tagInterracial LoveYour Love Ch. 02

Your Love Ch. 02

bycnhemingway©

Thanks for all of the positive feedback! Definitely didn't expect such a good response. I'm currently looking for an editor so if anyone knows a good one I'll gladly use it. Here's part 2. Again don't be stingy with the criticism. I'm sure I need it.

*****

"This is home." Stephen said softly as he opened the door to his apartment.

Christina stepped in slowly, trying not to show her nervousness. She tried to give the room a good look but she was too focused on how close Stephen was standing behind her. Her eyes peered down to the hair that rested on her shoulders as she watched it move from his breathing. She had to speak up or God knew pass out from holding her breath. She looked around quickly trying to find something to talk about.

"It's nice." Christina stammered.

Stephen wondered if she had noticed its lack of feminine tough. He felt the need to explain.

"She's very traditional in some ways, insisted that we don't live together until we're married. So that probably why it looks like a bit of a man cave." Stephen felt like an idiot as he could hear the unsteady nerves in how own voice.

Christina showed clear surprise on her face, she didn't think she could handle that. She wasn't sex crazed but a girl had needs!

He watched her face in response to his words and he wanted to laugh. He liked that she was so transparent.

"I said traditional in some ways." He replied to her unspoken thoughts and Christina felt a little ashamed at being caught.

"I'm going to get the telescope, feel free to look around."

With that Stephen walked off and Christina was left standing alone in his living room. She looked around at the open the space and was actually pretty impressed. She slipped her heels off and placed them next to the door before touring the room. The wall on the opposite side of the room was an entire glass window peering over downtown Raleigh. It was beautiful. He had a huge flat screen TV mounted at the center of an otherwise undecorated white wall. There was a black coffee table in front of cracked brown leather couches. Definitely a man cave but still classy in a minimalist kind of way. She turned to see the wall behind her that was expertly covered in framed drawings. All of the frames were identical, a dark polished wood. She looked closer at the art that each frame held. Some were parks, some were buildings, and there were a few blue prints. She noticed that all of drawings were done on napkins from various hotels and restaurants. In the corner of each napkin were the initials ST and each one had a different year. I bet he's an architect. She liked that they had been framed and displayed like a huge work of art.

As Stephen stepped in the next room he closed the door behind him. What the hell was he doing? He didn't know which was worse; that he had another woman in his apartment or that he didn't feel at all guilty about it. Should he? Sure he was engaged but none of this felt wrong. The day after he proposed to Catherine he had confessed to Ben, his best friend and best man-to-be, that he didn't feel engaged. Shouldn't he feel taken or something? Ben had laughed and told him it was just because it was new. It would sink in eventually. But it hadn't. It had almost been a year since he'd gotten one knee in front of Catherine and he still didn't feel like he belonged to her or that she belonged to him. It was like they were actors, just pretending, none of it was real.

But Christina...she felt real. Tonight he had felt more of a connection to Christina than he had the entire time he knew Catherine. It may have just been because she was clearly going through the same pre-marital blues he was but they were definitely on the same wavelength. She needed something, something he was hoping he'd be able to give her. Even just for a night.

Stephen walked over to the closet and moved some clothes out of the way.

"There you are." Stephen said softly. His telescope. His baby. Most people thought he was kind of a nerd because of how protective he was of it, they just assumed it was because it had a price tag of a whopping $3,000 but it was so much more than that. It was the last gift he ever received from his Dad. When his Father presented it to him for his 20th birthday he couldn't have given a rats ass about the damn thing. He had only gotten into astronomy because of his Dad and if he wasn't going to be alive to share it with him he didn't care much for it anymore. After his stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis his Father tried harder than ever to distract Stephen with the stars but he couldn't put his heart into it. It took home months after he buried his father to look into it again, but once he did Stephen became obsessed all over again. He remembered why he loved it, and he always felt a little closer to his dad when he was peering into the heavens. To everyone else he was looking at planets, but to Stephen, he was visiting someone he loved and missed.

Stephen knew it wouldn't be as special to Christina but he'd hoped she'd at least see the beauty in tonight's meteor shower. Catherine had only ever saw "falling rocks".

He walked it carefully out into the living room and saw Christine admiring his wall of sketches. He set down the telescope facing the window and snuck up behind her.

"What do you think?" He asked.

"They're amazing. I'm assuming you're the artist."

He blushed, "I wouldn't say artist. But yea I did them."

Christine smiled at his sudden bashfulness. "Is this what you do?"

"Yep. Surprisingly you caught my apartment on a clean day. Normally the place is covered with sketches and crumpled up trash." Stephen laughed as she smiled at his admission of messiness.

"Oh God!" He jumped, "I'm awful, I didn't offer you anything to drink. I have beer, crappy wine, water."

Christina laughed, "Umm, I'll take crappy wine."

He disappeared into the kitchen but continued talking, "The guy at the store said this was their best selling bottle, but I feel like any wine under $20 is probably shitty."

"Totally not true!" Christina laughed as she responded. "Quite the opposite actually the best wine is usually the cheap stuff."

Stephen walked back into the living room and offered her the glass as he sipped from his own.

"Wanna help me set it up?" Stephen asked as he gestured to the telescope.

"Sure! As long as you know I have no idea what I'm doing."

He placed his wine on the coffee table and she did the same with hers. They walked over and he carefully picked up the telescope as he asked her to open the glass door to the balcony. Once they were outside in the chilly air Stephen began twisting and turning various knobs, She smiled as she watched him work. It was clear he knew what he was doing and it was always a secret turn-on for her to watch a man submerse himself in his hobby.

Stephen checked his watch and smiled. "Almost time, just another minute or so."

"When did you get into this?" Christina asked. Stephen was taken aback by the question. It's not that it was an unusual question to ask someone with a hobby, it was just no one had ever asked him before. Nobody really wants to hear about astronomy.

"My Dad." Stephen began, "He taught astronomy at NCSU. I grew up looking at stars and planets. It was our thing." Christina smiled and his stomach fell. God she was beautiful.

Stephen noticed lights in the sky begin to move. He grabbed her shoulders and turned he around to see. Christina was stunned. All at once shots of light were moving quickly across the sky. She'd never seen anything like it.

"Here," Stephen spoke up. "You can see them more close up through the telescope."

Christina moved to look into the eyepiece trying carefully not to move it from the position Stephen had so carefully placed it in.

"Oh my God Stephen." He loved hearing her say those words. "It's beautiful."

"Yea it is." He replied partially under his breath and definitely not talking about the shower.

"I can see why you're so into it." Christina continued. "You want to hear something kinda stupid?"

Stephen nodded at her while she looked up at him sheepishly.

"My Grandmother passed away when I was 19 years old." Her face began to grow sad as she remembered the day. "For a while after she died I always thought that the closer to the sky I got the closer I was to her."

Stephen's heart began to thump harder in his chest.

She continued, "I had a friend who worked at the airport and he would sneak me onto the roof to see the planes take off at night. There was this one building where if you stood on it no matter where you looked you were surrounded by the sky. It felt exactly like being in heaven. I'd go there when I missed her a lot."

Who WAS this girl?

"That's not stupid." Stephen said seriously.

Christina didn't know what she was feeling but somehow sharing that intimate fact with him felt closer to cheating than if she had just tossed him on the couch and screwed his brains out. She was showing him a part of her Jackson didn't even know existed.

He could tell their thoughts were in the same ballpark. Was this still cheating? Even if we haven't touched?

Christina felt her heart almost stop as he looking straight into her. He could see everything she was thinking, feeling, and saying without opening her mouth. Could he tell that she wanted him to kiss her?

Yea, I can tell. He thought. But he wouldn't do it until he knew she wouldn't regret it. He needed this just as much as she did but it wouldn't be worth it if she couldn't face him or herself in the morning.

"Music." Christina said abruptly, interrupting their silent conversation. Stephen looked confused for a moment.

"I'd like music."

"Umm ok, I'll be right back." Stephen walked back into the apartment and Christina breathed again unaware the oxygen had left her body.

Stephen returned as quickly as he had left and he had his iPhone in his hand with some music app open. What would you like to hear?"

Christina shook her head, "Oh it doesn't matter, whatever's fine."

"Well it depends on your mood." Stephen smiled. "Are you feeling aggressive? Angry? Calm? Cheesy? Celebratory?"

Stephen continued to read the list of mood options of alphabetically. She heard quite a few that described her emotions right now. Happy. Mellow. Sad. Spacey. Where was "sexually frustrated borderline bridal cold feet"?

"Spacey," Christina stated interrupting the rest of the list, "spacey's good."

"Spacey it is." Stephen responded as he began the playlist. The music started in and she immediately regretted it. It sounded like something from Woodstock and she was in no mood for hippie music.

"Here," Christina said reaching for his phone, "let me try."

Stephen handed it over and waited while she looked through music selection.

"Got it!" She exclaimed excitedly.

Stephen waited patiently and then heard a soft snare drum come in with violins.

"What is this?" He asked.

"Bossa nova." She began, "Think Mad Men on holiday."

It was soft but danceable and he needed a way to relieve the tension they were clearly both experiencing. He reached for her hand and she smiled and took it without hesitation.

"Let me just tell you right now," Stephen started. "I have no idea how to dance."

Christina grinned before she responded, "Well then this should be fun."

Neither knew how to dance but they made up their own moves and within minutes were perfectly in sync. Their dancing led them inside and around the living room. He placed his hand in the small of her back and led her around the coffee table right before he dipped her and brought her back up. He did his best Latin lover impression causing Christina to burst out laughing.

She needed this, this silliness, they both did.

She laughed harder as he walked her backwards into the kitchen and then spun her around and led her into the small dining room. Secretly she was relieved the overwhelming sexual tension they had felt on the balcony had left and was replaced with the sweet humor that radiated from them both. He loved dancing with her and she loved spinning until he was a blur around her. Finally in the midst of one of her spins Christina collapsed backwards in his arms causing him to fall into a plant behind them. They burst into laughter before checking the damage.

It was that God-ugly ficus plant Catherine's mother had bought him.

"Oh my God!" Christina exclaimed amidst her breathless laughter, "I'm so sorry!"

"Don't worry about it. I was planning on tossing it anyway, I just need a good reason and now I have one." Stephen looked down at the pile of soil and the shattered pot. Screw it. He thought. It's not going anywhere. He stood up and grabbed her hand and led her into the next room.

"Come here," He said excitedly, "I wanna show you something."

They were both still out of breath from their vigorous dance routine and the music was still playing in the background.

Once he dragged her into the room that served as his "chill room" as he called it. He flipped on the switch but instead of light filling the room stars lit the ceiling. It was his very own starry sky. She was floored. It was almost as beautiful as the real thing.

"The weather doesn't always permit for outside stargazing so sometimes I have to bring it in here." He smiled as he watched her walk through looking at the faux stars, there were hundreds of them, clearly he was going for an almost exact replica. "Go on, sit down."

She looked at the center of the room to find that he had fashioned a huge pillow hammock that hung from the opposite walls. She fell in backwards and was immediately jealous. It was better than her sleep number bed at home. He fell in next to her in the opposite direction. His head lay next to her knees as they both looked up.

"Hold on, it gets better." Stephen rummaged around in the mountain of pillows that lay under them eventually having to slip his hand beneath her butt. She jumped at the unexpected contact. As her face rose her nose touched his. And they both audible inhaled. She hadn't expected him to be so forward so suddenly.

Stephen smiled.

"Easy girl," He laughed, "Just looking for this." He slide his hand from under her and revealed his actual intentions. He waved a remote in the air. There wasn't a television in the room so she was confused until he pressed a button and noticed a changed in the stars. They began to glow a bit brighter and even started to change colors. Blue, green, red, yellow, purple. Christina laughed; it took away from the realistic element but it still looked pretty cool.

"I have a two year old nephew so I had to hardwire it for his amusement as well." Stephen explained.

"What's his name?" Christina asked.

"Thomas, he's pretty much the coolest kid I know." Stephen laughed. "Do you have any nieces or nephews?"

"One, her names Olivia. She'll be two in January and she is already a huge diva."

Stephen smiled at the thought of Christina with her niece.

Stephen touched the ball of his foot to the floor and began to rock the hammock and they continued to talk about everything under the sun. He told her about his Dad and the night he died. She shared the personal stories of her depression after her grandmother passed, or what she called her "self destructive years". Stephen told her about his tattoos and she told him how she wanted one but neither her parents nor her fiancé would approve. They told jokes, experiences with bad dates, and how they met their fiancés. They talked and talked until they drifted quietly off to sleep beneath their personal starry sky.

Stephen saw the sun before he even opened his eyes. It burned through his lids. He wasn't ready to wake up because then it meant his perfect night was over.

When he first met Christina in the bar he had been under the impression that what they both need was good sex, the kind that made all outside problems seem obsolete. But what they ended up experiencing was far more satisfying.

He reached for where her hand should have been and felt nothing. Did she fall off the hammock? Stephen's eyes flew open and he jumped up instantly worried she had hurt herself, but she wasn't on the floor either.

He crawled out of the hammock and walked into the living room. He looked into the room and saw no sign of her. Their wine glasses weren't on the table, and the broken pot and dirt were gone. She had cleaned up and left. He hadn't even kissed her. And he wanted to. Badly.

He was heartbroken. Not that he had a right to be. She wasn't his and he wasn't hers. Hell, two weeks from today it would be assured that she would never be his.

Stephen sighed and sat on the couch. What the hell was he supposed to do now? How do you move on from a night like that? He'd have to. Especially since he was supposed to be picking up Catherine and her mother in a couple of hours. He looked down at his watch. Nope, one hour. Fuck.

Stephen stood up and headed to the shower. He knew he'd be distracted for the rest of the day but he'd have to find some way to listen to drawn out stories of cake, flowers, and tulle. He wondered what time Christina had left and what she was doing right now. Was she thinking about him?

And about 20 miles away Christine was wide-awake in bed and she was indeed thinking about a certain man, and it wasn't the man whose arms she lay in.

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