Chicago Love Story Ch. 04byAngelPoet©
Thank you for all the feedback and emails on Izzy's love saga. It took a while to help her decide because as a writer, I fell in love with Josh and Jeff both. Imagine how hard of a choice it was for our heroine! Please leave your feedback and as ever, thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more stories like Izzy's!
Sunshine filtered in through the window of Isabelle's cozy bedroom. She turned and stretched in her bed, slowly waking up to a serene, late autumn morning. She stretched and turned, fully aware of the fact that she was not alone. She smiled to herself as she watched him sleep. He looked as though he were really enjoying his rest, so she resisted to urge to snuggle into him in fears it would wake him. After a moment, she couldn't help herself. He groaned low, slowly wrapping his arms around her and burying his face in her hair.
"Mmmm, sweetie, you feel good," he uttered.
She closed her eyes and settled into the comforting strength of his embrace. It was with this man she had finally found her true love and solace. They had shared their amount of difficulties to finally be together, but she regretted nothing that had happened along the way.
She closed her eyes and settled in to fall asleep again, as she giggled to herself to hear him snoring peacefully. She thought back to a few months earlier when she had returned to her beloved Chicago after a brief stint working in New York.... It seemed like ages ago now. She closed her eyes and replayed the events that had paved the way to the very second she was living now....
"Izzy, look, I really need to talk to you," Josh said impatiently. "I- I just missed you so much. There were so many times I just wanted to pick up the phone and call you."
" Josh," Izzy said carefully. "For what it's worth, I missed you too."
She carefully checked her watch and figured she'd have plenty of time to run home, change, and then head down to Midway Airport to pick up Jeff. Her mind was whirling as she thought of Jeff's impromptu decision to come out to Chicago. But for now, she needed to focus on what Josh needed to say.
He bent so that they were eye to eye, and he placed his hands at her shoulders. He noted the confusion in her deep brown eyes. He was happy to see that the scar of the pain he'd caused her was now absent. There was a glimmer in them again. He hoped... Well, he hoped it was because of him.
"Izzy, I'm so sorry for the pain I caused you," he said, his crystal blue eyes glittering like ice. "When you were gone, it gave me a chance to do a lot of thinking. It made me realize that with you gone, it just didn't feel right to me. I know that we took our friendship to a pretty intimate level and I hurt you deeply when...well, you know when. But the truth is, Izzy, I was scared to admit to you and to myself that I love you. Plain and simple. Isabelle, I'm crazy in love with you."
Izzy gulped and closed her eyes, forcing herself not to cry. These are the words she had waited to hear from him, but the game now had another player. Jeff. She smiled a little thinking that as they spoke he was headed to Chicago. For her. There was no mystery with Jeff. He was mature, and best of all, there was no Molly to mess things up. Without another thought, her words tumbled out of her mouth like someone had just dropped a crystal vase.
"I... I met someone in New York," she said in a rush. "In fact, he's on his way to Chicago right now. I'm so sorry, Josh."
She watched his face fall, and for a very painful second her own misery from the spring mirrored itself on his handsome, albeit crestfallen, face. She hated that she felt the payback was due, but then, she felt pity.
"Oh," he said brokenly. He stepped back from her and looked as though he didn't know what to say. "I... I guess that's it then."
"Josh," she whispered, taking his hand in hers. "I guess it just wasn't meant to be."
They stood silently, a bittersweet moment lingering. She awkardly slung her laptop case onto her shoulder and took her leave. She didn't look back.
Josh stood frozen and numb. It didn't seem real, but just as he had been feeling guilty all summer for what he had done to her, he supposed he deserved this moment.
Isabelle let the tears win as she rode the El home to her apartment. Why was life always throwing her crazy curveballs like this? She admitted she had feelings for Jeff and wanted to see where they would go. She had no idea what to expect when she saw him at Midway. But then, there was Josh. She tried not to think about all she had buried deep down inside of herself. The thoughts and memories dared to haunt her as she drove along the Stevenson Expressway towards the airport, but as she edged closer, her heart warmed thinking about Jeff. It would be an interesting story to hear as he explained the reason for this crazy, impromptu trip.
She finally pulled up to the pick up area where he stood with his luggage. He looked dazed, but happy in a pair of jeans, a gray t-shirt, and his Yankees ballcap turned around backwards. She giggled when she saw him as he reminded her of a teenager waiting to pick up his prom date. He held out his arms and held her closely to him.
"You're insane, dude, seriously," Isabelle said, her heart thumping. "Really?"
"I thought you'd be surprised," he laughed as he put his things into the trunk of her car. "In any case, Bella, you are like medicine for a sick man. I've missed you like crazy."
He kissed her gently right before the airport security shooed them away from the curb. They drove in silence for a bit before she broke it with her nervous chit chat. That was so Izzy.
"So, I know you're dying to see the city with me because I know you've only been here a few times, but I figured we go get something to eat and then just relax by my place for the night. I assume you're coming into the office with me tomorrow?"
"Right on, babe. Sounds like a good idea." He was silent for a few seconds before talking again. "So, just wanted to let you know that I didn't get a return flight yet. Cavanaugh said I could work remote and email my work. And he also talked to one of your guys about doing that New York to Chicago swap thing. It totally looks like things could go well here."
"Ok," Isabelle replied, not exactly knowing what to say. "I mean, this is just so off the wall surprising to me. I guess we'll-
"Bella," he interrupted. "Here's the deal. I couldn't stop thinking about you. When you left New York, it felt like a piece of me went back with you to Chicago. I know it hadn't even been a day, but I can't describe it. You just... I dunno. You make me feel right again. I haven't felt this way since... A long time."
"So you were just moping around Manhattan and the notion suddently struck you to book a flight to Chicago to see me?"
"Um," he laughed low. "I had some help. From Bradlee. I think she saw something that we couldn't see before you left. When she got to work this morning, she had gone to my computer and had the airline website called up waiting for me. She saw me looking and told me to go for it."
Izzy laughed and felt her heart yearn for the friend she had made in Bradlee, her New York confidente.
"Ok," Isabelle giggled, assessing the situation. "You're suddenly here in Chicago to stay indefinitely while we figure out what's going on between us. You're a piece of work, Augustino. What am I gonna do with you?"
"Oh, I can definitely think of a few things," he said devilishly. "Wow, take a look at that skyline. Divine."
"Yeah, we're pretty proud of it."
Isbelle drove into the heart of the city and soon pulled up to the front of her apartment where luckily she was able to find close parking. Her small apartment certainly wasn't as lavish as Jeff's Manhattan digs, but it was her home and she was proud of it.
They ordered Chinese take out and relaxed on her couch sipping cold beers. Pixie her curious and friendly cat sat and purred contentedly.
"It feels good to relax," he said quietly. "I wouldn't mind turning in soon, but first, I would love to have you come over here close to me, baby."
Izzy smiled, setting their beers down on the cocktail table in front of her couch. She went right for his lips as she wrapped her arms around his neck. She felt the stubble of his black 5 o'clock shadow tickle and scratch her chin, but she didn't care. She let herself go in his embrace as his warm hands explored her body.
"You really are a crazy one, you know that?" she said between kisses. She ran her hands through his trim black hair and noted the dreamy, faraway look in his deep brown eyes.
"If I'm crazy and I can be in this moment for an extended amount of my time, then please don't make me sane again," he said as he pushed her back on the couch. He slowly raised her shirt and began to kiss her stomach up to her breasts. Their clothes fell to the floor as softly as a whisper. As he undid her bra, he kissed her neck and grazed it with his lips, blazing a trail to her shoulder where he took the strap between his teeth and slid it down.
She shivered and ran her fingernails down his back in ecstacy, letting out a tiny moan of pleasure. He kissed her lips again, cupping her chin and then slowly caressing her face. He stopped and met her gaze, his brown eyes meeting hers. He smiled and winked before he kissed down her torso again, and when his tongue flicked against the most sensitive part of her, she began to shake with desire.
His fingers dipped deep inside as he looked up at her in marvel. He was taken by her simple, classic beauty. Her dark hair fell about her, reminding him of a beautiful creature from a fairy tale. Her rosy lips parted in joy as he couldn't wait to taste her.
"Mmm, Jeff," she uttered. "Don't stop. You feel so amazing, baby."
Her sensual voice drove him mad with desire as he took her tiny jewel in his mouth and teased it. He only barely heard her cries as he felt his own desire for her mount.
"I can't wait to feel you so soft and warm around me, sweetheart," he said as he kissed up her tummy again. She panted with longing as he met her lips again and kissed her deeply. She was satisfied, but not completely. She wouldn't be until she felt him inside of her, and they fell from the clouds together.
He entered her swiftly and they both let out a sigh of pent up desire and longing.
"I dreamed about this moment," he said as he moved softly inside of her. "I dreamed about you lying beneath me, your eyes closing everytime I thrusted deep inside you. You like what I'm doing to you baby?"
"Oh yes," she whimpered. "I love it."
"Good," he uttered. "So good."
He took her hands in his and raised them above her head, pinning her down as he pushed himself deeper and deeper into the very core of her. She broke out of his hold to bring his face closer to hers when she kissed him deeply and furiously, her hands dancing in his hair. They traced down his shoulders to his hands, and she found them and laced hers through his. Her hips bucked up to meet his, and then she wrapped her legs around his waist.
"It feels so good to be wrapped around you like this, Jeff," she whispered between kisses. "I'm going to make you cum so hard."
His eyes closed as he continued to move quicker on top of her, his nostrils flaring slightly. He sighed and moaned as he pushed in and out of her deeply.
"I'm gonna make you cum first, gorgeous," he whispered, his voice passionate and deep. "Feel my cock working you like that? It's because you drive me wild, Bella. Wild."
"Oh, Jeff," she cried, feeling the pangs of her desire mounting. "Don't stop, baby. Oh yes. Keep going."
"You like it like that? You like how I fuck you baby?"
"Yes," she uttered. "Yes."
She squeezed his cock hard in her iron grip and let the molten waves of passion carry her. She dimly heard his own cries above her as she was carried adrift on her release. Her heart drumming, she kept her eyes closed for a moment. It was over.
Her eyes fluttered open only to see him gazing at her through half-closed lids, his expression one of relief and satisfaction. She smiled and giggled.
"Wow," she said. "That, babe, was freakin' amazing."
He carefully pulled out of her, but held her close in his embrace. He buried his face in her neck and waited till his breathing calmed down a bit. He kissed her gently, nipping her with his teeth.
"Amazing doesn't even begin to describe it," he said coolly. "We need to send Bradlee a bouquet of flowers or something."
"Mmmm," Isabelle sighed, playing with his sweaty hair. "I would agree."
They at last settled into the comfort of Izzy's bed. Jeff slept his first night in the arms of Izzy.
Morning came quicker than expected. It felt different to have someone sharing her bed and her morning routine. As Izzy slipped into a pair of casual gray capri pants and flowy black shirt, she listened and giggled as Jeff sang in the shower. He emerged damp and grinning, which made her smile and laugh. He tried to embrace her, but she moved quickly to avoid messing up her outfit.
"I'm fired up today, Bella," he said after he dressed himself in a simple pair of jeans and a navy blue shirt neatly tucked in. "I get to meet the Chicago crowd."
"Yeah," she uttered, grabbing her purse and work bag. "Let's hope they're not too hostile." She wondered what Josh would think of this whole situation. She shivered and was glad that Jeff didn't notice.
"They'll be cool," he said confidently. "What's not to like about me?"
"Mmm," she uttered. "I haven't found one thing yet that hasn't pleased me."
He laughed low and kissed her deeply, gently. He wanted to crawl back into bed and ravish her, but he knew that couldn't happen. Not till this evening, he thought wickedly.
After stopping for coffees and muffins, they stepped out of the elevator together to the office of the Windy City Times. Jeff felt right at home in the busy atmosphere of the newsroom. Isabelle did the proper introductions to the important ones- editors, assistants, and the like.
"Jeff, this is Josh Daniels," she said tersely and somewhat uncomfortably. "He's our very own music and entertainment guy."
Jeff immediately picked up on the tension. He eyed the tall, stocky man wearing jeans and a button down black shirt speculatively. He saw raw emotion in his blue eyes as they searched him with animosity. He eyed Izzy longingly and it made Jeff's heart wrench a little. It dawned on him who this man was. He had to have been the reason why Izzy ran off to New York.
"Welcome aboard, man," Josh said stiffly as he shook his hand. He barely made eye contact with Jeff. He looked at Izzy and simply nodded.
"Looking forward to working with you," Jeff answered as he walked away with Izzy. When they reached the confines of her cube, he leaned against the wall as she sat and gnawed at her lip. "Wanna talk about it?"
"Talk about what?" She said quickly.
"Izzy, c'mon, babe," he said gently as he caressed her shoulders and bent low to kiss the top of her head. "He's the guy. I figured it out."
"You don't need to go there, Jeff," she said. "I have a lot of phone calls to make this morning. You've already met Mike, and he's going to set you up with what you need to know. If you need anything, don't hesitate to ask, ok?"
He sensed immediately that this was something she simply didn't want to discuss. He didn't press the issue, but later, after the work day was over, he suggested a walk by the lake. He had never been around the museums and Soldier Field, so that is where they went.
"So, this is where it all goes down," he said as they faced the front of the Bears stadium. "When I was a kid growing up out east, I wanted a copy of the Superbowl Shuffle, but my dad wouldn't let me. He's a diehard Giants fan. "
"My Walter Payton jersey that I had when I was nine is still in mint condition," she said proudly.
They walked silently, hand in hand, near the water's edge. He sensed something was amiss with her. It unnerved him.
"Her name is Michelle," he said softly. "I realize I've never really talked about her much. In fact, I haven't talked about her at all."
"I assume you're talking about your ex?" she inquired gently. "You don't have to, really, Jeff, it's-"
"Izzy," he interrupted, stopping her and taking her hands in his. "Let me talk, ok?" They began to walk again, and Jeff continued.
"We were college sweethearts," he said. "I just... Ugh, I just fell in love with her so fast. It was crazy, ya know? But in retrospect, we were kids. We both got a dose of reality and figured out that the adults we'd become weren't as compatible as the kids we were in college."
"That makes total sense," she said logically. "But, I'm not exactly sure why you're telling me this."
"Because I figured out that Josh dude is the one you ran away from," he said with a smile on his face. "You're a smokin' chick, babe. I can see he digs you. Still."
"He broke my heart," she said softly. "And I realize that he still has feelings for me. In fact, he admitted as much last night before I came out to get you."
"And you're completely over him?"
Isabelle noted the neutral tone in his voice. She knew there was no good way to answer his question. The truth of the matter was that she didn't know what her heart held. When she told him as much, he simply nodded.
He stopped her and held her closely to his chest, running his hands through her dark hair. He felt her relax in his embrace and it made him happy.
"It's been a year since my divorce, and I know a part of me will always love Michelle," he said softly. "But my heart is open, Isabelle. I told you before that there is something about you... I dunno. You just make me feel alive again. "
"I don't know what the future holds for us, Jeff," she said softly. "I'm willing just to live a moment at a time. What's meant to be will happen no matter what."
He smiled and whispered gently in her ear how he couldn't wait to take her home and ravish her. It was enough.
Josh cranked the music on his iPod as he found his way to the El stop that would take him him. Fucking New York bastard. His smarmy "right on, man" was irritating, and instead of saying "cool" or "awesome", he said "solid", and it was enough to drive him insane. Petty and immature? Of course it was, but damn it, he had Izzy and Josh didn't. Josh pursed his lips and stood facing the door of the train. He didn't see anything except a blur. He gripped the silver pole with vengeance, imagining it was Jeffy boy's neck. It was Josh's own damn fault that Isabelle was probably getting naked with the asshole right that second... and he was on the El wishing he could give Jeff Augustino a nice punch in the jaw for stealing away the woman he loved. Yes, damn it. He loved Isabelle. So much it hurt.
"You fucked up, man," his friend Mike told him later that night as they commiserated over a case of beer. "That Molly chick was the nail that sealed your coffin shut."
"Yeah, don't I know it," he slurred, opening his fifth beer. "If I could turn the clock back."
"Let me guess," Mike laughed as he slurped his beer. "Jeff is a preppy jagoff. I bet he was in a fraternity and he has a sister named Mimsy or some shit like that."
"Who knows," Josh sighed. "I just know that I've lost her. She's into this guy big time, Mike. I need to find another freakin' job. It just hurts, man. She's gonna marry him and move to the Gold Coast with all his money he made on Wall Street."
"Yeah," Mike sighed, trying not to laugh. "He'll buy her a lakeside condo and season tickets to the Bears. I bet he eats her out every night."
"Enough, you bastard," Josh bellowed, slamming his now-empty beer can down on the table. "Why not put more fuckin' salt on my wound?"
"So what does New York have that you don't? " Mike said after a moment. "I mean, you fucked her first. Technically, she's yours, right? He stole her from you. Fight for what's yours, man."