When I look into your eyes
It’s like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
There’s so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you’ve come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul
But I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’ve given you all my love
I’m still looking up
I Won’t Give Up – Jason Mraz
Friday 10 June
Saying goodbye to those kids was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Matthieu didn’t cry much but he clung to Elliot and I throughout the afternoon until we had to leave for the airport. If I could have taken him with me I would have but right now with my own future so uncertain, adopting an orphan from a foreign country would not be a smart plan. We promised to get back there as soon as we could. Just thinking about them all makes me cry, I just wish that we could have stayed.
Thursday was spent with my father holed up in the villa in Barbados collating all the evidence. He had a complete folder of emails and photographs delivered by the creep. He also had the background checks, information that he had his team do on the Grey family including the share purchase history for Lincoln Timber. There was also a file each on Sirens and Elena Lincoln. While they are largely incomplete portraits they are at least a starting point. Elliot and I are going to have to sit down together and fill in as many gaps as we can. Maybe then we will be able to find a pattern.
While we didn’t get any further in making strong connections but we did formulate plans for at least getting into and observing the action at the ball on Saturday night. This would require us coordinating with Jason and we have elicited Ethan’s help as well. Elliot doesn’t want to tell him too much but I know that Ethan has been building up his knowledge around psyche profiling since he did that summer internship last year. His skills might be useful and I trust him to keep this information to himself.
Today will be spent traveling back to Seattle where we will go straight to Elliot’s house. I can’t go back to the apartment in case Ana is there although I will have to find a way to get in and get some clothes and my laptop. Hopefully, Ana won’t notice. Before we boarded the connecting flight in Miami, Jason called to let us know that Christian and Ana were back together for which I am actually grateful. I am not sure about Christian on so many levels but Ana’s happiness is really important to me. I will reserve judgement on this until I see them together. What really surprised me about that phone call was that Jason called me instead of Elliot. I think he and I are going to be great friends.
Underlying all of this is Junior’s presence. Elliot is trying so hard not to hover but I know he would pick me up and carry me if he could get away with it. He really impressed me in the way he dealt with my parents, especially my Dad. Dad is not happy that we are putting ourselves on the edge of risk by trying to track the creep but Elliot was fairly adamant that I could look after myself and that he would be watching out for me every step of the way. It is an interesting lesson in human relationships to watch two men who feel that protective over you trying hard not to fight it out. Dad is all alpha while Elliot can summon his inner alpha at will if he is challenged.
We still haven’t slept together again. He is really trying, putting me first…I love him so much more than I ever thought possible. I am going to break, very soon…and I almost can’t wait.
Arriving at Elliot’s house we are greeted at the door by an over-exuberant Zeus who is trailed by a young boy with olive skin and dark hair and eyes who looks to be around 6 years old. For a horrible moment I let my thoughts go to a terrible place where Elliot is arriving home to his family, and this is his child. My heart sinks.
“Elliot! Mom, Elliot’s home!” Elliot drops his bags and swings this young man up into his arms. He gets an enthusiastic hug and a kiss on the cheek before an elf of a woman comes down the hallway from the kitchen wiping her hands on a tea towel.
“Hey, Babe, we didn’t expect you home so soon.” She greets him with a kiss on the cheek and then turns to me. “And you must be Kate. Hi, I’m Jennifer, Elliot’s housekeeper.” She has a wide enthusiastic smile and bright clear green eyes. Her face is framed by a short cropped haircut that feathers across her cheeks. She looks like fun and I think I might hate her. She also looks so at home, and she called him ‘Babe’. Is this just another ex that I am going to have to dispose of?
“Hi, Jennifer, nice to meet you.” My eyes seek out Elliot’s with a question. What happened to Gia? I was prepared for the blonde and instead I get this elf. He smirks and then focuses his attention on the little boy.
“So dude have you been looking after Zeus for me? Taken him on walks?” The boy nods and wraps his hands around Elliot’s head. Obviously this is a signal as Elliot lowers him down before swinging him up on to his shoulder. “Jakey, I swear you are getting to big for me to do this. What have you grown, three feet since your birthday?”
Jake, Jakey, giggles, “Noooo. But I’m six now. I am a big boy.” We all move through to the lounge where another woman is coming through the doors from the deck. Jeez, Grey, you just surround yourself with females, don’t you? So much for a relaxed first night at home. I always knew there would be women but I didn’t expect them all to be gathering in his lounge room to give me a big old Elliot Grey was once a Man Whore welcome. Well, not any more girls, we are going to have to talk.
“Elliot, hi. How was Barbados?” She is tall with long silky straight dark hair. She looks to be in her mid 30s and very striking. I am presuming that she could be Native American from her coloring and the shape of her face. Fuck, an older woman too. Another fucking cougar, like Elena Lincoln?
“Hey, Karen, it was great, tiring, interesting, never a dull moment. How are things here?” Karen approaches and gives Elliot a kiss with a big cheesy grin on her face. Smack that one off you, bitch! Must be the hormones.
“Same old, same old. Here let me take that rogue from you.” Jake leans down and wraps himself around Karen and it is now that I see the resemblance. Karen must be Jake’s mom. Oh, God, please no!
“Karen, this is Kate, my girl friend. Kate this is Karen, Jennifer’s partner and Jake’s mother.”
“Nice to finally meet you Kate.” I feel at a loss. Karen and Jennifer? Partners? Feeling stupid now Kavanagh? How did they know about me? The confusion must be written on my face because Jennifer leaps in.
“Elliot, big lumbering oaf that he is, thought you might not be happy with Gia staying in the house. I try to avoid the place like the plague when she is here, myself but that is another story. Anyway, we were happy to come out and stay, it gave me some concentrated time to spend out in the bay.” Ana, move over, I think I may have found a new best friend. Another hormonal mood swing? Didn’t I want to scratch this girl’s eyes out a moment ago?
While Karen goes to fetch glasses of wine and Elliot takes our bags up to bedroom, Jennifer fills me in on her experiment site for her PhD. We wander down to the pier with Zeus and I quiz her on her work which is all about monitoring the health of the shoreline kelp that is the main food for the threatened Puget Sound Rockling. We get on to a discussion of the impact on local fishing, both commercial and recreational and I file this away as a possible story idea for my internship. Of course, that is presuming that I manage to get that far with junior on his way.
“You know, it was nice that Elliot wanted us to come and look after Zeus while he was away.” Jen gives a shy smile that makes me think she is building up to saying something important.
“So you could be close to your work?”
“No, although that is a bonus.” She is pausing for effect. “Him not wanting Gia in the house is big. It really means something, you know? Elliot doesn’t change arrangements that easily. He was kind of desperate to make sure that you were happy.”
“Yeah, I had a bad reaction to the news that she was staying here.” Thinking back to my little meltdown it seems like nothing now but I still would have been pissed if she had slept in Elliot’s bed.
“Have you met her?” Jen is staring out to the horizon, launching skipping stones across the Amtrack and into the sound.
“No, I haven’t had the pleasure.”
“She’s a Barracuda. And she swings both ways. I was okay with her being here with Elliot, although I never really thought she was his kind. That was until the day she made a pass at Karen. She and I never quite saw eye to eye after that.” Explains a lot.
“Are we going to have a problem?” I am really starting to like this girl and her family. I don’t really want to have any issues with her.
“You know Kate, number one, it is none of my business, I’m just the housekeeper. But more importantly, anyone who can show the interest in kelp that you just did has got my vote for lady of the manor.” Her light laughter rings out across the water. She likes me, she really likes me.
“Jen, I think you mean more to Elliot than just a housekeeper. And he seems pretty attached to all of you, including Jake.”
“He’s been teaching Jake to swim and to play guitar. They would be in each others pockets if Karen would let them. It’s just lucky that she likes to come out and check her handy work to make sure Elliot is taking care of it.”
She waves her hand around. “This is Karen’s work. She’s a landscape designer.” I look around at the stunning natural design of garden beds and native plants and I am speechless. The house is magnificent on its own but the garden makes it feel like a home.
“Wow. He certainly likes to surround himself with smart and talented women.”
“I guess that’s why he chose you.” Just then Karen walks down the garden with glasses of wine for us both. Well, that’s not going to happen.
“Oh, thanks but I think I might skip the wine. It’s been a long day and I really don’t need anything else to send me to sleep.” I lie as smoothly as I possibly can. Besides I think Elliot would spank me if I started drinking right now.
“Well in that case, dinner is served and then I guess everyone could get an early night. Kate are you okay if we stay tonight? We weren’t quite ready to pack up and leave and it is a long drive back to Jen’s mom’s house and then she has to be back at Bellevue tomorrow night for Elliot’s parents ball.”
They are asking me if I am okay. “Um, I am sure Elliot won’t mind at all.” They both look at me as if they are waiting for an answer still. “Ah, I don’t mind at all?”
“Great, and Kate, you really are going to have to take over here. Elliot’s whole life could do with a woman’s touch. I have a feeling you’re in this for the long haul.” Karen wraps an arm around Jen and kisses her on the temple before we move into the house.
“Ah…woman’s touch, domesticity, not really my thing.” I shake my head. “I’m more of the disaster in the kitchen meets kick-ass journalist, career woman. Me and housework don’t really get along too well.” I have just coined Elliot’s term for me and it makes me smile.
“Yeah, well it is good that you have us then, isn’t it?” They both link arms with mine and we make our way back up to the house.
“So you are both going to the ball?” We are approaching the house.
“No, Jen is working it. She is part of the serving team. Does it every year.” This is interesting and something we can use. I make a mental note to talk with Elliot about this later.
After dinner and some fairly wild debate on the environment in which found that Karen is as passionate about sustainable design as Elliot, we all go off to bed early as promised. Zeus elects to go and sleep with Jake in the guest wing so Elliot leads me upstairs alone. I am exhausted from the day of flying but also nervous about being back here. Something tells me that Elliot is feeling the same and that gives me some confidence.
“I need a shower.” He drops my hand and let’s me move into the bathroom. This is a good thing, I need to think. So far I have managed to resist him since Port-au-Prince although it has take an absolute iron will. Elliot Grey is la sex-magnet and if I had to live in bed with him I know I would never tire of the things he can do to my body. But am I ready to let my guard down on this? Can we do sex and still work on our relationship? When I come out he isn’t there but he has laid out a night dress for me. I put it on and go out in search of him, finally finding him emerging from an ensuite bathroom down the hall with a towel hung low around his hips. God he is so beautiful.
“Hey.” I lean on the door frame of what is obviously a guest bedroom and look at him. He continues walking into the room and it is then that I notice his stuff lying around the room. I frown and move over to the dresser. “You have moved yourself into this room?”
Approaching he takes my hand and stares at it with a frown as his thumb tenderly strokes my skin. “Kate, I want to spend the night holding you, I would do that every night for the rest of my life if you let me. But my willpower is breaking here. I don’t think I can go much longer and not make love to you. My reserves are getting a little low.”
To be honest, my first reaction is disappointment which seems a little out of place considering how patient he has been since he arrived in Haiti and the subsequent days that have brought us here. I can’t explain how much I feel for this man, for his kindness, his strong ethical center and most of all how much he is trying, has been trying to make me believe in him. And I do I really do. It is myself I am struggling with. My insecurities and fears have been driving me for the past few days but right now, standing here looking at him struggling to hold back, I know I need to get us back to a place where we can connect the way we did when we first met. The thought of it makes me smile.
“Tell me about this part of the house. I didn’t realize there were other bedrooms up here.” His frown deepens, he thinks I am changing the topic. With a sigh he takes my hand and leads me out to the hallway.
“Well, you’ve seen the master bedroom and the mezzanine room. So down this corridor there are three bedrooms and with ensuites.” He leads me down and shows me the rooms and the common room space that they all open out into, ideal for kids bedrooms and a tv room or shared study space. There is another staircase from this shared area that leads back downstairs.
“And where are Karen and Jennifer?”
“The guest wing is downstairs out the other side of the kitchen. There are three more bedrooms down there and another common room.”
“Oh, so we really are all alone up here?” I start to move back toward the hallway to the mezzanine.
“Uh-huh. They can’t hear a thing.” He looks set to explain more, probably about the acoustic materials he has used in the build but right now that is the furthest thing from my mind.
“So no one will hear if I do this?” I quickly whip his towel off him leaving him delightfully stark naked in the middle of the room. I look at him with what I have perfected as the Kavanagh flirty smile as I back down the hallway slowly swinging the towel so that it starts to wind into a roll. I see the moment when he sees what I am about to do and I am really good at this. Years of perfecting my skills against Ethan as we loved and hated our way through our teens.
“Oh, no you don’t.” Don’t come any nearer Grey, you don’t want to test me. Still with a broad smile I draw the towel back through my hands as I twist my body to the side to get the best angle. He is still approaching. The most warning he gets is a raised eyebrow and then I let it flick, catching him on sharply on the thigh. “Ow. Fuck! Right that’s it.”
I make the mistake of dropping the towel and running as fast as I can into the mezzanine room. Instead of going into the bedroom I make for the spiral staircase in the corner and start to ascend. This is a part of the house I have never been into but I figure I am luring my prey rather than evading him so it doesn’t matter if he catches me. At the top of the stairs I find I am in a large studio room with windows in all directions. It feels like standing at the top of a light house and I stop in the middle of the floor, gob-smacked. “Wow!”
His footsteps sound on the stairs behind me and he is almost breathless when he stops behind me. Something in my stance signals him to stop his pursuit.
“Welcome to my turret, Lady Kate.” Sweeping a bow, Elliot straightens up and tucks the towel firmly around his waist again. My mouth is still hanging open as I take in this space. This is obviously his home office with two desks back to back in the middle of the room, one a straightforward office desk and the other a drafting table. I walk over to get a closer look. There are architectural plans spread out on the board which on closer inspection are not quite finished. The main drawing is a side elevation of what looks to be a lake house which has a large atrium and mature tree growing through it.
“Is this your design?” My hands trace over the drawing taking in the incredible detail in the planning and the sheer beauty of the design. Alongside are color renderings of how the house might look.
“Yeah, don’t laugh but I am kind of obsessed with the movie The Lake House. Mostly because of the architecture stories in it. This is my pet project. One day I would love to find the right location and build this.” My eyes shoot to his as he looks lovingly down at the drawings. These are what he loves. His designs, his music. How could I not be impossibly head over heels for this man? He absolutely takes my breath away.
“Elliot, they are amazing. You are so talented.” My eyes are drawn back to the drawing board. You are so gonna get laid tonight, Elliot Grey. Taking his hand I draw him away from the pictures around to the other desk. “So, if I were to, say, move in here with you. Would this be my desk?” I trace my finger along the edge of the desk which has a few papers strewn across it.
“Absolutely, although if you wanted your own office there are plenty of rooms we can convert.” You seriously think I want to talk about office space? “But I would love it if you wanted to work up here with or without me.” I can see myself sitting up here, writing a book or an article but that is not what I want to do right now.
“And you would let me do anything I wanted up here?” Don’t look him in the eye.
“Yeah, of course. If you wanted to redecorate or anything that would be no problem.” Stepping away from me he walks over to the shelving unit that runs along the wall under the windows. He leans back on it and looks around the space as he speaks. Let’s test that theory, Mr Grey.”
“So, if I wanted to say, strip the paint back in here….” I push the straps of my nightie off my shoulder and let it fall to the floor, leaving me completely naked. Elliot swallows, taking in the sight. “…or if I wanted to move some things around…” My arm sweeps across the desk and knocks everything on it to the floor with one movement. I am almost batting my eyelids at him as I turn back over my shoulder to look at him. He is up off the window seat with his hand on his towel which has miraculously tented out the front. Looks painful, Mr Grey. Let’s see if there isn’t something we can do about that.
Still facing away from him I lean over the desk placing both hands down then sliding them open along the surface until I am lying over it. “You know I think I like this desk though. It’s so big and hard and wide….I could just see myself working on it all night if you let me.” I spread my legs and give him a good view of what I can feel is a very hot, wet pussy.
“Christ, Katie.” I peer back at him and he is hesitating to move toward me which makes me frown. I would have thought he would have slammed into me by now. What does a girl have to do? Then I notice that he is dropping his towel and taking himself in hand as he looks at me. Placing my finger into my mouth I give it a big wet suck before pulling it out with a pop. Then holding my position I keep look at him over my shoulder as I move it down and start to stroke my damp folds, sliding it slowly inside me in time with his strokes. My tongues snakes out to lick my lips and he moves in. His hands slide around to cup each aching breast and he presses his erection against my ass as he places warm, wet kisses across my back.
“You are so beautiful Kate. Promise me this is what you want. Don’t make me stop, please.” He sounds desperate as he slides his right hand down over the top of mine and helps me to stimulate my clitoris while his other hand continues to fondle my breast, rolling the nipple between his fingertips. My breathing is getting erratic as he easily ramps up my pleasure. Suddenly he withdraws his fingers from me and turns me around. Lifting me up on the edge of the desk he pushes my thighs wide as his mouth descends to my nipples, sucking hard on each one. Each breast is treated to a thorough work out with his delicious tongue before he sinks to his knees in front of me and immediately thrusts his tongue inside me, licking and sucking my labia and driving me into an orgasmic frenzy. I explode on his tongue before he can even thrust a finger inside me, I needed this, him, so much. He rides out the waves of my pleasure, extending my release for as long as he can.
Pulling him up onto his feet I wrap my legs around his waist and draw him inside. His skin is hot and the sensation of touching him is electric then he thrusts inside me. I thoroughly ignite letting out a long groan of pleasure as he stretches me with his width. I place my hands on his shoulders while his support my back. Thinking that he will draw in and kiss me I stretch up to meet him which serves to deepen the angle and we both gasp and still. His eyes are completely focused on mine and he doesn’t move any closer to me. He simply watches as he draws slowly, almost painfully out and then thrusts hard back inside me making my body jump. He repeats this all the while watching me intently. I can’t take my eyes away from his and we settle into a slow, excruciating rhythm that he controls. I want him to pound into me but he keeps it at the pace of ice cream melting. Somewhere behind him there is a beautiful night sky, a glistening ocean, sparkling starlight but I can’t shift my gaze from his eyes which seem to have darkened to a deep azure. All the love in the world is contained in his eyes and it is impossible to look away. The feeling of being complete, of being whole, of being one is an overwhelming force and I come hard again, pulsing around him. His face tenses and screws up slightly but he never loses focus even as he pumps into me.
We hold our position for a while, both struggling to come down. Finally he withdraws without a sound. Sweeping me up into his arms he carries me easily down the stairs and into the master bedroom, laying me down in the center of the bed then joining me. We make love again, both desperate for more after days without touching each other. Later, wrapped in each others arms we begin to drift. I am almost asleep when I hear a tender, heartfelt whisper in the dark. “I love you, Kate. Please, stay with me.” My resistance is getting lower and somehow I think I just might.