I Saw Forever 6
I've made a lot of mistakes in my life. A couple have cost lives, a number have caused pain, a few have come back to prey on me. But it's rare for me to screw up in as monumental a way as I did the first time I made love with Stephanie.
I lusted after her for the better part of a year and did enough teasing and touching and kissing to make sure she wanted me, too. But I never intended to collect on that stupid deal. It was just a way of keeping her on edge, thinking about me. And to be honest, she didn't need me to take Eddie DeChooch in. She had him. He sang her a sad song about how humiliated he'd be if a woman brought him in, and she caved and called me. I figured it was her way of letting me know that she wanted what I offered, wanted to spend a night with me.
I may have been right about that but I was wrong to cash in on it.
I was always at my weakest when Stephanie was in pain, and the night I collected the debt she was scared and struggling. It got to me, so I was fast and rough with her the first time, needing her so much I couldn't hold back. And even though I spent the night making it up to her, it left a sour taste. And then I walked away, telling myself I was protecting her but really protecting myself.
As we faced each other in my bedroom, hands locked together, I vowed this time I'd do it right. Make the right moves. For the right reasons. To achieve the right result.
"Ranger." Stephanie's pupils were dilated, her eyes darkened to indigo, her lips parted, breath hissing in and out. I dropped her hands and cradled her face, letting my lips graze her forehead, her nose, each cheek, her chin, before settling on her mouth. Her lips parted and I nipped at them, top lip, bottom lip, tasting and teasing, caught up in her essence.
Her scent, unlike any other woman I've ever known, always captured me and I buried my face in the juncture of her neck and shoulder, her hair tickling my nose. As her arms twined around me and her hands tunneled their way under my shirt, the heat of her touch on the skin of my back wrenched a groan from me.
"Wait," I whispered as she yanked at my shirt, pulling it up to expose my torso.
"I can't." Her voice was dark with passion. "I need to touch you."
I let go of her long enough to strip the shirt off over my head and returned my hands to her, starting at her hips and caressing up her sides underneath her t-shirt to her breasts. Even through the tight sports bra that flattened them, her nipples stood out, just waiting for my thumbs to glide over them.
When her hands fumbled at my pants I stopped her, locking her wrists in one hand and raising them over her head so I could pull her shirt off.
"Slow down, Babe," I murmured. "We've got all night."
"I want you, Ranger," she breathed, and grabbed the bottom edge of the black bra, stripping it off over her head.
When my mouth closed over her nipple her legs went limp and I had to lock my arms around her waist to keep her upright.
"Let's get rid of these," I said, undoing her jeans with one hand and sliding them down her legs. When she stepped out of them I swooped her up in my arms and laid her on the bed clad in just her black RangeMan panties.
I had to stop, stand still for a moment, surveying the ocean depths of her eyes, her hair brunette flames on the pillow, the pale satin of her body like milky moonlight against the dark brown silk of the comforter. This doesn't happen to me, I thought. I've never been here before. It was a scene from a dream, one that had haunted me for years. She was all I needed, all I wanted, all I thought I could never have.
I held back, making it last, slipping the panties down those long slim legs until she lay naked before me and I couldn't stop myself from joining her on the bed, all thought gone, my desire taking over.
"Ranger, I need you," she husked, trying to pull me on top of her, her hand yanking at the button of my pants.
"Patience," I rasped, again capturing her wrists.
I held her there, hands over her head while my mouth possessed her, kissing, licking, nipping. When I reached that most intimate of places, the orgasm shuddered through her, and although inside I was rabid to yank off my pants and thrust myself into her I maintained discipline.
Keeping my movements slow and deliberate, my body under strict control, twice more I propelled her up over the crest, each time higher, deeper, until she was almost sobbing, grabbing my hair and dragging my head up so that she could taste my mouth, taste herself on my tongue.
"Ranger," she gasped, "inside me. Now. That's an order."
I couldn't keep the joy off my face as I raised myself up and peeled my cargoes off. When I nudged into her, she cried out and pulsated around me, and I was imprisoned in her heaven.
For the second morning I awoke to daybreak with Stephanie on top of me. But today she was lax and sated, her face nestled against my chest, her arms limp around me, her breathing deep and steady.
As I eased her over to the side her grip tightened. "Do you have to go?" she mumbled, her voice muffled with sleep.
I thought about it. Did I really have to get up? Would the world end if I didn't run this morning?
"No," I decided, rolling us both over until I was poised over her, my weight on my forearms and knees.
When she again lay replete beside me I said, "I have an early meeting, Babe, so I need to get going. But you can sleep a while longer."
She raised herself up on her elbow and looked at me, her eyes filled with that desolate look that I recognized from my dream. That's the way it has to be.
Her glance skated away. "I guess I'll see you later, then."
I cocked my fingers beneath her chin and waited until she again focused on me. "Stephanie, don't forget what I said last night. It's not like last time."
"No emotional price," she muttered under her breath.
"I love you, Babe. I want you to stay with me."
A flare of hope brightened the blue as I held her eyes. "Tomorrow?"
I nodded again.
I kept my head going.
She took a deep breath and her muscles tensed with the importance of the question. "How long?"
I put every molecule of emotion, every shred of sincerity I could summon into my expression, into my voice as I gave her my honest answer.