Pink Hibiscus Ch. 02byDawnJ©
He watched her, unmoving, till she turned into a room at the very end, and then he walked forward into her kitchen. He went to stand over the sink and looked out into the small backyard. The moon shone down on a little patio, and a lush lawn beyond it. He wondered who did her yard work for her, and when he heard her footsteps, he turned to ask. The question froze on his lips at the sight that met his gaze.
Sam walked toward him wearing the black sleep T-shirt she had been wearing the first time they made love. It hadn't been planned, clearly, since he had surprised her at home, again on a Friday evening. He'd arrived bearing pizza, wine, and pink hibiscus flowers, because she had said she liked them. The scene replayed itself in his mind as she sidled past him and went to look about serving them drinks.
He had grinned at the stunned look on her face when she saw him standing there, and then he'd said,
"Need a little help here!"
Sam had taken the pizza from him, and let him pass her into the apartment. He had followed her into the kitchen, where she had turned and said,
"I...I wasn't expecting company, Theo! I'll just go and change!"
He'd stopped her with a hand on her arm, and when she looked up at him with that look of mingled anxiety and desire, he'd lost his cool. Just a little, enough to haul her up against his hardening body and kiss her fiercely.
"Don't go changing on MY account, sweetheart!" he'd whispered in her ear. "I like this look. It's sexy!"
The T-shirt fell just above the knee, and it was faded and well-worn. The little red fox on the front with the extra long eyelashes was giving him a "Come hither!" look that explained the beckoning paw, and the wink. He turned her around, and looked at the back. Not surprisingly, it read, "Love that sexy vixen!" below a bushy red tail sprouting from a lush bottom.
He had pulled her back into his willing embrace, ravishng her mouth with hungry kisses, fondling her full breasts through the soft cotton, and then, when she had leaned against him in absolute surrender, he had pushed the yielding cloth over her head and taken his fill of her fullness, her ripe sweetness, kneeling before her to sample the luscious juices that he had made flow. They hadn't eaten before he had made her ride a wave of sheer ecstasy with him on his knees, his own raging lust unfulfilled. But he had loved the sound of her orgasm swelling around him...
He blinked when Sam called his name.
"Sorry!" he said, and followed her back into the living room.
"Have a seat, please!" she invited him, and as he sat, she added, "I remember you don't like coffee this late at night. Would you like a beer, or some wine?"
He watched her face color up, and he realized that she recalled the other time she had worn it with him. He couldn't say why he was so surprised that she had worn it deliberately. He knew she was trying to make amends, but he couldn't trust that she wanted more. He remained wary, even as his libido kicked in when she bent over to pick up the remote control for the entertainment system she had installed, and he caught a glimpse of a long, round leg, and the print of a thong. Damn! If she wearing a thong, he was a goner for sure!
"You can control the television and the music with these," she was saying, while he struggled to keep his eyes from glazing over. "You choose." She handed them to him, pointing out the buttons he would need, and their hands touched. Fire shot up his arm, and he trembled as he took them hastily. He wasn't going to rush things this time. She would need to make the first move, and only if he trusted her would he respond.
"So, beer or wine?" Her voice was cool, but he knew, because she would not look him in the eye, that she was far from cool. It made him glow with satisfaction, and burn with desire for more.
"Beer's good!" he said, and deliberately turned his attention to the devices in his handsl. He decided he'd be better off watching television, since he didn't know what kind of music she had stacked ready to play, and he couldn't bear for it to be something they both loved, or worse, something they had made love to. He was struggling to stay aloof as it was, without hot music blindsiding him. He couldn't help but watch her walk away, though, and the ache in his groin grew at the sight of her lush bottom in the shirt. The sight of her long brown legs didn't help him, either, and he tore his eyes away to watch what was on the screen in front of him.
She was back in a two minutes, with a bottle of beer and a brimming stein, and a mug. She offered him the stein, and he took it and sat back. She placed the tray down on the coffee table and picked up the mug. He smelled peppermint.
"What's up?" he asked, eyeing her as she sipped the hot drink. "Upset stomach?"
"I had a little too much to drink last night," she admitted, carefully avoiding his gaze.
Theo couldn't suppress the chuckle that escaped. "You had a HANGOVER this morning?" he asked incredulously, obviously amused. He had always thought she was a bit straitlaced.
Sam lifted her eyes to glare at him. "It's not funny, Theo!" she snapped.
But the tension had been broken, although the sexual awareness remained. Theo took a long swallow of beer, and then asked,
"What was the occasion?"
Sam didn't answer for a moment, and the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. Somehow Theo knew it had something to do with him. He waited, determined not to force any confidences from her.
"I was feeling melancholy," she finally admitted, "and some of my friends were going out for drinks." She sipped her peppermint tea, clearly unwilling to reveal any more.
"Melancholy? Why?" Theo pushed her, wanting answers.
She stood up, and walked away, and Theo took that as a sign that she was retreating, hiding away from him. His jaw tightened, and he said coolly,
"Sorry! None of my business!" He swallowed the rest of the beer in the glass, and bent to empty the bottle into the glass. He felt her standing over him and looked up. Her hands were shaking, and he took the mug from her, put it down on the tray and pulled her down beside him.
"Talk to me, Sam!" he said, and then he let her go, sitting back and regarding her expectantly.
She inhaled deeply, clasping her hands together. "I guess I was more nervous about today's presentation than I realized, and since I had been feeling..." here she looked at him briefly, and he saw the pain she tired to suppress. "I had been feeling very lonely, missing you," she looked at him again, "and between that and the stress of preparing for this presentation...well, I felt overwhelmed. I hadn't seen these friends in a while, and I figured I could forget for a while."
She stood up again, and looked him steadily in the eye, as though she had made a decision.
"I haven't felt safe for a very long time, Theo!" she said. "Everyone either left me or hurt me. I just wanted to protect myself." She sat down again, and took his hand in hers. "But I swear, I never meant to hurt you. I panicked when Doug showed up, and then, when those feelings subsided, and I knew he had been arrested again for violating the terms of his parole, I didn't know how to come back. So I talked myself into believing I was doing this to be independent. I didn't need a man to be happy. I could live without lovemaking. "
She stopped again, and raised his hand to her lips. Theo felt her tears as they fell on his knuckles. She wiped them away with her thumb, and then said, so low he had to strain to hear her,
"But I wasn't happy without you, Theo. I was miserable. I hid it from myself in work and more work. And then you showed up this morning..."
Theo turned his hand in hers and finished her sentence for her.
"I showed up, and you had to face the truth. You had to face me."
He felt her lips on his knuckles. "I'm sorry, Theo! I never stopped loving you, I swear! It hurt me every day to be away from you. But I'm a coward. I was afraid you would hate me, or be so angry with me you would want nothing more to do with me."
By now, she was sniffling, and Theo took his handkerchief out of his inside breast pocket and reached for her.
"Here," he said, and held it up to her nose. "Blow!"
He got the smile he was angling for, as she took it from him and mopped up. She put the wet hanky down on the tray and looked at him again.
"I'll understand if you can't, Theo, but I'm asking you to forgive me. Please!"
"Forgiveness is easy when you love someone, Sam!" he said. His eyes glowed at her, but still he did nothing more than hold her hand. "Is that all you want to ask me?"
"No," she whispered. "I want to know if...if you still..." Her hesitation was a balm to Theo's wounded spirit.
"If I still what, Sam? If I still love you?"
He watched her nod, and finally pulled her close, planting soft kisses on her cheeks, nipping her earlobes, sucking on the vein that throbbed in her neck, slanting his hungry mouth over hers again and again till they were breathless with need.
"What do you think?" he asked hoarsely, lifting his eyes at last to look her.
Theo hugged Sam to him fiercely, wanting to return his mouth to hers, but needing to be sure she wanted him, needing to be sure she trusted him, needing to be sure she wouldn't retreat again. He felt her arms sneak around his waist, and he moved back a bit to push her face up so he could see her eyes. They were full of tears, again, but she was smiling.
"What?" he asked gently, smoothing the hair back from the corners of her mouth, and from her brow.
"The first time you kissed me, we were sitting in your car, remember? Outside my apartment. I had told you I had company, so you couldn't come up for a nightcap."
Theo smiled, and smoothed his thumb over her lips, still damp from his tongue. "Yeah, I remember!"
"I knew, when you kissed me that first time, that you were the one!" She reached up to his mouth and kissed him hotly, as though she wanted him to know he still was.
"The one that got away?" he asked, half seriously, half teasingly.
"No," she whispered. "You didn't get away." She licked his lower lip, and added, "And it's too late to try now."
His upper lip was next, and Theo captured her waywardly teasing tongue and took over the kiss, pushing her back against the cushions and leaning over her to deepen the contact between their mouths. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back fervently, passionately, the little moaning sounds she was making ratcheting up his lust for her immeasurably. He let his hands wander down over her shoulders to the mound of her breasts, and he gently fondled the taut nipples through the thin cotton night shirt. She arched against him, and he adjusted her under him, so that he could feel every part of her against his hard body. He lowered his head and sucked on those tempting nipples through the fabric, leaving two wet spots that made them pucker more when the air hit the cloth.
"Theo!" Sam moaned, writhing under him, and he reined in his lust by a supreme effort of will.
"It's too soon, still, Sam!" he ground out, sounding as though he were trying to persuade himself more than he was her. "Let's take it slow, baby! We want to get it absolutely right this time, okay?"
He could feel her trembling under him, and he groaned and lowered his head for a last kiss. Sam arched her hips against him, so she could feel the hard ridge of him between her thighs, and he wished he could surrender to her obvious need for satisfaction. But this was too important...he would not jump the gun again, for fear of losing her for good. She was afraid to trust, and he wanted her to see that he could be trusted, to see that he would never hurt her. It would be so easy to give her what she wanted, but then he'd have to worry that she would have second thoughts, and wonder if he only wanted her as a friend with benefits.
He forced himself away from the temptation of her warm and willing body, and soft, wet mouth.
"I think maybe it's better if I go now," he said. "Tomorrow is a long day, and you will have an awful lot of grunt work to do, if I don't miss my guess. I should let you get some sleep."
He levered himself away from her and stood up, putting out a hand to help her up.
"Come see me off?" he invited her, not willing to lose touch with her until the last possible moment.
Sam put her hand in his and walked with him to the front door. He read disappointment in her eyes, and steeled his heart to ignore it. She would thank him in the end. He opened the door, and turned to say goodnight.
"Why are you really going, Theo?" she asked, her hand on his arm. "Are you scared I'll hurt you again? Scared I'll run away? I won't. I realize that, after the kind of day I've had, I'm a lot tougher than I thought. And I have had time to think. I've grown up a lot these past three years. Maybe I didn't act like that this morning, but I was hung over, and feeling very vulnerable. It's hard to respond sensibly when you're in panic mode."
Her voice was the reasoned voice of that morning's presenter, but the grip she had on his arm was personal, intimate. Theo made the mistake of looking into her eyes. There was nothing of reason in the desire that blazed back at him.
"Sam," he began, but she interrupted him, and now the woman he loved spoke to him, in tones he understood and welcomed.
"Please Theo, don't leave me like this!"
A dark part of his heart, the part that still held on to the hurt and to the anger of her leaving him, opened itself to the light of her pain. He knew what she was feeling. He had only lived that pain for three years and, it seemed, so had she. There were no guilty parties in their story, only victims. He knew he had reached a turning point, and what he said and did now would set the stage for all future contact between them.
For a moment, the hurt and anger stood in defiance of her heartfelt plea. But her eyes would not let him go, and the pain oozed out, taking the anger with it. He let her turn him round, and watched as she tiptoed up to kiss him again. The kiss was tender, loving, a promise made. He hugged her tightly to his chest and wondered what that wetness was on his face. He moved, trying not to let her see, suspecting that there were tears on his cheeks.
Sam felt him relax, and she breathed a silent sigh of relief. She knew he was right, she did need to rest and be ready for the next day. But she wanted to meet him in the morning as the man she loved, not as the one she had hurt who despised her. She needed to know they could start over, and not carry any of the baggage of the past with them. She pulled away to look at him, and there were tears on his cheeks. She brushed them away with trembling fingers, feeling humbled by the depth of his response, and at the same time so incredibly powerful, because she could move him to tears. The love she had buried in her heart welled up and overflowed, and she didn't know quite how to show him how she felt.
He forestalled her, kissing her fingers and smiling sheepishly.
"It's not what you think! Tough guys don't cry!" he said, denying the evidence on his cheeks. "Must be something in my eyes!"
"I'll show you tough!" she said, and pushed him up against the door. She caught him off guard, and he chuckled as she slid her hands down over the front of his pants. "Wanna play tough guy now?" she asked, arching a teasing brow at him.
Theo groaned, and pulled her hand away. "Don't tease me, lady! I've been without for three long years. If I start now, you'll be missing work for a few days!" he growled. He inhaled deeply and continued, "Let's make a deal, okay. Tomorrow is Friday. We'll meet for dinner after work, and then we'll decide where to go from there. I don't work weekends, no matter WHAT Bob says!"
Sam pushed her hips against his before replying, "As long as I can be with you, I'll go anywhere!" If she were a cat, her words would have been a purr.
Theo kissed her again, because he couldn't resist the sweet temptation of her mouth so close to his. Before he lost the battle completely, he put her away from him and opened the door.
"Baby, I'd better go! Sweet dreams! See you in the morning!"
"How are you getting home?" she wondered, reluctantly letting him go.
"I'll walk to the main and hail a cab! Get some sleep, baby!" He blew her a kiss.
"G'night, Theo!" she whispered as he walked down her front path to the little gate. It occurred to her as he turned onto the sidewalk that she had a car.
"Theo!" she called, and ran down the path in her night shirt. He stopped and turned to look at her, his brow wrinkled in confusion. "I have a car you can use, if you like!"
"I need to walk, babe!" he said, shaking his head. "And you," he added, letting her see the desire that was unabated in his eyes, "need to go back inside before the neighbors see you. Or I change my mind!"
Sam chuckled, and ran back inside, feeling her heart lighter than it had been in three years. She put the mug and stein into the dishwasher, tidied the kitchen and shut the lights off. For the first time in three years, she felt safe. She didn't know when she fell asleep, but she woke up an hour before the alarm went off, her body flushed from the most erotic dream she had had since she had run away. She was trembling, as when Theo made her orgasm, and she remembered, as she put a hand to her flushed cheek, that in her dream she had been in the midst of a sweetly powerful orgasm.
Today at work would be a challenge all over again, but for an entirely different reason. Now she would need to keep her head so as not to reveal the depth of her feelings for the CEO of a company her firm was doing business with. She would have to maintain her most business-like tone, and for that, she would need to avoid Theo all over again. She knew she couldn't be around him for long without slipping, and this account was too important to let her emotions mess it up.
She knew it was too early to get up, but she couldn't fall asleep again, so she got up and went to the kitchen. Maybe she could make lunch to take with her, so she could take a lunch time constitutional and eat while she was out. But as she layered sandwich fixings between two slices of whole wheat bread, she knew that what she was wishing was for to put some needed distance between herself and Theo without hurting his feelings. She had to protect them both from unwanted attention.
As she dressed for work, taking extra care with her hair, and putting on her most feminine business suit, she thought of how much different this morning was from yesterday, and she could not help but smile. The song was right: "What a difference a day makes! Twenty-four lovely hours!" She got to work much earlier than usual, and set up her work station, before going to check that the materials for today's working session were in place. Ellie found her there when she walked in at the regular time.
"You're up early today!" she commented, eyeing Sam's face. "Everything okay?"
Sam knew what she was asking, and nodded happily. "Yeah! But I want to keep our personal life out of the boardroom today."
Ellie nodded! "I know! I'll help if you'll tell me what you want done!"
"Just pull my shirt if I'm too often near Theo, okay?"
As if on cue, Theo walked in the door. He was followed by three other men, who all greeted them cheerily. Sam and Ellie answered in kind, and Ellie walked over and invited them to help themselves to breakfast. Other people drifted in, and Sam walked over to the table to see what was on offer. She knew when Theo came near her -- the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end.
"Morning, beautiful!" he said, his voice only loud enough for her to hear. "Sleep well?"
He piled fruit on his plate, and walked over to the coffee pot.