It was late when Ryan and Olivia left, and Justin retired to bed immediately. Katelyn followed him an hour later after the children had gone to their bedrooms.
She switched the lights on and tripped, smashing her ribs on the chest of drawers with a sickening crunch. “Ouch!” She gasped.
In a flash, Justin jerked out of bed and squatted before her. “Hun, what happened?”
She groaned, clutching tightly on her side. “My ribs.”
He helped her to the bed and switched on the headlamp. “I’m so- sorry, you’re bleeding…” said he, gently feeling her side with his palm. “Please lie on the other side.”
“Ah. Ao-ah. 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 dress. “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 discomfort she felt around him scared her. Will they ever be friends again?
His eyelids fluttered. “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’d managed to change in a nightgown by the time 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, taking out 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, lowering 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 is injured and until I’m sure it’s nothing serious—.”
“Trust me, she’s not seriously hurt.”
She knew what he wanted and the prospect of making love with him sent mixed signals in her heart. 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, 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
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.”
“That man is here, hun.” 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 bemoaned her disappointment.
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 a lot of 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? After all, she’d decided to forgive him. But each time she tried to abandon herself to him, there was something that held her back. Her head ached.
She wrung her hands. “I’m just confused, don’t know what I want.”
“I understand, maybe you’re right. We need to take it slow,” he said, with a tone of resentment she knew so well.
Oh, God, she wouldn’t want to push him to that corner. Even before the infidelity, when she refused his advances, he pouted and ignored her for days. 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.” His hoarse voice echoed in her heart.
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, push it harder honey.”
He swallowed and remained silent. She sensed he loved the fact she was the one making advances. But she didn’t mind at all.
“I don’t know about tomorrow. Elizabeth’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 Elizabeth? To touch. To — “Some air lodged in her throat. “I forgive you from the
bottom of my heart.”
“Hun, 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’s 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 only felt pleasure.
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, but she couldn’t wait any longer. She held his manhood and aimed it at the target, then, she lowered her torso until there wasn’t space between them. 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, hun.”
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 in 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— “
“Scandal?” He finished the sentence for her.
“Babe, are you okay? You look depressed.”
“I saw your car keys. Why are you walking around with her image?”
“Oh, I’m so damned sorry, I meant to throw away but forgot. Trust me, it’s over between me and Gisela.”
“Did you do the DNA test?” Jealousy wheeled in her heart just saying this.
“I took the samples from the baby for testing but there was cross-contamination. I’m supposed to take another sample but 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 talk of any plan when the baby is not mine? Even that DNA will just be a formality.”
Exactly what she thought.
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 soft fingers down his cheek before planting a kiss on his lips. “I trust you.”
She drew in a shuddering 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 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 and I have no excuse.”
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, it was true men were so sensual and he wasn’t different. She’d
foolishly thought a woman’s beauty lay in her heart alone. No, 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
“Okay, forget it. So who’s taking care of Gisela?”
“Her bills, upkeep, and the baby.”
“I am, but only for now until I clear this DNA issue and it’ll be over.”
She cringed. That baby! He’d better not be his.
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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