Forbidden Ch. 03byDawnJ©
I kicked off the slingbacks and threw my shaking body on the bed. Oh my God, I had kissed a total stranger, and only my very Victorian upbringing had stopped me from begging him to come in and take more than my mouth. This was never supposed to happen. I didn't want to have an affair. I wanted to be faithful to Alex. Oh God, Alex! I hadn't called him all day. And I couldn't call him now, not in this state. He'd know something was up, and he wouldn't rest until he found out what it was.
I scrambled off the bed, in a fit of nervous energy, and stripped down to my birthday suit. The person who stared back at me in the full length mirror on the closet door was tall for a woman, five nine to be exact, fair skinned and chubby. Her breasts had lost their youthful perkiness, and her belly was not flat, had never been, in fact. I turned sideways and viewed my rear end. Wide hips and a full bottom did nothing to change my view that I was fat and certainly not comely. So why, I wondered in a panic, as I entered the bathroom, was Ben Mandeville interested in me? Most men I knew only paid attention to women who were svelte and sexy, and nothing about my body even hinted at that description.
More importantly, I realized, was the question of how I was to extricate myself from the situation I had put myself in by entertaining a perfect stranger, no pun intended. I tried to wash away the feel of Ben's hands from my shoulders and back, and of his lips on my face. But no amount of scrubbing could take away the feel of his mouth on mine. I brushed my teeth vigorously, hoping the taste of toothpaste, that normally I hated, would replace the taste of his tongue in my mouth. I hadn't realized, till I let him kiss me, how miserable I had become with Alex, and now I knew I needed to do something about it if I was to salvage our marriage. I thought, as I rubbed lotion into my skin, that it was a good thing I didn't know where Ben lived or how to contact him. Until I was firmly back on my emotional feet, I needed to keep as far away from him as I could.
Feeling more in control than when I first came in, I picked up my cell phone and dialed home. The phone rang three times, and on the fourth ring, the answering machine picked up. I heard my voice and hung up. It was eleven o'clock; I'd try again at midnight. There was still nothing on television, except soft porn and reruns. I shut it off and picked up the book I had fallen asleep over earlier in the day. Perhaps I was too keyed up, but the book did not hold my attention, and I finally gave it up after a half hour's struggle. Now I had thirty minutes to wait before I tried calling home again. I shut the lights off and lay in bed, wishing I could relax, but every sensual minute of my evening with Ben played over and over again in the movie theater of my mind, seeming more and more lurid with each play.
Ben, the man who, at any other time, would have been just what I needed. Ben, the man about whom I knew about as much as I knew about my dentist, for whom I harbored nothing like the emotions I was struggling to suppress now. Ben, who touched every sexual nerve in my body with his killer dimpled smile, his deep voice, his tall, broad-shouldered, muscled body, his sensual good looks, the knowing way he made love to me without touching me. How was I going to get on with my life if I couldn't get him off my mind?
I suddenly recalled that he had sent me flowers, yellow flowers for friendship, the card had said, and I hadn't thanked him for them. I'll write a note and leave it at the front desk, I decided. So I sat up in bed, switched one bedside light on, and used the hotel stationery to compose my note. I noticed the chocolate confection he had bought me for dessert and spooned it into my mouth as I wrote.
"Dear Ben," the note began, "thanks for the flowers. Here's to friendship. Bronwyn Kerr." Or how about "Ben, the flowers are lovely. To friendship. Bronwyn." Or maybe just "Thank you for the lovely flowers. Bronwyn Kerr." I thought the last one sounded more like my style, so I rewrote it carefully, stuck it in an envelope, and sealed it. I wrote "Dr. Benjamin Mandeville" on the envelope, and placed it carefully on top of the television, next to the key card. I knew I wouldn't forget it that way. Then I sat down to wait to make my call again. At midnight when I called, I heard my voice again on the answering machine, and I became a little disquieted. However, this time I left a message. "Hi, it's mom at midnight. I'll call again in the morning." I called Alex's cell phone but it went directly to the answering machine. I left a message there too.
My dreams were troubled that night, mixing Ben and Alex in an explosive combination that always had both men beating each other to a pulp, or otherwise hurting each other badly, while I stood helplessly by and bawled. I was powerless to keep them away from each other, and they inevitably destroyed each other. In the last nightmare before dawn, Alex blew up Ben's car with him in it. I woke up crying hysterically, and could not stop. It took me a good five minutes to realize it had all been a dream. By the time I was sufficiently awake and aware, the sun had begun to peep up from the horizon. I washed my puffy face, brushed my teeth, and called home again. Still no answer. Now I was really worried. Where could they be? What if something had happened to Alex? To the kids? My cell phone rang, and I jumped to pick it up.
"Hi, honey," Alex's warm voice said in my ear. "We ate out last night and took in a late movie. Dad and kids bonding. So we were asleep just now when you called. How are you?"
"I'm fine," I lied. "Missing you all, but I really did need this time away. I'm allowed to do absolutely nothing all day long, if I want." I tried to inject enthusiasm into my voice, so he wouldn't guess there was anything wrong.
"I was planning to come up last night for a little time alone with you," his voice became low and sultry, "but I was too tired to drive when we finally got home. The kids had me out all afternoon shopping. Maybe I'll come by today, and we can come home together tomorrow."
I hesitated for the fraction of a second, and then said, "Just make sure you call me so I'll be here when you get here. I was thinking of doing some touristy things today." My face flamed at the way I had already learned to dissemble.
"I can't come up before noon, anyway, since I have a meeting with the boss. I'll call you when I'm on the road. Love you, honey," he ended.
"Love you, too, Alex," I said, wondering if that was another lie.
Because I hadn't slept well and had tossed and turned for most of the night, I had awakened feeling slightly sore. I remembered that I had been in the gym yesterday working out, and I had planned to go back this morning, but I was too afraid to run into Ben Mandeville again, and I needed to stay as far away from him as I could. So instead, I called room service and ordered juice, rolls and butter and hot chocolate for breakfast. Then I took a shower, and slipped on a thin blue boat-necked summer dress and sandals. I brushed my hair, left it hanging about my shoulders, and put gold hoops in my ears. I was switching channels on the television when the doorbell rang and I heard "Room service!" I opened the door without checking first and Ben stood there with my breakfast tray in his hands. He walked past me into the room and put the tray down on the table by the TV. He was dressed in dark blue sweats that matched his eyes.
"Look," I said angrily, to hide my immediate and overwhelmingly sensual response to him, "please go away and leave me alone. I can't be friends with you!" I kept the door open, waiting for him to go.
"Can't be?" he echoed, looking me dead in the eyes as he spoke. I tried to hold his gaze and couldn't.
"Please go, Ben," I pleaded, my anger dissipating like mist in sunshine. My hands shook on the door handle as he approached me, and just when I thought I was home free, he stopped, directly in front of me, and asked,
"Why can't you be my friend?"
What could I say? "I'm a married woman," I began. He stayed where he was. I heard a door close down the hall, and fearful of being seen in the doorway with a man who wasn't my husband, I closed it quickly, with him still inside. I missed his smile, immersed as I was in avoiding his gaze. He said nothing, but remained immobile, arms crossed over his chest.
"We did things last night that two people not available to each other shouldn't do," I continued, trying to move away from him towards my rapidly cooling breakfast. Still he said nothing, though he moved to block me.
"Ben, please!" I begged. "Don't do this to me!" I found the courage to look him in the eye as I made my last attempt to keep things rational. "How would you have liked it if someone like you had tried to do with Jackie what you're trying to do with me?"
I hit a nerve. I could tell by the way he straightened his shoulders and by the sharp intake of his breath. I braced myself for anger, knowing that I deserved whatever was coming. I had encouraged him to think he could kiss me and it would be okay, knowing that he wanted me, and knowing that I was never going to give in to him.
"I guess I deserved that," he said in a low voice, surprising me. He looked solemnly at me and continued, "I know you don't want me to kiss you again, but if I don't get to taste you one more time I'll go quietly crazy. Kiss me back, Bronwyn, please, for all the kisses we'll never share again. I promise never to bother you again until you are ready to talk to me, but I need something to help me wait."
He looked into my eyes, bent his head and touched my lips with his. I wanted to keep mine closed, but the longing I felt for him, and the deep sadness I had in knowing he was right, and that I would probably never see him again, and knowing I didn't want to let him go, loosened my resolve and I opened my mouth. He plunged inside, doing with his tongue what I was dying for him to do with that other part of his body, wrapping me tenderly in his arms, caressing my shoulders, sliding his hands over my waist and hips.
"Baby, hold me close," he begged against my mouth, "like you'll miss me when I'm gone, the way I'll miss you." His voice was a hoarse groan. I obliged, raising my arms and hugging him to me, abandoning myself to this final embrace. My eyes filled with tears, and he licked them off my face, kissing me in every spot that a tear touched.
"Oh, Ben, I'm so sorry," I cried into his shoulder. "But thank you for making me feel beautiful and desirable." When he would have spoken, I stopped his words. "Don't say anything, please. Just kiss me goodbye."
He molded me to his body, holding my hips in his hands and pulling me up and into him, letting me feel his need. I tried to squirm out of his arms, but he held me close, and pushed his hips against me, all the while kissing my face as though to keep the flavor of it in his mouth forever. I submitted, moaning and writhing against him, feeling the need to take this to the next level spreading inside me like wildfire. He pushed me up against the bathroom door, cradling my face in his warm hands, kissing my mouth, sucking my tongue, nipping at me, pressing himself into me and making me weak for him.
I felt myself building to a climax, so I dragged my mouth away from his, my whole body shaking with longing and guilt, and dropping my arms, I tried to push him away and said,
"Oh, God, Ben, say goodbye now, before it's too late for both of us! I want you so badly, if you don't let me go, I won't..." I pushed against his chest again, unable to finish my sentence.
He looked at me through deep blue wells darkened with emotion, his chest heaving, and finally he loosed me, cleared his throat, and said, "Goodbye, you!" He opened the door, then turned back to look at me with storm in his eyes, and said, "If you were mine, I'd keep you so busy loving me that breath couldn't get between us!"
I watched him pass through the door, and met his eyes as he speared me with one last look of passion and longing, and then he walked away. I closed the door, still trembling violently from the need he had aroused in me, a need he could never assuage. I walked disconsolately to the chair by the French window and sat heavily in it, admitting to myself that the only one I wanted to meet the needs I had awakened with Ben was Ben. How could I face Alex later, knowing I had this inordinate and heartfelt desire for another man I'd only met the day before? And did this mean I didn't love Alex any more?
My troubled thoughts kept me rooted to the chair, unable to move. I had forgotten the breakfast I had ordered and I noticed it as my eyes swept the room. I knew I needed to eat, or a headache would sap my energy for the rest of the day, and I didn't want Alex to come and find me in bed with a headache. I took the tray and returned to my seat at the window. People were already swimming in or sitting by the pool, and as I ate cold rolls and butter and drank lukewarm juice, I wished I had the confidence to join them. Suddenly, I saw Ben's sister, clad in a high-cut bikini of deep purple, walking beside the pool. She put her towel down on a vacant lounger and slipped into the inviting blue water. I strained to see if Ben was around, but she seemed to be alone.
I wondered what he was doing, and where he was, and whether he had already found another woman to take my place as his 'friend'. I was surprised at the sharp jealousy that burned in me, and shook my head to clear it of the troubling thoughts. The water for the hot chocolate was lukewarm so I had to reheat it in the microwave before I could empty a packet of cocoa powder in it to make the hot chocolate. The milk was now warm enough not to cool it. I sipped hot chocolate and wondered what touristy thing I could do till Alex came. This was a resort town, so there would probably be stores to window shop in downtown. I decided to take a cab to city center and walk until my legs hurt. That would make up for missing the gym, and might help me forget how much I wanted Ben Mandeville, and how much I dreaded Alex's arrival.
Just as I was about to take the tray back to the table, Ben walked into my view. He was wearing black swimming shorts, and he spoke briefly with his sister before putting his towel with hers, dropping his shirt, and going over to the deep end. He dived into the water and came up ten seconds later halfway down the length of the pool. Water poured off his head, and glistened on his wide, tanned shoulders. He shook his dark hair and tilted his head to get the water out of his ears, smiled at his sister, flashing those deadly dimples, and turning over, backstroked his way to the shallow end of the pool. I couldn't take my eyes off him, and my need for him started me shaking again.
He swam the length of the pool ten times before stopping, using a number of different strokes, not all of which I recognized. Then he pulled himself up to sit on the edge while his sister tried to do what he had just done. He seemed to be timing her, since he kept looking at his watch. I guessed that this was a part of the training program for her event, and I wondered if she would be participating in the triathlon. There was a big event in the town that weekend to benefit a national cancer research foundation, and I wondered suddenly if Ben's wife had died of cancer.
Suddenly, I became aware that he was looking directly at me, his hands on his hips, water glistening on his broad chest. I didn't know what to do, and was saved from embarrassment when his sister waved at me. I waved back, forcing a smile to my lips, and saw him nod briefly, his face unsmiling, before he dived back in and swam away. What had he told her about me? I stood up abruptly, and hurried to leave the room, drawing the drapes before I left. I went down to order a cab, left the "Thank You" card to be delivered, and was handed an envelope. While I waited, I opened it and a business card fell out. "Benjamin G. Mandeville, M.D., Ph. D, Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Neonatology" it read. It gave his office address and telephone number, a fax and pager number, and a home number for emergencies. I turned it over in a daze and saw a handwritten note: "If you ever need me, you know how to find me" it said. He had signed it "Ben."
Oh Ben, I thought, why do I feel this way about you? Why did you have to see me as more than a fat middle-aged woman? How am I ever going to make it without seeing you again, ever? I stuffed the card into my purse and was startled when the doorman said in my ear, "Mrs. Kerr, your ride is here." I thanked him and sat in the car, watching as the driver maneuvered it between other taxis letting passengers off. I asked to be set down in the town square, and after I paid the fare, I wandered down one long avenue after another, looking in windows but seeing nothing, my mind full of the man I had told goodbye a few hours earlier.
When my cell phone rang, I was brought immediately back to the present moment. It was Alex, telling me he was already on his way. We planned to meet at the hotel, and he said he'd be a couple of hours getting there. I sat on a bench on the sidewalk and tried to calm my shaking nerves. I knew I needed to be ready to face my husband, and I knew he would want to do more than sleep in the bed beside me tonight. I had to be ready for him, which meant I had to exorcise Ben. I walked into the next Victoria's Secret store I came to, and bought a red negligee with matching thong. Red was Alex's favorite color on me, and I wanted to do something so outrageous that he wouldn't have a chance to discover how miserable I was.
I took a cab back to the hotel, hoping not to run into Ben, and in my room I took a shower and tried to decide what to wear. The sun was going down, and its last lights cast deep shadows in the room. I switched on the hall light and looked in the closet. The only other dressy outfit I had brought with me, aside from the one I now thought of as Ben's, was a silky black number, calf length, with a skirt made for swirling. I figured I'd go all out, since this was a date of sorts, and Alex and I hadn't been out on a date in years. I needed to set the mood for the evening, as much for myself as for him. I was putting on makeup in the bathroom when there was a knock on the door. I looked through the peephole this time, not wanting a repeat of this morning's surprise, but it was only Alex. I opened the door and let him in.
"Hey," he said, breathlessly, looking me over with a glint in his eyes. He shoved the door shut with his shoulder, dropped the backpack he was carrying, and reached for me. I let myself be drawn into his bear hug, and felt his heart beating hard under my hands.
"Did you run up the stairs?" I asked amusedly, hugging him back.
"Yeah," he said, "because I couldn't wait for the elevator." He bent his head and dropped his mouth on mine, pushing inside and searching for my tongue. I let him have it, reveling in the feel of his arms around me, and wondering at how quickly he had become aroused. His desire was evident in the erection he was pushing into me as he backed me into the wall next to the bathroom door.
"God, honey, it's been so long!" he breathed into my mouth. "I want you like I did when we just got married." His voice was thick with lust, and his hands pushed the hair away from my face. "I've thought about nothing else since I got in the car to come up here," he admitted. "I missed you, in my bed, in my arms. I've missed being inside you," he ended, the hint of a question in his voice.
"You'll get your wish tonight, big boy," I said, laughing indulgently at him. "But I thought we were going out for dinner." I tried to push him away enough to look into his face, but he wouldn't loosen his grip.