Ch. VI: The Courtship
by Whispersecret ©
Copyright 2000 by the author. All rights reserved.
Rockwell thought it unlikely that Luke and Eddie would seek retaliation, but he wasn’t going to be able to relax until he had taken every precaution. While he and Whitcomb waited for the arrival of some additional hired security, they walked the perimeter of the mansion, examining every single window and door. They checked and rechecked the alarm system.
When the armed security people arrived, Rockwell gave explicit directions. He wanted the Sheridan mansion to be tighter than the White House tonight.
"You’ve got their descriptions. I doubt they’ll come here, but if anything bigger than a cockroach gets past you, I’ll have you all fired from your jobs."
The extra personnel dispersed, and Rockwell took Whitcomb aside.
"Lend me your gun."
As confident as Rockwell was that the precautions he’d taken would be more than enough, he wasn’t going to take chances. The gun would be a little extra insurance.
"Which one, sir?"
"Whatever’s the smallest. The Glock, I guess. Remind me how it works again, and skip the wisecracks about where the trigger is. I’m not in the mood."
Whitcomb pulled the sleek automatic from his holster and reviewed loading, unloading, and the operation of the safety. Rockwell practiced everything himself a couple of times and then let Whitcomb return to his duties.
With the gun tucked in his waistband, Rockwell trudged up the stairs. He found Fiona asleep on the bed. She had obviously showered--her hair was wrapped up in a towel and she was wearing his robe. He considered cleaning up himself, but couldn’t seem to muster up the energy yet. He just needed to rest a few minutes. That was all.
He pulled a chair up next to the bed and sat heavily in it. His first thought was that sitting down had been a mistake. It was still early, only seven, but he was exhausted. The side of his head hurt like the devil, but wasn’t anything serious. He was more emotionally drained than anything.
Nothing he’d ever felt in his entire life had prepared him for the rage that gripped him when Fiona was at the mercy of those two young fucks and he was helpless to do anything about it. When he’d come to, the first thought he had was for Fiona’s safety. He’d heard Luke’s foul verbal attack and his blood had boiled in his veins. That little fucker is going to die, Rockwell thought as he’d struggled to free himself. I’m going to rip his balls off and stuff them down his throat.
But Fiona had beaten him to it. He marveled at how decisively she had taken control of the situation. What a woman she was, and only nineteen, for Christ’s sake. If she hadn’t acted, there was no telling what might have happened.
He took her hand in his.
"Rockwell?" She stirred, squeezing his hand slightly.
"I’m here," he said softly.
"Good," she murmured softly with a drowsy smile. "I like…you with me." She drifted back to sleep, her grip on his hand gentle, but secure.
I must be hungrier than I thought, he thought to himself when he felt a strange cramp in his gut. Without disengaging his hand, he leaned forward and rested his head on the bed. I’ll just close my eyes for a minute until the food comes.
When the maid came with the tray twenty minutes later, she found them both asleep, their hands still clasped.
Fiona woke up the next day, and found Rockwell asleep in a chair next to the bed. He looked so peaceful. The way his arm was stretched out toward her reminded her of Michelangelo’s depiction of Adam reaching out to God on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
She unwound the towel from her head, amazed she’d fallen asleep with it still on. When she ran her fingers through her hair, she found it was still damp. Obviously, Rockwell hadn’t showered. He was filthy with dirt and blood. His hair was especially matted with it.
Carefully she eased herself off the bed and went to run a bath for him. She was sitting on the edge of the tub, adjusting the water temperature when she heard him shout.
She came out of the bathroom to see what was wrong and saw him dashing toward the door to the hall, a gun in his hand. His eyes were frantic.
"Rockwell, I’m here."
He jerked his head toward the sound of her voice. His long strides ate up the distance between them as he shoved the gun into the back of his pants. He took her face in his hands, kissing her again and again on her lips. Fiona was flabbergasted by how worried he seemed.
"God, Fiona, when I woke up and didn’t see you, I thought for a second that those bastards had gotten you."
There was a frightened little catch in his voice. Before she could decipher the crazy look in his eyes, he pulled her roughly into his arms.
"It’s all right. I’m all right," she murmured, sliding her hands up his back and leaning against him. As she rested her cheek on his chest, he hunched his shoulders as if to shelter her. He clutched her tightly, as if he didn’t want to let her go. His hot breath drifted through her hair.
"I ran a bath for you. After you soak a while, I want to get a good look at your head. They hit you pretty hard."
She freed herself from his embrace and led him by the arm to the bathroom. He came along willingly.
"Into the tub. Go on," she told him firmly after she turned off the water.
The panic Rockwell felt upon waking had faded; it was finally sinking into his sleepy brain that she was safe. For a moment he just stood there, breathing deeply and looking at her. Hazily, he decided he liked seeing her in his robe. A feeling of possessiveness crept over him and he felt his lips curve in a smile.
She frowned at him. "What are you waiting for?"
You, came the unbidden thought.
His mind immediately recoiled from that idea. Where the hell had that come from? He closed his eyes and deliberately cleared his mind.
"I don’t usually take baths."
"Well, today you are."
Clearly exasperated, she proceeded to strip him of his clothes, muttering about how filthy they were. He could have stopped her; he was perfectly able to undress himself. But he reluctantly admitted to himself that he liked the attention she was giving him.
Moments later he was naked, sliding into the hot water. A groan of pleasure escaped him as he submerged himself completely. As the liquid heat surrounded him, a lazy languor saturated his mind and body, and he gradually let go of the rigid control that he normally wore like armor. His cares seemed to seep out of his pores, leaving him floating in a sea of relaxed freedom.
When at last he sat up, Fiona was grinning at him. He gave her an indulgent smile. He couldn’t remember the last time he felt this good without sex.
She squirted some shampoo on his head. "Hold still or you’ll get soap in your eyes."
"Ow, shit, that hurts," he complained as she worked up the lather. The huge knot on the side of his head was still painful.
"Stop being such a baby and be quiet. You need to be clean. Now, rinse."
When his hair was free of soap, she got up on her knees beside the tub.
"Ow." She winced.
"My knees are scraped up. It’s nothing really. Let me look at that head."
She examined the extent of his injury with gently probing fingers. He examined her pert tits just inches away. His cock gave a little pulse. He ignored it. He didn’t really feel like sex right now, too busy enjoying Fiona’s coddling.
"This doesn’t look too bad. From all the blood, I thought it was going to be a lot worse. I don’t think it even needs stitches."
"Good, because I don’t have a hell of a lot of confidence in your sewing ability--Society Girl," he added, suddenly taken by the urge to tease her. He turned his attention away from her body and soaped up his chest. She had closed and re-knotted the robe anyway.
"Hey, what makes you think I can’t sew?" she asked, indignant.
"Can you?" He stopped soaping and regarded her with a raised eyebrow.
"Well, no." She frowned. "But—"
He laughed. God, it felt good. Laughing felt damn good.
She got to her feet and stood there with her hip cocked. Her brows were drawn together in a frown and her arms were crossed like she was angry.
"You’re hopeless," she said with a smile.
A strange lump rose in his throat. Her sea-green eyes were like springtime, full of welcome and promise and youth. When he looked into them it felt like his dark, indomitable heart felt was being bathed in sunshine and hope. An unfamiliar pricking behind his eyes made him blink several times and he was having trouble breathing. His first thought was that he might be having a stroke, but there wasn’t any real pain.
He was depraved. He knew that. He’d lived his life taking what he wanted from women according to his own strange sense of honor. And he’d always been satisfied with his lot. He had never harbored a vain wish for the kind of love normal people sought. He knew that wasn’t for him. But Fiona was changing that. Had changed that.
He realized how much he wanted her. Not just in his bed, but in his life.
Suddenly, he felt like a kid, happy, hopeful, and brimming over with dreams. Possibilities for the two of them blossomed in his mind. At his estate in England, he could show her all his beautiful horses—the Arabian stock, the thoroughbreds, the ponies he kept for no good reason. He knew she would delight in riding across the endless green meadows. He could practically see the glee on her face as she saw the foals romping in the pasture. His whole body ached as he pictured her curled up by the fire in his Colorado chalet, naked except for little fur boots. Her hands were wrapped around a mug of cocoa, laughing at something he said. God, he wanted that. He wanted to make her laugh.
"I beg your pardon, but was that a laugh?" Fiona said, snapping him out of his reverie. "I thought you didn’t joke around."
Happiness suffused him. He laughed and said pointedly, "I thought you hated my guts," he said. "You said I was a sadistic son of a bitch."
"I do. You are."
"Then why are you hovering over me like a mother hen?"
"I’m n—" She stopped and her arched brows drew together. "I’d like to think I’d help any hurt animal."
"So now I’m an animal."
She gave a toss of her head. "If the fur fits…"
He laughed again and leaned back in the tub. He’d done far too little laughing in his life, and she made him laugh even when she was insulting him. A dopey grin took over his face, and for once he didn’t feel compelled to turn it into a smirk or wipe it away completely. He let it reach down to touch his dormant heart like sunshine on a struggling sprout on the forest floor.
Their eyes met-- hers twinkling with mischief, his glowing with a newfound warmth and a tentative spark of hope. As his grin faded away, an awkward silence followed. Rockwell couldn’t seem to tear his eyes away from her face and for a while she looked at him just as intently. He wanted to pull her into the tub with him and kiss her senseless, thrust himself into her young body until she screamed with pleasure and the water sloshed out of the tub to spill out onto the marble floor.
But it wasn’t just about sexual gratification anymore. Ironically enough, he wanted her to seek him out for something other than sex.
Finally, she broke eye contact. Fiddling with the sash of the robe, she turned into mother hen again.
"Wash behind your ears. I saw some dried up blood there. I think I need to go see about breakfast."
Fiona was confused. Rockwell had come into her room last Saturday night and told her about the deal he had made with her father. Then for almost twenty-four hours he’d seemed obsessed with sex, like he was determined to pack in a lifetime’s worth into the one week he’d paid for. He’d been aggressive and demanding, tyrannical and rough, yet so damn exciting. She got wet just thinking about it.
And now for the last few days, ever since the Luke and Eddie fiasco, he hadn’t done anything more than hold her hand. He was like a different person. Every morning he would have breakfast with her and they would talk pleasantly over the morning paper, discussing newsworthy issues. She rather liked debating points of view with him. Their conversation was lively and interesting, covering a wide range of topics. It was a nice change from the college boys she usually talked with, who seemed to be interested only in beer and girls, not necessarily in that order.
After breakfast, Rockwell would disappear for a few hours to work in her father’s study, and every time he actually apologized for leaving her. She would have understood if the minute he had finished his work he came and ravished her until she was breathless, but he didn’t. And it was getting old.
After his morning work sessions, he would come out of the study and suggest some sort of activity. One afternoon they drove into town and she showed him around. To her surprise, he turned into this wacky cliché tourist. He dragged her to places she had never even visited herself, and she’d lived in the area all her life. Podunk museums, funky little theme shops, hole-in-the-wall restaurants. He must have examined every historical marker within a five-mile radius. He even bought a silly paperweight that said, "Virginia is for Lovers." The strange thing was, she had fun.
Then there was that business at the travel agency. A poster for the Great Britain caught his attention and he’d pulled her into the office. He pawed through the pamphlets, while she wondered how many more souvenir shops they’d have to hit before they went home.
"Fiona, look at this. Tell me what you think." He held out a brochure with a skier on the front. Emblazoned on the cover was, "Ski the Rockies!"
She shrugged noncommittally. "It’s all right."
"What about these?" He handed her a couple more, advertising the Caribbean and "Historic England."
"What is this? Do you get a commission from this place or something?" He just laughed and went to talk to one of the agents.
Fiona looked them over. They all looked tempting. She liked to travel, but hadn’t gone anywhere since her mother died.
Rockwell came back. "Well? Which one do you like best? I haven’t taken a vacation in six years. I’m long overdue, and I need your opinion."
She sorted through them again. "Well, it’s the wrong time of year for skiing."
He smiled at her, took the Colorado pamphlet, and tossed it over his shoulder. "You’re right. What about England? Or sailing on the Caribbean?"
"Sort of you against nature? The Old Man and the Sea kind of thing?" She gave him a sidelong glance.
"For one thing, I’m not old. For another, I like sailing on big yachts, not fishing in a two-man dinghy."
She shrugged. "Well, Europe during the summer is going to be crowded with camera-laden tourists." She eyed the bag he carried containing his fifteen-pound Virginia ham and the tacky paperweight. "Of course, you’d probably fit right in."
He shook his head. "For England I was leaning more toward visiting the countryside, not London."
Fiona glanced back and forth between the brochures and rattled the one on the Virgin Islands. "If it were me, I’d go here. Anywhere on the ocean. I love the sea."
He seemed satisfied with her answer. They left the travel agency and he veered directly into another t-shirt shop. How many collector spoons and souvenir shot glasses could he look at? Enough is enough, she thought. With revenge on her mind, she asked if she could try on one of the shirts. The shopkeeper showed her to the bathroom in back.
When she came out wearing the t-shirt, sans bra, she said, "What do you think?"
Rockwell’s eyes about popped out of his head. She had purposely stimulated her nipples so that they stood out in relief under the cotton, and for an instant that familiar I-want-to-fuck-your-brains-out look came over his face. Fiona felt a rush of desire and a flicker of hope. Now maybe he’d touch her again and everything would be back to what passed for normal with Rockwell.
But he rubbed his hands over his face, turned to the goggle-eyed shopkeeper and said, "How much for the shirt?"
Fiona wanted to scream.
Another day they had argued over who made the better James Bond, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, or Pierce Brosnan. So they decided to have a Bond-a-thon. Dashing off to the nearest video store, they came home with every Bond flick on the shelf and a mountain of movie-theatre candy and microwave popcorn. As per Fiona’s suggestion, they rated each movie based on the actor’s portrayal of the famous secret agent. Ingenuity, sex appeal, calm in the face of danger, wit, and whether or not the females uttered those famous words, "Oh, James!" all figured into the final tally. It was well into evening before they averaged up the scores and found that Sean Connery edged out both Moore and Brosnan, much to Fiona’s surprise. When the winner had been declared, she grudgingly admitted that she hadn’t ever seen any of the older films. When Rockwell looked pained at the reminder of how young she was, she just laughed.
"You’re only as young as you feel, Rockwell. And if your performance in bed is any indication, you’re not over the hill yet."
He smiled at that, and Fiona nurtured a lame hope that tonight he would touch her again and make her feel that explosive pleasure she only felt in his arms. She even reached for the zipper on his pants with the intention of initiating things herself, but the telltale twinge in her stomach that had been plaguing her for an hour flared painfully.
"Stomachache?" he asked, sitting up when she grimaced.
She nodded, her hand pressed to her abdomen. It was obvious from the pile of crumpled candy wrappers and empty popcorn tubs that she had overindulged. She felt like a little kid except for the fact that an upset stomach didn’t quite negate the very adult arousal that still plagued her between her legs. She was prepared to ignore her little intestinal upset and was heartened when he announced that he was taking her to bed.
But when he got her there, he didn’t give her the sex she craved. Instead, he left to find a heating pad and some milk of magnesia. After she reluctantly took the medicine, he sat there stroking her brow and murmuring softly to her until she fell asleep.
That was yesterday. This afternoon, she felt one hundred percent recovered and one hundred percent determined to get satisfaction before the day was over. Rockwell had suggested a meandering ride and then an outdoor picnic. Wearing a skimpy sundress in the saddle was out of the question, so instead of underwear, she wore a bikini under her riding clothes, and she shaved off the stubble that had begun to grow back on her mound.
On her way down from her room, she saw one of the servants coming up the stairs with a tray of food. She wondered who the food was for. It certainly wasn’t for her. The cook was supposed to have prepared a basket of goodies for their picnic.
The servant brought the tray to a large hulking man who sat outside the door to her father’s suite of rooms. He took the tray and waved the servant away. Then, instead of eating the food himself, he took it into her father’s room.
Fiona realized she hadn’t even given one thought for her father since the night Rockwell had taken her virginity. She’d assumed he was off spending some of the money he’d made off the business deal. She dashed down the hall.
The giant guard came back out and shut the door, a slight frown on his face. He plunged his hand inside his jacket and Fiona flinched, but he only pulled out a phone. "You shouldn’t be here, miss."
"Daddy, are you in there?"
"Fiona! Call the police! They’re going to kill me!" Her father’s terrified voice was muffled from behind the door.
"Shut the fuck up in there!" the guard shouted. Then he flushed. "Sorry about the language, miss."
She faced the man squarely. "What’s your name?"
"Gus, miss. Gus Whitcomb."
"Gus, you have to let me see him."
He shook his head and punched a number into the phone. "No, miss. Can’t do that." He shook the phone. "Damn battery."
"Please, I just want to talk to him. Surely there’s no harm in that. He probably just wants to see that I’m okay. He’s probably been worried."
Fat chance, she thought. He was the one who sold me after all. She immediately felt contrite. He was her father, though. What if they really were maltreating him?
"Please?" She tried to look really pathetic.
Gus frowned. "It would only be for a couple of minutes…"
"That would be great."
"I gotta listen, too. Otherwise no go."
"All right, all right. Let me in." She didn’t have much time. Rockwell was waiting for her.
Gus opened the door. Her father stood right there as if he’d been listening.
"Oh, my God! What happened?" Her father’s face was covered in bruises. He winced when she touched his swollen nose.
"Rockwell beat the crap out of me."
"Never mind that. I’m fine. You have to get me out of here. He threatened to have me killed!"
Fiona glanced at the big guy. He stood in the open doorway like a stone pillar with arms, his face implacable.
"You must have misunderstood. Rockwell wouldn’t do that."
"What do you mean he wouldn’t do that? He did! He’s nuts, Fiona. If I try to get out, that ape is supposed to kill me! I’m a prisoner in my own damn house."
"Oh, really! Join the club, Daddy." She stabbed him with a sharp glance. "At least you weren’t sold like a piece of property."
Her father had the grace to flush with guilt. "But I was going to give you the money, baby girl." His tone was wheedling and childish, very unlike his usual tone of command.
"Save it, Daddy. You made your bed, so to speak, and you can lay in it until the week is done."
Her father snorted in disgust. "While you go and fuck Rockwell six ways ‘til Sunday."
Fiona narrowed her eyes and said in a low, menacing voice, "Don’t you dare try to make me feel like a whore, when you’re the one who made me one, Father."
"You’re the one who’s defending him. I wonder why. Liking it a little too much?" His face twisted into an ugly sneer.
Fiona felt so furious she couldn’t think of a nasty enough reply. She spun on her heel and stalked from the room. The guard closed the door behind her. For a minute, all she could do was stand there shaking.
"He should talk," the guard said in a low voice.
"Pardon me?" She whipped her head around to look at him.
"Your father shouldn’t talk about liking it." He had again taken his pillar of stone stance, but the kind expression on his face looked out of place on such a forbidding giant of a man. "Ask Mr. Rockwell about the tape."
"What do you mean? What tape?"
Gus just shook his head. "Just ask him."
To Be Continued...
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