Margaret stared at Andrew through half-closed eyes. Jesus Christ the man could really talk! He has been going on and on for an hour about the adventures he had when he was a child, the children's books he loved, the first time he fell from a tree, the first time he went home with a bleeding nose – all of it; he's narrating those stories with an animated look on his face complete with hand gestures. She enjoys this side of Andrew, and even up to now his funny anecdotes still amuse her, but tonight she's just so tired. And after making love to him earlier (because of his incessant persuasion) she just couldn't think she could stand an hour listening to him when they could just sleep. She has been reviewing manuscript after manuscript in the office, and she had to deal with pesky authors and annoying co-workers. She's perfectly happy to see Andrew, curl up in their bed with his arms around her but apparently, he chose this time for story-telling.
She gave another yawn and pressed herself closer to Andrew. His arm gently caressing her naked back is making her sleepier as each second passes and his warm breath on her forehead is like lulling her to sleep, and she couldn't help but close her eyes and finally succumb to sleep.
Margaret gave a jolt of surprise when Andrew suddenly pinched her butt, causing her to give a startled yelp.
"You're not dozing off on me, aren't you?" Andrew looked down at her with naughty eyes.
She wiped her face wearily and groaned. "Oh god honey I'm so sorry, but I'm so tired. Aren't you? Can we please just go to sleep and continue with your stories tomorrow?" She felt Andrew tugging the blanket playfully away from her, and she tugged it back weakly.
"You didn't seem tired when you were kissing me senseless earlier." He whispered as he ran his hands on her sides, eliciting unguarded sensations that are slowly spreading through her body.
She felt herself blush despite being tired. "That's because you forced me, mister smarty pants." Andrew gave a snicker after this, causing the first few sparks of annoyance to erupt inside her.
"I forced you? Ha! Now that's quite a story." He stared at her with an incredulous expression perfectly evident on his face. She couldn't blame him, though. She had been a very willing participant in the proceedings. For some unknown reason, her eyes fell to their discarded clothes lying all over the bedroom floor. His undershirt and boxers lay in a heap at the foot of the bed, and her corporate dress lay somewhere near her dressing table. And God knows what happened to her underwear! She couldn't find any trace of them anywhere, what with her position on the bed. Had they really been that . . . wild?
She shuddered at the thought. Never once had she envisioned herself being like this in bed with a man before. But now it's happening; it's like she couldn't hold her defenses or much less say no to Andrew when he starts being . . . well, horny. And it's not like he doesn't have the body or the charisma to provoke her into doing something against her will. Ha! Against her will. Who was she fooling?
Speaking of which . . .
She could feel Andrew nuzzling her neck. "You know, I always find it unfair why you always smell good even after you've come from a very long day at the office. It's just so . . . " Now he's running his lips across her collar bone. "unfair. . . and perfect."
"It's what they call taking a bath in the 21st century. And there's also a thing called perfume, in case you didn't know it yet. They're quite big right now. You should try one sometimes."
Andrew hit her gently on the head with a pillow, and then kissed her lightly after that. "Hmm . . . taking a bath, huh? You should let me join whenever you're having one, sweetie." He waggled his eyebrows at her, and she couldn't help rolling her eyes. "For your information sweetie, you always join me the shower. You always trespass my 30-minute solitude under the water and turn it into a 45-minute one, don't you remember? Or have you been taking showers with another woman lately?"
She gave him a look that expresses victory, that kind with her smug smile and half-raised eyebrows. Andrew returned the stare with an equally challenging look, then said, "Yes, I have been spending time with another woman." Her brows shot up higher with this, while maintaining her calm façade. "And you know what sweetie, she's tall, blonde and leggy. But you know what she can't do?" She couldn't find the words to speak anymore, what with Andrew's free hand running the inside of her thighs. She swallowed and licked her lips. God this man is making her crazy.
"What?" she finally breathed out. Andrew leaned in closer to her ear, then whispered. "She can't make me crazy, and she definitely cannot make me want for more even after we did it a few minutes ago."
She shivered, and Andrew must have felt it because she heard him chuckle. He raised his head and looked at her directly in the eyes. "Come on pumpkin. I've missed you so much, and I promise it wouldn't take no more than 10 minutes. I would let you sleep in peace and solitude after that." He waggled his eyebrows again while flashing a really naughty smile.
She bit her lip. If he's not gonna stop soon they're not gonna have any sleep tonight. And she couldn't bear the thought of having two or three hours of sleep while working. Even three cups of light cinnamon soy lattes wouldn't do her any good in that.
She touched his face and reached up his head to play with his soft, brown hair. "You know how much I want to let you have you way, but honey we both know you can't keep promises when it concerns this." She gestured a hand across their bodies and laughed a little when she saw Andrew pout childishly. "And besides, I know perfectly well that we'll both be insufferable devilish creatures at the office tomorrow if we don't get any sleep tonight." Andrew is still pouting, and she couldn't help giving him a soft kiss. "Come on. I'll make it up to you tomorrow or . . . tomorrow night. We don't have work during Saturdays." She gave him a condescending smile, and Andrew brightened up a little. After a few moments, he reluctantly let her go and settled himself beside her, wrapping both his arms around her just like what he did earlier when he was telling her anecdotes about his childhood life. She settled her head on his shoulder and proceeded to draw patterns on his arm.
"You're not mad at me, are you?" She said softly.
He chuckled at this. "You're gonna have to do a lot better than that to make me angry with you." She looked up at him and saw him smiling down at her.
"Like what? What should I do to make you mad at me?" He pushed stray hairs from her face then kissed her forehead. "Hmm . . . let's see. I would get really mad at you if you kill Kevin, or if you didn't take baths anymore." She giggled at this, and he couldn't help but grin at the sound of her laughter. Seeing her like this – happy and smiling – is enough to make his heart lift up with joy. "No, seriously, I can't think of anything that would make me angry at you. Maybe annoyed, but angry? I don't think so."
There were a few moments of silence after that. Then she spoke up, "Even before I threatened you to marry me? You didn't get angry at me then? When I was bitchin' you around and degrading you every time I find the chance? Are you sure you didn't get angry at me?" She said all of these in a soft tone because the memories are all too painful to relieve. Ever since she realized her feelings for Andrew she can't help but shudder whenever thoughts of her first three years of working with him pervade her mind. She was really mean that time; she's just surprised that Andrew didn't leave her and worked with another company that doesn't have a devil for a boss in it.
He spoke with an assurance in his voice. "Even before that, Margaret. Even before that." He kissed her forehead again. Another silence passed between them after that; Margaret was starting to think that he had fallen asleep, but then he spoke again with a different kind of softness and affection.
"I think why I didn't get angry with you during that time is because of my affection for you. I didn't realize it until after our wedding, though. Maybe because that's why I've put up with you for three years, why it's okay for me to fetch your lattes, or to get you Tampax, or be your number one stress and anger outlet. Maybe I was secretly in love with you back then."
Margaret felt her eyes welling up. The thought of Andrew feeling affection for her during the past years is both making her regretful – because she didn't realize it earlier – and happy.
"Andrew . . . I - I didn't know. I just . . ." she stammered as she looked up at him.
"Sshh sweetie. It's fine. Ssshhh." He wiped the few drops of tears that fell from her eyes. "There's nothing to be sorry for, there's nothing for you to regret. I didn't regret any of it. I didn't regret stepping for the first time in our office building. I didn't regret pursuing for a writing career in New York. I didn't regret leaving everything I have behind in Sitka. I didn't regret when I saw an ad online for a new editor assistant in Colden Books. I didn't feel sorry for any of that, because it all led me to you. And nothing in this world would make me ever regret of meeting you, okay?"
By this time Margaret's tears are now falling freely down her cheeks, she couldn't speak. Andrew smiled, "You gotta stop crying, pumpkin. Or I'm gonna cry myself." She wiped her eyes and said, "Well I'd like to see that happen." He hugged her tighter and let his chin settle on the top of her head, chuckling. "Sorry, never gonna happen."
She smacked his arm playfully and Andrew held her hand and kissed it. "Seriously, sweetie, go to sleep. You were the one who told me earlier that we both need sleep. Or did you change your mind completely? You know I am too willing to continue what I've started earlier." Margaret couldn't help but grin at the sound of his mischievous voice.
In a more serious tone, he told her, "Go to sleep, Margaret."
A comfortable silence followed that. And before she dozed off, she whispered, "I love you, Andrew."
She felt Andrew smile. "I love you too, Margaret. Now go to sleep."
The last thing she felt was Andrew's hand lying protectively on the small of her back, and the memory of his voice saying he loves her.