Together, Forever! Ch. 12bysimply_cyn©
For two weeks, Colin tried calling, dropping by and even sending things to Victoria's apartment . . . flowers, candy, anything. He constantly left messages on her machine. Everything he did only made it worse for her. Katherine Spencer dropped by during a trip to Los Angeles, trying to convince her that she had to be mistaken. And the whole time, Mark tried to convince her that it was better this way. Victoria wanted to believe Kathy and all the positive things she had to say about Colin, but Mark was constantly there, pointing out the obvious.
Between Colin, Kathy and Mark, Victoria was desperate for some relief. She felt as though she was about to split in two. So Brad became her refuge, her rock. They spent as much time together just to relieve the pressure on her. They went dancing, to movies, out of eat, or just driving around the countryside. There were many times Victoria was sure she would break down if it hadn't been for him. His relationship with Mark became a bit strained as Brad told him to back off and give her some room. The time spent with him reminded Victoria of the lustful dream she had had about him, but since then no more dreams of them being together had come to her. She was relieved because she didn't want to complicate matters any worse than they were already. Besides, Brad had a girlfriend.
One night, Colin came over and pounded on the door for thirty minutes, begging for her to open the door and talk to him. Mark happened to be over there, consoling her as usual and she was having a hard time not giving in to him. Brad was the one thing that kept her from giving into Mark and his silken words. Summer thought she was probably attracted to Mark because he was so attracted to her and . . . if she was real honest with herself, to get back at Colin ~ mostly to get back at Colin. After thirty minutes of listening to Colin and watching her heart bleed as the tears continued to flow, Mark decided to take action where Victoria would not.
Striding over to the door, he wrestled with the locks while Colin stepped back, surprised that she was finally going to open the door, unaware of who it actually was. Victoria could just imagine the shock on his face, when an angry Mark confronted him there instead. "What the hell do you want?" he demanded. "Why are you insisting on tormenting her, when clearly, you have done enough of that already?"
Colin tried to tell him his side of story, but Mark announced that no one wanted to hear it. The confrontation would have come to blows if Victoria hadn't finally come up behind Mark, putting a hand on his shoulder. "Mark, it's okay."
He turned to her, concern etched in his face. "Let me just shut the door on him and your past."
"Mark, I need to see him. I need to hear what he has to say." Colin looked relieved and Mark looked frustrated. She leaned over to him, kissing him on the cheek. I'll be fine." Colin looked disturbed over their parting and reluctantly followed her down the steps to the landing, looking back to see Mark watching them.
She looked back up to her door. "Mark, it'll be okay. Give us a minute." Reluctantly, he went back into her apartment while she turned to face Colin, her back against the wall and her arms crossed over her chest.
"Looks like you've got yourself a watchdog," he commented.
"Yes," she replied, her eyes boring into his. "He cares about me."
For a moment, Colin just stood there looking at her with regret in his eyes, and then reached for her. Quickly she recoiled from him and the hurt sprung into his eyes. "Look, what you heard on my machine was a cruel joke on Marisa's behalf. You have to believe that I didn't have any plans to meet her that night or any other night." He pleaded with her that she had to believe him . . . he hadn't been with Marisa since before they had met, and had no plans to ever be with her again.
"What do you want, Colin?" Outwardly, she was calm, even curt, but her insides felt like a quivering mass of jelly. Just being alone with him like this made her want to stammer and blush, then wrap him in her arms and kiss the breath out of him.
He answered with the first words to come to his mind. "I want you, Victoria."
His blunt statement brought her abruptly out of her daydreams. Without a word, she started back up the steps, intent on heading back up to her apartment. Her usually gentle blue eyes were now as cool as a frosty mountain morning.
He was blocking her way in a flash, his hand over hers on the railing before she could walk off. For a moment, they stared at one another, each taking the other's measure. "But I'll settle for us getting back on speaking terms - I know things are not the same, but deep down inside I know you still care. Tell me what to do to get things back the way they used to be."
By the time he had finished imploring her to take him back, she was crying, tears streaming down her cheeks, but she wasn't aware of them. She was caught up in memories and longings too long held at bay.
Colin saw his opportunity and took it. Before she could decide to run off again, he held her close to him. He let her cry for a few moments, and when her tears began to slow, he held her away from him so he could see her face. "Darling, tell me what to do to make things right. If you knew how I was feeling inside, you wouldn't shut me out like this."
"Damn you, Colin Mengatti!" she wailed. "Why are you doing this to me?!" She beat her fists against his hard chest. "Go back to Marisa and leave me alone!"
"Vicky, honey, you are the only woman I want to be with," he said softly, his eyes like soft blue clouds.
She closed her own against his spellbinding gaze. "Oh, Colin! Don't do this to me again! It hurts too much!" she moaned.
"Tell me something, baby," he murmured, his breath whispering over her hair, "Can't you see, I'm trying here. I just want a chance to love you."
She gulped back another sob. "I can't do this."
Colin sighed heavily. "What is it going to take to convince you that there is nothing between Marisa and me but friendship, and now thanks to her latest stunt, probably not even that."
"Nothing. It doesn't matter."
"It matters to me," he declared. "Give me a chance and I'll prove to you that you're wrong. I'd rather die than live without you now."
"I've got to go, Colin." Tears blurred her vision as she started back up the stairs to her apartment. With a catch in her voice, she questioned, "Do you suppose we'll ever get back what we've lost, Colin?"
"I hope so, baby. That's a question only you can answer for yourself." All Victoria could think about was how she was going to get through life without him. She needed him in her arms, needed him to love.
"I'm so confused, I don't know who or what to believe just now."
His hand reached out to grasp her arm. "Well, believe this, Victoria. Regardless of all else you do or do not feel, I still want you, and I mean to have you back someday." Victoria closed her eyes. Without him she wasn't sure what she was going to do. She felt lost without him.
He turned her and pulled her back down the few steps she had taken until her face was close to his. His free hand reached up to cup her chin and his lips covered hers in a warm caress, full of urgent desire and masculine demand. When her lips softened and parted beneath his, signaling her surrender, unwilling though it was, his mouth deliberately enticed hers until she swore she felt her bones melting, and clutched at his broad shoulders for support. His tongue played briefly with hers, eliciting a moan of desire from her throat.
As suddenly as his lips had captured her, he released her, gently pushing her upright again. "Dream about me, Victoria, because I'll be doing the same," he whispered softly, studying her bemused expression.
She shook her head. "Don't come here again, Colin," she said sadly, tears glistening like dew in her blue eyes. How was she going to survive this?
"I'll be back, baby. Wild horses couldn't keep me away. I deserve a second chance."
As she went back up to her apartment, Colin watched, wondering how he was going to solve this problem. The first thing he was sure of was that he had to deal with Mark, and he regretted that confrontation.
Mark continued his quest to keep Colin and Victoria apart. He practically lived at her apartment so he was able to intercept phone calls from Colin, threw out dozens of flowers and continued his push for Victoria and him to get together. She valued his friendship and everything he had done for her during this time, but she knew she could never let him in. She didn't want to hurt Mark. He had done so much for her already.
Instead, she tried to spend any extra time she had with Brad. He was the one thing that was stable and consistent in her life. Being Mark's roommate and friend, he knew that Mark was pushing it with her. She was definitely on the edge. "You okay, Vicky?" They were at Victoria's apartment, watching movies and drinking margaritas.
"No. But I will be, I guess," And then a trickle of tears coursed down her face. "I just want things back like they used to be."
Not knowing what else to do for her, he took her in his arms and held her, and she laid her head against him and cried. He wanted to tell her then that he loved her, but he was afraid of scaring her off. He had loved her the first time he had saw her, with that incredible red hair. But she had been so in love with one of his best friends and now she acted like she never wanted to be with anyone else. Even his roommate and best friend was in love with her, but he didn't care; he just wanted to hold her and tell her he loved her. They sat like that for a long time, and then the tears stopped.
"Thank you." She looked at him for a long, quiet time, stirred by his strength and his youthful beauty. "You'd better go. You don't want to be stuck with an out-of-control, emotional woman."
"You know something?' His voice was deep and sexy. "I'd like that."
"You would, would you?' Her eyes were teasing but she could see that his were not. But she didn't think what she was suddenly feeling was what Brad needed. He didn't need an emotional older woman, and on the rebound yet, on his hands. He was young. He had a beautiful girlfriend. He had his whole life in front of him. But she was suddenly so desperately lonely and memories of her dream kept coming back to her. She wanted to reach out to him but before she did something foolish, she wanted him to go. "Okay, I'm okay. You better go." She sat up and tried a smile.
"I'm glad to hear it." And then after a moment his voice somber. "You are so beautiful."
"Go on, Brad." She looked worried. "It's time for you to go."
"I don't want to leave you, Victoria. I want to stay here."
But she shook her head as she looked at him, took his hand, held it to her cheek, and then kissed the fingertips gently as she let it go. "You can't stay, Brad."
"I won't let you."
"You're still in love with Colin?" He bridled like a young stallion and she smiled.
"I don't know. I have a lot of things to think about."
"Do you know how long I've wanted you?"
Victoria put a finger to his lips. "I don't want you to tell me. I want us to be friends for a long time, Brad. Please don't spoil it." And then, with tears in her eyes again, "I need you right now. You and Mark, and all our friends, but especially you and Mark. Don't do anything to change that. I just . . . I couldn't take it . . . I need you too much." He held her once again then, kissed the top of her head, and then stood up and looked down at her.
"I'll stay if you want me to, Victoria."
She looked up into the brilliant green eyes and shook her head. "No, honey, it's okay. You go." He nodded slowly then and stood looking at her for one last moment in the doorway, and then she heard his footsteps echo in the room and the front door close.
What was she supposed to do now? She didn't want to hurt Mark or Brad or anyone else, but God help her, she loved Colin, hurt or not. And to top it off, she was starting to forgive him and believe what he had said about him and Marisa. 'How could she do something like this to us? Was she really that vindictive?' These thoughts and thoughts of Brad's new revelation plagued Victoria throughout the night.
Victoria finally got a free night and took advantage of it by going for a drive. It was quickly turning into fall and she loved this time of year. The air was turning brisk and she could wear soft flannel shirts again. It was a Friday night and it had now been three weeks since she had spoken to Colin. Mark had finally backed off but Victoria was fighting the urge to turn to Brad. He was not pushing anything, but something drew her to him. If she didn't work things out with Colin soon, she wouldn't be able to help herself anymore. Resolved that this was the night to finally talk to him, Victoria turned her car towards his house. As she approached his house, she saw another set of car lights turn into the drive. Not recognizing the car, she stopped at the drive and watched from her car.
When the driver stepped out, Victoria strained to see who it was. Whoever it was made their way over to the passenger side and helped someone get out. It was obvious that the passenger was too drunk to walk on their own and now, Victoria was concerned that it was Colin. But who was that helping him? As they reached the front door and the light that was there, it became painfully clear that the driver of the car was Marisa. As Victoria stared in despair, she saw Colin's arms draped around her shoulders and she could hear his laughter all the way down the driveway to the street. Tears filled her eyes as she watched him turn to Marisa and kiss her, his hands traveling down her backside to her buttocks and rest there. Marisa laughed out loud as she fumbled with the keys, finally unlocking the door. Victoria turned her head; blankly staring at her steering wheel . . . she was too late! Her own stubbornness had caused her to lose Colin forever. She couldn't think anymore, she was overwhelmed by tears. Panic ran through her. 'Oh, god, what will I do? What have I done?' She turned back to find that they had disappeared into the house and out of her life. She dashed at the tears, putting the car into motion, but to where she wasn't sure.
"Who is it?" came the sleepy voice from the other side of the door. Victoria glanced at her watch, shocked to see it was two on Saturday morning. She blinked, wondering how the time had gotten away from her so quickly. As the door opened, she looked up, tears glistening in her eyes. "Vicky . . .?" Brad's hand rose to shield his eyes from the glare of the front light. "Wh-what are you doing here? What time is it?"
"I'm s-s-sorry . . . I . . . didn't know where . . ., Oh Brad!" She ran forward until she was in his arms, holding him close to her. Rejection from Colin turned her into Brad's arms for comfort, for refuge. Instinctively, his arms went around her, his face in her hair. Without saying a word, he gently pulled her into the house and closed the door.
He led her to a barstool and sat her down, turning on the light in the kitchen. As he started to make a pot of coffee, Victoria came around the bar and took his arm. "I don't want coffee, Brad." He stopped and looked at her.
"Are you okay?"
Victoria continued to look at him, desperate to forget what she had seen tonight. Without answering his question, she stepped over to him, her hands lightly running up his bare broad chest to cradle his face in her hands. Brad watched her, his body screaming to react but his mind telling him to wait. "Victoria . . .?"
"Shh . . ." she whispered, coming in closer to him. With a need born of desperation, he pulled her hard against him and kissed her. Deeply, hungrily, with all the longing and urgency he had suppressed during the past weeks and months.
Slowly, Victoria's body grew soft and supple as she burrowed into the welcome comfort of his embrace. When his tongue teased her lips apart, she opened to him, accepting without protest the hot, stabbing warmth. She wanted to forget what she had seen, escape the haunting memory that tugged at the fringes of her conscience, forget everything except the wonderful euphoria Brad's kisses brought her.
She wanted to feel again. The hard hand caressing her back in strong circular motions grew bolder, until reaching her hips he pulled her flush against him. Heat, searing, scorching, flowed over Victoria like torrid currents of air, leaving her aching and wanting. Those god-awful images of Colin and Marisa slowly slipped away, replaced by the breathless reality of Brad's lips teasing hers, of his tongue slipping into her mouth to taste her sweetness, of his hands boldly exploring the curves of her body.
Plunged into a swirling torrent of hot desire, Victoria gasped for air as Brad searched the inside of her mouth. She writhed and moaned against him, her emotions condensed into a hot rush of exquisite tension that spread throughout her body in undulating waves.
Brad's kisses grew frenzied as he tried to withdraw from the explosion of passion between them. He failed utterly. His original intent was to comfort her when he knew she had been hurt again, not to seduce her. Victoria's response had surprised and thrilled him. But it could not continue. Brad knew that if he kept this up there would be no turning back. The need to make love to her was an ache inside him and within a very short time the threads of his control would snap and he'd do something he feared she would regret.
When Victoria offered no resistance, Brad's kisses fell like gentle rain against her mouth, eyes, face, wherever her skin lured him. When his searching lips reached the pulsing hollow of her throat, she arched to give him better access, long past caring how Colin would react if he knew. He had abandoned her for Marisa, and Brad was the only tangible in her shattered life. That terrifying thought made her cling to him with the desperate tenacity of a drowning person.
"Oh, god, Vicky, stop me. I didn't mean to take my kisses so far."
Victoria looked up at him. She didn't want Brad to stop. She never wanted him to stop. The powerful emotions he had created inside her had swept away all thought of Colin and Marisa. If ever she needed the comfort Brad offered, it was now. "I don't want you to stop," Victoria said in a trembling whisper. "I - I need you."
A shudder shook Brad as he reacted to her words. "You don't know what you're saying. You're not thinking rationally. You love Colin."
"Colin doesn't want me," she said bitterly. "He is with Marisa." She reached over for him, dragging his lips back to hers. "Love me, Brad."
He watched her closely, watched her blue eyes darken, and watched her flesh grow rosy in anticipation of what was to come. His voice was rough with need as he rasped, "I want to love you so damn bad I ache, but don't say I didn't warn you. Tomorrow you will be sorry."
Deep in her heart, Victoria knew Brad was right, but at the moment nothing mattered but his lips and arms and the way he made her feel. Tomorrow she might be sorry, but she knew she was the only one to blame. Despite that awareness, she rushed to embrace him and the forgetfulness that went with him.
Brad took her hand, turned off the kitchen light, and tiptoed with her past Mark's door. Victoria's eyes lingered on the door, wondering if he'd hate her tomorrow as well. For a moment, she wondered why it was Brad she was turning to and not Mark. When they reached Brad's room, he pulled her in and quietly closed the door behind them. "Victoria, are you sure . . ." She quieted him by taking his hand and led them to his bed.
Victoria lay down on her back, gently pulling Brad with her. His hands were shaking as he molded the firm roundness of her breasts. When he could no longer bear the obstacle of her clothing, he unbuttoned her shirt and slid it down past her shoulders, baring the soft white mounds to his gaze. His eyes dropped hot and certain to her breasts. Their pink crests were puckered into taut buds, inviting his intimate caress. He gave it freely, drawing one nipple into his mouth and laving it with the moist tip of his tongue. Victoria gasped and cried out, lurching upward into the sudden heat of his caress.