Lady Hideaway Ch. 08byBlulady©
Conner sat up straight in his usual chair across from Tessa at the dinner table. They had finished eating almost an hour ago, but the plates were still in front of them and Tessa was still poking at a piece of carrot with her fork, staring blankly at the glass of water in front of her.
Her long locks of strawberry blonde hair was tied neatly behind her back, a few stray strands against her face, trailing down over her shoulders. The expression she wore was one that seemed unreadable to Conner, but he noticed that every once in a while her face would twist into a scowl- but only for a second before that blank look took over again. He wasn't really sure what to make of her current demeanor, or how to proceed. He was getting worried.
She had been like that for at least twenty minutes.
Not a word, not a glance in his direction. He had tried to talk to her the first five minutes of this 'mood' she was in, but gave up when it seemed like everything he said irritated her. She seemed to stab into the carrot a little harder every time he spoke.
But she wasn't angry, although, all of her body language and the silent treatment may have said otherwise. Conner knew better. Tessa was struggling. He had learned early on that she tended to pull away when something upset her. At the moment, Tessa was trying to avoid just that. She was attempting to gain control of her emotions, and sort out what it was that had brought this on in the first place.
Tessa's current uneasiness was Conner's fault and he knew it. But he wasn't about to apologize for it. When he brought up the idea of spending a three-day weekend with Tessa he hadn't exactly been expecting her positive reaction, but that's exactly what he got. Tessa thought it was a great idea, so for a few moments Conner felt relived. They hadn't really spent so much time together before. He had slept over a few times, but eventually Conner would go home or go to work. He thought that three whole days, uninterrupted might have seemed like too much for Tessa.
But it wasn't. Tessa had been looking forward to the idea, and even decided to take an extra day from her usual work on Monday so they could spend the time together. It was Conner's next suggestion that brought on the silent treatment, even if she wasn't purposely trying to block him out. Tessa just needed to think.
Conner had spent the last week thinking about his relationship with Tessa. It was a relationship, but not like the ones he had in the past. In some ways, that was a good thing. In other ways, it could be bothersome. He knew that Tessa had grown a lot since he had first encountered her, and maybe he shouldn't press the issue, but damn it, he was ready for more.
Conner loved going to her house, sharing her secluded little world with her. He loved that he knew that she'd always be there, and he loved that when he was there, with Tessa, they shared their own private world, if he didn't count the surprise visits Katrina seemed to be making more frequently. But the younger sister was growing on Conner, if only a little bit. Conner considered Katrina the obnoxious sister he never wanted. Regardless of small setbacks, Conner was happy with Tessa, but it wasn't enough to just share her little world, he wanted her to share his life too.
The idea of asking Tessa to go away for a weekend seemed out of the question, although Conner could still use the vacation. But regardless, he knew he wanted to spend the time with her. Only, he wanted to do it somewhere else. He would have preferred somewhere where the weather wasn't over ninety degrees. Maybe a nice trip to the mountains. But obviously, mountains were out where Tessa was concerned. He'd managed to get her to go outside into her yard but he doubted that he could get her in his truck and on a road trip. So Conner suggested the next best thing, somewhere where he thought she'd be comfortable. He asked her to come home with him.
As far as Conner was concerned, it wasn't an unreasonable request. For Tessa, leaving her house at all was unreasonable. The moment Conner mentioned it her doubts about their relationship entered her mind again, but Conner had waved them away. He made it clear that he was only asking her to think about it. He also pointed out that he wasn't asking her to go cross-country, just over a few blocks. He insisted that he could bring her back any time she wanted, he just wanted her to see where he lived.
Tessa, for her part, had started to object at the beginning but he had cut her off to go into his speech. By the time he was finished she was abusing the carrot and was entirely non responsive when he spoke to her again. Conner decided that he would be patient. He probably would have rethought being patient if he had known he would be worriedly staring at her for twenty minutes while she seemed to shut down.
Conner finally sighed and cleared his plate from the table. By the time he washed his plate, filled Desy's water bowl and looked back, Tessa was still in the same position, only she was now just holding the fork, and had decided to have mercy on the leftovers. He decided that the silence had gone on long enough and as he moved back to the table he gently dropped his hand on her shoulder. Tessa startled and dropped the fork as she spun around to glare at him. She knew he was there but she hadn't been paying attention, and he still managed to surprise her. She more annoyed with herself than Conner for this.
"Sorry." Conner mumbled and began to pull his hand back, but before he could, Tessa placed her and over his and urged him to stay. She smiled, but it was somewhat forced, Conner could tell.
Tessa shook her head.
"I'm sorry Conner, I was just thinking."
"About what?" he asked as he helped her from her seat. Tessa glared at him again, because he knew full well 'about what.'
"I just need more time Conner." She stated. "I told you before, I don't know if I'll ever be ready to leave here. It's become safe to me, not that I don't trust you, but...I guess I'm not so sure I'm ready to see what the rest of the world has turned into in the last five years."
"It's not the rest of the world Tessa." he laughed, "It's just my house."
"I know, and a big part of me wants to go with you...but another part, I guess I don't know if I'm ready, or if I ever will be. I don't expect you to wait Conner..."
He quickly cut her off with a finger on her lips and tried not to sound as frustrated as he felt.
"I'll wait." He said flatly. "If you're not ready, fine. I already told you that I'd be just as happy to spend this weekend here with you. But that doesn't mean that I'll stop asking. I want to take you home with me. There are so many things that I'm ready to share with you, including my home. I know you're scared, but I'm not. Whether you think so or not, you'll be ready Tessa, one day, you will, and I'll still be around when that happens."
Tessa's next smile was less forced, but she still seemed troubled. She believed that Conner believed he'd still be around, but she was less optimistic. She cared for him more than she ever thought possible, but she was well aware that their relationship could only go so far unless she started to give Conner more of what he needed. After all, she couldn't imagine putting up with her if she was in his position.
It wasn't like he had made a huge request, Tessa thought. In fact, something as small as going to his house was completely reasonable, at least it would be in most situations. And Conner had already done so much for her by just being himself. She desperately wished that she could be there for him, just as he was for her. But she was afraid, and she hated that her fear could destroy the present most meaningful relationship in her life. If only she could give him this one thing, the only thing he had ever even asked her for...
Tessa was pulled out of her thoughts when Conner dropped both hands on her shoulders and slid them down her back as he pulled her closer. She sighed and leaned into him, burying her face against his chest. She felt safe every time he held her, so why was she so afraid?
"Let's not worry about it any more tonight." Conner insisted, "You'll let me know when you're ready."
After a few moments she tiredly nodded into his chest.
"You'll still stay here tonight, wont you?"
He pushed her back slightly and smiled down at her before dropping his lips over hers and teasing her to open before his tongue gently explored her mouth. Slowly Tessa closed her eyes and Conner felt her begin to relax against him. He tightened his grip on her to hold her up, even though he was beginning to feel a little weak in the knees himself.
"You're stuck with me." Conner smiled as he gathered her close and hugged her again.
"Good." Tessa sighed, and then gently pushed off of him and grabbed his hand. "Lets go to bed."
Conner glanced towards the clock over the stove and laughed.
"It's only seven o'clock Tessa, I hope you don't want to sleep away the whole weekend."
Tessa briefly glanced over her shoulder as she led him from the kitchen, but it was long enough for Conner to notice the blush that had warmed her face.
"Who said anything about sleeping?" Tessa softly replied.
Conner swallowed and refrained from further comment. Tessa always seemed to surprise him when he least expected it. Maybe that was because so far he had allowed their relationship to progress at Tessa's pace. He didn't want to pressure her into anything that she wasn't ready for, and he felt slightly troubled as he wondered what she had planned and why. In no way did he want her to do something because she felt guilty about not wanting to go home with him.
Once Tessa had securely locked them in her room and turned to face Conner he was looking at her with a questioning gaze, but seemed to be debating whether or not to say anything. Tessa's smile slowly faded and she took a step forward.
"What?" she asked accusingly.
Conner looked momentarily surprised but then smiled.
"Sorry." He sighed, "I just want to make sure that you don't think you have to do anything that you're not ready..."
"Conner," Tessa interrupted, "I just got through telling you what I'm not ready for." She sounded frustrated, but caught herself and then smiled again, "Look Conner, what you said earlier...you don't care where we are, you just want to spend the weekend together, well, I want to spend it together too. I guess I'd just rather do it here. That doesn't mean I wont think about what you asked me. But right now, I don't want to think about it."
Conner studied her for a moment before he let out a breath and nodded. He decided that he was thinking way too much. He had Tessa for three days and he should be enjoying it. He held out his hand for her, letting her know that he wasn't about to argue and she happily took it and pulled him towards her bed.
Conner cleared his throat to get her attention and then smiled.
"What did you mean exactly, about not sleeping?" he asked.
Tessa blushed, causing his grin to widen, but she quickly recovered by rolling her eyes and commenting, "Do I need to write out directions for you?"
Conner's eyes widened and he opened his mouth to say something as she started to giggle, but instead he settled for tackling her onto the bed while his fingers mercilessly tickled her. As Tessa laughed and squirmed beneath him Conner decided that he would have to tickle her more often. He liked the effect. He liked it more when she suddenly wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down for a kiss, and she continued kissing him until his tickling turned into soft caresses and relaxed cuddling. They only pulled away when it became essential to breathe again.
Conner caught himself staring at her as he lightly hovered. He realized that he stared a lot, but he didn't blame himself. Tessa really was beautiful, as far as Conner was concerned. He noticed more beauty in her every time he saw her, and at the moment she was looking at him just as intensely, her face was flushed and her hair had fallen loose, and the small smile curling her lips said a million things to Conner. He was so busy staring at her, thinking about how lucky he felt that he only half paid attention when she spoke again.
"I know I'm not ready for a lot of things Conner." Tessa said, "But, when I'm with you, I want to be. I love you."
Conner blinked, and then just stared again. For a second there he thought that he had imagined her words. He watched as Tessa chewed her lip, silently, and then as she shifted nervously and a concerned look crossed her face. It was about then that Conner realized his face had gone blank and he quickly shifted his weight and leaned on his elbow as Tessa sat up to face him.
"Sorry." He smiled, "You just surprised me."
"Oh." Tessa frowned. "Okay."
Conner shook his head and quickly grabbed her hand before she could make an escape, and it looked like she might do that at any moment.
"I love you too." Conner blurted, sitting up with her, "I was surprised because I always figured that I would be the one to say it first, and even then, I didn't exactly expect you to say it back," Tessa frowned, so he quickly added, "not right away, at least."
Tessa studied him for a minute and then smiled and leaned forward to gently kiss his cheek.
"I love you Conner." She whispered to him.
Conner leaned his forehead against hers and felt himself melt. He had forgotten how it felt to hear those three words from someone who felt the same way he did.
"I love you, Tessa."
Tessa tilted her head and gently pressed her lips over his, it was a gentle but lingering kiss and Conner found himself wrapping his arms around her, pulling her closer. He closed his eyes and when their lips parted their faces were still lightly touching. Tessa sighed and he shivered as her hands moved up his chest and rested on his shoulders.
"Then make love to me, please."
Conner pulled back briefly enough to look her in the eye, but that was all it took before he was kissing her again. His hands moved through her hair and down her back, resting on her bottom as they moved onto their knees. Conner gripped the bottom of Tessa's shirt and she helped him lift it over her head before he gathered her in his arms again.
Tessa leaned back on the mattress, pulling Conner with her as he sealed his mouth over hers again, lifting her thigh as he settled between her legs and his hands gently moved over the thin material of her bra. Her fingers wandered up his shirt and he shivered as her nails moved over his chest as she slowly worked the material up until Conner moved away to remove it completely as he shifted a bit and kicked off his shoes at the same time.
He caught Tessa's eyes and as if he had spoken, she quickly sat up and leaned into him, tilting her head and dropping light kisses over his jaw line to his ear as he unhooked her bra and slid it off her arms before gently cupping her breasts, rolling her nipples as they became firm between his fingers.
Tessa sighed as his mouth found hers again and his tongue thrust into her, beginning another exploration. Her hands moved over his bare skin, tracing the contours of his chest and moved down his navel until she met the bulge in his jeans. She fondled him for a moment before reaching for the button, but by the time Tessa found the zipper Conner suddenly pulled back and grabbed her hands to stop her.
"Crap." he groaned.
"What?" Tessa frowned, obviously confused.
"Just...crap. Wait here." Conner insisted.
Tessa glared at him suspiciously, somewhat hurt as he pulled away. He saw the look on her face and quickly went back to her, kissing her hard as he guided her back to the pillows.
"I just need to get something." Conner explained, "Just stay right there." he smiled reassuringly and then after another quick kiss moved to the door, unlocked it, and disappeared down the hall.
Conner moved down the stairs two at a time, trying to ignore the pain his jeans were inflicting on his hard member as he quickly buttoned his pants again and went through the house. He made it out the front door and paused momentarily once outside. The sun hadn't quite set yet and there were people out. It just then occurred to him that he was shirtless, barefoot and obviously on display as a few of the neighbors and waved to him. At least two whistled.
Instead of running back inside, Conner decided to put on his happy face, which wasn't very hard really, and he quickly moved to his truck where he dug through the glove compartment for a few minutes before realizing that what he was looking for wasn't there. He looked annoyed for a moment but after reaching under his seat, and finding the box he was looking for, he smiled and moved back to the house as fast as he could.
By the time Conner reached the bedroom again, he almost expected to find Tessa gone, why, he couldn't imagine. It was a senseless concern he discovered, when he found her sitting on the end of the bed wearing nothing but her white panties. He breathlessly smiled at her and dropped the unopened box of condoms on the bed as an explanation before he moved towards her, dropping and stepping out of his pants as he went.
Tessa smiled again and reached for his hand, pulling him back down over her again as she scooted further onto the bed until they were in their original positions and Conner kissed her as he comfortably settled between her legs. His hands moved slowly over her, teasing her skin. His fingers traced around her nipples, causing her to arch slightly towards him, throwing her head back as his mouth moved over her neck and her fingers moved through his hair, cradling the back of his head.
Conner moved his hand over her breasts again, down her naval and gently cupped her mound, coaxing her thighs to part further; he moved his index finger over her panties, tracing the moist folds of her member. Tessa took in a sharp breath and her hips arched towards him in encouragement as she cupped his face and drug his mouth back to hers, nibbling his lips until he opened and plunged his tongue into her mouth, continuing to trace her entrance through her underwear.
He felt her breathing as it quickened and buried his face into her neck, gently suckling as her arms moved around him and her body arched up, her breasts pressing against his chest as if she were attempting to somehow mold them together, her hips lifting, wanting more than his teasing hand.
Conner smiled at her again and gently kissed her mouth as he slid his hand into her panties, cupping her bare mound now as Tessa closed her eyes, willing herself to settle down as she softly moaned against his mouth and two of his fingers guided the lips of her member apart while he traced the slick line between her folds, fondling her sensitive nub between his fingers until she arched again. She gasped as he pushed one finger into her, slowly withdrawing and pushing in again, feeling her walls throb around him. His free hand hooked in her panties, guiding the material down as Tessa lifted her hips. Conner removed the unnecessary garment and tossed it aside.
Tessa sat up and watched as Conner's eyes drifted over her body. She didn't necessarily feel like she was being appraised, and it wasn't as if he had never seen her before, but something about the way he was looking at her now caused her to freeze in place. It felt different. Special. It felt like he didn't even see the scars that Tessa had to look at every day. Maybe it was because he had said he loved her. She felt loved. She knew that she really did love him, she had for a while. It was guilt that kept her from saying it before. David. David was the only other man she had ever really loved, but that was a different kind, although her heart still felt like she was trying to sort out the difference.