tagRomanceLady Hideaway Ch. 04

Lady Hideaway Ch. 04


Part four

Tessa sat on her bed, her body wrapped in her nightshirt. The light in her room was the only one on in her house. It was late, she knew she should be getting to bed, but she was not having one of her better nights. Her family had left hours ago, and part of her was grateful for that. She hated it when they babied her, but now, she wished she wasn’t alone.

She stared at the lock on her bedroom door. She had secured it, but she was looking at it as if she couldn’t remember doing it, and maybe her eyes were just playing tricks on her. The fear prompted her to get up and go to the door. She slid the lock out, and then back into place a few times as if to check it, but it didn’t make her feel any better. She unlocked the door completely and opened it, peering nervously into the dark hallway.

She hated being away from her house. When she returned she never felt quite safe, because she didn’t know what had gone on while she was away. She was like a little kid checking under the bed for monsters as she moved into the dark hallway, shutting the door behind her.

She went to her office first, opening the door and peering into the room as she flicked on a light. The shadows haunted her as she glanced to every corner, looking for signs of danger before she proceeded into the room to check the window, making sure it was properly locked.

Tessa wandered the entire house like this, checking every lock, closing doors behind her. When she felt she had checked everything twice over, she made a cup of tea in an attempt to relax, but instead of bringing it to her room, she sat in the living room with the light on, looking over her newly painted walls. Conner’s handiwork, and Conner certainly was a piece of work.

Tessa wondered why he was so nice to her. She couldn’t deny that each time he had kissed her it had been incredible, then again, she didn’t have a lot to compare it to, considering that she had not been kissed like that in years. She also knew that he didn’t have to be kissing her to feel the sparks that were between them.

All sparks aside, Tessa felt very confused. She was drawn to Conner; there was no denying that. She was certain she would be unable to sleep, knowing that tomorrow night he would be there, with her. She wanted to see him. She wanted to explore the possibilities of having him close to her. But she also felt regret.

Tessa never should have kissed him. That’s what she told herself. She should not have allowed herself to feel anything, and she certainly shouldn’t have agreed to see him. This was not in any way because she disliked him; it was because she wasn’t like other girls. There was a good reason why Tessa didn’t get close to anyone. She even kept her own family at a certain distance, she loved them, but that was exactly why she didn’t let them get close. It was too dangerous to let anyone get close, and now Tessa was afraid, because although she had not known Conner all that long, she could feel herself slipping, letting him in. ………….

Conner approached Tessa’s house slowly, carrying a heavy tin tray that was burning his hands and torturing his stitches. His stomach was in knots upon reaching the door. He already had the key ready, and he was more than ready to open the door. He should be happy. So why was he so damned nervous?

This was a date, that’s why. Conner Desway had a date with Tessa Aarons. A week ago the idea was ridiculous, but now he was standing in front of her door, and not because he had a job to do. He was happy, he knew it, but he had never been so nervous before over a single date. He knew he was worried because Tessa was special, and he was fearful that he’d manage to do something to mess this up.

He didn’t know how long he stood there staring at the door, but he eventually forced himself to knock. He waited; he wanted to hear her voice before he continued. He needed to hear it; because he was worried she had already changed her mind. He was about to knock again, but then he heard her muffled voice, he couldn’t make out the words because the door was between them, and because Tessa was so nervous that her voice caught in her throat, but the sound was enough.

Conner turned the key and opened the door, knowing that Tessa wouldn’t do it herself. He mentally noted that eventually she would have to get her over that. He understood that she had issues, and quite frankly, he couldn’t blame her for them, but even this being a first date, Conner wanted more. He was well aware that maybe Tessa didn’t necessarily feel the same way, but after seeing her as he walked into the house, he was determined to make more than one date with her.

Any nervousness Conner had, had faded upon seeing her. She was wearing a blue skirt and a matching blouse. She was beautiful, and sweet and shy, and the sight of her reminded him exactly what he wanted. He was smiling before he even realized it.

Tessa had been wondering how to tell Conner that after tonight there would be nothing more between them. She had meant to do it right away, before it was too late, now it already was. The way he smiled at her made her crazy, and if that wasn’t enough, tonight, he looked better than a man should be allowed. It was the first time she had seen him in something other than jeans, instead, beige slacks covered his legs and his button-down shirt was just begging to be ripped off. His hair seemed to be neatly in place without any use of product and the clean scent of him mixed with the food was in the air, daring her to get closer. Tessa may have been shy, but it wasn’t like she didn’t have thoughts that any woman would, especially one so alone. Her eyes fell over what he was carrying as she watched him close the door with his back. Instead of telling him what she had planned to tell him, ending this before it started, he was already speaking to her.

“Am I late?” he asked.

Tessa shook her head.

“Can I help?” Tessa asked shyly, her eyes falling over the load in his arms again.

“No.” Conner smiled, “I told you, I’m taking you out to dinner tonight… but this is sort of hot.”

“Oh!” Tessa’s eyes widened as she pointed him towards the kitchen, and realizing that she had been standing in his path, she stepped aside.

Conner winked at her as he passed and Tessa nearly fell backwards with the thrill of it. This was crazy, she told herself. Since when did she get so worked up over the opposite sex? But all doubts aside, she had to admit that the other feelings nagging her were nice to have.

She watched him go towards her kitchen before she securely locked the front door and followed after him, where he was already unloading the contents of the tray onto the kitchen table, everything was wrapped in tin foil, and there seemed to be a lot of everything.

Conner kept glancing at Tessa as he unloaded the meal; her eyes were wide as she watched curiously. The contents of the tray seemed never ending. He had stake, baked potatoes, beans, biscuits, salad, and grilled corn on the cob, among other hot vegetables.

“Did you cook?” Tessa asked.

“I don’t cook.” Conner scoffed, “I barbeque… now, please tell me that you eat more than fish.”

“Not recently.” She admitted.

He’d train her yet. Conner planned to give her a taste of everything she had been missing, not to mention cure that sweet tooth of hers, or lack there-of.

“I hope you’re hungry.” Conner said, “Did you want to eat now?”

“Sure.” Tessa nodded, moving to her cupboards for some plates.

Conner smiled at her again as she began to set the table. It was obvious that she was nervous, but he didn’t get the feeling that he was the one causing it, even if she was awfully quiet and avoiding his eyes.

Okay, so Tessa was always quiet, and this wasn’t the first time she had avoided looking directly at him, but this time Conner was almost taking offense. Would the entire night be like this? Hell no, he wouldn’t allow it, not when he finally had her alone, and he was there, with her, for no other reason other than that he wanted her company, although, he had hoped that she would want his as well.

“How are you feeling?” Conner asked, refusing to let the night pass in utter silence.

“I’m fine.” Tessa replied, glancing up only for a moment.

“That’s good.” He said, “But I meant, how are you feeling about this? My being here?”

Conner could tell he had taken her off guard, and she seemed to be searching for a response. She was also starting to blush, and he took that as a good enough sign. He had never intended to make her uncomfortable, but after weeks of working in her home and longing to get closer to her, then another week of waiting for her to leave the hospital, and thinking about kissing her every other minute, he was quite ready to make his intentions clear from the beginning. This was a date, and he already wanted another one.

“I… I’m glad you’re here.” Tessa stammered, still avoiding his eyes.

So her response wasn’t full of enthusiasm, but Conner wasn’t going to let that get to him. She was still blushing, fidgeting with the strawberry-blonde locks hanging down her shoulders, and her eyes were stealing glances at him from under thick lashes. She was happier that he was there than she wanted to say, he decided. He smiled.

“Tessa, this is a date.” he said slowly, calmly, it was not a question, and it was not even hinting at a question, it was proclamation.

Tessa’s eyes seemed to snap up to his and he just smiled at her, watching the blank expression and her wide eyes take him and his words in.

Tessa didn’t have to be out in the real world to know what a date was, it wasn’t as if she hadn't been on one before. She wondered why he felt it necessary to point out the obvious to her, but her curvy lips hinted at a smile anyways before she went back to setting the table.

“I know, Conner.” She replied softly.


She looked up to meet his eyes again, but she didn’t say anything, she just nervously bit her.

“At the end of the night,” Conner said, “I’m going to kiss you, and then, I’m going to ask for another date.”

Okay, Tessa knew what a date was, but she had never exactly been on a date quite like this. She knew she was out of practice, but this was much different than she remembered, she was accustomed to the man stating his intentions at the end of the evening, or better (or worse) yet, showing them. The fact that he said he was going to kiss her had her heart jumping to her throat. How was she ever going to tell him that this was a bad idea? She couldn’t do this. She also couldn’t stop herself from smiling.

“You’ve already decided have you?” Tessa asked, he could hear a small amount of confidence growing in her voice.

“If that’s alright with you,” he smiled.

He watched her carefully, trying to determine what she was thinking. He wondered if it was a mistake to be so forward. He decided that no matter what, he wanted her to know that he was interested, he only wished she would give him a response.

“Maybe we should just get through dinner first.” Tessa said after a short while.

Conner nodded, and then they sat down for supper. There were several questions Conner wanted to ask, beginning with what had happened the night she ended up in the hospital, and how she had injured herself, but he decided to keep conversation light. He asked about her job, and her father, not exactly prepared to enter the subject of bitchy Katrina.

Tessa had started off eating slowly, but with a little encouragement he had her cleaning her plate, and he strayed into the subject of food she liked, but never actually ate, obviously taking notes for the next time he wanted to feed her.

When they were finished, Conner cleaned up on his own, not allowing her to help and dragging out the time because he knew it was getting late. When he finished he smiled back at Tessa, still sitting at the table and obviously uncomfortable about being unable to help.

Tessa had been unable to think clearly all night, thinking nervously over his promised kiss. Usually, she wouldn’t have liked the situation at all, it would have frightened her, but Conner excited her.

Conner was staring at her, not needing words to explain that he was intently admiring her. A smile curled his lips when he saw that Tessa was staring right back at him. She left the table suddenly however, breaking their eye contact and looking nervous again.

“Would you like something to drink?” Tessa asked, moving to the refrigerator to look as if she had gotten up for a perfectly reasonable reason.

“Sure.” He smiled.

Conner watched as Tessa turned from the refrigerator and placed a beer on the counter near him. He smiled when he saw her open a second bottle and take a sip. Beer huh? She was just full of surprises.

“I didn’t think you were the type.” He remarked, holding up the bottle, “You know, this isn’t exactly healthy for you.”

“Neither was most of what we just ate.” She replied. “But I think we’ll live through it… and I don’t usually drink. Every once in a while Katrina comes by with this stuff, this was just left over.”

“Your sister seems like a bad influence.” He teased.

Tessa smiled and shrugged.

“She really gave you a hard time, huh?”

“She’s not so bad.” Conner replied, “But I’d be lying if I said she was the most pleasant person I’ve ever met.”

Tessa laughed, he was surprised by the almost foreign sound coming from her throat, but he liked it, a lot. Her laugh was just as beautiful as she was.

“I’m sorry about her.” Tessa sighed, “I told her that I wanted to see you when I was in the hospital, but as the younger sister she can be sort of a brat, and she usually gets her way. She really isn’t so bad.”

“You wanted to see me?” Conner smiled, as if it were the only thing he had heard.

Tessa froze. She knew it was true, she had wanted to see Conner, but now she felt guilty for it. She liked him, and she thought it would be difficult to end things, even this early. She slowly lowered her eyes again, unsure of how to respond.

Conner decided to test the waters a bit, moving to close the distance between them as he watched her put down her beer bottle. Tessa stiffened, but he saw no signs that she might reject him as he reached her, and gently reached for her hand, enclosing it in his own and gently brushing his thumb over her fingers, until she finally lifted her eyes to meet his again. He wasn’t sure what he saw in her expression, uncertainty maybe?

“Conner,” Tessa suddenly looked away, but he didn’t release her hand, “Look, I don’t think that…”

“Tessa,” Conner interrupted, refusing to let her finish. He could guess what she intended to say, and he didn’t like it. He wasn’t ready for her to dismiss him so easily. He had a lot to say, but he wasn’t about to argue with her, instead he tugged at her hand until she was looking at him again. “You look very pretty tonight.” He told her. Hell, compliments couldn’t hurt, and it wasn’t as if it he didn’t mean it. Pretty felt like an understatement.

Tessa blushed again, and everything she had wanted to say seemed to be momentarily forgotten. She wasn’t used to compliments, and as silly as it was, Conner had managed to make her feel like a schoolgirl again as she attempted to speak.

“So are you,” she got out, but suddenly rethought her words, “I mean, you’re not pretty… I mean you are, but in a manly…”

Conner laughed as Tessa covered her face with the hand that he wasn’t holding captive and turned away from him. She didn’t seem upset though, she was almost smiling, so he gently turned her back towards him and waited for her to look at him again.

Tessa wondered if it had always been so difficult to receive or give a compliment. It had been a while, but she remembered a time when moments like this were generally simple for her. She almost wished she could have met Conner six years ago. Back then; the way he was looking at her would have been easy for her to deal with.

Tessa’s thoughts were interrupted when Conner brought his mouth to hers. Tessa knew she shouldn’t, but she parted her lips and let him in. Her tongue met his and she allowed herself to sink into the gentle yet mind-boggling kiss. She closed her eyes, not realizing that she was giving more than she intended to.

Conner was momentarily surprised at the way Tessa was leaning up, into his chest, dominating the kiss that he had started. He let her explore, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. Her hand left his and rested on his chest, while her other hand found his face. Conner leaned into her palm, wanting to feel her touching him. He had been cautious before, not wanting to frighten her away, but at the moment it didn’t seem to matter. His hands went to her hips and rested there for a moment, experimentally. He wanted to see if she was going to push him away, and when she continued to kiss him, his arms went around her and he pulled her against his body.

Conner had wanted to hold her for a long while now, and the moment he felt her against him, he almost regretted waiting. It felt perfect and warm with her hands on him, and her lips assaulting his, and her breasts heaving against him as her breathing grew deeper.

It was quite suddenly when Tessa realized how close she was to Conner. She liked it, but it startled her. More startling to Tessa, was that even as she broke the kiss, her hands refused to leave him. She must have looked as surprised as she felt because Conner looked concerned for a moment, and then smiled at her.

“No one’s ever called me pretty before.” He remarked, wanting to lighten the mood a little.

His efforts seemed to work as Tessa blushed and tried not to laugh. She was avoiding his eyes again, but he could tell she was still with him, she was making no attempt to get away, or maybe she was and he didn’t notice because his arms were around her, refusing to let her go.

“I’m sorry,” Tessa sighed, “I just… I guess I’m new at this.”

“I think you’re doing fine.” He replied, “And, if you need more practice, I’d be happy to help you with that.”

God, Tessa thought, why was it, that everything out of his mouth gave her ‘butterflies?’ she nervously bit her lip and stared at him, as if expecting him to say something else, but instead he brought his lips to hers again, giving her a short but efficient kiss, and Tessa surprised herself and probably Conner as well again, as she wrapped her hand around his head and kept him where he was so she could continue to kiss him.

Conner had absolutely no objections to her sudden demands, and although he knew every moment, that it was in fact Tessa he was kissing, the thought of frightening her had faded, as did all of his earlier caution. His hands seemed to grip her hips and he pulled her closer, she was so small that he probably could have lifted her up if he wanted to, but he decided her feet were better left on the ground for now.

His hands moved higher, grazing her sides, but as he neared her breasts she seemed to become tense in his arms, reminding him that she was not like the other women he had dated. Even if she didn’t break their kiss, Conner retreated some, running his hands up her arms instead, tracing her shoulders and gently feeling the line of her smooth neck before he ran his thumb over her cheek, his hand tilting her chin towards his lips as he deepened the kiss, and his other hand made contact with the thick waves of her hair, appreciating how soft it was between his fingers.

Conner had forgotten about everything except for the way Tessa felt, and the way she tasted. He would have been content with kissing her in her kitchen for the rest of the night, and the way she seemed welcoming gave him the impression that she wouldn’t mind that either. Unfortunately, the rest of the world had different ideas. Their kiss was interrupted as a car backfired somewhere outside. Conner thought nothing of it, it was just a noise, but it was a noise that caused Tessa to jump, and it was then Conner who released a disgruntled growl as her tooth nicked his bottom lip, drawing blood.

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