Together, Forever! Ch. 07bysimply_cyn©
The next morning, Victoria was awakened by a knock on her hotel door. She reached over and looked at the clock sitting beside the bed on the night table - 7:30 am. Wondering who it could be at this hour, she reached for her silk wrap and shuffled for her slippers. Not finding them, she took one last look under the bed and hurried to the door barefoot as another impatient knock resounded through the sitting room. Hastily brushing her hair out of her eyes, she crossed over to the door. “Who is it?” she called, looking out of the peephole. Victoria was surprised to see Colin’s impish grin looking back at her.
“Guess?” came the call. A sudden rush of nervousness and giddiness swept over her like a wave of cold water. She suddenly realized she could not possibly let him see her this way but he must have read her mind, for he called out, “Don’t worry about how you look. I’m interested to see how you look after a night in bed!” Knowing she didn’t look half bad without make-up or her hair fixed, Victoria smiled at his words. She still wanted to make a good impression on him at all times.
“Just a minute,” she called. Quickly assessing her situation, she untied her robe, exposing her short matching nightie that was under it. She quickly combed through her hair with her right hand as her left reached out to unlock the door. Her tongue reached out to wet her now dry lips as the door swung open. “Hi!”
His eyes told of his appreciation even though he joked, “What? You’re not ready to conquer the world at this late hour? The day is already half gone!” Victoria reached around to tie her robe, faking her timidity. “I liked it better the other way,” he said as he followed her into the sitting room. “Have you eaten breakfast yet?”
Victoria peered over her shoulder at him as she went over to the coffee maker. “I just woke up, as you very well know!” Coffee, she had to have some and luckily this suite had a coffee maker all set up. As she made a fresh pot, Colin called down for room service.
“I’ll get us something to eat,” he said, waiting for room service to pick up. Eyeing her, he added, “You have to get a move on.”
“What for?” she asked, turning to face him.
“You’ll see soon enough, but dress casual.” He was full of surprises, another thing she loved about him.
Victoria grabbed a cup of coffee and went into the bath to do as he asked. By the time breakfast came, she was dressed comfortably but appealing at the same time. “It’s amazing at how quickly you can transform yourself.”
“Why? Did I look that bad to begin with?” she asked, giving him the best evil look she could muster.
He grinned back at her. “No, not too bad.” He had a way of putting her into a good mood, no matter what time of day.
“So, where are you taking me so early in the morning?”
“It’s a surprise.”
“Colin . . .” Victoria sipped on her second cup of coffee, trying to tease it out of him. But that’s all the information she could muster out of him.
They spent the day at the park and sight-seeing in Los Angeles. Victoria had more fun at the park just playing Frisbee and watching the people. They spent a great deal of time just sitting on the ground, talking and getting to know one another. Victoria felt their attraction towards each other intensifying and she felt closer to him than anyone she had ever known before. By the time the day was over and they sat on his car on a ridge overlooking the lights of Los Angeles, she was resolved that she couldn’t leave him. Three days together and she felt like they had known each other for a lifetime. Victoria sat close to him, his arm around her waist and her head resting on his shoulder. The only obstacle she saw was tying up the loose ends in Texas and explaining it all to Madelyn. They had been roommates for five years and friends since college. It would be hard to leave her. Victoria’s ex-husband crossed her mind vaguely but then she dismissed him totally as she snuggled closer to Colin. “Happy?” he asked, his arms tightening around her.
“Mmm,” she murmured, her eyes closing. They sat there for a long moment before she got off the car and walked to the edge of the cliff, looking into the now setting sun. The time that she and Colin had together was quickly coming to an end and he must have sensed her thoughts because he followed her, held her close to him, and then turned her with a kiss.
“How am I going to get along without you?” he murmured into her hair. “Isn’t there anything I can do to influence you to stay?”
Victoria stepped back from his embrace, looking up into his face. “My publisher wants me to stay. He’s offered to make up the difference in the cost of living with a pay raise.” She watched him for a reaction. Funny, how he didn’t sense that she had already made that decision based on the fact that she couldn’t leave him. “I’m seriously considering staying.” When one of Colin’s eyebrows shot up and he watched her closely, she continued, “It’s a real opportunity for my career to take the turn I’ve been waiting for.”
“And what about us?” he wanted to know. “Did we have anything to do with that decision?”
“You’re not making my decision easy for me.” Before she had met him, the answer would have been a resounding NO, but now he had her all confused. What was she supposed to do?
“I want it to be easy, Vicky. It is easy. The only answer is for you to move here where you belong.”
She wanted to agree with him, but was afraid she was just following an empty dream. Why would he want her? She turned again, facing the setting sun, trying desperately to find comfort to the doubts in the arms of the man she was quickly falling in love with. He turned her around slowly to face him and there were tears in her eyes. Victoria didn’t want him to see them, but she couldn’t resist the magnetic pull of his hands as he had turned her slowly by the waist. “Tears? Why are you crying?” he asked, one hand reaching up to wipe a lone tear from her cheek.
“Oh, Colin. It’s stupid. I . . . can’t . . .,” Victoria trailed off, looking down at the ground beneath their feet. He gently cupped her chin and lifted her face to look into the deep pools. He slowly kissed both her eyes, and then pressed his mouth down on hers for so hard and so long that, at the least, she had to fight for breath. “Colin . . . don’t . . . no . . .” She was resisting, but weakly, and he only pulled her closer to him again.
“Why not?” He put a finger under her chin and made her look at him. “Victoria?” She said nothing, and he kissed her again. His voice was gentle in her ear when he spoke to her, and she could feel her heart pounding against her chest. “Victoria, I want you, more than I’ve ever wanted any woman before.”
She spoke softly, but with feeling, as her eyes gazed into his. “That isn’t enough.”
He nodded slowly. “I understand.” And then after a long moment, “But I don’t know that I can offer anything more than that anymore.”
Now it was her turn. She smiled gently and asked the same question, “Why not?”
“Because ...” He hesitated and then looked at her with laughter in his eyes. “Because I don’t have all of that left to give.”
“How do you know? Have you tried lately?”
“Not since Marisa.” His answer was quick and honest.
Victoria felt a tinge of remorse that she had asked surge through her, but knew that if she was to ever beat this thing, to beat his memory of her, she had to face it head on. “And do you think it’s too late to love anyone again?” He didn’t answer and she looked around and then coming back to him. “Don’t you think love has a way of resurfacing, Colin?” He nodded. “So do I. It’s hard to go on, but you have to. You can’t just lock up all that passion I see in you, close the door and be sold out. That’s not you, Colin. That’s just not you.”
“Does that mean . . .” He spoke softly, his lips playing with hers and her heart wreaking havoc between her ribs, wondering what she was doing standing on this cliff with this man, kissing him and trying to justify to him why he should fall in love. She wanted to ask herself what in hell she thought she was doing, why she thought it would last if she could only convince him. “Does that mean,” he went on, “that if I told you I loved you, that we’d go back to your hotel room and be making love right now?” He looked amused, and with a small smile she shook her head. “I didn’t think it did. So what are you trying to convince me of, and why?”
“I’m trying to convince you that it’s not too late to fall in love again. That life goes on after Marisa. All you have to do is let go and let it take its course.”
“Yeah . . .” But he didn’t sound convinced. And then he turned his eyes back to her with a pensive expression. “What difference does it make to you if I ever fall in love again? You’re going back to Texas and may never come back.”
“I’d like to know that it’s possible.”
“Why? Are doing some kind of research for science or something?”
“No,” she whispered. “For myself.”
“So that’s it.” He ran a hand gently down her red hair, fighting with the pins that held it firmly in a knot at the nape of her neck, and then suddenly he unleashed it as it all came tumbling down her back. “My god, your hair is lovely, Vicky . . .” He said it ever so softly. “How beautiful you are . . .” The quickly departing sun sent its last rays their way, setting fire to her hair.
“We should go now.” She said it gently, but firmly.
“Why?” His lips were kissing her chin and her jawbone and her neck. She wasn’t objecting, but she was also not going to let him go any farther than that. “Why should we go now, Victoria? Oh, god, you’re so lovely . . .” Victoria could feel a shiver run through him, and she pulled away slowly with a small shake of her head.
“Why not?” For a moment there was fire in his eyes, and she was almost afraid.
“Because it’s not right.”
“For Christ sake, I’m a man, you’re a woman . . . we’re not children here. What do you want?” He raised his voice in lustful irritation. “The perfect romance, a wedding ring on your finger before you go to bed?”
“What do you want, Colin? Just a quick roll in the hay?” The force of her words hit him like a bullet, and he looked stunned as slowly he shook his head.
“I’m sorry.” He spoke coldly and then moved to the car. He turned and saw she was still standing there, watching him.
“I’m not sorry. I like you. In fact” ~ she walked to him, reached out and put a hand on his arm ~ “I like you a lot. But I don’t want you on a rebound. I’m not out to get hurt.”
“You can’t have the kind of guarantees you want, Vicky. Not from anyone. And not from me. The only guarantees you’ll ever get are lies.” There was some truth in that and she knew it, but it wasn’t just the promises she wanted, but something real.
“You know what I want?” She looked around at their surroundings, searching for the right words and then looked at him again. “I want to know that we’re in love. And until I find that, until a man loves me and I love him, then I’m not coming out to play again.”
He opened the car door and then turned, looking at her. “We better go.” He had understood all that she had told him, and she found herself wondering what he would do now, and what she would do herself. For a moment, just a moment, she had wanted to abandon all restraint and caution, but had decided against it. Not because she didn’t want him, but because she wanted him so much.
“Will I see you when I get back?” She eyed him squarely as he stopped, his hand on the car door.
“Does that mean you’re coming back?”
She nodded slowly, and he smiled at her and said nothing. When she reached the car door, Colin walked over to her side, opened it and she sat down. A moment later she was on her way back to town with Colin Mengatti at her side.
Victoria had three weeks before her renewed contract with her publishing company began in Los Angeles. Steve, who was to be her new immediate boss, asked her to check into the office three weeks from the following Monday, so she had to get busy. She was due back in Texas in two days and she had to secure a place to live here when she returned. Spring Break was coming to an end and she had to get back to school. She had already called her principal, giving a two-week notice. She wanted to take the extra week to spend some time with Madelyn and get everything packed. Colin had offered to share his place when she got back into town to take the pressure of finding a place to live off her shoulders, but she wouldn’t hear of it! She was still determined to play hard to get! So he offered to help her look instead. They found the perfect spot. It was a one-room apartment that was housed in an old warehouse close to downtown Los Angeles. It was very secure but not a lot to look at. Nothing that some paint and Victoria’s decorating touch couldn’t solve.
She and Colin had spent her last two days searching for a place for her to live and now her departing day was upon them. Victoria felt sick about leaving him just when they had made a positive step in forming a relationship, but she knew she’d be back in three weeks. She couldn’t help but wonder what would change between them in three weeks. Colin had Hollywood at his feet and every female that wasn’t blind.
He took her to the airport and she couldn’t help but cling to him like she’d never see him again. He comforted her by holding her close and whispering, “It won’t be long before we’re together again.” He kissed her gently on the forehead as she leaned against him and whispered into her hair, “I’ll be glad to take you into the bathroom and make sure you don’t forget me during these next three weeks.”
She laughed, reaching up to hug his neck. Even at a time like this, he still had the ability to make her laugh!! She happened to glance over at the book and magazine shop across the way and saw Colin’s face all over one rack. He was at the top of his field, on the A-list in Hollywood, yet here he stood with her. With every breath she took, she couldn’t help but wonder what the hell he was doing with her when he could be doing anything with anyone at this particular moment. It warmed her to the bone at the thought of them actually being together, of her dreams finally coming true, but at the same time she was chilled with the thought that she now had to leave, even if for a short while.
“Last call for flight 206 to Dallas!” The call resounded through the terminal like a funeral dirge. Victoria clung to him, pulling together all the strength she could muster to step away. His reassuring arms encircled her as his hand stroked her back.
He kissed her hair. “Three weeks is not long compared to a lifetime to be together,” he whispered into her ear. She pulled away just enough to look up into his face and saw the reassurance she needed. She was able to step away and keep her resolve. She was determined to stay in control! She could cry on the plane, but not here. Not here! Smiling a little smile, Victoria grabbed her shoulder bag and started for the boarding gate. At the gate, she turned to see him smiling at her. She smiled back and boarded the plane, finally losing her composure in the safety of her seat. As the plane lifted into the sky, the tears rolled unchecked down her cheeks as she wondered what life held in store for her now.