Warning: coarse language and adult situations.

Chapter 6 – Lady Day

When it started out, I figured this was going to be another wild ride, what with all the build-up and the whipped cream and so on, but John wasn't done surprising me yet. And if all his surprises turned out to be half as delightful, well, I was more than happy to give the unanticipated a chance.

John had already pushed himself all the way into me and had even given two or three healthy thrusts that threatened to tip me over the edge of the bed. He was hugging his body to mine, hunched over a bit so he could rest his forehead beside my head, and he had worked his forearms underneath my upper arms and hooked his fingers back over my shoulders to hold me in place, which is why I didn't actually end up with my head dangling in space.

All of a sudden, he stopped all motion and let out an anguished groan, sounding like he was in pain of some sort. When I raised my head up a bit, resting a hand on the back of his head and asking with some alarm, "John, honey, what's wrong?" he turned his face up from the surface of the bed and replied, a little breathily, "I don't want to come yet but, Darlene, you're driving me crazy."

It was impossible for me to keep the smug look off of my face. This was no teenager I had here, ready to pop if a girl so much as looked at him. This was a very experienced man who probably had to beat females off with a stick. And he was having trouble holding back with me. Tra-la!

But then, feeling a bit sorry for him in his predicament, I petted his head and made sure not to move my hips as I looked into his troubled eyes and began soothing him in a quiet, singsong voice, "Shhh, shhh, there, there, lots of time, big man."

I don't think this helped too much, judging by the next groan that started deep in his chest and went a little high-pitched at the end. But he did manage to keep it together as he adjusted our positions again to something that wouldn't be as stimulating and might allow him to draw out what would probably be our last opportunity for full-on sex for this little visit.

First, he brought his arms out from under mine and, still fully inside of me, turned us over onto our sides, one hand on my left haunch drawing me towards him and the other pushing my right shoulder back underneath me. It was a bit tricky but, with a coordinated effort, we got to where he wanted to go. Then he ran his hand down the back of my thigh and once again hitched my leg upwards over his hip. And finally, both hands under my armpits, he pulled me off his cock a little bit so our heads were level and I was looking into his bluer-than-blue eyes once more.

Heaven on a stick. Okay, that didn't come out quite right, but you know what I mean.

Anyway, once John had us rearranged, he tried a tentative slide back in and, I'll hand it to him, he hadn't lost any of the hardness of his erection during all of these maneuverings. And no Viagra, either!

But even my sense of humor was now no match for John's lovemaking, and I relaxed into if not a serious state then at least not a joking one when we had settled once more. The only movement as he gazed at my face and into my eyes was from our hips – mostly his – slowly undulating back and forth. I just made sure to push my pelvis a bit closer to his abdomen so I could open up wider for him, which resulted in an even smoother, slipperier, and almost painfully stimulating in-and-out action.

In and out. Pause. In and out. Pause. Small kiss. In and – and pause. Kiss with a bit of tongue. And out, a little faster this time. Oops, remember to make it last. Very slowly in and e-v-e-n – s-l-o-w-e-r – o-u-t. Innnn. Outttt. Innnnnnnn. Outttttttt. Ohhhhhhhhhh...

I don't know whether this slowing things down was helping John, but it definitely wasn't doing anything for my control, especially not with the warm, wet, slurpy kisses and nibbles that went along with each assault on nerves that were firing hotter and hotter with every second.

And then, stupid me, I could feel tears leaking out of the corners of my closed eyes as I kissed John and stroked his head and neck languorously. He hadn't noticed or at least said anything about it yet, so I suppose his eyes were closed as well, so this gave me a moment to think it through.

Was I sad? Definitely. But it was kind of a bittersweet sadness. John was going to leave soon, but the trade-off was that, while he was here, I got to spend time with the best lover I had ever had, a man who seemed to genuinely care about me and was interested in our mutual pleasure. Part of it was because of the sex we were having right at that moment, the slow, sensual deliberateness of it, his kisses and the look on his face that said he could barely handle it either. The rest was just joy. When any negative aspects were ignored, what was left over was happiness and fulfillment and joy, plain and simple.

It was this last emotion I decided to go with, the one that would let me – let us – gain the most from our brief interlude together, and by the time John did notice my tears, I was able to show him a face that radiated warmth and comfort and contentment, even excitement and approval, and I could see from the way he reacted that this really was the best way to go, the way that would encourage him to come back to me again or, if he was never able to, that would allow me to survive his absence without self-destructing.

However, my reaction blew all to hell John's plans to make it last longer.

We were smiling like idiots again and John began to kiss my face over and over as he sped up until he was thrusting jerkily and hard in time with his panting breaths. He would stop kissing every once in a while to check my expression and when he got the "Good Man" vibe each time, renewed his efforts until I couldn't breathe properly anymore. Both gasping and smiling, I gave out a loud moan and several whimpering, keening cries as I twitched around, finally out of control, and John grunted deeply and began to come shortly afterwards, no doubt put over the edge by my movements and the noises I was making, and when I clung to him helplessly as he experienced a last few fitful spasms, I really did start to cry. But this time, they were truly tears of pure joy.

Sticky and satisfied, we cuddled and nuzzled like two chubby puppies, both reluctant to break the spell. John's rumbling laugh when I accidentally got my face caught in his armpit and couldn't help grimacing and exclaiming at the stinky, sweaty man smell caused a rush of affection to race through my limbs, and I squished him tightly between my arms and my legs like a four-limbed octopus until he protested that I was going to squeeze the breath out of him. Hardly. And when he hugged me back, growling and roaring like a frisky lion while play-chomping on my neck and rocking us back and forth, I laughed and gasped so hard I really was afraid I was going to stop breathing.

By the time we finished horsing around, John was lying on his back and I was on top of him, face-to-face, my head on his shoulder with my hands tucked up underneath my chin, my knees bent and my thighs draped on either side over his hip bones. I ran the toes of one foot idly up and down the outside of his left calf, then suddenly lifted up a bit, bent, and reached back and down with my right hand, remembering something that I had seen earlier. I searched with my fingers on his left thigh until I found it and traced the new scar there, a small circular one, before turning my head back to look at John's face.

"Bullet," he said solemnly. He was gazing at the ceiling, apparently a million miles away, but his hands, previously crossed over my back to hold me in place on top of him, had slid – I'm sure entirely by accident – to cover my breasts as soon as they had come into view again.

I smiled a bit at his innocent expression, then became serious again, still letting him have his feel.

"Anything else?" I asked, at the same time dreading the answer.

"Tooth extraction," he supplied, quickly adding, "but that was friendly."

I struggled to straighten up and turn completely back around so I could get a clearer look at his face.

"'Friendly?'" I exclaimed, alarmed now. "How on earth is that friendly?" I put a hand on either side of his jaw and tried to get him to open up and show me. He stubbornly kept his mouth closed in a thin line and only opened up when I began to kiss and lick him to coax his lips to open.

Yep, there it was, a gap near the back, and the gum was still an angry red and looked quite tender.

"That's some job you've got there," I commented, letting him close his mouth again and putting my hands on either side of his chest on the bed to hold myself up. I don't know how he had done it, but the man still had a firm hold on my breasts, and, frankly, it felt kind of nice.

I thought for a moment that he was going to launch into a serious response to my rhetorical observation about his job, but after a second or so, by the set of his mouth and the wary look in his eyes, it was almost immediately apparent that he had squelched the impulse and left me to wonder what he had been about to say.

"What about you?" John asked in an effort to fill the suddenly awkward silence between us. "Any battle wounds?"

He shifted his hips as he asked this, unceremoniously dumping me to one side and flipping over so he now held the dominant position, and began a close inspection of – guess what? – my breasts. I had no idea what kind of injuries he thought he might find there. Excessive handling, maybe.

"Ooh, ooh, I remember, a bad glass cut!" I announced excitedly, trying to get John to look at my left hand by poking it into his field of vision and indicating a small indentation with the fingers of my other hand.

I'll give him credit, he did eventually peel his eyes away from his main interest and his hands too as he grasped my left hand in his large but gentle ones and peered carefully at the location I had indicated.

"That looks bad," he commented, moving his head a bit and dragging my hand into a beam of sunlight that had found its way between the curtains so he could locate the tiny slice that had already healed quite nicely. "Might need an amputation."

I snatched my hand away from his and pretended to be put out. "Meanie," I declared, pouting as I said it. "It hurt like hell at the time and I kept getting lemon and lime juice in it afterwards."

"Oh, well, in that case..." John said laughingly before plunging his head towards the side of my neck. "Let me kiss it better."

I squealed and laughed as he began to nibble and suck on an earlobe, sputtering out, "Wait, that's not where it hurts!"

"Oh, isn't it?" he said, stopping mid-lick and raising his head. "How about here?"

John had me pinned down, helpless to protect myself, as he proceeded to test various spots on my body, asking after each kiss, nibble or lick whether that was the place it hurt. By the time he had exhausted his game, nothing hurt except for maybe my facial muscles from all the laughing and smiling. And his kisses had also made me feel all sinuous and sexy and curvy and girly again. I was just beginning to look forward to another round when it hit me. It was getting quite late. Maybe if we were quick about it? I knew we were out of time, though, when John suddenly stopped his teasing and reached over to the bedside table to pick up his watch to check it and his face quickly became serious.

"Almost time to go," he said once he had put the watch back on the bedside table and turned again towards me.

And like anyone who takes their obligations seriously, John kissed my mouth quickly and rolled away so he could get up off of the bed and go into the bathroom, leaving me lying there feeling a bit abandoned, and I watched the bathroom door, the back of one hand covering my still-tingling lips as I let all my insecurities and fears show on my face while he was safely shut away in the other room and couldn't see them.

When John was finished using the toilet, he opened the door of the bathroom and invited me to join him in the shower. I had managed to get back to my happy place by this time and got up from the bed, stepping into the shower with him and luxuriating in the feel of hot water, soap, and slippery male skin as I washed him down and then let him do the same for me.

Drying off and toweling my hair as best I could, I pulled on some clean clothes, finishing just as John had dressed and was strapping on his watch and slinging his shoulder holster over his back, and as we left the bedroom, he stopped and turned to me.

"Darlene, I wonder if we could talk a bit before I go," John said, his expression unreadable.

A sense of foreboding popped in my stomach, but I did my best to dampen it down, replying with a cheerful, "Sure."

I grabbed John's hand and led him into the kitchen, offering to make us a cup of coffee in the hopes that I could spin the remainder of his stay out as long as possible. He accepted, and as I put water on to boil and measured grounds into a coffee press, he sat at the kitchen table, sunshine spilling in onto one side of his face, the other side in shadow.

It only took ten minutes or so to brew the coffee, and we passed the time in silence. I could see that John was still working out what he wanted to say, and though I was curious, I didn't want to rush him. Whatever it was, it was obviously important, so I could wait.

When we each had a cup of coffee in front of us – his black, mine with cream – John began to speak.

"What I'm about to tell you is between us. I don't know whether there would be any problem if it got out, but I don't like to take chances."

I nodded when he paused, and when he saw I was prepared to listen without interrupting, he smiled slightly and continued.

"Darlene, I don't live in LA," he said abruptly. "I'm only here on a temporary assignment. I obviously can't tell you any details, but there's a good possibility I may be sent somewhere else soon. I just wanted to let you know."

He stopped speaking and took a sip of coffee, apparently assuming that I would be able to figure out what effect this information would have on me. When I continued to look at him attentively, he decided to elaborate.

"What I'm trying to say is I really may be gone for good this time. And if I do go, I won't have the chance to let you know or to say goodbye."

I reached out a hand and he curled his fingers around mine so we were holding hands in the air over the table, much like we had in the early morning hours at the diner.

"And, of course," he added, "I won't be able to tell you where they send me or contact you when I get there."

I finally found my tongue to respond.

"Thank you for telling me, John," I said, giving him a sad smile. "I think if you had just disappeared without saying anything, it would have been much harder."

He pulled my hand towards his mouth, and I could feel the heat left on his lips by the coffee as he kissed the back of my hand before letting it go. He stood as he drained the last of his coffee, setting the mug down and coming around the table to stand by my chair. He reached down and grasped my upper arms, pulling upwards so I would stand, and enfolded me in his arms, rocking a bit from side to side as he rubbed his cheek on the top of my head.

I managed to untangle my arms from in front of me and announced, "I'm going to squish you now," before doing just that – putting my arms around his waist and squeezing as hard as I could, my face pressed up against his chest, my eyes closed tightly as I tried to breathe through a rapidly constricting throat.

When I began to loosen my grip, John pulled away a bit so he could lean his head down towards mine, and he paused in that way he had that I loved so much to look into my eyes, giving me a chance to look into his, which were mirroring the wistful sadness that I felt, and dropped his head to kiss me.

As his lips touched mine, my eyes fluttered closed, and the combination of body heat, coffee taste and tenderness that he conveyed to me through that one kiss summed up for me his true feelings, and I knew once again that, although he was leaving me, he was leaving me stronger and that I too had helped him in my small way along the lonely path he was traveling.

I guess John somehow just knew that I didn't want to watch him leave, and when he let me go, I stood in the kitchen with my eyes closed listening to his quiet footfalls across the living room, the hallway closet door opening and closing, and then finally the apartment door as he pulled it shut behind him, and when I opened my eyes, I turned my face towards the sunshine and smiled a secret smile as it warmed my skin.

It was happening all over again. I tried to stop it, but the more I tried to make it stop, the more quickly he seemed to appear in my mind, as though he was right before me. Standing. Sitting. Clothed. Naked. The covers draped partway over his hips exposing a muscular and tempting thigh. Smiling at me from across the table, the end of his fork carrying slices of pancake dripping syrup to his mouth. His mouth. His hands.

His eyes.

Sometimes I just had to stop whatever I was doing and lean on something, shake my head to clear it, and get my thoughts straight again. I couldn't fall into the old patterns. Not again. Not so soon. He could be gone for months, like the last time. He could even be gone already, this time for good. I had to learn to make it through a day without wanting him quite so much, without letting thoughts of him take up my whole existence. It wasn't right. And it wasn't fair.

If only I could see him a little more frequently or even know whether I would be seeing him ever again, then maybe I wouldn't build this into an obsession. I'd heard of the expression "Familiarity breeds contempt," but in my case, I figured it should be "Familiarity breeds contentment." If I had him a little more often, maybe I wouldn't want him quite so much.

Yeah, right.

I was getting pretty good at rationalizing this whole thing, since I had a feeling deep down inside my gut that I would never be through wanting him and I would never get enough of him.

I was pretty proud of myself about two weeks later, actually, when I could go a whole hour at a time without being reminded of something John had done or said or what he had looked like at a particular moment. I was gunning for an hour and a half in a row next. Sort of a one-step-at-a-time program. Detox for the heart.

Come to think of it, it was exactly two weeks since the last time I had seen him, almost to the hour. Closing time. I was just hanging some wine glasses back on the rack when I heard my cell phone ring. I almost didn't answer it since I was so close to going home and didn't feel like talking to an automated telemarketing machine.

I scrabbled under the bar for my purse and flipped open the cell phone pocket. Pulling the unit out too quickly, I almost dropped the stupid thing before snapping it open and looking at the display. "Private Caller." Great.

I honestly don't know what made me push the call activate button. Maybe it was a sixth sense. Maybe it was the angel on my shoulder, the one that some people say everybody has, whispering to me. Maybe it was just dumb luck. The good kind.

I raised the phone to my ear and said crisply, "Hello?"

The voice on the other end was warm and tender, deep and a bit gravelly.

"Hello, Darlene? It's John."