughout the school year, sending each other letters and pictures.
They both had been put on punishment when they ran up outrageous phone charges, when they'd called each other collect.
That's when the two boys started saving up to buy calling cards.
Soon, seeing each other every summer wasn't enough.
After begging his mother for help, and doing a lot of odd jobs around the neighborhood for money, Eric would save enough to buy a Greyhound ticket to Summerville during Winter Break and Spring Break.
Bo's parents would offer to share some of the responsibility and send Bo up to Baltimore, but Eric and his mother had not wanted his brothers to ruin things for him.
His relationship with Bo had been the only thing untarnished by his brothers, and Eric had wanted to keep it that way.
As the years progressed, friends and the opposite sex came and went; but Eric and Bo's connection stood the test of time.
They trusted each other implicitly and knew that each had the other's back no matter what; and even though they hadn't seen each other in a couple years, they still spoke almost every day.
So when Eric and Wynston had needed to drop off of the map for a while, he had automatically thought of Bo.
Rob and the others knew nothing about South Carolina, and the fact that Bo was the county Sheriff was a plus.
"I'm glad to see you, man...even though it's not under the best circumstances," Bo said as they sat down at the kitchen table.
His tone had turned serious.
Bo was fully aware of everything that had transpired up to this point; and he was furious.
He had always hated the way Eric's brothers had treated him.
He'd always wondered why Eric took so much shit off them. Bo suspected Eric still felt some sort of guilt over the fact that the brothers' mother had died the way she had.
He also knew that Mr. Torres maintained a relationship with Eric and not so much with the other brothers; which probably accounted for a lot of the bullshit Eric had dealt with.
Bo thought that was fucked up...the whole situation was a huge mess, actually.
"Yeah, I'm afraid things are worse, though. Wynston--the woman I'm here with--she hasn't been out of her room since we got here," Eric said heavily.
Bo's brow furrowed. "You mean she's been up there for three days? Did you check on her? Is she sick?" he asked.
Eric rolled his eyes. The sheriff was now speaking.
"Come on, you know me better than that. Of course I've been checking on her. I've been listening for the smallest movement...anything. She's not sick...just depressed about leaving her son," Eric finished.
"Speaking of, here's the package that came for you. I assume the purpose of this is to bring her around. You think it will work?" Bo asked.
"I'm praying, man," Eric replied.
He took the envelope and felt its weight. It was a relatively thin package, and was very light.
But hopefully the contents would have the power to bring Wynston out of her misery and back to him.
"You know, you're doing a whole lot for this woman. First you save her life, and then you hatch this plan where you're living with her...now this," he said, motioning to the envelope in Eric's hand.
"Is there something I should know?" Bo asked.
Eric sighed. Bo had no idea what turmoil Eric was in. Wynston was driving him insane and he didn't know how to put an end to it.
If he hadn't been so taken with her, he wouldn't have cared less whether or not she spoke to him after they'd had sex.
But he was taken with her; and the fact that she had distanced herself from him made Eric feel worse than he wanted to admit.
He told Bo everything.
From the bank robbery and how he'd felt compelled to protect her to the way Wynston made him feel.
He even told Bo how she had turned cold on him after they'd slept together and had kept her distance.
"Shit, Torres. This woman's got you wide open," he said. "You feel like you're gonna wife her eventually?" he asked.
"I can't even get her out of the fucking bed let alone talking about committing to her," Eric said rubbing the back of his neck.
He was clearly agitated.
The fact that Eric hadn't outright denied wanting to commit to this woman was telling.
"Listen man, this is what I'll do. I'll bring Lacey over tomorrow night; we can throw some steaks on the grill and officially welcome you back. Lacey and Wynston will do that girl talk shit and before you know it, she'll be happy again and you two will be looking at engagement rings," Bo said.
He watched Eric carefully.
His head came up. "You think that will work?" Eric asked.
Bo almost laughed. Eric was definitely gone over this woman.
"Hell yeah. Lacey loves that sort of shit...sticking her nose into other people's business is her forte," he said dryly.
"You just do your part and get her out of the bed. If you're unsuccessful, I'm sure Lacey will be able to do it," Bo said reassuringly.
Eric was beginning to feel optimistic.
"How is Lacey, anyway?" Eric suddenly thought to ask.
At his wife's name, Bo leaned back in the chair and ran his hand over his face.
"She's killing me," he stated.
Eric chuckled as he got up to go to the fridge. "You can be such a pussy sometimes," he said.
Bo smirked as he caught the beer Eric tossed to him. Men who'd never had children amused him.
"Alright," he said. "When you get a woman pregnant and you have to do all this crazy shit and deal with the hormones and mood swings, I'm going to sit back and watch...and laugh my ass off," he said, popping the can open.
"Do you guys know what the sex is yet?" Eric asked.
"Nah. She's not far along enough to know that yet. We'll know in the next two months, though. She wants a girl and you know I want a little football player," Bo replied.
Eric laughed again.
"Do you really think it'll be that easy for you?" he asked.
"What do you mean?" Bo asked, puzzled.
"You're the second biggest womanizer I know. You're not getting sons...Karma won't allow it. I wouldn't be surprised if you have all girls," Eric said grinning.
Bo frowned. The thought of it was too much.
"I have to get outta here," he said, downing the rest of his beer. "I can't be late for Lacey's doctor's appointment. I'll call you sometime tomorrow so we can set a time for the barbecue. Good luck with Wynston, man," Bo said as he walked to the door.
"Oh, one more thing, Torres," he said, pausing at the door.
"If I were you, I wouldn't expect any little boys, either. By your own admission, I'm only the second biggest womanizer you know," he said.
Bo dodged the empty beer can as it went sailing toward his head.
Wynston awoke to the smell of something burning.
No, it wasn't burning, she thought. It smelled like charcoal.
She pulled the covers from her face and squinted at the blinding light streaming in through the open window.
He was the only one who could've opened it.
Wynston suddenly felt a pang of guilt.
She had behaved badly. Of course she was depressed because she was away from her son, but this whole situation had to have been difficult for Eric, too.
Wynston remembered what he had said on the plane..."We're in this together."
No, she thought. They weren't.
Eric was in this alone, because for the past few days, she had been self-absorbed and had only thought of her own feelings.
She was ashamed of herself.
Wynston had been immobile for so long that her limbs felt like lead. How many days had she been in bed??
As she stretched, her hand hit something. She looked over to find that there was a big, brown envelope on her pillow.
Curiously, she sat up and opened it.
When Wynston pulled out its contents, she put her hands to her mouth, tears welling in her eyes.
There were pages and pages of drawings and pictures that Terrence had done.
The first picture was a large cutout of yellow, triangular paper with red circles glued on top.
It was a slice of pizza that Terrence had made. His name was scribbled at the top in his four-year-old chicken scratch.
Wynston laughed with delight.
There was another sheet of white construction paper. Glued to it were purple cutouts of Terrence's little hands. Green stems had been glued underneath the hands making them look like tulips.
The caption at the top read, "My mommy is as pretty as a flower."
There were many more such pieces of art; but. Wynston's undoing was the last sheet of paper.
It had her mother's handwriting on it, the message short and incredibly sweet:
This message is as dictated by T.J...
"Please tell Mommy, I love her very much and I miss her. Are you still my friend? Tell her we pray for her every night, and we gotta make her some chocolate chip cookies for when she gets back. Ask her to bring some milk, though. Nana, yours tastes funny."
P.S. (This is your mother speaking, now). We love you and miss you very much, honey. And the "funny-tasting" milk is soy. --Love Mom
At the end, Terrence had signed his name in big, wobbly letters.
She held the papers close to her and wept the kind of tears that came from deep within her soul.
And when she was spent, she gingerly placed the drawings back in the envelope. Once again she felt horrible about her behavior toward Eric.
There was no doubt that he was responsible for this precious gift.
As Wynston sat thinking about him, she had no idea how to feel.
Common sense dictated that there was no way she could feel so strongly about him in such a short time.
But there was no denying that she did.
And the sex...it had been epic!
Wynston's stomach tightened when she thought about the night in the hotel room...no man had ever made her toes curl like that!
She wanted so badly to throw caution to the wind and jump into this thing -- whatever it was -- and just enjoy Eric.
But she knew herself and understood that she wouldn't just be in it for the "fun." It was all or nothing for her, especially since she came with a 4-year-old.
Wynston was afraid of getting hurt, too.
Beautiful men like Eric would always have a massive following of women. She didn't know if she wanted to contend with that.
She closed her eyes and groaned, ashamed of her actions of late. She could be such a jackass sometimes.
Eric had been SO good to her.
Before they'd even known each other's names, he had protected her, fought for her.
He had worried about her so much that he'd somehow pulled strings and had gotten the letter and T.J.'s drawings to her.
The light bulb finally went off and Wynston realized that these weren't the actions of a man who wanted nothing more than a frivolous tryst.
With clarity, she understood that Eric wouldn't hurt her.
She silently promised him that she would make it all up to him.
But Wynston was still cautious by nature...she couldn't deny that part of herself. So she planned to talk to Eric, just in case.
She would be honest about her feelings and would make him understand that if they did this, it would be with the expectation of something more.
The trick would be getting Eric to talk to her before he pounced on her. She would have to stand firm and insist that they have their talk before he clubbed her over the head and dragged her to his bed.
Grabbing a pillow, Wynston brought it to her face and screamed into it. She still couldn't believe that such a scrumptious man desired her...and fiercely.
Well, I'm going to enjoy him, Wynston thought. And with that, she got out of bed.
Her thoughts turned to the room she was sleeping in. In the daylight, she had a chance to survey it.
The room was large, with hardwood floors, a comfortable, queen size sleigh bed and a mahogany armoire. The two nightstands on each side of the bed matched the armoire.
When Wynston had come into the room a few days ago, she hadn't even noticed the taupe lounge chair in the corner next to the huge window. The chair would be perfect to curl up on and read a good book.
With a little work, the room could be even more inviting, she thought. Wynston made a mental note to begin shopping for it.
She lugged her suitcase onto the bed and began the process of unpacking.
When she was done with that, Wynston made her bed and went back to the closet to choose a nice outfit.
She felt like being pretty after going so long down in the dumps.
When they had first gotten to South Carolina, the heat had been unbelievable. Wynston had remembered wondering how people even went outdoors in that kind of temperature.
In keeping with the weather, she chose a long, rose-colored sundress and gold sandals. She pulled out her gold bangles and her biggest, gold hoop earrings.
After taking a cool shower, Wynston focused on her fragrance. She knew Eric would go ape shit over her D & G perfume if she wore it again; and they definitely wouldn't be doing any talking.
So this time, she opted to layer with her favorite lotion first, and then spritzed herself lightly with its matching body mist.
Next, she decided to stick with her usual make-up regimen which was very low maintenance.
Fortunately for her, Wynston had always had blemish-free, radiant skin. So she only made up her eyes and finished her fresh look with clear lip gloss.
Once she was completely dressed, she looked in the oval mirror in the other corner of the room and approved of what she saw.
She knew that by society's standards she was considered to be plus-sized or full-figured.
But she had never felt as ugly or fat as the general public said she should...she just felt like Wynston.
She was a girly-girl and loved clothes and cared about her appearance; she also loved to smell feminine which was why she had spent so much money on fragrances and perfumes.
As she studied herself, Wynston cocked her head to the side and tried to see herself through the eyes of a stranger.
It didn't work.
Instead, what she saw was herself...and she was beautiful.
Eric and Bo stood in the backyard preparing the grill. They had already brought out and cleaned the picnic table, benches and chairs.
Now they stood arguing over which one of them was going to be grill master.
From Bo's point of view, he had all the skills because he was southern born and bred. Eric, on the other hand had lived in a concrete jungle all his life.
"The closest you've come to a grill is Burger King, dude. So just let me do my thing. Hey, tell you what, you can put the barbecue sauce on the chicken. How 'bout that?" Bo said laughing.
As Lacey spread the tablecloth on the picnic table, she laughed as the two men wrestled.
"That's alright, Eric. You be the best damn barbecue saucer you can be," she joked.
"Oh, you got jokes, too?" Eric asked.
Lacey yelped as he ran at her and grabbed her in a big bear hug.
"Baby on board!" she squealed, which made Eric put her back down gently, but not before stealing a quick kiss on her cheek.
She sure had missed him. It was like old times again and honestly, Lacey was glad circumstances had brought them all back together. She couldn't wait until the rest of the crew came tonight.
Lacey stood watching Eric. She knew him like the back of her hand, which was why she wasn't fooled.
He was not 100% with them.
When he thought no one was looking, he would steal glances up at the open window of the room where she guessed Wynston was.
Lacey was very eager to meet this magnificent woman who had succeeded in capturing their Eric.
She wondered if he even knew he was as smitten as he obviously was.
Lacey decided to play it cool. She would definitely get to the bottom of this.
Wynston walked down the stairs. By the time she'd finished getting dressed and looked around upstairs, it was early evening.
She hadn't heard or seen Eric anywhere, so she took the opportunity to peruse the rest of the house before she went off to find him.
Who the hell was she kidding? She needed a moment to collect all her faculties.
Wynston would require all her wits when she talked to Eric...especially when he turned on that magnetism that made her weak.
Walking around the living room, Wynston took in her surroundings. The house was very charming.
Eric had said this house belonged to his mother's brother. The uncle had long since passed away, willing it to Eric.