The Retreat Ch. 06


He couldn't believe what he had seen. Jess, his Jess, making love with another man! It had been all he could do not to follow them and beat her lover to a bloody pulp. The only thing that had stopped him was the knowledge that she was the one at fault. Her boyfriend obviously didn't know she had been seeing Nick behind his back.

Nick turned on his side on the bed and let the tears roll freely. He lost the last of his innocence that night. His transition from youth to adulthood was accomplished alone, with bittersweet memories of Jess crowding his mind...

Nick was jarred back to the present when Jess sighed softly in her sleep and snuggled closer against his side. His heart constricted painfully in his chest as she settled again. He had loved her that night ten years ago. His love for her now was infinitely greater. Now, he had experienced the supreme joy of making love to her. Now, he knew with the certainty of ten long years of loneliness that she was the only woman for him. Now, she might be carrying his child.

Whether he could trust her was a moot point. Even knowing the way she had betrayed him didn't stop him from loving her. For the first time in his life, he felt utterly powerless, and that terrified him. He closed his eyes and said a silent prayer to the heavens. God help him! If, in two days time, Jess walked out of his life again, Nick knew she would take any chance of his future happiness with her.


Jess woke in the wee hours of the morning, trembling from her disturbing dream. Nick was snoring softly beside her, and she released a shaky sigh of relief. In her dream, New Year's day had arrived. Nick packed his things, gave her one last kiss and grinned down at her.

"Like I said before, Jess, you are one hot fuck. See you around sometime."

Then, he got into his car and drove away, never giving Jess a backward glance. She collapsed into a miserable heap, sobbing her heart out as she watched his taillights disappear. She had woken up, crying softly into her pillow.

She swallowed hard as she strained to see his face in the dark. They had only two days left of their scheduled vacation. Jess didn't know if she was capable of letting Nick walk out of her life a second time. She had to find out what had happened between them before. Time was running out. Nick seemed to care about her, but then she had believed that ten years earlier too.

Her love for him clouded her judgment. It was impossible to sort out fact from fancy, so she might as well accept that Nick's feelings for her were anything but certain. Regardless, Jess wasn't going to let him go without a fight. She believed more firmly than ever that some huge misunderstanding had caused their breakup in college. If Nick chose to leave her again, she was going to make certain that it wasn't because of crossed signals or unstated feelings.

Nick turned toward her in his sleep. She took a deep breath and sighed, turning so that he was pressed spoonlike against her back. She smiled as his hand cupped her breast and her nipple hardened against his palm. Even in his sleep, he could rouse her hunger.

She wasn't going to relinquish this kind of happiness willingly. If Nick wanted to be free of her this time, he would have to explain why. With her newfound resolve, Jess drifted back to sleep, content in the arms of her love.

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