There is freedom within
there is freedom without
Try to catch a deluge in a paper cup
There’s a battle ahead
many battles are lost
But you’ll never see the end of the road
While you’re traveling with me
Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win
My mind is reeling from everything that I have learned about Elliot in the past few weeks. This has been exponentially accelerated by everything that I have learned in the past 48 hours and although I am tired from our lovemaking my body is feeling edgy and I can’t sleep past 8 am. I am also worried sick about Ana and what might be happening back in Seattle. My brief contact with her yesterday has left me with the distinct impression that she had no idea about the sub.
Leaving Elliot, who is sleeping unusually late, wrapped in a sheet, his glorious bronzed body draped across our bed, I rise and put on a bikini to go down for a swim in the pool. After an hour I have burned off some energy with 30 or 40 laps of the pool and I surface to find the object of my affection and the source of my discomfort sitting on the side of the pool with his legs draped in the water. He holds out a glass of freshly squeezed juice to me and I hear the sounds of my family talking and eating in the alfresco room behind him.
“Hey beautiful.” His smile is warm but with an underlying weariness. I guess he could be reeling with the impact and range of his personal revelations too. “I missed you this morning.”
Swimming over to him I take the offered glass from his hand. “Thanks, I’m sorry. I felt a little restless this morning.” When I look up into his eyes I see something almost raw that puts me back on edge. Although we spent a somewhat blissful evening last night he still hasn’t resolved whatever was worrying him. “I guess there has been a lot to take in.”
“I guess so.” He looks kind of sad. “You know Kate, I meant what I said last night, I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to run screaming from me right now. I realize that there is a lot of stuff that you have found out about me. I really didn’t want to overwhelm you with all my shit.” Oh, God, now he can’t even look at me and I don’t know what to say to make it right. Yes, your life could rival a television soap opera. You have some wicked demons that have been hounding you all your life including whatever it is your brother has done or continues to do. You have a past that continues to want to walk up to me and bitch-slap me each day mostly because you dare to call me your girlfriend.
Instead of talking I move closer and turn to stand between his legs with my back to him. I place my arms on his strong thighs, take a sip of my drink and lean my head back against his stomach, letting out a sigh. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to listen. I just want to be. His arms go around me and he leans down to rest his lips in my hair. We listen to the laughter from the table without hearing their words. The other sounds of the gentle waterfall that trickles into the pool, the birds and the distant sound of the surf beach all serve to relax us in this moment. It feels peaceful, ambient.
“Kate, I think I should leave with the guys today. Leave you and your family in peace. I think I have done enough to disrupt your holiday and you need some space from us, from me.” His voice is quiet and sad. My body tenses up at the thought of him leaving me. Is this what I want? What I need? Or is he running now? I will not panic, I will not cry, I will not pout.
“I don’t want you to go. And if you insist on leaving today then I want to be with you to help out.” I finally say. His arms withdraw from around me and he reaches down to take my glass away placing it on the side of the pool. Then he slips into the water beside me drawing me into a strong embrace. His lips meet mine with a gentle tenderness that is mind blowing. As if, like last night, he needs to be reverent with his love.
“Kate, I don’t want to leave you but I understand what you are going through right now. I think you need space.” The hidden message is your life was tracking really nicely until hurricane Grey blew into your well-ordered world. He is right, but then isn’t this what a relationship is all about? Aren’t we meant to take the good with the bad, and if Elliot and I are in this for the long haul?
“Elliot you were the one who told me not so long ago that it was just a fight. That I would, if I remember correctly, not get off so lightly.” He is awfully quiet. Time to bring out the big guns, Kate. “For better or worse, in good times and in bad.” I whisper into his ear and then pull back to look at him. I am willing him to feel the love. To see past all my insecurities about him and his past and to see that I am not backing away. There is bewilderment in his gaze as he registers my words, then a smile breaks across his face that lights up my world.
“You mean that?”
I nod slowly. “With all my heart, Elliot. I am totally wrecked by everything right now and I know I haven’t processed it all, but I am not running from you. Not now, not ever.” And I know that I mean it with every fiber of my being. I reach out to bring his head to mine and seal my words with a kiss. His lips are barely open but I slip my tongue inside and unleash all of the passion that lies beneath the surface of my feelings right now. My legs go around his waist in the water and his reaction to me is instant. “Inside me now, Grey.”
His eyes widen. “But your family are sitting right there.” I look up to the alfresco which is sheltered behind a shade sail blind. We can hear them but not see them.
“Then we will just have to be quiet.” I whisper. His groan is soft as he pulls his shorts down in the water to reveal a raging hard on. Whipping the strings of my bikini undone he quickly has me impaled on his erection and we begin to move together, not taking our eyes off each other. Our breathing is erratic, heavy and the limits to both our movement and our voices is intensely erotic. He reaches between us and starts to tease my clit with his thumb as he gently pumps me.
“If we are too quiet they will wonder what is happening.” He says in a soft deep voice. I know that they will hear the tone but not be able to decipher the words any more than we can hear the content of their conversation.
“Then you will have to keep whispering to me so that they don’t get suspicious.” My voice is ragged and edged with desire. I wonder what that sounds like from a distance.
With each pump he speaks. “I. Love. You. So. Fucking. Much. Kate. Kavanagh. You. Are. Mine.” I throw my head back with his words and movement trying hard not to emit the lustful moan that wants to come from me. He is building me up on his movement, his words, his look, his love. I can feel the fire seeping through the coolness of the water.
“Love me, Elliot, fuck me. I want to come around you.” The words are husky, impassioned, whispered and all I can managed under the circumstances. His hands are sliding up and down my back, sometimes gripping my ass, other times holding my sides so near my breasts that they ache for his touch. My stiff, aching nipples chafe up and down his silky chest sending electric shocks south. His mouth bends to suck hard on one and it is all I can do not to cry out.
Suddenly the edge is near. My body is building to a strong explosion and my walls are clamping around his hard shaft taking him along with me. He gives one more flick over my clit and I silently erupt my mouth biting into his shoulder. I feel him gushing a warm hot jet of come into me as I pulse uncontrollably around him.
“Jesus, Katie,” his voice a harsh whisper. “You are so fucking amazing.”
“We are amazing.” I smile as I lean my forehead against his trying to get my breathing back on track. Slowly we unwind from each other and get our clothes back in order before stopping for another mind blowing kiss. “Thank you.”
“Ah, Kate, you are my pleasure.” He grins at me before giving one last peck. Towing me over to the steps we emerge from the pool hand in hand and dry ourselves before heading to the breakfast table.
“Good morning, you two.” My father calls as we approach the table to sit down. Fresh fruit is sliced and piled on a plate. A hovering staff member brings over platters from the hot plates on the sideboard and serves us bacon, eggs, tomatoes and hash browns. After our night and morning exercises we are both famished and tuck into the generous breakfast with gusto. My father raises an eyebrow and a look passes between he and my mother. She pats his hand and smiles at us. We both pause to look at them. By this time Ethan is shaking his head as he takes a long sip of his coffee as if he is trying not to laugh.
“What?” I ask with my mouth half full. Elliot is tense beside me, not looking up. Oh my God, they know exactly what just went down in the pool and I blush furiously before putting my fork down. Suddenly I don’t think I can eat another mouthful. Elliot’s hand is gripping my thigh under the table.
“Elliot, how would you like to join me for a walk after breakfast.” This is an order rather than a question. The tone of my father’s voice says that he will take no argument. I look at Elliot trying to find a way to extricate him from this. He looks at me for a moment before turning to my father and nods his head.
“Kate, I think you and I should go shopping this morning. Don’t you?” My mother asks sweetly.
“Yes, mother.” I almost whisper, like a chastised child. I want to protest. I want to claim my right as an adult to do as I damn well please and not go through this third degree with my parents but I feel like a child who has been caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Elliot must think I am a prize weakling.
“Great, we will meet back here in half an hour.” My mother announces and then my parents excuse themselves from the table for a quick walk down to the beach.
“Damn, you two really have to calm this thing down.” Ethan is laughing at us, shaking his head. “I thought Dad was going to blow a gasket.”
“Fuck.” Elliot whispers glancing at me. I don’t think I have blushed more furiously in my life.
“Mmmm, stating the obvious, don’t you think?.” Ethan laughs as he stands up. “I promise you, that if I am willing to break your arms then Dad is willing to do worse. Be prepared … brother.” He pauses to let that sink in and then winks at us.
I wait for Ethan to get out of earshot. “Elliot, don’t let Dad bully you. It is not like they don’t know we are sleeping together, for God’s sake.”
“Kate, there is a huge difference between us sharing a room and fucking in front of their eyes.” He looks like he wants to be sick.
“Stop it. Dad wants to intimidate you. It’s what he does. Maybe we shouldn’t have done that but I would do it again in a heart beat and so would you.”
He looks at me and then smiles as he pulls me into his lap. “I know sweetheart, and I am not scared of your Dad. But I want to make sure that he knows my intentions as far as you are concerned.” His lips graze mine.
“Your intentions. And what would they be?” I ask, teasing his bottom lip with my teeth.
“Oh, you know. Knock you up and then leave you without a backward glance.” He nuzzles my neck. I giggle. “Now come on, let’s get this over with.” He pushes me up and then stands taking my hand and leads me up to our room.
Twenty minutes later we depart, me with my mom and Elliot with Dad. Ethan is conspicuously absent. I wonder what Dad really wants to say to Elliot and hope that they don’t end up having a major disagreement over what happened this morning. Somehow I know that Elliot can hold his own but I am still nervous.
My mother and I take a chauffeured car and head up to the craft villages that are further inland. It is cooler up here and we enjoy our wandering, gathering small samples of materials and art works that I know will end up featuring in Mom’s next spring line.
“So you and Elliot are serious huh?” She asks as we sip fresh tropical punch in a street side bar.
“You knew we were before we came down here.” I reply without looking at her.
“Katie, I understand being swept off your feet, God knows Elliot is a fine looking man. But don’t you think you ought to slow down? Get to know each other a little better first?” The depth of her concern is easy to read. “You seem to be moving awfully fast and we are worried that one of you is going to get hurt.”
“I know Mom, I worry about that too. I just don’t see how there could be anyone else for me. Even if he does hurt me.” This suddenly makes me feel sad and the tears start to well. I am trying to trust Elliot and we have come a long way but there are still secrets. Barbados is also lulling us into a false sense of security, Seattle and our real lives might not be so kind. Eventually I whisper,”And somehow I think that he will.” The look she gives me lets me know that she is not talking about Elliot hurting me.
“What makes you say that sweetheart? He seems pretty genuine about you.” My Mom does motherly concern so well. It is very reassuring that she thinks Elliot and I will work out.
“I worry that I won’t be enough for him. He has so much…experience. Did you know that he was once an exotic dancer? He worked at that club, Eros, the one that is part of Sirens.” My mother has paused with her drink half way to her mouth, looking down at the table. Shit, she knew!
“Darling, do you remember Marcy Clarke’s daughter Ellie, who got married about 10 years ago? I designed her dress, it was one of the first commissioned jobs I did under my own label. I remember those last few days leading up to that wedding. We all went out to a club in Seattle and got terribly drunk. The bride to be and her friends propositioned some of the club employees. A couple of those girls got themselves into a world of trouble that night, cheating on their menfolk. Not me, of course, and not Marcy. Marcy left early to take Ellie’s grandmother home. I stayed with the girls but they were all young women with strong minds and stronger appetites and all I could do was watch the show. Some of the boys who worked there ‘attached’ themselves, for want of a better word, to the girls, including Ellie. Oh, Lord, she was so drunk by this stage that I had my doubts about her getting home in one piece. The young man who spent time with Ellie, he was so sweet. He never let her leave the table except to dance, he held her hand and told her how beautiful she was and how lucky her fiance was. He stayed with her until she had sobered up some and then he made sure that she got home safely. I always remember that young man and thought that his mama must be very proud of him.”
My eyes must be as large as saucers right now and watery to boot. “Mama, are you saying that was Elliot?” She nods. “Please don’t say this just to make me feel better about him.”
“Honey, I would never do that. There is more though. Ellie’s marriage broke up less than a year later and I know that she put the story around that the affair that she had with Elliot Grey was the reason. I am also fairly sure that he never laid a finger on her. As far as I am concerned, Elliot Grey is one of the nicest young men I know. Don’t get me wrong, his reputation is not completely unfounded and you may not be in for plain sailing here but I believe that if that boy has said that he loves you, then he means it. You’re gonna have to learn how to trust him. Just like I have had to learn to trust your father again.”
We arrive back at the villa for a late lunch and I race up to our room. Elliot is pacing the floor, obviously upset about something.
“Elliot, what is it? Did Dad threaten you, what did he say?”
Elliot shakes his head. “No, no, nothing like that. Things with your father are fine.”
“Then what is it?” He doesn’t reply, handing me his phone before running his hand through his hair. I read the screen.
Crisis at Escala. Just returned from dropping Ana at her apartment. Suspect safe-word was used. They have broken up. JT
Oh God, poor Ana. “I have to go to her.” Without thinking I start to pack my bags while simultaneously trying to call the airline to book a ticket. Elliot is standing still in the middle of the floor looking at me in horror. “What? She used a safe word, that means that he hurt her.” I am holding back the word prick as a descriptor because I know how much that upsets Elliot.
“You don’t know that, Kate. Jesus why do I share this stuff with you?”
“Yeah, well I am wondering that myself, Elliot. You know what a safe word means. Even if she isn’t hurt physically, she is hurt emotionally and I need to go to her. That is what best friends do.”
Elliot storms over and snatches the phone out of my hand and throws it out the window. We both hear it hit the water in the pool below.
“What the fuck did you do that for?”
“Jesus, Kate, you will never learn will you? We cannot go running in and interfering in their lives. Unless she calls you, you cannot go back to Ana.”
“Well she won’t be able to call me now will she? And why the fuck can’t I go back to her? She is my best friend and she will need me. She has never been through this before.”
“You can’t go because the information has come from Jason. Not from Ana and not from Christian. We are not supposed to know!”
Shit, I hate his logic. “This is different. You don’t understand…”
“No, you don’t understand. Until they make it our problem, this is none of our business. Christ, Kate, when are you going to fucking grow up?”
Fuck! “I am not the one who just threw a $700 phone out the window. You are the one who is stuck in adolescence Elliot. I can’t sit here and wait for you and your brother to confide in each other. Ana is like my sister and I know exactly what she is going through right now.”
“You know diddly squat. Keep this up and you will be going through it too. Stop trying to solve her problems for her. Ana is a grown woman, when she needs you she will call, or don’t you trust her either?” He is shouting at me and I freeze. Shit, what does he mean by that?
“I trust her with my life and what do you mean ‘I will be going through it too’?” The light is no longer in his eyes. He is seriously pissed at me and I can feel his anger through the floor. This is beyond the need for a spanking or being tied up. He is furious. This is no holds barred disappointment. Am I that wrong about this?
“Kate, if you go back to Seattle right now then you are leaving me no choice. I will walk out that door and not come back. If you interfere in their relationship, if you let them know that we have already overstepped the boundaries by having contact with Jason then you are ruining 6 lives. Ana, Christian, Jason, Gail, you and I. People I love, people you love are going to get hurt. Don’t you get that? I might not be able to stop you but I won’t stand by and watch you.”
“Christian has never trusted me, nor I him.”
“Yes, Christian had his doubts about you and Ana and I have defended you. Right now I am wondering why we bothered. You have self destruct programmed into your DNA.”
“You don’t mean that.” I know he doesn’t mean any of it. He won’t turn his back on me. This is merely our usual disagreement. He thinks I shouldn’t get involved and I think I should. End of story. Elliot Grey has got to learn not to threaten me. I won’t back down. It isn’t my style.
“Try me. You are being a selfish, spoilt, childish little girl and you need to grow the fuck up. You make that phone call and I am warning you Kate I will be gone.” Yeah, well two can do furious, Grey. I turn on my heel and walk towards the bedside phone and pick it up. Turning my back on his impassive stare is the best thing I can possibly do as I begin the protracted job of trying to negotiate the first flight back to the States. It is a fight, there are no free seats until the end of the week, no matter how much I beg and bribe. I am vaguely aware of him moving around the room and then I hear him move out to the balcony to make a phone call on his cell. I should have thrown his over the balcony. Although I secretly hope that he has come to his senses and is trying to get us a flight.
I am not having any luck getting a flight out and Elliot is fully entrenched in a phone call so I go downstairs to talk with Dad about my options. He is nowhere to be found so I jump on line to try to find another way off the island. Half an hour later I go back up to the room to tell Elliot that he has won. I can’t find a charter or a commercial flight until later in the week. He doesn’t have to make good on his threat. I storm into the room to put on my petulant best but he is no longer there.
Panic floods through my limbs as I race around the room. All of his clothes are gone, along with his bag and his computer. None of his things are in the bathroom. My mind is spinning. I run out on the balcony to see if I can see him leaving the villa but there is no movement. The fear starts to choke me, as I race downstairs and out on to the street. There are tourists everywhere but I can’t see Elliot. I run past restaurants, hotels, shops but there is no one that looks like him. Racing across blocks I charge in to Zanzibars but no one there has seen any of the boys. Everybody seems to think they have already left the island.
After an hour of looking I return to the villa, hoping that he is still there. Racing upstairs I find the room exactly as I left it. Suddenly I can’t focus as tears well up in my eyes. The air leaves my body and blackness descends on me as I sink heavily to the floor beside our bed. He meant every word, I have let him down. Pain lances through my chest at the thought of him never coming back. Snippets of our argument fall out of the air, slowly at first but fast becoming a torrent that threatens to drown me. It was just a fight, just a stupid fight. He put everything on the line for this relationship, he trusted me completely and loved me unconditionally and now he has gone. It’s over and in the end love and trust had very little to do with it. His words echo in my head. Selfish, spoilt, childish – how could I be so stupid? All this time I thought he was too old for me, too experienced. Turns out I may have been too young.
Next book – Creating Kate – coming soon.