Another long chapter for all of you. But this time...this one, well, I hope you're satisfied at the end of it. The last section, Charlie and Catherine's POVs, was the third part of this story I wrote. Oh, they've been tweaked, edited, expanded upon, etc. since that first version, simply because there are just moments when I just can't let the man go. ;)
The song choice, Khachaturian's Adagio to Spartacus and Phrygia, has been their theme song since probably day 5 of writing this. I hope you take a listen.
See you at the bottom...
Khachaturian, Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia
I stood looking through the patio doors of her cabin. I could see her outside in the darkness, slowly walking backwards as a man with a dark hood over his head took step after step toward her. I saw her mouth form my name, and I pounded on the glass. "Stop! Police!" But it was if they couldn't hear me, couldn't see me. I tried the glass door, but it wouldn't budge. There was no lock. I sprinted to the front door, but it was stuck. Again, no lock. I flew back to the window, and he had his hand around her neck, forcing her up, almost off the ground.
I looked around the room for anything I could use to break the glass, and grabbed the nearest thing – a lamp on the table. I swung the metal base like a baseball bat at the glass, but it bounced right off with not even a crack. I dropped the lamp, my eyes scanning for Catherine, when I realized she was on the ground not moving. He was kneeling over her.
Fuck! I pulled my gun, took two steps backward, and shot at the window. The bullet just stopped and fell to the ground.
"What the hell?"
I ran back to the window, pounding on it with my hand, yelling, "Catherine! Leave her alone! Catherine! . . ."
My whole body twitched, when I realized Catherine's head was on my chest, her leg thrown over mine, her toes pressed against my calf. I let my head fall back on the pillow, and clutched at her shirt with my hand that rested on her back. She was here. We were here. In my bed. She started to stir, and wiggled even closer, sliding her hand up my chest to stop near my shoulder.
"Was that an earthquake?" she asked dreamily, not looking up.
"Something like that, yeah." I tried to joke.
"Hmmm. Seems to me someone was dreaming." She said as she yawned. She started to roll over, when I tightened the arm I had around her.
"Stay right there." I caught her grin as her head popped up and she rested her chin on my ribs. I flinched when it tickled. "How's you're head?"
"Better than the leftover makeup on my face, and my morning breath, I'm sure." She said as she laid her cheek back down. I had to laugh. I hadn't noticed either. All I could focus on was her hair, her curls spread out from my neck, onto my arm on her back. My hand moved up to play with one that had been tickling my forearm.
"You look perfect to me." She did, lying here. On top of me.
"What were you dreaming about?" she said lazily, rubbing her hand on my chest.
"You." Sort-of the truth.
"Hmmm. Like the other morning?" She kept her face down, but I knew exactly what was on her mind.
"For me to know." I lifted my hand to run my fingers through the hair that was mesmerizing me for some reason. She seized the freedom and rolled away onto her back, quicker than a cat. But she suddenly stayed very still, and I rolled over on my side to see her eyes closed.
"How's the head, now?" but I knew, and my fingers gently brushed the side of her head to find the bump. It was smaller, but still there.
"I just moved too fast, that's all. I'm ok. Really." She opened her eyes to see me staring down. "While I'd really love to kiss you right now, Chief, I want to shower and brush my teeth more." She rolled on her side, facing away from me. I nudged up to her back, wrapping my lonely arm around her, settling just underneath the two things my hand longed to touch. I kissed her bare arm, up my shirt on her shoulder, over her neck, and then to the bump on her head.
"Mmmm. Go back to my neck." I did as I was told, wandering about her ear too.
My attentions were having the desired affect as she let out a huge sigh. "We have to get up, you know. You have a surprise for me, I believe." I could see the corner of her mouth go up, so I stopped nipping at her ear and chuckled.
"Yes, we do. And it's 8:00. We have to leave by 10:00." And I waited . . .
"Ok. Can I shower first why you make the coffee?" I propped my head back on my hand. Ok, so I thought she would want, no need, more time to get ready.
"Sure." Her one arm pushed the mattress in front of her as she started to get up, my arm depressingly sliding from around her to let her. She sat on the end of the bed, rubbing her nose, and then running her hand over her forehead and up over her hair. I ran my fingertips over her back. I knew she was thinking about the last 10 hours.
"You ok?" I wanted her to be. I wanted to take her mind off everything that had happened.
She turned to me. "Yeah." Her shoulders lifted as she took a deep breath, closing her eyes, my palm rubbing her back. "But I just realized I don't have a toothbrush, do I?" She slowly stood up, checking her balance, and went over to the bag that Jones had put together, rummaging through it. "Nope," she confirmed.
"There's an extra one under the sink. Brand new." I said.
"Really? Expecting a guest?" she grabbed the bag and started for the door, mildly pissy.
"No, the dentist. He gives out new ones every time I go." She was halfway through the door when she stopped midstride and poked her head back.
"Oh," she said, and disappeared around the corner. I smiled. Yeah, like I had so many women I'd keep an extra toothbrush around just in case. God I loved the way her mind worked. I listened as I heard her rummaging for a towel in the linen closet. She hadn't even asked where they were, just went looking for it. Something stirred in my belly, and I realized I liked that she was comfortable in my home. I wanted her to get more comfortable. Either that or I was starving.
I hopped out of bed and trotted down to the front door to get the paper. As I opened the door, I looked up and down the street, seeing if there might be anything strange. Anything out of place. Anything wrong.
C'mon, ya fucker. Just give me a reason. I grabbed the paper and slammed the door, bolting it behind me.
I went into the kitchen and started the coffee. Looking out the window, I hoped the weather held. I wasn't too worried though, because where we were going, the weather would be better than in Forks. I sat down at the table, and opened the paper, checking to make sure the story hadn't hit. Although my guys knew to keep this quiet, that didn't mean someone else wouldn't give the damn press enough info to run something.
Fifteen minutes later, I heard Catherine moving about in the bathroom. "Charlie, do you have a hairdryer?" she yelled down.
"Yeah, I'll get it for you." I ran upstairs, getting the hairdryer out of the closet. Pausing at the bathroom door, I thought about what might happen if I just opened it. What if my hand just twisted the doorknob? I could just open the door and whisk her back into the shower with me. What was I, a 17-year-old kid?
The door flying open made me jump. But there was at least part of the vision - Catherine just standing there in a towel, wet hair draping down her shoulders. My eyes went from her ankles, up her bare legs, the towel was just long enough to cover . . . then the lucky little corner of the towel that was folded back into that inviting space between her perfect breasts. I could just reach out and with one flick, have the whole damn thing down at her feet . . .
"Ahem, hairdryer?" her eyebrow went up, and my hand involuntarily went forward with the contraption.
"Um, sorry." I turned and went back downstairs. Man, I wouldn't get that picture out of my head the rest of the day.
About ten minutes later, I saw her walk past the kitchen fully dressed, and into the living room. What seemed like a half-an-hour went by and she still hadn't come in the kitchen. "What are you doing?" I asked, pretending to read the newspaper.
"Putting on some music." She mumbled sounding preoccupied. "Do you mind?" She then asked a little louder.
"No. What is it?" Now that I knew the thing held all of her favorites, something made me want to hear what was on it. I dropped the paper on the table, and walked out into the living room. She was kneeling by the stereo, iPhone in hand.
"A quick mix of songs I just made." She said as her finger touched the screen.
"Show me how this works." She started to explain, showing me how you just touched these little things on the screen, where the phone button was, how it held all these apps, yada, yada, yada.
"But what's the mix? How can I see the songs?" She touched a few screens and then handed it to me, bounding away into the kitchen. I read each one and realized some of them were my favorites. Zeppelin, Eagles, McCartney, The Police, even Clapton. But some I didn't recognize. I hit the spot in the corner that took me to the song playing – Need You Now by Lady Antebellum. Never heard of it.
I put the thing down on the stereo and went back into the kitchen. She'd poured herself coffee, and was now standing with my fridge door open.
"Can you hook that thing up in my truck?" I watched as she bent over to grab something.
"I don't know. I can try, though. I have a contraption that will let me run it through the radio if you don't have a jack." She turned around and I realized I had been staring at the tempting roundness of her ass.
"I'm, um, gonna go shower." I started to leave.
"Do you want anything for breakfast? It's the most important meal of the day." She smiled with a carton of eggs in her hand.
"I'll have whatever it is you plan on doing with those eggs."
"Good answer. Scrambled ok?"
"Yep." And I took off up the stairs. It would be the fastest shower of my life.
I knew one thing for sure, wherever we were going, it wasn't close. We were on the 101, heading back the way I'd initially arrived in Forks. Charlie thoughtfully pointed out the spot where we first met.
I'd figured out how to hook my iPhone up in his truck, and Charlie was singing "Anything For Your Love" by Clapton. He had a good voice, something akin to a few shots of whiskey and a half a pack of smokes, and it was amazingly sexy. The more surprising revelation being that he could actually carry a tune and that was more than I could say for the men in my family. I smiled to myself, knowing full well what songs I had put on this mix and why.
. . .
He'd finished his morning ritual in about fifteen minutes, just long enough for me to scramble the eggs and get dishes on the table. As he walked into the kitchen, Nickelback, "Savin' Me" was playing.
"Hey, I know this one," he said, happy with himself. I just shook my head and laughed, my back to him as I went to grab the skillet with the eggs.
"Not yet." His hands squeezed my upper arms, forcing me to turn and face him.
"Good morning," he said as his mouth was on mine before I could even answer, tickling my upper lip with his mustache. He tasted like fresh toothpaste, as his tongue found mine. His lips traveled over my jaw, and down to the part of my neck that drove me wild, his hands following a path from my shoulders down to the small of my back, bending me into him.
"Good morning to you." My hands went around his waist and then into the pockets of his jeans. "Wait a minute. Turn around," I ordered him.
"What it's not enough to hold my ass, but now you want to look at it?" He said, faking outrage, but turning dutifully.
Oh yes. Rock & Republics. Wait. Rock & Republics? "Charlie, where'd you get those jeans?" I asked suspiciously. Charlie would never buy those jeans himself. Not after I knew I'd seen him in Levi's. Twice.
He spun back around. "Uh, Alice. Why?" I would send Alice a handwritten thank you note. I let my eyes wander to the gray Mariners t-shirt he was sporting, and walked forward wrapping my arms around him again to rest my forehead against his chest. How would I get through this day without attacking him?
"Hmmm? Nothing. They're spectacular. You're spectacular." His hands went to my cheeks, forcing me to look up at him. I kept my eyes closed, imagining sliding those jeans down, off of him . . .
I felt him watching me, and peeked at him through half-opened lids, grinning.
"Somethin' tells me I need to get more of these jeans" he grinned back, and the way he said it made my insides turn to goo.
I looked at those wondrous lips of his, and rose up on my tip toes to take them one more time. This time, my tongue did the demanding, being met just as forcefully by his. I felt him pushing me toward the counter, and then my back ran into it. His lips ran down my throat as my head fell back, and I knew he wanted to go farther, but my Sox t-shirt prevented easy access to anymore skin. His hands decided to go underneath it, and this time I more than wanted them there. I wanted them all over me. If we didn't stop soon, we'd never make it out of the house.
"Char . . . lie." It came out as one long breath. I didn't know why I'd said it, but he suddenly stopped and I brought my head back up to meet his eyes.
"Breakfast?" he asked innocently. He slowly slid his hands from under my shirt, every inch of my skin in protest, making me shudder. He noticed.
"Yeah," was all I could say. He went to get the skillet, and I dreamily sat down at the table. He put some eggs on my plate, then his, and put the skillet back on the stove, bringing my forgotten coffee with him. Sitting down across from me, I heard him chuckle.
Snap out of it, O'Hara. I shook my head and grabbed my fork, digging in.
After two bites, I asked, "Did you ever think about getting rid of that mustache?"
"Nope." He answered with his mouth full.
"Good. Don't." My grin gave away my thoughts.
"So, are you going to tell me where we're going?" I tried to be nonchalant while taking another bite of eggs.
"Nope. But you'll figure it out eventually."
. . .
"Catherine? You awake?" Charlie's voice. What? We were in the truck. Dammit! I'd fallen asleep again, dreaming of what we would be doing when we got home.
I turned to look at him and smiled. "Sorry. I told you I can't stay awake in a car if I'm not driving."
He smiled back. "How's the head?"
What? Oh, my head. Yeah.
"Fine. Absolutely fine." I giggled to myself. They're both fine, Chief. Well, one most definitely was, and the other would be. I'd taken some Tylenol before we'd left, just to be on the safe side, but not since this morning had the knot on my head really bothered me.
I looked out the window. "Where are we?" I picked up my iPhone. It was 12:30.
"Seattle? What the hell are we . . ." My eyes fell on his shirt, and remembered that Charlie was the one who picked out my clothes for today. And I was wearing one of my 20 White Sox t-shirts.
Wait. Was he taking me to a . . . "Are we going to a Mariners game?" I jumped up in my seat, well, as much as I could with a seatbelt on. A fabulous, from-the-gut, laugh erupted from Charlie.
"I've never been to their stadium. What's it called again?" I couldn't remember I was so excited.
Charlie was taking me to a Mariners game. I could hardly contain myself. I didn't even care who they were playing. A baseball game with Charlie. Head over heels five times over wouldn't even begin to describe what I was feeling.
"Have you ever seen 'Pretty Woman'?" I suddenly shot at him.
"I've tried to avoid it all cost." Humph. I'd have to rectify that.
"Well, if I forget to tell you today, I had a wonderful time." He looked at me with an absolutely mystified expression.
We arrived at the ballpark with only minutes to spare, and I hated missing the National Anthem, so we ran all the way from the car to our seats, which were four rows behind the Mariners dugout.
We made it just in time to stand and sing, well, I did the singing, dropping into our seats when it ended. I took the chance to look around the field, and decided it was quite a nice ballpark. Not Comiskey, I mean US Cellular, of course, but the view out past the outfield was spectacular. As if a blessing from my Dad and God together, I spotted the beer man coming down our aisle, so I stood up flashing 2 fingers. I figured I didn't even have to ask Charlie.
"Wow." Charlie said. "A woman who knows how to enjoy a game." Charlie paid the man before I could get my wallet, so I just sat back in my seat. Seventy degrees, watching baseball, a handsome man to my left, and beer in hand. It didn't get much better than this.
"So Chief, how'd you get these tickets?" I took a swig of my beer, and watched as the Brewers got a hit.
"Called in a favor," he said noncommittally.
"You don't mind if I root for the Brewers, do ya? Since they're close to home and a rival of the Cubs?" I asked innocently.
"No. But be ready for unmerciful torture later after my Mariners win." he said with confidence.
Ha. The likelihood of that happening. I should bet him some cash, too.
"Care to put your money where your mouth is? How's 20 bucks sound?" I turned in my seat to face him.
"You're on," and he took my hand to shake it, then placed a kiss on the back of my hand. I laughed out loud at the effort.
"Gallantry won't get your money back when your guys lose." I turned back to face the field, taking another sip of my beer.
"Really. Well, I have other forms of interroga . . . er . . . persuasion." I didn't look over at him, but I could see his body shaking and knew he was laughing.
The game was a good one, although the Mariners were losing to Milwaukee 3-1 by the fifth inning.
"Hey, I gotta go hit the head. You gonna be ok?" he asked. I nodded, intent on checking out some of the cute Mariner players as they left the field in the middle of the fifth.
"Yep," I didn't even notice when he left, but then sitting by myself, without Charlie to talk to, I felt . . . anxious. I turned around to see if he was coming back. I sat back in my seat, sliding down a bit, trying to hide. I took a long gulp of my beer.
No, you're traveling alone. Not very prudent. You never know who you might meet . . . in a place like this.
No, you're traveling alone.
You're . . . traveling . . . alone.
I bolted upright. He had said . . . Did he mean I was alone on the path, or alone . . . in general? In Forks?
Deep breaths, Catherine. You cannot freak out in the middle of a baseball game, right behind the Mariners' dugout.
I put my beer back in the cupholder afraid that I would spill the thing, and clasped the armrests of my seat, trying to force myself to relax. My body rocked back and forth just slightly, and not enough for people around me to notice, as I kept my eyes on the seatback in front of me. I did NOT want to look around and see . . . Had he been following me? Stalking me? Before the woods? Was he here?
Charlie, please come back. Charlie, please come back. I chanted those words in my head, trying not to think anymore.
"Hey." I jumped but realized it was Charlie. My hand shot out from the armrest, reaching for his.
"Catherine? What is it?" I could hear the worry in his voice. Peripherally, I saw that he'd turned toward me, and had taken my hand into the safety of both of his.
"You . . . you walked away and . . . I remembered something. Something he said." I kept rocking, still looking at the seat in front of me.
"What? Can you tell me?" he spoke softly now.
I didn't want to say it out loud. Saying it out loud would make it . . . real. But I had to tell Charlie. "He said I was traveling . . . alone. He knew I was traveling alone. I don't know if he meant just on my walk, or . . . my trip." I felt like I'd been holding my breath, so I inhaled and let it out.
I was ok. Charlie was here.
I finally felt brave enough to tear my eyes away from the seat and look at him. "What if he meant my trip? What if he's been following me, stalking me . . . before the forest?" Charlie's arm went around my shoulders and I leaned into him. I wasn't crying, and thank God I wasn't shaking. I looked up to see his face, and he was staring out into left field.
We sat like that for awhile, I don't know how long exactly. I started to feel guilty, letting my stupid fears ruin our day. I could tell Charlie was running things over in his head.
"Do you wanna go?" Charlie finally asked.
"No. I don't. If we do, he wins. I hate losing," I said, watching a Brewers base hit to right. "But I would like a hot dog," as I spotted the vendor go past us. If a way to a man's heart was through his stomach, surely a hotdog would take his mind off my near panic attack.
Charlie suddenly stood up and yelled, "Yo."
In the midst of my hotdog, Charlie asked, "When was the last time the Sox won the World Series?"
"Who's their first baseman?"
"Who was in left field in 2005?"
"Um, that would be yummy Scotty Pods. He came back for a spell last year."
"You have to sit in the left field bleachers to understand."
"Who threw the winning out in 2005?"
"Bobby Jenks." I turned in my seat to face him. "Tell me Chief, do you actually know the answers to these questions? Cuz I'm thinking even if I didn't know them, you wouldn't either." He gave me that gut-busting laugh again and threw his arm back around me.
Five more questions later, he had me leaning over holding my stomach in a giggle fit, as he imitated Ozzie Guillen at a press conference.
The game went by quickly after that, with his precious Mariners ultimately losing 4-2. Driving home, I realized he'd been able to distract me from the near panic attack that my memory almost created, and we'd ended up enjoying the rest of the game.
"You owe me 20 bucks, by the way." I said, looking out my window. He went for his wallet, but stopped with it halfway out when I said, "I am interested . . . however . . . in these persuasion tactics you referred to, though. You know, to see if they really work." I looked back at him and caught his smile.
"Oh, they'll work." He pushed his wallet back in his pocket and took back my hand.
I looked down at Charlie's hand over mine.
You're traveling alone. It came out of nowhere. Again.
Traveling. Not just walking. I tried to remember if I'd seen this guy before. Seattle maybe? Nothing. Home? Never. Why would he say traveling? I started to get angry. I didn't want to feel helpless anymore. I wanted to figure this out. I wanted to help Charlie catch this asshole. The feeling of his cold hand on my skin came back like a shock, and I flinched in my seat.
"What?" Charlie clutched my hand, noticing the movement.
"Nothing." I tried to sound casual, but I could see Charlie looking at me out of the corner of my eye. I didn't want him to know that it was pretty much his hand holding mine that was keeping me from freaking out. Again.
I thought of what I'd said to him last night and his response.
Never let me go. Promise.
"To Make You Feel My Love", the Kris Allen version, started playing and diverted my attention, if only briefly.
When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love.
I knew the words like a prayer, but now they had new meaning, especially after last night. I glanced up at Charlie, who was concentrating on traffic, and figuring out how he could speed through it.
I know you haven't made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I've known it from the moment that we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong.
Without looking at me, Charlie suddenly said, "You can go to sleep if you want. It's gonna take me awhile to get out of this mess before I can, uh, get us home. We can swing by the cabin and get your things, or at least some of them?"
"No! I mean . . . I'd rather not. Not tonight. Can we go tomorrow?" I didn't need to explain why I didn't want to go back there. I didn't want to see the place. Not today. I wanted my clothes, yes, but I didn't want to spoil our afternoon with the cabin being one of the last memories of it.
"Sure. We'll go tomorrow." He paused, but I couldn't tell what he was thinking. "Do you think you'll be hungry when we get home? I could call the diner and have something ready for us to pick up? What do you want?"
My heart registered the fact that he'd said the word home twice. I managed to mutter, "Whatever you're having." But for the first time since I arrived in small-town Forks, Washington, I imagined not leaving. Of staying. With Charlie.
I figured I'd never fall asleep, not with the nap I took earlier, but somewhere after we'd left the traffic of the city, I did.
I pulled into the driveway, and Catherine had yet to wake up. She'd even slept through the stop at the diner, Cora bringing the order out the truck. I didn't want to leave her alone, even just to run in to get the food. I'd already packed away her iPhone in her purse, and just sat in the silence watching her. The rise and fall of her chest, and the last bit of light play off her cheek. I didn't want to wake her she looked so peaceful.
I thought about what she remembered at the ballpark. Traveling alone – that's what he had said to her. Kind of an odd phrase to say to someone in the woods, but she had been alone walking. I needed to call Larson and tell him. It wasn't much. Not much at all. Even if he had been following her before she got to Forks, there was no way to find out. Catherine didn't seem to have noticed him before the run-in the woods.
Suddenly her eyes fluttered, and she lifted her head up to sit straight.
"How long have you, we, been sitting here?" Her gaze flew to the windshield, and then out the window next to her. "Home? We're home already? Did you stop at the diner?" I just shook my head at her rapid-fire questions.
"Don't worry. Just a few minutes. Yes, I got the food. Should we go in and eat it, or would you rather stay out here?" I chuckled.
"Hah. Very funny." She opened her door, grabbing her purse, and jumped out, but as I rounded the front corner of the truck, I noticed she'd pushed herself up against it waiting for me to come around.
We walked into the house, and I bolted the door behind me, as Catherine headed toward the bathroom. I whipped out my phone as soon as I was in the kitchen and gave Larson the update. He agreed with me that it wasn't much of anything, but at least we knew it seemed he was focused on Catherine, and the Lodge probably wouldn't have any other problems. Yeah, at least. Larson thought it might be a good idea if I had a guy watch my house, but I told him he didn't know where I lived. Hell, he probably didn't even know she was here with her car at the station. I heard Catherine open the bathroom door, and quickly told Larson I'd call him back if she remembered anything else. I'd just put the phone in my pocket when she came into the kitchen.
"I take it that was the station?" Damn, she'd figured it out.
"Yep. Just giving them the detail you remembered." I said, concentrating on getting our food on the table. Lying wasn't worth the effort.
"It's ok, you know. I'm glad you did. You didn't need to be so James Bond about it, though. I could hear you talking in the bathroom." She sat down and started in on her burger.
I sat down across from her, picking up a fry, "I didn't . . . I thought you might not want to . . . you know . . . be reminded," and shoved it in my mouth.
She must've chewed the bite of her burger 20 times before she spoke. "I know. You're right . . . in a way." She stared at her plate, holding her burger out, as if she was replaying again. Shit. "I . . . I just want to help. I feel like if I could just think, maybe . . . maybe . . ."
Ok. Good. I looked at her hands, her body, her face. No shakes. So I dove in. "So, is there anything else? Anything at all?" Man, I really didn't want to go here, not now, but she seemed to be trying.
She had taken another bite of her burger, and stared at her plate until she finished chewing. "No. I think I was . . . trying so hard to get . . . get out of there that I wasn't really paying attention. Except for what he wore, and what I already told you, and . . ." she flinched.
"What?" I dropped my burger, and reached out my hand to her. I remembered the way she had done the same thing in the car.
She grabbed it. "Except for the way . . . when he touched me. His . . . his hand was cold."
His hand was cold. Again, not much of anything to help us find him. Anyone could have cold hands around here, especially in the woods. But something about it nagged at me. I looked at Catherine and she was eating again, so at least that meant no panic attack. A step in the right direction.
We sat and ate the rest of our burgers, she seemed ok, starting in on me about the sorry state of my Mariners, and somehow getting to what would happen to Konerko at the end of the season. I took it to mean it was the end of the asshole discussion, and I was partly glad.
I couldn't help but watch the way her hands flew when she got all worked up, especially about her favorite player possibly leaving, or the twinkle in her eye when she joked it was too bad Seattle didn't have two baseball teams. A woman who knew baseball. I suddenly had a vision of her and me and the kitchen table. I quickly stood up and cleared the papers and bag from the table to stop thinking about it, and felt her come up behind me.
"This was another perfect day, Charlie Swan. I don't know what you're going to do next, but I can't wait to find out." I turned and pulled her into my arms. I knew what I wanted to happen next, but I would follow her lead.
"How 'bout we continue this discussion on the couch? Your tunes in the background?" I suggested.
She giggled and skipped out of the kitchen. I followed closely behind, lying down on the couch while her back was to me at the stereo. I hoped it wasn't too obvious a maneuver. She suddenly set the iPhone down, and I recognized The Police, "I Burn For You".
I watched her face as she turned to look at me, her eyes going over my body lying there, waiting for her. It was her move. What was she up to? I didn't care as long as it meant I could touch her. Soon.
As she walked towards me, she suddenly commanded, "Turn over." Without an argument, I rolled over onto my stomach, and felt her leg go over me, the back cushion next to me flying somewhere. Her knees on either side of my waist, I felt her body graze my ass, just as the palms of her hands ran up my back and over my shoulders, kneading, massaging.
Oh man. Back massage. Yesssss.
Her fingers rubbed my neck, and then moved down as I felt her thumbs press around my shoulder blades and then down my spine. She worked my lower back, and then back up again, spreading out across my upper arms. I felt her body move forward, her lips and tongue playing with the outside of my ear, as her hands worked my arms. Fuck, that felt good. She would put me to sleep at this rate.
"Catherine?" It came out more as a grunt, as she sat back to work my shoulders again.
"Yes." She whispered. As she did, she rose up onto her knees, giving me just enough room to try and flip back over, but as I did, she lost her balance and fell forward, catching herself with her hands behind my head on the arm of the couch. I maneuvered myself so that I was facing her again.
"Come here." It was more of an order then a request.
She braced herself with her hands on either side of my face, lowering herself slowly. Too slowly. She was going to drive me insane. That was her plan. I wanted to kiss her, maul her really, and she was hovering above me, torturing me with both her closeness and the distance her mouth was from mine.
"Yes?" Her mouth was inches from mine now, and those mesmerizing curls were wreaking havoc on my face and neck.
I couldn't wait anymore, and wrapped my arms around her, forcing her arms to give way, her body down onto mine. I took her parted lips and pushed my tongue in, wanting to taste every bit of her. She slid to the inside of the couch, but my hand at the back of her head kept her mouth to mine. I felt her fingers sneaking under my shirt, shy at first, or just so lightly exploring they drove me insane. But then, her hand moved lower, until I felt it fiddling with the button of my jeans. Charlie Jr. was at full attention now.
"Catherine, wait." I pulled my head back to see her very shocked and somewhat hurt face.
"I'm sorry, Charlie. I thought . . ." Her eyes went down. Shit, I'd embarrassed her.
"No, I'm not . . . I mean . . . this couch. It's a little small." I watched as little by little a look of relief crossed her face, but as she slowly started to sit up, her one knee between my legs came dangerously close to . . .
Knowing full well I had to move or the night would end in disaster, I slid my ass backward, giving her room, extracting my one still-tangled leg. As I planted my feet on the floor, I took her hand, pulling her with me as I stood up. I grabbed her waist as soon as she was standing, and tugged her into my arms.
She was looking into my chest, "Charlie, just so you know, I haven't . . . done this in a while, and well, I'm not in my twenties anymore. . ."
I wanted to laugh. Not because I was laughing at her, but at that moment, for her to say . . . but as I watched her face, even in the relative darkness, I could see the blush on her cheeks. I couldn't let her think what she was thinking.
I couldn't ever again let her think that no one wanted her. Least of all me.
So I forced her to look at me, my finger sliding up under her chin. "Babe, if you haven't noticed, neither of us is."
Although I'd like to think I was.
"But . . . I . . . things may not be . . . quite up to par." Her cheeks turned a brighter pink as she said it. I couldn't tell if she was talking about her body or future performance. She was never more beautiful to me than at that moment. But I wanted her to be sure that she wanted this.
"Catherine. You're . . . you're absolutely perfect. And I . . . want . . . to be with you. Now. But not if you're . . . not ready." I waited as her eyes went back and forth looking into mine. I held my breath, afraid she was still deciding.
When I felt her hands start to tentatively move up my chest until her arms were around my neck, I started breathing again. Her eyes went to my lips, as her mouth reached up to me, her eyes then darting back to mine like they were asking permission.
I couldn't wait any more and went in full throttle, the force of my mouth, the demands of my tongue against hers, the way my arms clutched her to me . . . it felt right. She felt so, so right . . .
Her fingertips at my neck started to loosen, her hands and arms slowly sliding down mine, as her body started to go limp. I held her tighter, as if the only thing holding her up were my arms around her.
This kiss . . . the kiss . . . left no doubt in my mind where were going.
She pulled away, her eyes still closed and whispered, "Charlie?"
Oh shit. Don't say it. Don't you dare . . . "Yeah?" I whispered back.
Through half-lidded eyes, she barely spoke. "Take me upstairs. Now."
Don't have to tell me twice. I bent down, my arm going behind her knees to bring her there, fully intending to carry her up the stairs.
"I didn't mean carry me! You'll pull something before we even get to . . ." I dropped her legs like a hot potato, rather shocked, and watched as she took off of the stairs. It's not like she was even heavy, and I'm pretty strong, still . . .
"Aw, hell." I mumbled, racing up after her.
I found her standing in the middle of my bedroom, looking at the floor. I couldn't tell if she was embarrassed, scared, or both. My hand reached for her cheek to turn it up, and I saw it then. Like a buck starring at the barrel of a gun pointed at it. She was scared. I took her face in my hands, and softly put my lips on hers to take it all away.
I pulled back, if only to see if it worked, and I felt her fingers on the bottom of my shirt, pulling it up, making me raise my arms to take it off. The act totally caught me off guard. Her lips parted as her fingers slowly slid down my chest, her eyes following, just like that first night. She moved forward, bringing her mouth to kiss just under the hollow spot of my throat, starting a trail that ran her lips, her tongue, over my chest, tasting me, licking and then sucking in a nipple . . .
Where was this coming from? I had never seen this side of her.
But oh . . . I liked it.
She touched, kissed, licked everywhere, until I felt her fingers undoing my jeans, tugging the zipper down. Her fingers slid inside the waistband, and then around my ass, sending them down my legs, but somehow leaving my boxers on. Those same hands slid down the back of my thighs as she knelt in front of me and I realized she was looking at my . . . I took a deep breath. Suddenly, I was worried about . . . I had never had any complaints before . . .
Fuck! I felt her fingers, and my head went back. Touching me. Fabric the only thing separating . . . Then sliding up the length of me. She pulled on the edge of my shorts, tugging downward, and I felt her fingers again, this time on my bare skin. Her exploring was pure torture. Her hand. Her wet tongue gliding up, over, to that spot, and I groaned. Lips. Over me. Taking all of me in. My hand reached for the back of her head, my fingers lost in those soft curls. I watched her, but I didn't know how long I could just stand there. If I didn't get her undressed and into the bed . . . and she had been worried about performance?
I felt her one hand on the back of my thighs, clutching, and I realized I was too close to . . . I took handfuls of her shirt at her shoulders and pulled her up, her face registering complete shock at being interrupted.
"Cath, I'm . . . I'm not gonna make it if you keep that up." She started to grin, as her hands went to my chest again. I took the opportunity to step out of my boxers and jeans, but reached for the bottom of her shirt, wanting nothing more than to see underneath, before she could start torturing me again. I searched her eyes, gathering folds of the material in my fingers, ready to pull up the fabric, and she raised her arms for me. In one fell swoop, I had it off, and was staring at the pink bra I had pulled out of her suitcase the night before. It was so much better on, lacy and smooth, and . . . I needed to touch her. The blush on her rosy cheeks reached down her neck to just above her breasts, where my fingers suddenly wanted to be. I felt the warmth there, slowly moving my hand down and over to cup a handful of her breast. I watched my thumb as I ran it over her already hard nipple, the feeling sending nothing short of a ripple through me and a shiver through her. My hands slid up and under the thin straps, pushing them off her shoulders, kissing, licking from the valley between the two, up her collarbone, on my way to her neck, as I reached behind her back to set them both free.
I held her and them tightly against me, crazy with need, pulling us both toward the bed. I stopped at the edge, undoing her jeans, pushing them down, leaving her little pink panties on. Backing up, I remembered last night when I tried to avoid this very image when I'd taken them out of her suitcase. My hand reached out, as my fingers ran over the smooth fabric. I stepped closer, gathering her in with my one arm, so my fingers could explore the front of her and in between, feeling just how much she wanted me. Her intake of breath as my fingers touched her wetness made me look in her eyes, and what I saw was pure need. So I took my hands and slid them around to her ass, and up to her back, lifting her as she kicked her jeans off. I kissed her neck, back down to her collarbone, to the top of her delicious breast, finally taking it in my mouth, claiming it as mine.
"Char . . . lie?" The way she said my name made me think she was asking if I was prepared, so I quickly reached over to open the drawer of the nightstand and pulled out the box, trying with lightning speed to get the thing out. Her hand went over mine.
"Are you . . . I mean . . . you don't . . . you're ok, right?"
"Yeah, no diseases here."
"Me neither. Besides, it doesn't matter. Because, I can't . . . get pregnant anyway. And I want to feel . . . all of you. Is that ok?" Her eyes were begging, pleading with me to say it was.
I sat back on the bed, looking in her eyes, then down over her body, until I was concentrating on the floor, trying to process everything she just said. She couldn't get pregnant. I wasn't sure how I felt about that, not at this moment, but . . . I didn't care. She was standing here, waiting for me to . . . I took her hand and pulled her toward me, resting my head against her stomach. I felt her fingers go through my hair, pressing my head against her. Somewhere in the pit of my stomach, I ached for her loss, but my desire for her hadn't faded. Again, I found the overwhelming urge to protect her overcome me, but this time it was to protect her heart.
I stood back up, taking her face in my hands, focusing on those beautiful blue eyes. From somewhere in the deep recesses of my soul, I found the courage.
"I love you . . .Catherine O'Hara. Every . . .inch . . .of . . . you," planting kisses on her forehead, her eyelids, her cheeks, as I said the words, until I reached her lips. Without pressure, without judgment, I held them there, attempting to show her the way I wanted to care for her. She didn't say anything, she didn't need to, and I didn't let her.
I left her mouth long enough to throw the covers back and sit, taking her hand and pulling her toward me and the bed, inching back, letting her slide in next me. As her head hit the pillow, I let my hand travel from the base of her neck, down between her breast, over her stomach, and back to her breast, cupping it, my thumb softly grazing her nipple. She pressed her body closer into me, a throaty moan telling me everything I needed to know. My eyes never left hers, as I felt her fingers again, slow soft touches down my stomach, searching. I kissed her then, telling her with my lips, my tongue, that it was going to be ok. I felt her hand go down again and touch me, her fingers wrapping around me, stroking, her thumb lightly moving over the top and this time I groaned. The sound of Zeppelin coming from the stereo downstairs - "Whole Lotta Love" – made me open my eyes to see a very wicked smile on her face. A very wicked smile.
Hmmm. Two could play at that game.
I saw her expression change as I let my hand run down the soft swell of her stomach, finding the edge of her underwear and went underneath it. She took a deep breath as my fingers found the spot, circling, exploring, seeking entrance. When they found her opening, I felt her hand on me loosen, and I took her mouth again as I plunged one, then two, of my fingers into her, while my thumb kept circling. Her body pressed closer, and I knew she was already near the edge, because her head went back no longer able to concentrate on my mouth.
"Charlie, please." She whispered.
"Please, what." I wanted to hear her say it.
"I want . . . you . . ." her hips rose up off the bed in response to my ever tunneling fingers, "inside me. Please."
Fuck if that wasn't where I wanted to be.
I slid my fingers from her, and started to get up, taking that pink satin with me as I went, as she lifted up so I could slip them down her legs, off her feet, and across the room. Shifting on my knees between her legs, I ran my thumb around her belly button and then back down, touching again the spot and her hips again rose to meet it. She was lying in front of me, completely vulnerable, wanting me, her eyes wide and focused on that part of me she'd just demanded. I slid myself up between her legs, spending time licking the inside of each thigh, grasping the underside of each knee, making her them bend. I worked my way up, stopping momentarily to taste with my tongue what my fingers had already experienced, licking and sucking until her hips moved at my rhythm.
"Shhh-it, Charlie. Please . . ." She gasped.
I nipped and licked over her middle, between her breasts and around, taking one in my mouth again, teasing her nipple with my tongue. I finally brought my face inches from hers, and watched as I slowly found my mark, guiding myself into her. Her breathing stopped, her eyes closed, as her head went back.
This is heaven. She is heaven.
I felt one leg and then the other clamp together around me as I slowly pushed in and pulled out, teasing her more. Her one hand flew up against the headboard, her other hand on the outside of my shoulder, her fingernails digging in to my skin. I let myself go further and further inside her, taking her with me, driving her to the edge.
I thought about that night on the couch and how this had been what I wanted. I chanced a look at her, and her eyes were still closed, her neck back.
"Catherine, open your eyes. Look at me," I panted. She did. Passion, beauty, intensity, I couldn't think of the words to describe. All I knew was that I wanted to see that look on her face again and again. Tonight if possible.
"Scar . . . lett," she whispered.
"My m-middle name." She smiled, and I dropped my head with a short chuckle, almost losing my rhythm.
As long as we were sharing, "Thomas," I panted, looking back up at her. Now it was her turn to smile.
Her smile slowly faded as the look on her face changed, and she inched closer to . . . "Faster, Charlie," she begged, and I immediately obeyed. Propping myself up, I felt her hand go between us, touching herself, and I nearly lost it. I took her mouth, hiding the moans and gasps that were coming from both of us. I licked, kissed, and sucked every inch I could reach.
"Oh . . . Charlie . . ." Her eyes squeezed shut, and I knew she was close. I sped up my tempo, until I was driving all the way in, clutching her hip with my one hand bringing her even closer to me. The fingers she had been touching herself with suddenly gripped my arm, as her insides began to tighten around me.
Fuck! With one final deep thrust, her hips rose up, her muscles clenched, until I felt the rolling waves go through her and around me.
Half of my name and the Almighty reference sent me following right after her, every cell in my body exploding, until I shook, the intensity obliterating anything from my mind but her name.
"Cath..." The rest lost in a gasp and moan as I spilled into her, my body shaking , until I collapsed onto her, my head on her chest. Her one arm reached around me, and I felt her fingers gliding over my back. Neither of us spoke, moved, as I felt the aftershocks within her. I wanted to stay connected to her like that forever.
I waited just a few more minutes, listening to her racing heartbeat, catching my breath.
Fuck, she was so . . . I was so . . .
And not because what we had just done . . . not because of the sex. I just couldn't imagine ever again being without her, and the realization made me shiver again. I knew she felt it because her hand started to rub my back again.
I didn't want to crush her, so I rolled onto my back pulling her with me. Her head was on my chest, just like this morning. My hand in her hair, just like this morning. But not like this morning, I was still inside her.
"Charlie?" she whispered.
"Hmmm?" I didn't move.
"That was . . ."
"Mmmhmm." I smiled and reached down to pull the hair off her cheek, if only to see the part of her face that wasn't pressed against me. Her eyes were closed, but I could see half of a grin.
"Hmmm?" My smiled stayed, loving the way my name sounded when she said it. Now. After.
"How long . . . er . . . before you can do that again?"
Right this minute if my body would cooperate. "Uh, can I have a minute or two?" I chuckled.
"Sure. Take as long as you need." Her eyes were closed, but the corners of her mouth went up further turning into a full-fledged smile.
"Can I make a request?"
"Anything." I said it and meant it.
"Um, next time? . . . Next time . . . I'm on top." With that, I felt Charlie Jr. twitch. Well, maybe we weren't talking minutes . . . Seconds anyone?
Charlie's soft snores in the valley between my breasts woke me, but I didn't want to open my eyes. I just wanted to feel. Feel the skin and hair on his leg lying across mine. Feel his one arm draped across my midsection. Feel his other hand still clasped in mine, where it had been since we'd both fallen asleep. Feel the dull ache between my legs. I smiled. A good ache. A very good ache.
Charlie had been quite . . . responsive, agile, for . . . I stifled a chuckle. After the first time, I wasn't sure if he had it in him to go at it again. He had seemed very content lying there, with me on top of him. Not to say that I wasn't. But I had stolen over 3 hours of sleep that afternoon in the car, and, well, I wasn't finished with him.
After an interminable amount of time for me, I finally took matters into my own hands, literally, coaxing Charlie to life until I slid over him, guiding him into me. I smiled again realizing that all the walking/running I'd been doing wasn't enough to stop the burning in my thighs, as I brought myself up, down, and around him inside me. He hadn't lasted long that way, and neither had I, lifting himself upright to claim my mouth in those final moments, his fingers finding the exact spot to send us into oblivion together. I would have thighs of steel if we continued like this.
Then I remembered.
I love you, Catherine O'Hara. Every inch of you.
Charlie had said he loved me. Even after I'd confessed my last secret. He seemed ok with it, although for a few minutes I'd bit back the urge to run from him, from the room. Maybe it was because he already had a daughter and a granddaughter. Maybe he didn't want anymore kids, and was just reacting to the moment I'd picked to tell him.
How in the whole wide world did I get so lucky as to have this man find me? He wanted me. He loved me. The way he had said it, his tender kisses punctuating every word, had been like returning to life after a long catatonic state, the world, his world, full of light, color, and happiness.
And I loved him. I knew it now, more than ever. More than I ever thought possible, and I felt a tingling in my gut as awareness swept over me. I took a deep breath and let it out, sending all of the old fears with it. I needed to tell him, too. Soon. To think, a week ago I drove here to figure things out, find myself. But I'd found something infinitely better, that just happened to be asleep on me.
My fingers on my free hand lightly brushed the top of his hair, running through it softly. On cue, Charlie's head moved, turning to kiss the top of my breast, as the arm that was draped over me moved back and he ran his hand over my hip.
"Hi," he said lazily, planting kisses along my collarbone. The hand that was still holding mine suddenly let go, and he rolled on his side, the hand on my hip pulling me with him. I snuggled my head under his chin, draping my leg over the one of his that had found its way up between my thighs. I could tell he had his head propped up on his hand above my head, but I was too preoccupied with running my hand through the hair on his chest, finding it beyond sexy.
"We're never gonna leave this room. Ever." He vowed out loud.
"Yessir." I said with total conviction. Just then, his stomach had other ideas and we both felt and heard it growl in protest. My giggles turned into a laughing fit, which in turn made Charlie laugh. But the vibrations of his leg rubbing between mine, against me, stirred sensations to life. I had to lie back, closing my eyes, letting the urges he created die down. Oh, I wanted him again, but I didn't want to kill him.
I felt his fingers wandering down my stomach, and my eyes flew open. His face was inches from mine.
"Don't be startin' something you can't finish, old man." I gave him my best shit-grin.
"Oh really? Old man, huh?" His fingers found their target, as I took a deep breath. My eyes closed, my center traitorously pushing up and closer to his hand, and it was at this point I realized my damn body was clearly ignoring my head. And he knew it.
"Charlie, please." I grabbed his bicep, pulling at the arm attached to the fingers torturing me. Suddenly his lips found mine, first sucking in the top one, then taking the bottom one in his teeth, tugging it slightly and then letting go.
"If you're intent on making this happen, then run that delectable mustache of yours all over me." Did I really just say that? Yep, because all of a sudden I felt it traveling down my chin, down my neck, down between and around my breasts, all the way to my belly button and back again.
Oh. My. God. I was going to break before he was even . . .
"Open your eyes." I did and his face was suddenly back in front of mine, and I was gasping as if I'd run 6 miles. I moaned as I felt him moving on top of me, my mind shouting thank you, thank you, thank you.
Betrayal. Her initiation of . . . I watched in horror as Charlie Swan defiled her. The charlatan! The harlot! The rage engulfed me like an uncontrollable fire, my cloak evaporating as I clenched the tree branch I perched on, the end in front of me crumbling in my grip, falling to the ground, leaving only a short stub where my feet remained.
I would study her no more. I would fulfill my destiny today. But not here. Not the abode of the usurper. My hand removed her mementos from my pocket and dropped them to the forest floor. The desire for keepsakes of the whore before my eyes eviscerated.
I jumped from my perch to make the way back once more to her quarters, wanting no more of the wanton display my eyes had just beheld. Once I was finished with her, I would set her ablaze, and Charlie Swan would be forced to view, left only with her ashes. Yes, Charlie Swan would appreciate every glorious minute of her surrender. It would take every ounce of control to leave Charlie Swan alive, but compelling him to witness my ultimate conquest would be quite enough to satisfy. Yes.
Oh, but she would pay. Pay for her infidelity.
*Smiles* So? Some of you happy? Satisfied? Not? As you might have suspected, this was my first lemon.
Any and all comments are truly welcome.
Thanks for reading.