She saw him for the first time in months. Immediately she noticed the effects of his proximity. Her color heightened, her breathing increased, her breasts rising and falling rapidly, though she struggled valiantly for cool composure. Her body was awash in heat, her nipples tingling, sending sparks of electricity straight down to her toes and back up again, centering in the pit of her stomach where a host of butterflies swarmed, increasing her initial anxiety upon seeing his countenance again after so long gone. The intense heat turned to a chill, blood leaving her face, the cold rippling her flesh as her mind raced through the possibilities to explain his presence.
Maureen staggered slightly as she stood frozen in front of him. How could he show up at her doorstep after months of trying to forget, months of sleepless nights, week upon week of sleeping on a tear-dampened pillow, and mere days before she and her current boyfriend\'s anniversary? Memories flooded back as she stared stupidly at him; their initial meeting, the weeks of flirtation, the feelings he easily evoked...and the tender, passionate love-making, everywhere they could manage, but always sweet and giving, a soul re-uniting. And lastly, flashbacks of her pain, of waiting for him, of sneaking around friends to be able to see him.
"Are you alright, Maureen?" His soft voice wafted through her wool-gathering haze, drawing Maureen back to the present, guiding her effortlessly, as he had always done - he, her rock, her love. She shook her head lightly to clear away the cobwebs of her past.
"Y-yes," She stammered, a light blush spreading across her pale cheeks. She gripped the door harder in her left hand, the doorjamb tightly held in her right, willing these solid structures to give her strength, to keep her aright when her own legs seemed set to fail her. She looked inward for a moment, forcing herself to be strong; surely she couldn't still be in love with him, not after all this time, after all the pain he put her through. But deep down, she knew the truth. Staring into his concerned chocolate brown eyes, she saw a reflection of the good times of the past, and knew her initial reaction was certainly not fear.
"Maureen," He gently said her name again, a slight chuckle inflecting his voice, the voice she had loved so. "Are you going to stand there spellbound, or let me in and out of the cold?" His words snapped her reverie, and quickly she moved aside, letting him in, closing the door determinedly behind her. Be strong, she reminded herself firmly, crossing her arms and putting a carefully contrived blank expression on her face. Let's see what he wants, at least. Surely it's just my slight infatuation attempting to reinstate itself.
Joshua watched her carefully as he shrugged off his coat and folded it over his arm. Ever the polite hostess, Maureen came forward to take his jacket, bringing it to the closet. Immediately Joshua had read her face, her body language, and came to accurate conclusions before Maureen even knew he had been watching her in that "brooding way" he had.
She had always accused him of reading her mind, but in fact, he was simply so wrapped up in her that nothing escaped his notice; she was all he could think of. Especially today, right now. Seeing her again was like bringing food to a man on the brink of starvation. He craved her, wanted her. Had to feel the silk of her hair against his shoulder, smell her light perfume, and taste the magic of her lips... He grinned ruefully at himself when he realized the directions his thoughts took. She's weary, he thought, seeing the added lines on her youthful face, the careful way she walked. He noted the barely hidden pain behind her eyes, the droop of her usually confident stance, and the scarcely noticeable black smudges under her eyes. And he began to feel ashamed. I haven't been here for her as I ought, he admonished himself tightly. She needed me, and I wasn't here, only her so-called boyfriend who apparently is too involved in himself to notice anything amiss. His lips twitched in unsuppressed amusement as he contemplated the pitiful competition he was pitted against.
Maureen turned back from closing the door in time to see his grin, and couldn't help but feel again the intensity of furiously beating wings inside her belly at the well-known and loved twist of his lips. She peered at Joshua through her lashes, trying to ignore the masculine look and feel and scent of him. She shifted nervously, staying away from him as though he was a magnet that she couldn't get too close to for fear his pull would be too strong and pull her straight into his embrace. His confident smile seemed to grow wider as she watched, and she took a small, unconscious step back.
"Why are you here?" She blurted out, too wary of his closeness to be less blunt and more polite. He cocked a brow, fully aware of her predicament.
"I had to see you," he said simply. "It has been far too long, and yet every night, you are the last image I see. Every day, your face haunts my mind, your voice a repeating harmony in my head, your perfume forever vibrant in my senses. I couldn't stay away any longer." He could see that she didn't quite believe him, though he knew she wanted to. I've hurt her, he admitted bitterly to himself, in the past. But this time, it will be different. This time, she will get from me what she deserves; everything. She loves him, but not enough to rid her of her own love - her love for me.
Joshua stepped forward, his steady, caressing gaze pinning Maureen to the spot. Her ragged breathing automatically increased, her traitorous body eager for any touch - mental or physical - that he might so lovingly give her, eager for any sign that he might speak the truth, fervently praying to have his scent grace her nose once again. She watched him warily, calling on her sharp tongue, her only weapon to keep him at bay.
"You never wanted to see me when we were together," she flung at him acerbically, the hurt she had buried for so long suddenly welling up, almost consuming her with grief. "You didn't care that I waited for your phone call every single night, waited long after the time when you said you'd call, until I\'d run on only 4 hours of sleep. You didn't care that I needed you, and you weren't here. You didn't care that I...." She stopped as she registered the look on his face. His eyes were dark, glittering with barely suppressed anger, his handsome face hard with tension. She stepped back again, only to hit the wall, and she stared at him almost fearfully as he advanced on her, his masculinity filling the entryway, making him even more imposing. She swallowed nervously as he stopped in front of her, but she kept accusing eyes on his own, determined not to back down. Joshua's arms were suddenly on either side of her head, his palms on the wall, trapping her, forcing her to listen. She licked her lips unconsciously as she waited, afraid of what he would say, but having a fierce need to hear him out nonetheless.
"Do you think," Joshua growled out quietly, his muscles almost shaking with repressed tension, "that I wanted to do that to you? That I wasn't aching to hold you, comfort you, talk to you, even about the mundane things? GOD, Maureen! Couldn't you see? Didn't you know?" He broke off with a harsh curse before setting his lips possessively on hers, his mouth moving, seeking, reminding her of their intense need for each other. She shifted beneath him as if to push him away. Instead of heeding her timid plea, his desire flared, fueled by his anger, but controlled by his love. His hard, demanding, punishing mouth suddenly became soft and loving, caressing her sweet lips with a passion that they had both forgotten. It was her little mewl of surrender that made him lift his head, a triumphant smile on his face, his eyes glistening with released passion as he stared at her, his heart in his eyes. They were both breathing heavily, and finally, Joshua asked quietly, "Do you believe me now?"
Maureen raised her eyes to his, two fingertips touching her tender, slightly swollen lips in wonderment before replying dazedly, "Why don't you come in and we'll talk about this." Joshua smiled, knowing that he had won the first battle. Now it was a simple matter of winning her back.... But I'm always up for a challenge, he thought, smiling still, following her into the living room, his gaze on her gently swaying hips. She chose to sit in her favorite, tall-backed chair that faced the fireplace. Not to be intimidated, Joshua grabbed a nearby footstool and neatly set it down in front of her, contorting his tall, lithe frame to fit comfortably on the small piece of furniture. Unwilling to lose his slight advantage, he gingerly reached out and grasped one of her cold, clammy hands in his warm, comforting palms, cradling her hand between both of his, attempting to soothe her.
"I did not expect you to be so distraught, Darling." He said softly, treating her like a shy woodland creature yet to be tamed, one which needs to be dealt with patiently, calmly, and lovingly, but most important of all, slowly, so as not to frighten. Maureen turned her head towards to flickering flames, gazing at them, unseeing, as the past continued to infiltrate her heart, soul, and mind, making her oblivious to the subject of her wanderings which sat right in front of her. Her body began to shiver, despite the heat emanating from the hearth as she recalled all of the past experiences she had had with Joshua.
Slightly worried, the man known to her as Joshua comfortingly rubbed her hand between his own, attempting to radiate body heat through friction. He could easily envision other types of friction he would like to pursue with her, and he stifled an aroused groan. His manhood was already rising to the occasion at the familiarity of Maureen. The sight of her loose hair cascading wildly down her shoulders, the light from the fire bringing out every nuance of color in the dark chestnut mane made her look as though she had just risen from a bout with a lover. Her glassy blue eyes, staring at the mantle, attested to the same. Her light sandalwood vanilla fragrance was completely her own, and seemed to waft around him like a cool summer breeze on a hot, humid day; something to ensnare the senses and send the receiver into a sort of numbness from which one only recovered when Maureen left the vicinity. Her loose, billowy top and tight, boot-cut jeans emphasized her voluptuous stature, even when sitting, and though from this angle, Joshua could see only but the barest peep of the tops of her creamy white breasts, it was enough. Combined with everything else about her, he was rock hard with no way to hide it. His own thoughts drifting to their previous lovemaking, he eyed Maureen, his keen gaze not showing any hint of his arousal.
Meanwhile, Maureen had been sifting through the seven months of their relationship. How he was, at first, an extremely attentive friend and lover. How he could bring chills to her entire body just by whispering her name in her ear. How he always surprised her with a gift whenever he saw her, whether it was a wildflower he passed on the walk over, or reservations to the beach at sunset. Joshua always knew how to woo her. A few months in, things began to change. Her love grew stronger, but his attentions waned. She couldn't get an answer from him about what was wrong, or what was going on, but instead secured a promise freely given, that he loved her more every single day. Those times that they were together were the most magical of her life. He always knew how to make her feel as though she were royalty, and even just thinking about their time spent together, goose bumps again tingled up and down her spine. She closed her eyes and bent her head, remembering more.
Joshua would go off for longer and longer periods, not bothering to tell her when he would be gone. She would show up at the designated meeting spot, ready to meet him, and he would never show. When he re-appeared, all he had to shower upon her ears were profuse apologies and repetitive declarations of love, which she was starting to doubt, although she didn't let on to the fact. Maureen's face showed pain at her inner thoughts, and she opened her eyes again, looking directly into Joshua's steady, concerned visage.
"You being here..." Maureen tried to explain, "It's dredging up a past I thought was long gone and buried. Now I have brought out the bones of our relationship, and it causes me no end of sorrow. Both the original feelings, and the leftover ones that consume me now, are your doing. You cannot expect me to jump for joy with your return, can you?"
He flicked a glance at a crackle of the log, ascertaining that there was no danger of the hearthrug catching fire from a rogue ember, before looking into her pain-filled eyes once again. "Aye, I know it was me that caused you such heartache, Dearest. But I am here to make up for my past mistakes, and reunite our lives for a permanent future together." He spoke solemnly, and she didn't doubt that he spoke in earnest. He had always been a man of his word, determined to do whatever it took to get the task at hand done. Maureen shook her head in incredulous disbelief, leaning forward in her paisley patterned chair to look him directly in the eyes.
"What we had between us? It's over, Joshua. It exists no longer. My pain of the past is simply regret of what might have been, and what now can no longer be." Joshua cocked a lop-sided grin, making her heart jump again. "You will deny, then, that you still have feelings of any sort for me?" He asked, almost cocky in his unspoken assumption of her innermost feelings.
"Yes, I will!" Maureen told him fiercely. "I'm done with you. I'm done with your unexplained absences, done with seeing all these other girls vie for your attention, not knowing if I'm being cheated on or not! I know you told me you didn't cheat on me, but my God, I can only take so much! Especially after you started not showing up, and didn't even call to let me know! It ruined some of my trust in you, and then to see other girls acting so... so brazen with you... I couldn't take it anymore, damn it!!" Her tirade ended by her lack of breath and lack of confidence in containing her tears, Maureen buried her face in the palms of her hands, drawing her knees up to place her elbows on.
Stunned, Joshua sat still for a moment, trying to catch up with the train of thought that was Maureen's. I can't believe she's been carrying all that pain with her for all this time, he thought, desperately seeking a way to comfort her. Finally abandoning any pretense of courtship, he rose, gripping her forearms and pulling her close to him, embracing her tightly, trying to ease her hurt. At the show of his protectiveness that she had missed so much, her defenses finally came down and she began to cry, first just small sniffles, and then finally all out sobs, soaking Joshua's shirt. He tenderly combed her hair with his fingers, soothing her in the way only he seemed to know how. His other arm rubbed gently up and down her back, easing the bone-racking sobs. Only when her breathing seemed to return to normal did Joshua lean back slightly, cup her chin in his hand, and tilt her face up to his. Her red-rimmed eyes, swollen nose, and blotchy face did not bother him in the slightest; in fact, it made him feel powerful, that he was able to get through her defenses. Unthinkingly, he lowered his face to hers, pressing a kiss to the tip of her nose. In that moment, he was lost once again in her.
Maureen's eyes opened wide as Joshua's lips lowered to her face, and her thoughts were rapid and sporadic. Does he mean to kiss me? But that means I'll be cheating on my boyfriend. But I want him to so much. But I've been with Shawn longer. But I love him so.... In the second after Joshua's lips touched her tender flesh, she knew she was gone. Recklessly, she tilted her head up before he could move away, tentatively touching her moist lips to his own, massaging, remembering, taking it slowly, as he did so long ago with her. Her hands crept delicately from their position between their two bodies to drape themselves possessively over Joshua's shoulders, pulling his shoulders lower so she could taste more. Maureen's fingers curled in the short hair at his nape, controlling him as she delicately licked the seam of his lips, flicked her tongue teasingly into the crevices at the corner of his mouth. Joshua uttered a hoarse groan, his hands going to Maureen's hips, feeling them again, relishing his delight in being able to touch her once more.
His hands dug roughly into her buttocks, pulling her close to the core of him, allowing Maureen to feel his hardness, his eagerness for her and her alone. As though they were made for one another, they fit perfectly together, and Maureen moaned into Joshua's mouth as her full breasts pressed tight against his male body, stimulating her hardening nipples. Joshua took over the sensual kiss, dipping the tip of his tongue into her heavenly mouth, curling it as he traced all the way around the inside of her lips, withdrawing at the corner to press a light kiss to her swollen lips once again. He shifted his weight, grinding himself into her belly, appraising her of her situation. But Maureen didn't stop. Instead, she pulled his head back down to meet hers, her senses gone with the fever of desire, and kissed him deeply, her tongue twining around his, coiling, dueling, until he knew not which tongue was whose.
"You know," he gasped, cradling her neck in his heavy palm again, "for someone who was so determined that they were done with me...." his voice trailed off suggestively, his eyes searing with the light of his purposeful passion. Although his steady gaze disconcerted Maureen a little, the love she thought, and had prayed fervently, to be rid of, now bubbled valiantly to the surface like boiling lava, a true testament of her overwhelming love. Hoping desperately that her body had simply taken control of her senses, she let the tide of emotion wash over her, carrying her to wherever Joshua would take her.
Her lack of vocal response made Joshua's heart soar. At least I have some sort of reaction proving that she is not as indifferent to me as she would like to pretend. Exhilarated at the idea, he pulled her to him fervently again, her soft body making him groan in his throat as he kissed his way from her mouth, up her cheekbone, and to her ear, where he swirled his warm tongue around the outer shell before suckling the delicately shaped lobe. Maureen shivered in his passionate embrace, and her response made him all the more eager. I am not a randy school boy, he reminded himself primly, nibbling his way down her slender neck to the V where throat met shoulder. I am her former lover, her friend. And I'm going to remind her why we always felt magic together. His roaming hands caressed her everywhere they could reach, his body delighting in any response from her.
"Your groans, my love, are a sweet melody to my ears, one that I had thought to never hear again," he murmured against her satiny skin, lost in her.
"And your touch... it feels as though we've only been without the other for a day..." Maureen said breathlessly, her head tossing to the side as his nimble lips made short work of her sensitive areas.
Joshua swept her up into his arms, moving deliberately toward her bedroom as Maureen twined her arms around his shoulders, wide-open eyes glued to his as he lowered his head to kiss her again before whispering "I'm going to make love to you, Maureen. I'm going to remind you of what we have, of what we will be again. I'm going to bring back your memories of our nights together... and I'm going to make you groan my name in the throes of ecstasy...." Maureen mewled low in her throat, her entire body tingling at his passionate declaration and the awareness of her body pressed wantonly to her old lover. Curling her body upward, she pressed eager lips to his throat, hot kisses that she knew always drove him wild. Her tongue danced on his skin before her lips pressed roughly to the heated flesh. Before she was even aware, Joshua had nudged open her bedroom door with a broad shoulder, kicking it shut behind him with his booted heel.