There’s a note underneath your front door
That I wrote twenty years ago
w paper and a faded picture
And a secret in an envelope
-20 years – The Civil Wars
Half an hour later Kate stirs and sits up with a sweet, confused look on her face.
“Where are we going?” she whispers, stifling a yawn.
“My place.” She looks ready to argue with me then settles back into her seat in a sulk. “I wanted to see your place but I would have liked to be asked. Especially after the discussion we have just had.”
I realized my error about twenty minutes ago but I am hoping that she will forgive me.
“I’m sorry. I wanted it to be a surprise so ‘SURPRISE’!” I smile sheepishly at her. She’s right, you’re a fucking Neanderthal, Grey!
“This could be considered an abduction you know.” She’s mad. A little laugh escapes from me and her face gets real sour. She’s really mad.
Finally we pull into a set of gates and drive up a long sweeping driveway that winds through a canopy of trees. Eventually the drive opens up in front of a modern building that is nestled on a steep slope in amongst more trees. The house is situated to look like a state of the art tree house built over four levels. There’s a lot of natural wood cladding, local stone and glass that make the structure disappear into the landscape. Beyond the building itself is an incredible view of the water. This is my pride and joy.
Kate’s mouth is hanging open as she takes it in but since she is still mad at me, she snaps her mouth closed into a grim line. Leaping out of the car before I can get around to her door, she slams it shut and stomps up to the front door moving away from me as fast as she can travel in those heels. I follow in her wake without saying a word. Seems like earning her forgiveness is going to take a little more work on my part. I want you to like this so much, baby. I lean across her to open the front door and then before she can step foot inside, sweep her up into my arms and carry her through to the entry hall.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing Elliot? Put me down,” she shrieks. Her hand reaches out to swat my chest and I barely flinch away from it. I figure I probably deserve it but I’m getting kind of pissed at her reaction.
“I wanted you to remember that I carried you across the threshold the first time the first time you came here. Even if we aren’t married…yet…I thought it would be romantic but I guess I was wrong.” I heft her up and thunder through the foyer entry to a smaller hallway and then out into the open living room. There are floor to ceiling windows that look out on the water which I have always found kind of breathtaking. Seems Kate does too because she appears to be speechless as the house and the location do their magic. That is until I dump her unceremoniously on the large beige couch and walk past the dining table to the kitchen without a word. I hear the little yelp as I drop her but don’t give her a second glance.
Struggling to sit up and straighten her skirt has her frustrated. I want her to be gobsmacked by the beauty and tranquility of this place but we are both too angry at each other. She angrily kicks off her heels and follows me into the kitchen where I have pulled out a bottle of water from the fridge and am in the process of sculling it. I hold it out to her as I swallow with a scowl on my face. Big romantic gesture and I fucking blew it. Now I am more angry because she looks so sexy and I want her more than ever. I must look like a prize dick with water dripping down my chin and a semi in my pants. She, on the other hand, takes the bottle and holds it up to her mouth tipping it back for a long drink. The water sliding down her elegant throat. Suddenly all my bravado is gone and I realize just how much every other woman I have ever met pales compared to her. Stubbornly I think I don’t deserve her but she is not getting away. Eventually she places the bottle on the bench between us and I angrily recap it and put it away in the fridge again with a scowl.
“Well,” she says. “Are you going to talk to me or is this silent treatment going to go on all night?”
“What would you like me to say Kate? I’m sorry I wanted to bring you here? To what I hope in the not too distant future, will be our home? Is that what you want me to say?” Our eyes are ablaze as we glare at each other. “Well I am not sorry. You are mine, you will always be mine. And we will fight and we will still go to bed together every night and love each other. Because that is what this is about. So welcome home, Kate. Now are you coming to bed?”
Her mouth is hanging open like a goldfish which would be kind of funny but I am really angry at her. She pulls herself together and gives me that look, the one that challenges the world and everything in it and makes me instantly hard. The tension is radiating off my body in waves and she just looks so freaking hot. I want her more than I have ever wanted anything or anyone and I can’t reconcile this with the anger I feel at her for questioning this and at me for my own heavy handedness. I can’t decide if I am more pissed at her or myself right now.
“You have no right to make decisions for me. You will do me the courtesy of asking me for my opinion and yes I am coming to bed with you,” she yells at me.
Just then we hear a deep resonant bark as my giant German Shepherd comes charging through the room toward us. He is excited by the yelling and looks set to launch himself at her as she shrieks running behind my body for protection. I wrap an arm around her and put out my other hand to stop the giant wolf hound. Kate’s look is absolutely terrified and stunned and I could swear her eyes are asking if he is going to eat her. Lick you death baby but not eat you.
“Zeus, down.” Zeus immediately lowers his head and goes silent. Then he drops himself down into a prone position with a little yelp. I hold his gaze while pointing down at the floor and eventually he puts his head down on his paws. Meanwhile Kate’s body is shaking with fear as she snuggles into my body for safety.
“Good boy.” I let go of Kate slightly and signal to Zeus who is up on his feet coming towards me. He plants his paws on either shoulder and licks my face while I wrap my arms around him in my usual greeting. “Hey Zeusy, did you miss me? Good boy.” I ruff his fur gently and I remember, with Kate so small beside me, how large and intimidating Zeus can be. I push him down and he lowers himself down into a sitting position at my feet expectantly looking up at both of us with a big, dopey, doggy grin.
“Kate, this is Zeus. Zeus, this is Kate.” At that moment I flick my hand and Zeus rolls over on his back exposing is stomach and lolling about like an idiot. I place a socked foot on his stomach and rub vigorously while he wriggles which serves the purpose of making Kate relax and giggle. Thank God. “He is really very friendly but I guess he just didn’t like you yelling at me without an introduction.” I take her hand and pull her gently towards Zeus. She is still a little nervous but trying not to show it. Zeus sits up obediently and licks her hand then nuzzles his head so that she can scratch his ears. Zeus, you are such sucker for a pretty face. I have trained you well, Obi Wan.
“Hi Zeus. You are a beautiful boy, aren’t you?” Instantly her mood changes and she seems completely enamored of my gentle giant who is every bit as loveable as his owner if she would give us half a chance. I am smiling down at them both indulgently hoping that Zeus has achieved something that neither my stunning house or fabulous personality seem to be able to do. Out done by a fucking dog!
“I knew you two would love each other.” I reach down to pat Zeus again and then we both move off to the door. Opening it, Zeus goes charging out across the grass. We stand out on the extensive porch and watch Zeus run down to the water and then back up to us again.
“Elliot he is beautiful.” Kate laughs. Love my dog, love me?. “How old is he?”
“He is six years old. I have had him ever since I started my company. He’s a site dog, an unofficial mascot on every project.” I smile at Zeus as he comes romping back towards us. Please fall in love with us Kate. After ten minutes or so of throwing a tennis ball for Zeus we go back into the house and settle down in front of a gas log fire. It is not particularly cool but the fire makes the room feel cosy anyway. I have whipped us up a cup of tea and Zeus is lying at our feet. I am amazed at how calm they both are now compared to when we came in.
“Well, what do you think?” I am anxious to know what she thinks. I love this house, I feel comfortable here but I need her to love it too. Otherwise what, Elliot? I can’t even finish that thought. There can be no other option for me now but a life with Kate.
Her eyes look around the main room taking everything in and then her gaze comes back to me. “I love it, it is very you. The use of natural wood and stone, the size and orientation to the outdoor environment…”
“Not quite what I meant, Katie.” I look down at my hands for a moment. Feeling nervous and shy I look back at her face. “Do you like it?”
For a moment she seems confused.
“I just said I did.” Then she realizes what I am asking her. Do you like it? Can you see yourself living here, with me? I want her to see this place as our home. I can see her running through a thousand questions in her head, completely over thinking everything. I know we are moving too fast but I am just so damn sure that this is what I want.
“Elliot, I…” She falters in her answer and I feel crushed. I can see that she is desperately searching for the right thing to say and my heart is suddenly lying on the floor between us. Fucking karma. “I do love it. But this is all so fast. Can’t we just slow things down for a moment? We could take more time, I mean I have only just moved to Seattle, I haven’t even started my career.” She moves towards me. Trying to soak up my disappointment with tea and sympathy. “I can see that I will love this place…when the time is right. Give us time. Please.”
My arms reach out and pull her into my body as I lower my mouth to hers for a chaste kiss. “My sensible, beautiful Katie. I know you’re right, I just want you to be mine. I can’t help it. I never imagined that I would find you.” I can’t look at her because I think I might actually cry. What is it about her that has me as such an emotional wreck? She doesn’t love me yet and I keep fucking pushing her. Like I can just will it to happen.
“Nor I you. And I guess in my heart I am already yours. There is no question of that. It’s just taking my mind a while to catch up.” She whispers and suddenly she is offering me a little ray of hope. I look into her eyes for the lie but it isn’t there. Relief pours through me. Time, she just needs more time. She continues, “I just…I need to settle my own life before I can feel right about bringing it to you. You are so far ahead of me in this, with your company and your goals. I am still finding my feet and I want to make sure that you are getting the best that I can be.”
Her words filter in as I process what she is saying. How can she possibly think that she is not good enough now? I want to tell her that she is but I can see in her eyes that she is sincere about this.
“Time…I get it.” And I do but it fucking hurts. For the first time in my life I feel like I really need someone, really love someone – Kate – and here I am riding roughshod over her trying to get my way. She reaches up to stroke my face. “I’ll stop pushing. I promise. When you’re ready, I’ll be here.”
“I am sorry for fighting with you. I don’t want this thing with Christian to come between us.” And now we are back to Christian and suddenly I think that if he and I had thought a little more about our reputations in the past then I wouldn’t be struggling here, wearing my heart on my sleeve. I’m just glad that she seems to be about to give her protective streak a holiday and then I see a look of panic flash across her face.
“What, what is it?” I am trying to work out her change of mood without much success.
“I just realized that we have to get on a plane at noon the day after tomorrow and I haven’t unpacked enough in the apartment to be able to pack for Barbados yet. There is still so much to do.” She shakes her head in thought and I think if she and Ana are going to spend their lives in bed with the Grey brothers then it seems likely that they may never get their apartment organized. Once more I feel guilty for my bulldozer approach.
“I tell you what,” I look at her intently, holding her hands. “How about you forget that tonight, because you are not going home to unpack boxes in the middle of the night anyway. Stay here and make sweet love with me. I will get you back to the city early tomorrow. I need to pick up my truck from your place anyway and get out to the site so I can tidy up enough to be able to leave on Tuesday. You can then spend the whole day getting yourself organized and I will come back to your place tomorrow night to help you as soon as I can.”
It only takes a moment for her to smile in agreement and just as suddenly frown.
“What happens to Zeus if you are going away? Who will take care of him?”
Oh shit. What do I tell her? More guilt that I try to conceal with a bland smile. “Oh, he usually stays here and someone comes and stays with him. He is much happier staying at home than at a kennel so it works out well. Both Zeus and the house get looked after. I have a live in housekeeper during the week and then a …friend comes to be with him on the weekend.”
She nods but there are questions in her eyes. I have a lot of ‘friends’ who are willing to do me a favor and I know I will have to resist calling on them from now on. Luckily not all of my friends are women. In fact, the stories of my many conquests are slightly exaggerated which I always figured worked in my favor before. Yeah, if you had quashed them sooner you might have had a clear conscience and cleaner reputation. Fucked up royally, man.
I hold out my hand to her. “Come on, I want to show you the rest of the house,” I smile as she places her hand in mine. We move out past the kitchen to drop our cups in the sink and then I lead her through the rooms on this first level, keeping up a running commentary of the features of the house. There is a state of the art theater room with a large screen and games consoles (plural). Past this there is another room with a bar and overly large billiard table. The next room is a small exercise room with gym equipment on one side and a large open studio space with mirrors. This connects through to a large indoor swimming pool. I highlight the glass ceiling that is motorized to open in summer and explain how the solar panels keep the pool heated and generate enough electricity on the grid to be able to keep the costs of running all the electricity the house requires down to a minimum. The rooms are also fitted with ducts that automatically open to circulate warm and cool air throughout the house.
She notices the smart technology throughout the house and I show her how the lights are on movement sensors so that they turn off if no one is in the room. We go back to the main room and I lead her to some stairs that descend down to a level built into the side of the hill. We walk into a room that is full of recording equipment and computer screens. There is a window into a room beyond where a baby grand piano and drum kit sit in front of a wall hung with guitars of every size and shape. Her eyes travel to my face.
“This is my version of a playroom.” I say with a big grin. I love this space.
“You have a recording studio? Wow.” Her voice is full of disbelief at what she is seeing and once more I am reminded how little we know about each other which just confirms that she is right about slowing down.
“Yeah, I have been recording music, my own and others since high school. My friends and I were into Cobain back in junior high, around the time the rest of the world fell in love with Nirvana so we have always just done this. Some of my crew are in a band and we get together after work and jam in here. It’s fun.”
“Do you play?” She asks as we walk through to the studio.
“A little, I have played guitar since I was 6 years old.” I flick a few switches on the desk in the control room and then wander through to the soundproof studio to grab my favorite Takamine acoustic electric guitar off the wall and plug it in. I perch on a stool and tune it up. She takes the stool next to me and watches my fingers working. I begin playing a riff of a Civil Wars song I have seen on her ipod.
I start singing and without hesitation she joins in singing the harmony. I know she knows this song well because it is in her most played list and she sings it beautifully. We begin to merge our voices and it feels and sounds so good to my ears. Her eyes close as she drifts away in the music and she opens them only we get to the last line. My eyes are watching her intently. So beautiful. So perfect.
“Kate, that was amazing. You have a beautiful voice.” I don’t mean to sound so surprised but it is so great to find another thing that we can share. I can’t wait to get her in here for a proper recording session.
“You too. That was so much fun. Thank you.” And I suddenly see what sort of future we will have in this house with our children and friends making music and enjoying life. Tears well up in my eyes, this is everything and more than I could ever imagine and I have to hide it from her. She wants slow, I can do freakin’ slow but it looks I am going to turn into a blubbering mess in the process.
Placing the guitar on a stand beside the stool I reach out and pull her to stand between my legs. I say the thing I can’t hide. “Kate, you are perfect in every way. I can’t believe I have finally found you,” I murmur. “I want to show you more of the house but it will have to wait. It’s late and I really need to make love to you before we go to sleep.”
“Yeah, I’d really like that too.” Her voice is quiet and my heart is pounding so loud I am sure she can hear it. I am about to spend my first night in this house with her which I hope will be where we will live possibly for the rest of our lives. I am as nervous as freakin’ a virgin.
“Come.” She takes my hand and I lead her over to a lift that is concealed beyond the stairs. It takes us up beyond the ground level to the first floor where we step out into a large open space with a large glassed in balcony that looks out over the pool and the water in the bay beyond that. Turning to the right we move through double doors into the large bedroom that appears to be nestled in the trees. There is a partial wall that separates the main room from a dressing room and ensuite. The wall acts as a headboard for my enormous king size bed. She is obviously stunned by it all as she looks around.
“Look,” I say pointing up at the large skylight on the ceiling, “you can lie in bed and look up at the stars at night”.
We stop by the bed and I hold her reverently in my arms placing gentle kisses on her eyelids and down the side of her face. My hands begin to slide down her body and I reach around to unzip the back of her skirt. I slide it off her hips and drop it down so she can step out of it placing her small hands on my shoulders to balance herself. I throw the skirt neatly over the back of a chair and then begin to trace a lazy line up the sides of her body which I follow with gentle licks as I slide both her cardigan and singlet off.
“Kate. You. Are. So. Beautiful.” I say these words in between the kisses I am pressing into her skin and her little involuntary movements are setting me on fire. As I start to straighten up she reaches out to undo the buttons of my white linen shirt. Once more I am breathless as she exposes my chest and shoulders. She plants kisses of her own on my pecs and I flex them slightly under her lips making her giggle. My laugh resonates through my chest as I brush my hands through her hair.
Our mouths meet and tongues invade each other as our hands explore skin. I want to press closer and feel every part of her. I undo her bra and slide it off her shoulders tossing it to the floor. My hand massages her breast and she slides her hands up to my shoulders to giving me better access.
“Oh, Katie, I want you so much.” My voice is a hushed gasp in the dim light of the stars and she throw s back her head to give my mouth access to her hard pert nipples. I suck and lave driving her into a writhing frenzy. She leans right back in an exquisitely executed back bend pushing her pelvis hard into my erection. I am fairly aching with need for her. When she rights herself she jumps and wrap her long legs around my waist. Catching her easily I continue kissing her as I walk around the bed and lay her down gently before following her down with my body.
She pushes back on me. “Let’s get these off Grey.” She reaches up and undoes my jeans sliding them down with my boxers in one movement. I reach down to step out of my pants in a rush and then I am on the bed with her. My hand pushes her panties down her legs so that we are both naked and lying skin to skin on our sides my erection pressing hard against her stomach.
Our embrace is gentle but heated and we continue to thrash our tongues together tasting each other for a moment before I start to move down her body. My hands and mouth are burning a trail down her torso and she knows exactly where I am heading. She holds my head as my tongue starts to lick her beautiful hard clitoris and my fingers slide inside her. She feels like she could explode at any moment and I wouldn’t be very far behind her.
“You taste so fucking sweet, Katie,” I say between licks then I suck her juices which is enough to tip her over the edge crying out my name as she pulses around my fingers. I don’t remove them from inside her as I slide back up her body, keeping her ramped up and moving towards another orgasm. My mouth closes over her and I let her taste herself on my tongue. Her hand reaches down to grab my length, stroking it gently and I throw my head back a moment to gasp. I move over her and into her so swiftly building into a rhythm that is an extraordinary exercise in restraint. My hips are thrusting in a languid motion, which she seems to be willing me to increase with every tilt of her pelvis. I just don’t want to come to soon. Her legs wrap around my hips to bring me in further.
“Oh fuck, Katie. You feel amazing.” Sweat has broken out on my lip and she licks it off. Our eyes focus in the dim light and we hold this gaze as we both build. “Come for me sweetheart. I love you.” And her orgasm blends with mine in one excruciatingly pleasurable sensation of love and need. It takes us both a long time to come down and I roll, panting on my back taking her with me so that my still hard length remains inside her body. We fall asleep like this, me still inside her, both too exhausted to do anything else. I am dimly aware of Zeus lying down on the floor at the foot of the bed as I drift off.