Not like this without a single tear
We can’t just walk away as
if it never happened
Our kind of love has never talked
So if it’s time to go, lets do it right
and go out loud
Not Like This – Al Jarreau
Light streams in through the window waking me. Working on building sites means early starts and my body is usually pretty attuned to waking with the dawn, but this beautiful sensual creature next to me has kept me active throughout the night. She is unbelievable and insatiable and I can’t stop staring at her as she sleeps. Her blonde hair is a post-coital mess as she curls up against my body. I feel myself harden as she moves against my thigh in her sleep. Stretching away from my body she opens her eyes and looks up at me,
“Hi.” Jesus, how do you get a hard on just from a husky voice?
“Hi,” I smile down at her and then roll so that I’m lying half on top of her. Her body responds with startling speed and no sooner do I catch that sweet musky scent then I am inside her, slowly grinding together to our release. We fall back to sleep for another half hour and when I wake up again she has extracted herself to go out to the other room. I presume to phone Ana. I can hear her trying to unsuccessfully pump for information. Mmm so Ana has secrets… either that or she has signed an NDA. I get up and head into the bathroom to shower. A few minutes later she joins me. We quickly wash each other and get dressed. It seems that our tacit agreement this morning is food and coffee, quickly. We head down to the local cafe and sit out on the sidewalk to soak up the sun. Just as I am working my way around to ask her about Ana she begins grilling me some more about my latest construction venture. This is an easy distraction for me. Nothing gets me more excited than talking about our eco-projects and the more interested she is the more turned I get. I have to admit to trying to dazzle her with my brilliance that way she is focused on me and not on Ana and Christian. It seems to work except for the fact I want to jump her.
Hand in hand we slowly stroll back to the apartment.
“Katie, I have to go back to Seattle this morning. I have a meeting with an architect late this afternoon. Can I call you tonight?” Suddenly she looks shy like she doesn’t want me to go but doesn’t want to ask. Only I have some shit I have to take care of before I can really have Kate in my life. I really don’t want to go either and right now I feel crap for all of the stuff I’ve let drag on. It’s time to tie up some loose ends.
“I wish you didn’t have to go but I guess one of us has to earn a living.” There’s a hint of a pout that she is trying valiantly to bury in my chest as she steps in to wrap her arms around my waist.
“You can call me any time, babe. You know that, right?” Just then my phone buzzes in my pocket. I frown down at the screen. “Christian is driving Ana home this afternoon, they should be back by early evening.” Damn, Christian is going to be in Portland all week and I really wanted to get his take on a development deal. I’ll have to schedule a video conference with him. I wonder if I have time to set something up at the Heathman before I head back to Seattle today.
Kate suddenly stops in the street.
“What is it?” I’m still typing in a quick response to Christian so stopping prevents me from arsing over on the sidewalk. I don’t look at her so I almost miss the whiff of venom at the edge of her voice.
“Back from where? Where have they been? I thought they were at the Heathman.” Fuck, Ana obviously didn’t tell Kate that she was going out of Portland for dinner. I don’t know Ana well enough to know if keeping secrets from Kate is part of her MO. One thing is for sure, knowing Kate the way I do now, secret-keeping is not a smart plan. No point in angering the bloodhound any more than I have to.
“They’re in Seattle. I guess at Christian’s apartment.”
“Wow, they didn’t leave until after 7 last night. I just presumed they were still here in Portland.” Secrets, fucking secrets. And here’s me trying to keep my own. I keep myself preoccupied with my phone. If I can just deal with this one thing then I promise I won’t keep any more secrets from her. Except my brother but I’m hoping that she understands family loyalty. Then I sense the change in her body before I hear the icy accusation in her voice. “Shit, he pretty much trapped her into spending the night with him! She had no fucking choice! Jesus, when I get my hands on your brother you will be getting his body parts in the mail!”
She storms off muttering about sexual predators and leaves me standing on the side of the road shrugging off stares from other pedestrians who have taken in her language and are not impressed. I throw them all a few filthy glares of my own before stalking after her, catching up within a few steps. Wrapping my arm around her waist I pull her to halt so that she has to look at me. She’s fuming and God, if it isn’t the sexiest fucking thing on the planet. I could lay her on the sidewalk and fuck her right now.
“Katie, stop! Ana would have known that she was going to Seattle.”
“What? And she didn’t tell me? I don’t think so.”
“Really? If she had told you what would you have done, Kate?” Holding her gaze I watch for the steam to stop pouring out of her ears. She stares down at the pavement for a second.
“I would have …” She pauses then out comes the pout. Fucking sexy as.
“Exactly. Look Ana is a grown up. Let her do this. If it is a mistake then you can be a good friend, pick up the pieces and be there for her. Right now, she has gone into this with her eyes wide open.” And I hope like hell I’m right. I wonder if he has coerced her into sleeping with him. Or maybe they have connected in the same way that Kate and I have. Kate doesn’t trust him with better reason than even she knows about. I don’t think that Christian would mislead Ana or deliberately hurt her, but part of me isn’t sure. It is that part that knows if he fucks this up I will set pit bull Kate on him. He’d be a complete fuckwit to lose any of that carefully contained control that he prides himself on. The problem with that is it has made him ruthless and cold in business.
“I know that you’re right and I know that you trust your brother but I don’t. I don’t know for sure but I am pretty sure that Ana is still a virgin and this is, what? Their second official date? If he took her all the way to his apartment in Seattle then he was determined to sleep with her whether she wanted to or not and I am not convinced that she is sophisticated enough to put him off.” Oh, crap! A fucking 22 year old virgin!? Way to complicate things. I can’t let Kate carry on like this. He’s still my brother. If she wants to be with me then Christian is a part of that package. I’m going to have to do the one thing I don’t want to and turn this around on Ana. Ana, please forgive me.
“Kate, just stop it. Ana knew what she was walking into. If the intention was to sleep together then she went to Seattle knowing that and perhaps she has coerced my brother. Who happens to be a good guy, a great guy. Ana is the one who has probably done the sexual entrapment here and you can bet that Christian will be shocked as all hell that she is a virgin.”And there’s the Kate Kavanagh eat-shit-and-die glare.
“Fuck off Elliot.”
“Kate, you have got to calm down.” Jesus, good luck with that one, Grey. I’ve just accused her best friend of sexual entrapment. My hand instinctively moves to a defensive position in front of my balls.
“Bite me, Elliot. You don’t get to talk about Ana like that.” She stalks off again leaving me in her wake. For a second I’m preoccupied by that gorgeous denim-clad ass before I charge up and swing her around.
“Believe me, biting you sounds pretty hot right now. But you don’t get to talk about my brother like that either, Kate.” I try to stare her down but it’s like gazing into a raging green sea. Part of me can’t believe that Ana is or was a virgin. Oh Christian, what the fuck have you done? Ana has walked straight into the lion’s den. Still, I am hoping that Christian is enough of a gentleman that he would never force a virgin to sleep with him. Surely he is way too smart to do that. At least I hope so for both their sakes because if he has then she is really going to be hurt and I might as well kiss any future with Kate goodbye. Trouble is that Christian is so single-minded about what he wants that it would take a will of iron to resist him.
Within moments I can see when Kate registers that I’m effectively telling her what to do and she’s not liking it one little bit. Kate Kavanagh, who brings grown men to their knees. How dare I tell her how concerned she should be for her friend. Well, babe, I’m daring to tell you. I have to do this for my brother, not because blood is thicker than water. Hell, we aren’t even blood relatives. I’m doing this because this is the closest thing to ‘real’ I have ever seen Christian do, and I’m not gonna sit around for another 25 years waiting for fate to throw up this opportunity again.
“Don’t tell me not to watch out for my best friend. I don’t trust your brother and I won’t stand by and watch him destroy her.” She’s all but yelling at me now. I can’t have this discussion in the street. Grabbing her hand I almost drag her back to her apartment. I don’t intend to say a word until we get inside the apartment but once we’re there I’m at a loss as to where to start. Instead, I start to gather my stuff together while I compose my words. Kate stands in the middle of the lounge watching me with her hands on her hips. Finally, I throw my jacket on and pick up the keys to my truck. I’m ready to leave and I still don’t know what I’m going to say that will stop her from pushing the destruct button.
“So you’re just going to go?” It’s now I notice that her stance has changed. She’s hugging her body, her voice merely a whisper, like she can’t quite catch her breath. I don’t know whether to shout or cry and right now neither will help.
“Kate, I am pretty damn mad at you right now. I need to go so I can cool down.” I’m not doing so well on the breathing front myself and I am frustrated by all the things I can’t tell her. Meanwhile she’s trying to retain a calm ambivalence. It’s not working. I’m finding it really hard to resist right her now so it’s a good thing that I have to go. I just can’t believe that our first real fight as a couple is over my fucking dork of a brother. “I will call you tonight.”
“Why bother?” Fuck, she’s kicking the door closed on us already. No fucking way.
“Because I said I would. Because I want to.” I can see what she’s doing. She’s used to everything going wrong. She’s assuming that this is over. Well, it ain’t happening. Not like this. “Don’t do this Kate. Don’t give up so easily.”
I am not giving up but I feel like she’s running before she gets hurt.
“Right. And you’re a man of your word.” Her voice is dripping with sarcasm. The claws are out. “You’re not the sort of man who takes kindly to a woman who challenges him, yells at him in the street, or puts down his brother. I get it. I won’t change who I am and neither should you. Well, see you around Elliot, it’s been a slice.” Of all the women, in all the bars in Seattle, I am almost kicking myself for falling for this one. Almost. She goes to turn around and walk to her room without a backward glance. Oh, no you don’t get off that easily, baby. I grab her hand and stop her from leaving the room.
“Yes, I am a man of my word. And I am not letting you do this, Kate.” Its a challenge.
“Do what?”She’s talking to the wall so I move to where she has to look at me.
“Give up on us.” Her eyes go wide. Interesting – my feisty dragon-lady doesn’t know what to do with this. “This is just a fight Kate. We are going to have more of these and we are going to have to move past them. You do not get to give up on us so quickly.” Tears are threatening and I resist running to her and pulling her into my arms.
“Is that what I’m doing? Really? You know, there is no giving up if there is nothing to give up on.” Fuck. This is pain talking. I can feel her shutting down on me. It’s in her body language, her voice. I have to stop it. This is obviously a pattern for her, something she does with every relationship. Crap! Now I feel like a complete shit for all those girls I have led on over the years. Promise to call you in the morning. It’s just not the right time. It’s me not you. What an arse? Now I’m seeing first hand what it looks like through her eyes and I don’t like myself right now.
First fight and she’s assuming that we’re incompatible. I know it, and she’s decided that she needs to run before I do. I look at her and recognize myself and this is suddenly like looking in a mirror, as I watch her step back. It is all so fucking clear. She’s waiting not wanting to see me turn away from her but mentally and emotionally preparing herself for me to walk out. I surprise her by stepping closer to her and she takes another step back. She’s like a frightened deer. Her body is trembling as she tries to hold it together. Fuck. How many other women have I done this to? How many guys have done this to her? Suddenly I drop my bag and wrap her in my arms as her tears start. My lips are on her hair and I just hold her as she cries.
“Katie don’t, please.” Eventually, she stoically tries to wipe her eyes.
“I’m sorry, I just didn’t think it would be over so quickly.” She’s whispering trying to pull herself together. Her body is yelling, ‘make this quick, rip the bandaid’. I can tell she’s half way to those pink pjs and an ice-cream binge. Just waiting for the walls to close in. “It’s okay, I’ve been here before. No biggie. Just go.” Now she’s going to make me cry.
“Kate Kavanagh, you might want to give up at our first hurdle but I don’t.” Her eyes shoot up to look into mine. There are a thousand questions in that look but the answer to one question is the only one that matters. “This is just an argument Kate. It’s not over, not for me anyway. And I suspect not for you either. Now, I really have to go, even though all I want to do is take you back to that bed and reassure you that I’m yours body and soul. But you will just have to take my word for it, okay?”
She pushes back in my arms so that she can look at me. She’s searching a while before she registers the truth in my words. I tip her chin up with my hand. I’ve got no other choice but to say what comes next and try to make her believe me. I have to get back to Seattle tonight and see Gia. As soon as possible.
“Sweetheart, I love you. You’re capable of making me mad as hell but I guess that goes with the territory. And I’m disappointed that you feel the way you do about Christian so I am going to have to find a way to change your mind. But if you think for a moment that you and I can’t weather a little argument then you’re very wrong. I’m going back to Seattle. I’m going to call tonight, as promised. Then I’m going to see you on Saturday, so we can get you settled into your new life and then we can leave for two weeks of pure, unadulterated, hot monkey-sex in Barbados. Okay?”
She smiles and nods through her tears. After a long passionate no-tongues-barred kiss, I pull away reluctantly and pick up my bag. I turn at the door and give her one last peck.
“Laters, baby.” And I head out to my truck with her stunned eyes burning holes in my back. When I look back at her I am willing her to believe everything. I didn’t walk out. She hasn’t driven me away. I love her and want to see her again. As I pull away I see her hug herself tight.
Half-way home I pull over to send some texts. One to Christian to give him a heads up with Kate. One to Kate to tell her I love her. One to Gia.
We need to talk. Meet me at the treehouse. E
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