It took me about twenty seconds to come crashing back to reality after the last twitch of a hard orgasm left me motionless. I grabbed the back of her head and half-pulled, half-shoved her from my drenched walls. Her face, as she crawled up my weakened body, was shiny with cum and still sporting a slightly predatory look. As our lips met, I tasted the leftover remnants of her venture south.
I loved the feel of her silky lips on mine. It was the one pleasure I allowed myself on the other side of the wall that kept me safe from any kind of emotional risks. Everything else, I kept at a distance. But, the feel of her lips was my version of Heaven. Maybe the only one I'd ever see, so I cherished it wholly and without reservation.
The only problem was, lately she had been coming closer than anyone ever had to breaching that wall I'd so carefully built. I could see it coming, this frightening emotional risk of disaster, but I was beginning to find myself helpless to prevent it. That didn't mean I was about to let her know how close she was to become "the one". If she found out, she would have too much power over my emotional well-being, and after the last roller coaster of pain; I wasn't about to open that door without first being dragged through it.
Her satisfied moan eased me from my reflections as I felt her delicious hands roaming freely over my hot, sweaty torso. A tingle followed as she took my right nipple in her magical mouth.
"I can't go anymore..." I panted, slightly breathless.
My slick, puckered nipple popped angrily from her mouth as she lifted her hooded eyes. With a slight pout, she gave my left nipple a quick tweak, then sighed audibly before leaning up to give me a peck on the lips. Reaching behind her, my Goddess of Mystery gathered the wadded sheets and covered us both. She snuggled into my side, comfortably assured of her place.
I fought back momentary panic. She was too comfortable and that was making me uncomfortable. Too close. Too damn close to my heart. I had a sudden urge to fling back the covers and run screaming from the room. However, my sanity returned as I heard and felt her soft, even breaths caressing my bare shoulder.
I gave in to the turbulent thoughts racing haphazardly through my mind. What the hell was I doing letting this woman past the barrier? I was setting myself up for heartbreak and I damn well deserved it if I broke my one standing rule, to never let myself depend on anyone for anything. Another panic wave hit me as I faced the realization that I'd already broken that rule with her. I needed her.
She shifted in her sleep and I felt the weight of her breast resting on my arm just above my elbow. In the dark, alone now that she was sleeping, I allowed myself a moment to fantasize that maybe this could work. Maybe I had a chance at happiness after all. Images of a life together strayed cautiously to the edge of my thoughts, but I was too frightened to embrace them fully.
Within seconds, the voice of reason returned. Happiness was just a word. I was too much of a realist to let silly fantasies of so-called "true love" make a fool of me. I convinced myself I was simply more emotional than usual because of the phenomenal sex we had just finished and I would feel differently in the morning. All I needed was rest.
I purposefully forced thoughts of her from my mind and concentrated instead on my upcoming photo shoot. My last thought as I drifted off was of the finicky male model I would be working with tomorrow. The little prick better is on time...
She was gone when I woke. On the pillow beside me was a notecard with a single word printed in her flowing script.
I shivered despite myself. No one since Nicci had even come close to touching my heart, until now. I smiled softly and laid the note and the promise aside, at least until tonight.
After a steamy shower, I steeled myself for another stressful day and eased out the door of my apartment. Memories of the night before refused to be ignored, but I was somehow able to push through the day and complete the photo shoot.
Six o'clock found me on the couch in my apartment, staring at the television without really seeing it. My thoughts were centered on the one thing I was trying not to think about, her.
I wanted her. Who wouldn't? She was beautiful, calm, and intelligent ... and she wanted me. Wasn't that enough? It should have been, but I was deathly terrified of letting myself fall. I knew, without admitting it that this woman had the power to save or destroy me. She was seeping inside my soul and if I allowed it, she could own me.
What if she left? I barely survived Nicci. How could I possibly survive having the Earth ripped from underneath my feet once again? I would surely disappear. Sternly, I wouldn't allow myself the luxury of believing she would never leave. Everyone left. It was just a question of when.
I sipped the Smirnoff without really tasting it. My nerves were as raw as my emotions so when I heard her key in the lock, I froze. Anticipation coupled with nervous energy drove me to her side and I was on her before the lock clicked behind us.
I tugged and ripped until she was gloriously naked and squirming in my arms. We tripped and stumbled to the carpet in front of the sofa where I pulled her down with an intense need I wasn't about to analyze. The only way to push aside my confusion about my feelings for her was to overpower them with even stronger feelings. I decided the way to do that was to bring us both to the edge of sanity with fierce, mind-numbing sex. Maybe then I would be too tired to think, too tired to analyze.
The reasoning side of my brain took a hike at the first touch of her probing fingers.
I was once weak. But, the one lesson I had learned had come at a staggering cost to my personal outlook on love and life. It wasn't even a breakup; it was more like a breakdown. The breaking down of my personality, my beliefs and my expectations of what the world had in store for me. I was once weak, but not anymore.
At least, I told myself that until her mouth moved to replace her fingers. Weak didn't begin to describe the state of my muscles as they quivered and jumped under her familiar seductions. Too soon I screamed and clawed the wonderfully silky skin of her back as she edged upward to claim my lips in a fiercely passionate kiss.
I moaned her name into her possessive lips. Just saying her name sent a shock wave of emotions through my senses. I suddenly had a consuming desire to touch her, to taste her. I pulled her closer in an almost brutal embrace. Pryce groaned lowly in anticipation as I shifted our bodies until I covered her naked form with my own.
I released her mouth regrettably and dropped my head to one of her glorious breasts. I attacked both nipples with intense focus, determined to bring her to the brink. She squirmed under my assault and I reveled in the passion she displayed so openly. I loved the way she responded to my touch. It was always that way with us. We were combustible in bed. It was almost unbelievable how adept we were at anticipating the other person's needs.
Her breathing became ragged and I wasted no time moving lower. My nostrils filled with the heady scent of my own personal drug as I felt her soft curly hair brush my chin. She gripped the back of my head as I plunged hungrily into the warm, wetness I knew would take me to where I belonged.
Her moans, louder now, reached my ears as I feasted on her noisily. Within seconds, Pryce hissed my name loudly and I felt her contract all around me. Her thighs gripped me in a powerful grasp as a staggering orgasm washed over her. She held me there within the confines of her magnificent legs until I felt her muscles relax.
"Cori, you are magnificent."
Her soft, throaty voice caressed my senses and seeped into my soul. I slid upward until I was inches from her satiated features.
"Only when I'm with you."
It sounded corny, even to my own ears, but it was the truth and it was out of my mouth before my brain had a chance to call it back.
"I love you."
She said with such calm acceptance that I shook involuntarily. This was the first time the words had been said and they hung there, heavy in the stillness of the room.
Once again, my mouth took off without giving my brain a chance to think it over.
"I love you, too."
Her kiss was tender and undemanding. The gentleness of it took my breath in a rush of overwhelming emotion and a solitary tear slid slowly down my cheek.
She drew back a fraction of an inch and peered cautiously into my eyes. I watched the flickering changes of color in her beautiful jade eyes as a bevy of emotions came and went almost instantaneously. I held my breath as she moved forward purposefully.
This time her lips settled gently on the trail left behind by my lone tear. Her words, when they came, were whispered so quietly I had to strain to understand.
"I belong right here, with you. Please don't cry. I want you to feel safe with me. I know it's hard for you, but try to trust me when I say I want a life with you, no matter the cost."
How my heart ached at the promise in those words, but my head was filled with the lingering doubts I knew too well. Damn you, Nicci!
Pryce took my silence as a retreat from the conversation. She sighed and pulled back slightly. I wanted to cry out at the pain of my rejection as it stared back at me through her eyes.
She paused, hearing something in my voice she had never heard before. I looked at her, really looked at her, and saw the truth for the very first time.
She was not Nicci.
I was stunned by the realization that I'd never stopped comparing and because of that, I'd never let myself see what I had in Pryce.
She was my chance. My one chance at a real-life with real love and I'd fought so hard to keep her at a distance. At that moment, the ridiculousness of it all slammed me hard in the gut and I gasped softly at what a fool I'd been.
I touched her cheek with just a fingertip and felt the tears start again.
"I've always thought love was something I was destined to watch from a distance. Until you. I'm terrified of losing you. The last time I lost someone I loved, it nearly destroyed me and I made a promise to myself. I swore I'd never again allowed anyone to mean that much to me. It was the only safe way to guarantee I would survive. But you... you changed everything. You made it so hard to keep that distance. All I wanted to do was hold you, be with you, be loved by you."
The tears were flowing freely now and I trembled slightly as I continued my confession. It was suddenly terribly important to make her understand the depth of my devotion, even though I'd only accepted it myself mere moments before.
"I can't promise it will be easy, but if you'll stay with me, I will promise to be faithful and honest to you. I'll live for you, with you and I will fight to keep our love strong."
I paused to take a deep breath. I felt drained, as if I'd opened the plug and emptied all the sludge from my soul. I had purged the weight of Nicci's betrayal and opened my heart for the first time in two years and I felt timidly hopeful.
Pryce surprised me by smiling teasingly in the face of our seriousness.
"Guess that means I should cancel my date with that cute redhead from work."
I wasted no time responding. Instead, I pounced. I shoved her to the carpet and began to tickle her until she begged for mercy.
We were both breathless when I released my hold.
"Clown," I chuckled. "The only redhead I'd better see you with is your little cousin, Julie."
Pryce smiled. "I can live with that."
She reached for me then. I went willingly, giving myself with no hesitation, no fear. It was my gift to her. And her gift to me.