tagRomanceBack to the Farm Ch. 08

Back to the Farm Ch. 08


What a Wonderful World by Bob Thiele (using the pseudonym George Douglas) and George David Weiss, first recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1967


She wasn't alone. That was Melissa's waking thought, a realisation so startling her eyes immediately shot open. But there he was, there was Matt, his head beside hers on the pillow, his eyes still closed, his breathing soft and slow. Which could only mean that she hadn't been dreaming, that what she remembered happening last night really had happened. The storm, the power cut, dancing in the dark.

Dancing in the dark...

That was certainly one way of putting it. Melissa suddenly found herself smiling like a lunatic. But then her smile wavered, the unexpected surge of fear following in the wake of her euphoria so powerful her eyes filled with tears. Would he regret what they'd done? Would he claim to have been simply caught up in the moment, or worse still, apologise?

Because although she'd been scared, no, make that terrified, she'd never experienced anything more wonderful. The feel of Matt's skin against her own, his hands on her, his body moving over hers, inside hers, making her his. But she'd always been his, she understood that now. Did he feel the same way? Probably not, she reasoned. To him, she'd just be another in what surely must have been a long line of conquests.

Attempting to persuade herself it didn't matter, she gazed at him while he slept, drinking in the sight of him, wanting to commit every detail to memory. That lightly-bronzed torso, the contours of his abdomen, the sprinkling of hair upon his chest. She was afraid to touch him for fear he'd awaken, for fear the spell might be broken. But finding herself unable to resist the urge, she stretched out a hand and placed it lightly on his belly and when he didn't stir, finally dared to allow her gaze to drop lower than his waist.

Oh dear God. Melissa barely managed to suck in her shocked gasp. That had been inside her? Even semi-erect, it looked huge resting there against his lower body, jutting proudly upwards from a dense patch of dark curls. But then she'd never seen a penis in the flesh before--well, not this close up, anyway. Fascinated, she allowed her hand to drift towards it, wanting to know what it felt like, wondering whether it was as heavy as it looked, and curiosity getting the better of her at last, she ran a single fingertip along the length of him.

To her astonishment, the taut skin felt silky smooth, soft even, belying the rigidity of the flesh beneath. And unable to stop herself now she'd started, she slid her fingers around his thick shaft and tested the weight in the palm of her hand. Oh yes, it was heavy all right--and seemingly growing heavier by the moment...

"You're playing with fire."

Melissa let out a small shriek at the sound of Matt's drowsy voice, her gaze immediately lifting to his face, heat flooding her cheeks as she snatched her hand away. "You're--you're awake," she stammered, flustered.

"Mmm." He gave her a lazy grin, his brown eyes warm with just a hint of mischief. "I wonder why?"

"Oh God." Even more flustered now, she wasn't sure what to do next. "I'm so sorry. I just--"

"Lissy!" Laughing, he dragged her into his arms and claimed her mouth, effectively silencing her apology. "It was a wonderful way to wake up. Because, whew..." He grimaced, staring into her eyes. "I was scared you'd hate me this morning."

"Hate you?" Overwhelmed by the tenderness in his kiss, she stared back in surprise. "No. How could I hate you for--for...?" But to her embarrassment, she couldn't find the words to finish. What could she say that didn't sound as though she'd read too much into what they'd done?

"For taking your virginity?" he suggested, raising one eyebrow and shooting her a quizzical smile. "For ravishing your amazing body?"

Melissa felt her blush deepen as she cast a self-conscious glance down at herself. He couldn't mean that. If it hadn't been pitch dark last night he'd have known it wasn't true. "Well, I don't have an amazing body, but--"

"What?" He slid one finger beneath her chin and tilted her head back up, forcing her to meet his gaze, shaking his head slightly as he did. "You have to be kidding me." But when she bit her lip, a puzzled furrow developed between his brows. "My God, you aren't."


"Uh uh. Listen to me." He shook his head again, clearly wide awake now. "Sweetheart, I find you incredibly sexy. Have you any idea how hard it's been for me these last few days? How many times I've just wanted to grab you, kiss you, tear your clothes off--" And then he swore under his breath. "I guess I'll just have to show you."

"But I--oh!" She gave another shriek as he rolled her beneath him, pressing her into the bed, his burgeoning erection hard against her thigh. "You just--you just want to have your wicked way with me again," she gasped, gazing up into his laughing face.

"Damned right I do." Matt rolled his eyes. "'Wicked way'," he teased. "Hell, I love the way you say that. When you said it the first time--do you remember?"

Melissa did. It'd been when she'd had too much to drink the first night they'd spent at the farm before Charlie's funeral.

He grinned. "I thought you were just being cute. Just pretending to be all sweet and innocent. I never thought for a moment that you actually were." His grin faded a little. "So what's the story with that? You've had at least one boyfriend, I know you have. Charlie told me."

She frowned, confused. And then she experienced a vague, rather embarrassing recollection. "Oh. Oh no. You can't mean Andrew?"

He nodded, looking deeply curious. "Come on. Tell Mattie all about it."

"Oh God." Already hot, Melissa suddenly felt as though her face was on fire. "I--I might've... I might've stretched the truth a little there. See, the thing is, Charlie was always asking whether there was anyone at university, whether I'd met someone..."

Matt's gaze narrowed as she trailed off. "You made him up?"

"No-o. Well, not exactly." She grimaced as he began to laugh again. "He was real, and he was a friend, and we did do a lot of things together. And I had to pretend I was his girlfriend once. So I just thought--when Charlie asked me that question for what felt like the hundredth time--"


"I know." She chewed her lower lip. "But he was always telling me about you and all of your girlfriends--"

"Hey, there weren't that many," he interjected, suddenly appearing as uncomfortable as she felt. "Not really. Not serious ones, anyway. I mean--" It was Matt's turn to wince. "I might have exaggerated a bit too."

She shot him a disbelieving glance, part of her touched he was trying to play it down. Why would he want to do that? "Matthew McKenzie, even if you made up half of them, there'd still be an awful lot," she pointed out. "Though Charlie used to say they all looked the same. Blonde, skinny--"

"Bimbos, yeah, I know. But you know what? I never really found any of them particularly attractive--oh, stop it!" He frowned again as she gave a snort of derision. "I'm being serious. I know I was supposed to think they were hot. I think that's why I went out with them. And because for some reason, they wanted to go out with me, heaven only knows why. But the truth is--" Then he stopped, staring down at her as though he'd unexpectedly stumbled across a cure for the common cold.

"What?" Perplexed, Melissa stared back as his eyes roamed her face then dropped lower, to her neck, her shoulders, her breasts. And unused to being the subject of such blatant admiration, she found herself blushing all over again. "What?"

"God." The raw emotion in his tone made something clench low in her abdomen. "Lissy, you're beautiful."


"Incredible." Smiling, he pressed a finger to her lips, still gazing at her intently, his pupils so dilated his eyes appeared almost black. "And what's even more incredible is that you have absolutely no idea, do you?"

She squirmed beneath him. "You want--just--way," she stammered, all at once finding it astonishingly difficult to frame a coherent sentence. "W-wicked way."

"God, yes." He laughed softly, sliding his hand into her hair, the mere brush of his fingers against her scalp sending sparks of electricity zinging down her spine. "I do. And I'm going to. But I'm just trying to decide what I love about you most. Whether it's this gorgeous red hair of yours..."

Love about you? Melissa's heart seemed to skip a beat. No, no, no. He couldn't have meant it that way. He just meant what he liked about her most...

"Or those amazing blue eyes. Or maybe," he let his hand drop to her shoulders, still smiling, "all these wonderful freckles."

"Oh, no," she protested, the shock of his words returning her to some semblance of sanity. "You can't mean that. No--no one likes freckles."

"I do. I love every one of them. See?" And as if to prove his contention, he bent to kiss her collarbone, trailing a line of kisses across to her arm. "Beautiful. Although..." He hoisted himself up on his elbows to give her breasts his full attention. "Hell, you see, now I don't know," he continued with a considering smile. "I never got to look at these last night. But now that I have..."

Rather to her embarrassment, she released a squeak as his mouth came down again, this time alighting just above her right nipple, and when he proceeded to plant a circle of kisses around the areola, she couldn't help but giggle. "Matt! Stop it! Don't do that."

He smiled again, lifting his head to meet her gaze. "Nah. I don't think you mean that. In fact, I think you mean--do this."

"Oh!" Melissa gasped as he drew her nipple into the heat of his mouth, a jolt of pleasure hurtling straight from her breast to her womb as he suckled gently. "Oh God!"

"So you don't want me to stop?" he murmured, pausing just long enough to send her a knowing grin before moving to her other breast.

"No," she breathed weakly, her eyes sliding closed as his lips fastened around her left nipple. How could it be she'd never realised her breasts were so sensitive? "No. Never."

She heard him laugh. "Ah, Lissy," he murmured between kisses. "You're much too easy to please."

"Matt..." But when he raised his head once more she gave a yelp of disappointment, only to breathe a shuddering sigh as his hand slid between them, the flat of his hand warm across the curve of her belly. "Oh." And as his palm slipped lower, her eyes opened in startled wonder. "Oh."

He laughed again, lifting his body away from hers as he caressed her, alternately watching her face and then the progress of his fingers as she writhed beneath him. "Good?"

"Re-really good," she gasped, finding that she too was watching his hand, watching his fingers dip back and forth into the red curls between her thighs, astonished at just how quickly the pleasure was building. "Oh no. Too good. Sl-slow down!" She moved restlessly, unable to keep still. "Matt--please! I'm going to--oh God! I want you. I want you in me!"

Even as she heard herself say the words, she marvelled at them. A mere twenty-four hours ago--less than twenty-four hours ago--she couldn't have imagined herself saying anything like that. That Matt would make love to her once, let alone for a second time. That she'd be begging him to surge into her, to fill her full to overflowing. "Matt--please!"

"Uh uh." She saw his smile, the slight shake of his head. "This one's all yours, sweetheart. "You see, I never got to see you last night. And I really, really want to watch you this time."

"What?" But already so close to hurtling over the edge, Melissa knew she wasn't going to be able to put up much of a fight. "You have--you have to be kidding!"

His smile broadened, his tormenting fingers not letting up for a second. "Come for me, Liss."

And unable to hold out any longer, she did just that, sobbing his name as she bucked beneath him, her eyes crashing closed as the rush of ecstasy flooded through her, spiralling outwards from the centre of her body to the very tips of her fingers and toes. It was several seconds before the world righted on its axis again, a couple more before she opened her eyes to discover a very smug-looking Matt gazing down at her. "Wow," he murmured with a grin. "That has to be the sexiest thing I've ever seen."

"Oh God." Melissa managed a weak smile. "I can't believe you just did that."

"That's not all I'm going to do."

She gave a soft moan, hearing the promise in his words. "Matt, we've got to clear this place out, remember? We can't spend all day--" She moaned again when he kissed her, swallowing her protest. "O-oh. You don't play fair."

He laughed, straightening up. "It's still pretty early, you know. There's plenty of time."

"How early?" She hadn't given a thought to the hour.

"Well..." He glanced at his watch. "Believe it or not, it's not quite six."

"Six?" Melissa was mortified. "Matt, I'm so sorry I woke you."

"Why? I'm not."

But she was aware he sounded distracted now, could see he was glancing around them. "What's wrong? What are you looking for?"

"Nothing's wrong." He shrugged, frowning a little as he peered over the side of the bed. "I'm looking for my shorts, that's all. I need my wallet."

"Oh." Melissa gave a giggle. "In the kitchen, remember? With all the rest of our clothes. But it's okay," she went on, secure enough of his continuing desire to try a little teasing, "you don't need to pay me for my services. I'll let you--" And then she froze, realising why he wanted his wallet at exactly the same moment she witnessed the dawning horror in his expression. "Oh..."

"It's all right." But something in his demeanour told her he was attempting to reassure himself more than he was trying to reassure her. "It's okay."

"No, it isn't!" She regarded him in consternation. "Last night--we didn't use anything."

"I know."

"But--" As much panic-stricken by the look on his face as by the thought they hadn't used protection, she was even more alarmed when he wouldn't meet her gaze. "Oh God."


He muttered the expletive so quietly that had she not been watching him, she wouldn't have known he'd spoken. And when he rolled away and slid off the bed, her dismay grew. How could they have forgotten? How could she have forgotten? "Matt!" By the time she struggled upright, he'd already reached the door. "Where are you going?"

He halted, planting one hand on the doorframe as he turned. "I don't suppose," he said in a voice that held just the tiniest vestige of hope, "there's any chance you're on the pill?"

Heart sinking, she shook her head. "There's never been any need for me to be on the pill," she said flatly, aware he still wasn't making eye-contact. "Why would there be?"

There was a pause before he gave a curt nod, his expression unreadable. "Right." And without another word, he left the room.

"Hey!" Melissa scrambled out of bed. "Wait!" Acutely aware of her nudity, she dragged the white camberwick bedspread off the bed and draped it around her before staggering after him, finding he'd already reached the end of the hall. "I'm sorry, okay? It's just that everything happened so fast. It was all so--overwhelming. And it was dark, and there was that bloody thunderstorm--and then there was the power cut. Please? I wasn't thinking straight. There wasn't time to think..." But when he entered the kitchen without so much as a backward glance, her agitation grew. "Matt!" She followed him in, clutching the top of the bedspread so tightly her knuckles were white. "For God's sake! Don't do this to me. Say something!"

"What would you like me to say, Melissa?"

She stared at him when he turned at last, stung both by the use of her full name and the coolness of his tone. "I--" she faltered, not sure how to reply, a part of her observing that everything seemed too surreal to be true, Matt standing before her completely naked in their uncle's kitchen at six o'clock in the morning, their discarded clothes littering the linoleum floor.

"You want me to say that everything will be okay? That it doesn't matter that we didn't use a condom? That the odds are good that I didn't just get you pregnant?"

"But the odds are good!" Suddenly understanding the reason for Matt's reaction, her agitation soared into anger. "That's what this is all about? You're petrified you've got me pregnant? Heaven forbid! 'Cause you don't want children, do you? How could I have forgotten? How could I have been so stupid as to let you take the risk? Newsflash, Matthew, it takes two to tango, okay? You forgot too. We both forgot to use protection."

"Oh really?" His eyes flashed dangerously as he reached for his shorts and began to step into them. "You sure about that?"

"What?" She glared at him in disbelief. "What are you saying?"

"Oh, I think you know exactly what I'm saying." And with an icy air of calm, Matt shrugged on his T-shirt and reached for the kettle. "Cup of tea?"

For a moment, she found herself so taken aback she couldn't speak. But only for a moment. "You think I knew? You think that at some point, I realised we weren't using a condom but decided not to say so? Why would I do that?"

"You tell me."

"Matt!" Melissa was aware the pitch of her voice was rising higher and higher, but there didn't seem to be a thing she could do about it. Did he seriously think she'd deliberately taken the chance of getting pregnant? That she was trying to trap him? "I can't believe you think I'd do something like that. I can't believe--oh!" She gave a startled gasp as music blared out behind her, the sound of Louis Armstrong's voice flooding the bungalow.

I hear babies cry... I watch them grow... They'll learn much more... than I'll ever know...

Thumping the kettle down on the stove, Matt moved towards Melissa, almost sending her flying as he pushed past her into the hall. It was only when she turned to gaze after him she realised the sound represented the electricity coming back on. The power lines must've been down all night. "Matt!" she called, chasing after him into the living room, finding she had to shout to be heard over the song. "I didn't even think about it, I swear. It didn't even occur to me. You have to believe me." But when Matt, already bending over the radiogram, made no attempt to acknowledge her, she found herself perilously close to tears. "Please? I know that makes me sound really naïve. I realise that none of the other girls you've been with would ever have been so stupid--"

As the word 'stupid' rang out into the suddenly silent room, she watched him straighten up, aware her heart was pounding. "Probably not," he agreed grimly, reaching across to turn off the lamp as well. "But then neither would I."

She bit her lip, wounded. Was he saying he'd made a huge mistake? That if he'd been thinking clearly, he wouldn't have dreamed of making love to her in a million years? It certainly sounded that way. "Right," she said unsteadily. "Then I guess that means we both know where we stand."

"Lissy--oh, hell." Closing his eyes briefly, he blew out a long breath. "Listen. I--"

"No," she interrupted, holding up a hand. "I've got it, okay? Loud and clear. You were thinking, 'like mother, like daughter', right? My mother was stupid enough to let herself get knocked up by the first man she let near her, so it stands to reason I'd be that stupid too, doesn't it? Of course it does. Except--" To Melissa's dismay tears were already escaping down her cheeks. "I tried so hard not to be that stupid. All these years, I've been terrified of having sex. Mum warned me so many times not to do what she did, told me not to even think about getting into that kind of relationship until I was sure I was ready. So I didn't. Why the hell do you think I was still a virgin? But, oh look, here I am. Twenty-nine years old--and I still managed to be that stupid."

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