Peak of Desire Ch. 15byvirgofemme©
*This story is nearing it's end, so just to let you all know, there will only be one more, possibly two chapters left. I'm nearly four hundred pages in now, so it'd probably be a good idea for me to end it soon. Lol..Well anyways, I hope you'll enjoy this installment. Thanks everyone for your continued and wonderful support!!*
Weeks passed and Erica's scars healed, but emotionally she was still feeling a little shaken up. Although she'd filed assault charges against Mia, and hadn't seen any sign of her since the fight, she was doubtful as to if her rival had truly been eradicated from her and Cody's life. Besides taking legal action and changing the locks to Cody's apartment, there really wasn't a whole lot else they could do, so they'd chosen to live their lives without giving in to fear or worry.
Now nearly three months post paralysis, Cody no longer depended on his wheelchair, and was able to successfully walk around using crutches. While full recovery was still some ways off, his quality of life had definitely improved, and this resulted in him having a more positive outlook on life.
The grueling physiotherapy he'd committed himself to had been exhausting and painful, but it was definitely worth it. Through it all, Erica had been by his side, giving words of encouragement and offering her soothing, feminine touch.
Certain days had been especially hard on the both of them, and a few times she'd seriously wondered if their relationship was strong enough to withstand such pressure, but somehow they'd make it through.
Now, as she drove her red Toyota to her parent's house, she found herself feeling hopeful about what lay ahead for her Cody. They'd gone through quite a few struggles in a short amount of time, but they were still together, and it seemed that their tribulations were finally nearing an end. After pulling in front of the Spanish style house her parents resided in, she cut the engine, then glanced over at her lover.
"Ready to meet the parents?"
Wearing a pair of dark slacks, a charcoal colored dress shirt and a black blazer, Cody gave her a look which was apprehensive, yet eager at the same time.
"Would it surprise you if I said I was nervous?"
"Nervous? I didn't even know that word was a part of your vocabulary."
He gave a light chuckle. "I am still human, after all."
"Super human is more like it." Erica languidly slid her palm along his thigh, then offered it a firm squeeze.
"I'm guessing you're referring to my performance yesterday evening."
"You guess right."
She leaned in closer to him, then pressed her lips against his. Within a few short moments their kiss deepened. Cody's fingers threaded into her hair, and Erica caressed the soft bulge beneath the fabric of his pants. He groaned hotly into her mouth, then with sudden abruptness, broke their oral embrace.
"Watch it, girl. You're gonna give me a hard on."
She gave him a seductive smile. "It's your fault I crave it so much."
"Is that right?"
"Yes, it is." Her gaze caressed his masculine form as if he was a piece of candy she couldn't wait to devour.
"Look at you...getting naughty in the car with me. And we're right in front of your parent's house, too." He shook his head in mock disapproval, then said, "Such a horny little thing. You need a good spanking, don't you?"
"Haven't you said that to me before?" She quirked an eyebrow, then continued. "Still waiting for you to make good on that promise."
"Don't worry, I will."
Before either of them could say another word, a chime emitted from Erica's cell phone. After retrieving it from her purse, she clicked a button to open the message.
~Should we still expect you two lovebirds for dinner, or are you gonna suck face all evening? :) ~
The first text was quickly followed by a second, which Erica eagerly read.
~Don't worry. Your father didn't see a thing ~
Mortified by the fact that they'd had an unknown observer, Erica felt her face grow hot. Noticing the inquisitive look on Cody's face, she clued him in as to the text message sender.
"It's from my mom. She saw us kissing."
"Oh, great. Now she's gonna think I'm some overly horny, disrespectful guy."
A crooked little smile graced her lips. "You got the first part of that statement right."
"Look who's talking. You're the one with restless hands."
Her face creased into a wide smile, then she opened the door and exited the vehicle. After Cody got out of the car and grabbed his crutches, the couple made their way to the front door. Barely two seconds after ringing the bell, the door swung open, revealing Erica's mother.
"Hey, you two." Giving them a friendly smile, she ushered them into the house. Holding a margarita glass, she said, "You must be Cody. I'm Stevie, Erica's mom."
"Nice to meet you, Stevie." Maneuvering clumsily on his crutches, he made an attempt to offer a handshake.
"Don't worry about shaking hands, sweetie. We're not the formal type. And besides, Erica's told me a lot about you, so I kinda feel as if I already know you."
"She's told me about you as well. It's great to finally meet you."
"Likewise. So come on in, make yourselves comfortable."
The vintage hippie dress she was wearing flowed around her as she turned, and as they reached the living room, she gestured for them to take a seat on the wicker sofa.
"Can I get you two some margaritas?"
"Sure." They answered in synch.
Stevie's lips curled into a smile. "Be back in a few."
No sooner had she walked down the short flight of steps that led into the split level kitchen, did Erica's dad enter the living room.
Cody rose to his feet, then offer his hand in greeting. "Hello. I'm Cody, Erica's boyfriend."
"Nice to meet you, Cody. I'm Darrell."
After clasping hands with Cody, Darrell gave his daughter a kiss on the cheek. "Good to see you, honey. How are things?"
"Good. Glad to hear."
Taking a seat in a wicker arm chair, Darrell directed his gaze at Cody. "So, have things been going okay with the physiotherapy?"
"Yeah, It's been coming along pretty well. I don't need a wheelchair at all anymore, and my legs are getting stronger everyday, so pretty soon I won't even need these crutches."
"Fantastic. That's good to hear."
Cody gave a nod in response, then said, "Erica tells me you're a musician."
"Not professionally, but I enjoy it as a hobby. I keep a day job as a yoga instructor."
"Are you into yoga?"
"Not at all."
Clearly amused by Cody's straightforwardness, Darrell smiled. "Erica's quite good at it. Has she told you?"
"She's mentioned it."
"And she hasn't tried to get you into it?"
"Not as of yet, but I'd be more than willing to give it a go."
Glancing at his daughter, Darrell said, "You'll have to bring him by my yoga studio sometime, let him get an idea of what it's all about."
"Why, so you can torture him?" Erica asked in a joking tone of voice.
A light laugh emitted from Darrell's mouth. "I'll go easy on him, I promise."
"Sure you will, dad." She offered a smirk.
Erica's mother entered the room with a wooden tray of margarita glasses, and after setting it down on the coffee table, she handed one of the cocktails to Cody.
"He *definitely* wants to torture you. Don't fall for it, Cody," Stevie said.
He offered a little chuckle in return, then sipped on his margarita.
After handing a glass to Erica, Stevie twined her finger in one of her daughter's ringlets. "Your hair looks great, sweetie. I love it when you go natural."
"Thanks." Erica accepted the margarita glass, then had a taste.
After taking a seat in a chair next to her husband, Stevie gave Cody and Erica a lingering glance. "You two make a real cute couple."
"You think so?" Asked Erica.
"Most definitely." She tipped her glass to her lips, and after taking a drink, said, "So how have you been feeling, Cody? You doing alright with the physiotherapy?"
"Yeah, it's going well, thanks for asking."
"No problem. I'm happy to hear you're recovering so quickly." She had another taste of her cocktail, then said, "How about you, pumpkin? You been using that aloe vera I gave you for those bruises?"
"Faithfully. The mark on my stomach is still there, but it's gradually fading. And you can't even see the bruises on my neck or face."
"See? I told you it would work. By the way, you haven't seen that witch around, have you?"
"Nope. And hopefully it stays that way."
Shaking her head in dismay, she said, "That nutcase should be in a mental hospital. The fact that she's still running the streets loose is truly disturbing."
"Tell me about it. I know she's been ordered to stay away from me, but I can't shake the feeling that sooner or later, she's gonna pop up out of nowhere and attack me again. Just thinking about it gives me the heebies."
Cody looped an arm around her waist. "She won't come near you, I'll make sure of it."
Comforted by his embrace, Erica rested her head against her man's shoulder.
"You two really have been through a lot these past few months," said Stevie. "And the fact that you're still together is pretty amazing. Couples have broken up over a lot less."
"I know. Makes me realize how lucky we are to have one another," Erica said.
Taking hold of her hand, Cody threaded his fingers through Erica's. The display of affection brought a smile to Stevie's lips, and after finishing the last of her margarita, she enthusiastically spoke.
"The food should be just about ready, so why don't we take our places at the table?"
They all made their way out to the patio, and after Darrell and Stevie brought out a platter of enchiladas and a large bowl of salad, everyone sat down at a glass topped patio table.
After devouring dinner, they enjoyed peach ice cream with a slice of pound cake, and once the last bit of ice cream had been spooned into his mouth, Cody gave a sound of contentment and leaned back in his chair.
"I'll take that as a sign you enjoyed the dinner," said Stevie.
"It was delicious. Thank you so much."
Her face lit up at his compliment. "You're very welcome."
"I second that opinion. You really outdid yourself, mom."
"Glad you enjoyed, sweetheart."
She rose to her feet and started stacking the dishes. Not wanting to be rude, Cody stood up as well, grabbing the empty salad bowl and a few cups.
"Don't worry about it, Cody. I've got it under control," Stevie said.
She gave a nod. "Erica can help me."
"Guess that's a clue to get off my butt and help you out, huh?" Erica asked.
A smile tugged at Stevie's lips, and carrying a stack of dishes, she headed back into the house.
Darrell rose to his feet as well, then offering Cody a glance, he posed a question. "While the women are cleaning up, why don't we hang out in the den? I've got a few acoustic guitars in there I think you might be interested in checking out."
"Yeah, sure," said Cody.
Knowing fully well that this was just an excuse for her father to grill Cody in private, Erica offered a little smile. The look on Cody's face, however, was not one of amusement, but rather uncertainty. Finding it cute that her lover was nervous, she gave him a look of reassurance.
"See you in a bit." He gave her an awkward kiss on the corner of the mouth, then followed Darrell into the house.
After collecting the enchilada platter and salad bowl off the table, Erica joined her mother in the kitchen.
"I see your father went off with Cody," Stevie said. "Time for interrogation, huh?"
"Yep. Hopefully dad isn't too hard on him."
"Cody's a tough guy, he'll pull through just fine."
After loading the dishwasher and cleaning off the counters, Stevie poured two cups of mint julep iced tea. Then they headed back outside and took a seat on the cushioned patio sofa. Various brightly colored paper lanterns were strung up, filling the backyard area with cozy, glowing light.
A mild summer breeze caressed their skin, and after sipping their minty beverages in silence for a few moments, they launched into conversation.
"I've gotta say, I never expected you and Cody to last this long."
"Don't hold back mom, tell me exactly what you think," Erica replied with biting sarcasm.
A sound of amusement passed her lips. "Don't get me wrong, sweetheart. It's not because I don't think you're worthy, because you definitely are. But when you first described him to me, I thought, oh boy, she's in for quite a ride."
"Pretty accurate prediction, don't you think?"
"Yeah, I'd say so."
She gave a little sigh, then said, "These have been some exhausting times for us, and sometimes I wish we could rewind and start from the beginning. But then I realize that all this crazy mess we've been through has actually brought us closer."
"I can tell how much he cares for you. The way he was holding you, and the look in his eyes..." her voice trailed off, and a pleasant smile came to her lips. "He loves you, pumpkin."
"You think so?"
"He hasn't said it yet, though."
"He's probably working up to it. Give it some time, he'll eventually tell you." She took a sip of her iced tea before once again speaking. "It took your father eight months to say it to me."
"Yep. He wasn't very open with his feelings for quite awhile. It took a lot of coaxing to bring him out of his emotional shell."
"From the way dad is today, I'd never imagine it. Lucky for me, I don't have that problem with Cody. He's a pretty affectionate guy."
"I can see that. It makes me happy you're with a man who treats you well."
Directing her eyes at a glowing pink paper lantern strung from a lemon tree, Erica noticed a moth which was flying beside it. Mesmerized by the light from within, the moth repeatedly bumped against the paper lamp, creating a faint noise that carried to Erica's ears.
Just like the moth, she'd been hopelessly drawn to Cody. Hot and fierce from the very beginning, theirs was the type of love that some people waited a lifetime for. Yet it seemed that the level of passion they enjoyed had come at a price, for which she hoped they'd paid in full. Finally turning her gaze away from the paper lantern, she saw that her mother was intently studying her.
"What?" Erica's voice was tinged with curiosity.
"Just thinking of how amazingly resilient you are. Cody really is lucky to have a woman like you by his side."
"That's nice of you to say."
"It's the truth." Stevie finished off the last of her iced tea, then said, "So, when do your dad and I get to meet his mom and sister?"
"They're in Arizona right now. Won't be back for a visit until next month, but once they come to town again, I'll let them know and we can set something up."
"Cool, I'm looking forward to it."
They chatted for another half hour, then headed into the house to refill their drinks. When Cody and Darrell finally appeared, both Erica and Stevie halted their conversation and directed their attention toward the two men.
Judging from their body language, Cody and Darrell seemed fairly at ease with one another, and Erica saw it as a good sign that they had gotten on well.
"Welcome back, you two," Stevie said with a smile. "Can I pour either of you some iced tea?"
"No thanks, I'm fine." Sidling up beside Erica, Cody wrapped an arm around her waist.
"I'll take some," Darrell said.
After pouring him a glass, Stevie handed it to him. "So, what kind of conversation did you two fellows have?"
"Oh you know, the usual type of stuff a father asks his daughter's boyfriend," Darrell said.
"I see." With a twinkle of amusement in her eyes, Stevie turned her gaze on Cody. "He slip in any thinly veiled threats during your conversation?"
A sound of amusement passed Cody's lips, yet before he could respond, Darrell spoke up.
"You mean did I take out my shotgun and start cleaning it in front of him?" He offered a pause, during which his wife gave a chuckle. "Naw, only reason I would bring out ol' Betsy, is if he breaks my baby's heart."
"Oh Darrell, stop." Stevie waved her hand at him in a playful way.
"Only joking, of course," Darrell said to Cody. "I'm probably the most anti-gun person you'll ever meet."
"Good to hear."
Erica's father gulped down the remainder of his iced tea, then addressed his wife. "Actually, things went pretty well between us. We talked for a bit, jammed on the guitar, then came out here. It was pretty laid back, right Cody?"
"Yep. Not trying to suck up or anything, but you really are quite a skilled guitarist."
"I could say the same of you. Your dad taught you well."
"Yeah, he did." A small smile spread across his face.
"That cake you made was really good, mom. Think you can spare a few slices for me and Cody to take home with us?" Erica asked.
Stevie cut two thick pieces off the loaf of pound cake, then put the dessert in a square Tupperware container and handed it to her daughter.
"Thanks. Well, I guess we'd better be getting on the road. Thanks for dinner, it was great."
"You're welcome, honey."
After embracing her mother, Erica hugged her dad, then watched on as Cody said his goodbyes to her parents. They all headed for the door, and once out on the porch, Stevie and Darrell offered parting waves.
Yet even before she had reached the bottom of the porch steps, Erica noticed that something wasn't right. Hurrying towards her car, she saw that the windshield had been smashed in.
"No, this can't be....she couldn't have." Wishing it weren't true, yet having the visual evidence right in front of her, Erica felt her body flush with anger. "That bitch!"
Erica's parents headed for the driveway, and upon reaching the car, stared wide-eyed at the damage, the soles of their sandals crunching against the bits of glass on the ground.
"You've got to be kidding me," Stevie said. "She actually followed you here?"
With anger clear on his face, Cody retrieved his phone from his pocket. A few moments after placing the phone against his ear, he spoke into the receiver.
"I need to speak with Detective Hanson," he said in a curt tone of voice.
While Cody spoke with the detective, Erica and her parents stared in dismay at the car.
"This lunatic...what's her name again?" Darrell asked.
"Mia." Merely speaking her rival's moniker left a bitter taste in Erica's mouth.
"And just what exactly are the terms of her probation?"
"Besides being ordered to stay away from me?" She offered a humorless chuckle, then said, "Anger management classes."
"A lot of good that's doing," Stevie said. "She's clearly beyond intervention."
A deep furrow had appeared between Darrell's eyes. "She needs to be in jail, or better yet, a psychiatric hospital. People like her shouldn't be free."
"That's just what I told Detective Hanson. I told him she would come after me again, but did he listen?" Shaking her head, she emitted a scoff. "This is completely ridiculous. They'd better catch her ass quick, and this time when they put her in jail, they need to keep her."
Seething with anger, she could hardly think straight. She let loose a sound of frustration, then raked her hands through her hair and loudly said to no one in particular, "Why is this happening? Why can't we just have a normal relationship without all these creeps harassing us?"
Feeling helpless, irritated, and completely exasperated, Erica plopped down on the steps that led up to the porch, then buried her head in her hands. Stevie sat down beside her, then wrapped am arm around her, pulling her into an embrace.
"She is *not* getting away with this. This time we're going to make sure she gets the maximum penalty."
"Yeah right, they'll probably just give her another slap on the wrist." Her voice came out sounding muffled.