Justin retired to bed immediately after the party. Katelyn joined him an hour later.
She tripped over the carpet and fell. “Ouch!”
Justin jerked out of bed. “Whu—huh—What happened?”
She groaned, clutching on her side. “My ribs.”
He helped her to the bed and switched on the headlamp. “I’m so- sorry.” He felt her side with his palm. “You’re bleeding. Please lie on the other side.”
“Ah. Ao-ah. Aiiish. Ouch!” she hissed.
“Sorry… you need to take off your dress so I have a better look at the wound.” He reached for the zipper of her gown. “Lemme help you.”
Take off her dress? Katelyn tucked her knees closer to her chest. Much as she’d forgiven him, he still felt like a stranger. Hell, she wouldn’t strip before him. Never. The pain ceased with that
“I-I-I I don’t think t-that’s necessary. It’s just a scratch.”
Whoa, the awkwardness she felt around him scared her. Will they ever be friends again?
“Honey, we can’t take any risk. Lemme get the first aid box.” He dashed out.
Oh, yeah! She recognized that caring voice, but the way he thrust his jaw, made a lie of his touch around her neck when he tried to unzip her dress. His breath on her skin was hot and rapid.
She quickly changed into a nightgown before he returned.
“The pain’s gone. It was just a scratch.”
“C’mon Katie, don’t be shy.”
She lowered her head. “I’m not. Why would I be?”
“Okay, I’ll look away.” He scanned her nightdress. Then took the surgical spirit and a bandage from the box. “Let’s just disinfect the bruise and bandage it.”
“Stop looking at me like that.”
“Okay.” He chuckled and lowered his eyes.
This was her Justin, the man he wanted back in her life. His concern set her heart pounding hard. She grasped the hem of her gown to suppress the pain of her injury.
He wetted a piece of cotton with the spirit and swept her hands aside. “I’ll not let you suffer while I watch.”
“Oh, no! Ouch! You’re hurting me.” She tried to push his hand away to no avail.
He pulled his hand from under her gown and held out the piece of cotton, stained with blood, before her eyes. “See, you’re still bleeding. Just lemme have a look.” He started pulling up her gown.
“No. No. No.” She pushed his hand away.
His infidelity stung her more than the wound and she just couldn’t bring herself to be in front of him only in her panties and bra.
“I said I’m fine.”
“Katie, I’m just trying to help.” He pushed down the strap of her gown, exposing the lace of her bra over her shoulder.
She wanted to pull the gown back in position but hesitated. Why was she the one overly bothered by the lack of clothes, anyway? But how could she trust him when all he’d been doing was ogling her
The little push and pull, with his hands touching her, somewhat worked on her hormones. Her gaze fell and her temperature rose. “What are you up to?”
“Just doing my duty as a concerned husband. My wife’s injured and until I’m sure it’s nothing serious—”
“Trust me, she’s not seriously hurt.”
Make love with him? No. Not today. Certainly not now. It’d always been incredible. Whoa! She missed feeling his warmth inside her. But damn it! How could she allow him inside of her, after
he’d disgraced himself with Gisela? She steeled herself to resist temptation when he pushed down the other strap, leaving her only with a bra. She couldn’t bring herself to tell him no. Heaven help
her, her body wanted him to strip her naked but her mind resisted.
“Ah, slowly.” The words came out on their own when his fingers struggled to unclip her bra from behind.
“Yeah, babe.” Her bra fell off and his knuckles grazed the inside of her breasts.
She shuddered, closed her eyes, and yearned, resigning herself to the temptations of the flesh. Damn him, why did he stop? His hand just hovered between her breasts, toying with her necklace. She
opened her eyes.
He kissed the necklace. “I’m happy you kept it.”
Of course, she always wore it. Until he said it, it hadn’t crossed her mind to take off the souvenir he’d bought her that afternoon at the beach. “It’s the only way I could still feel close to
“That’s sweet. D’you remember what happened after we came back from the beach?”
Her mind traveled back to that happy night when she’d conceived Natasha in the steaming bathtub. She wanted that moment back and they would have had it a few minutes ago if he hadn’t
stopped. But thank God, at least now her reason was starting to reign supreme over her body. He must wait. It was too soon to get intimate with him. What was she thinking! She tried to wear her
bra, but he stopped her.
He pushed the bra away to the floor. “I asked you a question.”
“Yes, I remember everything like it was yesterday. I miss that man.”
“He’s here.” His hand fell away, the necklace dropping to rest between her breasts again. “Please give me another chance.”
You just got the chance a few minutes ago but screwed it up. Why did you stop?
She clutched the lace. “Let’s take it slowly. Each step at a time.”
He flicked his eyes from her face to her breasts, then back again. “I just miss the friend you’ve always been to me.”
“I too miss the friend you always were until—“
“Honey, we can make each other happy again. It all depends on us.”
What he said made sense. They’d lost a lot of time already, living separately, with heartache. Why not just forget the past and make up for the lost time! Starting with making love now. She
wanted to kiss him, but something held her back. Her head ached.
She wrung her hands. “I’m just confused. Dunno what I want.”
“I understand, maybe you’re right. We need to take it slow,” he said.
Buggins! She wouldn’t want to push him to that corner—the corner she knew so well. Even before the infidelity, he’d ignore her for days when she refused his advances. How quiet and, worst
of all, lonely her life had been without him. Her chest tightened, each breath constricted at the thought of losing him again because of her denying him his conjugal right. God help her.
She moved closer. “Justin—”
He looked at the stain of blood on her gown. “Maybe you were right, it was just a scratch. The blood has dried up.”
“Stop it, I know I’ve been acting stupid, but—”
“I accept my fate. I was too naïve to think you’d forgiven me. I don’t blame you, though.”
To hell with reason. It was time she followed her heart. “So you’re giving up on us?”
“Nope! Just respecting your feelings. You probably need time.” He switched off the lights and turned to the other side. “Goodnight.”
Was he really serious? Having lost him once and experienced the heartache, she couldn’t let him go just like that. She came on top of his back and draped her arms around his neck. “How about
if you turned on your back?”
“Um, honey… You don’t have to go out of your way. Just take time.”
She poked his back. “Drop that crap. It’s no longer a request, I’m ordering you to turn on your back.”
“Okay, ma’am, don’t bite my head off. You know I can’t resist you, woman.” He turned and grabbed her hands. “I’d rather suffer, but if I can’t have all of you, now, always, then I don’t want you at
She shivered with pleasure at what he said, but she also took it as a veiled warning. Pleasure, insecurity, and want bombarded her, but most of all, the dread of losing him to Gisela overwhelmed
her. Her mind wrestled with her body for control.
Her flesh won.
“Have the whole of me now, always, however you want.”
“Yes, you hurt me, and I want you to make it up to me now.” She pulled loose the strap of his robe and ran a finger along the bridge of his chest, his heart thudding hard against her palms. “You
want me? Here I am.”
He swallowed and remained silent. He must enjoy the fact she was the one now making advances. Who cared!
“I don’t know about tomorrow. Liz’s death has just shown me how short life is. With you being here, life’s at least bearable now.” The memory of her sister threatened to chill her. “At times I
wonder. What if there isn’t a tomorrow? What if we never have that chance to be together again, like Ambrose and Liz? To touch. To—” Her breath lodged in her throat. “I forgive you.”
“Sweetie, I’m so… sorry. I wish you knew the torment and regret I’ve gone through for what I did. But that’s our past now, which no longer exists for me.” He pulled her, his mouth meeting
hers, hard and deep. She tasted her tears, then him, meeting each hungry sweep of his tongue with her own. She pushed down her gown, panties, and slid her hand from his chest downwards.
Justin dug his fingers along her back, then returned to her boobs. “Did I hurt you?” He gently touched the bruise on her side.
But her body was numb to any pain.
She giggled. “I’d even forgotten about it.”
She dipped her fingers lower and lower, down the hot length of him. His groan filled her mouth as he cupped her breast with his familiar touch. Goodness, she’d missed him.
She squeezed closer, her blood burning within her. It was painful waiting for him to quench it when they’d be one flesh.
She pulled her lips from his, cupping his face. “C’mon babe, can’t hold it anymore.”
He brushed his lips on her nipples.
“Honey…” She grabbed his cock. “I missed you.”
She lowered her torso until there wasn’t space between them. “Ah, yes! I love it.” She gasped with pleasure, feeling his hot blood rise up inside her.
He groaned, molding her slim body to his and clasped her waist with both hands. “Oh-ah, yes. You’re killing me, sweetheart.”
He moved within her, forearms braced to the mattress, fingers tangled in her hair. She loved the rocking of their bodies against each other.
Moments later, they emerged from their dreamland to the real world. Justin gazing at the ceiling beside her.
He pulled her close and wrapped her with a warm embrace. “That was lovely.”
“Yeah.” Her reason started asserting itself over her feelings.
“What do you think about Ryan and Olivia? That boy’s a genius. I love him.”
“I only hope he’s serious.”
“I have no doubt whatsoever. But, now that she’s pregnant, I think they should wed immediately.”
“I agree. I don’t want another—“
“Babe, are you okay? You look depressed.”
“I saw your car keys… Her image.”
“Oh, I’m so damned sorry. I meant to throw that away but forgot. Trust me, it’s over between me and Gisela.”
“Did you do the paternity test?” Jealousy wheeled in her heart just saying this.
“Samples were collected from the baby, but something went wrong. I need to organize for a second sample.” He sighed. “I just don’t want to go there or have anything to do with her.”
“So what’s your plan about the baby?”
“Katie, how can you talk of any plan when the baby’s not mine?”
"Ah, yeah, all right. No planning."
That he didn’t want to have anything to do with Gisela was gratifying. She believed him. Justin could be anything, but there was no questioning his resolve.
She ran her fingers down his cheek before planting a kiss on his lips. “I love you.”
“Love you too.”
She drew in a breath. “I want you to forget I’m your wife for a moment.”
“Um, why? Okay, sure.”
“I’ve just been thinking. Maybe I pushed you away by my, ah, um, conservativeness.”
“How do you mean?”
“You very well know my stand on some things. I mean, I never wore makeup, no drinking, I wouldn’t dress in a certain way— “
“No. No. No… If anything, that’s respectful of a woman. More so, a mother.”
“That’s right. It’s respectful, but not sexy.”
“Honey, why all these?”
“We’re just having an open conversation. I just don’t want to fail you again.”
“No, you didn’t fail me. I’m to blame for everything. Period.”
No matter what he said, she had a strong feeling he’d noticed the changes in her—and liked them; her dressing, make up… Indeed, he was just like other men. So sensual! She’d foolishly thought a
woman’s beauty lay in her heart alone. Nope! Looks also mattered a lot to men. Much as it was painful to admit it, neglecting her looks and denying him sex was what pushed him away.
“Um, who’s taking care of Gisela?”
“Her bills, upkeep, and the baby.”
“Hmm. I am, but only for now until I clear this paternity issue and it’ll be over.”
She cringed. That baby! It'd better not be Justin's!
It was refreshing seeing him so remorseful. This man, the father of her kids, and so much a part of her she couldn’t stop loving him. Ever. Why the hell had it taken infidelity to make them both
realize how precious what they had together was! Not perfect, sure, but special and worth fighting for.
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