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The man of her dreams

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 Edit by yours trully. <3

 

 

 

U.K-LONDON

 uk-london

 PART ONE

 

 

 

PROLOGUE

 

 

 

The car sped fast soaking her from head to toes. "Great! what else could go wrong?" It was a difficult day for her and the rain wasn't helping her mood... She had to wake up at 6 o'clock to run to the dry cleaners to collect her boss's dress for the event that evening, run to the bank for a problem with her credit card, go to starbucks and wait endlessly in the queue to buy her boss's latte macciato and be early in the office and presentable for their new clients. Working as an assistant to an editor of a famous magazine was not an easy job...
The moment she was about to cross the road to go to the office her phone rung. With her hands full she tried to manage to open her bag to unearth it. A woman in a hurry pushed her aside and everything fell on the wet pavement. It was a latte massacre. Thankfully the dress was well protected in the waterproof bag though the same could not be said for her blouse and handbag. In almost tears she kneeled to gather her things. Her phone thankfully,by a miracle, was saved from the coffee and the rain.

As she was trying to catch the empty coffee cup to throw it in the bin she saw a pair of male bright blue shoes standing in front of her and the rain suddenly stopped battering her. Looking up she saw a pair of tall mascular legs, dressed in dark jeans. The legs kneeled down and she found herself looking in to the most beautiful blue eyes on a strong masculine face. "May I help you?" The deep voice resonated in her inner being. She shaddered inwardly and after a few seconds she finally found the function of her tongue again. "No it's ok, I almost got it all". She averted her eyes from his magnetic gaze and continued to gather her things. Of course she knew who he was. Richard Armitage was very famous. It was also a fact that they were expecting him for the interview and the photoshoot for the next month's magazine issue so she was expecting to see him today- though she thought she would see him from afar not a few inches away from her. He was holding his umbrella over their heads and inside this little haven she felt his strong presence intoxicating her. His strong clean perfume and his own unique scent penetrated her nostrils. She looked again at his clear shaven face,she was about to thank him when he locked his eyes on hers, looking at her intently. Smouldering her with his look she couldn't utter a single syllable. She was hypnotized. She never felt like this for anyone before. She had just met the guy for crying out loud, what was he doing to her? They had locked their gazes and she felt an electric current pervade her body. Did he feel it too? Why wasn't he speaking? Richard stood up abruptly ending the moment. He still held the umbrella above them. She gathered her things and stood up too. She looked at him and was ready to thank him when she saw him smiling at her. Her breath caught in her throat. She forgot everything again.He gave her his hand. "Hi, I'm Richard" Stuttering she replied with a low hi.
"Excuse me, I didn't hear what you said".
Embarrased she took his hand to hers, "Hello, I'm Eliza.Thank you a lot for offering me your help" His grip was strong and warm, his fingers long and soft. She never wanted to let go of his hand. The moment she formed the thought, he retrieved it. "I'm going to that building across the street" he told her, "I can escort you wherever you're going. I don't think is wise for you to get more wet. You should change your clothes as soon as you can".
She stared down at herself. She was a total mess. Her black pants were wet, her red blouse had a big coffee stain in the front and was clinging to her like second skin. Her hair was dripping in her wet coat and blouse. She wouldn't dare imagine how she looked in front of this immaculate man. Blushing she looked in his beautiful face again only to find him staring at her up and down. It was not a derogatory stare. She felt the electricity building again between them. A car honked near them and ended the moment abruptly. "I'm going to that building my self. I'm the assistant of Miss Steward, the editor with whom you have the appointment with." "You should really change your clothes before going to work" he spoke so silently that at first she thought she imagined it.
Was the way he said it implying something? It didn't feel like an ordinary concern for a strangers health. She thought that she felt something else behind his words. Probably it was wishfull thinking and she rejected that thought. He was being polite. He didn't mean anything else stupid woman.
"Yes, you are right. I'll ring my sister to bring me a change from home. Thank you for your concern."
He smiled at her again and his oceanic eyes sparkled. With her knees trembling she followed him across the street and into the building.
++

Main Characters 

 Eliza Clark (The story teller, the woman I envy most!)

 Richard Armitage (Eeeehhmm..we all know, right? ;))

  Jessica Clark ( Eliza's sister, make-up artist)

 Cornelious Clark (Eliza's & Jessica's father, retired)

 Laura Clark (Eliza's & Jessica's mother, retired)

 Simon Turner (Jessica's fiancee, Amanda's brother, director)

 Amanda Turner (Simon's sister, agent)

 Lesley Steward (Eliza's boss)

 Tracy Stevens (Eliza's best friend, work at same company, David's girlfriend)

 David Barlow (Eliza's friend, Tracy's boyfriend,works in the same company as the girls)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

She slammed the door behind her. You would have thought that she cared. The only thing that she felt was a numbness in her hands and feet. And maybe that was from the cold. It was abnormally cold for early September. The signs were all there, she just didn’t want to see them. Strangely she felt releaved. Like a big burden was lifted off her shoulders. Only one thing was bothering her. Where she was going to stay until she found a new apartment.
The door behind her opened suddenly and a tall, blond man with a six pack and only a towel covering his groin, emerged.

“It was a mistake baby. Please come back and let’s talk this through.”

She looked at him with disgust. Why hadn’t she left him all these months, she will never know. She stopped trusting him after she found out that he cheated on her with her best friend nine months ago. But she hoped that it was a weak moment, that it would never happen again. She never spoke with her “friend” after that, but she stayed with him. Given him another chance. What a mistake. Exasperated she said,

“Stephen, go back inside, you’re making a fool of yourself!”

She looked at him up and down. Always fell for the douchebags… when was she going to learn? But this time she had gone and married one also!

“I’ll come to gather my things tomorrow morning. Don’t you even dare to think to be here.”

She walked purposefully to the elevator and pushed the button. He was still trying to persuade her to come inside and talk but she had tuned him out. Another door opened suddenly and their neighbor Mrs. Balen stepped out. Perfect, just what she needed. Her soon to be ex-husband went inside and closed the door.

“Good morning Eliza, what was all this commotion about? You almost woke up mr.Piponty”.

The elevator just opened the doors in front of her. Perfect! Her escape arrived on time!

“Good morning Mrs.Balen. I’m sorry for the disturbance but I have to run. I’m late for work.”

She hurried inside the elevator and the doors closed before her irritating weird neighbor (with a parrot for a pet, for crying out loud!) could utter a word. She looked herself in the elevator mirror. She never thought she was something special. Dark brown long hair, brown eyes, medium 5.7 height and a chubby body. She always wondered how she ever managed to date and then marry a man like Stephen. She couldn’t understand how he ever liked her. The publication company that she worked as an assistant had its annual dinner party when they met. He was the manager at the restaurant she went to arrange for the company’s dinner. One thing led to another and she found herself in a relationship with a hot guy that every woman would kill to have. She was very proud that she managed to conquer him. She never thought that men like that would look her way… the problem was that he flirted a lot. But she attributed it to his character. A man this hot was allowed to flirt. His job as a manager was to attract costumers so she accepted it as a necessary evil. All was well, she was completely in love, he asked her to marry him a year after their first date, she accepted and thought that she was the luckiest woman in the world. Now after three years of lies and his cheating she decided that enough was enough. He was in the bathroom when his phone beeped and she picked it up. It was a photo message of her husband and a woman kissing, a selfy taken by the woman in the photo. That was it. She couldn’t take this anymore. She was 33 years old. She wouldn’t waste her time in an one-sided marriage. She was packing a few things in a bag when he stepped out of the bathroom. She started yelling and she threw his phone in his hands. He tried to find excuses but it was too late.

 

         


She opened her umbrella and run to the bus station. It was raining for three days in a row and there was no telling when it was going to stop. She tried to concentrate on her big week ahead and not in her failed marriage. They had to prepare the interview and the photoshoot of a famous actor and call the catering for a last minute change in the menu for the nomination dinner of the most popular people of 2015. It was going to be a big event with a red carpet, lots of photographers and fans. A lot of famous singers, actors, athletes and celebrities (with no reason whatsoever to be famous) were going to be present in this dinner. She hated events like that. She was never invited to the actual event. Only as an assistant to make sure that everything run smoothly. This last five years that she worked in this publication, she “attended” 8 big events. It was going to be a very difficult week. She sighed and stepped on the bus that had just arrived. Despite all that she loved her job. It was fulfilling and her boss not as bad as the other editors. She got to meet a lot of famous people. It was a glamorous although demanding job that filled her life and pocket.
The day in the office passed in a blur of activity. When the time came to leave she didn’t actually wanted to leave. She had to go to her parents home and she hadn’t told them yet that she had left her husband. She dreaded the moment that she had to announce it to her mother. She steeled herself and left for her parents house.

Arriving at her beautiful childhood house, warm, happy memories engulfed her. Then she heard her sister’s laughter and a smile spread on her face. The first one today.
She opened the door and a mouth-watering smell penetrated her nostrils. Her mother was baking her favorite cake. She walked in the kitchen were everyone was gathered. The kitchen table was covered with a variety of papers. Probably the samples for the wedding invitations.

“Good evening” she mattered timidly. Three heads looked at her with smiles on their faces. How she hated to wipe those smiles off. Her father stood up first. Cornelious Clark was a little taller than his daughter and fat. With a round sweet face and kind brown eyes. He came to her and gave her a big bearly hug. She hugged him back. How much she needed that hug!

“How come you’re here pumpkin?” her father always called her pumpkin because as a kid she resembled the round vegetable -a lot- and her sister rabbit because her name was Jessica. The aforementioned rabbit was looking at her from the table waiting to hear her explanation. Sighing inwardly she let her hands fall from his back.

“I just missed you” she responded silently.

“Lizy sweetheart, why are you not at home? I know that today is Stephen’s day off. What happened?”
Her mother always read between the lines. Taking a deep breath she sat on a chair and told them everything. She told them about his cheating and the photo that a woman sent him today. Her father was starting to turn purple from anger and her mother’s lips were a thin line. Her sister that already knew everything was just listening intently the unfolding of today’s events. Jessica always knew what a scumbag Stephen was. He hitted on her the day Lizy brought him home to meet the family. He was sleazy and disgusting. She never told her about it. She tried to make her sister see what he really was but her sister was too much in love to see reason. When she married him she just hoped that he was going to change his ways, settle down and start a family with her. Her sister never managed to get pregnant although they were both healthy. Maybe that was for the best, she thought. Her beautiful older sister deserved better than him. She started feeling bad for her upcoming wedding and the utter bliss she was living. Her sister finished her story then and their father started screaming and swearing pacing up and down the length of their kitchen. Their mother was silent. She didn’t like this silence. Laura Clark always liked Stephen as her son in law. Jessica knew that their mother was thinking of ways to bring her daughter and Stephen back together again.

“I’m going to kill him!” he shouted, fuming like a dragon.

“Dad, you’re going to do nothing because he’s not worth it.”
Eliza said defeated. She felt so tired. She just wanted to go to her old room and sleep. She thought that she didn’t care about him. She knew that she neither loved him nor respected him any more. But he hurt her. Her ego was shuttered. Did she really think that she could keep a man like that? She looked at her mother that was not saying anything, just watching her intently. She knew what was going to happen tomorrow. She must remember to wake up early, before her mother was awake, so she could leave without listening to her mother’s point of view. Her sister was looking at her with true sadness in her beautiful green eyes. Her mother stood up and went to calm her husband.

“Come on now Cornelious. You’re gonna have a heart attack if you continue stressing yourself. Eliza knows what is best for her” and with that she looked at her daughter. Eliza had to find an apartment and she should start searching one from tomorrow. She couldn’t stand listening to her mother’s nagging everyday. She went to her father’s side and hugged him. He hugged her back. She understood that he was hurting for his daughter. He was a great father, living and breathing for his family. He only wanted his daughters to be happy, loved and respected from their partners. They were good girls, raised with principals. He only wanted for them to be happy.

“Daddy I really don’t love him anymore. I don’t care about him anymore. I feel relieved that it is over. Really, don’t fret yourself about him. He’s not worth it.”
He hugged her tighter before he released her.

“If you want I can go and talk to him..”

“No dad, really. I don’t want you to. I don’t want him anymore. The only thing i want is to go to bed. It was a big day and at work everybody is acting like crazy with the preparations for the annual dinner. Cornelious was holding her at arms length looking in her eyes. “Ok, pumpkin. You are right, we will talk tomorrow.”
He bend and kissed her in the forehead. Her mother patted her shoulder.
“Just put clean sheets on your bed honey”

She smiled to them both, kissed them, wished good night to her sister and went to retrieve her bag from the entrance hall. She already could hear the buzzing of voices in the kitchen. She sighed and started climbing up the stairs. She reached to the top and the first door to her right was her room. She turned on the light and closed the door. Her room was exactly as she remembered it. The walls plastered with rock band posters, photographs of school memories in her night stand. She opened the wardrobe and retrieved the sheets and the pillows. She found a duvet and started making her bed. When she was throwing the duvet on her bed she heard someone knocking on her door. She immediately knew it was her sister.
“Come in “ she told her. Her sister opened the door and came and sat in her bed.

“How are you?” Jessica asked,

“Fine, considering the events…”

“If you want to talk you know that I’m always here for you”

“Yes, I know. It’s just that I’m really tired. I just want to take a shower and go to bed. Can we talk tomorrow please?”

“Yes sure ,no prob…”

Jessica stood up, hugged her sister and left the room closing the door behind her. Taking a big breath Eliza pulled a pair of pj’s from her bag and went to take a shower. After a while she was in her bed and under the covers. It was strange sleeping again in a bed all alone. The first tears started slipping from her eyes…there ,all alone in the darkness she cried for her lost love, failed marriage and her incompetency of keeping her husband’s interest.

Chapter Text

Chapter2

 

 

The next morning she woke up with a headache. The smell of pancakes penetrated her nostrils. There goes her intention to wake up earlier than her mother. She sighed and got out of bed. Her head was killing her. Dragging her feet she went to the bathroom. She almost had a heart attack when she looked in the mirror. Her eyes red with black circles underneath them, her hair like a nest made of crazy birds, tangled and unruly on the top of her head. Exasperated she took two paracetamols and tried to brush her mane. The pain was too much and she decided a shower was in order. She used a lot of conditioner and after an hour she was presentable again. She heard noises coming from downstairs. Taking her purse she descended the stairs real slow hoping that they wouldn’t hear her. Like there was a chance to escape her mother the hawk!

“You are ready at last! I know you’ve been awake over an hour now! Your pancakes are cold.” Her mother spoke to her with her back turned washing the dishes in the sink.

“Oh mom, it’s Saturday! Let her relax a little!” her little sister came to her rescue. “ Look at these invitations. What do you think suits a modern yet sophisticated wedding that’s showing that the bride has great taste?” Jessica asked smiling sweetly at her sister.

Eliza looked at the mound in the table. Her head still hurt too much for these kind of things. To humor her sister she chose a beige invitation with gold lettering and tacky purple and fuchsia roses. She knew she would hate it but she could not just not tease her a little.

“That we’ll definitely show your great taste…” keeping her face straight she handed the invitation to her sister. Jessica took it and started laughing hysterically. She was relieved that her sister was feeling good enough to tease her. Her eyes were red and swollen and the make-up could not conceal the black circles. She wished she knew a way to make her feel better faster. Eliza was still looking at the invitations. Jessica saw her picking up a black invitation with silver curly lettering. It was too extreme for her taste. She wanted a romantic wedding with modern touches. She had already chosen the invitation she wanted. A silver one, thick papered, embossed with pebbles and a violet ribbon. It was romantic and modern at the same time.

 

                                                                                                 Jessica's wedding invitations

 

The invitations matched her wedding dress perfectly. She was really excited about her wedding. The big day was approaching fast. She wanted a Christmas wedding and her fiancée agreed delightedly. He was free at Christmas as the movie he was directing was already in the production stage. His next movie was due to start shooting in seven months. Plenty of time for an extended honeymoon.

Eliza dropped the invitation on the table.
“Ok, I have to leave. I have to go to my apartment to gather my stuff.”

“Before you go we need to talk. And you have to eat something. Last night you went to bed without eating anything!” Her mother chastised her while wiping her hands in a towel.

“Not now mom, when I’m back we’ll talk. And I’ll eat then, I promise. Can I borrow dad’s car? Where is he by the way?”

Her mother taking her cup of coffee sat in the table and after having a sip she answered.
“He is in the shed searching for his rod. He’s going fishing tomorrow with his friends. He didn’t want to after what happened” she said looking at her meaningfully, “but I convinced him that it would help him relax a little.”

“That’s true, he’s going to have so much fun. I will go to the shed and ask him if I can borrow the car for a few hours then.” Eliza said fidgeting with the strap of her bag. She was feeling bad for having brought to her father vexation.
She gathered her bag from the back of her sister’s chair and was ready to leave, relieved to have escaped her mother’s interrogation, when her mother called her again.

“Your sister is going to Simon’s place to stay for the weekend and your father is leaving early tomorrow morning. We’re going to have the whole day to ourselves tomorrow.” Her mother said with a big smile on her face.

If that didn’t sound menacing then she didn’t know what did.
Eliza looked at her sister, who looked her back and raised her shoulders apologetically.
“He’s coming for the weekend.” Jessica exclaimed.

Eliza sighed inwardly. Tomorrow would be a really long day. She was happy for her sister though. Simon was a really great guy and he adored her sister. He always found time to come home and see her when he was in the middle of a movie and he treated her like a queen. She only hoped that their love would last through thick and thin.

“Are you going to leave before I get back? I’ll only need a couple of hours.”

“Yes, his plane lands in an hour so I have to leave for the airport now.” Turning to her mom she added,

“We can come for lunch tomorrow. Simon loves your cooking, you know that.”

“Yes, do come! I haven’t seen him over a month!” Eliza exclaimed enthusiastically before her mother could respond. At least she would have another ally. And she was really excited to see her soon-to-be-brother in law again. He was really funny and kind and told the most amazing stories from the film shootings.

“Yes of course you can come. I will cook his favorite dish.” Their mother said standing up abruptly.

“I have to go shopping. The fish market is on the other side of town and I want Simon’s food to have only the freshest ingredients. I have to take the car Eliza. You can take a taxi to your apartment. I’ll pay for it.” Their mother said exiting the kitchen.

“No, I can pay for a taxi! I’m a working adult in case you’ve forgotten!” Eliza shouted to her mother.

“Yes I know dear, you don’t need to have a tantrum!” their mother shouted from upstairs.

“See? You’re saved for now.” Jessica told her sister beaming.

“Yes, I am. Also I don’t have a car but I must not be greedy, at least I’m saved from the ‘lecture’.” She shuddered inwardly thinking that. Maybe for now she was saved but the time that her mother would trap her in a corner was approaching fast. Thank the heavens her attention span was that of a five year old inside a Toys R Us store. She got easily distracted.

“I can give you a ride to your apartment and when you’ve finished you can give me give me a call. We’ll come and collect you. And Simon can help with your things.” Jessica said walking to the hall and putting her coat on.

“No I wouldn’t ask that of you. You haven’t seen him for over a month. I’ll accept the offer of riding me there but when I’m finished I’ll call a taxi. Don’t worry.” Eliza wore her black trench coat and a red scarf around her neck. She felt extremely cold today. Maybe because she haven’t slept well.

“Mom we’re leaving!” Jessica screamed to their mother.

“Bye mom!” Eliza yelled too.

“Jessica, call me later to talk to Simon!” their mother answered back from upstairs.

“Yes, I will” Jessica answered back, rolling her eyes.

“And ask him if he wants to tell his sister to come for lunch too!” Their mother yelled again.

“Oh no! Not her!” both sisters said simultaneously. Amanda Turner was the exact opposite of her brother. Where her brother was sweet and funny, his sister was as sour as a lemon, with non-existent humor and extremely snobbish. Because her brother was becoming recognizable by the day she thought that Jessica, a simple make-up artist, was not good enough for him.

“Be careful, it rained all night. The roads are slippery!” their mother yelled yet again.

“Yes mom! I know! I’m driving the last ten years you know!” Jessica screamed back.

They both exited closing the door quickly before their mother remembered to say anything else. Jessica walked in front of her and Eliza looked at her. Her sister changed her hair color from light brown to burgundy red and her green eyes were more distinct in her face. It would be really interesting to see Simon’s reaction to her new hair color. She was shorter than her, with an elfish figure, petite, as the French would say. She was always dressing with striking colors. Blue, green, red and purple were her favorites. Today she was wearing a lime coat with a cute little black dress underneath it, black tights and purple wellies. She was twenty eight years old but seeing her you’d think she was still in high school. Her beauty apart, she had a very kind and warm heart. Eliza hoped that Simon wouldn’t break her sister’s innocent and lovely heart like Stephen did to her. She was sure she would kill him with her bare hands if he ever made her sister cry.

Jessica unlocked her sky blue Renault Twingo and both entered the car. Eliza thought it was time to buy her own vehicle. Although it was going to be difficult renting a new apartment and buying a new car. Her salary was not enough for both.

She felt the change in her sister instantly. She knew that Jessica was trying her best to get along with Amanda but the later wasn’t helping. Jessica started the engine and left the curb.
“You have to tell him to invite her, because if you don’t and our mother mentions it tomorrow, he’s going to ask why you didn’t tell him. You don’t want to go there…trust me.” Eliza said to her sister.

“Yes, I know. I’ll try to be calm and not let his sister ruin the few hours we’re going to spend together until he leaves again.” Jessica exhaled audibly and added,
“Amanda has to accept that her brother chose me! In a few months we’re getting married. I don’t know why she’s not even trying to get along with me. I’m not asking to be BFF’s but at least to get along when we need to be in the same room.”

“Just try to relax and stop fretting yourself. She is who she is. Simon loves you and nothing can change that.” Eliza tried to calm her. “Can I turn on the radio?”

“Yes, sure.” Jessica said turning left to go down town.

Eliza searching the radio she found a station with the latest r n’ b hits, her sister’s favorite music. She left it there risking the danger of her ears to explode but for her sister she could stand anything. Even low quality ‘songs’. After a few minutes her sister started humming a song and sway her head to the rhythm. She smiled and relaxed in her seat. She looked at her watch. Stephen should be at work by now. She would just take her clothes, cd’s and movies. She wouldn’t need more than two hours. She didn’t want anything from that house anymore. She would leave everything behind. Raising her head she saw that they had entered her neighborhood. Her sister turn left to the next intersection and parked outside her building.

“Are you sure you don’t want to come by later? It’s not a problem. And Simon would be more than happy to help too.”

“Yes, I’m sure. Just go and have some fun. Don’t worry about me. Maybe I’ll call Tracy and see if she can come with David.” Eliza just remembered she had forgotten to tell her best friends about her break up. She had to rectify it and soon. They would go berserk when they’d learn the news.

“Are you really sure? We can come. It’s not an inconvenience…” Jessica tried again.

“Yes, I’m sure! Now go because Simon is landing in half an hour and you have a whole trip ahead of you until you reach the airport.” Eliza smiled at her sister.

“Ok, ok I’m going! See you tomorrow then?”

“Yes. Give a big kiss to Simon for me. And thank you for diverting mom although that backfired to our faces!”

“Yeah, tell me about it… Bye pumpkin!” Jessica joked. She started the car and left honking.

Eliza smiled and took her keys out of her bag. She took the elevator to the twelfth floor and once outside took a big breath, walked to the apartment door and unlocked it. Opening the door, what she saw left her speechless.

On the couch Stephen had sex with the woman from the photo. She was in all fours in the couch and Stephen was fucking her from behind. They were so into it they didn’t even see that someone just came into the apartment. Infuriated Eliza slammed the door. They both darted off the couch.

“Oh, it’s you.” Stephen said impassively. The woman was trying to cover her nudity with the couch’s throw. Eliza fumed. This throw cost 200 pounds!

“What the hell are you doing? I told you yesterday that I would come to collect my stuff! I told you not to be here! And not only you’re here but fucking on my couch! On top my 200 pound throw!” Eliza was starting to get hysterical.

“Yeah yeah… I forgot that you were coming today.” He gathered his sweatpants from the floor and put them on. Collecting his sweater from the couch he wore it too. The woman had found her clothes by then and tried to wear the dress but her hands were shaking. Eliza felt bad for her. Obviously she didn’t had a clue of what was going on and was really close to a meltdown. Stephen grabbed the woman by the arm and dragged her in the bathroom. She let a little scream because she hadn’t expected the violence. Eliza was stunned too. It was the first time she ever saw Stephen acting that way.

“What are you doing? Stop dragging her!” Eliza shouted.

“Oh shut up, gather your things and go!” Stephen shouted back. Closing the bathroom door at the woman’s face.

“How dare you talk to me like that!” Eliza shouted. Who did he think he was? She was not at all afraid of him. Just very surprised by his behavior.

“How dare I? I was very relieved that you left at last. I was disgusted by you, you fat cow! My lawyer is going to send you the papers to sign. I called him yesterday. You are not gonna have anything from this apartment except the things you brought when you moved in.” Stephen screamed.

Eliza was listening to him speechless. It was the first time he ever talked to her so degrading. Where was the man she was married to? Who was that? She was so mad that she was in the verge of throwing the big China vase to his head! She was actually gripping it! Stephen must have seen something in her face because he took a step back. That moment the bathroom door opened and the woman emerged out. She was dressed, holding her underwear in one hand, and seizing her bag with the other she turned to Stephen. She was obviously very mad herself.

“Don’t you ever, EVER dare to call me again. I don’t want to see you again in my life. I’m not your dog to drag me wherever you want! And you were actually married!” turning to Eliza she tried to speak more calmly but with no success.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know he was married. I would never be with him if I knew. Never! I’m really sorry.” Turning she looked at him derogatorily and left closing the door with such force that the parrot next door started squawking.

Stephen wore his running shoes and taking his apartment keys turned to Eliza,
“I have to go to the restaurant for a few hours. When I’m back I don’t want to find you here.” With that he opened the door and left.
Eliza heard him talk to someone outside and she was a hundred percent sure it was Mrs. Balen their gossipy neighbor. Today they gave her gossip to last her a month. She was still stunned by Stephen’s behavior. What the hell was that? How can you be with someone for four years and not even know them? She didn’t care anymore. She just wanted everything to be over and start a new life. She was totally appalled by this new Stephen. She wasted a lot of months already trying to save a marriage doomed to failure. She went to “their” bedroom and took from the closet two big suitcases and the packing begun.

Two hours later she was ready. She thought to call Tracy but she didn’t have the energy to explain everything. Not now. Maybe tomorrow. She just wanted to go home and lie in her bed until Monday morning that she had to go to work. She looked the apartment one more time, left her keys in the coffee table and closed the door. The taxi was already waiting downstairs.

Saturday noon passed in relatively quietness. She cooked a quick soup for the three of them. Her father was excited and talked constantly to the phone with his friends, arranging their fishing excursion and her mother was in the kitchen with her, preparing the lunch for tomorrow. For a whole army apparently and not for just five people. Laura tried to convince her husband not to go fishing tomorrow, now that Simon was coming, but he didn’t even want to listen to her. He said that the view at the table wouldn’t be appetizing, referring to Amanda, Simon’s sister. Her sister had called to say that Amanda accepted the invitation. Eliza was pretty sure Simon tried really hard to convince his sister to come. At least her mother forgot the “talk” for a little while.
After lunch she went in her room and started unpacking and when she finished, she started searching for apartments on the internet. Everything was extremely expensive or extremely far away from town which meant she needed a car. She exhaled and decided to ask a few people on Monday at the office. Maybe someone knew of somebody rending an apartment or even a room. She wasn’t picky. She felt an urge to start her new life and quickly. She heard someone knocking her door then. Her father undoubtedly. Her mother would have just emerged in without caring.
“Come in dad."

He opened the door wide enough for his head to come through. He was so sweet. Like a little child asking for permission.
“Am I bothering you?” he said with a big smile on his face.

“No dad, you are never bothering me.” She smiled back at him. Her father opened the door, walked in and sat down at the foot of her bed.

“How are you? Your mother told me you went and packed your things today. Have you finished or have you to go again? Was Stephen there?” He asked in one breath, worrying for his little girl.

“Yes I’ve finished. I took everything I wanted and I’m feeling better than I thought I would.” Eliza responded smiling. She felt her heart aching watching her father’s love in his eyes. He always cared about his girls. They were his life’s achievement always said. “Stephen wasn’t there.” She added after a heartbeat. She didn’t want her parents to know what happened today.

“Are you sure you cannot work things out? Give him another chance? You didn’t even let the man explain himself. Maybe that kiss was nothing. Maybe you misunderstood it.” Her father tried to reason with her.

“No, dad. It’s over. We don’t love each other anymore; we don’t even respect each other…” she took a deep breath and changed the subject.

“Are you ready for tomorrow? Is someone going to give you a rod?” Her father in vain searched the shed the whole day. He couldn’t find it anywhere.

“I’m sure your mother threw it in the garbage and now she pretends ignorance. Yes thankfully the guys have many rods to spare.” Cornelious chuckled. Eliza laughed too. Yes her mother was prone to this kind of behavior. She always got rid of their staff. Not hers, only theirs.

“I can stay with you tomorrow and not go fishing.” Her father proposed.

“No, it’s fine. Your trip is arranged for quite some time. I don’t want you to miss it. I also wouldn’t wish this lunch to my worst enemy.” They both giggled.

“Ewf, I was worried you would say yes.” He pretended to wipe imaginary sweat from his brow. Eliza laughed out loud. How she loved her father. Always managing to make her feel better. Cornelious turned his head then, and saw the laptop screen with the renting apartment site.

“What is that? You’re searching for an apartment already? You know that you can stay here as long as you like pumpkin.”

“Yes dad, I know. But I’m thirty three years old. I need my own space. I can’t bring boys here!” she chuckled.

Cornelious laughed. “That’s true. Your mother would start interrogating them and they would never come back again.”

At that moment her mother started calling her father because they wanted him on the phone. He patted his daughter’s head and left closing the door behind him. Eliza thought of calling her friends to go out tonight, but in second thought she decided to just have a bath and read a book instead. She needed time to think. Her phone beeped with a new message. It was Tracy, asking her if she wanted to go out with her and David and not wait, all alone, for Stephen to come back from the restaurant. Eliza laughed. Talking about connected minds! She had to talk with her friends asap. She responded negatively and promised to call her tomorrow with big news. She turned off her phone knowing that her impatient friend would want explanations to her cryptic message and crawling underneath the duvet she fell asleep.

Her mother checked in on her in the evening and seeing her sleeping she closed the door again silently. Her oldest daughter was very secretive and she rarely let her true feelings show. She wanted to comfort her but Eliza wouldn’t let her. She was glad that she decided to divorce Stephen. He was not good enough for her daughter but she chose him and she couldn’t say anything against him. She needed rest and time to think. Laura could at least give that to her daughter. She descended the stairs to dust and vacuum the house.

Eliza woke up in the early morning hours as the nature was calling her persistently. Afterwards she went down to have a glass of water and saw her parents sleeping in the couch. Her mother in her father’s arms. The sight was so sweet that tears started welling up her eyes. She didn’t want to wake them so she threw over them a blanket and taking a glass of water with her, she went to her room. She wanted so much to have a relationship as strong and full of love as her parent’s. Maybe she still had a chance in love. Maybe her knight in shining armor was waiting around the corner. She laughed at herself and her wishful thinking. Right, like that was going to happen. She didn't think she could trust a man ever again. She was lying in bed trying to get back to sleep but she was thinking what Stephen said to her earlier in the morning. She decided enough is enough. She must stop thinking of Stephen’s outburst. It was doing her no good. He was a complete dick. She wouldn’t cry. He didn’t deserve another tear. She sat up in bed, took her laptop, the first season dvd’s of her favorite show and she got lost in the aquatic eyes of Sir Guy of Gisborne.

She woke up at eleven o’clock, the laptop open beside her, the screen frozen in the dvd menu. She closed her laptop, went to the bathroom and had a long nice bath. Today her eyes weren’t swollen. She didn’t want to put make up or do anything with her hair. She made a ponytail and put lip balm on her lips. That was more than enough for a family gathering. She went to her room and wore a pair of jeans, a black baggy t-shirt and her snickers. She was really contemplating the possibility to take off the shoes and wear her slippers when her mother called her. That solved her problem. She headed downstairs to help with the preparations. She helped by setting the table in the living room, cutting the vegetables and preparing the dressing for the salad while her mother went upstairs to get dressed. The phone rang and she picked it up. It was her father calling from the middle of the lake to see how everything was going there and to say that he would be back in the evening. Her mother entered the kitchen then and Eliza handed her the phone. Eliza went and sat in the couch taking her cup of tea with her. She turned on her cell and the lost calls and unviewed messages started beeping. She had five calls from Tracy and eight messages from Tracy also. She texted her friend if she and David were free tonight for a couple of beers in their usual place. She received immediately an affirmative response and they arranged to meet at seven o’ clock.
“Mom I’m going out with Tracy and David tonight!” she yelled to her mother.

“Ok. Tell David not to drink. If he drinks take a taxi to come home!” her mother yelled from the kitchen.

“Ok mom!” It was weird telling her mom that she was going out like she was fifteen again. “Do you need any help?”

“No, I got everything under control!”

She was drinking her tea, flicking through the channels and she found a cooking show. She was transfixed, watching how to cook frog legs, and was in the verge to throw up when the doorbell sounded and she was released from the nightmare. She closed the TV and got up to open the door when she heard her mother opening the door.

Her sister entered first, in blue jeans and a bright orange turtle neck.
Amanda entered next beautiful as always. She was tall, over 5.8, extremely skinny with long blond hair and big, beautiful, olive green eyes. She was dressed very chic with a midi, tight dress, obviously very expensive and equally expensive high, black heels making her look like a giant next to her sister and mother. She smiled a cold, fake smile to Laura and giving her coat to Jessica, walked to the living room. She didn’t even bother to acknowledge Eliza's existence by the door. Her sister was shooting daggers at Amanda’s back and she hang the coat mattering under her breath. She hugged her mother and sister and walked in.
Simon entered last, wiping his feet on the mat and giving Laura a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine. He then grabbed her in a big hug, lifting her off the floor. Her mother chuckled like a school girl.
“Simon! I’m so happy to see you! How was your flight? The movie? How’s it going? Come in, come in!” Laura said enthusiastically. Simon leaving her gently down turned and hugged Eliza whispering in her ear, “He didn’t deserve you. He was a complete asshole.” Eliza smiled at kissed him on the cheek. He hugged her tightly for a brief second and then she released her and walked to the living room.

Amanda was already sitting, looking bored to death, her sister asked her if she wanted a cup of tea before lunch but Amanda denied the offer saying she was perfectly well and she needed nothing. Eliza took the flowers and the wine from her mother’s hands and went to the kitchen to find a vase.

“Eliza dear, as you’re in the kitchen make a pot of tea. Simon’s favorite!” Her mother shouted from the living room.

Eliza thankful for escaping a few minutes from Amanda’s cold presence, she prepared the things for the tea. She knew that Simon and her sister always drank tea before lunch, dark without sugar or milk. She put the pot and five teacups in a tray and went to the living room. The three of them were laughing with something funny Simon had said and Amanda was standing near the window, with crossed arms, looking out. She put the tray in the coffee table and started serving. She also poured a cup to Amanda and brought it to her.
“I said I don’t want tea!” she hissed between her teeth. Eliza smirked and drank from the tea cup.

“See? Not poisonous…” and grinned to Amanda.

Amanda tossed her hair and passed by Eliza pushing her mildly. Eliza smiled and went to sit in a chair close to her. She knew it was childish but she found extreme pleasure in vexing her. She needed to get down from her throne and start mingle with the rest mortal human beings. Just because she socialized with celebrities, it didn’t mean that she had to act like a bitch. She wasn’t a rocket scientist; she was just a freaking agent! She met a lot of celebrities herself working in the magazine. That didn’t make her snotty!

Simon was telling another funny story and her sister and mother were hanging from his lips. Amanda tried to hide a yawn. Eliza thought he was an amazing story teller. The job he chose suited him very well. After the story ended Simon’s stomach growled and everyone laughed. They all stood up and went to the kitchen to help bring the food to the dining table. Only Amanda was not doing anything. She went by the window again and waited for everyone to sit down. Jessica looked exasperated at her. Eliza shrugged her shoulders and sat down.

“This salmon is a dream Laura! I hope Jessica will learn to cook like you or else I’m gonna bring a sleeping bag and camp in your house permanently!” Simon said with a full mouth, munching excitedly. Eliza smiled. Laura laughed flattered.

Amanda was picking at her food without actually eating. Her face had a constant disapproving expression. Her father and she were the big eaters in the family. Jessica always ate little as their mother. That’s why they were both so thin. The aforementioned Jessica was smiling at something Simon was whispering in her ear. Their mother was trying to engage Amanda in conversation but the later was replying with one word sentences.

Eliza and Simon were the only ones who have finished eating first and Simon was already helping himself to a second portion. Weirdly enough watching the frog legs hadn’t messed her appetite and Eliza wanted to follow Simon’s example and help herself with another share but the ‘fat cow’ was still ringing in her ears. She knew her body was not the type the magazines dictate as fashionable. Her breast were bigger than the fashion ordered, her hips were a little wider. She knew that she was not perfect, but throwing it at her face like that was too much. She couldn’t believe that her husband had this opinion of her.

Lunch passed thankfully quickly and Laura was ready to serve her famous pecan pie when Simon’s phone rang. He excused himself and went to the hall to talk. Laura served a piece at Amanda who immediately denied, saying she was on a diet.

“On a diet? You’re as thin as stick. You don’t need a diet. On the opposite! You must put some flesh to that skinny chest of yours!” their mother said innocently without noticing the blood rising in Amanda’s face. “No man will want you if you don’t have a little flesh in your bones!”

“Thank you for your concern but I already have a man that likes me skinny.” Amanda said infuriated.

Eliza who seemed totally composed on the outside was having the time of her life. Amanda’s façade was starting to crumble. Jessica looked at her amused, with a cheeky smile spread on her lips, from across the table. She had a bet with her yesterday, in how much time their mother would manage to break Amanda’s nerves. If it was before dessert, her sister would win. Eliza was acting the exasperated to her sister for winning yet another bet, with pantomime signals and simultaneously pondering, who the poor man that was clutched in Amanda’s claws was, when she heard her name.

“You should start encourage Eliza to eat less, Laura. No man will want HER, ever again looking like that. No wonder Stephen left her.” Amanda said with the sweetest and most poisonous smile on her face.

Eliza was looking stunned at Amanda. How did she know? Laura was ready to respond and Jessica threw the napkin she was holding to the table and was starting rising from her chair, when Simon entered and looked at the women in the room unaware of the drama.

“I’m so sorry ladies but I have to leave. It was from production, I need to have a skype conference in an hour so I have to go. You can stay a little more, if you want.” He said to Jessica and Amanda. Amanda jumped from her chair.

“I’m coming with you. Richie will be here in five hours and I have to go home and get ready before I go and take him from the airport.”

Eliza smiled. She needed five hours to get ready to meet a guy? Really? What would she do? A plastic surgery? The poor guy, imagine the dread when he would finally see her without make-up!

Simon turned to Jessica then, “You can stay with your mother and sister for a little longer if you want to.” He said hoping she would deny his proposal.
Jessica couldn’t consider the thought of being in the same space with Amanda even for a few minutes more, but she had to find out how she knew about her sister’s break up and Simon would leave again tomorrow and she didn’t want to be apart from him even for a few hours.

“No, I’m coming with you. I’ll see my mother and sister tomorrow. You on the other hand, I’m not going to see for a while.”

He gave her the most blissful smile Eliza had seen in a long time. He really adored her sister.

Simon turned to Eliza and Laura who looked really stunned. He misiderpreted Laura’s look as one of disappointment.

“Thank you for the lovely lunch Laura. Everything was exceptional as always. I’m really sorry that we have to leave so quickly.”

Her mother regaining her composure she said that she understood and they could have another lunch when he was finished with his movie. And Cornelious would be there too. They walked in the hall. Amanda was already in there, wearing her expensive coat. They said their farewells and they left, leaving Laura and Eliza looking at each other.

“I cannot believe the nerve of this woman! She is a walking scarecrow! And she dares to judge you! Only in her dreams she will ever have your beautiful feminine curves! She’s flat as a board! I wonder who is this tasteless man, who finds her sexy!” her mother shouted in exasperation.

“I don’t care what she thinks of me mom. I know who I am. Don’t worry about her. The thing is, how she knew about our break up. I told Jessica yesterday on the phone not to tell anything to Amanda and I know Simon would never tell anything if he was asked not to. Not even to his sister. Not even my friends know about the break up!”

“I really don’t know sweetheart. I’m sure your sister will learn and she’ll tell us tomorrow.” Her mother took off her heels and started to take the dishes to the sink. Eliza helped her wash the dishes and put the remaining food in containers.

“I want you to know that I’m really happy that you decided to break up with Stephen.” Her mother said while she was making coffee.

“I thought you liked Stephen, mom. I thought you’d tell me to try and work things out with him.”

“No, he wasn’t good enough for you.” She poured the coffee in two mugs and placed them to the table. She sat and pated the chair beside her for Eliza to come and take a sit. Eliza sat next to her mother taking one cup and holding it to take in some of its warmth. “You deserve someone who will love you with all his heart. Stephen obviously didn’t. Your dad and I had seen him a few months ago with a woman at the cinema. We decided to not tell you anything. We didn’t know if it was something or it was just a night out with a friend. But he should take out his wife not another woman. I think it was not only that friend of yours” her mother quoted with her hands at word friend “but a lot other women too.” She exhaled audibly, she was really sorry to have to tell all that to her daughter.

Eliza felt suddenly really cold. Deep down, she knew that it must not only be her ‘friend’ that her husband cheated her with. She knew that only she was keeping this parody of a marriage going. If he wanted to sleep with other women, why had he asked her to marry him? She took a sip of her coffee trying to warm her cold insides. Her mother was waiting for her to take it all in. She didn’t know what to say. She wasn’t going to tell her about Stephen’s reaction yesterday.

“Thank you, mom. I really needed your support now and I dreaded that you would start trying to get us back together.” She reached and took her mother’s hand in hers.

“No, I only want you to be happy. And Stephen is not the man that would make any woman happy. He’s only thinking of himself. He doesn’t care about anyone else except him.” She took a sip of her coffee. “Your dad told me yesterday that you were searching for apartments.”
She squeezed Eliza’s hand mildly. “I hope that you know that you can stay with us as long as you want. No need to rush things. Take your time to think what you want to do next. We also talked about something else with your dad. I know that your salary is not enough for you to be able to buy a car so we decided to buy you one as a gift.” Eliza was ready to protest when her mother shushed her.

“No, don’t argue. We really want to do that. It won’t be a new one mind you.” She warned Eliza, arching an eyebrow not to interrupt her as she was ready to say something.

“As a matter of fact we had in mind to buy you a car for some time now. We already gave half the money for your sister’s car and it was your turn to have something too. A friend of your father is selling his car. It’s not a big one. It’s an old Volkswagen polo. It’s ten years old but in a really good condition. He made us a really good offer for it.”

“Mom I don’t know what to say…” her eyes were starting to water.

“Just say thank you. You can count on us my sweetest. And if you don’t want to live here for long you can at least have your own transportation, and you can rent a house in the suburbs where the rent is cheaper.” Eliza dropped her mother’s hand and fell in her arms. She was so thankful to have parents like that. Her mother hugged her tightly and stroked her hair. Then the door opened and closed and they heard Cornelious stamping his way to the kitchen.

“Take your boots off! How many times have I told you to take your boots off at the entrance? They’re full of mud! You’re going to mop the floor mister!” her mother yelled disentangling herself from Eliza.

Eliza laughed at her father’s stunned face. He was wearing his green fishing ‘suit’ which was contained of water proof pants and shirt, a vest full of fake baits and fish hooks of various sizes, a hat and he was wet from head to toes. His face was red from the cold and he was holding a bucket.

“Woman stop yelling! Your man brought food!” he joked handing his wife the bucket.

“Pumpkin help your father take his boots off.” Her father told her sitting in a chair and raising a leg in the air. Eliza laughed and tried to pull the first boot off. She succeded it after a few seconds.

“What are those? Are there gold fish in the lake?” her mother asked humouredly.

Eliza was puffing, trying to pull the second boot off that had stuck in her father’s heel.

“What nonsense are you saying? What goldfish? They are Bluegills woman! The fiercest fish in the area!” her father joked back.

“You mean the fiercest to whom? The plankton?” her mother continued teasing him.

Eliza pulled harder and the boot was freed with a loud plop while she lost her balance and fell to the floor, on her butt, legs flailing in the air. Her father bursted in a hysterical laughter and her mother trying to hold a straight face tried to help her stand up. Eliza was laughing too with tears running down her face and it was making it harder for her mother to lift her up. Her father stood up and giving a hand to his wife they managed to lift Eliza.
She sat in a chair. Her butt was hurting really bad. She wiped her laughing tears and told them she would go upstairs to get ready. Her mother nodded her head and her father looked at her questioningly.

“I’m going for a beer with David and Tracy. I won’t be late. We are all working tomorrow.” She explained to her father. He nodded and started opening the containers on the table with the food.

“Go take your filthy clothes off, have a bath, and then you’ll eat.” Her mother chastised him. Rolling his eyes he ascended the stairs with his daughter.

It was a really cold and rainy day today and she didn’t know what to wear. She searched her closet for her corduroy mauve pants and a black woolen turtleneck blouse. She wore her biker’s boots and left her hair free on her shoulders. Her phone beeped with a new message. It was Tracy saying that they would be outside in ten minutes. She applied a little make up, mascara and a dark red lipstick. She searched her bag for her keys and wallet, saw that they were inside and wearing a black scarf around her neck she descended the stairs. When she was wearing her coat she heard a car horn. She flew a kiss to her mother and went to meet her friends.

They both started bombarding her with questions the minute she entered the car. She told them everything that happened the three days that she hadn’t seen them. David started swearing and threatened to find Stephen and kick his ass to Mars while Tracy was threatening to find him and cut his dick off. Eliza was trying to calm both down and only when they arrived at the pub and drunk a few beers each, did Eliza convince them that she didn’t care nor love him anymore. They started laughing at him and decided that he was not worth any of it.
They had gone in a really posh neighborhood and the pub was not the classical British pub you find in every corner. It was modern and had a variety of beers and wines from around the world. The prices were accordingly a lot higher than the norm but it was also safe, and for safety, it was worth it to give a few pounds more.

   


They gossiped about their bosses and their other co workers. They were all working in the same publication company, in different departments.
David and Tracy were a couple for a few months now and they seemed very happy together.
They were talking about the celebrity they were going to cover in the next month’s issue and his various acting roles when Tracy who was sitting, watching the entrance of the pub, spitted the beer she was ready to swallow. Both Eliza and David looked at her questioningly.

“Holly crap!” was all that Tracy could matter wiping her lips with a napkin. Eliza was busy wiping the table from the spilt beer and she didn’t see were her friend was looking.

“Holly crap, indeed!” added David.

“What?” Eliza asked, and she lifted her head to see David also entranced, looking were Tracy looked. She turned her head to see what caused this commotion and she searched with her gaze for something out of the ordinary. She only saw people sitting on the tables, talking and laughing, people entering and exiting the pub, nothing extraordinary. She turned to her friends again.
“What? What did you see?” they were looking towards the bar now and Eliza turned her eyes there. There were costumers sitting on the stools. As she was searching for something, what, she didn’t exactly know, her eyes caught a familiar figure. He was a tall man with dark brown hair, standing at the end of the bar and the bartender was handing him a beer. She was sure she never met him before but he seemed oddly familiar. She could only see him from behind and she couldn’t remember where she had seen him before. Shrugging she turned to her friends. They were still looking at the bar.

“Ok, you are acting really creepy. What’s going on?”

“Did you see who just walked in?” Tracy asked.

“No, I’m sitting with my back at the door. Who is it?” Eliza asked not really caring for the answer, assuming it was a co worker.

“Richard freaking Armitage!” David said.

“You’re kidding!” Eliza couldn’t believe her ears. She instinctively turned to the bar, finally recognizing the man she thought was familiar. Yep, it was him, in flesh. She knew that he was currently living in New York and he had an appointment with her boss on Friday morning. She never expected to see him in this pub though.
At that instant he turned his head and started checking the crowd with his mesmerizing eyes. They weren’t sitting too far away from the bar and she could see their beautiful color even from here. The moment he was about to gaze at their table she turned her back on him and drunk a big gulp of her beer. For an unfathomable reason she felt extremely nervous. She looked at her cell. It was already ten o’clock. She had to wake up early.

“Guys, I think it’s time to go. We’re having a big week ahead of us.” She said to her friends.

“Leave now? Are you kidding? A god just walked in a pub and you want us to leave? He is clean shaven! I think I’m gonna have an orgasm just by looking at him. Do you think the rumors are true? Do you think he’s gay? If he is, it’s such a shame…” Tracy sighed. “Do you think it would be too much to go and introduce myself and ask him to marry me? OMG! He just looked at me!” Tracy was hyperventilating and behaving like a teenager, seeing for the first time her favorite rock star.
David laughed and asked the waitress to bring the bill. After the bill was paid David stood up.

“Come crazy fan, time to go home because you’re gonna make a fool of yourself.” David said helping Tracy wear her coat.

Eliza stood up herself, putting her own coat on. She didn’t want to look again at him but her eyes involuntarily searched him and found him. He was leaning on the counter, his legs crossed to the ankles. He was watching the screen above him that a game was on. What game, Eliza didn’t know to answer, even if her life was depended on it.
He was wearing a white long sleeved blouse, blue jeans and grey boots above them. He had turned the sleeves up and his beautiful forearms were showing. Beside him in a stool she could see his black leather jacket. Oh how many photos she had seen of him wearing this jacket! She couldn't believe he was in front of her! In flesh!
David then poked her in the shoulder and she was about to turn and leave when Richard averted his gaze from the screen and turning his body to catch his beer his eyes fell on her.

She felt like she was struck by lightning. His gaze was magnetic. She watched him checking her from head to toes and up again. She was feeling paralyzed, unable to move. Like a rabbit caught in the headlights. And then he stared straight in her eyes, and she felt she was going to be lost forever in their oceanic depths.
She heard as from a distance, David calling her name. She lowered her head ashamed and closed her eyes so she would be released from this inexplicable power he had over her, then she grabbed her bag and followed her friends to the exit without a gaze back.

 

 

The rest of week she tried not to think about Richard and his strange magnetism. She attributed it to watching a lot of his work and dreaming a man like Thornton or Harry Kennedy for as long as she remembered.
But the things she felt when she was trapped under his gaze, she never felt with Stephen or anyone else before.

She continued searching for apartments and her father told her that she was going to have her car next week, after all the paperwork was done.
Stephen’s lawyer called her and told her she had to find a lawyer of her own so they could start the divorce proceedings. That extra expense was taking her search for an apartment back for now.
At work everyone was acting like they have escaped from a psychiatric clinic.
It was a complete madness, with her waking everyday at six o’clock and returning home after eight in the evening. She was so exhausted that the only thing she could do was eat something, have a shower and go to bed.

Friday morning at last came. The dinner and the nomination ceremony were today. She had so many things to do before she had to go to the office and from her haste, she forgot to take her umbrella.
She was ready to pass the street when a car speeding fast made her wet from head to toes... Great, what else could go wrong?

It was a difficult day for her and the rain didn't help her mood. She had to run to the dry cleaners to retrieve her boss's dress for the event this evening, run to the bank for a problem with her credit card, go to the Starbucks and wait endlessly to buy her boss's latte macchiato and be early in the office and respectable for their clients.

The moment she was about to cross the road to go to the office, her phone rang. With her hands full she tried to manage to open her bag to unearth it.
A woman, in a hurry, pushed her aside and everything fell on the wet pavement.
It was a latte massacre. Thankfully the dress was well protected in the waterproof bag though it could not be said the same for her blouse and bag.
In almost tears she kneeled to gather her things. Her phone thankfully, by a miracle, was saved from the coffee and the rain.

As she was trying to catch the empty coffee cup to throw it in the bin, she saw a pair of male, bright blue shoes standing in front of her, and the rain suddenly stopped battering her.
Looking up she saw a pair of tall muscular legs dressed in dark jeans. The legs kneeled down and she found herself looking in the most beautiful blue eyes, in a strong masculine face.

"May I be of assistance?" The deep voice resonated in her inner being.
She shuddered inwardly and after a few seconds she finally found the function of her tongue again.

"No it's ok, I almost got it all" She averted her eyes from his magnetic gaze and continued to gather her things.
Of course she knew who he was. Richard freaking Armitage, a few centimeters away from her.
They were expecting him for the interview today. The photo shoot would take place next week in an industrial abandoned building. She thought she could watch him in the office from afar, not a few inches away from her.

He was holding his umbrella over their heads and inside this little haven she felt his strong presence intoxicating her.
His strong and musky perfume filled her nostrils. She looked again at his clear shaven face, she was about to thank him when he watched his eyes looking at her intently. Smoldering her with his look she couldn't utter a single syllable. She was hypnotized. She never felt like this for anyone before. She just met the guy for crying out loud, what was he doing to her? They had locked their gazes and she felt an electric current permeate her body. Did he felt it too? Why wasn't he speaking?

Richard stood up abruptly ending the moment.
He still held the umbrella above them. She gathered her things and stood up too. She looked at him and was ready to thank him when he saw him smiling at her. Her breath caught in her throat. She forgot everything again. He gave her his hand.

"I'm Richard"

Stuttering Eliza replied with a low hi.

"Excuse me, I didn't hear what you said"

Embarrassed she took his hand to hers.

"I'm Eliza, nice to meet you. Thank you a lot for offering your help" His grip was strong and warm, his fingers long and soft.

“Have we met before? I think I know you from somewhere.” Richard asked her, still holding her hand.

She bit her lip. What would she say? I saw you in a pub last Sunday and when you looked at me I lost the world around me and started question if I ever really liked anyone on my previous relationships? She just answered with a simple, “No, I don’t think so.” His gaze fell to her lips. She stopped biting them instantly.

 

                                                                                    

 

His grip became a little tighter. She never wanted to leave his hand. The moment she thought it, he let it drop.

"I'm going to that building across the street" he pointed with his head, putting his hand in his jacket pocket.

"I can escort you wherever you're going. I don't think is wise to get wetter. You should change your clothes as soon as you can.” He added looking at her appreciative, up and down.

She stared down at herself. She was a total mess. Her black pants were wet; her red blouse had a big coffee stain in the front and was clinging to her like second skin. Her hair was dripping in her wet coat and blouse.
She wouldn't dare imagine how she looked in front of this immaculate man.
Blushing she looked at his beautiful face again only to find him watching her up and down. It was not a derogatory stare. She felt the electricity building again between them. A car horned near them and ended the moment abruptly.

"I'm going to that building myself. I'm the assistant of Miss Steward, the editor with which you have the appointment." "You should really change clothes before going to work." He said, seemingly without listening her response.

Was the way he said it implying something? It didn't feel like an ordinary concern for a stranger’s health.

She thought that she felt something else behind his words. Probably it was wishful thinking and rejected that thought as nonsense. He was being polite. He didn't mean anything else stupid woman.
"Yes, you are right." she answered, "I'll ring my sister to bring me a change from home. Thank you for your concern."

He smiled at her again and motioned her to cross the street together. With her knees trembling she followed him across the street and into the building.

 

                                                                                   

 

Inside Eliza said good morning to Mia at the reception desk. She was walking in front now and Richard was following her.
She headed to the elevator and pushed the button. She turned to tell him they were going to the seventh floor where her boss's offices were, when she caught him staring at her with a little enigmatic smile on his face.
She must look really dreary to found her amusing, she thought.
She could do nothing at the moment, so she decided to act as she was wearing the most expensive clothes and forget that she looked like a drowned rat.

“Mrs. Steward’s office is at the seventh floor. She is expecting you. She also wants to talk to you about your speech tonight, but I can’t say more. She will explain everything.”
She said it all quickly, in one breath. Why was he making her feeling so nervous? He was just another man for crying out loud.
He then smiled at her. A big naughty smile. The bastard! Did he know the effect he had on her? Was he laughing at her?

With her irritation starting to rise she turned her back on him and held the dress tighter. The elevator arrived, opening its doors and she heard him laugh, a beautiful hearty laugh nonetheless, but she felt blushing to the roots of her hair.
She went inside fuming, and she pushed the button for the doors to close without waiting for him to enter. If he was making fun of her he could wait the next ride up!
As the doors were starting to close he put his foot in the gap to prevent them for closing and entered the cubicle.
He stood right next to her and leaned down in front of her to push the seventh floor button. He was so close his coated arm brushed her breasts. She shuddered, feeling her nipples harden.

He stood up and the doors closed starting the ascent to the seventh floor. He then leaned again, close to her head, and he whispered to her ear,
“I remembered where I have seen you before…”

Her heart rate accelerated, his breath was tingling sensually her ear and neck, his intoxicating perfume was dizzying her and goose bumps were lifting every single hair in her body.
She was hyperventilating. Her eyes closed involuntarily. Her neck tilted a little to the side to give him full access, to what, she didn't even know. It was like her body had a mind of it's own.
With his long fingers he pushed aside a lock of her hair, caressing the side of her neck.
A quiet sigh escaped her lips.

She felt his breath again in the side of her neck, he was so close, and she felt him breathing in deeply.

“You smell so beautiful, like an exotic rare flower kissed by rain…” he took another deep breath, accidentally touching his nose in the side of her neck.
Her knees couldn’t hold her anymore.

She was ready to fall on his feet when the elevator stopped and she steadied herself placing a hand to the wall. She opened her eyes trying to catch her breath a moment before the doors opened. She felt Richard leaving her abruptly and her body was screaming at the sudden parting.

They had stopped at the fifth floor and a man entered.
He greeted Eliza and she greeted him back trying hard to act normal. she couldn't remember who this man was, she didn't know who she was right now!
Richard had moved a little further behind her, but she could still feel his presence, his perfume lingering in her nostrils still.

She wouldn’t dare turn her head back to look at him. She was too ashamed from her reaction. She heard his irregular breathing though, and found solace at the thought that not only she, was affected. The elevator continued its ride up and stopped finally at the seventh floor.

The man exited first, followed by Richard and then Eliza. He waited for her, as the gentleman that he is, to show the way.
She wanted so badly to say something to him but she didn’t know what, so she started heading to her office without saying anything.
She greeted a few people more, on her way to her office. She noticed the glances of lust from her women co workers, aiming at the man behind her.
She opened the door to her office and motioned him to enter.

“Could you wait here for a while? I have to go and see if Mrs. Steward is in her office.”

Richard without saying anything, just smiling enigmatically, sat on the white leather couch and raised one leg on the top of the other, his ankle resting on his knee.
Eliza took a deep breath and exited her office quickly, holding the dress in her hands tightly, and headed to her boss’s office. The door was wide open, a sign that she hadn’t come yet. She hung the dress in a hidden closet and left.

Her feet were still trembling. What the hell just happened? What? She couldn’t put her thoughts in order. She remembered that in her frustration she forgot to offer him a beverage.
With unsure steps she returned to her office.
Opening the door she saw him writing something in his phone, lost in his thoughts.
She remembered she had to call her sister to bring her clothes. Clearing her throat to know that she was there, she opened her mouth to ask him if he wanted to drink anything and to tell him that her boss hadn’t come yet, but the words caught in her throat.
The moment he heard her he lifted his beautiful face and gave her a radiant smile.
Oh well, he was going to drink nothing or listen to another word from her, ever, because she instantly forgot how to form a simple sentence and move her limps!
That was ridiculous. Get a grip Eliza. He may be Richard Armitage but he’s a human being as well! She thought trying to think clearly again.
Clearing her throat she asked him with a croaky voice if he wanted a coffee.

“Yes, a black one if it’s not an inconvenience, Eliza.”

Her heart stopped when she heard her name from his lips. His husky voice touching something deep inside her, butterflies starting to fly in excitement low in her belly. Her name that she always found boring and common place sounded unique and prescious coming out of his lips. Warm like melted honey. Her spine shivered.

Although she felt like a total mess, her nerves and desires on edge, he seemed to have found his countenance. He was relaxed, smiling at her with a mischievous tingle in his azure eyes.

“Is Lesley in her office?” he asked her licking his lips.

Holly crow! That's it! She was contemplating the possibilities of jumping on top of him, ripping his beautiful shirt or jumping on top of him and bite his seductive lips.Trying to act normal she answered, “No, she’s not here yet but she won’t be long.”
She left her office with extreme effort and went to prepare the coffee in the little kitchen they had in the end of the corridor, before she acted on her inappropiated thoughts.
He was talking to the phone when she entered and left the coffee in the side table beside him, his perfume driving her crazy. Deciding that a little privacy was needed she sat in her desk and called her sister to bring her new clothes from home. Jessica told her she’ll be there in twenty minutes.
Finishing her call and noticing that Richard was still talking, she checked her unanswered calls and saw that the phone call that caused this mess was from her boss. She had sent her a message as well, telling her that she would be a little late and to entertain her friend while he was waiting.
She was sure her boss didn’t have the entertainment they had exchanged in mind nor the entertainment she had in mind full stop.
Raising her head she saw that Richard had finished his call and he was drinking his coffee. He seemed a little more reserved all of a sudden. She wondered what caused this abrupt change. She found her answer the next second.

“My agent is coming up.” Richard informed her standing up. “I was speaking with her on the phone now.”

“Alright, very well. Mrs. Steward is going to be a little late.” She added immediately before she forgot it, looking at his bluest than sapphires eyes, standing up herself.

Richard nodded and then she heard a familiar chilly voice coming from somewhere behind her back.

“Richie, you should have waited for me. I told you I was not gonna be late!”

Amanda Turner came in the office and moving with purposeful strides toward Richard, she grabbed him from his shirt and kissed him ceremoniously on the lips.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 3

 

She felt like someone had thrown her a cold bucket of water. That, she didn’t expect. She averted her eyes and left the office trembling.

So, he was ‘Richie’ who liked his women skinny… She went to the bathroom and locked herself in. She needed to take a few breaths. To think. What happened in the elevator was nothing. A game that a famous man played, knowing the effect he had on women.

It was time to be a professional again because in the last half hour she had forgotten it. She had a lot of things to do before the event and she was acting completely unprofessional.
She heard someone trying to open the door and then banging it. Taking in a last breath, she unlocked the bathroom door, smiled apologetically to Carry, the sports editor secretary, and went to act as a thinking adult again.

When she entered her office she was immediately attacked by Amanda.
“Where were you? I want you to go and buy me a hot Americano from the Starbucks across the street. I was in a hurry and the row is endless.” She opened her bag and finding her wallet she took out a ten pound bill and extended her hand towards Eliza.
“You can keep the change.” She added with an ironic smile.

Eliza didn’t even lift her hand to take the money. She was looking at her impassively with a polite smile on her face. As if! Richard seemed really uncomfortable through this exchange. He walked closer to Amanda, and taking the note off her hand and shoving it inside her bag, said irritated,

“I’ll go and buy you your coffee! Eliza is not your servant!” and with obvious anger he wore his jacket and left.

Stunned by his reaction Amanda followed him. With his big stride he was already in front of the elevator. Amanda caught up with him a few moments later. They started arguing, but they were too far away and they were speaking really low, so she couldn’t hear what they were saying.
The whole floor was watching them apparently, as everyone had stopped what they were doing and looked from the corners of their eyes. The only thing that Eliza could think at the moment was, what a decent man he was and how she liked defending her. No man ever defented her! Well except her father, but he didn't count.

The elevator came and as Richard was ready to get in, Lesley stepped out.
Seeing Richard a big smile spread across her face. Eliza saw his beaming responsive smile and taking a step towards her, she lifted her off the ground in a big hug.
She caught herself imagining what would be like to be held by him, in those strong arms. She tried to stop herself from going down that road and taking the file with today’s duties and appointments walked towards them.
She was apprehensive of her attire. She hadn’t even taken her coat off in an attempt to conceal her wet and coffee smeared clothes.

He had let her already down by the time she reached them. The whole office was looking openly now. Tracy would be really angry when she’d learn what she missed working in a different department.
Amanda’s sour face was even sourer but she was trying hard to hide it behind a fake smile. They were talking pleasantries when she reached them.

“Ah, Eliza, here you are.” Lesley said seeing her. “I think you know Richard. Have you been introduced to his agent?” Lesley asked, holding Richard from his waist with one hand and gesturing with her other toward Amanda.

Eliza smiled politely towards Richard, catching his eyes for a brief second and dropping them immediately, avoiding his intense gaze.

“Yes, I know Miss Turner” she replied turning to Amanda, “We will be related in a few months. Her brother is marrying my sister.”

“Really, Amanda? You never told me that.” Lesley said surprised, turning towards Amanda.
Richard, also surprised, looked at Eliza and then turned his eyes to his girlfriend.

“There was nothing definite to tell you. I didn’t believe that the marriage would actually happen. They haven’t even sent the invitations yet!” Catching Richard’s irritated gaze she added more complacently,

“I’m just kidding. I was about to tell you today. This was the other reason that I came beside the interview.” Amanda smiled as innocently as she could to Lesley and looked menacingly at Eliza.

Lesley without really paying attention to Amanda’s reply or look to Eliza, nodded and turned to Richard.

“Come, let’s go to my office. It will be definitely quieter than here, without all these prying eyes and ears. Back to work guys!” Lesley jested, speaking louder and turning her laughing eyes to the gathered crowd.

Lesley was a good boss. She was not overly friendly but she treated everyone with fairness. She was hard to please and a lot of times she made someone cry, but the magazine was doing so well because of her. She had a useful talent. She always had an eye for the articles that could sell. The celebrities that were interviewed had to answer weird and most of the times awkward questions, but it was done with a lot of humor. The photos accompanying these interviews were artsy and imaginative, with the celebrities doing always extreme and non conventional photo shoots. All the celebrities wanted to be at least once in their pages and cover, and all the big companies wanted to advertize their products in their magazine.

Eliza followed her boss too in her office.
She had to remind her of her other appointments and to see together the last details of the ceremony.
Lesley was stopped halfway through the office by a photographer and Amanda’s phone rang at the same time, and looking at it, she went to pick it up a little further.

She was left alone with Richard again, who making room, he gestured for her to enter her boss’s office opening the door for her.
Feeling a little nervous and flattered by his manners, never had a man opened the door for her- ever, she entered and Richard followed her closing the door behind them.
She didn’t turn to look at him. She waited beside Lesley’s office for the others to come, pretending to look at her papers. She then felt his gaze burning her back and sensed him moving toward her and she froze.

“Eliza I want to explain myself for my previous behavior… in the elevator… I didn’t mean to be so…” but he never finished his sentence.

Eliza hearing him say her name, turned, and her eyes fell to his masculine torso. Moving her gaze higher she saw a few stray chest hairs escaping the collar of his green shirt at the beginning of his neck and his Adam apple moving while he spoke.
She felt hypnotized by this movement and a sudden urge to lean closer and kiss it. The air between them suddenly electrified.
She took a few steps closer to him without even realizing it, his scent and voice intoxicating her, hypnotizing her. Richard stopped talking abruptly.

She moved her eyes higher to his perfect clean shaven chin. She felt his intake of breath in her hand, as she saw astonished that she was stroking it. She didn’t even remember lifting her hand up. Little hairs, invisible to the naked eye tickled her palm and she moved her thumb to his parted lips, the lips he was licking a few moments before. She caressed his upper lip and felt him gasp in her finger. She watched her fingers tracing the side of his nose, his cheek, his little wrinkles in the corners of his eyes and then moving to his sideburn, she buried her fingers in his hair and felt his silken tresses between her fingers.

She then turned her gaze into the bottomless depths of his aquamarine eyes, now dilated to almost completely black.
She felt his hand grasping her head, pulling her closer, but still their bodies not touching, his coffee scented breath upon her lips. She was mesmerized, lost in his eyes. She wanted his kiss more than her next breath.

He locked his gaze with hers and without even blinking he bend and placed his lips on hers with a feather like touch, testing the ground. When she didn't pull off him, he wrapped his other hand around her waist and brought her body against his, making contact for the first time. How she hated her coat that prevented her from feeling his body heat! Eliza lifted her other hand and tangled both around his neck and pulled him even closer to her.
He parted her lips tentatively with his own and licked her bottom lip with his tongue. Eliza trembled in his arms and timidly touched her tongue to his. How sweet he tasted! She felt his growl rather than heard it before he deepened the kiss, but still she didn’t expect the intensity of it.
He tugged her head back to give him better access and he thrust his tongue in, sucking, licking, making love to her mouth and leaving her breathless.
She was meeting him with the same force and need, responding to his every move.
They were so lost in each other that a few moments passed before Eliza heard her phone ringing. She interrupted the kiss abruptly and with trembling hands tried to find her phone in her coat.
Richard turned his back on her, walked across the room and frustrated thrust his hands in his hair. Eliza answered the phone without even seeing who it was.

“Yes?” Eliza asked breathless with a quivering voice.
“Hey sis, I’m in the reception with your clothes”
“I’ll be right down” she said ending the call immidiately.

She had completely forgotten her sister but she was so glad that she called at the exact right time. Imagine if Lesley or even worse Amanda walked in while they were kissing! What the hell has gotten into her? She never did anything like that in her life before! What the hell just happened? What was this man doing to her? She just met him for Christ’s sake!

She was trying to fix her tangled hair when the door opened and Amanda entered, and without even looking at Eliza walked straight to Richard.
“Hey sweetie? What’s wrong? You seem very frustrated.” Asked, purring like a cat.

“Nothing, just bored, I’m fine” he responded quickly giving her a kiss on the forehead. He didn’t turn to look at Eliza at all.

Eliza deciding it was a good time to go, she exited the room quickly. She closed the office door and tried to catch her breath. She touched her flashed cheeks and tried to calm down. After a few deep breaths she found her supposed composure again and seeing Lesley still talking to the photographer she walked towards her. Thank god nobody seemed to have noticed her little break down outside her boss’s door.
Clearing her throat she interrupted them.

“Miss Steward I have to go to the reception for a few minutes but I will join you shortly. I left my file in your desk. The sponsor is going to call at eleven o clock.”

“Ok, thank you for reminding me. Now hurry because we have a lot to do before tonight. Did you buy me a coffee?”

“Sorry Miss Steward, I dropped it accidentally. I can go buy you another one if you want.”she said apologetically.

“No, that’s ok. You don’t have time to wait in that line. You have a lot to do today. I’ll tell Macy to go. One more thing, did you pick up my dress from the dry-cleaners?”

“Yes, it’s in the closet in your office.”

“Good. Now hurry.”Eliza nodded and hurried to the elevator.

Going inside she pushed the button for the ground floor and when the doors closed she closed her eyes, pressing her back to the elevator wall, and taking some deep breaths she tried to calm her racing heart.
That man was very dangerous. He had a weird pull over her. When she was close to him she wasn’t able to resist him. That kiss… she was never kissed like that. Not even from her husband. She was blushing profusely thinking of that kiss and she thanked the heavens that no one was in the elevator to see her.

Her sister seeing her,asked her immediately why she was so flustered.

“You look very red… are you coming down with a cold or something? Do you have a fever?” she handed the bag with the clothes to Eliza, while placing her hand in her forehead to make sure she was ok.

“I’m fine! It’s very hot upstairs, that’s all.” Eliza said trying to dodge her sister’s hand.

“Hmm… Anyway. I have to go. Mom and I will send the invitations today. Do you want me to invite your in-laws? The invitations were already addressed before what happened…”

“I don’t know… as a matter of fact no, don’t. I don’t want for Stephen to think that this is some kind of reconciliation move or something. No.”

“Ok, sis. I had to ask. I have to hurry. You know how mom is acting when we are late.”

“Yes, go for god’s sake! Better be late for work than be late with an appointment with mom!”

They hugged, and after seeing Jessica entering her car, she waved at Mia at the reception and took the elevator up to her department and her little office.
Once there, she changed quickly to black jeans and a dark indigo tight sweater with a v-neck that her sister brought her. She put a little peach flavored lip gloss that found in her bag, and presentable again she headed to her boss’s office.

Before she knocked she heard Richard’s deep laugh. She couldn’t believe that a few moments ago she was embraced and kissed by this incredible man.
Counting to ten she gathered her thoughts, locked the previous incident in a box in her mind – not to be opened until later in her room tonight- and entered very serious and professional looking, the room.

All three of them turned to look at her. First her gaze fell to Amanda, looking at her with a murderous look on her face, then to Lesley, that she looked at her just for a brief second and then dropped her gaze to the file in front of her, and last to Richard, capturing her gaze in his azure depths. Eliza gulped feeling her whole body trembling and averting her gaze from him, looked instead at her boss.

“Eliza glad you came, I just finished describing what we were thinking for the photo shoot with Richard. You are going to show him where Eric’s office is for his interview. I hope Macy will come quickly with that coffee" she added.
Lesley was looking at the file that Eliza left in her office while speaking to her. Amanda received a text and she was answering back and Richard stood up, taking his jacket in his hands.

“Richard when you're finished with the interview I want you to come in my office again. I want to talk to you about a private matter and then you can go and eat something and rest before the rehearsal in the afternoon.”
Lesley smiled at him fondly. She really liked this man Eliza thought. She had never seen her so enthralled with a human being before. She would really love to find out how they met and become to be such good friends.
Richard smiled at Lesley, nodded and said he’ll come by after the interview.

“I’m coming with you.” Amanda stood up also shoving the cell in her bag.

“If you don’t mind I want to talk to you about one of your clients now that you’re here.” Lesley motioned for her to sit again. Resigned she sat down and looked at Richard who was ready to leave. He smiled at her and gave her a kiss in her hair.

They heard a knock at the door then and Macy came in with two coffees. Eliza motioned for Richard to follow her. When they left Lesley’s office she heard him clear his throat behind her.

“Are you going to be in the interview as well?”

“No, I’m just showing you the way.” She answered under her breath. Damn! Why did she always have to lose her composure around him? With her back turned she didn’t see the resignation in his eyes.

“I’m glad you changed your clothes" he added a moment later "I was worried you would catch a cold… I like this outfit on you.” He said quietly, intimately.

Feeling her heart ready to explode she answered breathlessly, “I’m not that sensitive to catch a cold that easily. I rarely get sick.”
She felt the little hair on her nape stand on end. She never once turned to look at him and she didn’t even comment on his last remark.
They were walking in a dangerous ground and she had to try and put a stop to all this.

Fortunately Eric’s office was not far. Eric’s door was open and he was talking to a few of the magazines free lance reporters. Eliza, relieved, knocked the open door to announce their presence.
“Mr. Armitage is here for the interview Eric.”

“Ah Yes! Welcome Mr. Armitage! May I call you Richard?” Eric stood up from behind his desk and extended his hand toward Richard for a handshake.

Richard passed right beside her, brushing his arm with hers. She felt goose bumps travel from her arm, deep down her belly. She froze and tried to stay as calm as possible, taking little breaths through her nose. This sexual tension was very new to her and it frightened her. She didn’t want to lose her mind over an actor, and a taken one above everything else. She just got out of a shitty marriage. She didn’t want complications in her life.

The other reporters excused themselves and left. Without looking at Richard at all she followed them quickly outside.
See? She was the model of professionalism!
If she ignored him and avoided him she could make it through tonight. And then she would never have to see him again in her life. Why were they acting like that? He had a girlfriend! She didn’t know what was going on between her and Richard, but whatever this craziness was, it had to stop. She wasn’t going to make it through the day if this game would go on.

She was feeling guilty kissing Amanda’s man. She disliked Amanda a lot but she didn’t want to hurt her. She went straight to Lesley’s office and she waited a little for Lesley and Amanda to finish their conversation, all the time she waited was feeling guilty, and she couldn’t even look at Amanda in the eye. Eliza would leave the office earlier today so she could go to the venue were the dinner and the nomination ceremony would be held. She had myriad things to do before the celebs would arrive for their speech rehearsals. Eliza was in charge of organizing the event and had the responsibility for the night to run smoothly. There was even going to be live streaming from a big network. Eliza’s hands and mind were going to be really full today, thank god! Finishing their conversation, Eliza went straight to her office to make some phone calls. She didn’t see Richard when he went to her boss’s office, and when she emerged out of her office he had already left with Amanda. She felt a sadness engulf her. But it was better that way.

 

 

______________________________________________

 

 

 

Everything ran relatively smoothly in the venue and she didn’t have a lot to do. The event was going to be held at the Round House Venue in the centre of London.

Arriving there a little before noon, she found a few loose ends that needed to be tied. She talked with the AV technicians, she watched the lighting tests and how the lights were lighting the stage and the room, transforming it in a magical place.
She told the workers where to hang the sponsor’s banner and she went to check that the tables were all set and the name tugs in the right sits. Eliza was running back and forth to help wherever she was wanted, answering questions and giving instructions.

A famous soccer player was going to be the spokes person of tonight’s event. He was already there rehearsing his script and trying to get used to the autocue. He wasn't her ideal choise but he was close friends with the owner of the publication company.
Everyone who was giving an award was also there to rehearse. She was helpful, encouraging and entertaining with all of them except Richard.
She made sure to be at all times as far away as possible from where he was. Her body was screaming to go to him but her mind had taken over at last, and for the first time after she met him she started thinking coherent again. She hadn't caught him looking at her at all, so she thought he understood that they made a terrible mistake acting like teenagers.

When it was time for Richard’s rehearsal, she stood in a dark corner to watch him, careful to not to be able to see her, his velvet voice reverberating inside her belly, causing butterflies in her stomach.
He told a joke and she laughed along with everyone else watching him, mesmerized by his beautiful smiling lips. He had this unique talent of capturing the audience’s interest, and her interests mostly.
He was wearing tight jeans and a white t-shirt, making him look extremely irresistible, his longish hair falling in his forehead and nape, making her wanting to touch his silken strands again. The urge to go up the stage and kiss him was so intense that she decided it was time to leave, before she did something stupid.
Before he came down the stage she made sure to be as far away from him as possible, in the women’s toilet to be exact, hiding.
She decided she would avoid him at any cost. He was going to leave now that he finished his rehearsal to get ready for the nomination later, as everybody else did.
Counting to twenty, with mississipis mind you, to give him time to leave, she looked herself in the mirror, put some lip gloss, fixed her hair and exited the bathroom feeling absolutely certain that he must have left by now.

She felt someone grabbing her by the arm and pushing her inside the men’s loos. She didn’t even have time to scream. All happened so fast she didn’t even see who her abductor was.

Looking up the only thing she managed to see were two familiar azure eyes before she was shoved in a stall, and her abductor grabbing her by the hair, pulled her closer and felt her lips open violently under his.

She was instantly hit by a passion so strong that she forgot everything and relaxing in his arms she kissed him back with the same need.
Their tongues were dancing violently, their teeth hitting from the force.
He put his hand under her blouse cupping her breast above the lacy bra, his thump playing with her already hard nipple.
She moaned on his lips feeling completely aroused.
Removing his hands from her hair and breast, still kissing, he grabbed her butt and thrusting his body on hers pressed her to the wall and lifted her off the ground wrapping her legs around his waist.

“You taste so sweet…” he whispered upon her lips.

She felt his arousal pressing her where she needed him most.
She moved her hips in his bulge trying to find release from her need, at the same time biting his lower lip. He growled and thrust his pelvis in her crotch. She cried out loud passionately and moved her hands in his zipper trying to release his cock.

Feeling what she tried to do. he let her down and helped her unzip his pants, pulling down the boxers along with them. The breath caught in her throat seeing his magnificent big erected cock and reaching out she caressed it timidly. Rising her gaze in his face she saw the dilated pupils and his scorching passion in them, burning her. She wasn't thinking anymore, only sensing and touching. Her mind was filled only with her need for him.
He moaned quietly, all this time never dropping his eyes from hers, both breathing heavily. He took her hand from his cock, and grabbing both of her hands in his own big one, lifted them up her head, and tagging the hems of her sweater, slowly removed it, caressing her ribs while doing so. She was trembling like a leaf, unable to think clearly anymore. She wanted him with a need she never felt before. If she didn’t have him now she felt she would combust instantly.

Never releasing his gaze from hers, he threw her sweater to the ground and raising his hands behind her back unclipped her black lacy bra. Then placing both his hands in her shoulders slowly guided the straps down, stroking her arms doing so.
She wasn’t even breathing anymore. His touch was sending shivers down her spine. He did it excruciating slow, torturing her, she felt so wet and needy that if he didn’t hurry she would explode. He removed the bra, still looking at her in the eyes; she was trapped in his gaze, unblinking, her brown eyes looking at him dazed with passion. He threw the bra in the direction her sweater had landed. At last moving his gaze down, he let out a soft appreciative hiss.

Placing his hands under her breasts he cupped them both, stroking with his thumps her nipples.
She moaned, entranced, biting her lip. She was so ready to come.
He bend his head down and placed his mouth in the top of her left breast, kissing and licking his way towards her nipple. She closed her eyes and placed her hands in his shoulders grabbing him tightly, sinking her nails in his t-shirt and skin underneath.
She threw her head back and moaned loudly when his mouth found her nipple. He licked it, making little circles with his tongue, and finally closed his lips and sucked it, sending ripples deep down her belly. He moved his mouth in the other nipple stroking the one he just left with his fingers. Her knees couldn’t hold her anymore. She was trembling so violently she thought she was going to collapse any minute. She actually hurt from her need for him.

“Please...please…” she moaned in his ear.

“What do you want? Tell me…” he asked his voice even deeper than usual, continuing to kiss, lick and bite her nipples, his hands stroking her sides and back.

“You, please…I need you. Now. I can’t stand this anymore. Please…” she begged him, burying her hands under his t-shirt and caressing his strong belly and stomach.

With a growl he unbuttoned and unzipped her jeans in one swift movement, pulling them down forcefully. She helped him by taking of her shoes while he placed his hands in the top of her underwear and with a quick move of his wrists, shredded them in half.
She let a little surprised cry which quickly became a loud one, when he lift her up and entered her with a quick movement. He hissed in her ear and pressing her to the wall, started moving slowly at first, accelerating his speed and thrusts gradually. They both moaned in each other’s mouths, kissing passionately.

“I’m inside you and still isn’t enough. I want to be closer to you. I can’t get enough of you.” He whispered in her mouth, thrusting forcefully with every word he said. Managing to penetrate her deeper.

She was lost, she couldn’t respond, not even think. She was close, so close.

Richard felt she was ready and thrusted more roughly and quickly, making her come forcefully, stifling her cry with his mouth.
Kissing her, still thrusting deep inside her, faster. She was writhing in his hands. The orgasm was so intense she thought she was going to faint. She quickly felt his orgasm approaching too and with two more deep thrusts he stilled and bit her shoulder so he wouldn’t scream. Trying to find their breaths, still in his arms, burried deep inside her, she felt him whisper in her neck.

“What have you done to me? Are you a witch?” he asked her, kissing the side of her neck tenderly starting moving again ,slowly, inside her.

“I can’t find a single smart responce to answer your question.” She said out of breath, feeling the butterflies again deep inside her belly, the beginnings of a new orgasm rising.

“I still want you… I still want you!” He moaned surprised in her ear moving a little quicker inside her.

His biceps were so flexed that felled like rock under her hands. She was stroking his arms and back, kissing his temples, the tip of his nose, his chin, his collarbone.

He moved even faster, feeling her with his cock, flexing again her tender skin. She moaned when she felt his fingers in her clit, rubbing it slowly, hastening her release.
She felt like a puppet in his experienced hands. He continued his rhythm, teasing her and felt her orgasm coming more forceful than the first one. This time their release came together, suppressing their mutual moans in each other’s mouths.

He exited her wet depths slowly and placed her down carefully, holding her firmly by the waist, feeling her trembling from exhaustion and ecstasy.

“Please don’t leave me. I cannot stand.” She pleaded looking at him.

“I won’t let you fall. You must sit though.” He said placing a sweet kiss in her mouth.

“I can’t seem to be able to take my hands off you.” He chuckled quietly, talking to himself.
If they weren’t so close together, holding her still in his reassuring embrace, she wouldn’t have heard his last phrase.

She was so exhausted she couldn’t even think clearly. He guided her in the toilet sit, and after he made sure she wasn’t going to fade on him, he pulled up his boxers and trousers and zipping up his pants, gathered all of Eliza’s clothes from the floor.

“Sorry about the knickers. I owe you one.” He teased her.

She took the clothes from his hands and threw her underwear in the bin.

“Don’t worry, I have a lot.” He teased him back.

She was sitting completely naked in front of him and didn’t even felt embarrassed. She was always apprehensive about her body but after what had passed between them this last half hour, she had no inhibitions whatsoever.

She tried to put her bra but she felt her hands heavy, unable to make the simple move of clipping a bra.
Richard came to her rescue, clipping her bra, helping her put her pants and shoes on, all the while stroking her feet and legs. In the end he helped her with her sweater, kissing her and stroking her hair tentatively, like she was something precious he was afraid it would break with the merest touch.
She didn’t know what to make of all these, but how the hell had she ended up having hot, passionate sex with one of the most wanted men on the planet?

 

Two things she knew for sure. Firstly, that he definitely wasn't gay, and secondly, she was lost forever.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

 

 

 

“Richard what have we done?” she asked panicked, looking up at him, remembering she just had sex with a very much taken man.

“I had the most amazing sex in my life and I hope you had too.” He answered teasing her, giving her a lopsided smile and taking her hand; he raised her from the seat and engulfed her in his big embrace.

They heard someone enter the bathroom. They stood very still, barely breathing. After a few moments and when the man had finished what he had come to do, they heard the water running, the man whistling and, at last, the door closing behind him.

“Richard, this is no time for teasing.” she said with her head buried in his chest, “We are in public toilets for God's sake, with hundreds of people around us. We could have been caught!” his warm embrace just made her want him again, his scent dizzying her. Putting her hands on his chest she tried to loosen the hold he had on her, but he held her even tighter.

“Don’t try to run away from me. I want to hold you just a little bit more before we go out. I want this moment to last a little longer.” He leaned down and kissed the top of her head. “I don’t care if someone catches us. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve had sex with a woman I barely know, and in a public place at that! But... from the moment I saw you last week in that pub, I've wanted you. Imagine my luck, finding you today! I know that you feel this intense chemistry between us too. From the moment I kissed you I wanted to take you away from that infernal office and be alone with you. It was driving me insane to be so close to you and not be able to touch you.” He caressed her back and hair, feeling her erratic heartbeat in his chest. “Coming here I thought I would be able to talk to you, but you avoided me like the plague. Talking and laughing with everyone else, except me, driving me mad. When I was up on that stage rehearsing, I saw you hiding in the shadows, so I figured it was time for us to finally talk. I saw you heading to the bathroom and so...I followed you. I just wanted to talk to you. I want you to know that I didn't plan this.” Retrieving one hand from her back he lifted her head so he could look in her eyes. “But when you emerged, with your beautiful lips all glossy and juicy, I couldn’t stand it anymore. Being in such close quarters I couldn't hold back... I had to kiss you again…”with that, he lowered his head and softly touched his lips to hers. It was a sweet kiss that had Eliza fighting to find some air.
She was dazed from his words, his scent, his embrace, his tenderness…he had been watching her all this time and she thought he had been ignoring her! Feeling deliriously happy, she pulled him towards her and kissed him back, letting a little moan escape her lips when she felt his erection in her belly. Their kiss deepened and Richard embraced her even tighter. Even though every inch of their bodies touched it was not enough. Eliza feeling her sanity slipping stopped the kiss and tried to untangle her body from his… again.

“Richard please, we have to go. It's a miracle that no one has come looking for me yet. We must not tempt our luck anymore.” She moaned softly.
While she was trying to put some distance between their bodies he started kissing her; her forehead, then her ear, nipping and teasing it and the journey continued even lower, to the side of her neck finally finding a resting spot on her collar bone. Her heart was beating so fast she thought it was going to erupt.

“Do you know how intoxicating you smell? You are driving me insane, Eliza.” Richard breathlessly mumbled as the tip of his tongue slid over her soft skin and his hand cupped her breast tenderly.
Finding the last trace of sense she had left, she used all her willpower to break their embrace. She was trembling from her need for him, her legs barely holding her up.

“Richard, we have to leave. Now! This cannot go on.” She said with a quivering voice, stepping as far away from him as the little space would allow. Her body screaming and calling out to his.

Richard finally resigned, closed his eyes, tilted back his head and taking a few deep breaths, tried to find his composure again. Eliza waited a little for her racing heart to calm down, trying, without any success not to look his way.
“Yes, you are right.” He said, opening his mesmerizing eyes.

“I’ll go first” said Eliza and pointing a finger at him, “You wait! Count to twenty and then come out. Don't forget the Mississippis!” She wanted to look all serious but she was jumping out of her skin from joy!

Richard laughed a hearty laugh. Eliza, scared that someone would hear him, closed his mouth with her hand. She even raised her eyebrows trying to look serious and determined. He stopped laughing and catching her by the waist with one hand while lifting her hand from his mouth with the other, he bent down and kissed her passionately.

“The more you try to get away from me, the more I want you” he whispered in her ear and giving her a soft slap on her bum, he opened the door, led her out of the bathroom stall, and closed the door again.

Trembling with unfulfilled desire, she walked to the mirror, looked at her flushed cheeks and swollen mouth, and shook her head at her reflection as a little gasp escaped her lips.

“If you keep making noises like that, you’re going to end up back in here! And by the way I’m already up to five mississippis so you'd better get out quickly or we’ll end up leaving this bathroom together and making a public spectacle of ourselves!” Richard teased her.

“I’m going, you caveman!” she teased back smiling, and heard him chuckle. Throwing a little cold water on her cheeks and feeling a little like her old self again, yeah right, she opened the bathroom door slowly, and making sure that no one was looking her way, she exited quickly.

She hurried to the table where she had left her phone and files. Looking at the time she was shocked. She had been in the bathroom with Richard for almost an hour! She had nine missed calls from her boss, three from her sister and two from Eric.
First she called her boss and then Eric and told them that she had misplaced her phone and that was why she hadn’t answered. She accepted their yelling gracefully, knowing that they were absolutely right. While she was on the phone with Eric, she saw Richard, from the corner of her eye, leaving the bathroom and turned her eyes to meet his immediately. They locked gazes and smiled knowingly. Looking around, he winked flirtatiously at her, and left.
She watched his graceful figure walking away and couldn’t believe that a few moments ago she had had sex with this man. Twice! He seemed so relaxed and energetic, as if he hadn't been holding her against a wall for half an hour! She shivered remembering his huge member deep inside her. She, on the other hand, felt exhausted and wanted more than anything to go home and lie down.
She violently landed back to earth from her musings, when she heard Eric screaming in her ear, that he had asked her the same question four times already and what the hell was wrong with her today! Apologizing she tried to forget Richard and focus on the job at hand.

 

 

With all the on-doings that had transpired earlier, she hadn't realised how fast time had flown by. The event was about to start but she had no time to go and change. Then again, she didn’t have to! She wasn’t going to be with the celebs. She was going to be in the shadows making sure that everything ran smoothly. She was feeling nervous not wearing any underwear with so many people around her. She felt like everyone was watching her, knowing what she had done. As much as she wanted, she couldn’t suppress the memory of being in Richards arms. She could still smell him on her skin.

She was outside when she saw Richard again. Even though the event was being recorded and streaming by a well-known network, a lot of other networks had also come, in hope of a photo or even an interview. She, with two of her colleagues and the designated cameraman, were having an argument with one of the journalists who was trying to get to the front of the line, without caring whether or not he was in everybody's way.

She felt him immediately when he arrived, before he even stepped out of the car. Ignoring the chaos around her, she turned her gaze to the big white limo that had just pulled up at the entrance; the crowd surrounding the red carpet, yes their magazine was that extravagant, was waiting anxiously to see who was going to get out. But she knew. She felt it in the pit of her stomach, where butterflies started flying around and in her heart that started racing.

First Amanda emerged, graceful, beautiful and tall, wearing a long, dark emerald dress, her hair loose, cascading down her shoulders, her immaculate make-up bringing out the green in her eyes. She was truly gorgeous. Eliza felt so obscure and insignificant. She was still wearing the same clothes that her sister had brought her, well minus the torn underwear. She had no make-up on and she felt really exhausted. She stepped to the side for Richard to get out and Eliza’s breath stopped in her throat when she saw him, the air never managing to reach her lungs.
Camera flashes and screams filled the air. His beautiful dark hair was combed back and little curls were caressing the nape of his graceful neck. He was stunning in his dark grey tailored suit and indigo shirt, fitting his tall, lean stature like a glove.
The girls present started screaming his name, asking for an autograph. Richard smiled at his fans and headed to the one side of the carpet and then to the other signing as many autographs as he could. He was so polite and gentle with them that Eliza felt her heart melt. He was genuinely a good person. She had forgotten the quarrel, the cameras, the crowd, everything. Her focus was on him, her eyes taking in his faultless form.

 

   

   

 

 

 

 

He was heading toward the journalists who were also calling out his name , and whom she was standing next to. She only needed a smile, a knowing look from his eyes. She felt out of her element. She was intimidated by this Richard, the professional, radiant actor. She couldn’t believe that a few hours ago she was in this man’s arms. He didn't look her way though. Not even once.
She saw Amanda grabbing him and placing her hand in his. She felt nauseous, trapped, panicked; she needed to get out of there quickly, to get her thoughts in order and some air in her lungs. Before he reached to where she was standing, she managed to escape behind the dozens of journalists and cameramen and ran in the opposite direction.
Finding a quiet corner far away from the crowd and him, she placed her hands on her knees and tried to take a few deep breaths. The night was chilly but thankfully it wasn’t raining. She needed this cold, to numb her mind along with her body. The panic wasn’t subsiding and tears started pooling in her eyes. With trembling hands she wiped away some tears that had escaped down her cheeks.
What did you expect? He has a girlfriend. You fell in his arms so easily, surrendering yourself without any questions. He didn’t even ask for your number. You were just one tiny little insignificant momentary lay. Stop crying stupid moron and get inside to do your job because with your behavior today you’re going to get fired. And what is it with this jealousy bit? As if you have any claim on him!!!!!
Wiping a few more tears that escaped her eyes, she gathered her strength and going around the building, she found the back door that led to the kitchen. Entering she was overwhelmed by the heat, lights and frustrated employees trying to have everything ready in time. Nobody even looked at her as she made her way through the room. Opening a side door she found herself in a hall and she saw the staff’s bathroom ahead of her. She headed in to throw a little water on her face and calm down before she headed to the main room again.
She felt as if she had been on a rollercoaster for the past five hours, her feelings swirling from absolute bliss to complete devastation. She was really tired. She just wanted to go home, get in her bed and sleep. And if possible to wake up oblivious to everything that happened today.

 

Most of the celebrities had already arrived. The room was buzzing with excitement and laughter. The atmosphere was very friendly and everyone was relaxed. Very few were seating at their tables. Most of them were talking in groups or striding around the room laughing.

                                         

Lesley was talking to the sponsor of the event and some other editors. Eliza’s friends weren’t there. They decided to have a romantic weekend and they took the opportunity to leave town today. Assistants and other staff members though always invited, very rarely attended this kind of events. Only journalists and editors came amass. The manager’s assistant, Tom, the marketing’s assistant George and she, were the only ones that were required to be present, and she was there because of her exceptional organizational skills. She was looking around the room to see if everyone was okay and if any problems had arisen when, suddenly and accidentally, her eyes fell on Richard. He was in the middle of the room, in a group with other British actors, all laughing merrily with something one of them had said. He was breathtaking when he laughed. Amanda was ever present beside him, holding his arm, drinking her champagne and smiling making it clear to everyone that he was there with her.

Eliza was captivated by him; she couldn’t take her eyes off his smiling face. Suddenly he turned his gaze, all serious and intense, looking directly at her behind his raised champagne glass. He knew exactly where she was. He didn’t even search the room with his eyes. She shivered and averting her gaze first, she left to go and ask the doorman how many celebrities were expected to arrive yet.

When she came back, shivering from the cold, Lesley was waiting for her.
“Eliza, I need you to go back in the office. Allan forgot his cell. Just take my car; it’s parked in the back.” She added handing her the keys. Eliza thought it was a great opportunity to relax her, almost to breaking point, nerves and avoid a certain actor. Thank god the publication’s manager, Allan Fitzgibbons, was so negligent, and she now had an excuse to leave for a little while.
“Yes, sure. I’ll be right back.” Not even bothering to find her coat she went to the kitchen, to leave from the back door. She wanted to get out as quickly as possible.
At last exiting into the cold night, away from the crowd and noise she felt better. Her mind started thinking clearly again. Walking she searched around the hundreds of cars for Lesley’s black one, still thinking about him. She was really stupid to cry over a shag. He didn’t make any promises. He didn’t even ask for her number! Obviously he was happy the way he was, with the fake, but had to admit, gorgeous Amanda. She shivered, putting both her hands inside her jeans pocket. Where the hell was that car? How many black cars were parked here? She wanted to ask for help but from whom? She couldn’t see a single parking man, only limo drivers waiting in their cars or outside smoking and talking.
She suddenly felt something warm placed in her back and scared, whirled around, took her hands out of her pockets, holding the keys in her right hand, ready to attack. It was dark and she couldn’t see who it was, except that he was very tall and his hands were in front of him in the air in the ‘I’m unarmed’ position.

“It’s me. Don’t key me!” Richard chuckled and took her in his arms.

“You have to stop doing that!” she said, hitting him playfully in his arm. “I almost punched you with the keys!” he felt his laugh vibrating inside her.

“Like you can reach my face…ouch!” he cried out after Eliza pinched him in the butt.

“You know there are other places to hit a man with or without keys if we cannot reach his face” she teased him, “And by the way, I can reach your face just fine” she added caressing his jaw, his cheek and his mouth to make her point.

He kissed her fingers that had travelled to his mouth and then bending his head, he kissed her gently on her luscious lips. She sighed contented in his mouth. She felt like she was home. She was flying in the sky once more. Suddenly whistles were heard from nearby and they stopped kissing reluctantly. They both looked the way the whistles came from, and Richard smiling, waved at the drivers that were gathered and enjoyed their show.

Still holding her he leaned in her ear, “Hmm…I have to remember then not to scare little girls like you.” He continued his previous teasing and laughed out loud after Eliza pinched him again, this time in his arm.

“Why are you following me everywhere I go? Do I need to call the security?” she teased him back.

“I saw that you left without your coat so I had to bring it to you, I don’t want you to get sick. Also... I missed you...” he whispered in her ear, while raining her with little kisses in her ear and neck. “Am I scaring you? Do you want me to call the security?” he chuckled in her side of her neck and sucking her skin he left a hickey.

Shivering from passion she answered with a quiet 'No' and tilted her head to the side to give him full access. Her hands were traveling underneath his suit jacket, caressing his strong muscles in the back, absorbing his body heat. She had forgotten everything again, Amanda, the nomination, Fitzgibbon's phone, the world around her. She only wanted to be alone with him in a room, all night, without interruptions, to get to undress him slowly, to explore his majestic masculine body.

His phone started vibrating then and he left her neck groaning in despair. Still holding her with one arm, he retrieved his phone from his pocket and checking the caller ID, he put it back again.

“I have to go, they are looking for me.” He said, letting his hand drop from her waist and helping her put her coat on.

“Yes, the nomination is about to begin.” She added sadly, standing in front of him with her hands in the pockets of her coat. She felt even colder now that she was out of his warm embrace, despite the coat she was wearing. She never wanted to leave his arms again.

Seeing her sad face he grabbed the lapels of her coat and bringing her closer he placed a ravenous kiss on her lips.

“For how long are you going to leave?” He asked when he came for breath.

“I have to go to the office to take something. I won’t be long.” She answered between his kisses.

“Get a room!” one of the drivers yelled and the others laughed.

Richard chuckled but continued kissing her. Eliza was so lost that she hadn't even heard anything. Only he mattered.

“Hurry back.” He placed one hand on her back and one in her head and deepened the kiss before he let her. They were both out of breath, their need written all over their faces. Richard’s phone started vibrating again.

“Go.” Eliza said, smiling at him blissfully.

“I want your number.” He said taking his phone out and pushing the ignore button to whoever was calling him.

She gave it to him with a big smile spread on her face. She was in seventh heaven. He asked for her phone number! He wanted to see her again! She was so excited she wanted to jump! He dialed her number and heard her phone ringing. She saved his number in her phone adding him as ‘dream hunk’. Looking at the time she panicked.

“Richard go! They have already started!”

“I’m going.” But instead of heading back he came closer to her, kissed her one last time and then he turned and left.

Eliza watched him go until he entered the building, from the same door she left. When the door closed she let out a yell of excitement and did a crazy dance. The drivers laughed and clapped and Eliza bowed. She was the happiest woman on the planet!

With the help of her audience she found Lesley’s car and starting the engine left the parking lot. She opened the radio and a song started playing right then. Alicia’s Keys-Unthinkable. The singer’s last name made her laugh, but listening to the lyrics of the song closely, she felt surprised at how appropriate to her situation they were. She was going to do the unthinkable and damn the consequences! She was ready for everything!

While she was in the office waiting for the security guy to bring her the phone, she went to the bathroom. After washing her hands she looked at her reflection and saw the hickey that Richard made in her neck. Damn! Her scarf was inside her bag in the Round House. She threw her hair in front of her face trying to conceal it.

She returned as quick as lightning back to the venue, laughing at herself for wanting to escape him earlier and now doing her best to be quickly with him again. She found Lesley and handed her the car keys and Fitzgibbon’s phone. Lesley told her that she could go if she wanted too. Everything ran smoothly and she could get some rest. Eliza declined saying that now that she was here she wanted to see the live performance of the best music artist of the year.

Lesley looked at her assistant with suspicion. Eliza didn’t like this type of music and she always left earlier when she was dismissed. She hated this kind of events. Looking at her closely she found her looking very hyper and flashed. Then she saw the mark on her neck and froze. That was very interesting. That mark wasn’t there when she spoke with her earlier. She had a suspicion who might have done this. If it was who she thought it was, then she had to end this now. She had to pay closer attention to her assistant from now on. She never thought of her as a rival. Smiling at her she nodded at turned to leave.
Eliza had retrieved her bag before she searched for Lesley, and taking her scarf out, wrapped it around her neck, smiling at her, oblivious to her boss’s thoughts. Lesley looked at her one more time and left.

She sat at the table where Tom and George were sitting, in the back of the room, far away from the crowd. She was served one of the main course plates, salmon with spiced vegetables and tomato dressing. Tom and George had already eaten and they were gossiping the celebs. The eccentric celebrity that was on stage, the plastic surgeries that a certain starlet had done, and in general gossip about everything and anyone their eyes fell to. She tried to take part in their conversation but she really didn’t care about gossip or what the celebs did in their personals lives. She nibbled at her food absentmindedly, not having an appetite for it. She was craving other things.

She looked at Richard’s table. For her great chagrin she saw that Richard had already been given his award, for best actor, and it was placed in front of him on the table. His table was in front of the stage, with Fitzgibbons on his one side and Amanda on his other. She didn’t make it on time. But he had to announce the names for the best athlete of the year, so at least she could admire him doing that. She saw Lesley going to Richard’s table and handing Fitzgibbon his phone. He checked it and excusing himself she saw him standing up and going further down the room to make a phone call. Lesley sat in the empty sit beside Richard and putting her arm underneath his, engaged him in conversation.

She was so jealous. Everyone could go and talk to him, laugh with him, sit beside him, but she couldn’t even look at his way without checking around her first. Resigned she turned her gaze on the stage and clapped when another winner received her award. Her phone beeped with an incoming message. It only said, ‘I’m glad you’re back safe’, and her heart skipped a couple of beats. She looked at his table again. He was still talking with Lesley, Fitzgibbon’s still on his phone. With trembling hands she typed, ‘thank you’, and pressed the sent button. A second later she saw him checking his phone but she could only see his back so she couldn’t see his expression. With a lighter heart she put her phone on the table. He always knew when she needed him, like he sensed when she was upset. It was completely crazy. They haven’t known each other for twenty four hours and she was already jealous and possessive of him. It was a total madness! The logical part of her brain tried to bring her down to earth, but her heart was thinking differently. She was terrified of her need for him.

She saw him standing up and heading back stage. He was so elegant, walking like a panther, all the women turning their heads when he passed them. She still couldn’t believe that this exquisite creature wanted her. Her!

“He’s gorgeous.” George said sighing.

“Maybe you’ll have a chance with him. I heard he’s gay.” Tom told him.

Eliza turned her head. Were these two pricks talking about her man?

“Whom?” she asked innocently, wanted to be sure.

“Armitage” George answered sighing again.

“Hands off him” she said under her breath. She didn’t have to fight off only women but men also! She never felt so possessive about anyone in her life.

“He’s not gay, he’s dating the woman with the green dress.” She said grinding her teeth.

“A lot of famous men take pretend girlfriends in the events with them” Tom said defending George.

“I saw them kissing this morning, in my office, I don’t think they were pretending then!” she said starting to get mad.

“Damn… I thought I had a chance…” George said resigned.

Eliza drank a sip of her wine. She hated alcohol but given the circumstances she needed a sip asap! She never thought that she would defend Richard’s and Amanda’s relationship!

The host presented Richard for the next nomination. He walked to the stage with big strides, smiling, and her breath caught in her throat. She was too far away to see his beautiful eyes but she imagined his laugh lines around them and her stomach somersaulted. He presented the nominates with his deep, velvet voice and she remembered when he whispered in her ear earlier and goose bumps travelled deep down her belly. This was torture! She looked around her and almost every woman in the room was looking at him with lust in their eyes, many of them sitting at the end of their sits, rigid, barely breathing. If they only knew that everything they dreamed of him was true and even surpassed their wildest imaginations.

She turned her head to Richard’s table and saw Amanda talking with the man on her right. Lesley was watching Richard equally entranced as every other woman in the room. So, she wasn’t seeing him only as her good friend. The thought hadn’t crossed her mind. But she was too preoccupied with her own feelings to pay attention to what was going on around her. She had to be really careful with her.

At last Richard gave the award to the winner athlete and came down the stage. Fitzgibbons was seating in Richard’s sit and Lesley had to get up. Richard said something to her and headed to the men’s loos. Eliza was debating to follow him or stay where she was, when her phone beeped. ‘Come’ it just said and Eliza putting her phone in her pocket followed him in the loos. He entered the men’s bathroom and Eliza seeing that no one was watching her way, followed him inside. Her heart was pounding fast in her chest. She heard a toilet flushing in the other end of the bathroom, and suddenly she felt a door opening behind her. Richard grabbed her by her arm and pulled her inside. He placed his index finger to his lips, for her to not make a sound, and then putting both of his hands on her face, leaned forward and kissed her sweetly. She closed her eyes and placing her hands around his neck, brought him closer. Their kiss deepened quickly. Richard put his hands on her waist and pressed her body to his. Outside their stall people were coming and going but they didn’t care.

                                                                                     

“God, I want you so much…” he whispered in her ear, taking off her scarf. Eliza breathing heavily touched gently his jaw with her lips.

“Have I done this to you?” he asked softly, seeing the mark on the side of her neck and leaning in to kiss it.

“Yes…” she whispered, throwing her head back in ecstasy. He had moved his lips lower in her collar bone and with his fingers he pulled aside the neck of her sweater, revealing a bite on her shoulder.

“And this?” he asked again, kissing and licking the bite.

“Everything” she gasped and grabbing his head lifted him to find his lips.

They kissed passionately, their hands caressing hungrily each other’s bodies. They were interrupted by their phones vibrating simultaneously.

“Shit, is Lesley” she whispered seeing who was calling her.

“And Amanda” Richard added looking irritated at his phone.

They put the phones in their pockets and Richard tied the scarf around her neck.

“I have to start seeing you outside bathrooms” he said with a lopsided smile.

“I’ve started to like bathrooms a lot” she teased him back with an ecstatic smile spread on her face.

Raising an eyebrow and pulling her by the scarf to him he asked playfully, “Really?”

“Yes , really…”she whispered, placing a peck on his lips.

“One of these days you have to tell me what you really like about them” he laughed softly, placing a hand on her head to bring her closer.

“One day I will.” was the only thing she managed to say, before Richard opened her lips and slipped his tongue in.
A bang on the door stopped their kiss abruptly and Richard yelled, “I’m going to be a minute!”

“How are we going to leave?” Eliza whispered, turning around and starting to feel nervous.

“They are going to give another award now so it’s not going to be crowded for long.” Richard said softly pulling her closer again.
He took Eliza in his arms and her back leaned on Richard’s strong torso. His hands were around her waist and Eliza had placed her hands on top of his, rubbing his fingers. He was kissing her temples softly. After a few minutes, the commotion outside stopped and Richard placing Eliza behind him opened the stoll door a little. Seeing that the space was clear she motioned for her to leave quickly. She opened the bathroom door and exited without noticing if anyone was watching.
She entered urgently the women’s loos and went to take care of her immediate needs.

When she sat on her table, Richard was already in his talking with Fitzgibbons and Amanda’s sit was empty. Euphoric she started chatting excitedly with Tom and George and she didn’t notice Amanda standing beside the women’s loos watching her…

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

 

 

The night, as was expected, was a success. Eliza though didn’t have an opportunity to see Richard again. He left with Amanda in his arm as he had arrived. Really exhausted she called for a taxi and said her good nights to everybody she saw while walking to the exit.

Arriving in her parent’s house she noticed that they had left the porch light on for her. She smiled and got inside quietly. They were all sleeping. She drank a glass of water and headed upstairs. She made a quick shower, trying to be as fast as she could as she didn’t want to wake them. When she looked in the mirror she saw the marks Richard left on her skin. She touched them lightly with her fingers. Never had a man felt so passionately for her to leave marks. Her heart was thudding loudly. This day felt like a dream. She dried her hair as well as she could with a towel, brushed her teeth and went to her room. Wearing a pair of pajamas and setting the alarm to seven o’ clock, she lied down and fell asleep immediately.

 

She woke up, breathing heavily, her mind still filled with the most sexual dream she had ever seen. Turning off her alarm she went to the bathroom. She shuddered remembering the dream, it was so vivid! She tried to do something to her unruly hair and seeing that there was no hope, she straightened them. She then noticed the hickey in her neck. So it wasn’t only a dream! Thrilled she lowered the neck of her pajama top and saw the bite in her shoulder. Fuck! It really wasn’t only a dream! Excited she ran to her room and grabbed her phone deciding to send him a good morning message, but on second thought she let her phone down again. Maybe he was still sleeping and she didn’t want to wake him up. Or worse, Amanda was with him and she would see the message! Her heart sank. They really needed to talk. She didn’t want to be the third person in a relationship. She knew very well how it felt to be betrayed by the one you loved.

She decided to get dressed and go to the office. Although it was Saturday she had to go for a few hours. She was feeling sexy today, thanks to a certain man, so she wore one pair of her sexiest lingerie, a red bra and the matching red thong. Searching in her closet she found a black flared mini skirt which she hadn’t wore in a long time, always preferring pants, and a red, tight, stretchy turtle neck. She put on her black tights and her high heeled black ankle boots. Her make-up was consisted only of mascara and a hot red lipstick. She thought she was dressed a little bit too much for a morning in the office but she was too happy to care. She would ask her sister if she wanted to go out later, for dinner and drinks. Maybe Richard would call or show up behind her unexpected! She smiled and spraying the air with her favorite perfume she walked underneath it. Ready to go! She grabbed her black purse, putting her phone, lipstick, perfume and wallet inside and went downstairs.

Her sister whistled when she entered the kitchen
“Wow sis! Where are you going?” she asked smiling suspiciously.

Her mother and father, who were reading a paper each, looked above them.
“You look very beautiful pumpkin!” her father said and returned to his paper.
Her mother smiled happily that her daughter felt better already.
“There’s coffee in the pot. Do you want me to make you a toast?” Laura asked her daughter dropping the paper on the table ready to get up.

“No, mom, I don’t have time. I have to go to the office for a few hours.” Turning to her sister she asked. “Do you have anything to do today? Do you want to go for dinner later and a quick drink?”

“Sorry sis. I’ve made plans with Nancy and Chris. A girl’s night out.” After a second thought she added, “Hey! Do you want to come with us?”

“Yeah sure, as long as the girls don’t have a problem with it.”

“No problem at all! The more the merrier!” Eating a bite of her toast she asked her still munching, “How was the nomination yesterday? Had everything gone as planned? ”

“Excellent. It surpassed my expectations.” Eliza smiled remembering the previous day again.

Jessica noticed her sister’s cryptic smile and looking at their parent’s way and seeing they were engrossed in their papers, she signed with her hands that she would have to explain that smile later.

Eliza gave her a beatific smile and ignoring her frantic signals, she asked her, “So what time do you want to meet and where.”

“Around four I’ll come by your office.”

“Ok, see you then!” she said kissing her parents on their cheeks and sending an air kiss to her sister.

“Bye sweetie, and don’t forget to take your umbrella.” Her mother said smiling. Her daughter was glowing today. She hadn’t seen her so happy for over a year.

Eliza took her umbrella from the stand by the door and her coat and calling for a cab she left.

She closed the door behind her and she wore her black coat. The sky was filled with grey clouds and the air smelled of rain. A cold breeze tousled her hair. Filling her lungs with a big cold breath of fresh air she smiled to the sky. It was a glorious day!

The taxi came real quickly and Eliza was in her office in no time. Her few colleagues that were working today, noticed the change in her. A few sly comments from the women coworkers were exchanged in the little kitchen and in the bathroom, but most of them felt glad to see her again so happy. Eliza was oblivious to the mean comments or to the lustful glances a few of the male colleagues were giving her.

The chief editors were almost all absent and only a few of the them were present. Lesley was not there. Because of how few of them were working, the mood in the office was very cheery and relaxed.
Eliza was looking at her phone in regular intervals to see if he had sent her a message. But until her sister came to pick her up at four o’ clock, he hadn’t sent her anything or called. She wouldn’t think anything of it. It was too early. Maybe he had other things to do. She wouldn’t send him a message though. If he wanted her as much as he claimed he did, he should make the next move.

Jessica and Eliza met with the girls to Ethos, a self-service restaurant. They ate and laughed and had a great time catching up with their news. They teased Jessica about her impending marriage and her decision to leave the game field so soon, they had so much fun that they decided to continue in a pub.

They walked to a pub a little further down the restaurant. They had just sat on the bar and had ordered their beers when Eliza heard her phone ringing. With her heart in her throat she took it out of her bag. Yes. It was him. Excusing herself she went outside to pick it up.

“Hi” she said almost breathlessly. She was absolutely certain he could hear her fast heartbeats through the phone.

“Hi” he said with his deep, velvet, baritone voice, sending shivers down her spine. “You didn’t call me” he added, sounding a little irritated, but she was not sure.

She smiled. So he waited for her to make the next move. She could never disturb him. He was the famous actor with the myriad things to do and a girlfriend above everything else.

“Sorry, I didn’t want to disturb you. I assumed that if you had time you would call me.” She said still smiling.

“Where are you? I hear noise in the background. If you have plans I can call another time.” he said, and now Eliza was absolutely certain he was irritated!

“I’m with my sister and her friends in a pub.” she decided to tease him a little.

“Oh ok then, it seems you indeed have plans. Well, we’ll talk another time then.” he said and he was ready to end the call.

“Richard, wait.” She said almost laughing out loud. “Do you have any plans? For us?”

“As a matter of fact yes, I wanted to take you out for a drink. I want to know you better. I don’t even know your last name.” he said resigned.

“Well you can always tell me where you want us to meet and I’ll be there. By the way my last name is Clark.”

“Nice to meet you miss Clark. I’ll come and pick you up. Where are you?” he said more cheerfully.

Eliza said where she was and he told her that in an hour he would be there. Thrilled she hung up and went inside. A wide smile was spread on her face and the girls immediately attacked her with questions. When she said who was on the phone, what happened yesterday and that he was going to pick her up in a little while, the girls started screaming with excitement. Everybody turned and looked at them, some of them laughing at their behavior and others shaking their heads disapprovingly.

“Holly shit! HOLLY FREAKING SHIT!” her sister was saying over and over again.

“Oh my god! I can’t believe this! He’s hot! You lucky bitch!” Chris cried excitedly.

“And he’s coming here? To pick you up? I don’t know how you can be so calm! I’m freaking out!” Nancy was seriously hyperventilating.

“That’s why you look so different today! You look radiant! What they say about a good fuck, is actually true!” Jessica said laughing loudly.

“Oh for Christ’s sake girls! Keep it down! Everyone’s looking at us!” Eliza tried to hide her flashed cheeks behind her hair.

The very good looking barman came smiling to their side of the bar.

“What happened girls? Can the rest of us hear of this awesome news that has you screaming out loud?” he asked playfully.

“Babe, curiosity killed the cat…” Chris answered him sweetly.

“Bring us another round of the same. Eliza is buying.” Nancy gestured at Eliza. The jealousy was obvious in her voice.

The barman looked at Eliza and she nodded. Smiling he brought four more beers and placed them in front of them. He then turned his gaze at Eliza, checking her appreciatively up and down.

“Well Eliza, the girls usually scream when a man is involved. I assume by the happy screams that filled my pub that you’re out of the market?…” he hinted smiling.

“Actually…” she started to speak but a velvet voice behind her interrupted her.

“Actually yes, she’s out of the market.”

Everybody turned and they saw Richard standing behind them. Eliza’s heart started beating erratically. The barman nodded his defeat and smiling left.

“Hello ladies, Miss Clark…” he teased Eliza, “I’m Richard.” He said smiling radiantly to every single one of them, extending his hand.

“Oh yes, we know exactly who you are.” Chris said looking at him appreciatively from head to foot taking his hand to hers.

The girls introduced themselves. Richard was the perfect gentleman. He wished the best for her sister’s impeding wedding, he signed Nancy’s napkin and took a selfie with her, for the chagrin of the other girls, and in the end he paid for their drinks despite the girls refusals. Eliza went to the bathroom, followed by her sister, to put a little lipstick and calm her racing heart. The moment the bathroom door closed behind them Jessica started jumping up and down with excitement, and taking Eliza’s hands in hers, started to whirl them both around the bathroom.

“Oh my god! I cannot believe it! And you didn’t say anything in the house! He said you are out of the market! Eliza the man really wants you! I’m so happy for you!” she said it all in one breath, so excited, that Eliza could barely make sense of what she was saying. Laughing with her sister’s excitement, she tried to stop her for making any more fool of themselves. The other women in the bathroom looked at them weirdly but didn’t comment.

Her sister at last went into a toilet and Eliza looked herself in the mirror. Everybody said she looked different. She didn’t think she looked different, except maybe for her constantly flushed cheeks, but she definitely felt very different. Excited and nervous.
He was jealous. He was jealous of the barman! He declared in front of her friends that she was his! She fixed her hair and washed her trembling hands. She didn’t know what to make of this. They just met! He was in another relationship for crying out loud! She felt more than excited that he felt so possessive of her already, but everything happened so fast! She needed time to think. Never had anything like this happened to her before. She was always the down to earth kind of woman. She loved two men in her life and that after they known each other for a few months. She was not the love at first sight, person. At least she thought she wasn’t… She was very confused about her feelings. The only thing she knew for sure was that that man could fly her to the moon.

Her sister came out and washed her hands smiling excitedly at Eliza. Eliza feeling nervous, but smiling at her sister nonetheless, wiped her hands, fixed her lipstick and they left the bathroom. She would think everything later.

When they returned at the bar, Richard placed his hand in her waist and whispered in her ear. “Are you ready to leave?”

“Yes” she answered turning her head to look into his mesmerizing blue-grey eyes.

He smiled, they said their goodbyes, Eliza put her coat on, took her things and they left the pub.

He had parked the car in the pub’s parking space. He was still holding her by the waist and he had slowed his stride to match hers. It had rained earlier and the lights were reflected in the wet streets, making the place seem magical.

 

                                                                                       

 

Eliza felt a little nervous. It was the first time they were really alone together. Her stomach was a knot. She started trembling from her anxiety.

“Are you cold?”Richard asked, bringing her closer to his body.

What was she supposed to say? It’s you that make me shiver? She nodded, not trusting her voice.

They reached his car and he unlocked it, opening like the gentleman he was, the passenger’s door for her to get in. He took her umbrella and put it in the back seat and after helping her with her sit belt he closed her door and he passed in front of the car to go to the driver’s seat. He was so elegant, moving like a dancer. He wore dark jeans, grey boots, a black v-neck sweater and his black leather jacket. Strands of his hair were falling on his forehead. He was stunning as always, perfect in every way. She was starting to question his taste in women though. What the hell he wanted with a woman like her? She still couldn’t believe that he find her attractive.

He got inside; put his seat belt on, turned the air-condition, and he started the engine leaving the curb and exiting to the street behind the pub.

“Where are we going?” she asked quietly with a raspy voice. She cleared her throat and asked again louder and clearer.

“In one of my favorite bars in the east of London.” He said turning his head and looking at her, “I think you’re a little nervous.” He added smiling his lopsided smile.

“I just realized it’s the first time we are alone. Really alone.” She answered playing nervously with the straps of her bag.

He wrapped gently his fingers around her trembling hands.

“Don’t be nervous. It’s only me.” He took her cold hand and placed it in his lips kissing her fingers one by one.

That definitely didn’t make her feel relaxed!

“Do you want to put some music on? Whatever you like. Your choice.” He said placing her hand in her lap.

Eliza searched the radio stations and found her favorite one. The melodic voice of Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran filled the car.

‘…Oh, it’ll take a little time,
Might take a little crime, to come undone now…’

Eliza gulped and was ready to change the station when Richard placed his hand on hers.

“No leave it, I like this song.” He held her hand on his the whole ride, caressing her fingers. The sexual tension in the car was palpable.

Eliza trying to relax and to not listen to the lyrics of the song, she tried to start a conversation.

“I know that you don’t live here so this must not be your car. Have you rented one for the days you’re staying?” she asked a little breathlessly, his touch causing electric currents that travelled from her fingers to every erogenous zone in her body.

“Actually this is my car. I left it to my parent’s parking lot when I moved. I couldn’t sell it. It was the first thing that I bought with my own money.” He stopped in front of the red traffic light, waiting to turn green. He turned to look at her, with a beautiful smile, while they were waiting. “I visit London as frequently as I can and I like to have my own transportation while I’m here.”

“And when you come here you stay with your parents?”

“It depends, if I’m staying a lot of days, if I come alone or with company, if I’m here for work or pleasure. They live outside of London, so sometimes, when I need to be in town for work for example, I stay in a hotel.”

The traffic light turned green and Richard stepped on the gas. They rode a little further and then Richard turned right and entered a private parking lot. A little drizzle had started to fall and Eliza took her umbrella from the back seat. Before she even had time to put her hand in the door handle, Richard had already opened it for her. He took the umbrella from her hands and opening it above the door he extended his hand to Eliza. She accepted his hand and helped her to get out of the car.

“Did I tell you how beautiful you look tonight?” he asked her, placing a light kiss in her fingers.

She smiled embarrassed and pleased at the same time.
“You look very beautiful too. As always.” she said shyly.

“As always? So you are spying on me then?” he chuckled and Eliza turned red as her blouse.

“I’m not spying on you. It just happens that I know your work. And in my defense is not my fault your face is all over the internet!” she started to get mad for making fun of her.

Richard still laughing, locked the car and put the keys in his jeans pocket. Then he took her hand in his and holding the umbrella above their heads they entered the bar. He gave his name at the entrance and they were immediately guided to their table, which was very conveniently placed, in a corner of the room.

The bar’s décor was minimal, mostly wood and steel, and the only color you could see, in some decorative items, was white. The main lightning in the place was coming from the candles that were lit on the tables. The music was not very loud, you could speak with ease, and the songs were very sensual. Though the place was packed with people, the atmosphere was very romantic.

They took their jackets off and sat in the tall stools. Richard turned his sweater sleeves up and exposed his strong hairy arms. Unable to resist, Eliza passed her hand over the soft hair. His hands were very beautiful with little veins visible here and there. Sighing Richard took her hand in his and turning it, he kissed her palm and the inside of her wrist, feeling her erratic pulse on his lips. Eliza had bowed her head and tried to breathe through her nose. She dared to look behind the curtain of her hair and she caught him looking straight into her eyes. A Weeknd song was playing in the background making the moment even more arousing.

“Eliza don’t hide from me, please.” He lifted her head with his other hand, and bringing her face closer, he placed his lips lightly on her cheek close to her mouth.

They heard someone clearing his throat and Richard raised his head.

“Are you ready to take your order sir?” the waiter smiled politely at them both.

Richard looked questioningly at Eliza. She had no freaking idea what she wanted to drink. She was already feeling lightheaded by Richard’s ministrations. She didn’t thought it was wise to add more alcohol in her already dizzy head. She already had drunk more than she could handle.

“Can I choose?” he asked her, caressing her hand under the table.

She nodded, not able to think a single freaking alcohol free drink.

“Two glasses of your best 2012 Pinot Noir” he said to the waiter.

“Thank you, Mr.Armitage” the waiter replied smiling and left their table.

Thank the gods she hadn’t drunk that second beer!
Richard returned all his attention to her. He was looking admiringly at her face and Eliza blushed. What the hell was wrong with her? Find your composure woman! You had sex with this man just yesterday! Before this could go any further though, she needed answers. Taking a deep breath and gathering all the strength she possessed, she asked the question that was gnawing at her head all day.

“How do you think this thing between us is going to work when you are already in a relationship with Amanda?” She asked him in one breath, dreading his answer.
Richard froze.

“I am in a what, with whom?” he asked perplexed.

What? Now he pretended ignorance? Eliza started to get angry.

“You know who, your agent. The woman you were kissing yesterday in my office. The one you invited to the nomination ceremony. The sister of my sister's fiancee... Amanda!” She said, sounding a little angry and extremely jealous.

Richard leaving her hand leaned back in his chair and folded his arms over his chest.

“So you think I’m in a relationship?” he said a little irritated himself but still trying to keep his composure.

“I don’t think it, I know it!” she replied timidly, mirroring his movement unconsciously.

“Let me explain myself then because I think you’re a little confused, but considering the situation from your point of view, I see why you are confused.” He took a breath and continued.
“Amanda and I were in a relationship a few years ago. It was a mistake and it ended very quickly. She is employed for a few months now in my London agency. She told them that I know her so they assigned me to her.” Their drinks came then and after Richard thanked the waiter and he left, he drunk a big sip of his glass. Eliza also took her glass in her hand, without drinking though.

“I saw her last week for the first time after our ‘relationship’ ended.” He quoted in the air to the word relationship. “Yesterday, in your office, I don’t know what got into her. I didn’t expect that she would kiss me and I didn’t want to say anything in front of you and make her feel bad. But I spoke to her after we left. She won’t do it again.”

Eliza listening intently, drunk a sip of her wine. The freaking manipulative bitch!
“As for being my date yesterday, well, the agency suggested to take her with me so she could talk with some directors they were attending the nomination also.” Holding his glass in both of his hands he leaned forward. “The only thing that bothers me in your, all other respects, reasonable question, is why would you think I would have sex with another woman if I was in a relationship already?” he asked looking at her intently and leaning back again, drunk a sip of his wine.

Eliza gulped intimidated. Fuck he was angry. He was hiding it very well but she could trace it in his rigid posture and steely gaze. She decided to say everything, including her very, very recent break up.

“Look, Richard, I don’t know you. I know how the men and women in your profession are behaving and thinking. I encountered a lot of them in my job. I’m sorry I thought that you were like all the others. Obviously you’re not.” She said playing with the stem of her wine glass nervously. “In my defense, last week Amanda and her brother were invited in my parent’s house for lunch and she said that she was, more or less, in a relationship. When I saw her kissing you yesterday I assumed it was you.” She drank another sip of her wine to take strength and trying to look in his eyes although they were burning her with their intensity.
“I also have to add here that I don’t go around and shag every man I meet. Actually, I hadn’t had sex for over a year. Long before I found out that my husband was cheating on me. Just so you don’t get any wrong ideas.”She answered defensively. It was not her fault she thought he was dating Amanda!

Richard left his glass on the table with a loud bang. A lot of heads turned to look their way but seeing that nothing interesting happened turned again. He leaned closer and hissed between his teeth, shocked, “You are married!”

“I’m still married but not for long. We are going to sign the divorce papers soon.” She looked bravely in his beautiful, questioning eyes.

After thinking for a few seconds her answer and drinking a big gulp of his wine he asked her, “Do you have kids?” leaning back again. He tried to sound that it didn’t matter to him either way, but she could see the anxiety in his eyes.

“No fortunately, considering how our marriage ended thank god we don’t! He didn’t want to have kids.” She always felt bad saying this. Everybody asked her ‘then why did she ever get married for’; when she told them that Stephen didn’t want children. She wanted a big family, to have a lot of children to spoil and love. She thought she could change his mind but she never succeeded it. The only thing she succeeded was to stop making love to her.

“So, here I am, a thirty three year old almost divorced woman. I don’t think I will trust a man enough to get married again and start a family.”

Richard seeing her sad face he brought his stool closer to hers and wrapped her in his arms.
“I’m sorry that your marriage wasn’t what you thought it would be. My parents are married for almost fifty years now, and they are very happy. My brother too is happily married. He just wasn’t the right man for you, Eliza. The right guy will come and then you’ll see how happy a marriage can be.” He said stroking her hair and back.

“My parents are too, happily married, but I’m starting to realize that they are the minority.” She said sadly.

“Don’t forget my brother.” He reminded her.

“Why aren’t you married then?” she asked relaxing in his strong embrace. His intoxicating scent which she carried with her all day yesterday was present in her nostrils again. She laid her head in his chest, wrapping one hand around his waist and the other one placing it in his heart. She felt its strong beating and she finally felt a calmness engulf her. She was home.

“Because, I’m still waiting for the right woman to come.” He whispered, kissing her hair. Eliza closed her eyes contended to hear his voice vibrate through his chest.

They stayed a few moments like that. Eliza tucked in his warm, reassuring embrace, Richard stroking her. She wanted this moment to last forever. She never felt safer in her life.

“So you are thirty three then? And there I thought I finally managed to seduce a twenty year old girl.” He teased her, trying to lighten the mood. “Ouch” he cried out when Eliza pinched his waist.

“Are you calling me old? Because if you do mister, I will go and find a younger man myself.” She said caressing the spot where she pinched him.

“No, you are mine old woman.” He laughed and kept stroking her hair and back. Eliza traced with her nose the neck line of his sweater and placed little feather like kisses on his exposed skin.
Richard started breathing more heavily and his heart beats accelerated. Eliza smiled. She was really thrilled to know that she could have that effect on him.

“Richard, I want to leave.” She said kissing the side of his neck, leaving a big red mark.

“Yeah, I think we should.” He said tracing with his hand her back, her waist, her butt and placing his hand underneath her short skirt started caressing her leg up her thigh.

“Richard we should pay and go. Now!” Eliza had started panting too. She wanted to rip his clothes off, to finally see his body in all its glorious form.

She found the strength to leave his embrace, Richard letting her reluctantly. They both grabbed their glasses simultaneously and laughed. They drank their wine and Richard, obviously calmer, called the waiter to pay. Eliza made a mental note that the next time they were going out it would be her turn to treat him.

They wore their jackets and left. The rain was falling heavier now and Richard opened Eliza’s umbrella and both ran to the car. Richard helped her get in and then he got in himself and drove away from the parking lot. The radio started playing the moment Richard started the engine. He started humming in the rhythm of a famous song while placing his hand on her knee and started stroking it.

“Are you staying in a hotel or you’re planning to take me in your parent’s house?” Eliza asked teasing him, feeling her desire rising with each stroke of his long fingers.

“My parent’s house of course! Where else?” And he winked at her, smirking. After a few minutes he added smiling mischievously, “Oh look! We’re here.” He parked in front of a simple but luxurious hotel and opening his door, he gave his keys to the valet.

“So, the seduction was planned from the beginning! You brought me to your favorite bar that happens to be a few blocks away from your hotel! Very, very naughty Mr.Armitage!” Eliza chuckled unbuckling her sit belt.

“You didn’t have a chance of escaping tonight, the moment I saw your skirt.” He said coming out of the car. The hotel’s concierge opened Eliza’s door and Richard was already there to take her hand and guide her inside.

They behaved very properly, like the adult’s they were, until they entered the elevator. The moment the doors closed, Richard pinned Eliza to the wall and kissed her ravenously.
“I wanted to kiss you like that all night.” He mumbled in her mouth, his hands travelling under her skirt to her butt.

She moaned in his mouth, stroking with her hands his face and hair.

The elevator reached its destination faster than they wanted, and before the door opened, they were in their best behavior again. Eliza wiped with her fingers the red lipstick around Richard’s lips.

“Why are you wiping it? Don’t I look good in red?” he laughed and kissed her again adding more lipstick to his lips.

“You are a crazy boy, you know that? You look like a clown!” She laughed wiping his lips again and Richard laughing caught her finger in his mouth and sucked it.

“I am crazy for you.” He said, kissing her finger and then biting it lightly.

They exited the elevator with big smiles spread on their lipstick smeared lips. Richard guided her to her room and put the key to the hole looking playfully into Eliza’s eyes.

“Are you ready to see my room?” he smiled wickedly.

“Why? What is it? Don’t tell me you have clothes thrown everywhere… did you bring me here to clean?” She laughed.

“No, this is my playroom.” He smirked.

Eliza taking the hid quoted, “Like your X-box and stuff?”

“Exactly!” he laughed out loud and grabbing her by the hand he opened the door.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

 

 

 

Richard turned on the light. He helped her to take off her coat and taking off his jacket too, hung them both by the door.

Eliza looked around. It was a big room, with a beautiful floral carpet and a big brown leather couch in the middle. A big window that was extended through the whole wall was across the couch. In the left was a big screen TV hanging on the wall and underneath it, a gas fire place.
The colors in the room were soft and earthy, in the shades of beige, brown and green. On the right there were two doors, one slightly open, that probably lead to the bedroom and bathroom.
Walking to the middle of the room she noticed that Richard had taken the glass coffee table, from the middle that was its place, to the side of the couch. She had to ask him why he did that. Smiling she saw that there were two suit jackets thrown carelessly on the couch.

Richard following her gaze he saw the jackets and hurried to pick them up. “Oops!” he exclaimed laughing and hung them by the door too. “I swear, I didn’t bring you here to tide up!” he added with a beaming smile.

His face and laugh were so sweet and innocent that melted Eliza’s heart. He was a dangerous man. He could make her fall for him in a heartbeat. Oh god no! She couldn’t fall for him! She wouldn’t! He was living in New York, a world apart! He was an actor for heaven’s sake! She just broke up from a shitty marriage! What was she doing here? Why couldn’t she stay away from him?

“Do you want something to drink?” he asked smiling sweetly, interrupting her thoughts while he was walking to the mini fridge.

“Just a glass of water would be fine, thank you. I drank too much.” She answered.
She should leave now. She was falling fast and he would break her heart. She could feel it.

He took a bottle of water out and filled a glass. He moved towards her with the most radiant of his smiles spread across his face, and gave her the water. Eliza took it with trembling hands and drank almost all of it.

“Eliza, what’s wrong?” He asked, the smile slowly dying in his lips, as he saw her serious face and trembling hands.
Taking the glass from her hands, he placed it in the table beside the couch.
He tried to hold her hand but she evaded him and went to stand in front of the big window. She should leave. Now! Folding her arms protectively in her chest, she looked out. The curtains were open and she could see the city underneath, glowing in the night. She closed her eyes, trying to think. Her mind was screaming to leave now, but her body was throbbing from need. She should leave, that’s what she should do! She should tell him that it was a bad idea to continue this game. She opened her eyes again and looking up towards the sky line she saw Richard’s reflection in the glass, and his sad and perplexed face cut her heart in two.

That did it. Her heart made the decision. She left the window and with decided strides she went to him. Consequences be damned!

He opened his mouth ready to speak, but Eliza put her finger in his mouth to hush him. He closed his lips obediently. She caressed his luscious lips which still had traces of her lipstick, and then moved her fingers to the laugh line in the side of his mouth. He exhaled with relief. She was looking straight in his beautiful eyes that had turned grey and she saw the exact moment that hope relit in them.

She moved her hand higher, caressing his cheek and tracing one by one the little laugh wrinkles in his eyes. She saw that Richard was trying very hard not to make any move, like he felt her need to be in charge. She had placed her other hand in his chest and she could feel his fast heart beat and his muscles quivering from the suppressed control. She continued her exploration up his face, moving her hand in his unruly strand of hair that constantly fell in his forehead. She caressed it aside and sliding her fingers further, sank them in his silk dark mane, stroking it, her fingers travelling down to the nape of his neck, where his beautiful curls rested.
She was constantly looking at his dilated now, eyes. She wanted to see every little expression, every feeling that passed through his beautiful face. She saw him gulp and mesmerized followed the movement his Adam’s apple made. Taking her hand off his hair she started tracing the side of his neck and Adam’s apple with a feather like touch and saw his skin crawl under her touch. She traced real slowly the little hairs that were visible from the neck of his sweater and with both her hands started stroking his chest moving lower to his hard stomach and abdomen. She felt him become rigid and putting her hands under his sweater she felt for the first time his soft skin and hard muscles.
He exhaled audibly, panting with lust, but he still didn’t make a move to touch her.

Eliza passed her nails up his low abs, reaching slowly to his stomach and finally rested her hands to his chest, circling his nipples with her fingers, the little soft hairs tickling them. She then moved slowly her hands behind his back, ran her nails from his shoulder blades down his spine, making him arch his back with desire. Richard’s heavy breathing was the only thing that was audible in the room.

He lifted his hands to take her in his arms but she shook her head negatively. She caught his palms tenderly and placed his hands in his sides again. Then she started to caress his fingers, his palms, moving up his wrists slowly, and ascending further, she stroked his strong arms and biceps and reached to his shoulders.

Richard was trembling from desire. He was looking into her eyes all this time. Never leaving her gaze. Moving her hands down his stomach again she caught his sweater and slowly raised it over his head, Richard helping her eagerly. She threw it in the couch and looked at his chiseled chest. He was more beautiful than any man she had ever seen. Impatiently she placed her lips were her hands had been.

She started with his chest, kissing and caressing her way to his hard nipples, licking and biting them softly, all the while stroking his tight ass above his jeans. His skin was so hot that burned her lips, his little chest hairs tickling her nose. The scent of his body was clean and masculine, dizzying her senses. She travelled her lips down his chest, leaving wet traces to his hot skin, her hands caressing his rear and thighs. Richard’s breathing was ragged, his whole body burning from passion. She kissed and licked his abdomen and headed down to his navel and lower abs, licking his tender skin, her tongue passing the top of his jeans. She heard him moan and smiling, she slowly brought her hands in the front and placed them in the first button of his jeans, his erection big and prominent underneath his pants. His jeans were so tight on his erection that she thought she might need scissors to free him. But she managed to open the buttons one by one, each time kissing the exposed skin that was revealed.

Richard standing this no more, grabbed her by the arms, lifted her up, and pressing her against his body kissed her smooth, full lips greedily. Their noses collided but they didn’t care. He forced his tongue in the moment their lips touched. Eliza wrapped her hands around his neck holding him captive against her. She tasted the wine and lipstick, which still mingled in his mouth, in her tongue.

Richard who had put his hands under her blouse was caressing her sides and reaching higher to her breasts, he started massaging her nipples; tormenting her. Their lips and heavy breathing were the only sounds in the room, adding to their arousal. She felt his erection in her belly, hard and demanding. The jeans although open were still hanging in his hips and they were annoying her. Stroking his shoulders and back she reached his pants and forced them down, the fabric pooling around Richard’s ankles with a soft rustling sound.

He left her lips long enough to take his boots, socks and pants off and grabbing her again, he continued devouring her mouth. He took off her blouse forcefully and threw it on the floor. Caressing her satin skin in the back he descended his hands in her skirt and finding the zipper he lowered it down with a swift movement of his wrist. She took her skirt off, and Richard helped her remove her boots and tights eagerly.

They were standing in front of each other, breathing heavily with only their underwear on. They looked at each other hungrily for two heartbeats. Richard’s erection so big, it escaped the top of his blue boxers, Eliza’s nipples visible through the red lace, both panting and shivering from passion. They immediately collided their bodies again, unable to stand even a few seconds apart.

                                                                                             

The room was spinning. Eliza’s heart was beating so fast she thought she would die. She felt like his hands and lips were everywhere, covering every inch of her body. One moment she felt his tongue in her mouth and the next he was on his knees kissing her between her thighs while massaging her bum. Her skin tingled, her breasts felt heavy and sensible inside her bra. Her hard nipples were pushing the fabric and torturing her more. Richard continued kissing the inside of her thighs, higher and higher, his hands travelling up her legs along with his tongue.

The pulsations in her belly were echoing in her vagina. She was hurting for him, burning for him. She had placed her hands on his shoulders, her nails pricking his skin as she tried unconsciously to pull him higher, where he needed him most.

His hands travelled up her butt and finding the hem of her thong, he pulled it down slowly. She stepped out of it and waited for him to continue his ministrations, but instead, he stood up and cupped her tits, caressing her nipples hedonically, the friction of the lace adding to the pleasure, making her gasp from passion. He found the clip of her bra, which was in the front, and opened it. He threw the bra carelessly behind him, looking with admiration her shapely body. He was looking at her like a predator looks at its prey before the attack, the need and hunger written in every pore of his body.

“How I love your body…” he said under his breath, moving slowly, closing the distance between them, and grabbing her under her knees with one hand and under her arms with his other, he lifted her effortlessly off the floor. Eliza sucked in a quick breath the moment he lifted her, and turning her head she met his hypnotising gaze. He was looking at her, always at her, striding purposefully in the bedroom.
He pushed the door open with his foot and entering the room; he headed to the big double bed and placed her gently in the end of it. He quickly got rid of his boxers, his proud manhood now free, almost reaching his navel, and kneeling in front of the bed; he opened her legs and started licking her inside of her thighs again.
Eliza, who was lying in her elbows, saw his head travelling higher and higher between her legs. When he reached her clit, a soft cry escaped her and she threw her head back, closing her eyes in ecstasy.
He was licking and nibbling her excruciatingly slow, bringing her to the verge of orgasm and retreating again. He moved his tongue in her opening and thrust it in again and again, skillfully, tracking a path deeper and deeper inside her.

Eliza couldn’t think any more. She was only senses, ragged breaths and soft moans. She was clutching the sheets with such force that her fingers and knuckles had turned white. When she thought that she couldn’t take this anymore she felt his tongue leaving her wet depths. She opened her eyes ready to complain and saw him standing in the side of the bed.
He took out a condom from the drawer beside the bed, he tear it open with his teeth and wore it expertly and quickly, throwing the foil on the floor. He then moved her higher on the bed and climbing to the bed too, opened her legs further and placed himself between them. She felt his manhood brush her opening and she raised her hips off the bed to give him full access. In the dim lighting that came from the main room she saw his wolfish smile and leaning down his head, he kissed her open lips harshly and with a rough thrust he filled her to the brim.

Her gasp and his groan of pleasure were cried simultaneously. He stood still for a heartbeat and then he started thrusting his way in slowly. Eliza felt his cock rubbing her sensationally and with his every thrust a little cry of ecstasy escaped her lips. His firm belly was brushing her soft hers, her hard nipples were tickled by his chest hairs. His mouth had left hers and was kissing her sensitive side of her neck, sucking again the mark he had done yesterday. He had tangled his fingers with hers, pinning her hands in each side of her head. He accelerated his thrusts and with his tongue licked his way to her ear. Eliza moaned blissfully and wrapped her legs around him, making his member burry even deeper inside her and his pubic bone to rub her clit in the most excruciating way. He was deep, so, so deep…

“God you’re so tight, so wet!” he moaned in her ear, thrusting faster and faster, his testicles hitting pleasurably her perineum, his cock stretching and pounding her sensitive vagina walls repeatedly, her clit throbbing more and more with every thrust.

Richard left her right hand and grabbed her breast teasing her nipple playfully, his tongue following his fingers. Eliza sank her nails in his firm buttock and felt his groan and hot breath on her nipple while he bit it and continued his rhythmic movement inside her.

Her release came as a tidal wave, fast and strong, her vaginal muscles clenching and unclenching fast, pulling his cock deeper. She screamed out his name in rapture, arching her back. Her breathing was erratic, her heart pounding on her chest, her sweaty hair clinging to her forehead and face.
Richard grabbing her arching butt with both hands held her steady and thrust viciously four more times before tilting his head back and crying his release elated, while the veins on his neck and forehead were ready to burst.

He collapsed on top of her, breathing heavily, kissing her closed eyelids, her lips, her nose, her cheeks… She wrapped her arms around his neck, untangling her numb legs and letting them fall in each side of his body. He pulled slowly from her, removed the condom and threw it on the floor and wrapping her protectively in his arms turned them both to their sides. He lifted the wet strands of hair away from her face and stroked her cheek tenderly looking deeply in her eyes.

The orgasm’s aftershocks still lingered in her body, and her skin was sensitive to his every touch. She gasped when his hand travelled slowly from her face down to her neck, her shoulder, her arm, her thigh and then back to her belly and rib cage and finally to her breast making circles with his finger around her nipple. She shivered from head to toes.

“You are one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen.” He whispered breaking the silence.

Eliza blushing she hid her face in his chest.

“Hey, why are you hiding?” he asked trying to lift her head off him.

“Please don’t say that. You are working with the most beautiful women in the planet. I look nothing like them.” she mumbled in his chest.

She felt his arms tightening around her and bringing her closer he placed a kiss in her hair and said, “Don’t say that ever again. Of course you are beautiful. Can’t you see what you do to me? I can’t take my hands off you, Eliza. When we are apart my body is aching for yours.” And proved his words by lifting her head and kissing her fervently.

He really wanted her! Her! Plain Eliza! She felt his member stirring and growing again and her heart pounded. The man was insatiable. Her body was still recovering from her previous orgasm and he still wanted more! Feeling her need arisen again, she grinded her hips in his and he bit her upper lip. Laughing she turned him on his back and started kissing his jaw and neck and continuing down his chest licked his nipples playfully. He was pinching her nipple with one hand and with the other he was caressing her belly, slowly tracing with his fingers her pubic area and then heading lower to her vagina, he pushed two fingers in her wet depths. She left a little scream of pleasure and catching his huge member, she started stroking it. It was hard and at the same time felt like satin. She felt the need to taste it.

Moving her body lower, Richard had to retrieve his fingers from inside her; she kissed his groin and felt him becoming rigid. She had never done this before. To anyone. Not even her husband. She didn’t know what she was supposed to do so she cleared her mind and let her instincts take control.

She licked timidly the tip of his cock and heard his intake of breath. Taking courage from his response, she opened her mouth and took his member in, licking and stroking it. He tasted sweet, salty, incredible, all at the same time. She retrieved her lips slowly and sucked him in again. She heard his hiss and his hand clasped her back, guiding her to move on. Smiling she continued her slow rhythmic movement while grabbing his testicles and rubbing them. She made circular movements with her tongue, feeling every little vein on his stiff member. His growls made her wetter by the minute; she never thought that giving someone a blow job would be so hot. She tasted his precum on her lips and sucked him harder.

“God!” he yelled and grabbing her gently by the hair, lifted her head up and motioned her to move astride him. He took another condom from his drawer and put it on.

“I want to finish inside you.” He said, kissing her hungrily and putting both of his hands on her waist, he lowered her on him.

A raspy moan escaped her parted lips as his big member started slowly to fill her in. With a quick movement, she took him all in and started moving slowly above him. He started thrusting beneath her, trying to accelerate the rhythm.

“No, don’t move. I will lead now.” she whispered breathlessly, pinning his hips with her legs. She saw his strain to hold still in the little veins in his forehead, in his trembling body.

She lifted his right hand from her hip and guiding it to her face she started kissing his palm. She took his middle finger in her mouth and started licking and sucking it, mimicking the movement of her hips. She watched his face intently. His eyes were dilated, his breathing coming heavy from his parted lips, his nostrils flaring with suppressed energy. She felt his left hand squeezing her waist trying to make her move quicker. She smiled wickedly and slowed her movements even more.

“You minx! You are trying to kill me…” he growled with a lopsided smile, thrusting his hips violently upwards.

“No Mr. Armitage, stand still or I will stop completely…” she said teasingly.

He complied with her threat and relaxed a little beneath her. She was still holding his right hand and lowering it from her mouth she led it to her breast. He grabbed it eagerly and started caressing her nipple with little strokes, feeling it harden more under his touch. She moaned in pleasure and accelerated her movement a little biting her lip.

“I want to bite that lip!” he said passionately, and pulling her down to him, he kissed her fervently, biting her lower lip. With a quick movement he turned her on her back and he was on top of her thrusting vigorously, grunting his pleasure in her ear.

“You tortured me enough darling, now is my turn.” He whispered licking and nibbling her ear.

She smiled panting, and raised her hips, meeting his every move. The fire was building inside her. He had taken her in his arms and slipped in and out of her forcefully, whispering sweet nothings in her ear.
She squeezed his butt, pulling him closer, so close he was barely able to move, rubbing her sensitive area sensually. She wrapped her legs around him and with a sudden movement had him on his back and she on top of him, was riding him to oblivion. He groaned in ecstasy as she moved faster and faster.
Richard sat up and grabbing her by the hips moved her up and down his stiff member. He kissed her panting lips and moved to her neck biting her hard. A low exclamation of pain escaped her lips and she shivered ruptured. He instinctively knew exactly what she liked. She didn’t have to tell him anything.
She gripped his strong arms and bounced harder, their wet bodies slamming in ecstasy. She felt her orgasm rising and throwing her head back she yelled his name in exaltation. The contraction of her cunt drove him near his release and biting her nipple he thrust a few more times and found his delivery too.

 

                                                          

 

He fell exhausted in the pillows dragging her on top of him. Their hearts were panting in unison, their rugged breathing filling the room. Shivers of euphoria were crawling up and down her spine. He hugged her tight and buried his head in her neck breathing in her sweet scent.
After a few minutes and when their hearts started to beat normal again, Richard exited her slowly and throwing the condom to the floor, to keep company to the other one, he lifted the quilt from the bottom of the bed and covered them both.

They were side by side, their legs tangled, their arms bracing each other, their bodies touching everywhere. Richard had closed his eyes and was stroking her hair tenderly; Eliza looking with awe his beautiful face while rubbing his shoulder blades. She saw when his breath became deeper and steadier and felt when his hand stopped his caresses. She watched him fall asleep, his face vulnerable and child like in his slumber.
She continued stroking his velvet back, and bending her head, gave him a little kiss in the tip of his roman nose. He didn’t respond. She felt her heart contracting to this sweet sight. She knew that staying with him tonight was a big mistake. He managed to steal her heart in less than forty-eight hours. She knew that he didn’t feel the same way for her but she hoped that maybe he too would fall for her madly and irrevocably some day.

“You made me love you.” She whispered and, kissing his lips lightly, she closed her eyes too and fell asleep immediately.

 

 

She woke in the middle of the night by sweet kisses in her eyelids and lips, by feather light caresses in her breasts and thighs and felt him slither inside her again. Her moan was drowned by his lips. She kissed him back eagerly, wrapping her arms around him. His movements were slow and oh… so tender. The climax came for both of them quickly. She never opened her eyes. She felt she was dreaming…

 

 

She woke up by a weird sound coming from somewhere far. She wished that her mother would turn off the stupid alarm clock quickly. Turning in bed she felt something warm beside her and scared, opened her eyes and saw Richard, sleeping peacefully on his stomach, his right hand underneath the pillow, his left by his head which was turned on her side. She remembered where she was and what happened last night and smiled. She tried to calm her racing heart and touching his fingers with hers, she closed her eyes and tried to fall back to sleep, but the irritating sound started again. Exasperated she decided to go and see what it was. She tried to get up without disturbing him and felt every single muscle of her body ache sweetly.
If they were going to continue this thing, she had to start exercising and soon. That man’s stamina was mind blowing. She managed to get out of bed without waking him and went naked to the main room to see what the noise was. On her way there she encountered used condoms, underwear, clothes thrown clumsily on the floor or in the furniture. She almost laughed out loud when she saw her thong hanging on a reading lamp. The weird noise had stopped and was ready to go back in bed when it started again. Searching around her she discovered the sound was coming from Richard’s jacket hanging by the door. She went and searched the pockets and found his phone that was ringing.

“Amanda, of course. Who else?” She murmured under her breath when she saw the screen.
She didn’t know what to do. Should she wake him? It was Sunday for crying out loud and eight o’clock for heaven’s sake!!! But maybe it was something important to call repeatedly at this hour. She was his agent after all… She decided to be reasonable and walked with his phone in hand back to the room.

She started to feel cold and climbed back to bed quickly, covering herself completely. She moved closer to him careful not to touch him and freeze him. The phone was ringing annoyingly in her hand.

“Richard… hunny, Amanda is calling.” She caressed his beautiful hair trying to wake him up.

A sleepy “Hmm..” was all the response she got.

Smiling she continued trying, caressing his temples and bending, gave him a kiss on his luscious parted lips.

“Sweety, wake up. Maybe is something important.” She said quietly, kissing the side of his mouth and moving to his jaw, the little hairs tickling her lips. The phone stopped ringing.

Suddenly she felt his arms engulf her and bring her closer, the warmth of his body burning her pleasurably.

“Richard, I’m icy cold! You’re going to freeze!” she giggled in his arms. He put his left leg on top of her hips pinning her there. Without opening his eyes he smiled and kissed her sweetly.

“Good morning to you too, and your temperature is just as I want it.” He said opening one aquamarine eye playfully.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Good morning beautiful, good to know that you want your women ice cubes.” She smiled at him and nuzzled against his neck, the phone forgotten somewhere between them. She stroked his back and felt the skin rise with her cold touch. She found his little moles in his shoulder blades and caressed them lightly. Richard kissed the top of her head and held her tightly against him. She was starting to get warm again, tucked in his strong embrace and she was ready to fall asleep when she felt his phone ringing and vibrating somewhere in her ribs.

“Richard, please pick it up. She won’t stop calling.” Eliza mumbled sleepily in his neck.

Richard made an exasperated sound, lifted his hand and leg off her and started looking for his phone between them, stroking her breasts and stomach in his search. She smiled in his neck feeling him linger in her breasts more than was necessary.

“Hunny, your phone is not where you’re looking.” She giggled kissing his neck and inhaling his dizzying scent while butterflies flew around her stomach to her belly.

“Are you sure? Maybe I should search more thoroughly…I’m certain is somewhere here…” he laughed moving his hand lower tracing a path from her breast, down her stomach in her navel and lower to her lady parts. She sighed with pleasure. That man knew exactly what to do with his fingers. He rubbed her clit sensually and Eliza started breathing heavily in his neck, clutching his arm with her free hand. Suddenly he stopped his attentions and Eliza lifted her head miffed. He saw him looking at her intently and putting his fingers in his mouth, he licked them, smiling mischievously. She was looking at him completely mesmerized and aroused. The phone was still ringing persistently between them.

“Pick this thing up and come here quickly.” She said breathlessly, finding the phone and lying on her back, she gave it to him.

He took it from her hand while leaning down and kissing her passionately.

“Something to keep you in the mood.” He teased upon her mouth and answered the phone.

“Good morning Amanda, what is it?” he asked a little irritated while he stroked Eliza’s thigh and pubic area.

Eliza heard Amanda saying something and watched Richard close his eyes exasperated.

“Now it’s not the time to talk. I’ll call you later.” He answered to something Amanda said.

She continued speaking and Richard stopped caressing Eliza and passed his hand through his hair.

“Ok. I’ll see you at noon. I have to hang up. I have company. See you later. Yes, bye.” Sighing he ended the call. Eliza was dying to know what they said but she didn’t ask. She had no right. She would wait to see if he mentioned anything. Don’t be jealous, she repeated like a mantra a numerous times. They probably have a business lunch or something. It’s nothing. He wants YOU. Don’t be jealous!

“Sorry for the interruption. Now where were we?” he smiled wickedly while leaving the phone in the night stand and crawling under the duvet. She felt him tinkling her toes and she laughed exultantly, forgetting Amanda and their date. He opened her legs slowly and started licking his way up, tinkling her sensationally with his stumble while he stroked her thighs. Shivers started spreading up and down her spine and the laughter died instantly. She left a small cry when she felt him in her southern region and sensed his breath in her sensitive area.

“Hmm… you smell exquisite, my rare flower…” he said passing his nose between her folds. Her breath caught in her throat. He could make her orgasm just with his smooth talking and his deep, velvet voice.

A small hiss escaped her lips when his tongue started licking slowly the outer lips of her vagina. The tinkling sensation in her stomach travelled down and intensified when he started licking her clit. His warm breath with his expert tongue and little stumble would be the death of her. He licked and sucked in turns bringing her closer to her release. She was ready to explode, writhing deliriously, when he stopped to lick again the outer lips and then moved to her opening. He penetrated her gradually with his tongue, licking his way in and out, excruciatingly slow, a few times and then moved again to her clitoris, sucking hard, while one of his fingers entered her and started moving slowly inside her, finding her g-spot and teasing it repeatedly. She arched her back, rubbing against his mouth and finger trying to find release.

He held her steady with his hand, while he continued his sweet torture, adding another finger inside her. She almost screamed from ecstasy. He licked and sucked, moving his fingers quickly. Her release was an explosion of light. She was biting the pillow to suppress her scream when she felt him on top of her, sinking roughly inside her. He took the pillow from her face, placing it under her butt while her cry of pleasure was echoed in the room.

“I want to hear you scream for me.” He said moving, sliding easily in and out. The pillow had given him deeper and easier access, making her moan and writhe in ecstasy while she bit his shoulder. “Oh god… you’ll make me finish quickly!” he growled thrusting hard, making her hypersensitive area ache sweetly.
Her cunt was still contracting from the first orgasm when she felt another one coming. He knew exactly were to thrust and did it masterly, giving her a second orgasm quickly. She was heaving and writhing beneath him, trembling from head to toes. She never felt like this, ready to break in two from exaltation, fireworks exploding behind her eyes. She cried his name, grazing his back with her nails. He came quickly after her, arching his back, crying his release, thrusting his throbbing cock roughly. When his breathing calmed a little he kissed her, ravishing her mouth. She felt like a puppet in his hands, unable to move, ripples permeating her body.

He continued moving inside her, leisurely, his cock semi-hard but rejuvenating fast. Her cunt was so sore that even this slow movement hurt her. But she didn’t want him to stop. She wanted him buried inside her forever.

“Open your eyes darling. Let me see you.” he said caressing her face. She opened them and got lost in his blue depths.

“Hi beautiful…” he whispered while leaning his head down to kiss her. She kissed him back eagerly, their tongues dancing slowly, her hands stroking and squeezing his butt while he held her face tenderly in both of his.
This time it was more love making than sex. Tender, sweet, looking each other in the eyes until the end. When they both found their release they laid in their backs, breathing heavily. In these two days she had the best sex she had ever had in her entire life. She was paralyzed, hands and legs trembling, sore, but satiated and calm.
Richard gave her a kiss in her hair and stood up, exiting the room. She admired his lithe form and movement, his tall frame and elegant features. She couldn’t believe that men like him existed. He made her feel special, like she was the most beautiful woman on earth. Her self esteem has risen again.

Her reverie was interrupted by the running water that came from the bathroom. She needed to go really urgently to the bathroom too. She tried to stand up and felt her limps disobey her. She ached everywhere. Every single muscle in her body was tight and sore, her limps heavy and shivering. But still, just thinking of their love making, the butterflies woke up again.
The lust was always there, more demanding every day that passed. It was like the more she was around him the more she wanted him. The more she loved him.

She decided to get up and be useful until he finished his shower. She had to gather the clothes and other things from the floor and furniture. She sternly commanded her limps to cooperate with her and stood up. Her legs barely held her but she managed to collect their clothes and underwear. When she placed the clothes neatly on the bed she searched for a bin to throw the used condoms.
She found one near the fridge and went to throw them looking their descent down… looking at them intently… and feeling that something was very wrong… wait… how many times did they have sex? Two last night, hence the condoms, and two today… they hadn’t used condoms today? Oh my god! They hadn’t used condoms today! And she wasn’t on the pill! And they had sex on Friday in the bathroom also! Fuck! They had sex without condoms four times! Wait… was last night’s sex a dream or really happened? She had to ask him. Gods! It was freaking Sunday! She needed to find a drugstore to buy the next day pill! How many days have they passed? How many days did she have left for the pill to be effective? She didn’t think he could carry a disease. Right? She was completely scared and out of her mind with worry.
Oh what have they done?!

Chapter Text

Chapter 7

 

 

 

She searched for her phone in her bag and googled information about the next day pill. Oh thank the heavens! She could take it five days, the latest, after unprotected sex. Oh what a relief! She’d buy the pill today and no harm no foul! The third day was today! She had two more days to take it.

When Richard emerged from the bathroom, he found her naked by the couch, phone in hand, shivering.

“Darling what’s wrong?” he asked worried.

Eliza shoved her phone inside her bag and hung it by the door. She then turned and hugged him.
“Nothing is wrong. I just got distracted that’s all.” She leaned her head in his warm neck and smelled his shower gel. So masculine, so heady, she felt dizzy just smelling him, her knees weak and her heart accelerating. He was wearing a little white towel around his crotch, his wet hair falling disheveled in his forehead, he hadn’t shaved and his stumble made her want to rub her face on his cheeks. He was just breathtaking.

He hugged her back, kissing her mouth and then her temples, his breath smelling of mint.
“Ok, then, if you say so. But you are freezing! You need something to wear.” He tried to engulf her deeper in his embrace, covering with his body as much of hers as he could.

“First I’m gonna have a shower and then I’ll get dressed.” She answered nuzzling on his chest.

“Ok, while you shower I’ll order breakfast. What are you craving for?”He asked kissing her hair.

“What I’m craving, I already hold.” She answered smiling and kissed his stubbled jaw, the little hairs tickling her lips.

He laughed heartily; obviously pleased, and lifting her head and holding it up with his fingers, he placed a light kiss on her lips.

 

 

 “I’ll order breakfast because you need to eat and then I’ll show you how much I crave you…” he said kissing her more deeply, cupping her bottom and pulling her against him. Eliza felt his member grow and stiffen by the second. Oh fuck! Again!!!???? Not that she was complaining! Smiling she broke off their kiss and a little protesting grunt escaped his lips. Laughing Eliza took a step back and stroked his penis above the towel and giggling run for the bathroom. Richard, a little stunned found his composure soon and tried to chase her, but the moment he was about to catch her she entered the bathroom and locked the door.

“You are sooo going to pay for this!” he laughed outside the door.

“Ohhh I’m terrified!” she pretended to be scared while laughing hysterically.

“You minx! When you get out prepare to be punished.” He giggled, trying to use his most commanding voice.

“Promises, promises!” she yelled laughing, turning the water on.

“Don’t tempt me!” she heard him say, before he moved away.

She couldn’t stop smiling the whole time she was in the bathroom. She first took care of her immediate needs and then stepped into the tub. When she saw that she had to use his shampoo and shower gel, she shivered from lust. For some inexplicable reason she found this more intimate than what they had shared together. She was going to have his smell on her all day. She found a new toothbrush and combing her hair with her fingers as well as she could she opened the door.

She came out, wearing a big towel around her body, tucked underneath her arms; so long it almost touched the floor, her wet hair dripping on her shoulders. She looked towards the couch. The glass table was now in its place, in front of the couch and it was overflowing with croissants, biscuits, toasted bread, jam, butter, hum, cheese and a pot of coffee. Two red mugs were in front of him on the table. There was enough food for four people at least. She was ready to go and sit when she caught sight of him. She paused entranced by the scene in front of her.
Richard was sitting on the couch, relaxed, reading a paper. She could see his back and a little of his profile. He didn’t seem to have heard her.
He was wearing a pair of blue sweat pants and a black t-shirt. His feet were bare; one leg was on top of the other, his ankle resting on his knee. He was like any other man, reading his morning paper. But at the same time, he was not like any man. He was unique. His hair and skin were glowing by the little rays of light that pierced the clouds and came through the window. Even his eye lashes were glowing. Like an angel that sat down to rest for a bit before he continued his trip to the skies. He was absolutely radiant, a living masterpiece. Her heart constricted painfully in her chest. She wanted to walk in a view like that every day, to see him relaxed and glorious and waiting for her. She couldn’t believe she was with him in this room, alone. That this amazing man was with her! That they had sex! Incredible, toe curling sex! If someone told her three days ago that this would happen, she wouldn’t believe them. This man was sent from heaven…she was absolute certain for that. She just hoped he was sent for her. But no matter what happened, if this thing they had was going to develop and evolve or end tomorrow, she knew that she would love him forever. These three days were the best of her life and was going to cherish them as long as she lived… Was going to love him as long as she lived…

“Are you going to stare at me for long?” he teased her, without looking her way while turning a page of his paper.

Blushing ashamed she went and sat beside him, not daring to look at him. Damn her carelessness… Would she be any more obvious?

He left the paper on the table, placed one leg on the couch behind her and pulled her in his arms. She was cradled in his strong embrace between his legs, her head buried in his neck, not daring to look up. Her hands were placed on his chest, feeling his steady heartbeat, a complete opposite to her own trembling heart.

“Why are you hiding again?” he asked her with his deep voice, trying to conceal his amusement.

“Because I’m embarrassed…” she mumbled.

“And may I ask why you are embarrassed?” he asked while a little laugh escaped his lips and tried to hide it behind a fake cough.

“You know, for an exceptional actor as you are, you’re not doing a great job right now…” she said smiling, relaxing a little in his arms, inhaling his now familiar intoxicating scent.

“Don’t flatter me sweety, you always succeed to avoid my questions. So my little minx would you be so kind and tell me why you are embarrassed?” he tried once more, struggling to speak seriously.

“No.” she answered stubbornly. She’d rather die before she confessed her thoughts. She crawled deeper, if that was possible, in his embrace.

“Do you want me to try other means to convince you to speak?” he asked teasingly, sinking one hand in her wet hair, massaging her scalp, making her sigh with pleasure.

“You will never convince me to speak… even if you torture me…” she said moaning quietly in his chest.

He chuckled, moving his hand lower to her neck and back and slowly sliding it beneath the towel. Eliza shivered with longing. He skimmed his hand slowly inside, tracing a path down her spine to her butt. She let little sighs of pleasure, clutching his t-shirt tightly. He caressed her butt gently with his fingers, tinkling her and igniting her need at the same time. She was getting wetter by the minute, her vagina starting to throb with need, her breathing becoming quicker by the second.

“So… why were you embarrassed Eliza?” the sound of her name from his deep voice made her tingle deep down her belly. She wouldn’t give in. He should never know. It was too soon… way too soon to feel like that and admit it. Break the freaking spell Eliza!

“I will never tell…” she answered trying to get up, but he cupped her bum, holding her still and lifting her head, kissed her ravenously.

“Now? Will you tell me?” he asked when they came for breath, his fingers sliding slowly to her vagina.

“No. Oh god!!!” she yelled when he started playing with her clit. Damn his long hands and capable fingers!

“I go by Richard these last forty four years, but you can call me whatever you want…” he chuckled, leaning down and placing little kisses in her neck.

“Someone has a big idea about himself…” she teased him, trying one more time to break the spell and get up, her limps already feeling weak.

“So… you won’t tell me why you were blushing AND you call me arrogant! A little minx must get ready for her punishment!” He laughed enthusiastically, pinching her clit torturously.

She cried his name surprised. Oh he was wicked! What was he planning to do? Whatever it was, two could play that game. She slithered her hand in front of his pants, grubbing his cock tightly, rubbing his balls sensually. He hissed and pinched her again, harder, making her scream with desire.

“I’ll never tell, whatever you do.” She said breathlessly trying to leave. But his arms were very strong and it was like fighting with vices.

“You’ll leave when I’ll let you.” He said while pushing one finger in her vagina. She moaned panting, quivering from lust.

“Well, well… you’re already wet for me… this arrogant man knows a thing or two it seems…” he moved his finger torturously inside her, making little circles, finding expertly her g-spot and teasing it repeatedly. She was still holding his member in her hand and she felt it stiffen. She put her trembling hand inside his pants and was pleased to find that he didn’t wear underwear. She started stroking his silk length up and down, trying very hard to keep her equilibrium, rubbing the tip of his cock with every stroke. He raised his hips in pleasure, deep guttural sounds escaping his lips. She smiled happily. See Mr. Armitage? I can torture you too!

With a sudden movement she was on her back, letting a startled gasp. How the hell was he doing that? She was nor light, nor small in size, but he managed to handle her like she was a doll. He lifted the towel up to her waist and made himself comfortable between her legs, his hands unwrapping the rest of the towel eagerly. The moment he freed her, he attacked her breasts, his mouth and hands assaulting her, his stumble adding to the pleasure, while he moved his hips rubbing her sensitive place, tormenting her. She wanted him inside her now! She couldn’t take this anymore! She placed her hands in his hips and tried to take off his pants. He bit her nipple hard making her scream from pain and pleasure, arching her back. He moved his lips higher, licking the swell of her breasts, her torso, up the side of her neck and reaching to her ear he whispered,
“First tell me why you were embarrassed and then I’ll slip my cock inside you, stretching your tight, wet, little cunt inch by inch. I’ll start to move in and out, slowly, my dick rubbing sensually your tight skin while your clit will start to throb, getting us closer and closer to redemption…” suckling her ear lobe, all the time gyrating his big erection in her intimate area, his t-shirt tinkling her sensitive nipples, making her writhe.

“You are so mean!” She whispered in his ear, panting, quivering, aroused beyond comprehension and moved her head to the side and finding his lips, captured them in a deep kiss, his growl of pleasure reverberating inside her. He rocked his hips faster, making both of them moan, the friction of his sweat pants adding to their pleasure.

“Please sweetheart, tell me…” he begged softly in her mouth, between kisses, making her heart contract with love.

“I promise I’ll tell you. I can’t now. Please don’t do this to me.” She whimpered pleadingly, her need for him so strong she ached. She grabbed his firm butt and pushed him harder against her trying to find release.

“Shit, I can’t take this anymore.” He cried and pushing his pants lower he entered her with a quick thrust. They both grunted in pleasure.

“I’m not going to be gentle.” He warned her and sitting on his knees griped her legs and placing them in his shoulders started moving rapidly, giving him deeper access.

“Oh god” she yelled already in the verge to come, her soreness adding to the pleasure. He was thrusting so hard that her head hit the couch so she grabbed the arm of the couch behind her with both hands. He held her waist tighter, bringing her closer to him, making his thrusts shorter and deeper. She was so close to come… she just needed a few more thrusts.

“Oh yes Richard!” she yelled arching her back. Her release just a thrust away.

“Oh no sweety, you’re not going to come so quickly!” he said, lowering her legs to his sides and laying on top of her continued his movement, hitting her from a different angle.

“Fuck!” she muttered infuriated and felt his laughter vibrating in her chest. She opened her eyes and saw the smirk and the twinkle of humor in his eyes.

“I told you I’m going to punish you.” He said and bending down, bit her lower lip while he slapped the side of her butt all the while thrusting hard inside her.

Really pissed for not letting her come, she started to rock her hips upwards meeting his every thrust while sucking his lips, stealing his breath. She lowered her hands in his bum and digging her nails in his firm buttocks, pushed him closer, making him rub his pubic bone in her clit while she thrust harder and harder. His growl was drowned in her mouth and placing both hands behind her back he brought her closer, their bodies touching and rubbing everywhere. He started moving faster with an animalistic force, slamming her body hard. She was lost, burning quickly in his fire, her mind forgetting their game of domination, her soreness, everything. Her mouth devouring his and his hers, never breaking apart, their tongues mimicking the movements of their bodies. She slid her hands inside his t-shirt, scraping his back with her nails while biting his lower lip hard, tasting blood. He growled and kissed her again, harder, sinking his fingers in her back, trying to bring her closer to his body. He left her lips and moved to her neck sucking and biting his way down to her nipples. Taking one in his mouth he licked the hard lump and grazed it with his teeth making Eliza whimper and sank her nails deeper in his shoulder blades delirious.

“Oh god!!!!” she yelled in ecstasy when her release came, fast and scorching hot, burning her whole body, making her shake like a leaf in his arms. He bit her nipple hard, making her cry in pain and elation and continued to ravish her body in the most excruciating way. Her vagina was contracting like crazy though and his release came quickly after hers, his primal growl echoing through the walls. He fell on top of her with all his weight, both panting hard and drenched in sweat. She hugged him tight, not wanting to end their connection, feeling both their hearts beating fast in unison. She still felt his member pulsing inside her, his hot seed still filling her, while he rocked his hips for the last time and her vagina throbbed and pulsed with him.

“You are going to kill me…” he whispered in her ear, kissing her temple.

“Who’s going to kill who is another story…” she whispered back, still breathless. Could he love her back, was the only thing that govern her thoughts. Oh please let him love her back!

“What do you mean?” he asked lifting his body a little.

She pulled him down again, not wanting to part from him yet. “That your stamina is no match for mine.” She extenuated. “You are shaped up and athletic and I’m doing my best to keep up with you. I’m hurting everywhere, even in places that I didn’t know that muscles existed!” She felt his laughter reverberating in every fiber of her being. She loved that she could make him laugh. She smiled contently and kept talking.
“I didn’t know that having sex with you would mean that I should start exercising…I hate gym…” she added and felt his deep laugh travelling from her ears down her stomach to her belly where butterflies started flying excitedly.

“Well, maybe we should stop having sex if you find it so hard…” he teased her, and made a move to get up. She grabbed his tee and pushed him back down, slamming on top of her. He hugged her tighter nuzzling in her neck.

“You are easily offended mister!” she joked and gasped when he started kissing her neck.

“I don’t want to get a lawsuit for bodily injury…” he chuckled in the side of her neck.

“You should worry about a sexual harassment lawsuit.” She teased trying to keep her train of thought. His laugh was an aphrodisiac, flaring up her need, his kisses igniting a path to her rekindled desire.

His phone ringed then, interrupting his attentions and exhaling irritated he slowly pulled out from her and stood up. He pulled his pants up and frustrated picked up his phone, without even looking who was calling. His blouse had a big wet stamp in the front, were her wet head was resting and his pants had another big wet stamp in the front as well, where he rubbed her, tormenting her. She blushed thinking what had caused the second stamp, but felt aroused at the same time.

“What?” he barked and a smile spread on his face when he heard the voice on the other side of the phone.

“Hey mate! Long time no see!” he turned at her and lifting a finger up he signaled that it could take a while.

She exhaled irritated herself for the interruption but she was freezing now that his warm body was not on top of hers, so she stood up, gathered the towel and headed to the bathroom.
She closed the door and walked to the tub, turning the water on. She had another shower and got out without wrapping the towel around her. She stood in front of the mirror drying her hair and seeing her reflection she gasped. Her lips were swollen, her cheeks red and her eyes glowing but that was not what shocked her. The left side of her neck had a trail of bites, reaching down to her left breast, her nipple and areola swollen with bite marks as well. On the right she had the hickey and the bite mark from two days ago. She didn’t notice anything else and turned her back to the mirror. Her back had pink marks that were definitely going to turn into bruises, from where he held her tight. She shivered. Instead of caring for branding her like that she felt aroused and wanted. It was the first time in her life that she had such passionate and mind blowing sex. She just had to be careful and not saw him any signs that he loved him. She mustn’t blow this up! She wrapped the towel around her again and went out.

He was still talking on the phone, standing by the window, looking out and laughing heartily with something the caller told him. His shape was bathed in a halo of light, making him glow, like the light was emanated from inside him, not coming from the window. Her breath caught in her throat.Did he know how absolutely stunning he looked? Her heart almost stopped completely.
Turning before he caught her again ogling at him, she went to the bedroom. She wore her bra and tights, with a lot of effort and pain truth be told, and then her red turtle neck and her skirt. She took her thong and shoes with her and walked back to the living room. He was still talking to the phone with his back on her.
She left the shoes on the floor and unhanging her purse she shoved her underwear inside. She then found her phone. It was already ten o’clock and she had six messages, five from her sister and one from Tracy. Her sister was asking impertinent questions about her night with Richard and when she would be back, and Tracy texted her that she and David would be back by noon and if she wanted to have lunch with them. She sent a quick message to her sister telling she’d be home shortly and another one to Tracy accepting the invitation. She needed to see her friends. She wanted to tell them everything. She was ready to explode from joy. When she finished, she put her phone inside and taking her perfume out she sprayed her neck and wrists and searched for an elastic band in her bag. She found one and pulled her wet hair up for a ponytail. She turned and saw that Richard had finished his call and was smoldering her with his look. Little ripples run up and down her spine, making her skin crawl.

“Let me help you.” He gulped; his voice deeper than it normally was and moved lithely towards her. He stood behind her and gathering her hair up, passed his fingers multiple times through her scalp, trying to smooth the unruly strands, making her head prickle hedonically to his touch. When he secured them in the top of her head he leaned and smelled her neck and started placing light kisses in her nape, lowering with his fingers the neck of her blouse. She started shaking uncontrollably and leaned to his chest, her legs barely holding her.

“Please don’t go…not yet.” he pleaded in her ear, his breath tinkling the sensitive area, making her gasp, his plead dizzying her senses and numbing her mind. His hands were caressing gently her shoulders and moving down the length of her arms, he reached her palms and holding them to his he started stroking her fingers. He turned her slowly to him, facing each other. They looked in the eyes for what seemed an eternity, trying to say things their lips couldn’t. Richard slowly lifted his hands and catching gently her face, he bent and placed a sweet kiss in her mouth, his fingers stroking her cheeks and exposed neck.
Eliza’s heart was ready to explode from love, her body trembling with need. She put her arms around him, stroking his strong back above the blouse, opening her lips under his. Richard pushed his tongue in slowly, licking her lips and teeth and finding her tongue, a slow dance started. Their kiss deepened gradually and moans started escaping their throats. He moved his hands to her bottom and cupping the soft curve lifted her effortlessly off the floor. She wrapped her legs around him, sitting comfortably on his hips, his erection rubbing her intimate area.
He moved slowly to the bedroom, kissing her all the time and placed her gently on the bed. She moved at the top of the bed and got rid of her tights, while he took of his pants and tee. She put her hands back to unzip her skirt but he stopped her. She looked at his tall majestic body; all muscles and tendons, the light hair that started form his neck and descended to his crotch, his endowed manhood, proud and erect. She noticed that he had a lot of bites and scratches as well and she started jumping enthusiastically up and down inside her that she branded him too. He was hers. He wanted only her!
He climbed on the bed and catching her by the ankles pulled her down closer to him. He unzipped her skirt excruciatingly slow, looking intently at her eyes, their heavy breathing in sync. When he unzipped it she helped him take it off by raising her hips. He then caught the hems of her blouse and lifted it slowly up her body, his fingers caressing her belly, stomach and ribs and moving up to the sides of her breast. She helped him free her and unclipping the bra with his expert fingers, he pushed her back to bed. He sat between her legs, the tip of his cock brazing her entrance. Without losing eye contact he opened her legs more and lying on top of her he guided his member with his hand inside her. When he started to penetrate her a gasp and a moan of pleasure escaped both their lips.

“You are a witch.” He declared and pushed inside her a little more, a little wail escaping her lips.

“I cannot stop this lust. I thought that if I had you this madness would pass, that my hunger would be satiated, like with every other woman I had. But with you it seems the more I have you the more I want you.” He whispered pushing slowly inside her.

She didn’t respond; she just looked breathlessly and enchanted his eyes, changing color from blue to grey, then his cupid lips parted with last, the chiseled cheekbones pink from passion and lifting her hand she stroked his bewildered and full of lust face. She wouldn’t dare to speak, not trusting either her voice or what would come out of her lips. He shook his head perplexed slithering in torturously.

“What are you doing to me, my little witch?” he asked her, cupping her face and bending to kiss her, he thrust the rest of him forcefully in.

Her gasp was cut abruptly by his sweet kiss. He started gyrating his hips gently, their eyes open, looking at each other, kissing and making love slowly. They both wanted this to last as much as they could, rocking with slow, leisurely movements, preventing their release. When it finally came it was simultaneously for both of them, hearts and bodies pulsing in the same rhythm, for one brief moment in time, becoming one completely. She melted underneath him, travelling high to space and time.

He pulled out and getting up, collected her in his arms and walked to the bathroom, Eliza too tired to even open her eyes. He let her in the tub carefully and came in too. She looked bewildered around her, trying to find her composure and surroundings, her body still shaking from the aftershocks of her last orgasm. He raised his hands and pulled the elastic band from her hair, letting them fall down her back and shoulders, and turned the hot water that started battering their bodies.

Finding her voice she asked perplexed, “Are we going to have a shower together?”

Richard smirked and nodded.
“I think my witch is a little dazed…” he said teasingly.

“If I tell you that I don’t remember coming in the bath, what you would say?” she answered trying to find her old sass, but failing completely. She never felt so tired in her entire life, her body aching everywhere. She just wanted to lie down and sleep until tomorrow.

“I’d say that I did a very good job…” he laughed with joy.

She shook her head in resignation. She couldn’t fathom where this man found so much energy.

“The word good doesn’t even begin to describe what you did to me this last three days.” She answered smiling, deciding to boost his ego a little instead of tease him. It was the truth anyway.

“Oh I know… I’m a god!” he teased her, giggling uncontrollably.

She let out a chuckle and pinched his firm belly.
“You are an arrogant god.” She nudged him and then a shiver run her body. All this hours with no clothes and her tiredness made her feel really cold.

“Let’s wash you quickly so you can get dressed.” He remarked, noticing her shiver.

He caught his shower gel and after applying some in his sponge, started rubbing her body quickly, first her shoulders moving slowly down her breasts, careful not to hurt her new marks, then down her stomach and belly and then moving back to her waist and up her shoulder blades. He let the sponge in the side and with his long fingers he started massaging her neck and shoulders, making her moan from pleasure, tilting her head back euphoric and calm. He pulled her against him, her back leaning on his strong chest and moved them both down the cascading hot water, the force of it prickling her skin pleasurably. He rubbed the foam away with his hands and taking the shower gel he placed a small amount in his palm. He created foam by rubbing his hands together and hugging her waist with one hand he brought her closer to his body and slithered the other hand down her belly reaching her pubic area and slowly sliding his fingers inside her, rubbing the area gently. She was instantly aroused but her body couldn’t take it anymore. If he caused her another orgasm, she was absolutely certain she would faint instantly. She felt his semi hard, until now, cock, stiffen again behind her, and she shivered scared, becoming rigid. No! She couldn’t! Not again! Not so soon!

“Shhhh… relax…” he whispered in her ear, feeling her stiffen in his arms, and leaning down licked her ear lobe.

“Richard, not again, please.” She whimpered, hyperventilating, his fingers already causing tingles travel from her belly to her clit, which they became persistent by the second.

He exhaled in her ear audibly but stopped his caresses immediately and after rinsing her carefully with water, he washed himself quickly and helped her get out of the bathtub. He wrapped her in a new towel and rubbed her everywhere thoroughly.

She felt really guilty for not being able to satisfy him again and she decided to apologize and explain herself. She stopped his moving hands by placing hers above them. He looked at her face questioningly.
“I… I’m sorry Richard.” She tried to continue but she didn’t know what to say.

“Sorry for what sweetheart?” he asked, rubbing her waist with his thumps above the towel.

“For not letting you… you know…” she tried to explain, very embarrassed. Way to go Eliza! You explained yourself brilliantly!

He leaned down and gave her a kiss in her forehead.

“I should apologize, not you. You are exhausted, ready to collapse and the only thing I’m thinking every time I raise my eyes on you is to be inside you. You bewitched my body, little witch.” He said kissing her parted lips. “But I promise” he continued, “to keep my hands to myself until you say so.”

She almost cried from relief. He was so decent, so good, so understanding. She smiled and hugged him, nestling her head beneath his jaw, his little hair tickling her face. He hugged her tight and rested his head on top of her head.

“Thank you, but you don’t have to wait for my permission. Just let me rest for a few hours at least cave man!” she hugged him tighter. She was so lucky that she found him!

“Come on, let’s get dressed and eat something, although the food and coffee must be cold by now…” he hugged her close, kissed her hair and taking her hand guided her out of the bathroom and into the bedroom.

“Yes, I’m starving and I don’t care if it’s cold or stale!”

He laughed, gathering her clothes and placing them on the bed. “I will order to bring us fresh food; my witch won’t drink cold coffee.”

“Your witch doesn’t mind at all. You have things to do, so am I, and no time to wait for another order.” Remembering what they haven’t discussed she decided to start the conversation. Timidly she opened her mouth, “Richard, I need to ask you something.” she pulled the towel tighter around her and sat at the edge of the bed.

“Yes?...” He asked with his back on her searching in the closet for clothes.

She gulped watching his muscular back and thighs stretching while he searched. Turning her gaze to her lap and then closing her eyes, said in one breath.

“We had sex a lot of times and only two of them we used a condom. I don’t have any disease and I hope you don’t either but the thing is I’m not on the pill…” the movement from the closet stopped abruptly and the voice stuck in her throat.

“Shit!” he yelled. She opened her eyes but kept her gaze in her lap not brave enough to meet his eyes, her hands clasping and unclasping the towel nervously.

“How the hell was I that irresponsible? Fuck!!!” he threw the clothes he found on the bed and wore the underwear he was holding. Then he came and sat beside her.

He took several deep breaths and turning his body slightly to face hers took one of her cold hands in his. “I’m so sorry.” He sounded really upset. “I don’t have any disease. We, the actors, undergo multiple checkups through the year. But I cannot believe I forgot to use a condom…and not just once! Geez!” he passed his hand frustrated through his hair leaving them on end.

“Richard, I knew you’d be healthy, I just had to ask, to be sure, you know? And don’t blame it only on you. There were two people involved. I’m as responsible as you on this.” taking a deep breath she continued. “So, since we’re both healthy I’ll go and buy the next day pill and everything will be settled.” She gave a little reassuring squeeze on his hand.

He lifted up her face with his other hand. She looked in his beautiful eyes now full of guilt. “I’m so sorry.” He apologized again.

“I’m sorry too.” She said back. He hugged her tightly and kissed her lips lightly.

“My little witch, you bewitched my mind along with my body and I can’t think clearly around you. But I promise you this. From now on I will start thinking with the head between my shoulders again and buy a lot of condoms and leave them everywhere in the room. Scouts honor!” he said, trying to smile, and held a hand up high.

Eliza laughed and pulling his hand down kissed his palm. So he wanted to continue what they had! She was ready to burst from joy!

“Come, let’s get dressed. You have things to do.” She said disentangling herself unwillingly from his embrace. He gave her a peck on the lips and stood up.

They started to get dressed. All the while she was stealing glances his way admiring his lithe body. He was faster than her, she had just pulled up her tights and he had already worn a green t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans, which hung low on his hips.
Eliza gulped. This man was making her salivate, dressed or naked. She sighed inwardly, trying to avert her gaze from his tempting body, and put on her bra and blouse. She reached for her skirt but he was faster. He grabbed it and standing in front of her he helped her wear it, then he came closer and placing his hands around her waist he zipped it up. She gazed up at his face, first his stumbled jaw then higher to his lips and saw his tongue licking its way out. Her tongue did the same, mimicking his movement. Then her gaze moved to his regal nose and up his fathomless grey eyes. He was looking at her with supressed passion. She saw that he wanted to kiss her but he didn’t make a move.
Eliza deciding to take action tiptoed and found his lips. He let a deep growl and pulled her in his body violently. They kissed passionately but this time Richard was the one to break their kiss first. She complained and he laughed and lifting her up and throwing her in his shoulder he walked to the living room where he placed her gently on the couch. It all happened so fast she didn’t have time to make a sound.

“God, you’re strong!” she pointed out.

“Yes, we the gods have that in our favor.” He smiled and winked. Eliza laughed and threw him a slice of bread which he caught mid air and bite it.

“Thanks sweety, but I, the god, eat sitting.” He said laughing and sitting beside her started pouring coffee in their mugs. He handed hers and tasted his. “Hmm, it’s not that cold.” He declared.

Eliza tasted hers. Yes, it was lukewarm but it would suffice. She added a little milk while Richard put a little butter in a slice of bread.

“Do you want jam?” he asked showing her the slice.

“Yes please.” She said sweetly and let him spoil her. He fed her in the mouth and kissed her between bites. They ate and flirted and kissed some more when his phone ringed again.

While he spoke, she found her shoes and put them on. She sat again and drunk the rest of her coffee. When she saw that this phone call was going to take a while she decided to leave. She wore her coat and taking her bag she went by the window where he was standing. She tapped his shoulder lightly and mouthed ‘I’m leaving’ when he turned. He moved his head negatively and showed her the couch. She took her phone out of the bag and showed him the time reminding him his date. He showed her the couch again. Exasperated went and sat again. He ended the phone call quickly after that.

“I’m going to drive you home” he announced and went to the bedroom.

“I can call a taxi. It’s not a problem!” she shouted.

“I said I’ll take you! End of discussion!” he shouted back.

What an impossible man! she thought with a little smile on her lips. He emerged a few moments later, wearing his shoes, and he motioned her to follow him.

“Cave man!” she mattered under her breath when she reached him.

“I heard that!” he teazed and smacked her in the butt while she passed the open door.

She turned and took her tongue out, mocking him. He laughed, closed the door and turning quickly trapped her against the wall and kissed her until they were both dizzy and breathless.

They walked out of the hotel holding hands. They were waiting for Richard’s car, laughing and kissing when they heard someone clearing its throat near them. They both turned simultaneously.

“Good morning Richard… Eliza…” Lesley said with a forced smile on her lips.

Chapter Text

Chapter 8

 

 

“Lesley!” Richard exclaimed happily and without leaving Eliza’s hand, he leaned and kissed Lesley on both cheeks. “How come you’re here?” he asked innocently.

Eliza had a very good idea why her boss was here. The cold look that gave Eliza’s way, said it all. She wanted Richard and she was extremely pissed to find her by his side.

“I thought you’d feel alone and I decided we could go and grab some lunch. Revive our old friendship.” She said with a beaming smile on her face, stroking his arm up and down.

“I would love to catch up with you, but now I can’t. I have to drive Eliza home…” Richard started to say but Lesley interrupted him. “Drop her home and then we can meet in our usual place. It’s still open you know.”

Eliza was ready to explode from anger with her blunt flirt. The nerve of this woman! Richard’s car arrived just then, the valet giving him his keys.
“Really? I love this place. I didn’t know it’s still open! Today I can’t though; I have already plans with Amanda for lunch. She wants to discuss something. But what about tomorrow?” he asked oblivious to Lesley’s hidden meaning.

“Tomorrow then” she answered, defeated for now. “We’ll meet there on lunch break. I’ll call you.” She added.

“Ok, then. See you tomorrow!” he smiled warmly, hugged her, and then turned and taking Eliza’s hand ushered her to the car and closed the door behind her. She looked out the window and caught Lesley’s malevolent look. If looks could kill, she would be dead, she thought. She only hoped that Lesley would be a professional and not make her life a living hell at work. Fuck! Why should everything be so complicated? She turned her head abruptly at Richard’s entrance. He started the engine and caught her hand in his, kissing her knuckles.

“Ready?” he asked and she nodded. “So, where do you live?” he asked again.
Eliza gave him the address and directions when needed. They drove quietly, both lost in their thoughts. When Eliza spotted a drug store she told Richard to stop.

“Wait here, it won’t be long.” She said ready to get out.

“No, I’m coming too.” He replied unbuckling his seat belt.

“Richard someone might see you. No, I will go!”

“I don’t care! It’s my fault! I won’t leave you alone in this! End of discussion.” He said determinedly and got out of the car. Eliza sighed. She hoped that no one would recognize him. She opened the door. Richard was already at her side, offering his hand to help her out.

“You know it’s both our fault, not only yours! So stop acting like that!” she whispered in his ear, when he leaned to close the door.

“Exasperated woman!” he sighed and kissed her hair. He placed his hand on her waist and they walked inside the drug store.

Once inside they went straight to an employee who told them where the pills were. He was very helpful, telling them which were the most effective in their case and then leaving them to decide. This took some time because Richard was googling information about every single one of them.

“Richard let’s just take one and go, please… the more we’re here the more dangerous it is for someone to recognize you.” She whispered, her arms crossed. She was more anxious about his reputation than the side effects of the pills.
He just looked at her sternly and continued his search. God his stubbornness!

She left him there and went a little further to find condoms and pain killers. Her muscles were aching like she had run a marathon. She found him again near the register waiting for her. She placed the condoms and the paracetamols on the counter, beside the pills he had finally chosen. Richard just raised a brow and smirked seeing how many condoms she brought. She smiled sweetly at him, looking straight in his eyes, unabashed and took off her wallet to pay.

“Don’t even think about it…” he warned her. He was already giving his card to the cashier. She shook her head in exasperation, just saying thank you.

Once in the car she put the pills and painkillers in her purse and left the bag with the condoms in the back seat.

“So…you are planning to have me as your sex slave from now on…” he teased her, smirking, with a wicked gleam in his azure eyes, driving the car back to traffic.

“Exactly Mr.Armitage!” she teased him back. He laughed.

“Well Miss.Clark, I accept the position.” He winked at her and turned his eyes on the road. Eliza smiling relaxed in the seat and watched out her window. Black clouds were starting gathering again and a fierce wind was blowing. People were walking fast to go to their destinations quickly but inside the car, all was serene and calm and she felt so happy! She turned her eyes to the magical man beside her, his beautiful profile illuminated by the last rays of the sun, before it was hidden behind the clouds. She wished she could paint, so she could capture forever his ethereal beauty. She wouldn’t dare to take her phone out and take a photo. She thought that after everything they shared together, it was too embarrassing to just take photos of him.

They arrived in front of the house and parked the car. He turned her way and took her hand in his.
“Do you have any plans for tonight?” he asked rubbing her fingers.

“No.” she answered, feeling electrical currents travel from her fingers to her stomach, looking lost in his hypnotizing eyes.

“I’m glad. I was thinking we can go out to see a movie and then have dinner. What do you say?” He leaned closer and moved a strand of her unruly hair behind her ear. She nodded and caught his hand and rubbed her face in his palm. He caressed her cheek and temple and bringing her closer trapped her lips with his. It started as a sweet kiss that soon deepened, drowning them in their passion. Eliza was contemplating very seriously the possibility to climb astride him when a knock on the window interrupted them.

“Sis, get a room! The neighbors are looking!” Jessica was smiling wickedly at them, her red hair flowing around her face. “By the way mom and dad are looking too…” she added laughing joyously.

“Shit” Eliza exclaimed. And yes, her parents were looking from the living room window. She blushed from head to toes and tried to hide her face behind her hair.

Richard just laughed, waved to her parents and sister and giving her a kiss οn her forehead said, “I’ll see what time the movie starts and I’ll send you a message. Ok?” she nodded and turned to open the door. He grabbed her hand and kissed her wrist where her pulse was beating erratically, “Until later then…”

Gods! This man was driving her crazy! She found the courage to open the door and exit with her head high and her knees trembling. He waited for her and her sister to reach the door and then honking he left.

“Oh my god sis! He was ready to devour you in the car! I’m so jealous! Simon and I have passed this stage.” Jessica said sighing audibly and opening the door to their house.
Eliza just blushed and hung her coat. Their parents emerged from the living room ready to assault her with questions. Her father started first.

“Who was that? You were with him the whole night! You just broke up Eliza! You will not get over Stephen sleeping around with other men!” he was trying to keep calm but you could see he was losing his equilibrium fast.

“Dad!!!” Eliza said, shocked, blushing even more. “He is a very decent man and I’m an adult! I’ll do whatever I want! And I don’t love Stephen anymore and definitely I’m not trying to get over him! I’m sooo over him!”
She headed to the kitchen fuming to take a glass of water.

“Oh dad, let her be! It’s the first time I’ve seen her so happy. She should have divorced Stephen sooner.” She heard Jessica defending her.

“Who is he?” she heard their mother ask Jessica. “Do you know him?”

“Yes and no. He is a good guy. That’s all that matters.” Jessica answered.

“What yes and no? What do you mean?” Cornelius pressed on.

Eliza thought it was time to intervene. She came from the kitchen holding her bag and the glass of water.

“He is a good guy as Jessica said. He makes me happy. I’m not going to marry him. He’s going to leave soon. We just have a good time while he’s here and that’s all you need to know.” She walked toward the stairs. “I’m going out with Tracy and David for lunch” she informed them and ascended the stairs. She heard them moving to the kitchen, asking questions to Jessicsa. That's bad...they are not going to leave her alone until they know everything. She called from the top of the stairs to her sister.
“Jessica do you want to come too or do you have other plans?”

Jessica appeared a moment later. “I would so love to come! I want to learn everything that happened!” she mouthed the last phrase smiling and winked.

“Get ready then because in an hour they will be here.” Eliza said smiling and went to her bedroom.

She closed the door and left the water on the night stand. She took the pills out of her bag and read the instructions. She swallowed the pill and then she took two pain killers also. She hoped that it would help numb the pain in her muscles a little. It was a torture to climb the few stairs up. Then she checked her phone. There was a message from Tracy saying that they would be fifteen minutes late. She charged her phone; she undressed and searched her wardrobe.
With all those marks οn her neck and shoulder she couldn’t wear anything with an open neck. She searched for a turtle neck, again. Thank god the weather was so cold that helped her wear turtlenecks. Searching she found a mustard colored one; she couldn’t even remember when she bought that, but it complimented her complexion, so she decided to wear it.

 She also found a pair of tight blue jeans and a set of indigo underwear, the slip was all lace as was the bra, leaving very little to the imagination. She put them on looking in the mirror. That man made her feel so sexy! She shivered watching the marks and remembering how exactly they were made. She dressed quickly and wore a pair of brown, low heeled boots with fake fur inside. The wind was so strong now that everything rattled outside. The branches of a tree that was near her window, was hitting it, and she closed the shatters. It would rain soon. She turned on the light in her room. She looked in the mirror again. The outside was definitely not sexy; the blouse was too big and loose, but very warm and comfortable. She looked like a teenager but she knew that when he would undress her, the lingerie would take his breath away. She couldn’t wear anything sexier with all those marks, plus, she felt very cold. She tried to fix her hair but after seeing a little bruise in her earlobe decided to leave them free in her shoulders. Had he left a spot on her body unmarked? Smiling she put a little make up, mascara and lip gloss. She found her warm brown parka with the big hood, put it on and gathering her things went downstairs.
Her sister was ready, waiting in the kitchen with their parents. They looked up when she entered the room.

“I hope you know what you’re doing…” her father said the moment she stepped foot inside.

“Dad, don’t worry. I can take care of myself.” She answered back.

“It’s your heart we’re worried about.” Her mother chimed along. "You always fall with the man you date."

“Mom, I’m not going to fall for him. We are just having fun until he leaves. We are in the twenty first century right?” Eliza asked, turning to her sister. She felt guilty for lying to her parents. But what was she supposed to do? Admit that she fell in love with a guy she barely knew?

Jessica laughed. “Apparently mom and dad just became really old fashioned!”

“Just be careful.” Her mother said sighing. “And wear protection.”

“MOM! LAURA!”The three of them shouted simultaneously.

“What?” Laura asked indignantly.

“Mom I’m not sixteen! I know very well what to do!” Oh god!!! Did her parents have a sixth sense or something? She felt her cheeks burning. At that moment she heard her phone vibrating with a message. She checked at it with her heart in her throat. It was only Tracy saying that in five minutes they would be there. She exhaled audibly. They had an hour that they had parted with Richard but she missed him already. She just wanted to run back in his embrace. She didn’t want to think how she would feel when he would leave for New York. She felt her heart ripping apart just thinking about it.

“Tracy sent a message. In five they’ll be here.” Eliza said to Jessica.
Jessica nodded and wore her purple coat.

“Are you going to be late?” her mother asked sitting in the table.

“I am. I don’t know what time I’ll be back.” Eliza answered zipping her parka.

“I’m not going to be late. I have to wake up early tomorrow.” Jessica said. “That’s why I’ll follow you with my car. I have to be at work by five.”

“Oh, I’ll ride with you then.” Eliza turned and looked at her parents. “Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing.” She hugged her father that was standing close and he said in her hair, “Have fun then, and remember you are our little girls, no matter how much you’ve grown. That’s why we are acting like that.” Eliza saw her mother nodding in agreement.

“I know dad. You raised us well. You don’t have to worry.” He kissed her hair and let her go. They heard the honk of a car then and after saying their goodbyes the girls left.
Eliza ran to Tracy to say that they would follow them with her sister’s car and then walked to her sister’s car quickly. The wind was very strong and the first drops of rain had started to fall when she got in. Jessica turned the air condition on and followed David and Tracy. Jessica tried to find out what happened between Richard and her, but Eliza told her to wait until they would reach the restaurant. They went to a Chinese, one of David’s favorite. They seated and ordered, trying to avoid the spicy dishes.

When they were settled Eliza asked how the couple’s escapade was. Tracy and David started in turns to describe their first trip together, making Eliza laugh with their adventures. She noticed with the corner of her eye her sister trying hard to be interested in what they said, but she couldn’t hold still. When Tracy was telling a funny incident they had with an old couple Jessica interrupted impatiently, “Eliza is having sex with Richard Armitage!”

Eliza turned her head quickly around to see if anyone heard her from their nearby tables. “Jessica! Keep your voice down!” she whispered, blushing.

Tracy’s chopsticks dropped to the floor and looked at Eliza open mouthed. David leaned back to his chair drinking from his huangjiu wine and smiling, his soft brown eyes tingling with mischief.

“Well, well… that should be interesting…” he said taking another sip.

“WHAT?!” was all that Tracy could manage to utter while a waiter brought her a new pair of chopsticks.

When the waiter left, Jessica, who was sitting next to Tracy, started to report everything she knew so far, with a low voice. Tracy was looking at Eliza with a stunned expression; eyes open wide, making little noises every now and then. David was listening too, smiling and rubbing his girlfriend’s hand above the table. Eliza was blushing more by the minute. When her sister said everything she knew they all turned simultaneously and looked at her, waiting to learn what happened from the moment she left the pub with Richard.
Taking a deep breath she broke her silence, and told them what she could without revealing many details.

“Why didn’t you tell me anything sooner?” Tracy asked after Eliza finished with her story.

“Because everything happened so fast! It was the nomination ceremony and I was running like crazy and you and David left for a romantic weekend. I didn’t want to bother you and ruin it for you.” Eliza tried to explain.

“Yeah you’re right… but oh my god Eliza! You are seeing Richard Armitage!!! I still remember the weekend we had the Armitage-marathon, when Stephen was out of town for a seminar or something.” Tracy’s eyes were sparkling and she couldn’t keep still. David had started eating again, devouring spring rolls and mattering under his breath, “I should have gone out with my friends…”

“And imagine! We have seen him a week ago! Who would have thought that you’d end up together? That’s fate Eliza! Karma!” Tracy continued enthusiastically. “I can’t believe it! My best friend! With our favorite actor!” she leaned closer over the table, lowering her voice. “How is he in bed? Is he everything we dreamed he was?” David beside her moaned, Jessica nodded emphatically her head up and down, smiling broadly and Eliza blushed again.

“Tell me again, why didn’t you let me to go out with my friends?” David asked chagrined.

“Because our romantic weekend is not over yet!” she answered impatiently. “Now eat and let me find out information about Armitage. Is he a sex beast?” she asked again smirking.

“I bet he is!” Jessica answered. “I caught them in the car devouring each other! Just like David is eating those spring rolls!” Jessica giggled when she saw David looking at her and putting three spring rolls in his mouth, trying to chew them and making a mess on his shirt.

“Shit.” He exclaimed, throwing more food in front of his shirt.

Eliza and Jessica laughed and Tracy moved her head back and forth pretending to be annoyed. “You’re going to wash this Mister.” She said smirking. Turning to Eliza she added, “Spill the bins, sister…”

David murmured under his breath jokingly, trying to clean with a napkin the spot in his shirt, “Like I don’t wash them every time…yours also…” Making Tracy give him a stern look and stick her tongue out playfully.

Eliza smiled at David and turned to her two eager listeners, “The only thing that I’m going to say and the discussion will end here, because David is going to run screaming any time now, is that it was the best sex I’ve ever had. Ever.” She declared grabbing her chopsticks and starting eating her stir fry noodles to point out that the discussion was indeed over.

“I’m sure it was… I noticed the marks on your ear and neck that the turtle neck can’t hide...” Tracy smirked, drinking a sip of her wine.

“Fuck, really?” Eliza tried to cover herself with her hair.

“Yeah, really. Tomorrow remember to put some make up on them before you go to the office.” She added smiling broadly. “And tell him next time to mark you in places they can be concealed…”

“I hadn’t notice them…” Jessica said, leaning over the table and brushing Eliza’s hair out of the way. “Oh yeah! There they are!” she said smiling wickedly. Eliza brought her hair in front of her again, looking both of them sternly while they giggled.

They continued eating after that, with the two girls smirking and smiling, while glancing teasingly at her, and Tracy trying to mimic Richard’s wiggling brows, unsuccessfully. Eliza laughed at last and threw her napkin at her. When the waiter picked the empty plates and brought a platter of fruits, Eliza saw with the corner of her eye a familiar shape. Turning her head to the door she saw Amanda coming in, with Richard following behind her. Shit! What were they doing here?? Of all the restaurants they had to come here? What were the odds!?! Thankfully they were guided to the other side of the restaurant without looking their way at all.

“Shit!” she said turning her head away from the door. David that was sitting beside her saw them too.

“Eliza I think someone up there really wants you together.” He said smiling, patting her hand.

“What?” Tracy said her antennae on end, turning back.

“Armitage just walked in with your future sister in law.” He said looking at Jessica, who turned in her seat to look behind her too.

“Yeah…I see them!” Tracy almost jumped out of her sit when she spotted them. “They are sitting in the other side of the room, in the corner. I can only see Richard’s back but I can see her clearly. Look what she’s wearing!” She exclaimed suddenly. “Her non-existent breasts are ready to pop out!” she added elbowing Jessica beside her. Eliza’s green monster started resurfacing rapidly.

Jessica that just found where they were, let a low hiss escape her lips. “The bitch! She’s trying hard to steal your man sis… Do you think we should go and talk to them?” she asked turning her eyes back to her sister.

“No!” was all Eliza could say, playing with the fruits in front of her absentmindedly, trying not to look their way.

“Why is he with her?” David asked taking the fruits from Eliza and placing the platter closer to him, starting eating enthusiastically.

“She is his agent, David! Eliza said it a while ago!” Tracy chastised him.

“Sorry but I can’t remember everything!” he said stuffing his mouth with fruits.

“You’re gonna choke.” Tracy pointed out.

Eliza was looking at the glass in front of her and playing with her napkin. She really wanted to use the toilet but it was close to where they sat and they would see her if she’d go now. Yeah…now you want to go to the toilet… Who are you kidding Eliza?

“ Guys, have you finished? I think we should go.” She said creasing the napkin in her hands nervously, making it a little ball.

“Yeah, I think we have. If David eats anything else he’s going to explode.” Tracy remarked, moving the platter in front of her. David signaled for the waiter to come sighing. “We are going to stop for ice cream, either you like it or not.” He teased his girlfriend. “Are you coming girls?” he asked Jessica and Eliza.

“Sure!” Jessica replied and after paying, they walked to the door. Eliza heard her sister take a sudden intake of breath and stopping abruptly.

“What?” Eliza asked behind her, zipping her parka.

“Nothing” and she walked faster, trying with her tiny body to hide Richard’s table from her sister’s view.

Eliza looked at Richard's table and started seeing red. Amanda was sitting close to him, rubbing his arm, her cleavage a few centimeters away from his nose. But the problem was not her. It was him that he did nothing to dissuade her!

“Guys, I have to use the bathroom. See you outside?” she asked without waiting for an answer and started walking purposefully toward the toilets. She felt a hand grabbing her.

“Lizy, what are you going to do?” Tracy asked her worried.

“Nothing, just go to the loos.” She said innocently.

“We’ll wait outside.” David said. “Don’t be late.” And guiding the girls out, they stood outside in front of the window and pulling their hoods up they waited.

She passed by their table and headed to the loos. She opened the door and stole a glance behind her. He was sitting rigid in his chair, looking at the table, both hands resting upon it, his long fingers playing nervously with a chopstick. Amanda’s body was completely pressed against his. Her breasts were pushed against his arm, her hand caressing his fingers upon the table. She was saying something to him in hushed tones, her face determined. Eliza couldn’t understand what she said but Richard didn’t seem very happy. She relaxed, took a deep breath and went inside. It was obvious from his posture that he wanted to get away from her as quickly as possible. He was not a douche bag after all.

Once outside again, she saw Richard looking at Amanda and saying something to her, really angry, his voice low and deep. His eyes had become two fiery splits, his body stiff. She knew that if she passed their table now, he would see her. She didn’t want him to think that she was following him or something, so she went back again and counted to twenty, with mississippis. She opened the door again and peered outside. He was listening intently at something Amanda said. Eliza saw him raising his hand and signaling the waiter. He paid, for food that hadn’t even arrived at their table, said something to her really angry and left. Amanda was looking stunned at his back.

Eliza went inside the toilet again with a wide smile on her face. He left her there! She took her phone out of her bag to call him and she saw a message that he had send her an hour ago. She opened it eagerly. He wrote in which cinema they should meet and what time. She looked in the mirror and seeing that she was presentable, sent him a selfie giving him a kiss. He responded almost instantly with a selfie of his own, sitting inside his car, sending her a kiss as well. She was exuberant from joy!

She walked out with the widest of smiles. The table was empty; Amanda must have left soon after Richard.

She found them all outside, freezing.
“Why haven’t you gone to your cars?” she asked, smiling. Even the cold and rain could not erase her smile.

“We decided to stay; if you attacked Amanda, we had to be close for back up.” David answered smiling, the sleet buttering him from behind.

“We saw h-h-him leave without her, what happened? They d-didn’t see you?” Jessica asked with chattering teeth.

“No. they didn’t see me. They had a fight or something but I couldn’t hear what they were saying, they were speaking really low. She was all over him the manipulative bitch!” Eliza answered, starting shivering herself and lifting her hood up.

“Ok, let’s go for ice cream and you’ll talk there.” David said ushering them in their cars quickly.

“How c-c-can you want ice c-cream with s-s-such weather? My teeth are hurting j-just thinking about it!” Jessica tried to speak clearly.

“He wants ice cream all the time.” Tracy answered before David could say anything.

“You can have hot chocolate. I want ice cream!” he said enthusiastically.

They went to ‘La Gelatiera’. They thankfully found a table to sit, probably due to the weather. The girls ordered dark hot chocolates and David bought his favorite flavor ice cream, honey with rosemary and orange jest. Eliza was ready to throw up just looking at it.

“What happened to the normal flavors like vanilla and chocolate?” she asked looking at it with disgust.

“I’m not an ordinary guy and definitely my ice cream will not be ordinary!” he said smiling, eating with gusto.

Once Tracy and Jessica had warmed enough, the interrogation started. Eliza said what transpired between Richard and Amanda, but she didn’t know the reason they had a fight. The girls started to guess and make assumptions and the time passed with them chatting away and David getting really bored and buying another ice cream. When Eliza showed the selfies they had exchanged and they started giggling like crazy fifteen year olds, David just went and sat in another table and watched football from his phone.

“Oh David come back! We are gonna behave like adults!” Jessica pleaded giggling.

“Yeah, I can see that.” He said, acting the insulted.

“Just leave him. I will compensate later.” Tracy added smirking, crossing her arms.

“I heard that!” he said lifting his head from the phone. “I’m not going to forget it!” he smiled and winked at her.

Tracy just smirked and they continued gossip about the nomination event, with Eliza doing all the talking while discussing Jessica’s wedding at the same time and then they start gossiping their bosses. When Eliza saw the hour she stood up abruptly.

“I have to go. I’ll be late.” She said gathering her stuff.

“I’ll drive you there and then I’ll go home.” Jessica replied. “Dad mentioned yesterday that your car is going to be here by Tuesday.” She added wearing her coat.

“You bought a car?” Tracy asked, putting her cell in her bag.

“Not me. My parents bought it for me.” She smiled thinking about them and her heart swelled with love.

“I’m happy for you.” Tracy said earnestly. “It’s going to solve a lot of your problems to have you own vehicle. And you can drive me home when David can’t!” she teased.

Eliza laughed. “Of course I will! You know that!”
They hugged good bye and separated ways. The couple went one way and the sisters another. Jessica left her in front of the cinema and waved goodbye. Eliza was already late and she expected to find him waiting for her. He was not outside; he couldn’t be in this weather, so she ran inside to protect herself from the sleet.

When she entered she headed straight to the big red carpeted stair. She stood beside it unzipping her parka, then leaned on the railing and looked around her for his familiar tall figure amongst the crowd. Not seeing him anywhere she took her phone out. She neither had a message nor a phone call from Richard. She checked the time. He was ten minutes late. She was thinking of calling him when she felt a strong hand embracing her waist inside her parka. Startled she looked up only to be hypnotized by his grey-blue eyes.

“Sorry I’m late” he said with his deep, husky voice, causing shivers to travel down her spine, while squeezing her waist mildly.

She gulped, his scent fogging her mind. “I just arrived myself.” She managed to say, after a few seconds. Feeling her mouth dry, she licked her lips.

His eyes fell to her mouth and leaned unconsciously closer. Eliza held her breath, waiting for his kiss. They looked at each other intently, lips partially open. Eliza moved her face closer to his when Richard suddenly stopped, looking around him, remembering where they were. He sighed and standing up in his full height he said with his deep voice,
“I’m going to purchase our tickets. Wait here and I’m coming right back.” He squeezed her waist once more and left her.
She sighed and waited, wondering what they would see. He didn’t ask what she liked so she assumed he wanted to surprise her. She didn’t even know what it was playing on theatres now. The truth is, she didn't even care. She only wanted to be with him. She was playing with her phone when she suddenly heard Lesley’s voice. She raised her head and she found herself staring in her boss’s eyes.

Chapter Text

Chapter 9

 

 

 

“Well, look who’s here… Eliza, how are you?” Lesley asked with a brittle smile.

“I’m very well Mrs. Steward.” Eliza answered straightening her body and crossing her arms defensively.
Her boss was beautiful, as always, wearing a short black dress and a long red coat on top with high heeled black boots making her feel inadequate with her plain clothes.

“You’re here with friends?” Lesley tried to learn.

“Yes, I am. With a friend.” Eliza clarified. Lesley’s eyes glinted, taking the hint immediately.

“I would like to chat with you, if you have time.” Lesley said looking at her and then behind her, her eyes searching for someone.

Eliza watched her, without answering. Did she want to hear what her boss had to say? She saw Lesley’s expression changing then and she knew that Richard was coming their way. Lesley’s eyes sparked and a genuine smile spread, at last, across her face. Eliza watched her amused and noticed the hint of jealousy when she saw Richard placing his hand on her waist. Eliza was never one to be possessive over a partner but she felt the need to make it clear that Richard was hers and hers alone, so she placed her hand on top of his on her waist, and started stroking it.

“Lesley! What a pleasant surprise!” Richard said with a big smile. “Are you here alone?”

Lesley, pretending not to have seen their hands, said with an unusual happy tone. “I’m here with Damon. Damon Stradowski. Do you remember him? I think you met him at one of my birthday parties a few years ago. He’s a journalist. He came to town for a few days and he wanted to see a movie of all things.” Lesley laughed touching Richard’s arm.

“Yes, actually I do remember him. Where is he?” he asked smiling.

“He went to the loo…ah there he is!” Lesley exclaimed and all turned to where she was looking.

Damon Stradowski was a very good looking man in his early sixties. He was tall, not as tall as Richard though, bold, with a grey moustache and trimmed beard and brown eyes. He was dressed impeccably in a dark grey suit with thin, light grey stripes and a pink shirt. He didn’t wear a tie, making the look seem more casual. Richard taking his hand off her waist, shaked hands with Stradowski, introduced her to him and they started talking.

Eliza couldn’t take part in the conversation a lot, being about shared memories they all had, but Damon tried to include her, changing the subject when she couldn’t participate. Eliza was very thankful for that and she started to like him a lot. When they were starting telling stories from their past she watched them.

Lesley was laughing and touching Richard in any opportunity given. Richard was completely oblivious to her tries, holding her hand while talking animatedly with Stradowski. Stradowski laughing merrily. Eliza looked at their intertwined hands and smiled. She raised her gaze to his majestic profile. He was the most beautiful creature in the room; dressed also casually, thank the gods, with a pair of dark jeans, a brown sweater which she suspected was cashmere, and a camel colored coat. Richard looked then at the watch on his wrist.

“Unfortunately we have to leave. The movie is starting in five minutes. What are you doing afterwards? We could all go for a drink.” He asked, looking at Lesley and Damon. Eliza was stunned that he didn’t ask her if she wanted to go out with them. He didn’t even think that maybe she had other plans. She didn't mind that he hadn't asked her about the movie, it didn't matter to her. But if he assumed that she would always follow him around, ha had another thing coming! That really pissed her off!

“Yes, that sounds great!” Lesley exclaimed enthusiastically answering before Damon could say anything. Damon just nodded his head in agreement and they parted ways saying they would meet here in a few hours.

They climbed the stairs and Richard placed his hand again on her waist to lead her in the correct screening room. She eluded his embrace and walked a little faster entering the room before him. He looked at her questioningly while they were escorted to their seats which were in the back row in the middle. Eliza, taking her eyes off him, took her parka off, hung it in the back of her chair and sat, crossing her arms and legs and looking straight ahead. She noticed that in their row there were no other people sitting and in the rest of the room she could see a few people here and there. She wondered what kind of movie they were about to see, that the audience was so scarce. She saw Richard with the corner of her eye mimicking her actions and after he sat, he asked her, “What is wrong?" When he didn't have a responce he said again, "Eliza look at me.”

She didn’t want to answer him but eventually deciding to be an adult; she looked at him. He was turned her way, looking straight at her with his beautiful azure eyes. For a moment she forgot why she was mad, lost in his aquamarine depths, but taking a deep breath and taking control of her brain again, she said in a quiet tone.

“You never asked me what movie I would like to watch and you definitely never asked me if I wanted to go out with Lesley and the Stra-something guy. Why? You’d think it would be ok for me to do whatever you want? Would you like to decide for you and not ask your opinion?” She tried to be calm and not start a fight in a public place so her voice was hushed and as serene as possible, not conveying her full anger.

He looked at her a little stunned and answered after a few heartbeats. “I’m sorry. You’re right. I wanted the movie to be a surprise and really, it didn’t even cross my mind to ask you if you wanted to go out with them. I’m used to be alone and decide everything. I’m really sorry.” He said sincerely. “I can cancel the whole thing. We can leave now and do whatever you want.” His apology was so honest that melted Eliza’s heart. Taking his hands in hers she leaned closer and kissed his cheek.

“Apology accepted. There’s no need to cancel anything. Just remember to ask me the next time you want to do something that involves me too.” He nodded and stroked her fingers. The lights dimmed then and the screen lighted. She saw him looking at her intently and leaning closer kissed her parted lips. She wanted so much to give in to the kiss, to deepen it, to devour him. She felt the first butterflies starting to flatter in her stomach and her desire to wake up. When she was ready to forget the world around her, he stopped and moved back in his seat, sighing silently.

Eliza rocked her head in resignation and tried to calm her racing heart. There would be time for this later.
On the screen it was still showing commercials and movies to be released soon. Suddenly she felt him whispering in her ear, making her sensitive skin crawl.

“I forgot to ask you if you wanted popcorn or something to drink.” Richard was still holding her hand and caressing it, sending shivers to her whole body. The only thing she wanted was him, naked, beneath her or above her, nothing else.

“No, I’m fine.” She gulped, trying to stay calm and to focus on the screen. Richard settled in his seat and continued to hold her hand stroking it absentmindedly. After a while the movie started and Eliza show to her utter amazement Chinese symbols appearing.

“Richard, what movie exactly are we going to watch?” she asked quietly, perplexed, fearing that they would see a Jackie Chan movie or worse samurai and ninja fighting over rooftops, flying around doing impossible stands.

Richard smiled and answered in the same hushed tone.
“It’s called ‘The Beauty Inside’. It’s a Korean movie. A friend recommended it to me. It’s a love story. He said women love that kind of stuff.” he turned his head again, his eyes on the screen.

“Ok that’s so stereotypical but in my case true. But just so you and your friend know, for future reference, not all women like romantic movies. Especially Korean ones… no wonder there are so few people here… Does at least has subtitles or we have to guess what’s going on?” she continued still worrying.

He almost laughed out loud but suppressed it and turning again his eyes on her said with a mischievous glint in his eyes. “My little stereotypical minx! I thought you spoke Korean! I hoped you could translate for me also!”

Eliza pinched his thigh playfully, smiling, “Stop teasing me Armitage! I got it, it has subtitles.” He kissed her hand smiling and Eliza turned her face on the screen.

They both got lost in the movie. It was in fact a very good movie, about a man that fell in love with a woman and his struggle to win her. Nothing exceptional you’d think, except there was this little thing of the main male character waking up every morning looking like someone else. One day he was a man; the other was a boy, the next a woman. He was fat, tall, short, old, young. The soundtrack was very good and the end of the movie romantic as was expected. Eliza enjoyed it very much and made a mental note to never reject foreign cinema again.

When the movie ended they waited for the few people to leave, talking about the movie excitedly, before they stood up. Richard wore his coat and helped her with her parka. Then turning her to face him, grabbed her face in his hands and kissed her senseless. He ended the kiss, moving away reluctantly, holding her by the shoulders. Eliza had her eyes closed and moaned in complain when he stopped kissing her. She heard his giggle and opened her eyes slowly.

“You are a mean man Armitage, leaving your woman suffering!” She said half seriously, half joking.

“Oh am I? And you suffer a lot?” he answered back.

“Extremely!” and taking a step closer, she tiptoed, caught the lapels of his coat and kissed hungrily his sensual lips. He growled and deepened the kiss, cupping her bum and bringing her body against his. She moaned in appreciation when she felt his erection against her belly.

“Oy! Get a room! The next screening will start soon.” They heard from somewhere behind them.

They broke their kiss, both giggling like teenagers and left holding hands. Once outside Eliza turned to him. “Sweety, button up your coat. We don’t want women fainting as you pass.”

He smirked and did as was instructed. “It’s your fault I’m like that.” He teased her.

“You started it! Don’t blame me!" She decided to tease him a little more. "Oh well…if you hadn’t made any plans, now we would be heading to your hotel." She laughed aloud when he pinched her bum.

“You minx! Don’t remind me how stupid I’ve been!” he growled in resignation. “So you’ll come to my hotel afterwards?” he added smiling enthusiastically.

Eliza laughed with his boyish reaction. “Of course I’ll come. I don’t want all this condoms to go to waste!”

He laughed heartily and kissed her hair, then holding her hand again started descending the stairs together. For her dismay, Eliza saw that Lesley and this Stra-something guy were already waiting for them.

They decided to stay in the cinema to have a drink as the sleet was falling still. They went to the bar and sat on the stools. They ordered and Eliza excused herself and headed to the bathroom. She did what she had to do and exiting she went to wash her hands. For her disappointment she saw Lesley waiting for her, fixing her hair in the mirror. No one else was there with them, damn it! Eliza opened the faucet and started to rinse her hands.

“Well, Eliza, I never expected you, to be his type. He always liked a different type of women and let’s just say, you don’t fit in his usual standards.” She said calmly, never looking her way, opening her bag and taking out her lipstick.

“Well,” Eliza responded, “obviously he wasn’t happy or fulfilled with that particular type of women and decided to try a different route.” She added, her irritation starting to rise.

Lesley noticing her irritation continued more forcefully. “Don’t flatter yourself. He had a few steady relationships, before he was so famous. The moment his career skyrocketed, he stopped having any relationships. I know him for many years Eliza. I watched every stage of his personal life and career. The last few years that he moved we lost contact, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know him and his needs. He needs a woman like me, strong and with connections to help him through his career. You’re just something to pass his time until he leaves again.” She smiled wickedly, looking at her through the mirror while applying lipstick on.

Eliza started seeing red, but she took a deep breath and wiping her hands she said as calmly as she could, “If I am a fling, something to kill his boredom, then why you are telling me this? Maybe I’m not just something to pass his time in the end. Maybe you’re afraid that I’m gonna be the one to win his heart. I think you’re afraid, you’re gonna lose him.” Eliza concluded, crossing her arms in her chest defensively.

“Don’t be ridiculous! Me afraid? From you?! Don’t make me laugh! I’m just trying to protect you. I don’t want to see you hurting again, so soon, after your so recent break up.” She exclaimed, pretending to be insulted. “By the way, does he know that you’re still married?” she added gloating, thinking that she had something against her.

Eliza fumed from anger and now she didn’t try to hide it. “Oh, I’ve just seen how much you want to protect me! Since when jealousy is called protection? And yes, he knows I’m still married! I told him everything, so stop thinking of ways to take him away from me.”

“Poor Eliza… I tried to warn you, but you don’t seem to understand.” Lesley rocked her head, pretending resignation while a little smirk formed on her lips.

Eliza decided to say the last thing in this ridiculous conversation. She wanted to get out of here, to think. So she took a deep breath and said as calmly as she could, “If Richard wanted you, he would have done something all those years that you know each other. Obviously he sees you only as a friend, so don’t try to do anything stupid and ruin your friendship.”

Lesley’s façade crumbled for a few seconds but she found her composure really quickly and added hotly, while pressing her lips for the lipstick to spread, “He never did anything because I never gave him the opportunity, unlike some women…” she said looking at her meaningfully. “It’s obvious you never thought why he chose you, of all women, to pass his time the few days he’s staying here.”

Eliza’s nerves where on edge. Her boss implied that she was easy and threw herself at him! She wouldn’t explain herself to her! She crossed her arms protectively over her chest and she took deep breaths trying not to open her mouth and say something she would regret. She realized that now she had to find a new job as well, damn it!

Lesley seeing that Eliza didn’t speak she put the lipstick in her bag and looking one last time herself in the mirror, she at last turned and looked Eliza straight in the face.
“He chose you because you are my assistant. He wants me to get jealous and, at last, understand that we are meant to be together. And you were such an easy conquer for him…”

Eliza’s humorless laugh was out before she could stop it. She was so delusional! She decided that this conversation must end here.
“So, he’s with me to make you jealous…ok… Forget, what I said a few minutes ago, of you not doing anything because you’ll ruin your friendship. I think you should really tell him how you feel if you are so sure.” She walked to the door and opening it, she stopped and looking back at her she added. “I’m giving you my resignation. I can’t work with you after all this!”

She exited with her head high and her heart thudding quickly. She quitted! She didn’t have a job! What the hell was she going to do now? Her whole life was crumbling apart. She couldn’t stay a minute longer here. The crowd was suffocating her. She needed air and space to think.
Instead of going back to the bar she walked to the exit, pushing people without noticing it. She had forgotten her coat and bag in the bar but she didn’t care. As much as she didn’t want to admit it, Lesley’s words hurt her a lot. Her self esteem that had risen the last days thanks to a certain man was cart wheeling fast. She was now even having second thoughts about Richard’s motives. Why was he with her? He could have any damn woman he wanted. And why had he asked them for a drink without asking her first? Maybe he really tried to make Lesley jealous. Maybe she was the bait after all!
She went out at took deep breaths. Without money she couldn’t call a taxi. Damn! No way was she going back there! She didn’t want to see Lesley again in her life! As for Richard; she needed answers but not now. If he admitted that everything Lesley said was true, she didn’t know if she could handle it. And if he lied, she’d know, and that would kill her. She couldn’t be so wrong about him. ‘Eliza you know the man a few days! In reality you don’t know him at all!’ She muttered under her breath. She leaned to the wall and crossed her arms, her teeth rattling from cold. How had her life ended up like this?

“Eliza?” His deep, full of worry voice ended her contemplations. She raised her head and saw him standing a few centimeters away from her.

“Sweety, what’s going on?” he asked, coming closer and taking off his coat, placed it around her shoulders. Eliza couldn’t speak. She just looked into the blue depths of his eyes and saw the worry written all over them. There was no way this man was using her. She couldn’t be so wrong. He couldn’t be such a great actor. She sniffed the familiar perfume on his coat and she felt dizzy. This man, which she only knew for a few days, was already driving her crazy.

“When Lesley came from the bathroom and you never showed up, I was worried. I searched the loos and the foyer but you were nowhere. I asked the doorman and he told me he saw you getting out.” He added, rubbing her shoulders to warm her.

“I just needed some space to breathe, that’s all.” She gulped, trying to take his coat off but he didn’t let her. “Richard, you’ll catch a cold.” She tried to reason with him.

“I'll not catch anything, don’t worry. Tell me what’s going on. Before you went to the bathroom you were absolutely fine. What’s going on Eliza? What did Lesley say to you?” he asked mildly.

“Why would you think that she told me something? Nothing happened.” She answered trying to avoid this conversation. She wasn’t ready for this. Not yet.

“Eliza I’m not stupid. Don’t treat me like one.” He said, irritation starting showing in his voice.

“Richard, can we please go inside? We will talk later. I promise, I’ll tell you everything. You’re cold, I’m cold, and it’s not the right place to have this conversation.” She tried to calm him.

“We’re going inside to take your things and we’re leaving.” He informed her.

“But you wanted to spend time with your friends. I don’t want to ruin your evening. Let’s just get inside for a little while and then we’ll leave.” Eliza said touching his fingers.

“I couldn’t care less about Stradowski or Lesley. I want to know what happened to make you act like that. I know that something happened; I’m assuming from your reaction that I was involved in your conversation somehow. If it wasn’t for Damon I would make you and Lesley explain everything now. But as it is, I’ll wait till we get to the hotel.” He was irritated but he tried to stay calm. Eliza nodded resigned and let him lead her inside.

They headed to the bar, where Damon and Lesley were sitting, waiting for them. Richard explained that Eliza had a headache and they would leave early.

“Richard, you should stay! Damon wanted so much to see you!” Lesley tried to convince him, touching Richard’s arm and caressing it up and down. Eliza gritted her teeth and decided to see if Lesley’s assumptions were true.

“Yes Richard, Lesley is right. You should stay with your friends. I don’t want my headache to ruin everybody’s night. I’ll call a taxi.” She said and slipping off his coat handed it to him. Richard looked at her sternly while taking his coat.

“I always escort my dates back, and you are not going to be the exception.” He answered her, trying to stay calm.

“You were always the gentleman hunny.” Lesley pointed out. “You can take her home and come back. We’ll wait for you.” She said hopefully.

“Actually I need to leave too.” Stradowski interrupted. “I have to wake up early tomorrow.” Standing up he called the barman to pay for their drinks. Richard complaint and tried to pay but Stradowski didn’t let him.

“It was nice seeing you again, my friend. You have a lovely lady. Take good care of her.” He said patting Richard’s back. Eliza smiled and shaked his hand warmly, thanking him. Richard smiled and hugged him, promising to meet him tomorrow and exchanged numbers. Lesley hugged Richard and whispered in his ear. He escaped her embrace and nodded that they were going to talk tomorrow at lunch time.

They apologized again and after retrieving their things, and saying their goodbyes, they left. Eliza felt Lesley’s eyes piercing her back. She didn’t turn her head to look at her. She just straightened her shoulders and walked proudly away.

Once in the car Richard started first. “So, can you please tell me what happened?”

Eliza decided to tell him everyting and get it over with. She took a deep breath and said everything that happened in the bathroom. While the story was unfolding Richard’s hands stilled on the wheel, his brows furrowed and his posture became rigid. When she finished her account she waited for him to say something. He drove in silence, not looking at her. Eliza had began to really worry. Maybe it was just as Lesley said. Maybe she was his distraction. Her hands started to tremble on her lap and she placed them underneath her legs.
They arrived in the hotel. Richard still hadn’t said a word. They rode up, she on one side of the elevator, him on the other. Eliza was terrified. The longer he didn’t speak, the more scared she became. When they reached his floor she didn’t came out of the elevator. It was best to go home and end this thing now. Richard seeing that she wasn’t following him grabbed her arm and pulled her out. He folded her in his arms and kissed her hair while the doors of the elevator were closing.

“I'm sorry for not speaking to you but I was thinking. It’s too much for me. Lesley and I are friends for many years and never, once, crossed my mind that she had feelings for me. I’m thinking of ways to not ruin our friendship.” Eliza nodded in his chest. “And then it's you, quitting your job…” he sighed and taking her hand led them to his door. He opened and Eliza went straight to the couch and sat. He went to the mini fridge. “Do you want something to drink?” he asked checking the fridge’s contends.

“Yes, if you do.” She answered, taking off her parka and leaving it beside her.

He came back holding two glasses of red wine. He gave her hers and she thanked him while taking a big sip. He sat beside her and took a big sip too and they both left their glasses on the table in front of them, simultaneously.

“We need to talk Eliza.” He started and Eliza’s heart contracted. She nodded, her mouth starting to dry from nervousness. She couldn’t utter a word.

“Firstly, it never, ever crossed my mind to date you to make Lesley jealous.” He was looking straight ahead, out the window, his arms resting on his knees, his fingers fidgeting nervously. Eliza was watching him motionless. She couldn’t speak, she daren’t say a word. She waited for him to go on, taking the glass from the table and taking another big sip.

He cleared his throat and continued. “I never felt anything romantic for her. She was, she is, one of my dearest friends. We have gone through a lot together to come to where we are now. But I never saw her as anything more than a friend. I’m really shocked that she’s feeling that way. She never said anything.” He grabbed his glass too and drunk in one sip the rest of his wine, leaving the glass with a thud on the table.

Eliza cringed with the sudden noise. Hearing the use of the past tense, made her heart clench. She decided to ask the question that formed in her mind the minute he stopped talking.

“You’re using the past tense Richard. ‘Never felt’. You mean that maybe now ,after what I told you, that you thought about it and that you found that you are having feelings for her?” Her voice broke in the end of the sentence, not succeeding to hold her composure.

“No…I don’t know! I’m shocked! We are friends. I would never do anything to jeopardize our friendship.” Richard stood up, passing his hands through his hair nervously and walking to the window.

Eliza’s heart stopped completely and her breath caught in her throat. She then felt like someone took a hatchet and was trying to tear her heart in pieces. She never felt this agonizing pain before. Not even when she found out that Stephen was cheating on her with her best friend.
With trembling hands she left her glass on the table. She needed to get out of here. This day was getting from bad to worse. It was a freaking nightmare! She stood up with knees trembling, eyes shining with unshed tears, wearing her parka again. She looked at his tense back.

“I think it should be best if I leave.” She walked to the door hurriedly, opening it. She was ready to fall apart, she could barely hold her tears from slipping and she didn’t want Richard to see her like that. The moment she was ready to exit the room she felt his hand grabbing her arm and the door closing forcefully. He turned her and enveloped her in his arms.

“Eliza please, please don’t leave.” He begged her, one hand caressing her back, the other on her hair while he started kissing her hair, her forehead, her cheeks and finally her mouth. She gave in to the kiss, her body having a mind of its own.
The tears had started running, she couldn’t suppress them anymore. Richard stopped kissing her and wiped them with his fingers. She looked at his beautiful face full of yearning, lust and guilt. She knew, she felt it deep in her gut that this was going to be the end. She needed to say what she felt. She knew that by admitting her feelings she was going to lose him forever but she had to do it. She had to. She raised her hand to his face and caressed the laugh lines at the side of his mouth, his lips, his nose, and the wrinkles in his eyes. She tried to memorize everything. How his skin felt beneath her fingers, how his eyes changed color depending on his emotions, the texture of his hair. She caressed his cheek, her tears always running. He looked at her with his beautiful, now, stormy eyes, his gaze never wavering, holding her tightly by the waist.

“Richard I love you.” She whispered at last, quickly, before she regretted it.

She saw the shock in his eyes but she also saw when the realization dawned that what she said was true. And then she saw regret and guilt again, and felt the deep emptiness and cold deep inside her when his hands left her waist. She took a step back, crossing her arms tightly in her chest, suppressing a sob.

“Eliza, I think you’re confused. I think you’ve mistaken lust with love.” He said, trying to be rational, trying to find excuses for what she felt. But Eliza knew, and she saw that he realized it too, despite his attempt to deny it.

“Richard I’m a grown woman. I know exactly what I feel.” She said quietly, wiping her tears with her hand. Her vision was becoming blurry. She headed to the living room and took a tissue from the box upon the table. She wiped her eyes and nose but tears still escaped her eyes. She felt his hands on her arm, motioning her to sit to the couch and felt him sitting beside her. He held her hand, caressing her fingers. He cleared his throat and said with a quivering, deep voice.

“Eliza, I never finished telling you my part of Lesley’s assumptions. Maybe she was wrong that I wanted to make her jealous with you, but she was dead right about one thing. I don’t do long term relationships. I’m always travelling, sometimes staying away from home for months on end. I tried in the past to have a few steady relationships but it didn’t work out.” He took a deep breath and wiped some tears that escaped her eyes.

“So, it’s true then. I was just something to pass your time.” She couldn’t look him in the eye. Her eyes were fixed on his hand that was holding tightly hers. She tried to retrieve it but he didn’t let her.

“No, Eliza. No you weren’t. I never thought of you as something to pass my time. I don’t know what it is that pulled me to you. No, maybe I know. It was passion, raw passion. I never felt like this for anyone in my life before. You’re here crying and my body is screaming to take you to bed, to tear your clothes off and get lost inside you. But I recognize the feeling for what it is. An animalistic lust. It’s not love what we’re feeling. I’m just not capable to take my hands off you. I want you with every fiber of my being.” With these last words she raised her eyes and saw the truth of his words. He was trying to hide from her truth though, to find excuses for what she felt. But she knew very well what she felt.
Yes, she felt this animalistic lust he described, but she also felt love, a love that she had never felt for anyone in her life before.

"So, what I was to you? How would you think our story would end, Richard?" She tried to be calm. She tried to stop the tears from her eyes, but with no success.

Richard looked at her and after a few secons he answered. "I'll tell you the truth. I don't know what our relationship is, I never thought about a common future. I just want you to understand that you were not something to pass my time." he said seriously.

Eliza couldn't take this anymore. She stood up abruptly and walked to the door. She heard him behind her, his steps light as a panther's. She turned and she almost fell to his arms. So close he was behind her.
She took him in, his angelic face, his magnificent body, his intoxicating scent. She memorized everything. She took a step closer to him and she was trapped in his arms immediately. She placed her hands in his chest, feeling his erratic heartbeat beneath her palms. The tears were still streaming down her face when she tiptoed and captured his lips. He placed his hands on her face and ravished her lips hungrily. It was a passionate, deep kiss mixed with tears, lust, longing, love and the inevitable goodbye. It lasted long, none of them making the move to stop it.
At last Eliza’s first sobs made her end it. She buried her head in his chest and let her sobs take over. He was holding her tightly, his face buried in her hair. When her sobs subsided a little she pushed his chest mildly back and his arms dropped to his side. She raised her head and saw his red rimmed eyes. She felt her heart break to a million pieces. It was killing her to see him suffer. She wanted to run back to his arms, to never let him go. But he didn’t love her. He didn’t love her…

 

She zipped her parka, took her bag that had fallen to the floor and opened the door. This time he didn’t try to stop her. She felt a new wave of sobs coming and turned to look at him one last time. He looked defeated, rigid, lost. His hands in fists at his sides, his knuckles white from the tension. She looked at his face and saw a single tear escaping his eye when she closed the door behind her.

Chapter Text

Chapter 10

When she closed the door behind her she ran for the stairs. She couldn’t wait for the few minutes the elevator needed to arrive. She was suffocating. She wanted to breathe! She opened the door and started climbing down fast. Her eyes were blurry, her sobs were rocking her whole body, but she managed to reach the ground floor without falling. She ran to the exit and pushed the doors before the doorman had the chance to open them. Everyone was looking at her. The doorman asked her if she was ok, if she needed anything, but she was oblivious of the world around her.

She ran and ran and ran, the sleet making her wet. She didn’t even notice she was wet to the bone. She wanted to get away from everything and everyone, to forget the last couple of weeks and especially forget the last few days. She thought she finally found the man for her, the one to make her happy. She thought he was different from every other. She was never so wrong in her life. When she told him that she loved him, she knew that she couldn’t expect the same declaration from him. But she hoped they could work things out. She could wait for him. She could tolerate a long distance relationship. She was willing to try; she was willing to sacrifice a lot for this man. But he never thought a common future for them. It never crossed his mind to even try! She was only a distraction to pass his time! She was so mad! So hurt!

She finally stopped running. She didn’t know if she was still crying or if it was the rain that wet her cheeks. She looked around her. She didn’t even know where she was. She found a bus stop and sat on the bench. She was shivering from cold.
She took her phone out to see what time it was and she saw that she had a message. From him. She opened it with trembling hands, from anticipation and cold.
The laconic ‘I’m sorry’ appeared on the screen. She felt her anger rise. After everything that happened, that was the only thing he had to say?

She looked at the simple message motionless for a few seconds, and then she threw the phone to the ground and started stomping it with force. She let all the anger out to her phone. All her agony, hurt, sorrow…everything. With every stomping of her heel she broke it a little more, just like her heart was broken to a million pieces. When there was not much left of it, she stopped. Panting she collected the broken pieces and started to cry again. She threw her phone to the bin and sat on the bench again sobbing. A bus stopped in front of her but she didn’t enter. She just sat there for hours, her sobs finally subsiding.

When the sky started to turn gray she got up. The sleet had finally stopped, but the cold air was still blowing, drying her wet clothes on her body, making her shiver. Her legs were numb, barely holding her. She started to walk slowly, trying to make the blood circulate to her body again. She walked, lost in her thoughts, for what seemed hours. Lifting her head at some point, she suspected that the sun must have dawned. She could see everything clearer. She recognized this neighborhood, she was in familiar surroundings. She had left the city and she was out in the suburbs. It was the area where Tracy lived. She didn’t want to go home yet. She didn’t want their questions and their worry. She wanted to sleep. So she decided to wake up her friend. She knew that Tracy had patience and she would wait to learn what happened, no questions asked. She headed to her friend’s home slowly. Tracy lived in a neighborhood with identical, two-story buildings. She found her friend’s house and ringed the bell. She waited a few minutes and when no answer came she ringed again. She hoped her friend was home and not in David’s place. She was so exhausted, ready to fall down. She wanted to sleep, to forget. Oh please Tracy, be at home! Fortunately, she heard someone descending the stairs and she exhaled relieved. She saw David looking at her from the side window. When he recognized her, his eyes popped open and he unlocked the door quickly.

“Lizy? What happened? What are you doing here?” he asked really worried, opening the door all the way for her to come in. When he saw Eliza’s state he started yelling at Tracy.

“Love, come down quickly! Is Lizy! Something happened!”

She heard her friend stomping upstairs and a few moments later she literary saw her flying the stairs down. When Tracy saw her, she stopped in her tracks abruptly.

“Lizy, sweety, what happened?” Tracy asked, and finding her composure again she closed the distance between them quickly.

Eliza hearing this endearment she remembered Richard and the way he called her sweety, and a new wave of tears started.

“Lizy, what’s wrong? Did something happen to your parents? To Jessica?” Tracy tried to learn.

Eliza rocked her head negatively and wiped her tears but they still kept running down her face. “I-I-I can’t…” she stammered. She tried to hold the sobs that were coming up but she couldn’t. She couldn’t. She fell to the floor exhausted, the heaving sobs rocking her body.

David swore and quickly picked her up from the floor and placed her on the couch. Then he ran to the kitchen, returning with a glass of water. Tracy sat beside her and took her in her arms, stroking her hair, trying to calm her. Tracy looked at David scared.

“Lizy, you’re freezing cold hunny. What happened?” Tracy asked concerned, rubbing her back and arms forcefully to generate heat.

“Lizy, hun, drink some water, please. Come hunny.” David begged her.

Tracy started to beg her friend to drink too, but Eliza was lost in her grief and she didn’t hear anything.

Finally, after a while, Eliza stopped sobbing and her body felt more relaxed against Tracy.

“She slept.” Tracy said with a hushed tone to David. He nodded and went upstairs to bring a blanket. When he came back, he helped his girlfriend take off Eliza’s parka and they settled her on the couch. Tracy took off Eliza’s shoes and she threw the blanket on top of her. David lighted the fireplace and then they tiptoed to the kitchen.

“Ok, I don’t know what’s going on but I cannot leave her alone. I’ll call work to tell them I’m sick.” Tracy said starting to boil water for tea.

“What about Eliza? Should we call her department to tell that she’s sick?” David asked, finding two mugs and throwing two bags of black tea inside.

“Yes, I’ll call them. You should go and take a quick shower and go. You’re gonna be late.” She answered pouring the hot water in the mugs.

“I have time, don’t worry." He continued after adding a spoon of sugar in his. "I don’t know what happened with Lizy, but it seems bad. It’s the first time I’ve seen her like that. Do you think something happened to her parents or to her sister?” David asked worried, sitting on a chair, taking his mug with him.

“I really don’t know. I’ll call Jessica and say that I’m looking for her sister about something. I’ll think of what when I’ll call her. If all this has nothing to do with them I don’t want to upset them. Do you think something happened with Armitage?” she asked him, all kinds of thoughts running through her mind.

“If he did anything to her, I’m going to find and kill him!” David declared, anger starting to rise.

“Cool down cowboy! We’ll wait for her explanation before the bloodshed begins. Now hurry, you’re going to be late!” Tracy said, leaning on the counter and taking a sip from her mug.

“I can call sick too. I don’t want to leave you two alone.” David said while he downed his tea in hurry and standing up headed to the sink. He rinsed his mug and put it in the washing machine. He then embraced his girlfriend, giving her a kiss on her hair.

“No, go. It’s better to be alone with her when she wakes up. She will open up to me more freely if we are alone. If I’ll need you, I’ll call you.” Tracy answered relaxing in his embrace.

“Ok, I'm going upstairs for a quick shower. Don’t forget to call the office for you and Eliza.” He said giving her a kiss on the forehead and heading silently upstairs.

When David left for work, Tracy headed to the living room. She saw Eliza sleeping peacefully and walked to the kitchen again, taking the phone with her. She called first hers and then Eliza’s office and after she finished with that, she then called Jessica. She didn’t pick up quickly and Tracy started to worry that something bad had indeed happened to them. The moment she was about to hung up, Jessica answered.

“Hey Tracy! What’s up?” Jessica asked hurriedly.

“Oh, I hear noise in the background. Am I calling at a bad time?” Tracy tried to learn.

“I’m at work so I’m in a hurry right now. What can I do to help you?”

“I wanted to ask Eliza about something concerning the office, but she doesn’t pick up her phone.” Tracy said, trying to sound casual.

She heard Jessica’s giggle. “Probably she’s too preoccupied to listen to the phone. She didn’t come home last night so she most definitely had a great time with Armitage.”

Tracy exhaled in relief. So they were all well and whatever happened was caused by Armitage.
“Oh, you’re right.” She tried to sound cheerful. “I’ll call her later. Thanks Jessica. I’m really sorry to bother you. Have a nice day.” She hung up the phone and went to the living room again to see if her friend was ok. She covered her better with the blanket and went silently upstairs to take a shower.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

It was dark. Eliza was alone in a bus station. Although she was under the shed the rain still fell on top of her, battering her with its force. The cold wind freezing her body. Wherever she went, the rain was there. Cold and unforgiving. Her teeth were rattling, hitting with force each other, hurting her. But she couldn’t stop the shuttering. Her whole body was trembling uncontrollably. She wanted to leave but she always ended up making circles. Returning to the same place again and again and again. The rain was now falling more violently. So heavy she couldn’t even see clearly. Where was the bus? She wanted to go home, where it was warm, where the sun shined. Suddenly a bus materialized right in front of her, she didn’t even hear it coming. It was incandescent as the sun. It felt so warm! It brightened the place with its glow. The doors opened slowly and when she was ready to step her foot inside, she felt people pushing her aside and hurriedly getting in. Where were all these people coming from? She was all alone seconds ago! She tried to get in too, to escape the rain, the cold, but they didn’t let her. Pushing her right and left she was moving further and further away from the bus. Finally, everyone was in! She ran to get in too, but the moment she touched the door it started to close. She tried to yell to the driver to stop, but there was no sound coming out of her mouth. She was there! Right there! Couldn’t he see her? The doors closed completely and the driver turned and looked at her then. Her breath caught in her throat. No! It couldn’t be him! She banged the doors to let her in, she begged him to let her in, but no sound came out of her lips. She saw him looking at her. The guilt written in his blue eyes, in his sad face. He whispered ‘I’m sorry’ and started the engine looking straight ahead. When the bus left the curb it sprayed her with water. She tried to chase it but it was moving away faster and faster. The warmth, the light, leaving her fast, abandoning her alone. When the bus vanished the world became pitch black again. It was darker than before. She looked around her trying to see something but she couldn’t see a thing. It was like she was blind. The wind and rain were hitting her body mercilessly, making her tremble even worse than before. She felt her heart cracking slowly. The pain was so strong she fell to her knees. She placed her hands on her chest. She felt her heart. She cradled her heart. She tried to stop it from cracking more. But then she felt the first pieces tearing apart. And the pain was agonizing. And she started to scream and scream and scream and scream and scream...

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“Eliza wake up! Eliza, please! Please hunny, please wake up!”

Eliza opened her eyes scared to death, clutching her chest. She didn’t know where she was, what happened. She looked around her lost, terrified. She was cold…so, so cold… The bus! She had to get to the bus! He was there! He was there!
She suddenly felt someone rocking her. She raised her eyes and saw Tracy on top of her, worry and terror written all over her face. He left her. The bus left without her. He saw her and left her there! She tried to breathe but she couldn’t. Something was on top of her chest pushing her. Suffocating her.

“Lizy breathe! Oh shit! Hunny breathe! Breathe!” Tracy started to panic. With weak knees, she ran to the kitchen to retrieve the phone and sat on the floor beside her, trying to calm her, while with shaking hands she called 911.


“Oh please help me! My friend can’t breathe! She can’t fucking breathe!” She screamed when they answered.

“Miss calm down.” She heard from the other side of the line. “Give us your address so an ambulance can come quickly.”

With a trembling voice Tracy gave them her address. She was pushing the blanket away from Eliza’s body and she tried with one hand to take off her turtleneck. Eliza was half raised from the couch, eyes wide open and heaving from the try to breathe.

“Can your friend hear you? Can she speak to you? ” the operator asked.

“Lizy, can you hear me?” She tried to say calmly but she was terrified again when she saw the color on Eliza’s face. Eliza tried to nod.

“Please hurry! She’s turning blue!” Tracy started to cry, terrified beyond comprehension.

“The ambulance is on its way. In a few minutes it will be there. Try to calm down. You’re not helping her seeing you like that.” The operator said gently. “Has your friend eaten something that stacked to her throat?”

“No , she was sleeping and she woke up and she couldn’t breathe!” Tracy said exasperated.

“Does your friend have asthma problems or any other disease we should know?”

“No. Nothing! I've never seen her like that before in my life! Please come quickly! Where is the freaking ambulance?” Tracy was yelling again, unable to control her anger and fear. She was stroking Eliza’s hair trying to sooth her.

“Please calm down and ask her if she feels any chest pain. Try to talk to her and keep her conscious.”The operator said again. “The ambulance will be there shortly.”

“Lizy, darling, does your chest ache?” Seeing that Eliza didn’t hear her, she tried again. “Lizy, please! Please nod if your chest aches!”

Eliza nodded affirmative and Tracy yelled to the phone. “Her chest aches!”

“Please find any obstacle that might restrain her breathing and remove it. And don’t try to give her water by any means.” The operator instructed calmly.

“I did that!” Tracy yelled. “Nothing happened! When is the ambulance coming?” She was shouting at her phone when she heard sirens approaching.

“Thank the gods it came!” she ended the call abruptly and ran to the door. She opened it the moment the paramedics were carrying the stretcher up the stairs. She led them quickly to the living room where they placed the stretcher on the floor and carried Eliza on top of it. They covered her with a blanket and carried the stretcher quickly to the ambulance. Tracy was running behind them asking to which hospital they would take her. They told her while they put the oxygen mask to Eliza and closed the doors of the ambulance leaving the curb quickly. Tracy went inside to wear shoes and take her wallet, phone and keys and calling hurriedly for a taxi, she grabbed a coat and left the house.

Eliza heard everything. She tried to be calm, she tried to breathe, she wanted to talk to her friend, to calm her, but she couldn’t. And she was so cold…and he didn’t want her… he didn’t want her…he didn’t want her… that was all she could think. When the paramedics carried her to the ambulance and put the mask on, she lost consciousness.

When she woke up she saw bright lights. She closed her eyes again, blinded by their intensity.

“Lizy? How are you feeling hunny?” Tracy asked, holding her hand.

“I’m dizzy but fine I think. What happened? Where are we?” Eliza asked with a hoarse voice, trying to lift from the bed.

“No, lie down.” Tracy prompted her gently and sat on the edge of the bed, never leaving her hand. “We are in the hospital. You scared the shit out of me sweety.” She smiled relieved.

“Why are we in the hospital? What happened?”She asked again, fear creeping inside her. What the hell happened?

“You had a panic attack. I thought you had a heart attack or something. I thank the gods that you’re ok hunny! I almost had a heart and a panic attack myself when I saw you like that. Have anything like this ever happened before?” she asked while she pushed some stray hair away from Eliza’s face.

“No. Never.” She answered perplexed. Had she had a panic attack? Really? How?
“Tracy how did I have this attack?” She couldn’t for the love of her remember anything after…after… memories flooded her brain. Everything that happened after her sister left her to the cinema came in full force. Everything. She started hyperventilating.

“Lizy? Lizy are you ok? Nurse!” Tracy yelled jumping off the bed and running to the door.

The nurse came quickly and after checking Eliza’s pulse and telling her some soothing words to calm her, she stayed with her until her breathing eased. When she was completely calm again she declared that she was ok and she left.

“Lizy what happened?”Tracy asked when the nurse closed the door behind her. “You came to my house, six o’clock in the morning, wet to the bone and looking like a drowned rat, crying your eyes out. What happened?”

“No Tracy, please. Not now. Later I will tell you everything.” She answered tears starting falling down her eyes again.

“Did he hurt you physically hunny? The doctors saw a lot of bruises in your body and they said when they come back they will ask you what caused them.” Tracy asked worriedly. If by any means he hurt her, he would kill him with her bare hands!

“No! No he never hurt me! These bruises are … they are…you know…” Eliza tried to explain but the memories brought more tears to her eyes.

Tracy understood and she didn’t continue. At least she knew that he never hurt her physically because emotionally, he caused havoc. She had never seen her friend like that before. She knew Eliza a lot of years and knew almost everything about her friend. It was the first time she was like that for a man. She was afraid that her friend fell in love with the wrong person.

“Do you want me to call your parents? To tell them you’re here?” Tracy asked taking her phone out.

Before Eliza could answer, the doctor came in. Tracy went out and decided to send David a text. In a few hours he would be home and he would be very worried if he didn’t found them there. When the doctor examined her and left, she went inside again.

Eliza was sitting on her bed, wiping her eyes when Tracy entered.

“What did the doctor say?” Tracy asked sitting in the chair beside her friend’s bed and handing her a tissue.

“They are letting me leave. He wanted to subscribe some light medication but I told him I didn’t want any pills.” She blew her nose noisily and Tracy gave her another tissue to wipe her tears.

“Lizy are you sure this was the right decision? Maybe it would be best if you did what the doctor said.” Tracy tried to reason with her.

“No, I don’t want anything. It was a one-time thing, it will never happen again.” Eliza tried to convince her friend and herself. “I need some clothes.” She continued, “I don’t even have shoes. I can’t leave the hospital like that.” Eliza added, trying to compose herself and think of her immediate needs. “I think I’ll call my sister after all.” She added defeated. She didn’t want to concern her family with her stupid panic attack.

“Yes you should. They should know that you were hospitalized.”

“Can I borrow your phone?” Eliza asked collapsing to the pillows and closing her eyes. She still couldn’t believe that she would never see him again. The tears were ready to fall once more. She took some deep breaths and tried to stop thinking about him.

“Lizy? Are you ok? Maybe you must take the medication the doctor suggested.” Tracy said again, worried after seeing her friend ready to cry again.

“No, I’m fine. Just tired. I really want to sleep.” And never wake up. She added to herself.

“I’ll call your sister and explain whatever I can, and tell her to bring you clothes.” Tracy stood up and headed to the door. “You just relax a little. Sleep if you can, until we leave. I’ll wake you up when your sister is here.” Tracy saw Eliza nodding. She left the room closing the door slowly behind her. Her friend was pale, making the black circles under her eyes seem more prominent. She sighed and went to the cafeteria to buy a cup of tea and call Jessica.

Eliza, although very tired, she couldn’t sleep. Her mind was always lingering toward him. Half of her was thinking, what is he doing now? Does he think of me at all? Maybe he thought about it and regretted his behavior and he tried to call me, but he couldn’t find me because I smashed my damn phone! Why did I have to smash my phone? The other half was like, no Eliza, he’s not thinking about you, he doesn’t want you and stop pining over him! It’s the end! Control yourself woman!
And above all that she didn’t have a job anymore. What the hell was she going to do now? The attorney needed money for the divorce. She had a little money saved and she hoped it was enough to cover the expenses but then what? She hoped that other companies were looking for assistants, but her hopes were not high. Tomorrow she would have to start searching for a new job. Tracy came back then abstracting her from her thoughts. She opened her eyes and saw her tiptoeing to the bathroom. She decided to sit on her bed since sleep evaded her.

When Tracy came out she saw that her friend was awake, looking distractedly at the wall in front of her.

“Lizy, couldn’t you sleep?” She asked softly, sitting beside her and stroking her hand that was on top of the covers.

“No. I can’t. Did you call my sister?” She asked coming back to reality and trying to smile.

“Yes, she’s coming right away. She told me she tried to call you but your phone is closed. I forgot to charge it when you came in the morning.” Tracy said apologetically.

“I threw it away. I’ll have to buy a new one.” Eliza said timidly.

“You threw your phone? Why?” Tracy asked astonished.

“I think after everything I put you through, you deserve to know what happened.” Eliza had finally decided to tell her everything. She needed to tell it to someone so she could realize it herself too, that everything indeed happened. To realize that she would never see him, talk to him, hear his laughter, see his beautiful eyes, touch him and smell his intoxicating scent ever again. Ever. With tears welling up her eyes she started the story from the moment her sister left her to the cinema. She told her about Lesley, their row, Richard’s position to all of these and their final moments together. She told her of her anger after Richard’s final message and how she smashed her phone. She told her how she wondered the streets, lost in her grief.
Tracy was listening speechless, the shock written all over her face. When Eliza finished her story she rocked her head back and forth disbelievingly.
“Lesley said all this? To you? And him, reacting like that? Oh my god Eliza! The total ass!!!!” Tracy yelled exasperated. “And she! The total bitch! How dare she imply that you were easy! You did the right thing to quit your job! I can’t believe that he treated you like that!” She said angry, standing up and pacing the room up and down.

Eliza’s tears were falling silently. How many tears did she have? Would they ever end?

Tracy seeing her friend crying again she went and hugged her tightly. “We will get through this together. You are not alone. I’ll help you as much as I can.” Tracy said feeling heartbroken for her friend and completely mad that two fuckwits treated her friend like that. Eliza was very sensitive and she always tried to hide it behind humor and smiles. But after this last year with the douche bag of a husband and now this happening to her, she crumbled. She knew that her friend was strong and she would get through this with her head high, but until that moment arrived she wanted to punch them both.

“Thank you Tracy, for everything.” Eliza said crying more, now because she felt so lucky to have a friend like that in her life.

“Don’t be silly! I consider you a sister, not only a friend. I know you would do the same for me.”

The door opened then and a frantic Jessica entered. “What the hell happened? Lizy are you ok?” she asked, running toward her, holding a bag. Tracy sat on the chair next to the bed and Jessica wrapped her arms around her sister, squeezing her tightly.

“Yes, I’m fine. It was a panic attack. Nothing serious.” She answered, returning the hug. Jessica sat on the bed beside her.

“Why did you have a panic attack? That never happened before! You are one of the calmer person’s I know!” she stated.

“There’s always a first for everyone.” She smiled reassuringly. “But I’m fine now. See?”

“Yeah…pretty fine…right. I’ll wait for the details later. I have to call mum and dad. I didn’t have a chance to call them earlier. I was in the shoot when Tracy called so I bought some clothes from the store we were shooting and I came as quickly as possible.”

“Don’t tell them!” Eliza pleaded. “I don’t want them to be worried for no reason. I’m fine now.”

“Ok, I won’t tell them anything. I don’t think is right but I won’t nonetheless. Now let’s see if anything fits because I didn’t exactly take notice of the sizes.” She smiled and started taking the clothes out. She had bought a pair of black tennis shoes, an orange, long-sleeved, cotton blouse and a woolen, short, purple jacket.

Eliza looking at them laughed.
“Seriously? An orange blouse and a purple jacket?”

“They were the first clothes I saw, so I grabbed them.” She raised her shoulders apologetically, inwardly happy that her sister was ok.

Tracy laughed too, relieved. Her friend would be ok. If she could laugh with the weird choice of clothes, she would be better quickly.

The jacket was a little tight but the rest of the clothes fitted her well. Tracy brought the jeans that the nurses had removed and she wore them. She was a little dizzy, but she acted like all was well. She didn’t want to worry them more. When she completed all the discharged papers and she signed they left the hospital.

They left Tracy in her house first. She ran inside, brought Eliza’s bag and her clothes and told Eliza to call her if she wanted to come tonight. David would pick her up and Tracy would cook her favorite dish. Eliza declined, saying she wanted to sleep. Tracy nodded, understanding. The sisters waved goodbye and drove away.

Eliza told her sister the whole story while they were driving home. She had to. Jessica was so upset, that she swore at Lesley and Richard the whole drive home. When they arrived it was already three o’ clock. They noticed that their father’s car was missing so at least Eliza didn’t have to explain her looks to her dad, at least for now.

“Mom?” Jessica called when they entered the house. There was no answer.
“I think they are both gone. Maybe they went out shopping or something.” Jessica pointed out.

“Yeah, thankfully. I’m going upstairs. I need a bath and to sleep.” Remembering something she turned from the foot of the stairs and looked at her sister. “Can you please not tell anything to Simon? I don’t want rumors to start about Richard.” Eliza pleaded remembering her sister’s fiancée. He was a director and she didn’t want for rumors to spread concerning Richard in their circles.

“Yes. Whatever you want.” Jessica answered, although reluctantly.

“Thank you Jess. Thank you for everything. I am so lucky to have you as a sister.” She smiled and continued her ascent.

Jessica went to the living room and opened the TV. She was so angry that she didn’t know what to do. She flipped through the channels and found a spy series. She decided to watch that and let the steam off. After the first shock of seeing Armitage on screen though, she closed the TV infuriated and threw the remote control on the coffee table. How she wanted to punch this man in the face!

Eliza had another shock of her own upstairs. When she went to the bathroom and looked herself in the mirror she almost didn’t recognize herself. Her eyes were swollen and red with huge dark circles underneath them, her hair a total mess, pale as a ghost. Even thin lines of worry had appeared on her face, between her eye brows. She looked terrifying. Resigned she started to take her clothes off. She threw the pair of sexy underwear that she wore for Richard and he never even saw, in the garbage bin. She didn’t want anything that reminded of him. If she could, she would tear her whole skin out. Rip her heart and throw it to the bin too. The pain was too much. How could she live without him? She tried not to take notice of the bruises he made when they had sex. But her eyes were drawn there, and the memories flooded her brain, and the tears started to fall again... When she entered the bathtub she was already shaking uncontrollably from the sobs.

She woke up terrified sometime in the night, crying. She saw a dream that he was holding her in his arms, stroking her hair and telling her how much he missed her.
She buried her face in the pillow and let all her sorrow and tears saturate it.

From that fateful day she didn’t know how a month had passed. She was behaving like a zombie, being barely alive. She drove her new car; she bought a new phone and number, she officially resigned her job and she still searched for a new position, she helped her mother and father whenever she was needed. She went out with her sister or with Tracy, but she wasn’t a hundred percent there. She tried to be cheerful and happy. She tried to act normal. But every night, when she was alone in bed, she cried and grieved for a man that was never hers.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 11

 

 

The wedding day was approaching fast. Now that she didn’t have a job, her mother had designated her chief operator of her sister’s wedding. As she was famous for her organizational skills, she was thrown to that role without having any say in it. She didn’t mind it though. She needed to keep her brain occupied.

Apart from that, she searched for jobs non-stop. She sent CV’s everywhere she could, but she still had no responses. It seemed all the positions that required her skills were filled. She even thought to start searching for jobs abroad. She considered Australia or New Zealand. Somewhere far away from him.

After two terrible months she still thought of him. She couldn’t forget him and the pain didn’t lessen. It didn’t help that the internet was still full of information of his whereabouts and even a few new photos. She wanted to follow his twitter account but thought better of it and just erased her account so she would not be tempted. She even deleted the app off her phone. She had to forget about him somehow. She could do it. She had to do it or she would go crazy!

She was in her room, trying to find something to wear. Tracy, David, Simon, Jessica and her were going out to a karaoke party, in a pub on the east side of town, to celebrate the last month of freedom for the couple. In exactly one month they would already be married. She didn’t want to go, being the only single among the happy couples, but they insisted so much that she had to give in, just to stop pestering her. She had lost a lot of weight and all her clothes were baggy on her. For a few weeks now she was feeling dizzy and tired and she didn’t have an appetite for food. That’s what falling in love with no reciprocation did to you. She sighed and searched her wardrobe for clothes. She found a black tight, the only thing that still fit and a nude color, long shirt. She wore them with black ankle boots, a black scarf and a black coat. For some reason she dressed in black a lot these days. She didn’t want to stand out and black was helping her to blend with the crowd and go unnoticed. Or maybe she tried to keep consistent to how she felt inside, with her outside appearance.
She didn’t want to wear any makeup or do anything to her hair which she left flowing freely to her shoulder’s, so taking her things she went downstairs quickly. She wished this night was already over so she could go back to bed. Maybe she had another dream of him. Only in these dreams she was happy. She always ended up waking up in tears, but she always yearned and wished for those dreams, even though they broke her heart even more.

She waved goodbye to her parents and left the house. She was going to find everyone in the pub and she was already a little late. Getting to her car the first thing she did, after turning the engine on, was to turn on the radio and play her mp3 songs. She found 'Lilitu', her favorite song from Blueneck and raised the sound. She drove, listening to the song, getting lost to its haunting sadness. She was in a real dark mood these last two months, so she was only listening to sad, break up songs, death and black metal songs, anything that had to do with death and sorrow, and in general music that didn’t help her condition at all.
When 'Lulluby' from Low came next she was already crying because she was still grieving, and she didn’t know if she could ever get over him. She really hoped she would forget him soon. This was torture and she wanted it to end.

When she arrived outside the pub she stayed in the car for a few minutes to gather her strength. She had to wear her mask of indifference, and she had to get emotionally prepared for it.
She tried to take her mind off Richard. He’s not thinking about you, so stop thinking about him! He has already forgotten you. From the very next day you were only another woman on his list of conquests.

 

    


Then her gaze fell to the magazine on the passengers sit. His beautiful face on the cover didn’t help to take her mind off him. She had bought the magazine the very day it was released and read and reread it a million times. And she always kept it in her car. This was the only place that anyone hardly ever entered, so she thought it best to keep it here, away from prying eyes and tongues. She took it carefully in her hands and stroked the cover, her fingers still remembering the texture of his skin, in her nostrils still lingering his intoxicating scent. A few tears started spilling on her cheeks again and leaving the magazine carefully down she wiped them with the back of her hand. She took a few deep breaths, trying to clear her mind off him, trying to look normal. Yeah, like there was any chance she could fool them. But she didn’t care. They insisted for her to come, she didn’t want to, so they had to put up with her miserable self. She put the magazine in the compartment box and locking her car she went inside the pub.

The heat, noise and laughter overwhelmed her. Someone was on stage trying to sing a song that she couldn’t even recognize. Resigned for the headache that was definitely going to come, she searched for them. The place was packed and it took her a few seconds to spot them. They were sitting in the back of the pub, so far back that she almost missed them. Walking towards them she saw that instead of four people, there were five sitting on the table. She instantly knew what they were trying to do. She grinded her teeth and was ready to turn and leave when Tracy saw her and waved at her. Great! Now she had to freaking stay! Really pissed she headed to the table trying not to push too hard anyone on her way. She already felt the beginnings of a headache. She arrived at looked at the four of them sternly not even giving a glance to the stranger’s way.

“Hey, you came at last!” Jessica said, looking at her meaningfully to behave herself and not say anything rude in front of the strange man.

“Yes, although I’m starting to have second thoughts.” She answered crossing her arms on her chest.

“Sit.” Tracy mouthed, tagging her sleeve to look at her and pointing to the chair between her and the stranger.

Eliza looked at where she was supposed to sit. She was completely mad at them! If she wanted to meet guys she could do that on her own! She pulled the chair as far away from him as the space allowed, and sat, not even taking her coat off.

“Lizy, let me introduce you to Luke Banks. He’s working at Barclay’s bank. We’re friends since high school.” Simon said, sitting on the other side of Luke, acting as he didn't see Eliza's attitude. “And this is Lizy, Jessica’s beautiful sister.” He added looking at Luke.

"Yep, she's a beauty alright!" Luke exclaimed spontaneously.

Eliza cringed and the characterization but she couldn’t restrain herself from smirking when she turned her gaze to the man beside her. “So your last name is Banks and you work in a bank. That’s ironic!”

Luke laughed. “Yeah, I get a lot jokes for that. But I swear it happened unintentionally.” He extended his hand. Eliza placed her hand in his and they exchanged a soft handshake. “Nice to meet you, Lizy.” He said smiling broadly.

“Actually it’s Eliza.” She answered solemnly and retrieved her hand quickly. He was taken aback by the sudden coldness in her behavior but found his composure quickly again, giving her a big smile.

He was a good looking guy in his late thirties. His hair was short, too short for her taste, and blond, with brown eyes and a kind round face. Although she could see a certain charm in him, she could not even think of dating him. She looked around her and saw all four of them looking at them expectantly. She cringed in her sit, crossing her arms. This was going to be a long night!

“What do you want to drink?” She heard Tracy asking beside her.

Eliza turned to her friend. Everybody had already ordered beers except her sister that she was drinking something orange with a straw. She didn’t want a beer or this weird orangey thing. She wanted something stronger. She knew that everybody tried to make her feel better, planning this night out, because it was obvious nowthat they planned it for her, trying to make her see that there were other men out there. But she didn’t want any other men! She wanted him! She loved him! She knew that eventually she had to move on with her life and find someone. But it was too soon. She didn’t want anyone else right now. If she couldn’t have him she preferred to be alone. And she wanted to forget him. She wanted this constant pain in her chest to finally go away. She also knew that a rebound would not help her at all right now.
“I’ll go to the bar and order something.” She stood up, wanting to escape their gazes for a little while.

“I’ll go.”Luke offered, standing up eagerly. “Just tell me what you want."

Eliza was ready to decline Luke’s kind offer but seeing her sister’s stern gaze she sat down again. “A scotch please.” She answered, adding, “Thank you” after she remembered her manners. She took off her coat and bag and hung them on the back of the chair.

“Lizy, could you please be more kind to poor Luke? He’s a really nice guy.” Jessica said gently from across the table when Luke left, Simon, nodding beside her.

As was expected Simon had found out about Eliza and Richard but he never said anything or tried to intervene, except now. He loved Eliza as he loved his sister, and he wanted to see her happy and laughing again. Of course he knew Richard, through his sister, they were acquainted for many years and they had already agreed that Richard would be in his next movie. He knew Richard to be a decent man, and even though things hadn’t worked out for him and his sister, he respected him and liked him. He was taken by surprise when he learned what happened between Eliza and him but he was taken more by surprise when he learned how Richard had ended it up. It was not like Richard to act like that. Something was wrong but when he spoke to Richard a few weeks ago, he didn’t want to raise the subject. Richard asked about his wedding and if everyone was ok, but he didn’t ask about Eliza specifically, so Simon couldn’t start a conversation. Richard was also invited to the wedding, but neither Jessica nor he, had said anything to Eliza. Probably he couldn’t make it, having other responsibilities to a different continent, so they didn’t say anything that would make Eliza even worse. They also never told her that he was to play in Simon’s next movie or that Simon was talking to him regularly.
After all that, he and Jessica thought that Luke could make Eliza see that there were other guys out there, that they still found her attractive and would respect her. Also if Richard could finally make it to the wedding and see Eliza with another man maybe it would make him realize what he lost, Jessica had added smiling wickedly yesterday, when they plotted tonight’s escapade. Simon looked tenderly at the beautiful woman beside him and his heart swelled with love. His wicked little elf!

Eliza started to get mad again. “I didn’t invite him here and definitely I wouldn’t come if I knew you were going to set up a date for me. That was low! If I want to start dating I will do it, not you! And I will be as nice or as rude as I want!” she answered fuming.

“She’s right. I told you she would get mad.” David said drinking from his beer, opposing to the whole scheme from the beginning.

“Lizy, you have to stop pining over a man that he doesn’t want you! It’s over hunny. If he wanted to find you, he would. He knows where you live. Please, we are very concerned for you. You barely live anymore!” Tracy tried to reason with her friend.

“I know that he doesn’t want me! I know!” She said between clenched teeth, the pain in her chest getting stronger. “That doesn’t mean that I’m ready to be with someone else! What exactly didn’t you understand the hundred times I told you?” Eliza was getting really rude but she had enough of this conversation. Why couldn’t they leave her alone to get through this on her own? Why did they always have to remind her that he didn’t want her? Why?

“How will you get over him if you don’t try? You are fading away in front of our eyes Lizy.” Her sister said sadly and a little irritated.

Eliza was ready to leave and was halfway off her chair, when Luke came back with her drink smiling blissfully, oblivious of the tension around him.
“Here is your drink beautiful lady.” He said cheerfully, placing the drink in front of her. Eliza sat down again and looked at his smiling face trying to hold back the tears that were ready to fall and feeling guilty. She wasn’t a rude person. She never was. She didn’t want to ruin that man’s evening or anybody else’s for that matter. She decided to stay for a little while and try to act normally, as everybody wanted. She wanted to forget Richard. She really did. But it was not up to her. Her heart had a mind of its own. How could she make her heart stop loving him?

The man that was singing terribly finished his song then, and laughter, clapping and whistles erupted from the tables around them as the man got bowing off stage.
Then another man got on stage. Probably the owner of the pub or some kind of host for this evening's event.

Ok…that was…interesting and ambitious. Next, we have Simon and Jessica singing ‘You’re the one that I want’ from Grease. Let’s hope they perform better than the guy over there.”
He laughed pointing at the table where the man had sat. People shouted that he sang excellently, other's booed and other continued to laugh and whistle.

Eliza forgetting Luke, Richard and everything else, turned to look perplexed at her sister and Simon, who was stunned beyond compare, getting off their seats. Would Simon be singing? In front of an audience? In front of this audience? Half of them were already drunk! He would be so ashamed! David and Tracy whistled and Luke patted Simon’s shoulder laughing. Simon was looking extremely pale but Jessica was glowing. She always liked to be in the centre of attention.

“You didn’t see that coming!” David said to Simon, crying from laughter.

“No, and you’re going to pay for it!” Simon answered between clenched teeth to David, while getting up and following an exultant Jessica.

When the pair reached the stage, Luke leaned closer to Eliza smiling. “David arranged it with Jessica, behind Simon’s back.”

“Does he even know the song?” Eliza asked not taking her eyes off the couple who was now ascending the stairs of the stage, and feeling sorry for Simon that had to put up with his friend’s prank.

“Yep! Jessica chose it. She said he’s singing it every single time he has a shower.” David intervened while wiping the tears of laughter that run to his cheeks.

“Oh, poor Simon.” Eliza said, turning her chair sideways so she could look at the stage better. They had already taken their positions on stage, the first notes of the song filling the air. Jessica was glowing; a big smile painted on her lips, Simon was terrified, looking even paler than a few seconds ago…you could even say he was a little green…
The audience was cheering and clapping excitedly to the rhythm. Jessica grabbed the microphone confidently and started to dance to the music. Simon was holding the mike so tight that his knuckles were white. He was standing rigid, looking lost at the crowd below him. It was going to be a sad sight to see, Eliza thought.

The verses started appearing on the screen behind them, but Simon didn’t even notice. He was looking, panicked around him. David had fallen in his chair, crying from laughter, trying to take a video with his phone but his uncontrollable laughter and shaking didn’t let him. Tracy was trying not to laugh, also recording a video, and Luke, well Luke was looking at her with a weird expression on his face. Was he looking at her? Why? The moment he realised that she saw him, he turned his gaze to the stage quickly.

Jessica was trying to make Simon sing, singing his verses, holding his hand and dancing while the crowd booed. Eliza feeling really bad, she decided it was time to help her soon to be brother in law, so she stood up, and headed to the stage purposefully. She got up, took the mike from Simon’s hands and motioned to him to go and sit down. The crowd was laughing very hard by now. She looked where the verses where up until now and started singing and dancing if you could call what she did singing or dancing. When Jessica’s turn came she gave an exceptional performance. She knew the dance routine and danced and sang to the rhythm making the male crowd whistle and cheer in appreciation. Eliza at last felt more relaxed and enjoyed it. When the song ended and after they bowed among claps and whistles, the two sisters got off stage.

That I didn’t expect! What a show!” The man said getting on stage after the girls left. “Ok! Next song will be performed by Tom and Stanley. They’ll sing ‘Girls just want to have fun’ by Cyndi Lauper! Oh gods help us!” he added seriously making the crowd laugh.

“What you did was really mean!” Eliza said to Jessica while walking to their table. “Simon was petrified!” she chastised her.

“Oh he’ll be fine! Don’t worry.” Jessica answered, making a dismissive gesture and then walking faster through the crowd to sat in Simon’s lap and giving him a big kiss she said how brave he was to at least get up on stage. Eliza rocked her head resigned. Poor Simon. He was completely smitten to let her treat him like that. She went and sat on her chair too, drinking a big sip of her scotch. She saw Simon mouth at her ‘Thank you’. She nodded and raised her glass.

“Hun, it was awful but very brave of you!” Tracy said to her laughing hysterically. Eliza rocked her head smiling.

“Awful Lizy! And I have evidence to prove it! This vid is pure gold!” David added, still laughing, taking Tracy’s phone in his hands and pushing the play button.

“I thought you were amazing!” she heard Luke saying, leaning closer.

“No, I wasn’t.” She answered matter-of-factly, “But I couldn’t let Simon faint on stage.” She added smiling.

David was showing the video to Simon and Jessica, laughing uncontrollably. Simon acted the aggrieved but at last burst to laughter also when he saw Eliza while Tracy and Jessica laughed hysterically. David showed the vid to Luke and Eliza and they both laughed and how ridiculously she looked.

“Ok, I think we should finish our drinks and go somewhere else before David finds it funny to get me up on stage again. I’m a behind the scenes guy, you know that. And… David is buying everyone drinks!” Simon said, smiling wickedly, taking his revenge.

Luke and Simon laughed when David started complaining, who only then stopped laughing at last, but he paid nonetheless. Eliza downed her scotch and standing up she felt dizzy. Damn, she should be more careful with the booze. She didn’t usually drink and that one drink already hit her in the head. Maybe she should go home. She was ready to say that she would leave when her sister came and whispered in her ear, “I know that you want to leave but please, can you come with us? Simon and I have something important to say and I want you there. We would say it here but it’s very noisy.”Jessica pleaded.

Eliza agreed reluctantly. For her sister she would do anything. She was ready to wear her coat when she felt someone clearing his throat behind her. Turning she saw Luke looking at her expectantly. He was not very tall, maybe five foot eight or nine, not nearly as tall as Richard. She sighed inwardly. She had hardly talked to this man. What did he want?
“Yes?” she asked a little irritated.

“Do you want to ride with me to wherever we go?” he suggested longingly.

“I’m sorry, Luke. I came with my car and I don’t want to leave it here.” She answered wearing her coat and buttoning it, wrapping the scarf around her neck.

“I can ride you back here later so you can take it.” he tried again.

“No, thank you.” She answered a little abruptly. Why was he so pushy? She wanted to drive her own damn car!

The others didn’t seem to notice the little exchange between them, still laughing merrily with the vid. They all left together and went to their cars, Simon said to follow him because he knew the perfect place and they would definitely find a table. Eliza went to her car and took some deep breaths. She would go, sit for an hour, tops, and go home. She felt dizzy and she wanted to lie down. She followed them with her car, her mind lingering again toward Richard. She was starting to get sick of this obsession. She wanted to take out the magazine and see his face again, but instead, kept her mind on the road and to the cars she was following, as the reasonable woman she was.

They finally arrived at the place Simon said. Eliza couldn’t see a bar anywhere. They followed Simon’s lead and climbed down a flight of stairs in an old looking building that on top of it was a convenient store. For their utter amazement there was indeed a bar at the bottom of the stairs. If you didn’t already know where it was, there was no way you could find it by yourself. It was a secret bar or something, but although hidden, it was packed. The first thing that impressed you getting inside was the cozy atmosphere of the small place and the colors. Beautiful, vibrant colors everywhere. The walls were painted with bright colored hunting scenes, but not normal hunting scenes like hunters hunting deers or things like that. No. There was Zeus transformed as a bull chasing Europe on one wall, Hades chasing Persephone in another, Achilles chasing Desdemona and so on. The ceiling was painted black with thousand stars scattered all over it. There were white lanterns, big and small hanging unevenly from the ceiling, or were placed in the corners of the room, with lit white candles inside. Those lanterns and the lit colorful candles on the tables were the only lighting of the place. There were low wooden tables scattered all over the room with big, floral and striped color pillows on the floor, where you could sit. A band was playing on the left side of the room. They were the only ones sitting on chairs so the costumers could see them properly.

A tall man noticing Simon came to them quickly and hugged him cordially. Simon introduced him as the owner of the place to his company, and then the man led them to a vacant table near the band. He told a young man, obviously working there, to bring them two more pillows and then everybody sat down. Eliza looked around her entranced. Couples were sitting, embracing, relaxing to the music, group of friends were eating and talking quietly. It was one of the most romantic places she’d ever been. She would love to bring Richard to this place, to lie back in his strong embrace while he would caress her hair, both lost to the haunting music. She held her breath. Why would she think of that? Stop thinking of him woman! Stop it!
A waitress came then, wearing a t-shirt depicting a hunting scene from the wall. They ordered their drinks and everybody looked around them.

“This place is simply amazing!” Tracy exclaimed, not hiding her enthusiasm.

“Where did you find it?” David asked Simon, equally excited, looking around him smiling.

“Well, the man you met is one of Amanda’s closest friends. We know him for many years. He opened this place a few months ago. But I see, a lot of people already know about it.” Simon answered while thanking the waitress that came with their drinks. Jessica had yet again ordered an orangey stuff, making her sister wonder.

Simon hugged Jessica, and she relaxed in his arms. The band started playing ‘Time and space’ from Cinematic Orchestra, and everybody got lost in the music. The woman’s voice was haunting and mesmerising, making Eliza’s hair stand on end on her nape.
Luke had sat close to Eliza for her great chagrin. She wanted to just relax and listen to the very talented band but he kept asking her questions. The two couples were talking to themselves, leaving Eliza to entertain him. He asked her about her job, what she did before she quitted it, her hobbies, her favorite music, drink, food, everything he could think of. Eliza answered as politely as she could without giving him any hints that something more would happen between them. She even told him that she just got out from a difficult marriage and she didn’t want to date for a little while. She asked him a few questions about him, out of politeness, not because she really cared. If the circumstances where different maybe she would be more relaxed and open to meet new people, but now she didn’t want anyone in her life.
When the song ended, everybody clapped. The band said they would have a ten-minute break and then they would be right back. And then it was when her sister and Simon told everybody their good news.

“We are pregnant!” Simon said excitedly, holding a beaming Jessica tightly in his arms.

Everybody cheered, Eliza cried aloud from happiness. She would be an aunt! Her little sister would be a mother! She stood up and went to them, hugging both tightly. She was exultant! At last some good news! The girls then, sat together, to talk about the baby.

“How many months are you?” Tracy asked, touching timidly, Jessica’s still flat stomach.

“I’m only four weeks.” She answered smiling. “I took the test yesterday, saw that I was pregnant, and today we went to the doctor. And we saw it! It’s a little, tiny bean!” she took out of her purse the first ultra sound and the girls looked at it awed.

“Does mom and dad know?” Eliza asked excitedly, not succeeding to take her eyes off the ultra sound.

“No. And don’t tell them yet. Simon and I will tell them tomorrow, over dinner.” She answered smiling.

Eliza nodded. She couldn’t stop the tears that started falling, this time from happiness. Her little sister! A mom! The guys were teasing Simon and the girls were laughing and talking happily about the baby. When the band came out again, the guys have already ordered food, because such good news must be properly celebrated and Simon was buying this time, so David found an excuse to order almost everything they had on the menu. The band started playing ‘Youth’ from Daughter. The food came quickly and everybody started eating except Eliza that was nibbling at her food lost in her thoughts.
Her sister apart from extremely happy had made her extremely worried and thoughtful also. When was the last time she had her period? She knew that her cycle was regular. The only time she missed a period was when she was extremely anxious, sad or worried about something. She remembered distinctly that when she found out that Stephen was cheating on her, she didn’t have her period for two months. At the beginning she thought she was pregnant but her gynaecologist told her it was her stress and anxiety that caused it. But now it was like she had completely forgotten it! Her last period was a few weeks before she met Richard. After that, she didn’t remember having one. She couldn’t be pregnant though! She took the freaking next day pill! And she didn’t have any symptoms! She wasn’t dizzy, a lot; well she lost her appetite so sometimes she was dizzy. She didn’t have any morning sickness, she wasn't nauseous, except when she remembered that Richard didn't want her. She definitely didn’t crave any kind of weird food. What other symptoms did a pregnant woman have? She wanted to ask her sister but she was talking with Luke and she didn’t want to interrupt them and have Luke drooling over her. She then remembered that another symptom was the sensitive breasts. She wanted to touch her breast to see if they were sensitive but she held back, remembering her surroundings. Fuck, fuck, fuck! No, don’t worry girl! You are not pregnant! It’s the sudden weight loss along with your heartbreak that caused this. She decided that tomorrow morning she would buy a pregnancy test, just to be sure. Now stop thinking about it, there’s nothing you can do.
When they finished eating, they all relaxed in their pillows, except Eliza that was sitting rigidly and uptight in hers. Simon came and sat near Jessica again, taking her in his arms and stroking her hair. David talked with Luke and Tracy had her head on David’s shoulder, eyes closed, humming to the music.

Eliza felt so alone, surrounded by all this happiness. She leaned to the wall, closed her eyes and travelled back, when she first saw him in a pub, when they met again a rainy day, outside the publication’s building. Their first kiss, the first time they had sex, the happy weekend she had in his arms. When the band started singing ‘What are the chances’ by Dusk she couldn’t hold her tears, this time from grief. The lyrics were like they were written for them.

When the song ended and she opened her eyes, she saw Luke watching her. Ignoring him she wiped her eyes and taking her phone out she looked at the time. Yep, it was time to go home. She couldn’t stand this man for some reason and her mind was too preoccupied with other worrisome stuff to have him to handle also. She felt violated by his gaze. She tapped Tracy’s shoulder and when she turned her head to look at her she told her that she was leaving.

“No stay a little more! We are celebrating the coming of your first nephew or niece!” She tried to convince her.

“Yes, I know, but this particular aunt is very sleepy.” Eliza said, trying to sound cheerful.

The others hearing that she wanted to leave, tried to convince her to stay, but seeing that they couldn’t they wished her goodnight and be extra careful on the road. When she stood up, Luke stood up also and headed her way. Now what? She thought. She hoped he didn’t want a date or something!

“I am very happy that I met you. Do you think we could see each other again, just the two of us, alone?” he asked, touching her shoulder and starting massaging it.

Eliza took a step back, making Luke’s hand drop from her shoulder. She looked at him impassively. Didn’t he understand anything from their conversation earlier?
“I’m sorry, but I told you that I just broke up and I’m not ready to start dating again. I’m really sorry.” She answered politely.

“I think that you would forget him more easily if you dated, me.” he tried again, coming closer.

Eliza’s patience started running out. She looked exasperatedly at Simon but he was talking with Jessica and he wasn’t looking their way. Tracy was not in her pillow so probably she had gone to the bathroom and she hadn't noticed it, and David was probably sleeping, by the sight of him. She decided to just be rude, although she didn’t want it.
“I’m not interested in dating you at all. I’m sorry Luke.” She answered quietly but matter-of-factly, and pushing him mildly aside she left and started climbing the stairs.

She had more serious and urgent things to consider than Luke and her mind completely forgot him the moment she stepped out into the fresh night air. She walked quickly to her car and getting inside she locked all the doors. She looked at her belly. She couldn’t be pregnant… she just couldn’t! She touched her breasts tentatively. Truth be told they did feel a little sensitive, like when her period was about to start. She started trembling, the realization of a possibility like that finally settling in. What would she do if she was indeed pregnant? She didn’t have a job; she didn’t have money, a husband, nothing. And if she was how could she find Richard and tell him that he would be a father? Could she tell him? And what would be his reaction?
“Stop it!” she shouted to herself frustrated. It wasn’t the time to panic and she should wait to have a pregnancy test, before she started making assumptions and raising questions.

She started the engine. She drove without really paying attention to anything around her. How had she not noticed the lack of her two lost periods? How? Had Richard completely consumed every coherent thought? Eliza it’s time to wake up, she chastised herself, time to see what’s happening around you and in you. How could you be so stupid? When she spotted with the corner of her eye an open drugstore she stopped her car abruptly. Thankfully the car that was following hers was far away and that's the only reason she didn't cause an accident. She paked her car and run breathlessly inside. After that, her mind was again preoccupied the whole ride home.

Raising her head, sometime later, she was completely astonished to see that she had parked outside her parent’s house. When she arrived and how she had no clue, but thanked whoever was watching out for her, that she didn’t have an accident. She entered the house and opened the lights. Her parents were visiting some friends and she was alone for now. Shivering from cold and anxiety she went to the bathroom, carrying the bag with her. She closed the door and locked it, sat in the toilet sit and read the instructions. Two lines meant she was pregnant. She read the instructions again to be sure and then she tried to open the cap of the stick but her hands were sweaty and slippery. She wiped them in a towel and tried again. The second time she managed to take the cap off and quivering started to pee on it. When she finished she placed the cap on the stick, left it, face down, on the sink, while she washed her trembling hands. Three minute she had to wait, the instructions said. She paced the small space hyperventilating. The torturous minutes felt like hours but finally they passed. She stood in front of the sink but couldn’t make herself turn the test upside down. She was so nervous that she wanted to throw up, the two drinks that she had earlier, helping her nausea extremely. She looked at her phone. Her parents would be home soon and she didn’t want them to see her like that and start the questions. ‘Come on girl’ she tried to convince herself loudly, ‘just take the freaking stick and look at it.’ But what would she do if she was pregnant? What? Her mind was in turmoil, her heart beating fast, her stomach a nauseous knot.
Taking a deep breath, she grabbed it with a trembling hand and closed her eyes. She turned it upside down but she couldn’t make herself to open her eyes. She was shivering all over when she finally decided to open them and look down at it; a second later the test fell to the floor and running to the toilet she started throwing up.

                                                    

Chapter Text

CHAPTER 12

 

 

She hadn’t slept at all, turning and tossing all night in her bed shocked. She couldn’t believe that this was actually happening to her. She had taken the freaking next day pill! The box said she had up to five days after unprotected sex to take it. What the hell happened?
She made an appointment with her gynecologist the moment she knew his office has opened. She sounded so desperate on the phone, that the secretary squeezed an appointment just before noon.
She went to the mirror of her room a numerous times and raised her blouse, trying to see where the freaking baby was. Her stomach, after the weight she had lost, was flat at last. She was turning round and round trying to see if she had a bump. She couldn’t see a freaking thing! Maybe the test was wrong and she wasn’t pregnant after all. She didn’t even have any symptoms for crying out loud! She had decided to stay in her room until the appointment, not daring to go out and face her parents. She was absolutely sure that the moment they would see her they would instantly know, but nature was calling persistently to use the bathroom, so she couldn’t hide anymore. She went to the bathroom and when she got out her mother yelled to her from downstairs.

“Lizy, are you up? I need your help!”

“Yes, I’ll be down in a minute.” She answered fretting. Her mother would definitely know. She would take a look at her and know! With her nerves on edge she dressed quickly, without even noticing what she wore, and went downstairs. Her mother was cooking and Eliza’s stomach clenched, feeling nauseated by the smell. Oh! Now she was nauseated! Right! Great!

Her mother turned when she walked in the kitchen and looked at her.
“You haven’t slept again? You look awful! You’re going to find a job hunny, don’t worry so much.” Her mother said reassuringly, stirring something vile smelling in a pot.

“Yes, you know me. Always fretting and worrying.” She gulped, trying to take breaths through her mouth. “You needed my help?” she asked, heading to the kitchen window and opening it up. She needed some fresh air and quickly. A fierce wind blew when she opened it, tousling her hair around her face and chilling her body, but she took some deep breaths relieved. She already felt better.

“Lizy, it’s cold, close the window! I have turned the heat on.” Her mother said, leaving the pot and walking her way to close the widow. “Come.” She said after she closed it. Eliza was looking at the widow with longing. “I want you to stir the sauce so I can start the dessert.”

“I can do the dessert.” She answered quickly. She just didn’t want to be in close proximity with the damn pot!

“You'll do that? That would be great! The recipe is over the table.”

She read the recipe, for chocolate/caramel brownies, Simon’s favorite, and after finding everything she needed she started breaking eggs in a bowl and stir them. She had made this dessert before and she knew what she had to do without reading the recipe every now and again, so her mind was free to wonder.

If she was indeed pregnant would she tell Richard? And if she decided to tell him, how was she supposed to find him? She didn’t have his number anymore. She never asked his e-mail, or his address. She could tweet him… she snickered. Yeah right Eliza. What on earth would she do?
Her mind then drifted off to darker places and sobered immediately. What if I find him, and I tell him I’m pregnant and he won’t believe me? What if he doesn’t want the baby? Maybe he’s already with Lesley. He won’t want a baby if he’s in another relationship. What if he tells me to have an abortion? Do I want to have an abortion? Do I want to keep the baby if he doesn’t want it? And how am I supposed to find a job if I’m pregnant?
She started hyperventilating. Was she having another panic attack? Now? Collect yourself Eliza! Feeling ready to faint she dropped everything and run to the front door, opening it quickly. When the cold air hit her she started feeling a little better. She sat at the steps trying to get some deep breaths.

“Lizy, are you alright? What happened sweety?” she heard her mother’s concerned voice behind her.

“Nothing mom, don’t worry. It was too hot in the kitchen and I needed some air, that’s all.” She tried to sound as normal as she could. Could everybody just stop calling her sweety at last?! What Am I gonna do with a baby? It’s not the right time! These two last phrases circled her mind again and again.

“Lizy, I know you too well to throw lame excuses at me.” Her mother answered worried. “What happened? How are you feeling?” she came and sat beside her, placing her hand in her daughter’s forehead, checking her temperature. “You’re not having a fever. On the contrary, you’re absolutely freezing!” she stated, shocked. “Come inside, hunny. Come on, get up.” she tried to persuade her, standing up herself.

Eliza resigned, stood up. She felt a little better now, the fresh air helping her breathing. But when they were inside again and the door closed behind her, she felt like she was going to suffocate, the walls closing in around her, trapping her.
“Mom , I don’t feel well.” she stopped abruptly, not able to make another step.

“Lizy?” seeing her daughter placing her hands on her knees and starting to take deep, ragged breaths, she run to the kitchen, closed the oven and all the other appliances and taking their coats she motioned her out the door. Her heart was racing fast. Her daughter was melting away in front of her eyes for the last two months. And now this? They had talked with her husband and decided to give her space to come in terms with her new life but it had gone too far. She should have done something sooner. She didn’t know what, but something, anything! She helped Eliza in the passenger seat and run to get in herself. She started the engine and opened the window to her daughter’s side. She was lying in her seat, pale as a ghost, trying to breathe deeply.

“Lizy, what’s wrong sweety? Can you speak?” she asked frightened, trying to speed through the traffic.

“I-I think it’s a p-panic attack.” Eliza said, trying to calm down and breathe deeply. She was repeating to herself as a mantra, ‘calm,breathe’ over and over again.

“A panic attack? Since when you have panic attacks?” her mother yelled anxiously.

Eliza couldn’t respond, she tried to repeat her mantra and to clear her head from all the negative thoughts. But what am I gonna do? What? What?

“Lizy, what do you want me to do? How can I help?” her mother asked really concerned and worried.

Eliza just shook her head. Her mother was ready to scream from worry but instead focused on the road and tried to remember the faster ways that lead to the hospital.
After a while and when the car was already near the hospital, Eliza started to feel better. Her breathing was easier, she could think coherently again. She decided that she needed to speak to her mother. She was out of her wits scared and this last panic attack brought her to her senses. She wanted her advice.
“Mom?” she turned to her mother.

“Yes, sweety? How are you? We are almost there.” She replied, stroking her hair a few times, trying to calm her and then turning her attention back to the road again.

“Mom, I’m better. There’s no need to go to the hospital.”

“Of course we’ll go! I don’t know what happened but we’re definitely going!”

“Mom, this had happened before. It was a panic attack, nothing to worry about.”

“What do you mean it happened again? When?” Laura asked perplexed.

“A couple of months ago. They can do nothing in the hospital. It’s over already, I feel better now.” Eliza tried to calm her mother.

“And why haven’t you told me? I’m your mother Lizy! I have the right to know everything that’s happening to my children! How am I supposed to help you if I don’t know anything?” she sounded hurt and angry at the same time.

Eliza felt guilt and regret for not telling her anything. Her mother didn’t know that she was in love with Richard; she thought that she was depressed because she lost her job. What a mess had she made? And everything went from bad to worse.
“Mom can we stop somewhere? I want to talk to you about something.” She pleaded timidly, already regretting the grief she was about to cause her. This was supposed to be a happy day, with Jessica and Simon delivering their happy news, but instead she had to ruin everything again.

“Yes, we can go to that café over there.” Laura pointed to a café about 200 meters ahead of them in the opposite side of the road. She was tense and she thought it would be better if they went to the hospital instead, but her daughter seemed better alright. She wanted to hear what her daughter had to say, but she really didn’t know what to expect now. Her daughter’s life was full of unpleasant surprises these last months.

They found with great difficulty a parking spot and walked in silence the few meters to the café. Laura looking at her daughter’s way the whole time and Eliza looking at the street on her feet. It had a few free tables and Eliza chose one that was far away from the occupied ones, so their conversation could have some privacy. After they ordered, her mother was looking at her expectantly. Eliza decided to go with half truths. She couldn’t bring herself to admit how much Richard hurt her. And her mother wouldn’t understand either. She would find it really weird that she fell for a guy that she knew for a few days.
So after they brought their order Eliza being very careful started her story, blaming the loss of her job for her first panic attack. She told her that the guy she saw in the car with her, had parted ways as friends, and that last night she discovered something that caused the second panic attack today.

Laura listened, not truly believing everything her daughter said, but trying not to criticize. She was happy that she at last decided to confess something of what has been going on these last months. She knew that there was more to the story of the nameless guy in the car and was contemplating to ask more about him, when she learned why her daughter had the last panic attack this morning, and she forgot everything else.
“You are WHAT?” Laura screamed without realizing it.

Eliza tried to shush her, “Mom, please” she pleaded, “I don’t know if I’m indeed pregnant. The test showed that I am but I don’t have any symptoms. I took the pill three days after the intercourse and the box said it was effective up to five days. I don’t know why it didn’t work.” She tried to defend herself.

“You didn’t wear a condom? Eliza what have I told you?! Do you remember how many times I talked to you about contraception to you and your sister? Does he know? Did you tell him? What’s his freaking name?” her mother ranted angrily, trying to keep her voice low, unsuccessfully.

“His name is Richard and he doesn’t know anything. I’m not even sure I know yet. I have an appointment in…” she looked at her phone, “… two hours.” She added, timidly.

“So this Richard guy, where is he? When are you going to tell him? And don’t think that you’re not pregnant. This tests never lie.” Her mother stated, making Eliza’s heart sink.

“I don’t know where he is. I haven’t seen him in almost two months.” Eliza admitted halfheartedly. How this two months passed without seeing his face or hearing his laugh was beyond her. Her heart skipped a bit remembering his laugh and tried to compose herself so her mother didn’t understand how much he missed him.

But her mother had already understood enough. “Now, tell me the whole truth Eliza. You haven’t told me anything about him. I want to know who the father of my first grandchild is, and how your relationship ended. I know you; you were always, ALWAYS, with men that you had feelings for. You were never the one to sleep around Eliza, and don’t try to present this as a mistake. Is he the reason you broke up with your husband?” she asked irritated.

“He is not the reason I broke up with Stephen!” She said indignantly. “I met him a few days after I left Stephen.” Her mother’s sixth sense always left her speechless. She should have known she could not fool her! “He is an actor. His name is Richard Amitage.” Her chest started to ache again saying his name out loud. “He left me. I told him that I loved him and he let me go. He didn’t love me.” Eliza said with difficulty, this conversation evoking bad memories of their last meeting. His harrowing truths evading her mind and making her heart tear again in pieces, leaving her breathless.

Laura seeing the expression on her daughter’s face tried to calm down, although she only wanted to shake her roughly, to instill some sense in her. What exactly was she thinking, having sex without protection? But her daughter loved him. She could see it in her face and she couldn’t believe how she could be so blind these last two months. It wasn’t the loss of her job that brought her daughter to her knees. No, it was him. She had seen them from their living room window when they were sitting in the car. She had seen her daughter’s expression, how they both acted. She had to find this…actor! But first they had to see what they would do with their immediate problem. Eliza was sitting motionless, looking at the table, fidgeting with a napkin. Laura drank a sip from her, cold now, coffee. Taking a deep breath and trying to calm, she started the conversation again.
“ Lizy, we will find him, but first I want to ask you something. Do you want to keep the baby?” her mother asked seriously.

Eliza that had raised her head when her mother started to speak looked at her shocked. It wasn’t that the thought hadn’t crossed her mind. She thought about it, a lot. She knew that if she kept the baby she wouldn’t find a job for at least a year. And then what was she supposed to do with the baby if she started working? If she kept it and stayed for a year unemployed she wouldn’t have any money. Not for the doctor, the birth, the baby’s things. Not even to eat. Where were they supposed to live? In her parent’s house? For how long? She always wanted to be a mother, but not like this. She loved kids. She always wanted a big family. She felt her mother coming to sit beside her and taking her in her arms. She didn’t know how cold she felt until she felt her mother’s warmth engulf her.

When her daughter didn't answer Laura continued. “Lizy, we’ll go to the doctor together and then we’ll see what we’ll do. If you want to keep the baby we’ll find a way to make it through. I always wanted to be a grandma.” She added trying to make her daughter feel better while caressing her hair. She felt her daughter’s first sobs and then the tears that started wetting her neck.

“Mom, I’m so sorry.” Eliza mumbled on her shoulder. “I’m so scared. I feel so alone.”

“You’re not alone Lizy, you have all of us.” Laura’s voice broke along with her heart. She knew that whatever her daughter chose to do she would support her. She held her, remembering when she cradled her in her arms as a child. She was still her little child.

Eliza lifted reluctantly from her mother’s embrace and blew her nose in a napkin. These last two months she had cried more than all of her life combined. She took the glass of water and sipped a little. Her mother’s phone rung then and Laura picked it up. It was her father and he was looking for them. Her mother told him that Eliza was not feeling well and had to run to the hospital but it was nothing and they would be back in a few hours. He was persisting to learn more details but her mother just told him they would discuss it later. She told him to order take out when Jessica and Simon would arrive. Even Eliza heard her father’s surprised yelp to this news. They never ordered take out. Her mother was against all the fast foods, preferring to cook everything.

They sat a little longer at the café after the phone call ended, with Eliza and her mother talking about possible solutions to her problem. She didn’t know if she should tell Richard about the child. She didn’t even know if she would keep it. Her mother was against abortion but she had to agree with whatever her daughter decided. It was her life.

They arrived at the gynecologist’s a half hour earlier and they had to wait patiently at the reception area. Eliza was either fidgeting with her hands or pacing up and down the little room, stressed. Her mother didn’t speak, knowing that her daughter needed to take out her anxiety somewhere. When it was Eliza’s turn she froze and couldn’t make the few steps to ender the doctor’s office. Her mother nudged her softly with her hand and Eliza entered cautiously, with her mother on her heels. Doctor Paterson greeted them cordially and they sat. She told him her problem, that even though she took the next day pill, the pregnancy test showed that she was pregnant. He listened carefully before he responded.
“These pills are not a hundred percent effective, as the pregnancy tests are not always right. The only way to find the truth is in there. Come, let’s have an ultrasound, and there shall be light!” The doctor said smiling encouragingly.

Eliza gulped and followed him to the examination room. Her mother was hovering by the entrance door not daring to come in. when Eliza was ready and lying down on the bed, the doctor put gel on her belly and opened the ultra sound machine and the screen. He placed the transducer probe on her abdomen and started searching. Eliza’s heart was pounding so fast that she thought it would burst at any time.

“Ahhh! Do you see there? This little bean? Congratulations Eliza! You’re going to be a mummy!” the doctor said with a beaming smile.

Eliza’s heart stopped completely. She looked at the finger of her doctor, pointing to something on the screen but her mind was completely blank. So it was true. She was really pregnant. She felt her mother by her side, holding her hand. Eliza turned her gaze at her. She was pale, looking at the screen with an awed, pained and sad expression. She turned her eyes to the screen again, feeling the first tears starting to fall from her eyes. If the circumstances were different this would be the happiest moment of her life.
The doctor opened the sound of the machine then and a loud heartbeat filled the room. Eliza held her breath shocked. That was her baby.

“Well, by the size of the embryo I estimate you’re in the eighth week of your pregnancy. But I have to take some measurements to be sure.” Eliza couldn’t speak, looking at the screen without being able to see anything, her eyesight blurry. Her mother nodded in agreement, without saying anything either.

“Well, you are indeed 8 weeks pregnant. Your baby looks completely healthy, forming amazingly well.” The doctor turned at her and said after he finished. “I will make a DVD of this to give you later. Now, let’s get up and go to my office to tell you what you’ll do next.” He froze the image on the computer screen and removed the probe off her belly. He wiped the gel with a towel carefully and left her to get dressed. Laura was looking at the frozen image, unable to move. Eliza retrieved her hand from her mother’s and stood up, going to get dressed. Her legs were barely holding her. She was shaking uncontrollably from the shock. Her mind was whirling. What should she do? When she was presentable again, she found her mother still in front of the screen, looking aghast.
“Mom? We have to go to the office.” Eliza prompted her and Laura woke up from her reverie. When they entered the office, Laura’s phone was ringing. She took it off her bag and pushed the ignore button. Then they both sat down, Eliza weeping her eyes on a tissue.

“Well, let’s talk about the tests I want you to make.” The doctor started but Eliza interrupted him.

“What if I don’t want to keep the baby?” she asked. She heard her mother’s sudden intake of breath.

“Well, why do you want to terminate the pregnancy?” He asked thoughtful, sitting back. “I remember you wanted a child for a long time. Does Stephen still don’t want children? Do you want me to talk to him?” the doctor met Eliza when she first visited his office when she was seventeen, and she was his patient forever on. He knew of her struggles to convince her husband to have a child.

“We broke up with Stephen, and the child is not his.” She answered quietly.

The doctor took calmly the news. “Does the father of the child know about your decision?” he asked.

“No, he doesn’t even know I’m pregnant. I haven’t seen him for two months now.” she said trying not to cry again but not succeeding it. Her mother didn’t say anything, hardly breathing by her side.

“I’m going to leave you a week to decide this, Eliza.” The doctor said, raising his hand to stop her when she was ready to interrupt him. “I know, that you think that you decided but I want you to really think this through. I’ll give you only a week because the longer you leave it the more difficult it would be to terminate the pregnancy. Please, try to contact the father and if he doesn’t want it and you’re still persistent about your decision then I will arrange the abortion.” He said at last, looking at Eliza straight in the eye.

Eliza stood up resigned. Her doctor just postponed the inevitable for a week. She had made up her mind. Seeing the baby made it real and frightening. She wasn’t ready to raise a child on her own. She decided she would not search for Richard and she would never tell him anything. He could search for her these two months if he wanted. She may have thrown her phone, and therefore their only connection, but he knew where she lived. And he never cared to search for her. He had forgotten her and moved on so she decided to do the same. At last shielded with determination she decided to take her life in her own hands. She would have the abortion and try to find a job abroad. As far away from him as she could. Africa didn’t sound such a dreary place… her thoughts were interrupted by her doctor who was holding something and extended his hand to her. Eliza saw what he held but she didn’t make a move to take it. Her doctor looked at her sternly but she didn’t yield.

“Eliza, I know that you’re hurt but think your options very carefully. Even if he doesn’t want it, you are more than capable to raise a child.” Her doctor said at last and gave the DVD to Laura which she took and put in her bag immediately.

“I’m sorry Doctor Paterson, but my mind is set.” Eliza answered, trying to sound determined.

“Ok, then. Arrange with my secretary an appointment for next week and we’ll discuss everything then.” Dr. Paterson said finally, hoping that stubborn Eliza would change her mind until then.

Eliza nodded, gave her hand to him and after her mother said her goodbyes too, they paid and left.

They drove in silence, both lost on their thoughts. Her mother’s phone rang again and she picked it up saying that they would be home shortly. At last Laura broke her silence first.
“Are you sure you don’t want to keep the baby?” She asked hesitantly.

“Yes, mom. It was a mistake and I can’t pay for this for the rest of my life. I want a baby but not like that.” She said defensively. She made up her mind. She made it. She was going to do it.

“Ok, hunny.” Laura sighed and kept driving. She knew that her daughter was right but she couldn’t stop feeling sad about the first grandchild she would never hold in her arms. She wanted to ask Simon about this actor. Probably he also knew how to contact him. She was also thinking though, what if she found him and things got worse. What if she found him and didn’t want to hear about her daughter or the baby. She had two minds on this and couldn’t decide what to do yet.

“Mom, I just want a favor. Please don’t say anything to anyone. I can’t deal with everybody’s questions right now.” she said, looking at her pleadingly.

Laura just nodded. She wouldn’t say anything. But she would have to talk with her daughter about this again and soon. She didn’t want her to regret her decision later.
They arrived home at last and were received with a lot of questions and worry. Simon and Jessica were already there along with Cornelius. Laura and Eliza told them that she had an acute pain in her stomach and that’s the reason they went to the hospital. After they convinced everybody that she was ok, Eliza excused herself saying that she needed to rest and smiling reassuringly to all of them went to her room.

 

 

She lay on her bed, without even undressing. She closed her eyes and hoped that when she woke up everything would be just a nightmare.

 

 

After a month…

 

The wedding was a success. Jessica was a radiant and absolutely glowing bride. She was wearing a long, white, silk wedding dress. Her red hair was on the top of her head with little strands falling here and there. She had a purple silk ribbon underneath her breasts. Although the front of her dress seemed simple, the back was a masterpiece. Lace was covering her back until down her waist, with little tiny buttons running down her spine. The flowing white skirt had an opening from the waist down, revealing a deep purple silk fabric with white flowers scattered on it. The dress and the angelic bride had made quite an impression.

Jessica's wedding dress

 

Simon was very handsome as well, with his black tuxedo and purple vest and tie to match Jessica’s dress. None of them stopped smiling through the whole ceremony. When they exchanged they’re vows even Amanda was touched and her eyes welled up. It was a truly magical moment to see two people so in love, unite at last.

The wedding was held at the Osterley Park, Simon’s favorite building. The fact that in one of the Batman movies, it was used as Bruce Wayne’s mansion, helped a lot to be this building his favorite. The weather for December was unexpectedly mild, it didn’t rained at all and even a few rays of sunlight passed through the clouds, making the photographer of the wedding ecstatic.

After the wedding ceremony, close family and friends were invited to one of the Kew Gardens venues, the Cambridge cottage, for the wedding party. This cottage even had its own exclusive garden’s making the wedding party private. The sun had set and the personnel had lighted the tiny Christmas lights in the garden, making anyone that walked through the little paths, feel like they were walking through a fairy land.

Eliza, with her sleeveless, long, flowing, purple, bridesmaid dress, was walking the garden, her heels crunching on the tiny pebbles. She had forgotten her matching shawl inside and she was starting to get cold, but the atmosphere was so magical and serene out here that she didn’t want to leave just yet. The party was going on strong inside, most of the guests already half drunk. The music was very loud and after two hours of this, she wanted a little peace and quiet. She found a bench, sat down and closed her eyes, breathing deeply the cold, fresh air.

Eliza's dress

 

The last month was a total nightmare. She was debating the possibility to keep the baby, when a job acceptance from a magazine as an editor came from New York. That was the thing that tipped the scale and made her do it. She never thought that her, that loved children so much, would do something like that to her own child. But she didn’t have an option. This experience didn’t leave her unscathed though. She would carry forever the burden of her action. But it also made her think and change everything drastically, inside and out. The divorce papers were finally in her hands and she was a free woman. She had become stronger and harder. She stopped pining over a man that never truly wanted her. She resolved to never think of him again. She threw the magazine, the DVD’s and everything that was connected to him in any way. She was uneasy for moving to the same continent as he, but New York was a huge city and there was no way she could ever see him.

With the internal resolutions came external alterations as well. She cut her hair to her shoulders and had honey colored highlights. That haircut complimented her face more, now that she had lost so much weight. A lot of her relatives hadn’t even recognized her. She had finally become like the models all men liked. Like he liked. Like Amanda, like Lesley… She got up angry. No more. That’s in the past. Tomorrow noon the flight for her new life was taking off and she was eager for this fresh start. But now she would have fun. She would not see her parents, sister and friends for a long time and she was losing precious moments sitting here all alone. She walked back to the party with a new resolution and at last a happy smile spread on her face.

She went and sat with her parents a little. They were both a little drunk and therefore more relaxed. They were talking and laughing, sharing memories with her aunts and uncles. When her sister sat at last, she went to her and talked a little. She was starting to get easily tired. Jessica was already on her second month going to third and she had all the symptoms pregnant women usually have. But that didn’t prevent her for dancing almost the whole time since the party started. When a friend of Simon’s came and asked Eliza to dance, she hesitated to accept, wanted to keep her sister company, but with her sister’s coaxing she stood up. He led her to the dance floor and started both dancing to an upbeat song.
He introduced himself as Jack. He was tall, with black, short hair and olive skin. His beauty was exotic but it was his character that made her like him. They started talking and dancing, finally Eliza relaxing and actually enjoying it. When the song ended she was ready to leave but he caught her hand and pleaded her to stay and dance with him another song. She accepted smiling and then ‘Stripped’ by Shiny Toy Guns started to play. Jack placed his hands, smiling, on her waist and they started swaying to the rhythm, bringing her closer to his body.
When he whirled her around, so her back was leaning against his chest, Eliza saw intense blue eyes looking at her across the room, a few feet away from her, between the moving bodies. She stopped dancing and her breath caught in her throat. No. No! He couldn’t be here! Why was he here? How? A couple dancing close to them blocked her view and when she looked again he was gone.

                                                     

“Eliza, what’s wrong?” Jack asked perplexed, still holding her and swaying to the music.

“Nothing, I thought I saw someone I knew.” She answered and with trembling knees she started dancing again. Now she was hallucinating also? When the song ended Jack was trying to convince her to go and sit with him, but she declined, saying she had to go to her sister. He backed down gracefully and Eliza after thanking him, walked quickly outside. She started pacing the gardens fast, trying to convince herself that she wasn’t crazy.

“Now that I decided to forget him, my mind plays tricks!” she murmured, facing to the night sky. A cold breeze had started to blow and the air smelled of rain. Taking a few deep breaths and convincing finally herself that she wasn’t crazy, maybe a little drunk, she turned to take the path that lead back to the cottage, when she heard steps coming her way. Her heart started beating fast, why, she didn’t know. She continued walking nonetheless, her eyes looking down at her feet, when she saw a pair of male, lustrous black shoes in front of her and she moved aside to give to whomever he was, space to pass. The shoes stopped and her heart stopped as well. She closed her eyes, not daring to raise her head.
She was not crazy, she was not hallucinating, he was there. He was there!
She passed beside him , her naked arm brushing fabric. Her breath caught in her throat but she continued walking. Eliza go. Go! Her mind was screaming at her. Then she felt his hand closing around her arm. A single touch was enough for her numb nerves to awake, for her blood to start running faster in her veins, for her heart to start speeding. She stopped, her knees barely holding her anymore. But she didn’t turn. She didn’t raise her head.
“Let me go.” She said quietly, surprised herself by how steady her voice was.

He didn’t speak and he didn’t let go of her arm. Instead he pulled her towards him slowly. She wanted to leave but her feet disobeyed her. The treacherous limbs complying to his command. And she was in front of him, his familiar scent dizzying her head, evoking suppressed memories to emerge. Why was he torturing her? Why was he here? How?

“Eliza, look at me.”

Her insides melt, his deep, velvety voice caressing her ears. She held back a sigh when she heard again her name from his lips, but she didn’t raise her head.
“Let me go.” She said again, stubbornly, looking at the space between them, her long, flowing dress touching the tips of his shoes. Her heart was beating so fast she was absolutely sure he could hear it. She saw his other hand raising from his side and moving up to her face, his thump touching lightly her chin, scorching it. And felt her head being lifted up. And as her head was lifted she saw his open to the neck white shirt; with the ever present stray hair, his Adam’s apple, his stubbled chin, his thin, soft lips, his regal nose and finally his eyes. His magnetic, hypnotizing eyes.

“My beautiful Eliza.” She heard him whisper.

They just looked at each other. Eliza was rigid, arms on her sides while Richard still held her arm with one hand and her chin with the other. She couldn’t speak, she tried with all her might not to fall to his spell. But she had forgotten how beautiful he was. And she just looked at him, taking in his face, her eyes happy to be able to bathe in his presence again, her whole body awakening at last from its deep slumber.
She felt her hands starting to rise and held them, with all the force she could master, at her sides. She saw him leaning towards her, slowly, always looking at her. And she couldn’t leave, she couldn’t stop what she knew was coming. And she didn’t want to stop it, her whole body screaming for this. Her face rose a little unintentionally.
First she felt his breath on her lips, fresh as the breeze around her, then his nose brushing hers, and then his lips, finally his lips, touching tentatively hers.

 

                                             

 

Her lips tinkled at the knowing touch, goose bumps travelled in waves all over her body and she closed her eyes, letting herself get lost in the moment.
He opened her lips with his, slowly licking his way in, and her tongue found his and started dancing tentatively to the rhythm they had left unfinished three months ago. With his hand that was holding her chin; he caressed her jaw up to her temple and moving higher, sank his fingers in her hair and brought her head closer to him. Then she felt his other hand trailing a path down her arm, leaving her skin burning and moving slowly to her waist, bringing her closer to him, against his body.

When their bodies touched it was like an electric current permeated them and the kiss from soft and guarded became hot and passionate in a second. Their teeth clashed, their tongues swirled and Eliza lifted her hands and grabbed the lapels of his jacket for support. Richard removed his hand from her hair and guided her arms around his neck, bringing her even closer. Then he placed his other hand to her back as well and pulled her deeper in his embrace. Eliza could feel their erratic hearts beating in sync.

“I missed you so much.” He said on top of her lips, moving his mouth along her jaw line, down her neck, raining her sensitive skin with passionate kisses.

Eliza was lost, her mind confused. She tilted her head to the side to give him access and moaned every single time his lips made contact with her skin. When his mouth reached the swell of her breasts the shock was so sudden that her mind cleared for just a brief second. But it was enough. It was all that she needed to take the function of her body in her own hands again. With all the courage and strength she could gather, she pushed his chest forcefully. From the shock, his grip relaxed and she was able to run away and head inside before he could chase her.

Pushing drunk friends and relatives aside she gathered her things and her father’s car keys in a hurry, and without saying anything to anyone she run to the exit and to the car. With trembling hands she tried to put the key to the ignition but the keys fell to the floor. She found them quickly and the second time she succeeded to put the key in, and start the engine. With the corner of her eye she saw Richard coming towards the car. She reversed the car and when the first tears started to fall down her cheeks, she had already left him behind her.

 

                                                                                      

 

 

“What have you done? Stupid! Stupid!” she yelled to herself the whole ride to her house. She was just starting to get over him and he came back? To her sister’s wedding?! How did he know when the wedding was? Oh yes…Amanda… She probably invited him! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
“You let him manipulate you again! You freaking let him kiss you!” How she had missed him! Her lips were still tingling; her body was still humming by his touch. She wished she was already on the plane and flying away from him! He was like a drug. The moment she saw him, the moment he touched her, she was lost. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Yeah you are over him alright! Stupid, stupid, stupid!
She arrived at her house and run inside locking all the doors. She knew she acted foolishly. He wouldn’t break in the house. She run to her room, closed and locked that door as well. She didn’t know why she was doing that, to leave Richard outside, or to keep herself away from him? She sat on the floor, leaning against her bed, her arms around her knees, the tears falling continuously on her cheeks. She didn’t know how long she sat like that, in the dark, tears running down her face.
Her ringing cell woke her out of her stupor. She grabbed the bag from her bed and searched for the phone. It was Simon.

“Hey Simon.” Her voice sounded croaked and she cleared her throat.

“Where are you?” Simon asked worried.

“I came home. I wasn’t feeling well.” She wanted to find a better excuse but couldn’t think of anything else.

“What happened?” Simon asked again, irritation starting showing in his voice.

“Nothing, I just had a migraine that got worse.” Eliza answered timidly.

“So it had nothing to do with Armitage coming.” Simon pressed on.

“He came? I haven’t seen him.” She lied shamelessly, feigning ignorance, gulping.

“How did you leave?” Simon continued like he didn’t hear her.

“I took dad’s car.” She answered sighing, a headache indeed starting forming on her temples. She heard him sighing relieved.

“Maybe that’s as good. You parents are drunk, they wanted to leave and we couldn’t find the car keys anywhere. Richard volunteered to drive them home. They are on their way.”

“He did WHAT? And you let him?!” she screamed, getting up, forgetting her tears and everything else.

“I cannot leave my own wedding party to take them home.” He answered defensively.

“You know that there are taxis, right?” she yelled at him. She was infuriated with Simon and Richard. Simon knew everything! Well almost everything. About the pregnancy only she and her mother knew, but he knew what she’d be gone through emotionally these last months! Why did he accept?

“I tried to dissuade him, I even called a taxi, but he insisted, and your father wanted his new friend to drive him home.” He responded smugly.

“His new FRIEND?! When had they become ‘friends’?” She yelled again.

“I introduced them to your parents when he came and they started talking. Richard spent almost the whole night at their table.”

Eliza was furious! Talk to them? She prayed her parents hadn’t said anything stupid! If he thought that she would talk to him or manipulate her with his divine face, he was delusional. She hung the phone without even saying goodbye, too mad to speak. She opened the lights of her room and went to the mirror. She was a mess. She couldn’t let him see that he still affected her! No!
Unlocking her door she went to the bathroom and removed the make-up; then she took off the dress hurriedly and wore the buggiest and oldest pair of yoga pants she possessed and a huge sweater. All of her clothes were inside the suitcases anyway, and she only left the clothes she was going to wear tomorrow for the trip. And she wouldn’t dress nice for Armitage! No way! At that moment she heard a car stopping in front of the house and her heart stopped beating. When she heard doors opening and closing her heart started again, beating faster. She heard someone unlocking the front door and her father’s voice.

“Eliza! We’re home! Where are you pumpkin?”

He was obviously drunk. “I’m coming down.” She answered, trying to steady her voice. She took some tentative steps to the stairs and heard her mother laughing. Don’t tell me HE made her laugh! She descended the stairs as calm as her trembling legs would let her.

They had opened the lights and the first thing she saw entering the living room was her father lying in an armchair with his eyes closed and her mother sitting on the couch, talking to Richard that was standing in front of her, and giggling like a teenage girl. For god’s sake! He even bewitched her mother!
“Humph” she cleared her throat to make her presence known. Richard’s head shot up immediately, the look in his eyes when he saw her, leaving her breathless. Her father’s snore vibrated the living room.

“Ahhh Eliza! Bad, bad girl! You took your father’s car and you haven’t said anything! We were looking for the keys for half an hour, until Richard told us you took it! What’s gotten into you?” her mother’s slurry speech was covered by another of her father’s snores. Richard was just looking at her, up and down, with a look of absolute hunger in his features. She gulped, feeling her blood boil in her veins.

Eliza averted her gaze from him and answered her mother. “I’m sorry for the trouble mom. I had a headache and couldn’t stand the noise.” Her mother’s eyelids started dropping. Great, they would both sleep on the living room tonight! She turned and looked at Richard again.

“Thank you for bringing them.” she said walking to the door and opening it. “And now goodnight.” She stated, holding the door open, waiting for him to leave.

“Eliza I want to talk to you…” He started, but she raised her hand and stopped him.

“I don’t want to talk to you. Ever!” she answered Richard calmly but more severely than was her intention.

“Eliza, he’s a good man…I talked to him.” Her mother said half asleep from the couch.

Eliza closed her eyes scared…Talked to him?! What exactly have they talked about?!? Her heart was ready to burst in her chest. What the hell had her mother and he talked about?
He walked her way fast and the moment he reached her he grabbed her arm and pulled her out with him, closing the door behind them. Eliza swore and retrieved her arm with a quick move.

“Stop dragging me here and there!” she said infuriated.

“I want to talk to you. Please, can you come in the car for a minute?” he answered, trying to keep his composure, passing his hands through his hair irritated.

“No! I told you I don’t want to talk to you. Ever! Now go!” She stated and turned to open the door. He was beside her in a second, closing it again. Infuriated she turned his way. He was standing so close that she had to tilt her head back to look him in the eyes. She crossed her arms in her chest tightly.
“Leave or I’ll start screaming.” She told him quietly, looking straight at him.

“For heaven’s sake!” He exclaimed and engulfing her forcefully but tenderly in his arms, he kissed her fiercely.

For one moment, for one tiny second, Eliza was ready to give in, but now she wasn’t caught off guard as before, so she pushed him hard a few moments after his lips found hers.
“Stop doing that! Stop dragging me! Stop kissing me! You have no right! Do you hear me? No-Right!” she yelled at him infuriated and tried to open the door again. He placed himself between the door and her so she wouldn’t try to go inside.

“Eliza” he said as calmly as he could. “I just want you to hear me out, please! Give me a chance to talk to you, to explain myself.” He pleaded, looking at her with his beautiful sad eyes.

She couldn’t do this anymore. She didn’t have the strength to deny him. If he stayed a few minutes longer she was sure she would fall in his arms again, she felt her defenses crumble piece by piece. Her eyes welled up and the first tears slipped down her cheeks. Richard moaned painfully seeing her crying and taking a step closer engulfed her in his big embrace. Eliza, do it, tell him to leave, find an excuse, anything! Just do it! Her brain was pleading but her body was already relaxing in his strong arms, her heart jumping ecstatic in her chest.
“Richard, I want you to do me a favor.” She pleaded between her tears. Do it Eliza! Her brain kept prompting her. Do it now or you’ll get hurt again, even more than before!

“Anything, I’ll do anything you want.” He whispered, kissing her hair and stroking her back tenderly.

“We will talk, I promise you we will. But please not now. Just leave now. Please, let me get over the shock of seeing you again. We will talk tomorrow.” The first sob rocked her body. Richard held her even more tightly and whispered soothing words in her ear.
“Richard, please. Go.” She pleaded the sobs now uncontrollable. But her body had a mind of its own; she uncrossed her arms and wrapped them around Richard’s waist under his open coat; his warmth melting quickly her last reserves. She placed her ear on his chest, listening to his fast heartbeat, her tears wetting his suit jacket and white shirt. God’s she loved him so much! She missed him so much!

“My sweet Eliza.” He sighed and his voice vibrated her whole body.

“Richard, please. Please go.” She begged again. She couldn’t do this for long. He had to go. Now! God’s, universe, someone, give me strength!

“What time do you want me to come?” he asked resigned, kissing her hair, her temple, her cheek.

“In the afternoon. Around four. We will talk then.” Her voice broke and a new wave of tears started falling. She forced her body to leave his warm embrace and took a step back, shaking from the sobs and the cold. She crossed her arms on her chest, defensively. Please don’t come close again, she begged. Don’t kiss me again. I don’t know how much I will stand this! Please gods! Make him leave! I can’t stand this!

“Ok, four o’clock. I’ll be here.” He said and took a careful step her way, ready to take her in his arms again. She took a frightened step back, not trusting herself. Seeing her face he stopped, his arms falling on his sides and sighed again. He looked at her longingly one last time and then headed to his car, his shoulders hunched. She couldn’t see him hurting. She never wanted to hurt him. But he hurt her more, and he didn’t care. And she had to protect herself now. The tears run down her cheeks fast, her body was frozen, but only when he left the curb did Eliza get in the house and locked the door behind her.

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

END OF PART ONE

Chapter Text

                                                

                                                                Edit by @FernandaMatias (thank you so so much!!!!!! I love it Fernanda!)

 

 

 

U.S.A-NEW YORK

 

 

PART TWO

 

Wherever you go, I'll be there

'Cause my life is yours to breathe

'Cause my dreams are yours to live

'Cause my heart is yours to  give

Wherever you go, I'll be there...

 

New York characters (I'll add more characters as the story continues)

 

 Michael James (Eliza's boss in New York)

 Helen Lewis (James's assistant)

  Lee Pace (yes..that guy)

 Sir Ian McKellen (respect)

Chapter Text

Chapter 13

 

 

 

 

    

 

The plane was already above the Atlantic. She was lucky and she had a window seat so she could see a floor of grey puffy clouds underneath her and glimpses of dark, blue, ocean here and there. The sky above the clouds was aquamarine blue, the bluest sky she had ever seen in ages. The grey beneath her and the blue around her reminding her of his eyes. His haunting eyes. Even if she would forget everything else, his eyes were ingrained in her mind forever.

She looked at her phone. It was four o’clock. Knowing his punctuality he would already be outside her parent’s house. She let a ragged breath escape her lips.
She begged her parents not to tell him where she went. She made them swear or she would never talk to them again. She even sent messages to her sister and Tracy, pleading for their secrecy. He must never know. When she asked her mother what they discussed with him last night, she assured her that she didn’t mention the baby to him. She only told him that he hurt her daughter a lot, that she had panic attacks, that she was living-dead for three months. She told him that he should be ashamed for making a woman love him and then leave her like that. Eliza was infuriated but didn’t say anything. Her mother was drunk last night or she would never have a discussion with him. When her mother wanted to tell her what his response was, Eliza stopped her. She didn’t want to know. She was hurt enough and didn’t want to fall to the same loop hole again. What’s done is done. The only positive thing in the whole mess was that he still didn’t know about her pregnancy. Then what did he want with her? Why had he insisted to bring her parents home? What did he want to tell her? To say how sorry he was? To try and make amends because he felt guilty? In the end it was for the best that these questions were left unanswered. She didn’t want his pity, she wanted his love and if she couldn’t have that she wanted absolutely nothing from him. She turned her eyes to the book on her lap and tried to get lost in someone else’s love story, hopefully not a tragic one.

 

                                  ----------------------------------------------------------------------

 

When the plane landed she found someone waiting for her to drive her to her apartment. The magazine had its own apartments that rented to their employees. She believed it was a little expensive for her salary, but she thought she could stay there until she got settled at work and see what her monthly expenses would be. Then she could search for something cheaper.
Her driver, Ramon, was from Puerto Rico and lived in New York for the last twenty years. He worked for the magazine the last four years, as a driver, and did anything else the magazine required of him, mostly driving celebrities to the magazine offices. He was happily married for the last eighteen years and had two boys, the oldest one fifteen and the youngest one, ten. He showed her the sights, he drove in front of the huge building that the magazine was situated; he told her in which tube station she should get in and in which one she should get off and finally he parked in front of the building she would live.
Eliza looked stunned and breathless the sizes of the buildings. Everything was huge, the city was enormous. She had forgotten most of the stuff Ramon told her. She only remembered the tube she should use and the stations she would get on and off.


When they arrived on the apartments he helped with the suitcases and introduced Eliza to the doorman. Then they went upstairs at the eighteenth floor. When Ramon opened the door Eliza’s breath caught in her throat. The first thing you saw entering were the huge windows. And the view! The view was breathtaking. She could see the street below with the cars looking like children’s toys, the skyscrapers around her, people running, walking. A city full of life. Ramon gave her the apartment keys, wished her all the best for her new beginning and left, reminding her to lock the door.

She did what she was told and locked the moment Ramon left. She looked at her apartment. It was not big, like the one she lived with Stephen, but it was modern and beautiful and it would suit her perfectly for now. The living room and the kitchen were separated by a bar with stools all around. The walls were all crisp white with a few paintings, obviously replicas, but very well done. The floor had white tiles and colorful rugs. It had a huge black couch in front of a wooden coffee table and a flat screen TV hanging from the wall. The kitchen was white with stainless steel appliances. Searching the cupboards she saw that she had the dinnerware and everything else she needed to cook and eat. She took out a little note book from her purse and noted some things she needed to buy along with groceries. She then walked to the two doors that were near the TV. The first leaded to a little, modern decorated bathroom, with a bathtub. She exhaled happy. She was so eager to have long bubble baths after work! She needed to buy towels and other necessities for the bathroom, so she noted that down as well. Next she went to her bedroom. It was as big as the living room, with a double bed that looked very inviting right now. The walls were painted in relaxing pale grey colors. She opened the wardrobes and found a pair of sheets and a fluffy comforter. She made her bed and noted to buy at least two more pair of sheets. It was day time still but it was in the middle of the night back home and she was very tired and sleepy. She had three days to get used to her new environment until she started her new job. She send a quick text to her parents that she had arrived and she was ok then she opened the suitcases that Ramon had brought in the room, she found her toothbrush and pj’s and after she brushed her teeth she fell on the bed and slept immediately.

She woke up in the middle of the night, wanting to pee and hungry as a wolf. She had eaten next to nothing yesterday, due to her anxiety, and her stomach growled. She knew that the boards and fridge were empty and after she used the bathroom she laid in her bed again, trying to get some sleep. She tossed and turned unable to find a comfortable position. Sighing she got up and went to the living room. She lied on the couch and opened the TV. She had to buy a throw for the couch in the morning, she thought, feeling cold. She flipped through the channels until she found Hobbit playing on one and her finger stopped pushing buttons. She wanted to change the channel but then majestic Thorin Oackenshield was there and she got lost in his beautiful eyes. She watched him entranced, recognizing his everyday little gestures and expressions in his role. She was awed by his talent and aching painfully by the familiar sounds and gestures. When it was too overwhelming to bear it anymore she closed the TV, went to her bed again and finally cried herself to sleep.

 

 

The two next days passed in a blur of activity. She asked the doorman where she could buy everything she needed and he suggested some department stores not far away with the tube. So Eliza explored New York while shopping. She was very careful with her money and bought only what she needed most. She tried to make her new apartment feel like home but she still felt like a guest there. She missed her friends and parents a lot and had long conversations via Skype with Tracy and expensive phone calls with her mother. Her mother told her that Richard had come asking for her. When they told him that she had left the country he didn’t believe them. They even showed him her room to be convinced. They didn’t tell him where she was and he didn’t insist, leaving very upset. Although her mother knew what had happened between them she felt sorry for him. She could see in his eyes that he was really hurt but she respected her daughter’s decision and never said a word. Eliza’s heart broke again after listening her mother’s report. Could it be possible that he loved her? What’s done is done she thought. You have a new life here. Try to make the best of it!

She cooked and cleaned and tried to keep herself busy and her mind occupied all day so she could sleep at night. At last she managed to sleep a whole night the last day before she started her new job. She woke the next morning finding an e-mail welcoming her and telling her who to meet before she started her duties, a Mr. M. James, the publication’s manager. So, this last day, she decided to go and explore as much of New York as she could. She left the apartment eager and went to the museum of Natural History. She stayed inside for at least four hours, looking entranced at all the expeditions.

 Museum of natural history

 Italian Restaurant Italian restaurant

Later tired and hungry, she decided to try the cuisine of a little Italian restaurant that was close to the museum, before she continued her exploration. She sat inside, in a table near the window, watching the people walking outside. The weather for December was extremely mild and ideal for strolls. So the New Yorkers were out in throes, giving Eliza an opportunity to watch this cosmopolitan city and its best. Everybody seemed happy, Christmas just around the corner, and the festive decorations everywhere cheered even the grumpiest ones.
When she finished eating she looked around her and noticed for the first time how many couples were sitting at the tables. Her heart constricted but tried to tell her jealous heart to stop wanting things she couldn’t have. She tried to convince herself she was better that way, free of everyone. Thankfully she was interrupted from this train of thought by the waitress.

“Miss, would you like a dessert?” the waitress asked after she collected her plate.

“No, thank you, just bring the bill please.” Eliza smiled politely.

She paid and was about to leave, wearing her brown coat, when her eyes fell at the door. A woman just walked inside, followed by a tall man. Him, HIM, walking inside. The woman was older than her, probably around Richard’s age, with long, blond, wavy hair and extremely beautiful. Eliza stood, looking agape, her coat not all the way up her shoulders. She saw a waiter going to them and then leading them to a table near her. She sat again quickly before he would see her, her back to them, her knees not holding her. What were the freaking chances? What? She waited for them to sit and when they, him, were looking at the waiter, she stood up again and left the restaurant quickly. She was curious though and her jealous heart and eager eyes led her to the restaurant’s window. She stood there, watching him laugh, his enchanting laugh, with something the woman said, her heart clenching when she remembered the last time she made him laugh like that. Richard then rested his hand on the table and the woman started caressing it playfully.
Feeling nauseated she left and run, run until she was out of breath and her lungs were burning. She was outraged, heartbroken! She had almost fallen again in his arms and he, HE, was having a date! With another woman! When are you going to learn? She screamed inwardly. That’s it Eliza! Wake up finally! What else do you have to see? And you felt guilty, thinking you hurt his feelings! What feelings? He’s an actor! He acted everything! And you, stupid you, told everyone not to tell him where you were, thinking that maybe he would search for you. You were so naïve, thinking that maybe he had feelings for you Eliza! So freaking STUPID! AGAIN!
She was mad! Infuriated! She stopped a taxi and got in. She was angry, so angry with him, but mostly with herself. When she arrived home and locked the door, the only thing that she wanted was to break everything in the apartment, but instead she fell on her bed, pulling the comforter over her head and she burst into tears for her, once again, stupid and broken heart.

She finally slept sometime before the sun set. She woke up five o’clock in the morning gasping from another nightmare, tears running down her eyes. Eliza compose yourself! Don’t do that again. You have to get over him and forget him! He had made her a crying mess again. No one ever had made her cry this much before. Damn him! Would she be able to forget him? Moving to New York was not a good idea after all. And whomever up there played tricks with her, had to stop. Now! “Stop bringing me into his path!” she yelled to the ceiling.
She had to be at her new job in four hours and that was a good excuse to try and make herself presentable and finally, finally stop crying. She had a shower, letting the hot water relax her rigid muscles and take away some of the coldness that had been installed permanently in her bones since he rejected her. Without looking at herself in the mirror she wore her bathrobe and went to the kitchen to make some coffee and something to eat. But nothing was going down, her throat constricted, her stomach a knot. Resigned, she threw her breakfast to the bin and the coffee to the sink. She walked to her bedroom and found her clothes, a pair of straight beige pants and a white shirt, and laid them on the bed. She didn’t know how exactly the rest of her coworkers were dressed and she didn’t want to be overly dressed or too casual either. She went to the bathroom and looked herself in the mirror. All the crying had left its toll, but she tried to do the best with a little make-up. Then she straightened her hair so it was falling, glowing just on top of her shoulder, the highlights glimmering in the bathroom light. Not absolutely pleased but not willing to try more either, she put some mascara and a rose-pink lipstick. She wanted to look as natural as possible. Then she passed her hands between her hair, trying to give it some volume and her mind suddenly travelled back, five days ago, when the fingers of a certain man were tangled between her strands, bringing her closer. The taste of his lips forever branded in her mind. He had called her beautiful, but obviously she was not beautiful enough to keep his interest. She shivered and blinked a few times to come back to reality.

“Get over him already! Forget him!” she said aloud, the pain in her chest that had subsided the last month, returning fiercer these last five days. She closed the robe on her chest tighter, as if trying to keep all her heart’s pieces together.
“Don’t cry, be strong. You can beat this.” she prompted herself. With a sigh she left the bathroom and went to get dressed.

 

When she arrived at the magazine, she asked where the office of Mr. James’s was. A beautiful tall brunette, his secretary obviously, guided her in his office and knocked his door.
“Come in.” she prompted her. “He’s expecting you.”

Eliza thanked her and walked inside, extremely anxious but doing her best not to show it.
The office was big; huge was a nice word to describe it, humongous would be an even better. Her whole apartment fit in here and some more. There was a big office desk in front of huge windows right in front of her. At her left was an enormous conference table and in her right a corner couch and a coffee table. There was even a little side table with alcoholic drinks and glasses, ready for use. There was so much open space you could play soccer!
A man was sitting behind the desk, writing something on his computer and when she entered he raised his head. Eliza was pleasantly shocked to find out that Mr. James was young, maybe in his late thirties and handsome. He was dark in coloring with longish dark brown hair, chiseled cheekbones and intense green eyes that lightened up his face and penetrated your soul. His mouth was small but his lips were full, and a pleasant smile was forming on them. She had to admit that he was a hell of a good looking guy, to put it mildly.
He stood up and walked around the desk gracefully, his height, body type and movement reminding her the one who must not be named. When he was in front of her he extended his hand.

“Welcome to our company Miss Clark. I’m Michael James and I’m very happy to have you in our team.” He smiled broadly exchanging a brief handshake with her. He then led her to the couch and after she sat, he sat opposite her.

“Thank you for the warm welcome. I’m very excited to be here also.” Eliza smiled kindly.

“Well, have you settled?” he asked, relaxing back on the couch and looking at her intently.

Eliza felt a little disconcerted with the intensity of his gaze but she answered without showing anything. “Yes, thank you. I’m still trying to get used to the time difference but I think I’m on the right track.” She smiled, crossing her legs and sitting with her back straight.

Michael followed with his eyes the movement of her legs and Eliza felt the urge to hide behind something. He quickly though returned his gaze at her face and continued his questioning. “And the apartment? Is it comfortable?”

“Yes, very comfortable. I love it.”

“I’m glad that you found everything acceptable.” He smiled again. “So, you were the assistant of Lesley Steward. Why did you have to quit your job?”

“Personal reasons.” She answered immediately, hoping he wouldn’t ask more.

“Well, I’m glad you did it because we get to have you in our company.” He said and kept going. “I was very impressed by your CV. You were the perfect candidate for the position.”

“Really? But I’ve never been an editor before. I was always the assistant.” Eliza said perplexed. Probably she was the perfect candidate for a lower salary editor but she didn’t say anything. This job was an opportunity she would take even without payment.

“That means you know the job very well and I think after so many years of experience you are ready to take the wheel. In our publication company we like to give opportunities to younger people, to prove their worth.” He smiled encouragingly.

“Thank you a lot for this opportunity. I hope I will not disappoint you.” She said seriously.

Michael smiled and looked at her for a few seconds without speaking. Eliza looked back at him anxiously. Now what? He leaned forward and was about to say something but there was a knock on the door.

“Enter” he ordered relaxing back on the couch.

Eliza saw the tall brunette walking in. “Mr. James, John is here and he wants to see Miss Clark to inform her about her job.”

“Yes, we are finished here.” He stood up and extended his hand to Eliza smiling broadly. “Well, now that John, our chief editor is here, he will show you around and help you get accustomed to your new environment.”

“Thank you.” Eliza answered politely and standing up herself she shook his hand. She then followed the tall woman out of the office and they talked a little while they were walking. Eliza learned that her name was Helen, she was from Jamaica and that she was indeed Mr. James’s assistant. She worked for him for two years and she was very pleased with her job. He was a very friendly boss and he never thought himself better than the rest of them. And he was obviously hot! All the women in the office had a crush on him. Eliza could definitely see his charm. He was a very beautiful man indeed, but not her cup of tea. She was glad to learn that Helen lived in the same building as her and she told Eliza that if she ever needed anything she could knock on her door. As she was herself from another country she knew how it was to be all alone. Then they reached John’s office and Helen left smiling encouragingly at her.

John Ludlow was a short, thin, wiry man, somewhere between his forty’s or fifty’s, Eliza was not sure. He smiled when she entered and quickly took her for a tour in the office. She introduced her to everyone, showed her, her office and he gathered together the other editors to discuss about the next magazine issue.

Eliza’s day passed really quickly. She missed the lunch break trying to organize everything and trying to get used to her new position and responsibilities. When it was time to go home she had a huge headache. The only thing that she managed to do that evening was to take a shower, eat a sandwich and go to bed.

 

 

A week later she had everything under control and she stopped feeling like a fish out of the water. She had to stay long hours in the office, as a lot of the older employees had taken leaves for the Christmas Holidays but she didn’t care. It wasn’t like she had something better to do. Her parents were upset that she wasn’t going to be home for the holidays and with her sister still on her honeymoon, her mother was grumpier than ever.

 

 

The magazine had a little party in the office for the employees on Christmas Eve, Eliza’s third week in New York. The offices were decorated festively for the occasion brightening up the mood. Everyone brought something from home although the magazine had provided the catering. Eliza had made a tiramisu with a recipe she found on the internet. As the platter was already empty she imagined it was very tasty. Unfortunately she didn’t have a chance to try it. Michael came also, drinking champagne and telling jokes. Eliza had already made a lot of new acquaintances and she was having a great time when she heard Michael talking about Simon a few meters away from her.

“He’s going to direct this new movie that is going to be a huge success. I can feel it.” he was saying to Donald, another editor.

“And what can we do? I called his assistant but he’s away. You have to wait for the interview until he returns from wherever he is.” Donald answered, eating a cookie.

“I just wanted to have the exclusive first interview. Before the shootings begin. Then we are not going to be able to find him at all.” Michael sighed.

Eliza didn’t know what to do. Should she tell them that he was her brother in law? Well as an editor in the magazine her responsibility was to do it. She walked their way.

“Eliza, I’ve learned you’re doing an amazing job so far. Everyone is very pleased with you.” Michael said instead of a greeting.

“Thank you.” Eliza answered blushing. “Without being my intention I’ve overheard what you said. About Simon Turner.” She added timidly.

“Yes, he’s Michael’s favorite director. He believes he’ll do great things in the future and he heard about the new movie he’s about to direct and produce. He wants us to have the first interview before they start shooting.”Donald answered munching.

Eliza not wanting to say that he knew Simon personally, so they won’t use her to pester her brother-in-law, she decided to try a different route.
“Would you mind much if I tried to find him?” she asked, looking at both of them.

“Of course not but I don’t think you’re going to be lucky. He’s doing something, god knows what, and he doesn’t accept calls.” Michael said disappointed.

“Well, I’ll try.” She smiled and drunk a sip from the punch she was holding.

Donald left them then, when someone called him, and Eliza was left alone with her boss.

“Do you like it here?” Michael asked, looking at her intently.

“In the magazine or in New York?” Eliza asked back.

“Both I think.” He answered smiling.

“I love my job. It’s exhilarating, interesting. All the people here are friendly. I’m very happy.”

“And New York?” he asked leaning on the wall behind him, his long strands falling in his eyes and he was moving them aside irritated.

“Well, New York needs some more used to. It’s very different from London but I believe I will feel more comfortable soon.” She smiled politely taking another sip.

“Have you gone out?” He asked again putting his hands in his jean’s pockets.

“What do you mean out? Like strolls and walks?” she asked perplexed.

“No, like in restaurants and bars, to experience the thrilling night life the town has to offer.” He said carefully.

“No, I didn’t have the opportunity yet.” She answered, crossing her arms on her chest.

“What are you doing tonight? Do you have any plans?” he asked straightening his back.

“No.” she answered honestly. Where is this conversation going? She thought, feeling a little uneasy.

“Well, be ready at eight o’clock. I’m taking you for dinner and then to saw you how the New Yorkers have fun.” He smiled enthusiastically.

“No, I don’t want to inconvenience you.” She tried to deny his offer but her mind was blank and she couldn’t think of a single believable excuse.

“No inconvenience at all.” he said smiling broadly. “It’s a sacrilege to be three weeks here and to have never witness the true beauty of the city. I know the perfect place to take you.”

“I don’t know. I don’t want everybody to get the wrong impression.” She said, thinking of the gossip in the office if someone saw them.

“Nonsense! I’ll be in front of your building at eight o’clock.” He said smiling. He was ready to add something else but Patricia, from the advertizing department, called him then and he left winking at her.

Eliza was stunned. What was that? A date? With her boss? How the hell that happened? Everyone would hate her if they found out. She had to cancel it. But how? She didn’t have his phone number. Moron! What a mess again! Why didn’t you think to tell him you had plans or something? These things never end well. She loved her job and she had a lot of fun with her coworkers. She didn’t want to start seeing and treating her weirdly. She felt that everyone could read in her face what she’s done, so she said her goodbyes to everyone she knew and left quickly.

 

In her home she tried to consider the situation more calmly. Ok, she would go out with him. But that’s it. Just once. And she would make it very clear that it would only be once. She didn’t want anything to ruin her reputation here. Around six and after a lot of thinking and worrying she decided to get dressed. She had bought a black mini sleeveless dress, with an open back, for all kinds of occasions. She took it out of the closet. She had a quick shower, she straighten her hair and started applying the make-up. She applied her favorite red lipstick and a lot of mascara. She then got dressed with black, opaque tights and the dress. She wore her pair of high heeled, ankle boots and a black, short leather jacket. She didn’t wear any jewelery, except a pair of long silver earrings that were almost touching her shoulders and a deep purple silk scarf around her neck. She was spraying herself with her favorite perfume when the doorman ringed to tell her that Mr. James was waiting for her. She grabbed her small bag and left.
Michael was waiting on the pavement, wearing a pair of black jeans, a dark grey shirt and a black suit jacket. He was beautiful of course, especially when he saw her and gave her his hundred megawatt smile.

He was driving a very beautiful, black, Mercedes Benz. He opened the passenger’s door for Eliza and she entered, remembering another time, not too long ago, when someone else opened the doors for her also. Not again, Eliza. It’s over. She chastised herself. Not again.
Michael was very friendly and talkative while driving, thank goodness, because Eliza couldn’t think of a single thing to discuss with him. He showed her some landmarks and told her funny stories about his childhood. Eliza didn’t know when they arrived to the restaurant; the time had flown by very quickly. She thought that if she wasn’t so heartbroken she could easily fall for him. But her last experience, with him who must not be named, left deep scars that wouldn’t heal soon.

The restaurant was very classy, like the one’s Eliza saw in the movies, and the food barely visible in the big plates. For the first time after a long time, she actually felt hungry after they’ve finished eating. She decided to have a proper sandwich when she returned home. Looking around her she saw some familiar faces, politicians, a soap opera actor and some models. Of course models would eat here. There wasn’t any food to eat to begin with. Michael continued talking through the whole dinner, telling her a few dirty things about the famous people around them and stories about him. His funny stories and jokes made her relax and she even told him a few things about herself. But she never spoke about HIM. He was buried and locked in a corner of her brain, never to be discussed with anyone again. They shared a desert, that literally was two spoonfuls for each and after Eliza had fixed her lipstick in the bathroom, Michael paid and they left. Eliza wondered how much this dinner cost. Probably the amount of her weekly grocery shop, she thought.

The club they went had a big man in front of the door and a long queue. So everything she saw in the movies was real. They didn’t wait in the queue though. Michael greeted the big man and he let them enter immediately. The music was deafening inside and the lighting dimmed with purple and blue lights pulsating rhythmically.

                                       

The club was packed with people dancing everywhere, even around the tables. A man came and after greeting Michael he led them to a table. Eliza took her jacket off and sat. If this was New York’s night life, it wasn’t something special. She was way passed the age where she liked places like that. Now she wanted to go somewhere where she could actually talk with her company. They ordered their drinks and both looked around them the décor and the people dancing. Then Michael brought his chair closer to hers. Eliza that had relaxed stood rigid when she felt him close. To prevent an awkward situation she decided to act.

“Do you wanna dance?” she asked him quickly, getting up.

“Yes, sure.” He answered smiling, taking his suit jacket off. His shirt tightened around his biceps with this simple movement.
Eliza looked elsewhere. Yes, he was hot, but he was also her boss and she didn’t want anyone in her life right now. He took her hand and guided her to the dance floor. He brought her body close to his and placed his hands on her waist and started dancing. Ok, that was even worse, she thought. Seeing her motionless, he guided her hips with his hands and Eliza sighing with her stupidity started to dance. Damn! Always making a mess when she wanted to fix things. They danced a few songs, with him trying to get closer to her and her moving away every time.

“Can we sit now? I’m thirsty.” Eliza yelled in his ear when she was tired of trying to avoid him.

“Yes sure!” he answered and they returned to their table. Eliza drank a big sip of her beer. Michael put his hand behind her chair and leaned closer to her. Eliza panicked said the first thing that came to her mind.

“I need some water.” And she got up to go to the bar.

“I’ll get you a glass. Sit.” He said smiling and stood up, placing his hand on her shoulder and guiding her to sit.

“Thank you.” Eliza answered, relieved to be saved for a few moments. She had to find an excuse so they could leave.
When Michael left she at last relaxed in her chair and managed to take a deep breath. She was looking at the couples dancing when she felt the chair besides her drugging and she exhaled resigned. He could manage to bring her water so soon? How? He flew? She turned with a fixed smile to thank him but her smile froze on her lips.

Chapter Text

Chapter 14

 

 

“Who’s that with you?”

The deep, husky voice that she did everything in her power to forget was there again. She looked at him shocked, the blood drenching from her face, her heartbeat accelerating. What was he doing here? From all the bars in the damn city he happened to be here? That was getting really ridiculous! She looked at him agape, his beautiful, masculine face lighted purple and blue by the lights, his face serious, his eyes looking at her intently. He was wearing a blue t-shirt with a logo on the front, his biceps stretching the short sleeves.
After the first shock she found her composure and standing up abruptly and gathering her things, she fled. At least she tried to flee. He caught up with her quickly and capturing her arm he guided her to the men’s rooms while Eliza was trying to escape his grip all the way there. What is with this man and the bathrooms? Does he have a fetish or something?
Curious eyes turned when they entered but no one really cared, obviously this behavior happening a lot there. Eliza freed her arm at last with force but Richard caught her again and pushing her mildly inside a stall he locked the door behind him. Crossing his arms on his chest he leaned on the door, blocking the exit.

“What are you doing here?” he asked irritated, looking at her sternly.

“What do you mean what am I doing here? I’m having fun! Am I not allowed to go to bars? I’m an adult the last time I checked!” she yelled infuriated. She was sick to her core to be dragged by this damn man everywhere, like he possessed her or something.

“I don’t mean here in the bar, but here in New York.” He continued speaking calmly but obviously getting angry quickly.

“I work here and now move ‘cause I want to get out. Michael will think I left him.” She answered moving closer to him and trying to open the door. He uncrossed his arms and caught both her wrists, pulling her against his body.

“Why did you lie to me?” he asked quietly, completely ignoring her remark about Michael, his breathing starting to get heavy.

Eliza’s body was startled in shock with the abrupt contact. She looked up in his stormy eyes and gulped with the feelings she saw there. Anger, betrayal, hurt and something else. Regret? Arousal? Guilt? She wasn’t sure. Her heart was running a marathon in her chest. She started to tremble, her wrists burning from his touch. But she was angry, and that was the only thing that kept her mind intact.
“Why did I lie to you? What did you expect? You broke my heart in a million pieces Richard!” she yelled at him, trying to free her hands.
He tightened his grip, making it impossible to move. Gods he was strong! He seemed a little bigger too, maybe he was working out more intently for a role, she thought. Eliza stop it! What in the name of all that is holy has gotten into you!?! You don't want him anymore!

“And you thought to get your revenge by lying to me? By telling me to come when you had already left?” He yelled, pain coloring his angry response, tightening his grip even more.

“It wasn’t revenge! Why would I want to revenge you? I’m over you! I just didn’t want to have an awkward conversation with you.” She answered, trying to get away from him again.

“So you’re over me?” he asked intimately, moving her quickly against the wall beside them, and trapping her there.

Eliza hissed when the cold wall touched her back. Richard caught both her wrists in his one big hand and lifted them above her head, with the other capturing her waist. Then he pressed his hard body against hers and Eliza felt his quickly growing erection. A little involuntary moan escaped her lips and that was enough for Richard to lean in and capture her lips forcefully, squeezing her waist. Oh his lips! He tasted of beer, the pressure of his smooth lips so familiar. He ravished her mouth, licking and suckling her lips, and when Eliza opened her mouth for air he thrust his tongue in. They both groaned and Eliza losing control licked his bottom lip earning a deep growl from him, his crotch to rub low in her belly and his hand to move lower behind her back. Their tongues fought for submission but none of them was giving in. At last Richard was the first to move away, a begging moan escaping Eliza’s lips.

“Yes… I can see you are over me.” He whispered panting in her ear, taking a step back, but still holding her arms above her head, his other hand still leaving a hot print on her naked waist. He looked at her smugly, an eyebrow raised and a little smirk forming on his lips.

Eliza was mad at herself. She succumbed so easily! Again! Infuriated she tried to pull her hands out of his grip and started to fight him, to kick his sensitive area, but he avoided her easily, grinning.

"Let me go!" She screamed at him angry. That man was outrageous!

He smiled and pushed his body against hers again, to subdue her. Trapped and panting she could not go anywhere. She felt his hard now erection on her abdomen, pressing her pleasurably. Her treacherous body was having a lot of fun with this exchange, already aroused. She looked at him angry.

“Let me go, Richard.” She said again sternly, her breathless command annulling the severity of the request.

“I’m not letting you leave until we speak.” He answered with an amused smile not at all perturbed by her tone. “I told you once Eliza, the more you’re trying to get away from me, the more I want you.”

“Michael is waiting for me, he’s going to be worried.” She tried to reason with him. What would her boss think?

“Who’s that Michael?” he asked, jealousy coloring his question, moving his body back a little, looking at her seriously.

“Michael is my boss.” She answered, “Please, let me go. Your friends are going to be worried too that you’re missing for so long.” She tried to convince him and also to learn with whom he came here, little tendrils of jealousy gnawing at her heart.

“You have a date with your boss?” he asked irritated, ignoring her last remark.

“Yes, why? Why wouldn’t I have a date with him? He’s a very handsome and interesting man.” she answered piqued, trying to make him more jealous.

“You found a date pretty quickly. How long are you here? Three weeks?” he asked, his eyes sparkling from anger but his voice still calm.

“Not as quickly as you!” Eliza yelled at him not standing this anymore. He had a date five days after he saw her at the wedding! And he dared to criticize her?

“What do you mean?” Richard asked surprised, relaxing his grip a little on her wrists.

“I saw you, Richard, you and the blonde woman in the Italian restaurant, here in New York. Five days after the wedding! And you dare to judge me? Why? You had already someone to wait for you here!” she was so mad that she continued yelling at a surprised Richard. From his shock he left her wrists and Eliza pointed a finger at his chest. “Why did you come to the wedding? To tell me that you’re sorry? I don’t want your pity! Do you hear me? I don’t want you! I’m over you Richard! I don’t love you anymore!” Her heart tearing with her last phrase, the lie so obvious she hoped he didn’t see through it. Seeing his shock Eliza found an opportunity to escape, but the moment she touched the door handle Richard was there, blocking her way again.

“You’re not going anywhere until we solve this.” He yelled at her and grabbed her shoulders. “Stop trying to get away! I’m not letting you go!”

“We have nothing to say!” she yelled at him pushing at his chest.

Richard seemed completely unaffected by her meager attempts. He just pushed her to the wall again, Eliza trying to get away from him by pushing and shoving him. Richard just engulfed her in his arms, taking the blows and holding her close until she stopped fighting him. Both panting they just stayed there a little, trying to catch their breaths.

“Eliza” he started, but Eliza placed her hands in her ears, not wanting to listen to what he had to say. Richard laughed and leaning closer he kissed her tight lips. She tried to bite him but he evaded her and laughing rained her neck with kisses.
“My little lioness.” He mumbled on her neck and sucked the spot he knew her skin was most sensitive. Eliza’s hands fell from her ears and she moaned aroused. She had missed him. She had missed him so much.
Richard raising his head he asked in her ear, while licking and sucking it, “Are you ready to listen to me?”

Eliza rocked her head negatively.

“You accused me of many things and I have to answer you.” He whispered, smelling her hair and kissing her temples.

“It’s over Richard. Whatever we had it’s over. Your explanations won’t change anything.” She said resigned. The moment she was getting better the universe conspired to bring them together again. It was too much. She tried; didn’t anyone see how hard she tried to get over him?

“Something has to start to be over Eliza. And we two haven’t even started yet.” He said in her hair.

“Well! See? That’s our problem. I thought we had something while you just passed your time with me. You hurt me like no one else Richard. Not even my husband when I caught him cheating made me feel this way. And I can’t relive this pain again. I cannot be hurt again. Nothing is going to happen between us, ever!” She said aloud trying to take her mind off his hands, now caressing her naked back and his lips on her hair. She placed her hands upon his upper arms, trying to push him away but also to steady herself, her legs not holding her anymore. She felt his strong muscles and his soft skin, the smell of his familiar perfume dizzying her senses.

“I didn’t want to hurt you. I’m sorry that I did. You don’t know how guilty I felt after your mother told me what you’ve been gone through. I tried to call you so many times but you never answered and in the end it said the number didn’t exist. I know that I should have tried more, to come and find you. But I was afraid. As for nothing happening…Eliza it’s already happening.” He said at last, holding her closer to his body, sinking his face in her hair.

Eliza closed her eyes scared. She didn’t want to hear what he should have done. The point is that he didn’t do anything. And now she was afraid. She was afraid that if they started seeing each other again and he got bored of her, this time she would lose her mind for sure. This kind of love was toxic. It wasn’t natural to love someone so much that you felt you were going to die when he wasn’t around you. She couldn’t go through the same again. She wanted to get free of his spell. She never felt so weak in her life as the moments he was around her.
“Richard stop!” She whispered, all the while savoring his touch on her naked back. But her attempt was futile. She heard a moan. Either his or hers she didn’t know because Richard had just skimmed his hand under the back opening of her dress to her soft curves, and his feather light touch fogged her mind.
“Stop it.” she sighed, his fingers sinking underneath her tights and panties and caressing the naked curve of her butt. He started kissing her temples again, moving down her jaw and then he found her mouth. Eliza was lost. His kiss was so sweet she could hardly breathe. She was holding his arms with such force she knew he would have bruises tomorrow. While his one hand was kneading and stroking the curves on her back, the other was moving slowly from her hip down her thigh and grabbing it he wrapped her leg around his waist while he continued stroking it sensually up and down. They both moaned when his crotch rubbed her intimate area and he thrust once, making her trembling with arousal and he squeezed her butt sensually.
Eliza stop him! Her mind was screaming but her body was melting away by his experienced touch. He knew what she liked and he used everything against her.

“Stop fighting it.” Richard mumbled on her mouth when she felt her trying to escape him again. He cupped her butt with his other hand too and lifting her effortlessly he placed her on top of his crotch, supporting her back on the wall.

Eliza was burning everywhere. She wanted to resist this madness. She had to go away! Now! But her legs wrapped around him tightly on their own accord, her crotch rubbing his huge bulge shamelessly. Her last defenses were falling down quickly, when a knock on the door wake her from this ecstatic state. Richard was on her neck, suckling and biting his way down, gyrating and rubbing his hips on her sensitive area, obviously he hadn't heard the knock.
Remembering what having sex with him caused the last time, the pain of her lost child and the guilt cleared her mind and pushing him with all her force, climbed down and unlocking the door fled quickly, shouldering someone that waited outside the stall aside not seeing where she was going. She forgot her bag, jacket and scarf in the bathroom but she didn’t care. She could walk home. It wasn’t like she hadn’t done it before. She just had to escape him quickly.

She was already outside the bar, half walking fast and half running, her damn heels not helping her at all, when she felt his hand grabbing her shoulder.
“Eliza stop!” he panted and engulfed her in his arms, her back pressed on his strong torso. “Why do I always end up chasing you?” he laughed humorlessly in her hair, his arms wrapping around her tightly.

“The one time you should chase me, you did nothing.” She said coldly, the guilt for her child gnawing at her last coherent mind. She was rigid, arms on her sides, waiting for an opportunity to escape, before he cast his spell again.

“I’m sorry. I know that being afraid is not an excuse but it’s the truth. I’m still scared. I don’t know how to have you in my life.” He answered with a trembling voice. “But I also know this. I cannot let you go again. I can’t. It physically hurts me to be separated from you. After the actual shock of seeing you here tonight, and then noticing you’re here with another man that I wanted to punch him unconscious by the way, I only wanted to throw you over my shoulder and take you away. Even thinking of other men touching you I’m going crazy. You’re making me want to lock you in a tower and no one else to lay his eyes on you again except me.”And with that he swiftly turned her in his arms and attacked her mouth fiercely.

Eliza shocked by his words surrendered to this kiss, her hopes rising again. Maybe he loved her at he didn’t know it. Maybe there was hope or else why would he be jealous? Maybe it was just lust, the nagging voice in her head added.

“Richard?” a female voice came for somewhere in front of her, interrupting them suddenly.

They both separated simultaneously. Eliza dizzy from his kiss, looked with blurry eyes the woman that had called his name. She was the blonde woman and she was even more beautiful up close. Richard turned to look at her also.

“Oh, Vick, I’m sorry for leaving you so abruptly. I got distracted.” He excused himself flatly, passing his hands through his hair, trying to compose himself. Eliza looked at them suspiciously.

“I was worried. You said you were going to say hi to someone and then you disappeared. Everyone’s looking for you.” She answered, looking at Eliza up and down.

“I’m going to take Eliza home and then I’ll join you.” He said gathering Eliza’s stuff that he had thrown on the pavement.

Eliza getting out of her stupor took her stuff from his hands and wore her jacket and her scarf. “No, you’re not going to take me anywhere. We said everything we had to say. Go back to your friends.” She said stiffly and turning her back to them, she started to walk away.

“Eliza I said I’m going to take you home!” Richard caught up with her before she could manage to take two steps, and grabbed her arm irritated, his eyes sparkling with anger.

“Richard, I’m going inside. I’ll tell the other’s that something happened and you had to go.” The blonde woman, Vick, said resigned, hurt obvious in her eyes.

Eliza recognized this look. She was seeing it every day in her mirror. This woman had feelings for Richard. She felt so bad for her. She knew exactly what she was feeling. The impact that man had to the women around him…and he didn’t even know. She looked at the angry man holding her arm. She still loved him. If he admitted that he loved her she would give him another chance, she could give him the whole world. But as it was, it was better never to see him again.
“Richard it’s not polite to leave your friends like that. Go inside, please.” Eliza tried to convince him, pleading his conscience. And also she didn’t want him to know where she lived.

“My friends, unlike you, are not disappearing like smoke every time I turn my back. Vicky, tell everybody that I’m really sorry for ditching you. I’ll make it up to all of you.” He said to her, but instead of looking at Vicky he was looking at Eliza intently.

“Ok, Rich.” Vicky said and walked hurriedly inside.

Eliza noticed for the first time the people that were looking at them. They had made a spectacle of themselves, again. Richard didn’t seem to care at all for the world around them and still holding her arm he guided her to the parking lot at the back of the bar. Eliza didn’t try to escape him again. It was futile. He always caught her. She really had to start going to the gym… no, not the gym. She had to start running. Then maybe she would have a chance.

He unlocked a sleek, black BMW and opening the passenger’s door he led her inside. He closed the door and locked the car again, for Eliza’s great amazement. Son of a bitch! He freaking locked her inside! He passed in front of the car making Eliza admire his lithe walk, despite her growing anger, and only when he was on the driver’s side he unlocked the car. Eliza made a move for the handle but he had already got inside and had caught her wrist immediately.

“No escaping my little minx.” He smirked mischievously. “How I wish I had a pair of handcuffs right now.”

Eliza’s heart lipped with joy hearing this endearment again. Stupid heart stop it! She chastised herself. The mention of the handcuffs evoking fantasies of a tied Richard on bed… oh the possibilities... Eliza, get a grip woman, the little nagging voice reminded her again.
“Richard, I don’t know why you’re doing this but we have nothing more to say.” She tried to reason with him irritated, already knowing his responce.

“We haven’t said anything at all.” Richard answered and added when he turned on the engine. “I believe you’re not working tomorrow.”

Eliza looked at him perplexed. Why did he care? She wasn’t going to hang out with him and spent the Christmas day together like old buddies!
“It’s none of your business.” She said indignantly.

“Just answer, please!” he said irritated, reversing the car with a swift movement and getting on the road.

“No I’m not working. It’s Christmas.” She answered, crossing her arms and looking outside her window. “But don’t get any crazy ideas that I’m going to see you tomorrow!” she added, crossing her legs also and at last looking at him sternly.

“We’ll see about that.” he said smirking enigmatically and raising a naughty eyebrow.

Arrgghh! This man was going to be the death of her. This eyebrow should serve a life in prison! Although her head was turned to the road, avoiding him, she wasn’t paying attention to the route, trying to calm her racing heart and to clear her foggy mind from his intoxicating scent that filled the car. After a little while when she actually looked outside she didn’t recognize anything. Where were they?
“Richard where are we going?” she asked worried.

“At my place.” He said matter-of-factly and kept driving, not even looking at her.

“I don’t want to go at your place! Stop the car and let me out!” she yelled furious. The nerve of this man!

“No, we are going there to talk, undisturbed. Even if it’s going to take the whole night.” he answered seriously.

“If you think I’m going to sleep with you, think again!” she said through clenched teeth.

“I never liked to sleep with involuntary partners. Every single one of them begged me to take them.” he said smugly, smirking sardonically.

Eliza blushed, remembering very clearly when she begged him. Arrgghhh! He had a very big idea about himself! “Well, you should find other women to beg you then because I won’t!”

Richard just laughed and kept driving not saying anything. Eliza wanted to punch him but kept her hands to herself for now the accident factor preventing her, mind you. She decided to start of thinking ways to escape him. Hmm, maybe when he falls asleep…
They reached at a tall building, what a surprise, and Richard pressed a button at a remote control and a garage door started to open. He drove inside and the door started closing before he even parked the car. Damn it! That could be a good escape route if the door wasn’t closing so fast. Sighing resigned she unbuckled her belt; then the escape would be when he falls asleep.

Richard clasped her hand the moment they were out and guided her to an elevator. Once inside he pushed a code on the screen and the elevator started ascending. Eliza looked herself in the mirror, her vanity winning even in a situation like that. She looked awful! The lipstick was gone and only some traces were left on her lips. She stole a look to the man beside her and saw him looking at her amused, traces of her lipstick marking his lips.
“It’s not funny! We were walking around like clowns.” She said irritated, deep down finding it very childish and amusing herself and held back a smile. She didn't want to think she was amused by all this!

“Well, I have no problems with clowns. In fact I like them very much.” He said raising a naughty eyebrown and lifting their intertwined hands he placed a kiss on her knuckles.

A shiver permeated her body. Richard felt it and smiled beamingly. How she wanted to wipe that arrogant smile off his face! Yes! Her body was not immune to his touches but her mind was! At least it tried to be… Eliza don’t fall to his trap again, her mind was constantly warning her.
They arrived and when the elevator door opened he walked to his apartment and unlocked it, Eliza following intrigued, like she could do anything else with him holding her. Despite her anger she was eager to see his home, his personal space, his haven.

When he opened the door and led her inside Eliza’s first thoughts were that his apartment was awesome, big and suited him very well. She looked around her stunned at all the diffirent colors. He had white fluffy couches with colorful cushions, beautiful red rugs that seemed very expensive, green and brown curtains falling in drapes from the ceiling, interesting art on his wall; in fact two of the canvases were very unique. She was lost, looking around her amazed. She only came back to earth when she heard the door closing and locking and the alarm to be activated. Damn! Of course he had an alarm!
“Why have you activated the alarm? Am I your prisoner now?” she asked frustrated, feeling trapped. If only the circumstances were different, she would lock that door herself and throw the key out of the window!

“Whenever you want to leave just say it and I’ll take you home.” He answered seriously.

“Ok. I want to go home. Now!” she said stubbornly, moving to the door.

“First we’re going to talk like adults and then I’ll take you home.” He answered, a little smile forming on his lips and he threw the keys in his front jeans pocket.

Eliza was looking at him, teasing her. She knew that he was daring her to go and take the keys out. But she was not into games that could lead to something else. She took off her jacket and sat on the couch, placing a cushion behind her back. A little shiver ran down her spine. She was cold and suddenly she felt very tired. She wondered what had happened to Michael. She didn’t have his phone number to apologize for disappearing and she feverently hoped there were no repercussions in their work relationship. She raised her head and saw Richard looking at her intently, still standing near the door.
“What are you waiting for?” she asked him. “Let’s start talking so I can go home. I’m sleepy.” She added to pique him.

“Why have you lost so much weight?” he asked out of the blue. That she didn’t expect to hear from his lips.

“Firstly, none of your business and secondly, none of your business.” She answered defensively, crossing her arms and legs.

“I’m sorry.” He said and came and sat on an armchair opposite her.

“Yeah..ok…” Eliza said, not knowing what to make of this.

“I’m not apologizing for my question.” He cleared out. “I’m asking your forgiveness for causing you so much pain.” He said leaning forward and placing his elbows on his knees.

“If you think I lost weight because you left me you are delusional! It was time to take care of myself. You had nothing to do with it! And also I forgave you. You don't love me. I respect your truthfulness. I don't love you anymore as well. Water under the bridge Richard.” She lied. Ohhh she definitely hadn’t forgiven him and she definitely hadn’t stopped loving him.

“I forgot to offer you something to drink.” He said abruptly, rigid, standing up and avoiding her gaze. He headed to the kitchen quickly and once there he shouted. “What do you want to drink?”

“Water would be fine.” She answered perplexed, not wanting any alcohol to mess with her already dizzy mind. What had gotten into him? Was he so upset that she said that she didn’t love him anymore? Could she hope? Or was his ego hurt?
He came back with the water and a plate with little sandwiches.
Eliza took the water from his hands and drunk, looking at him. He placed the sandwiches closer to her side of the coffee table. She pretended that she didn’t notice. She was a little cold and caught the jacket from the end of the couch and wore it.
Richard stood up and lighted the fire place and then went and raised the temperature on the heater. He then went somewhere inside and brought a blue blanket. Eliza was following him with her eyes everywhere, not speaking. The atmosphere between them had become a little awkward.

“Take off your jacket.” He ordered when he was in front of her again.
Eliza was ready to say something about his tone, but thought better of it and took it off. Then Richard wrapped the blanket tightly around her, murmuring. “With so little clothes on you it would be a miracle if you won’t have pneumonia tomorrow.”

“I don’t see you wearing a lot more.” she noted looking at his thin tee and jeans.

“I’m not catching easily colds.” He answered seriously, his face a few centimeters away from hers. His blue eyes were sparkling and Eliza saw him gulping and moving away from her immediately. He sat on the armchair again. “If you’re still cold later I can give you a pair of my pj’s to wear.”

Eliza saw him gulping, uneasily. He was very much affected by her presence and that at least she considered as a little victory. She knew it was a bad idea to drag her here, but he didn’t listen. Now he would have to suffer from afar, because she had no intention to sleep with him ever again.
“There’s no need for your pj’s, I’ll be perfectly fine. Well, what do you want us to discuss?” she asked, trying to start this infernal conversation and get over it quickly.

“Do you want to take your shoes off and cover your legs also?” he asked gulping again, looking at her crossed legs.

“I knew this was a bad idea.” Eliza said irritated and started to unwrap herself, ready to stand up. He came at her side immediately and stopped her.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like it sounded. If you warm your feet, then your whole body will get warmer sooner.” he said tacking her up again.

“Ok, if you let me free my hands I will take them off.” But she hadn’t finished her sentence and he had already kneeled before her to take off her boots. She held her breath when she felt his fingers on her ankles. This was too intimate.
“I can do it.” she said quickly, retrieving her feet. She heard his resigned sigh and he stood up.

“You won’t let me touch you again?” he asked with a torturous look.

“You touched me more than enough today.” She answered as coldly as she could.

He sat back on his chair resigned. “You’re killing me Eliza.”

“I told you not to bring me here. You should had let me go Richard.” She answered just covering her legs a little with the blanket, without taking her boots off.

“To let you go where? Back to Michael?” he said through clenched teeth, irritation obvious on his features, his back as straight as a crossbow, his hands on his knees.

“It’s none of your business with whom I go out. You had your chance and you threw it away. I need to move on Richard.” She said irritated. Despite the sircumstances she felt safe here. She felt more home here than she had ever felt back on her apartment.

“I’m sorry, I was stupid!” he said with passion and came and kneeled in front of her, finding her hands inside the blanket and holding them.

Eliza looked at him allert and she stood up straighter on the couch. “Richard, get up.” She said not wanting to see this beautiful man on his knees.

“Eliza, please forgive me. I know you haven’t. I can also see that you still have some feelings for me. I can’t hope that you still love me but maybe, in the future, you will again. I lived three torturous months Eliza. You have no idea how much I wanted to come and find you. But I can’t be what you need. I’m always travelling, rarely on the same place for even a month. I couldn’t do that to you. You want family, children, you said so on our first date. How can I give you that when I won’t be around? How can I even give you a serious relationship?” he asked, still on his knees, looking painfully at her, squeezing her hands tightly from his emotions.

Eliza looked at him stunned for a few seconds. “Richard, I didn’t say I wanted a family with you. I didn’t ask you to marry me. It was the first time that I felt for someone what I felt for you and I hoped that we could at least try to see where it would lead. I know what you are. I wasn’t delusional that it would be easy, but at least I wanted to try. Yes I loved you. Very much. But you ruined it all when you chose Lesley over me.” Eliza remembering her former boss was starting to get jealous and angry. “You never told me what happened with Lesley. Did you talk? Did you sleep with her?” She didn’t want to ask the last question but it was out of her mouth before she knew it.

Richard stood up and sat on the couch beside her. “We talked.” He said sighing. “After you left I was very confused. I was shocked about Lesley’s feelings, we were friends forever. I was really having second thoughts that maybe I felt the same way for her and I hadn’t realized it. But then you said that you loved me, and I was panicked and happier than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. And I got scared. I didn’t know what to do with you. We had known each other for four days and you said that you loved me. After my excitement, doubts came. No one can love someone in that small period of time. I didn’t believe in love at first sight, so my next conclusion was that you had an ulterior motive. What, I didn’t know. But I couldn’t believe you Eliza.” He said looking at her guiltily and then moving his gaze away. “When you left I thought I was going to die. I paced the apartment doubting my desicion to let you go. What if you really loved me? I was so guilty for treating you like that. But what if you just said it because you saw my reaction to Lesley’s words? What if you wanted to use me? I was so confused. I decided to let you go and forget you. I was feeling so awful for letting you go like that though. And your tears had pierced my heart. I sent you the message and I decided that it was all I could do. I had to let you go, it would be the best for both of us.” He was looking at the coffee table, reliving their last moments together. “I didn’t sleep that night; I called Lesley first thing in the morning. We met and talked a lot, and I discovered that I didn’t love her as she wanted. I always loved her as a sister and the feelings hadn’t changed. I never slept with her.” He added looking at her at last, his beautiful eyes glistening sincerely.

Eliza was sitting rigid, not daring to say a word. Richard looking at her longingly he sighed and passing his hands threw his hair, continued talking.

“We decided to stay friends, as we always were. I pleaded her to move the photo shoot sooner so I could leave the country, telling her that an urgent job came up. But the truth was I wanted to leave before I did the stupid thing to come and find you. In the photo shoot I asked the photographer about you, trying to find out if you really left your job. He said that you indeed quitted your job and I was shocked that you had indeed done it. I wasn't sure about that either. After the photo shoot I called you. I don’t know why or what I would say to you if you picked up your phone, I just wanted to hear you. But you never picked it up. So I tried again and again. I left the country and I was still calling you, once a day. But you never picked it up and after a few days the recorded message said that this number didn’t exist. Then I’ve decided to forget you. But I couldn’t. When Simon was calling me to talk about the movie I always asked how all of you were. I wanted to ask specifically for you, but I never dared. I didn’t want to complicate things and I always separate business from personal matters. But the bottom line is I daren’t.” he stopped talking, gulping, still looking at her.

“So you’re going to play in Simon’s new movie. Nobody told me anything.” Eliza said aloud. She was mad that he didn't believe her but she could understand him. They had known each other for four days. If someone told her he loved her in that short period of time she wouldn't believe him either. But to not believe her for quitting he rjob! Why would she lie to him for something like that?

Richard smiled with her comment, “Of all the things I told you… Yes I am. Probably they didn’t want to hurt you that’s why they never said anything.” He leaned closer and caressed her cheek, moving a few strands away from her face. He sighed and continued.
“When Simon invited me at his wedding…” he started but he was interrupted by a stunned Eliza.

“Simon invited you? I thought it was Amanda!” she exclaimed surprised.

“No, it was Simon. We are not in speaking terms with Amanda. She is not my London agent anymore.” He answered. “Anyway, as I said, when Simon invited me, I didn’t want to come. I literary decided to make the trip they day of the wedding, thinking to just stay for a little while. And I wasn’t doing it to see you again, no, I did it for my friend. That was what I was telling myself. So I booked a flight and came straight from the airport to the party and the first person I saw entering was you, dancing with another man. You were radiant with your dress and new haircut. I had forgotten how beautiful you were, your inner glow that makes all men around you fall prey. I never felt as jealous as when I saw you in the arms of another man. Then your beautiful eyes fell on me and you pierced my soul again. If Simon hadn’t called me then I don’t know what I would have done. I watched you while we were talking, and when the song ended and you went to the gardens, I told an excuse to Simon and your sister and I followed you. I tried to convince myself to stay with them, not stalk you like a creep, but I couldn’t. I forgot everything, all the excuses to turn back to the party and not act like a lunatic, when I saw you coming my way, your hair gleaming from the moon rays and the Christmas lights, your skin glowing white; like a ghost you seemed to me, ethereal, floating on air, like a ghost you were haunting me for three months and now you were there, in front of me, alone. When I caught your arm and it didn’t disintegrate in thin air I was stunned. You were real. And then I realized how much I missed you.” he said with a sigh, taking her hands in his and stroking her fingers lightly. “You are real.” He said again.

Eliza’s first tear fell from her eyes and Richard caught it with his finger. But more followed and he just leaned closer and engulfed her in his big embrace. She didn't want to cry but his tone of speaking conveyed feelings that she never expected to have from him.

“Please, don’t cry. I can’t bear to see you cry.” He said kissing her hair.

Eliza couldn’t answer, just buried her face on his neck where it was warm and smelled his familiar scent where it was home. She wanted to stop crying, but she couldn’t. Right now she really wanted a hug, his hug. Everything that had happened weighted heavily upon her and she succumbed. Richard engulfed her tenderly in his arms, mumbling something in her hair, but Eliza couldn’t understand what. Frightened by her need she tried to escape his embrace but he kept her close, tightening his grip.
“Richard, I want to use the bathroom.” She said on his neck, trying to find a reason to have a moment to compose herself and felt Richard’s relieved giggle shaking his body.

“Yes, I’m sorry, of course.” He said smiling, relaxing his embrace but not leaving her completely free. He leaned and kissed her forehead and standing up, helped her unwrap herself from the blanket.
“The bathroom is there, the first door to your right.” He said pointing at the hall.

“Thank you.” Eliza said, wiping a few tears that still escaped her eyes and stood up, straightening her dress down her thighs. Richard was so close that she didn’t have space to move. They both took a step to the side and both smiled when they still were in front of each other. Richard caught her arms and kissing her forehead again, moved her to the other side. She walked to the bathroom, without looking back at him, her legs barely holding her. When she closed the door, she leaned on top of it. Richard had feelings for her! He didn’t say it out loud but they were there, hidden behind his words. She had already forgiven him, his excuses melting her heart but she needed a little space to think, she couldn't be in his presence now. If she stayed a little more in the living room she would fall in his arms again. She went to the mirror and was shocked to find the state of her make-up. She washed her face to remove it all and after she managed to take control of her emotions, she headed out again. She had to decide what to do from now on.

Richard was expecting her, standing by the window, the curtains drawn, looking out, a glass of red wine on his hand. She admired his beautiful body, his long legs and with a suppressed sigh she went and sat on the couch again, drinking some water. He heard her, turned, and walked to the couch, standing in front of her. “May I sit beside you again?” he asked full of longing. Eliza couldn’t say no to this beautiful face and pleading eyes and she nodded, leaving the glass on the table. He smiled relieved and after placing his glass on the table too, sat taking her hand in his, stroking her palm and wrist with his fingers.
“You are cold.” He said and threw the blanket on her shoulders, bringing his face a few centimeters away from hers. Eliza held her breath. They looked at each other intently, the current that always hummed between them gaining momentum. He leaned a little closer, his breath tinkling Eliza’s lips. She was ready to close the space between them when he withdrew and leaned back to the couch.

Chapter Text

Chapter 15

 

 

“After you left the party, I was trying to find a way to see you.” he said abruptly, instead of looking at her, looking at the space in front of him.

Eliza taken aback by the sudden change of his behavior stood rigid and listened.

“I saw you leave with the car and prayed that you would arrive safely home, you left so upset that I was worried. I went back to the party looking for an excuse to ask someone to call you, to make sure you arrived safely, but when I found Simon and I was ready to ask him that he just introduced me to your parent’s instead and left me with them. They were very drank and I couldn’t have a coherent conversation with them. I pleaded with them many times to call you but they wouldn’t listen to me. Your father was trying to convince me that fishing is the best sport out there. Actually, if I wasn’t worrying about you, I think he would have convinced me.” He smirked for a brief second but sobered again immediately and kept going. “When your mother remembered who I was, she started attacking me and that was when I’ve learned what my stupid behavior caused. I never felt worse in my life. I still feel awful for what you’ve gone through because of me.” He reached for his glass and took a big sip, looking at the coffee table again. “I wish someone would have told me, I wish I had the courage to start a conversation with Simon when he first called me, I wish I knew sooner.” He sighed and left his glass on the table.

Eliza looked at him, not daring to say a word. And he didn’t know about the baby. Should she tell him? What would it be his reaction? She was ready to speak when he started talking again and inwardly relieved left this conversation for another time.

“I apologized to her, to your mother, I tried to find excuses for my behavior but deep down I knew I screwed it up.” He added, looking at her at last. “I had to talk to you. I had to! I found an opportunity when your parents wanted to go home; they were very drank so I suggested driving them there. Your father accepted immediately but your mother was a little reluctant; with Simon’s prodding she accepted too though. If they had decided to take a taxi I would still come. I would find an excuse to see you again, anything.” He made a move to touch her but stopped midair and retrieved his hand. Eliza eager for his touch held back a disappointed sigh. “So there you were, safe, to my great relief, but also angry and sad and you didn’t want to hear me out. I should have never left that night. I should have carried you to the car and have a proper talk with you.” he sighed, rocking his head resigned and continued, looking at the coffee table in front of him. “When I came the next day and I didn’t find you I wanted to break everything in sight and then just lie on your bed, to feel you closer. Nobody was telling me where you had gone. I was so mad, so hurt. Your father tried to calm me, he talked to me, tried to reason with me, but I couldn’t listen to him, I just wanted to leave and forget you. And that’s what I did. I left. That same day I booked the first flight I found and from that day onward I forgot you, or at least I thought that I had forgotten you until tonight, when out of the blue I saw you on the last place on earth I would ever think of looking. The moment I laid my eyes on you I thought I was seeing an apparition, that my mind was playing tricks on me. I saw you dancing with that man, his hands touching you… Another man was touching you!” He looked at her for a brief second, jealousy and regret coloring his eyes and turned immediately his head again. “I was ready to come and drug you away but then you came and sat close to me, so close, I wondered how you haven’t seen me. When I saw him standing up and leave you alone I couldn’t believe my luck. Then I decided that you wouldn’t escape me this time until we talked, until you heard my side of the story.” He said at last downing the rest of his wine in one big gulp.

“Who’s Vicky?” Eliza said abruptly making Richard almost choke with his drink. She wanted time to think what she just heard. She knew that his ego would be hurt for tricking him, for leaving him like that, but she never thought, never in her wildest dreams had imagined, that Richard would be jealous; first with the man on her sister’s wedding, that she didn’t even remember his name, and then with Michael.

“Vicky was going to be my rebound.” He answered ashamed, after he cleared his throat, not looking at her. “I’m not proud of saying this but I had to move on, Eliza. After you, I didn’t want another woman. But then you tricked me, you lied to me and I was furious. I had to forget you somehow. The only way to forget a woman is with another woman a friend said to me, so I decided to listen to his advice, or at least try its feasibility.” He placed his hands on his face. “I’m an awful person.” He added guiltily.

Eliza was trying to comprehend what she just heard. Richard didn’t want another woman after her? He was trying to forget her? She was thrilled despite his admission that he was dating that woman. She had realized that already when she saw them together at the restaurant; It was pretty clear looking at them together that something was going on between them. She was jealous, so jealous of thinking of Richard kissing that woman, touching her, making love to her, but she felt really bad for her also; poor Vicky was charmed by his attentions only to see him leave with another woman at the end of the night. If he tried to move on though why did he drag her here? Why? She didn’t want to hope. She didn’t dare to hope…
“That was really awful Richard. Women are not toys. She was extremely hurt seeing you with me.” She answered, trying to keep her composure and not comment on anything else he said, yet.

“I know I’m a despicable person. But when I saw you again, tonight, I forgot Vicky and everyone else before her. I can’t help it. My body screams for yours. I ache for you Eliza! I physically and emotionally ache for you! I can’t describe you the battle I’m having these last hours, to keep my hands to myself. For no one, ever, had I felt this way. Only for you.” He said resigned, sad, looking at his hands on his lap, not daring to look her way.

Eliza trying to subdue her racing heart that woke up listening to his last declaration said, “Richard you have to do something about Vicky. She was really hurt tonight. I’ve been in her shoes and it’s awful. You really don’t know what you do to women.”

“I don’t care what I do to other women; I only care what I do to you.” he said sadly, raising his head and looking at her.

Eliza gulped nervous. She knew that look; his smoldering gaze slithering to the darkest corners of her soul, lighting it up. She had to distract him and herself before they did something stupid again. “I care about Vicky because I can understand her. I want you to apologize to her, to talk to her, I don’t know, but I want you to do something!” she concluded angry, not understanding herself why she was still pestering him about her. Maybe, just maybe, she did it to distract herself for reaching out to him, for touching him, for capturing his heavenly face between her hands and kissing his sensual lips until they were both breathless.

“And Michael? What is he?” he asked obviously jealous and irritated, ignoring her requests.

“He is my boss and he volunteered to show me the night life of New York.” She defended herself, her anger rising quickly too.

“He volunteered my ass! He was trying to get in your pants the whole night!” Richard yelled infuriated, standing up.

“It’s really none of your business Richard!” Eliza yelled back, standing up herself.

“So you want him!” Richard yelled walking in front of her.

“You are infuriating! You want Vicky, you just admitted it!” Eliza said turning her back on him. This man must be bipolar or something. Gods he made her furious!

He caught her arm and turned her again towards him. “Have you slept with him?” he asked, trying to be calm but his strong grip and rigid posture conveyed the truth.

“It’s none of your business! I didn’t ask you if you slept with Vicky!” she answered angrily.

“You asked me if I slept with Lesley, so now I have every right to ask you back! Have you slept with him?” he asked angrily, his grip tightening on her arm, taking a step closer to her.

“That’s different! Lesley was my boss! You left me for her Richard! I don’t care about you and Vicky, but I’m more than pissed about you and Lesley! Let me go and go back to her, to Vicky!” She yelled trying to free her arm while taking a step back, moving away from him.

“You’re not going anywhere, neither am I.” He said through clenched teeth taking another step towards her.

“Richard, I don’t care that you slept with Vicky or with any other woman for that matter, as long as it’s not Lesley. You shouldn’t care about my sex life also. You left me! I had every right to do whatever I wanted!” If he thought she only pined for him these last months and didn’t want another man, he was right, but she wanted to make him have doubts! He should know that he wasn't the only one that could move on with his life!

“I haven’t slept with a single woman after you!” He shouted and pulling her to his body captured her lips forcefully.

She was shocked by his declaration but she tried to fight him nevertheless. She pushed him but he just pulled her closer, trapping her arms between them, holding her tightly. He opened her lips with his tongue, his teeth hitting hers with force. He tasted of wine and him, his unique taste, and she was lost, her defences falling, drunk by his passion, her own passion that was lingering in the surface the whole night lighting up quickly. When she thought that she was going to faint, dizzy from desire, he left her lips kissing and suckling his way down her jaw and then further down her neck.

“Have you slept with him?” He asked on her neck, suckling it, one of his hands travelling up and down her naked back, causing goose bumps to travel down her spine, his fingers leaving a hot trail everywhere they passed; his other on her butt, squeezing it hard, keeping her forcefully against him, against his huge erection.

“No.” she moaned, her mind too fogged for any more coherent thoughts. The things that man could do! She freed her hands and she placed one around his neck, sinking her fingers in the hair on his nape and the other around his waist, above his tee, trying to support her quivering body.

A sigh of relief escaped his lips and sucked the side of her neck hard, making her cry with pain and arousal. He licked and kissed the mark he left there while he moved his hand from her back to her breast, cupping it, and passed his fingers over and over her hard nipple, the friction of the fabric adding to the pleasure. “Do you want him?” he asked again, his hands and mouth igniting her desire more every second that passed.

“No.” She gasped when he bit her nipple above the dress and held his t-shirt tightly, her knees not supporting her anymore.

“You are mine!” He declared, finding her lips again, still holding her tightly against him while pinching and caressing her nipple repeatedly. She kissed him back eagerly, sucking his lower lip, rubbing her crotch to his, trying to find some relief to the fire that had spread all over her body, eating her alive. He groaned and rubbed his bulge making her cry ecstatic on top of his mouth as he continued to ravish her lips, as his hands were torturing her.

She felt him mumble something on top of her mouth irritated by her scarf, and taking it off quickly continued his attentions on her free now neck with a sigh of pleasure. She felt his hand leave her breast and travel down her back, to her hips and further down her thighs and finding the hem of her dress he skimmed both his hands under it. He continued his travel up her thighs again, making her shiver. Finding the end of her tights he sank two fingers inside and quickly started to pull it down along with her underwear, making her shiver with anticipation, his palms caressing her thighs and legs hedonically. When tights and underwear were pooled around her ankles, he kneeled down and took her boots off and then helped her get out of them all. Eliza was panting aroused, helping him. Once she was free he slowly started caressing with his capable hands her ankles and moving up her legs and thighs he cupped her bum and pulled her forward, closer to him. He started kissing and licking her knees and then moving inside her legs, kissing and licking his way up her thighs. He moved under the dress, his beautiful face hiding from her, his hands still moving up and down her legs, sending shivers to her whole body. She held her breath, her heart ready to burst on her chest and sank her fingers in his hair, leading him upwards, where she yearned his touch more. She felt his hot breath on top of her clit and a hiss escaped her lips and then let out an ecstatic moan when his tongue at last licked her, making little circles around her clit, teasing her. She opened her trembling legs more and tried to support herself by placing her hands on top of his shoulders.

“You are so wet already… only for me…only for me.” he said pushing his tongue slowly in her depths, his hands squeezing her butt, bringing her closer. “I forgot how sweet you tasted…” he whispered, his breath causing ripples of pleasure on her clit that travelled deep inside her belly.

She let out a cry sinking her nails on his shoulders. He teased her, moving his tongue in and out slowly, his hands kneading her bum sensually. She threw her head back, closing her eyes. Oh he knew how to torture her!
“More” she pleaded, when she felt him retrieve from her depths. He laughed and bit her clit tenderly. “Yes!” she gasped, ready to come in any second. She felt him getting up and opened her eyes, disoriented, looking at him questioningly. He lifted her in his arms and headed to his bedroom; Eliza looking at him aroused. She wouldn’t stop him. Not now. She wanted him. She always wanted him. Only him.

Richard was looking at her intently, his mouth wet from her, his irises dilated, his nose flaring, a hunter on the loose. He opened the door with his foot and placed her gently on his bed. He turned the lights on and dimmed them, making everything bathe in shadows. He then moved to the corner of his room, where his I-pod was and turned it on. He found the song he wanted immediately and sensual music filled the room. He then moved like a predator, slowly, looking at her intently. He took off his tee, his biceps flexing, his ripped stomach and strong torso in full view.
Eliza gasped and without realizing it she got out of the bed and walked slowly his way. He was looking at her, waiting for her next move. When she was in front of him she stared up at his eyes and tentatively passed her palm over his chest, not truly believing that she felt his skin under her fingertips again. She saw goose bumps raising his skin and heard a low moan escape his lips. She saw his eyes close and his head to tilt back a little. She came closer and started raining his neck with feather light kisses. She moved her fingers teasingly up and down his torso, stomach and belly, his silk skin a pleasurable contrast to his hard muscles underneath. When a louder moan escaped his lips she decided to tease him a little more.
Still kissing him lightly she moved to his left nipple and licked it, putting it all in her mouth and sucking it hard. A guttural moan was echoed in the room and he half opened his eyelids, looking at her. She used her nails to trace a path from his ribs to the top of his hips and then moved them behind, to rake her way from his waist up to his shoulder blades and down his spine. Richard arched his back, a deep growl resonating his body. She smiled and continued her teasing, leaving red traces where her nails scratched and wet traces where her tongue licked.
She then brought her hands in the front, and passed her fingers lightly over his lower abdomen, just above the hem of his jeans. She sank a finger in, tracing the line of his underwear back and forth, his erection so big that she thought it must be painful contained in those tight jeans.
He started panting; he lifted his head and looked at her with aroused and alert eyes. She smiled wickedly and popped the first button open, tracing with her finger the tip of his penis, above the boxers. He hissed and grabbing her pulled her against him, kissing her violently. She tasted herself on his lips and her desire fired up. He lifted her up, placing her on top of his erection. She crossed her legs behind him firmly, grabbing his shoulders for support, the hard fabric rubbing painfully her sensitive skin. He growled on top of her lips and thrust one time, not able to contain himself anymore. A painful, surprised gasp left her mouth but was drowned by Richard that was still kissing and suckling her lips as he walked quickly and assuredly towards the bed.
He laid her down, lying on top of her, his hands moving to her head, sinking his fingers in her hair, pulling her head closer. With another thrust of his hips she cried thrilled, sinking her nails on his back, scratching him, bringing him closer. His hands then moved down her body, at her sides, stroking her. She felt his smile on top of her lips when he found the zipper of her dress and a second later heard the zipper pulled down forcefully. Then his hand skimmed under the dress and touched her bare skin, causing electric currents to travel her body. He moved his palm slowly from her side, up to her stomach and under her breast. Eliza inhaled deeply when she felt his fingers travel further up circling her aerola and then the nipple, making it even harder. He played with her breast, teasing and pinching the nipple lightly.

“I wanted to tear off that little dress of yours the moment I saw you.” he whispered upon her lips. “To know that you didn’t wear a bra was driving me crazy; that I could slither my hands inside and feel you was making me stone hard. To know that you wore this damn dress for another man, that he was thinking the same think all night and that he could actually do it instead of me… You were killing me Eliza.” He said jealously and bit her bottom lip while he pinched her nipple hard and thrust his hips upwards. Eliza arched her back moaning, panting, the pain so pleasurable she was ready to have an orgasm. He was still jealous! Inside she was making cartwheels from happiness.
“I love how you writhe underneath me, I love that I’m the one to cause you ecstasy. Only me.” He whispered kissing her again, stealing her breath.
Still kissing her he raised his body a little and grabbing the dress, started pulling it up while Eliza raised her body too to help him. They only stopped their kiss the few seconds the dress needed to be over her head and be thrown somewhere in the room. He then attacked her mouth again, his tongue dancing with hers, his hands roaming freely all over her body.

 


Eliza caressed her way from his back, to his ribs, down his waist and in front on his abdomen, unbuttoning the jeans quickly. He deepened the kiss while his hands were on her breasts kneading and stroking them, caressing and pinching her nipples. When she at last unbuttoned the jeans she pushed them down, as much as her hands would allow, trembling from desire. Richard suckling her lips one last time stood up took off his jeans and underwear and naked went to the wardrobe and pulling the first drawer open he took something out and came back to the bed.
Eliza was panting, her body missing his warmth and caresses but her eyes feasting on the naked gloriousness before her. His stiff member erect and proud was hitting his belly every time he moved, the tip of his penis so red and swollen her mouth actually sulivated from her desire to taste him again. When he came closer she saw that he was holding four little boxes which she recognized immediately. The condoms! He threw them beside her on the bed and opening her legs with his long fingers, he lied on top of her again making himself comfortable between her, his huge erection rubbing her clit pleasurably.

“Time to make use of the money I spent.” He said smirking, teasing her.

Eliza smiled, rubbing her hips to his and pulling his head closer for a deep kiss. “I never thought that you would keep them, I thought that you must have used them by now.” she said between hoarse breaths.

“No, my minx. Obviously they are only for you. I told you I slept with no one else after you.” He replied tenderly, kissing her while rubbing with the tip of his penis her clit, ecstatic moans escaping both their mouths.

Are we going to use all of them now?” she mumbled on top of his lips, her hips rubbing his erection.
She felt precum land on her belly. She stopped the kiss and collecting it with her finger she put it to her mouth, licking and sucking it while Richard was panting heavily, looking at her entranced.

“Shit Eliza!” he exclaimed and with trembling hands he ripped a box of condoms open, filling the bed with foiled packages. He took one, ripped it open with his teeth and Eliza took it from his trembling fingers and pulled it down on his big erection.
“You are going to kill me, I swear.” He declared and entered her with a forceful and deep thrust.

Their simultaneous groans of pleasure and relief echoed in the room. Richard just looked at her; buried deep inside her without moving, letting their bodies remember each other again while stroking her hair and the side of her face. Eliza was panting, looking at his beautiful, expressive eyes, lost in his magnetizing gaze, her hands on top of his tight ass, pulling him close, his familiar weight on top and inside her filling her with excitement and lust. She was so aroused and her vagina was so sensitive that already was pulsating around him, making him groan.

“You can make me come just like that.” he said, his voice deeper than usual the passion written in every fiber of his skin.

“I think I’m ready to come too.” she said, feeling her cunt pulsating faster.

“Fuck!” he exclaimed, feeling her vagina sucking him. “I feel like a teenager again, ready to come just by looking at a naked breast!”

Eliza giggled but her laughter cut short when he started moving and deep sighs escaped her lips instead.
He started thrusting, slowly, obviously trying to make this last as much as possible. Eliza was trying to stay still, savoring the friction on her vagina walls. She crossed her legs on his butt, bringing him closer, making his pubic bone rub at every thrust at her throbbing clit. She sank her fingers on his butt, trying to make his thrusts short and deep, just as she wanted.

“I’m going to come quickly that way.” he whispered in her ear, trying to make his thrusts longer and swallower.

“That’s the whole point hunny.” She answered, moving her hips up, meeting his thrusts.

“Argh!” he groaned. “No, not so quickly. I want this to last forever.” He mumbled on her temple and moving to her ear started biting it lightly.

Her sensitive skin was tinkling, sending ripples of pleasure deep down her belly. She raised her hips again, meeting his thrusts, making him go deeper.
“Oh yes!” she moaned, feeling Richard’s patience crumble and his rhythm to accelerate.

“Witch!” he said moving his mouth on top of her neck, suckling the skin hard, leaving another mark.

He moved faster and faster, kissing and licking her breasts, biting her collarbone, suckling her neck, devouring her. Eliza was lost in all the sensations, pushing his butt closer to her with all her might, sinking her nails deep in his bum. She felt the tide rising and rising inside her belly and at last to hit her with full force, screaming Richard’s name, writhing beneath him, trembling like a fish out of the water.

“Fuck, fuck!” Richard yelled, her vagina throbbing uncontrollably, bringing him fast to redemption.
In a few more thrusts he stilled and growled in ecstasy. Eliza started moving beneath him to give him more pleasure, earning a bite on her shoulder from Richard that he was trying to suppress his scream.
“Oh I missed you!” he whispered and fell on top of her, panting heavily.
He then kissed her closed eyelids, her nose, her mouth, her lips and nuzzled at last on her neck, closing his eyes. They stayed there, intertwined and connected until their breathing calmed.

Eliza was holding him close, holding him tightly, afraid that if she let him he would leave her again, alone. He was heavy, making it a little hard to breath, but with his weight on top of her she felt secured and safe.

“I am heavy, I’m going to crush you.” he said tenderly, trying to get up. But Eliza pulled him down again.

“No, you’re not. Just stay, please.” She said, fear painting her voice. Don’t go my love.

“I’m going to take the condom off and pull the comforter on top of us, ok?” he said kissing her neck and moving up to her jaw, finding her lips, kissing them sweetly.

She nodded reluctantly and untied her hands from his back, and her legs from his butt.
He kissed her one more time, pulled off her and taking off his condom, he threw it on the floor. He then stood up, gathered the condoms from the bed and placing them on his night stand he threw the warm comforter on top of Eliza and climbed himself in. He came close to her and took her in his arms; her head resting on his right arm, his left caressing her hair, giving her light kisses in her hair, temples and forehead. The I-pod was still playing in the background. Eliza recognized a few love songs, making her heart constrict. Did he choose this playlist on purpose?

“Can we start again?” he asked her timidly, bringing her closer to his body, kissing her hair, dragging her out of her reverie.

Her heart that was trying to find its rhythm started to beat fast again. “First, you’ll make amends with Vicky. I don’t know what you’ll do but you have to talk to her. Explain to her…” she tried to finish the sentence, explain what?

“Explain how I feel about you?” he finished for her.

Eliza gulped. He could read her so well! She wouldn’t dare to ask what he meant, her heart beating faster in her chest. She just nodded, not looking at him, her hands resting on his chest.

“And what exactly do you think I should tell her?” he asked, nuzzling his nose in her hair.

“I don’t know, you’ll think of something.” She whispered, the breath barely reaching her lungs.

“Well, I could say to her how good it feels to have you in my arms…” he teased, kissing her temples and hair, his hands brushing her arm, breasts, stomach, hip, thigh.

She wasn’t looking at him, her eyes concentrating on his little hairs on his chest, but she was absolutely sure he was smirking; maybe he had even raised an eyebrow. “No, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” She said, trying to act nonchalant, the blood boiling in her veins with his every caress.

“Hmm, could you help me a little?” he asked, the mirth obvious in his voice, continuing his ministrations.

“No I won’t, you got into this mess, you get out of it.” she answered matter-of-factly. She was so nervous she started playing with his chest hairs, his hands igniting her desire again.

“Well, what are you going to say to Michael?” he asked, hints of jealousy still in his tone, his hands stopping their caresses.

“I’m going to say nothing because nothing happened. It was the first time that we went out.” She clarified. His heartbeats had accelerated, almost matching her fast beating heart. She could feel it racing under her palm.

“And the last time, as long as I have a say.” He declared, pulling her closer, raising her head with his fingers and kissing her possessively.

“So, now we are dating?” she asked breathlessly when he moved his lips on her jaw, nibbling his way down her throat, his hands travelling her body again, making her tremple, her heart ready to burst in her chest.

“I think so…” he said, humor reappearing in his voice. “What did you understand from what I said earlier?” he asked her tenderly and bit her neck not so tenderly, making her gasp aroused.

Eliza couldn’t answer. He made her so aroused again she thought she was going to explode. She didn’t know what exactly he meant earlier anyway. One minute it was like he loved her, the next like he lusted for her. Which one was the correct answer? So she just curled deeper in his arms, hiding her face on his chest, trying to steady her breathing and racing heart.

“Well, and there I was, thinking I am articulate enough that people could understand me.” He continued teasing her, a little giggle escaping his lips, rocking his body.

Eliza smiled; she loved his giggles even if they were at her expense. He should laugh more. “Stop making fun of me.” She pretended to be annoyed, pinching his chest.

“Ouch!” he yelled, laughing. “I missed your pinches a lot.” He said kissing her forehead, his hands travelling behind her back, up and down, staying a little more than was necessary on her butt.

“You are a masochist.” Eliza declared, kissing the place she pinched, and moved her hands behind his back, caressing his smooth skin, mimicking unconsciously his every move.

“So, back to our issue at hand, what should I tell Vicky…” he continued earning another pinch from Eliza, this time to his firm butt, making him cry joyfully.

“You know Armitage, tell her that you love me pinching you.” she said smirking.

“Hmmm, now we are on the right track.” He said smiling, his hands staying on her butt shamelessly, caressing and stroking it repeatedly, his fingers travelling dangerously closer and closer to her vagina.

“Yeah, I can imagine the conversation clearly in my head and it’s going pretty well too.” Eliza tried to imitate Richard’s voice, though breathlessly, holding back a moan when one finger slithered on her vagina lips. “Well Vicky, I can’t see you anymore.”
She continued imitating Vicky’s voice. “Oh why Rich? Although I think I figured this out when you left me for another woman.’ ‘Well, Vick,’ ” Eliza continued doing Richard’s voice, who was giggling beside her, his fingers stopping at last their torturous path. “She can do something no other woman can. Pinch me. She pinches me like no other!”

“You are awful!” Richard laughed aloud, his whole body rocking. “Thank god you hadn’t become an actress, or a script writer for that matter!”

“That wasn’t nice! I used all my acting skills here!” she raised her head and looked at him pretenting the offended and hurt, placing her palm on her chest.

“Oh gods! If the directors and script writers only knew about the hidden talent in my arms!” he laughed again, kissing her forehead, still laughing uncontrollably.

“I’m pretty certain I could outrun you all! You would plead me on your hands and knees to play for you. Just admit you’re intimidated by my acting skills and stop laughing!” she answered, laughing herself with his contagious laugh.

“Yes, I’m terrified!” He pretended the scared, making a weird face.

“Oh, I’m awed from all this talent before me!” she teased him, giggling.

“You minx!” he exclaimed and moving his hands from her butt higher, he started tickling her ribs.

Eliza being very ticklish tried to get away, but he turned her on her back in a swift movement and pinned her underneath him tickling her until tears were running down her eyes and she was pleading for mercy.
“Ok! Stop, please! I won’t make fun of your acting skills again, I promise! But you started it! You made fun of mine first!” she was laughing, out of breath, trying to stop his hands, grabbing his strong fingers.

“Ok, I won’t make fun of your exceptional acting skills again.” Richard joked, laughing. “But you will admit I’m the best actor you’ve ever seen!”

“Yes! Yes you are!” she answered still laughing uncontrollably.

“Why am I not convinced?” he asked grinning, stopping his tickling and holding her sides with his big hands.

“I don’t know…maybe I indeed have to practice my acting skills more?”

“Oh, heavens, the nerve of this woman!” he laughed and started tickling her again.

Eliza was trying to get off from beneath him but her laughter didn’t let her. After a while of fighting and laughing his hands moved from her ribs up her breasts and the tickling changed to rubbing and stroking until they both stopped laughing and started kissing. Richard reached for a condom and wearing it quickly, slipped inside her, a deep moan escaping his lips and a pleasure sigh from Eliza’s. He moved fast, thrusting deep and accelerating quickly, making them both come together, screaming in each other’s arms.

“If all the tickling fights are going to end like that be prepared to hear what an awful actor you are from morning ΄till night.” She said, kissing his nose, when she managed to breathe more calmly.

“Yes, I’m terrible indeed.” He agreed, grinning, his eyes sparkling in the dim light.

He was holding her again in his arms; she was warm, content, cozy and sleepy. Her eyelids were dropping when she felt Richard giggling beside her. She tried to open her eyes to see why he was laughing. “What is it so funny?” she asked slowly, trying to pronounce each word clearly, but her mouth wasn’t cooperating and her eyes that had managed to half open, to close immediately again. Her body was completely paralyzed against Richard’s warm body, his fingers passing slowly between her strands, the tinkling sensation traveling from the roots of her hair to the toes on her feet, dizzying her senseless. She was safe. She was home.

“Nothing. Sleep my brightest star.” He whispered in her forehead, kissing it, stopping his laugh.
“Thou art my star o’ Venus.” She thought she heard him quote, but she was not sure because she heard ‘my love’ in the end and that was a definite sign of dreaming. After that she remembered nothing.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16

 

She woke up by someone licking her nipple and the intense sensation deep down her belly that craved its release. She stood motionless, scared, not knowing if it was a dream or reality; if it was a dream she didn’t want to wake up. But then she heard Richard’s husky voice and everything came back. She was on his bed, at his apartment, a fade early morning light lighting the room around them.

“Shhh, don’t be afraid. It’s only me my sweetest.” He whispered, moving up, kissing his way to her mouth. She kissed him back eagerly, sinking her hands in his silken hair, his coarse stubble rubbing her jaw and mouth pleasingly. His hands were travelling up and down her body, making her crave his touch in more intimate places. She opened her legs and guided his left hand on her sensitive area. He obediently obeyed and slithered his long fingers there, his index finger sinking deep inside her and his thumb rubbing her clit, earning a pleasurable purr from Eliza.
“So hot and wet…” He sighed on top of her lips and pushed another finger in, making her gasp.

Eliza moaning found his erection and started to rub it slowly up and down, making sure to rub the tip of his cock every time.
He growled; he bit her lips and moving downwards bit playfully her jaw and neck, his stubble making her skin crawl hedonically. Reaching her breast he suckled her nipple hard while his thrust a third finger inside her stretching her more, earning an ecstatic groan from Eliza. She tightened her grip, moving her hand quicker up and down, feeling his hiss on her sensitive nipple. With her other hand she found a condom and tried to open it with one hand but gave up and used her teeth instead, while Richard was occupied torturing her breasts with his able tongue and scratching them sensually with his stubble. She finally opened it and moved her hand between them, where her other hand was still moving rhythmically, and pushed the condom down on his big erection. He growled deeply and was ready to get inside her when she pushed him on his back and straddled him.
She felt his cock hit against her butt; she leaned down and kissed him hard while her hands stroked his strong muscles on his body. She moved her butt up and down rubbing his erection teasingly.

“Fuck!” she heard him exclaim when she raised her body a little, making him think she would take him in, but instead she brought his erection in front of her, rubbing her clit on the tip of his cock. Breathless moans escaped both their lips and Richard’s hands moved from his sides on top of her hips, trying to guide her on his cock. Smiling down at him she placed his huge cock in her opening but pushed only the tip in, suspended there, while her hand moved to his balls, rubbing them sensually.
He moaned in ecstasy, sweat glistening on his brow, his veins throbbing on his forehead, his arms straining flexed on top of her hips, trying with all his might not to push her down completely. She kept rubbing his balls while she moved teasingly up and down the tip, not taking him all in, her left hand clasping his right one, which was on top of her hip, tightly for support. She saw his teasing smirk and the wicked gleam that lighted his eyes and she was ready when he thrust his way up. She avoided him by raising herself completely off him.

“Naughty man…” she whispered and when she heard his irritated moan she giggled.

“Stop teasing me woman, you’re killing me.” he said torturously, pushing her down to his big erection.

“So eager.” She teased him and tightened her grip on his balls, letting him guide her on his cock and stopping her descend on his tip again.

“Please.” He begged her with pleading eyes, his free hand roaming up her belly, to her stomach and her breast.

She could not deny his puppy eyes and with a heart swelling with love, sheathed herself slowly on his big cock, that stretched her open torturously slow. He growled and placing his hand in her back pushed her down to him to capture her lips in a deep, wet kiss.

She started moving her hips, feeling his moans and growls echoing deep in her belly. She stood up again and placed her palms on his hard stomach, accelerating her rhythm. They were looking at each other intently, not speaking; only moans and sighs of pleasure escaping their lips. Eliza was feeling her heart ready to burst from love. Afraid that he could read it in her eyes, she leaned forward and started to kiss his jaw and neck, trying to hide her face. He placed his arms on her back, holding her tightly close to him. She moved faster and faster, feeling the fire building, his moans arousing her more. She came quickly, crying aloud and then buried her face on his neck, writhing uncontrollably. Her legs were trembling but she tried to keep her rhythm, the friction intensifying her orgasm, her clit throbbing painfully.

He turned her in her back, managing to never lose contact and he kept rocking in and out slowly, finding the spot that made her whimper and hitting it continuously. She bit his shoulder, stifling a scream of pleasure, feeling another orgasm building up, but he leaned his head down and raising her head from his shoulder with his fingers, he captured her lips ravenously. He accelerated his rhythm and leaving her lips moved down to her neck and sucked the sensitive skin hard. She scratched his back with her nails making him arch it and thrust deeper and harder. She then sank her nails in his butt, bringing him closer, his cock to hit the spot inside her more frequently and for longer, his hard abdomen to rub with her belly. They were both panting, their bodies sliding from sweat but they never reduced their rhythm. On the opposite they both accelerated their thrusts, moving faster and harder, kissing deeply, stealing each other’s ragged breaths. Eliza was closer and closer to her release. She felt her vagina clenching painfully, her clit pulsating, ready for her redemption and Richard thrust harder and harder, rocking the bed. They both came together; Richard falling on top of her thrusting his hips repeatedly, screaming her name. Eliza’s scream caught in her throat, her limps trembling, her body writhing ecstatic. He never stopped moving, prolonging their orgasm.
At last he fell on top of her spent, panting and sweaty. His beautiful eyes closed, the veins on his forehead prominent but with a serene and calm expression on his face, making him look ten years younger.
Eliza raised her trembling hand and stroked away the wet strands falling on his forehead and a little sweat from his brow. She caressed his damp hair; she kissed his forehead, tasted the salty skin and inhaled his stimulating scent. She loved seeing him like that, relaxed on top of her, content. He then opened his azure mesmerizing eyes and looked at her, with a look that pierced her heart and made it beat faster.

“You are the best Christmas present I could ever wish for my love.” He said tenderly, raising his head a little and kissing sweetly her lips.

Eliza looked at him stunned, turning rigid in his arms. Had he really called her his love? Maybe it was said in the grip of the moment. He was still buried inside her, the aftershocks of their orgasms still rocking their bodies. She didn’t say anything afraid of ruining the moment.

“What happened?” Richard asked perplexed, stroking her face.

“Nothing.” She answered and closed her eyes.

“Eliza… you know that right?” he asked intimately.

“Know what?” she asked, her heart jumping on her chest the hope flaring. She opened her eyes again wanting to see the truth of his words in his blue depths.

“That I love you. I love you with every fiber of my being. I loved you the moment I laid my eyes on you, in that bar, when I didn’t know who you even were or if I would ever see you again. I just looked at you and I fell for you. But I had to lose you to understand it. I had to see you with another man for my stupid heart to finally see how much I loved you. I’m sorry for everything I caused you my love. Everything. I was so stupid. Do you think you can learn to love me again?” he asked timidly, pleading with his beautiful eyes.

Eliza was speechless, looking at him agape.

“Please, answer me my love.” He pleaded again, fear showing in his eyes.

“You really love me? Really?” She asked doubting and hoping at the same time.

“Yes, I love you; more than I’ve ever loved before, and thanks to you now I know that love at first sight actually exists.”

Eliza’s eyes welled up. He really loved her!

“Hunny, don’t cry.” He pleaded, wiping a single tear that slipped down her eye. “My beautiful witch, can I hope that you still love me?” He asked again, hope lighting his eyes.

Eliza nodded her head not trusting her voice.

“That means a yes?” he asked smiling.

“Yes.” She said with a raspy voice. “Yes, I love you Richard, more than my own life.”

Richard moved higher and trapped her lips fiercely, leaving her breathless.
“Now, you are mine, only mine.” He stated and exiting slowly from her he threw the condom to the floor and took her in his arms possessively, wiping her teary eyes, looking at her like she was the most precious thing in his world.

Eliza smiled ecstatic. He loved her! HE loved HER! What had she done to be so lucky? To have a man like him in her life? She curled under his neck, placing her ear on his chest, hearing his strong and fast heartbeat, tightening her grip around him. He was hers! Only hers!
“And you are mine.” She whispered, kissing his chest where his heart bit fast, her tears glistening on top of his chest hair like diamonds.

“I was always yours. My whole life I was waiting for someone like you. I was stupid to let you go but now I can see clearly at last. I’ll never leave you again, my love. Never.” he declared tenderly.

She smiled and raising her head kissed his sensual lips, tears of happiness still running down her eyes. “You made me the happiest woman. I never thought that I would hear these words coming out from your mouth.”

“I’m sorry that it took me so long to understand .” He responded with a low voice, kissing her lips sweetly, hugging her tightly.

The morning light had bathed the room, rays of sunlight falling on top of him making him glow. Eliza thought she could never love another man as she loved him.
She was lying comfortably on his arm, looking at each others eyes, relishing each other’s presence. Now and then they would kiss and stroke each other’s faces and bodies, smiling like little kids in a candy store. Eliza’s phone ringing brought them back to reality, making both sigh exasperated.

“Don’t pick it up.” Richard pleaded, kissing her neck and stroking her waist.

“I can’t.” she smiled, “Maybe it’s my mom.” She added, kissing his hair and getting out of bed.

“At least I have a nice view.” He said smirking, making Eliza pull embarrassed the comforter off him and cover herself blushing.

“Now I have a nice view.” She answered, looking at his magnificent erection, blowing him a kiss and walking to the living room.

“If I catch a cold it’s going to be your fault!” he yelled at her teasingly.

“You never catch colds hunny.” She shouted back laughing.

Eliza smiling found her bag and retrieved her cell. Yep, it was her mom.
“Hey mom, Merry Christmas.” She said jovially.

“Merry Christmas sweetheart! You sound so happy at last!” her mother stated relaxed, her speech a little slurred. If she was sounding happy, her mother was sounding a little drunk.

“Yeah…it’s Christmas…you know how I love Christmas!” she answered quickly as an excuse for her good mood. Definitely this Christmas turned out to be the best of her life! “So, how was your day? What did you do?” She asked, trying to change the route of the discussion. It wasn’t the time to announce to her mother that she was in a relationship with Richard. Oh gods! She was in a relationship with Richard! He loved her!!! She was so excited and happy she wanted to jump up and down.

“We were invited at the Robinson’s. Their children decided to spend their holidays abroad so we decided to unite our loneliness and our wine collections.” She said exhaling, making Eliza feel guilty.

“Mom, you know that if I could I would be with you. I miss you too, a lot.” Eliza said sadly. It was the first holidays that she wasn’t celebrating it with her parents. “I just started working here and I can’t ask for a leave of absence. How are Jessica and Simon by the way? I haven’t talked to them for a couple of days.” She said trying to change the subject again.

“They are fine, your sister is feeling a lot better, the nauseas receded, they have a great time and they will be back after New Year’s.” Her mother said sounding a little happier talking about her other daughter. “I wish you could be here also. The house is so empty with both of you gone. Your father and I don’t know what to do to fill our days.” She added sighing. “Anyway, do you have any plans for today?” She asked, trying to sound cheerful.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do today; maybe I’ll go to a friend that invited me.” Feeling guilty that her parents were feeling so alone she tried to think of things they could do. “Mom, it’s not going to be long until your hands will be more than full with the baby, you know that you’ll be the one taking care of it when Jessica starts working again. Enjoy the few months of freedom, go out on dates with dad, with friends, find a hobby you both like, go to the thea…” Eliza’s breath caught in her throat when she felt suddenly someone pull the comforter off her. She turned and saw Richard smirking playfully, a few centimeters away from her, throwing the comforter on the couch and grabbing her by the hips, lifting her astride him. She gasped shocked.

“Eliza, what’s wrong?” her mother asked anxious. “Is everything ok?”

“Yes, mom…someone knocked at the door. I have to go and see who it is.” She tried to sound normal but with Richard kissing and suckling her neck the chances were limited. Her breath caught again when he found her nipple with his fingers and started teasing it, pinching and stroking it. His erection against her sensitive area was big and demanding, making her wet. “Richard stop! Put me down! It’s my mom!” She whispered panicked, putting her palm on the phone’s speaker. He just grinned and kissed her lips and then moved down to her jaw.

“Be careful hunny, don’t open the door to people you don’t know. Your father wants to talk to you too.” She said and Eliza heard the phone change hands and then her father’s voice. “Merry Christmas pumpkin! Who was at the door?”

Oh fuck! Panicked she tried to climb down from him but he was too strong. He smiled wickedly and walking around the couch he sat her on the edge of it, kneeling in front of her and opening her legs he started kissing her pubic area. Eliza tried to get away but his grip on her legs was too strong and his mouth was already on her clit, licking it playfully. A moan escaped her lips.

“Eliza? Are you there? What’s happening?” Her father asked anxious. “Are you fighting with anyone?”

“N-nothing’s happening. I’m trying to make coffee and I hit my toe on the t-table.” She lied embarrassed, out of breath, pulling Richard’s hair to raise his head off her. He only giggled and kissed her belly and stomach, placing himself comfortably in her opening. Eliza’s eyes opened scared and she tried to push him away with her one free hand. Oh he wouldn’t dare! He wouldn’t! He only grinned more broadly, showing all his teeth in a shark like smile, his eyes sparkling mischievously.

“So, who was at the door? Your mother is asking.” Her father clarified.

“I don’t know, I didn’t open.” A gasp of surprise and pleasure escaped her lips when he entered her with a swift movement, burying himself to the hilt. Son of a bitch he did it!
He let out a low blissful moan while he was looking at her shamelessly and started to move, still smiling, rubbing his big cock in and out sensually, low moans of pleasure escaping his lips with every sensuous thrust. Eliza held back a gasp at the last minute. She was trying to mute the sounds by still holding the phone’s speaker.

“Eliza what’s going on? Are you sure you’re ok?” Her father asked again worried.

“Yes, dad, I-I have to go. My toe really hurts and I have to p-put some ice on it… Fuck!” she exclaimed when Richard thrust hard and she ended the phone call abruptly. She threw her phone to the other side of the couch and grabbed his back tightly, bringing him closer. She leaned on his ear and whispered while Richard was thrusting forcefully, his hands on her waist. “You are going to pay for this.” And she raked her teeth against his earlobe earning a moan and a giggle for her last statement.

 

“I will expect your revenge most eagerly.” he laughed and kissed her forcefully, opening her lips and forcing his tongue in, mimicking the movement of his hips.

Eliza moaned and sucked his tongue and then bit his lower lip making him thrust his hips harder and faster.
Their swallow pants, their passionate kisses and flesh hitting on flesh were the only sounds echoing in the living room. Eliza felt her orgasm coming fast and placing both hands on his ass, pushed him forcefully towards her, barely giving him space to move.

“I feel you are ready.” He whispered in her ear, biting her earlobe, making her whimper. He put his hands under her butt, bringing her closer and thrust hard three times bringing her to the edge of the cliff. With his fourth thrust she skyrocketed to the stars, her cry of ecstasy drowned by his deep kiss. He continued thrusting relentlessly, shaking the couch, bringing Eliza to the verge of another orgasm, almost immediately after the first one. They both came together a few seconds later, crying their release on top of each other’s lips, Richard finally falling on top of her, both panting hard. Eliza was writhing exhausted underneath him, not able to move, her limps melted on the couch.

“That was fun.” He said giggling after he started breathing regularly again, biting playfully her shoulder.

“My parents thought so too.” She answered still panting, smiling at his childish giggle.

“But you are such a great actress my love. They didn’t understand a thing.” He answered laughing, hiding his face on her neck.

“You are sooooo going to pay for this Armitage!” She answered laughing with his teasing remark, trying to raise her numb arms to place them around his neck, but failing miserably.

“I don’t think you’ll do anything. You won’t dare.” He teased her, kissing the spots he had bitten, his hands still squeezing her butt pleasurably.

“Don’t dare me, you’re going to lose.” She warned him, kissing his temple. The only think that she could still move were her lips. “Now, get up. I really have to use the bathroom.” She added, moving her lips to his cheek.

“Your wish is my command my lady.” He said placing a peck on her lips and getting up graciously he removed the condom.

Eliza sighed inwardly, relieved. He remembered to put a condom because she had completely forgotten about it. Her heart clenched with guild. She had to tell him about the pregnancy. She had to find an appropriate moment to tell him. Raising her eyes to him she saw him offering his hand to help her get up. She smiled and giving him, with extreme difficulty, her hand, she stood up, her legs trembling. Seeing her trying to get her balance he smirked, lifted her off the floor effortlessly and started walking to the bathroom.

“Put me down! I’m heavy and has become your favorite past time to carry me here and there!” She said indignantly trying to get down.

“You think you are heavy? You weren’t heavy before and definitely you’re not now after all the weight you lost. After all I’m the cause of your immobility hunny. I wouldn’t leave you crawl to the bathroom, though that would be a pleasurable sight to see…” he laughed when she pinched him.

“You are impossible! If you have back pains later don’t beg me to massage you!” she answered smiling with his playfulness, her stomach growling hungrily.

“And that reminds me that I have to make breakfast.” He answered smiling, obviously hearing her demanding stomach. “And you have to know love I can lift 220 pounds in the gym. So I can lift my little minx whenever I want quite easily.” He said proudly. “And if you are not willing to give me massages I’ll have to find a willing candidate.” He teased her.

“My Hercules, just dare to imply something like that again and I’m not going to be responsible for what will happen, to you or your willing candidate!” she teased him, caressing his flexed muscles.

“Firstly I’m Zeus, woman! A proper god and a king among them! And secondly all the judges will be on my side. The woman who refuses her man massages has to accept the consequences.” He teased her back and reaching the bathroom he let her down carefully and flexed his muscles playfully.

“Oh, I’m sorry my king that I dared to undermine you!” she laughed. “Now my king and god you have to go because it’s not proper for a mere mortal to pee in front of your holiness. And for your information, I’ll make sure the judges to be all women!” She added laughing, pushing him mildly outside.

He laughed aloud and kissed her tenderly. “There are towels there if you want to take a shower and my bathrobe is here.” He pointed with his hand. “But don’t be long because I already miss you.” he added sweetly, cradling her face in his big hands and kissing her lovingly.

“I won’t.” she said intimately, kissing him back.

He kissed her forehead and left the bathroom closing the door behind him. He had carried her to another bathroom which was next to his room, not the one she used last night. It was modern decorated, with granite tiles, very masculine. On the sink you could see a collection of perfumes, aftershaves and shaving creams and everything else a man needed. Everything was tidy and smelled like him. The bathtub was huge, you could easily lie down. She smiled at the possibilities of this bathtub and after attending to her immediate needs she took a towel and turned on the hot water. She used his shampoo and shower gel with a feeling of déjà vous. She had done the same thing three months ago, in another country. She couldn’t believe that she was in the same position again and with the aching muscles on top of it! She smiled ecstatic and after she finished her shower she rubbed herself thoroughly with a fluffy brown towel. She went to the mirror and saw her blissful expression, her sparkly eyes, the broad smile and the bruises and marks on her neck, shoulders and breasts and laughed. He had missed him so much! Him and his crazy possessiveness! Truth be told he left more marks and hickeys now than the last time! She found a brush and brushed her hair and blow-dried them with the hair dryer. She wore his big, fluffy and soft grey bathrobe and went outside. She really needed to ask him for a spare tooth brush.

The first thing she heard was dance music coming from somewhere and then the smell of fried eggs hit her nostrils. Her stomach growled. She followed the sound and smell and found him in the kitchen. The moment she saw him she forgot everything, her hunger, the toothbrush, her name.
With his back to her, he was wearing black boxer briefs and nothing else, stirring something in a pan, probably the eggs, dancing gracefully. His lean body moving lithely, his toned muscles flexing and moving to the music, making Eliza hold her breath to the amazing creature before her and also watch him amused. She could barely walk straight and he danced! The stamina of this man was crazy! The music was coming from the I-pod that he had brought to the kitchen. He hadn’t noticed her yet so she went to the I-pod to see to what song he was so enthusiastically dancing with. The song ‘Turn me on’ by Kevin Lyttle was displayed on the screen and she held back a laugh. She thought a woman was singing but nope, it was a man for crying out loud! She had to admit though that the song was very hyper and catchy and from now on it would definitely be one of her favorites.

She moved silently his way and wrapped her arms around his waist. “My man’s got the moves.” She teased him, kissing the little moles on his shoulder blades.

He laughed placing the pan aside and then turned and grabbing her by the waist lifted her up and swirled her around. Eliza grabbed his forearms for support and laughed enthusiastically, surprised. Letting her down he still held her waist and moved to the rhythm, guiding her and singing to her, his deep masculine voice a complete opposite to the high pitched voice coming from the speakers. Eliza laughing followed his moves and mimicked the sway of his hips, still holding him by the arms. He brought her closer, placing one leg between her legs, his crotch rubbing sensually on her abdomen in every move. She tilted her head back, looking at his beautiful turquoise eyes and smiled lasciviously, rubbing her hips to his crotch as well. Two could play that game she thought, aroused. A sinful smile appeared on his lips and his tongue made an appearance then, licking them seductively. His hypnotizing eyes fired up aroused.
Eliza gulped. Fuck! This man took sexy to a whole new level!
He pulled her against him and leaning down he kissed her vigorously. He had taken a shower as well and he smelled tantalizing, his lips tasted like mint, his tongue was cool against hers, swirling and moving in and out sensually, his coarse stubble rubbing hedonically her mouth and jaw, his nose stroking the side of her nose, tinkling her. She grabbed his head with one hand, pulling him closer and deepened the kiss, whispering between breaths “Push that thing harder back on me.” Quoting the lyrics and stroking his half aroused bulge with her other hand.

“You witch!” he growled and untied the robe quickly, throwing the belt to the floor. Opening the robe and cupping her breast with one hand, he started stroking her nipple with his thump and with his other hand grabbed her ass and pulled her hard against his growing erection. He leaned down and found her mouth, licking her lips and then pushed his tongue to her eager mouth, licking her teeth and palate and then swirled his tongue with hers. She was moaning, rubbing herself against him and captured his head, bringing him closer.
He removed her robe and lifting her placed her on top of the table. Eliza opened her legs and he positioned himself between her, his stiff member rubbing her sensitive area repeatedly. With one hand he pushed her mildly back, making her lie on her elbows and he started licking her nipples and stroking her body making her writhe beneath him. They were so lost pleasuring each other they didn’t hear the intercom ringing or the apartment phone ringing or the doorbell ringing or any ringing whatsoever, until it was too late.

“Oh my god I’m sorry!” A shrill voice made them turn to its source, both scared.
“I’m sorry sir!” The shrill voice continued leaving the kitchen in a hurry.

Richard had covered Eliza with his body, hiding whatever he could while she hid her face on his chest.

“Shit! I forgot about her!” he exclaimed and getting off from Eliza he retrieved the robe from the floor and helping her get up he covered her. Then he cackled with laughter.

“Richard it’s not funny, stop laughing! Who was that?” Eliza asked as she found the belt and tied it tightly around her waist, covering everything. She felt her face burning and she was sure she was tomato red.

“My cleaning lady.” He said chuckling, trying to control himself. “I forgot I told her to come today. I have arranged a dinner for friends and I pleaded for her to come and clean, almost on my hands and knees, yesterday. I think I would have to find another one soon.” He then roared, tears running down his face.

“How can you possibly forget?” She asked astonished. “Thank god we hadn’t, you know…” she said so embarrassed she wanted the floor to open up and swallow her.

“I forgot because you have stolen my mind and heart, my witch. You’re the only thing on my mind. Nothing else.” He said, trying to stop laughing and coming closer he enveloped her in his big embrace. Eliza hid her face underneath his neck.

“Can you please put something on you? I think the poor woman would be shocked seeing you walking around in those tight boxers and your… anaconda…” she said timidly looking longingly his huge erection ready to tear his boxers.

She first felt Richard’s body vibrating from laughter, his shoulders shaking uncontrollably and then heard his actual infectious laugh. “My what?!” he asked roaring from laughter again.

“Oh stop laughing! It’s not funny!” She said smiling on his chest.

“It’s hilarious! First time someone referred to it as anaconda.” He said holding her tightly with one hand and wiping a few tears from his eyes with the other.

“I’m glad I amuse you so.” She answered, pretending the offended. He just laughed more and threw her on his shoulder walking to his bedroom. Eliza tried to get off but he held her tightly. “Richard stop it! We are not alone!”

“I think Mrs. Hernandez can handle another shock.” He entered the room and leaving her gently to the floor he turned and locked the door behind him. “Now, where were we?” he asked smiling broadly, totally elated, walking towards her while Eliza retrieved back.

“You must be kidding me! Your cleaning lady is here!” Eliza exclaimed, raising her palms up to stop him. She felt behind her knees the edge of the bed and stopped abruptly.

“She’s not going to bother us.” He said with gleaming eyes and a mischievous smile spread on his lips while he came closer and closer.

“It doesn’t feel right. I don’t like having sex with an audience.” She said, moving to her right, trying to avoid him. But he was fast and his arms too long and he had her in his arms in a matter of seconds. She surrendered resigned, looking up to his playful eyes. She knew that she could not resist him. She wrapped her arms around his trim waist her desire rekindled.

“Firstly she has orders to clean the kitchen, bathrooms and living room. She’s not going to come here. Secondly we make love, we don’t have just sex and thirdly I remember a public bathroom incident that you were not at least opposed to ‘have sex’.” He air quoted smiling and leaning down his head he placed his hands on the side of her face and found her lips.

She reciprocated the kiss eagerly, hungrily. They had already had sex, oops made love she corrected herself exhilarated, so many times already; but she still wanted him. She couldn’t stop craving him with every cell of her body.
She moved one hand down his waist to his crotch and started rubbing his huge erection. He moaned upon her lips and rubbed himself in her hand. Having an enormous need to taste him since yesterday she turned him towards the bed and pushed him hard.
Richard fell to the bed gracefully, as if he expected the push, and looked at her smiling sensually. He moved his body higher on the bed and Eliza untied her robe and threw it on the floor. Then she climbed the bed on all fours, looking at him, his eyes gleaming aroused, his breathing accelerating. When she was on top of his crotch she bent down and with her teeth raked his erection on top of the boxers. He hissed ecstatic and she smiled broadly. Then with her teeth and the help of her hands, she took off his boxer. She caressed his strong, long, muscular legs while she pulled down his underwear and then moved again to his crotch. She just looked admiringly his huge, stiff member, her hands stroking his thighs and moving higher to his pubic area, caressing him everywhere except on his erection. He started writhing, his eyes half closed, his cheeks starting gaining a red hue. He was grabbing the sheets tightly, waiting for her next move rigidly, finally not talking or teasing with his smart mouth of his. She made him speechless! Eliza smiled triumphantly.

Still smiling passed her nose and lips on his groin, smelling his heady scent, making sure to stroke him with both, his hair there tinkling her. Then started placing little tantalizing kisses here and there, making him moan and thrust his hips upwards. She kept torturing him, moving her lips to his big balls, sucking and licking them, but never touching his erection that was writhing. She placed her hands on his balls replacing her mouth, continuing to stroke and rub them while she watched entranced his huge erection move; the little veins prominent ready to burst, his red, swollen tip glistening with precum.
Not standing this anymore she placed her lips on his tip earning a low hiss from him and when she started swirling her tongue around it, deep moans escaped his mouth. He thrust his hips again, groaning. She sucked the tip, swallowing the precum and licked her way down. She closed her mouth tightly around him and tried to take as much of him as she could. He whimpered below her, his hands holding the sheets so tightly his knuckles had whitened. She continued to rub his testicles all this time, moving her fingers to his perineum stroking it and scratching it lightly with her nails. She sucked his dick hard and deep, and then started to move her head rhythmically up and down while Richard was writhing beneath her.

“I’m close! Get up!” he said breathlessly, moving his hands to her head, sinking them to her hair and tugging her lightly upwards.

“No!” she said irritated, like a kid that was denied her lollipop. She bent down again, took him to her mouth and sucked him hard.

A deep growl escaped Richard’s lips and thrust his hips upwards. “Eliza please, I can’t hold any more, stop, please…” he begged while she sucked harder, taking him deeper, making him groan.

Eliza stopped only for the few seconds she needed to answer him. “I want you to come in my mouth. I want to swallow every single drop. I’m not stopping now.” She stated and continued her job, rubbing his testicles and swirling her tongue around his huge member.

“Fuck!” he yelled, sinking his fingers deeper on her locks, guiding her head up and down.

 

 

Eliza sucked hard and persistent, raising her eyes to see his face. His eyes were closed, his breathing ragged and heavy, his cheeks flashed. He tilted his head back, moans of ecstasy escaping his lips when she sucked hard, whimpers when she licked him. She was jubilant! Only she would make him writhe like that, no one else!

“I’m close!” he panted, breathless, his hips moving in rhythm with her mouth. She sucked harder and harder, stroking his testicles and his perineum more persistently. Suddenly he stilled. Eliza opened her eyes and saw his silent scream on his lips and felt his cock pulsate erratically inside her mouth and his sperm feeling her. She moaned happy and swallowed everything, still moving her head, sucking him. He writhed beneath her, trembling uncontrollably, his hand on her head clutching her hair painfully. But she didn’t care. She did that to him! She was so proud of herself!

He finally relaxed on the bed, panting, his hands falling limp from her hair, his eyes closed, a blissful smile on his lips.
“Wow!” he said breathless. His eyes still closed, trying to catch his breath.

Eliza smiled and started kissing his hard belly and stomach and moved up to his chest and neck and then his jaw. He was still smiling and trapped her in his arms, holding her on top of him. She sighed happy and embraced him too, caressing his sides, resting her head on top of his chest, listening to his fast beating heart. She was flying to the stars. He finally opened his eyes and looked at her awed.
“I swear I thought I had a heart attack.” He said caressing her back, smiling.

“I don’t want something to happen to you! I think I should not do this again…” she teased him.

“Don’t you dare even think of it again!” he answered scared.

Eliza laughed. “I will definitely do it, every day, three times a day.” She answered smiling.

“You promise?” He asked smiling too.

“Yes my insatiable man, I promise!” She laughed.

“Now…let me catch my breath and I’ll return the favor…” he said smiling, and pulling her a little higher, kissed her lips.

“Richard, you’ll owe me. I’m hungry. If I don’t eat I think I’m going to faint. I haven’t eaten properly since yesterday morning.” She pleaded, remembering the miniscule dinner she had at that supposedly restaurant.

“You haven’t eaten for 24 hours?” he asked irritated.

“Michael took me to this restaurant yesterday, but it was one of those that the food is not existent.” She tried to explain.

Richard’s eyes split angrily. “The more you talk about him, the more I want to punch him.” He stated. “Come. Thankfully you fell in love with a proper man that knows how to cook.” He said, trying to hide his jealousy and pulled himself and her off the bed.

Eliza smiled. “Yes, spoil me my love.” She answered, hugging him tightly.

“I will definitely spoil you and pumper you and feed you.” he said tenderly, kissing her temples and then raising her head he kissed her lips sweetly.

“Can you lend me something to wear also?” she asked, not wanting to meet the poor cleaning lady only in his robe.

He laughed. “Yes, my minx, though I would prefer to have you naked all day and all night long.” He said with a low voice, kissing her again more passionately. Both their stomachs growling stopped their kiss and they laughed.

Richard took her hand and guided her to his closet. He opened it and gave her a tee and a pair of his boxer shorts.
“Richard! I can’t walk around with your underwear!” she smiled amused, looking at his resigned look.

“Why not? If I can’t have you naked at least I want you to wear as less as possible. If it wasn’t for Mrs. Hernandez you’d be definitely naked!”

Eliza laughed and found two pairs of sweat pants and another tee and handed him his clothes. Richard sighed irritated but wore his tee and pants quickly and then ‘helped’ her, wear hers.

“I don’t think that the tee is going to pass down my neck if your hands are on my breasts…” she stated smiling.

“Oops! I just wanted to help you…” he answered with a mischievous smile.

He then kneeled down and ‘helped’ her wear his pants.
“Richard, your hand is not supposed to be there.” She laughed, his fingers trailing a path to her vagina.

“I just want you to be comfortable…” he grinned.

“Insufferable man!” she laughed, and hit playfully his naughty hands away, pulling the pants up. Thankfully they were alright on her waist, so there wasn’t any fear of losing them while walking, but they were very, very, long. She kneeled down and turned the one pant leg a few times while Richard did the other.

“Now, we are respectable!” she smiled, getting up. His clothes smelled like him. She felt her knees get weak just by the, now, familiar scent.

Richard laughed and pulling her in his embrace he skimmed a hand under the tee and grabbed her breast. “Now I want you even more… seeing you wear my clothes is turning me on…”

“Richard, you have a cleaning lady a few feet away, you have to feed me and to be prepared for your dinner party. I have to go home and call my parents, my sister and friends and be prepared to go to a friend’s party.” She laughed, pushing his hand away.

“You’re not going anywhere!” he said seriously. “You can make your calls here and you are staying to our dinner party.” He said matter-of-factly, tightening his grip around her.

“Richard I can’t stay.” She tried to reason with him. “They are your friends; I don’t fit in your party tonight. Have fun and I will come tomorrow after work, if you can.” She smiled seeing his stubborn face.

“You are staying here, end of discussion!” He said irritated. “You don’t fit!”

“Richard is Vicky invited tonight?” she asked plainly.

Richard stood rigid. She saw when realization dawned in his eyes. “Yes.” He said resigned.

“Then I can’t stay.” She said trying to be the reasonable adult. “When you talk to her and explain yourself then I can be at your side.” She added, trying not to show how much she wanted to stay with him tonight.

“I’ll call her. You’re not going anywhere.” He said stubbornly and grabbing her hand he unlocked the door and led them out. She had to talk to him again about this. They walked through the living room where Eliza saw shocked their clothes and comforter and especially HER underwear, all folded neatly, on top of the couch.

“Oh my god!” she said blushing from head to toes. “I will stay in your room until Mrs. Hernandez leaves.” She stated and tried to go to the other direction. Richard seeing where she was looking just laughed and held her hand more tightly.

“Come my little puritan. Stop being embarrassed with everything. She is very understanding.” He said smiling and led them to the kitchen.

He seated her on a chair, poured hot filtered coffee in a mug and left it in front of her, threw the cold eggs in the bin and washing the pan he started cooking fresh eggs.

“When you mean understanding” Eliza began, “you mean that she had seen women’s underwear thrown frequently on your living room?” she drank a sip of her coffee, waiting impatiently his answer.

He laughed and turned and looked at her with a lopsided smile, raising one naughty eyebrow. “Are you jealous?”

“No… just curious…” she said hiding her face behind her mug, having another sip.

“Well, as you figured out, I’m not a virgin. Before you I had some women staying the night.” he said smiling. “Not a lot.” He added.

“I think it’s time to talk about something else…” she said, closing her eyes. She couldn’t even cope with the thought of Richard touching other women. She heard plates put on the table and opened her eyes. He was right in front of her. She looked up to his smiling face. He kneeled down, looking at her.

“I told you yesterday something that I want you to remember forever.” He stroked her cheek tenderly. “When I saw you, I forgot every other woman, the ones I had before you and the ones I met after you. Met, not had." he clarified. "You are the only woman that ever made me feel that way. I’d never knew what love is until I met you. You are my life Eliza. I need you more than I need my next breath.” He leaned closer and kissed her parted lips.

Eliza left the mug and hugged him tightly, almost making him fall. He laughed and hugged her back, resting his head on her chest. Her heart was pounding fast and he could hear it but she didn’t care. It was beating for him, only for him.

“My little witch.” He said kissing her neck.

“My angel.” She mumbled on the top of his head, kissing his hair.

Smiling he got up and lifted her off the chair; then he sat on the chair and dragged her on top of his lap. “It’s time to feed you and put some flesh to your luscious curves.” He said and brought the plates closer with his one hand while his other was holding tightly her waist.

“You don’t like me?” she asked apprehensive.

“I like you however you are. Thin, fat, I don’t care. But you lost too much weight too quickly and it’s not healthy.” He said, giving her a bite of eggs and then eating a bite himself.

“So if I would become 200 pounds, you’d still want me?” she asked teasingly.

“Yes, I would still want you but that it’s not healthy either.” he said smiling. “Eliza you have to understand that I love you no matter what. I don’t care if you had one leg, no hair; if you were two hundred pounds or three hundred. I love you as I never loved anyone before.”

“I don’t believe that you’d still want me fat, with one leg and bald but I love you too.” She said smiling eating another bite that he gave her.

“So, when I’m old and bald and fat you won’t want me?” he asked seriously.

“Of course I’ll want you! I love you!” she exclaimed, tightening her grip around him. That was a silly question! He was her angel! Her light! She loved the Richard inside, this magical, kind, funny, smart creature with a heart of gold!

“It’s exactly like that for me also.” He said eating another bite.

She saw the truth in his eyes and kissed him fervently. He was her other half. The universe brought her the man of her dreams.
“I cannot believe you are real.” She sighed, eating another bite.

“I feel the same way for you.” he answered seriously, tightening his grip on her waist. “I’m afraid that the moment I’ll leave you out of my sight you will disappear.”

“No never. I will never leave you.” she answered kissing his sensual lips. “Promise you will never leave me also. Well, except when you have to work… I’m not unreasonable.” She smiled, kissing him again.

He laughed. “My little minx. We will find a way. So many other actors do it.” He answered smiling.

“I know we will.” She answered. She kissed his cheek and she ate another bite.

 

Fiona Hernandez entered the kitchen and smiled seeing her boss so happy. It was the first time that she was seeing him so relaxed, so optimistic, so in love. She cleared her throat and the girl stood up immediately and left her boss’s lap embarrassed. She smiled at her, to make her feel comfortable. “Mr. Armitage I cleaned the living room and bathrooms and only the kitchen is left.” She said, smiling to them both.
“Thank you, we are finishing here.” he answered smiling back, looking adoringly at the girl.

She moved to the sink, rinsing the pan and put it on the dish washer. They finished quickly and after they rinsed their plates and mugs and put them in the dishwasher as well, they left the kitchen, holding hands.
She smiled again and started her work.

Chapter Text

Chapter 17

 

 

They headed to the bedroom. They both started cleaning a little, collecting the used condoms and clothes from the floor and changing the sheets together. Richard showed her were the washing machine was, they did the laundry and moved to the living room.
Eliza was flying. These simple, everyday things made her jovial. They talked and laughed. Eliza called her parents again for a proper conversation, while Richard was looking at her from across the couch, grinning wickedly. She threw him a cushion, earning a laugh and the same cushion to be thrown back at her. After she hung up with her parents, she called her sister and then Tracy.

Richard called half the world as it seemed. His phone was on vibration from last night and he had missed a lot of calls so he had to call everybody back.
When he had made the most important calls, including parents, relatives and friends wishing them for the holidays, he called Vicky. Eliza left the room, knowing that she couldn’t stand to be in front of this conversation. Thankfully she had an excuse. The laundry was over and she had to put the clothes in the dryer.
She took her time, giving space to Richard. It was not easy explaining these kinds of situations even though Vicky had seen them kissing last night so she knew what was coming. She heard mrs. Hernandez wishing Merry Christmas to Richard and telling she'll be there tomorrow morning and then the entrance door closing.

After a while he came and found her hiding in the laundry room.
“I was waiting for ages, so I came to see if you had fallen in the dryer or something.” He laughed, bringing her closer and kissing her.

“What happened?” she asked after Richard left her lips, crawling inside his arms.

“She understood. After last night, when she saw us outside the bar, she knew. She was very polite. But she asked me not to call her again, unless it was for business.” He answered kissing her hair, holding her tightly.

Eliza was feeling a little guilty for ruining the hopes of another woman but she couldn’t help it. They both couldn’t help it. They were meant for each other. He was for her and she was for him. When they were together everything seemed right.

“Are we going to wait for the dryer to finish?” Richard asked jokingly, rubbing her back.

“Ewf! You never let a woman enjoy a proper hug!” she teased him, disentangling herself smiling.

“Come my minx.” He smiled, holding her hand and walking to the living room. “Now that Vicky is not coming you have no excuse for not being at our dinner.”

“Ok! I’ll be at your dinner! But after the dryer is over I have to go home and change.” She smiled back, kissing his fingers on their intertwined hands.

“It’s OUR dinner and no, you don’t! Your little black dress is just fine… more than fine…” he smirked as he led her to the couch. He sat down and pulled her on his lap.

“Richard, you know that eventually I have to go home.” She said making herself comfortable, lying on his broad chest. “Tomorrow I’m working and my apartment is closer to the office, plus I’ll definitely need to change clothes. I cannot go to the office with that dress! And above all I really have to find something else to wear. With all these hickeys and marks I cannot wear that dress, at least for a while.” she smiled seeing his expression of utter horror.

“Ok, we’ll go together, you’ll take what you need, quickly, and we’ll come back. And you are going to take very modest, that-cover-every-inch-of-your-body clothes for tonight and especially for tomorrow. Tomorrow morning I’ll drive you to work.” He smiled satisfactorily with his plan. "By the way, why exactly are you working tomorrow?"

She laughed aloud. “Yes sir!” she kept laughing. “I think I packed a nun costume from Halloween...” She teased him and continued speaking.
"I must go because we have to finish the current issue so it can be published in time. So... are you going to wake up six o’clock in the morning to get me to work? We don’t know how long your, our” she corrected herself after the stern look that he gave her, “dinner is going to last. I want you in your bed sleeping, not roaming the streets.” She kissed him sweetly and continued. “By the way, what time have you invited your friends and what are they going to eat, because I don’t see anyone cooking…” she said, caressing his chest.

“Firstly, yes, I’ll wake up six o’clock, even four if you need it. Secondly, the dinner is at seven o’clock, only a few close friends are invited. Thirdly, the catering will be here around five and fourthly… I want to see that nun costume…preferably with you wearing it…” he said with a wolfish smile spread on his lips, caressing her waist and stomach above the tee.

She giggled. “Naughty man!” and raised her head smiling and kissed his soft lips tenderly. When their kiss deepened and their hands started exploring each other’s bodies more thoroughly, they heard the dryer beeping.

“Hunny? The dryer is finished.” Eliza mumbled on top of his mouth.

“So? The clothes are not going anywhere…” he answered sinking a hand under her tee, caressing her back and then moving forward to her belly trailing his way up.

“Richard, if we want to be ready for the dinner, we have to get dressed, go to my apartment which is I think on the other side of town, and take a few clothes quickly so we can be here on time when the caterers come.” She said a little sigh escaping her lips when he found her breast.

“We have time…” he whispered on top of her lips.

“Richard!” she cried when he replaced his hand with his mouth, biting and sucking lightly her nipple above the tee.

“Mmmm?” he mumbled, his mouth full. He raised his head; a beatific smile was on his lips. He turned her in his arms so she could sit astride him and he sank his hands under her tee, to her back. “What can I do for you?” He asked smiling, stroking her back up and down lightly with his fingers, making her skin crawl and the butterflies that were dormant a few seconds ago to wake up inside her belly, flying around excitedly.

Eliza was breathing heavily, her eyelids half closed, and she was watching him, his eyes glazed with passion, his lips partially open, breathing hard too. She felt his erection pushing her, their sweat pants not enough of a barrier. She moaned feeling wetness gather in her intimate area, her clit starting to throb persistently for release. “Do you think we could be able to make other things instead of sex every time that we’re alone?” she asked breathlessly, her nails sinking in his strong arms.

“Firstly, we don’t have sex, we make love.” He chastised her, biting her neck, making her cry aroused and rub her crotch to his. “Secondly” he added groaning; thrusting his hips up once, “I can’t think of anything else when I’m around you, and I hope I can’t think of anything else as long as I live.” And kissed her lips hard, stealing her breath and mind.

His phone rang then. He growled and letting it ring continued kissing her. When it stopped he sighed relieved and lifted her tee over her head. He then attacked her breasts, moving from one to the other hungrily, grazing them with his coarse stubble. Eliza just moaned and groaned stroking his strong biceps and back, feeling his lithe body and strong muscles flexing under her touch. Then his apartment phone rung and he let it to go to the answering machine.

“Richard pick it up, I know you’re home. I’ve heard interesting gossip about you.” A male voice was heard.

Richard growled and ignored it. Eliza kissed his forehead, the only thing she could kiss as he was bent on top of her breasts.

“Richard pick it up now or I’m going to call you until you pick up.” The voice threatened.

“Oh my god! Can’t we have a few minutes of peace?” he said exasperated, moving his hands to her breasts and his mouth to her lips.

“Who is it?” she asked on top of his lips, the voice in the machine sounding familiar but she couldn’t for the love of her remember where she heard it before. Then the phone call ended abruptly.

“An ass.” Was his laconic but humorous response and grabbing her head brought her closer for a deep kiss. Then simultaneously Richard’s cell started ringing along with his apartment phone.

“For heaven’s sake!” he yelled angry. “I’ll be back in two seconds.” He told her, kissing her one more time and moving her from his lap. She smiled seeing his erection stretching his sweat pants and her vagina clenched longingly. He pulled the cable out of the phone and the ringing stopped immediately. Then he grabbed his cell from the coffee table and turned it off. He went hurriedly to the bedroom and came back holding a condom. “Now where were we?” he asked smiling when he was in front of the couch and pushing her lightly back he laid on top of her.

Eliza smiled and opened her legs so he could be more comfortable. “I think we were here somewhere.” She whispered, grabbing his erection and stroking it. He moaned and she smiled.

“Yeah, I think we were there too.” He answered; his voice deeper than usual, making her shiver to her core, and grinning he thrust lightly in her hand.

“Always so eager…” she laughed and skimmed her hand inside his pants and catching his writhing erection started to rub it up and down. He growled ecstatic.

“Eager only for you.” he clarified and kissed her neck, his stubble tickling her.
He removed her hand gently from his member and catching the other one too he raised them above her head. “I want them there.” He said kissing her lips fervently and then removed his hands.

Eliza immediately wrapped them around his neck, playing with the little curls on his nape.

“What did I tell you?” he smiled and pulling the cord from his sweat pants he tied them together.

“What are you doing?” she asked perplexed.

“We are playing. I’m going to do all the touching now.” he declared and raising them above her head again, he held them there and kissed her lips hungrily.

“You are naughty and we don’t have a lot of time.” She answered when they came for air.

“I will always have time for you.”

“Big words from a big man.” she teased him earning a bite on her collarbone. “Ouch!” she yelled, laughing.

“I mean it Eliza. You are my priority now. Whenever you want me or anything else, just say it. If I can’t come I’ll make sure that you’ll be with me as soon as possible or to have whatever you want as soon as possible.” He said seriously.

“I know. I’m teasing you.” she raised her head, a little awkwardly with her arms above her, and kissed him sweetly. She could feel the earnestness of his words branding her heart. He would be there for her, whenever she needed him he would be there. He sighed on her lips and kissed her back. “But don’t worry, I’m a big girl. I can live without you for a while.”

“So you won’t miss me when I’m gone?” he asked hurt.

“Of course I’ll miss you! Even thinking about it makes my heart shrink. But I don’t want to be one of those clingy women. You have responsibilities and deadlines and a lot of world travelling. I have my work here. I will always wait for you Richard. Always! Never forget that.” she said the mood changing from playful to heart opening in a few seconds.

“We’ll figure all this out when the time comes.” He answered, moving his hands to her sides and catching her waist tightly. “Just thinking about leaving you alone for months on end makes me nervous.” He said, sadness erasing all the desire and playfulness from his eyes.

Seeing his change of mood and his sad eyes Eliza’s heart broke. She couldn’t see him sad. She just couldn’t handle it. “My love” she whispered placing her tied hands around his neck, pulling him closer, “I will come too. Whenever I can I’ll come and find you.” She said kissing tenderly his bow shaped lips.

“We will always be together.” He stated and deepened the kiss.

“Always.” she reassured him when he moved his lips to her cheeks and temples.

“I love you my little minx.” He said sweetly, placing his arms underneath her body, bringing her closer.

“I love you too Richard. So much it hurts.” She whispered in his ear. She heard his sigh and then he raised his body a little and taking her hands in his he untied the knot.

“What are you doing? Aren’t we going to play?” she asked him smiling, trying to lighten the mood a little.

“No, we’re going to play later. Now I want to make love to you slowly and I want your arms wrapped around me. I want to feel you everywhere.” he declared and when he freed her wrists he kissed her slowly.

Eliza hugged him close, kissing him back. How much she loved this man!
He moved his hands to her butt and tagging his fingers in the sweat pants he started lowering them. She helped him by raising her hips. He left her lips and pulled the pants quickly off her. Then he undressed quickly himself, put the condom on and lied on top of her again. He kissed her, caressing her whole body with his soft touch, rekindling her passion.
She stroked his back and hair, his face and his arms. He was letting moans of pure bliss whenever she touched him. She felt his skin crawling under her touch; his skin and the little hair rising with every stroke of her fingers.

“God, I love you.” he whispered and entered her slowly.

She let a blissful moan and felt her vagina clenching with the familiar pressure. He captured her lips and started to move leisurely, in and out, rubbing her sensually. She wrapped her legs around him, their tongues dancing slowly, following the rhythm of their bodies.
She was flying. She was drowning. She was dying.
He was moving torturously slow, tormenting her. His hands trailing her whole body with feather light touches. He was being very gentle with her, touching her like she was made from crystal, ready to break with the merest pressure.
Her eyes were closed; she was only sensing him, feeling him everywhere. Every touch, every rub of their skin, every kiss, was multiplied in intensity. The currents that his touch left travelled all over her body and then ended up deep in her belly, where the heart of the fire was, igniting it more, spreading and burning everything in its path. She thought her heart was going to burst from love, so fast was beating in her chest.

“You are my life.” he whispered in her ear. “You are mine.”

She shivered and opened her eyes. He was looking at her, his eyes conveying all the love he was feeling.

“And you are mine.” She answered back, between ragged breaths.

“Always.” he declared and kissed her deeply.

He never accelerated his rhythm. He continued his slow pace bringing them both slowly to mind blowing deliverance. They were both left breathless and panting, hugging each other tightly.

“I want so much to cancel the dinner. I just want to stay like this, in your arms.” he said quietly on her neck, trying to find his breath.

“I want that too.” She whispered on his hair, stroking his broad back up and down.
He was relaxed in her arms, still buried inside her, his eyes closed, the picture of contentment and pure bliss.
“But now we have to get up and hurry to my apartment and back because the catering will come and no one’s going to be here and then there will be no food for your guests tonight.” Really, it amazed herself that she could still think coherently.

“Me and my stupid party ideas!” he said exasperated.

Eliza laughed. “Oh come on! I really want to meet your friends! If they are half as good as you I’m going to like them a lot.”

“They are better than me.” he answered modestly, opening his bright eyes at last and looking at her.

“I don’t believe there is a single human being better than you my love.” She answered smiling, stroking his hair back from his forehead.

“You are prejudiced.” He smiled back and catching her fingers kissed them one by one.

“I don’t think so Mr. I’mNotBetterThanAnyoneElse. For me you are the best. You are my angel.” She concluded caressing his soft lips with her fingers.

“And again I have to tell you that you are prejudiced.” He chuckled.

“And you have to learn to accept a compliment gracefully, especially from someone that loves you so much.”

“And how much is ‘so much’?” he asked smiling.

“This much.” She teased him, stretching her arms wide.

He laughed. “Then I love you more my minx.” He said stretching his arms too.

“Hey, that’s not fair! It’s not my fault that your arms are longer!”

He laughed again and kissed her. “You make me the happiest of men.”

“I know! I have that effect on men…” she teased him again, grinning.

“Ohhhh you wicked minx! I’m going to be the only man for you from now on!” he said laughing and tickled her sides.

“Ohhh yes! Yes you are! Now stop it! We have things to do!” she said giggling grabbing his hands.

“Yeah I know. Did I tell you that it’s the last time I’m inviting friends over?” he was smiling happily, at last stopping the tickling torture.

She laughed. “Ok, and I believe you.” She said ironically earning a hearty laugh and a slap on her bum.

“Did you just mock me?” he asked laughing.

“Yes, and I’ll do it again, cave man! Now get up and let’s get ready.” She laughed and pushed him mildly.

“I love when you are all sassy.” He replied smiling and leaned down and kissed her warmly. He reluctantly got off her and helped her get up. She removed the condom before he had the chance to move his hands there. She passed her fingers on his tip and collected some semen and then licked her fingers one by one tauntingly. He was looking at her entranced.

“Why are you doing this to me?” he asked her longingly, leaking his lips, his eyes sparkling.

“Just something to think about until tonight.” she answered smiling provokingly.

“You are killing me.”

“Oh I know…” she answered still smiling.

“Go and get dressed because I’m not going to be responsible for the state my friends will find us.”

“And what state might that be?” she continued her teasing, moving to the laundry room with him following her like a puppy on a leash.

“A not decent one for sure.”

She smiled and bent over the dryer to take off the clothes. She heard his moan behind her and she bent a little more enjoying a lot the game she was playing.

“Did you find your clothes?” he asked gulping.

“Not yet… I think they are deeper in the dryer… could you give me a hand?” she answered innocently, turning and looking at him, batting her eyelashes.

“If I come now, no one is going to leave this room for a while.” He warned her.

“You are not fun.” She teased him. “But you are right.” She agreed resigned, pulling all the clothes out and standing up folding them neatly.

“I’m always right.” He teased coming beside her at last and helping her, not looking her way though.

“You WERE always right… now I am.” She clarified smiling. She stole a glance and saw his semi hard erection. Wow! That man surely fired up quickly.

“I’ll let you be right those rare times that I’m not.” He joked back.

“Ha ha Armitage.” She snickered. “You’ll get used to it. All men do eventually.”

“Oh I know…” he giggled resigned. “We are doomed, and they say we are the strongest sex…strongest sex my ass…”

“And what a nice ass…” she smiled, pinching his firm buttock.

“Ok, time to get both of us dressed because I don’t know how much I can stand this.” He looked at her, lust written all over his face. “I’m this close to put you upon the dryer.” He said, showing her how much with his thump and finger.

She raised her arms in surrender. “Ok ok …I’m stopping the teasing…” he was smiling his dazzling smile, fogging her mind. She moved her hands on top of the dryer where her clothes were and grabbed her dress and panties. “See? I’m going to be a good girl and after I’ll take a quick shower I’m going to get dressed… Do you care to join me?” She asked smiling playfully seeing his resigned face and his hard rock penis resting on his stomach.

“You are tempting your fate Eliza…” he warned her.

“Maybe I want to tempt it…” she purred, leaving her clothes above the dryer again and moved a finger up and down his firm stomach, barely missing his cock.

“Ok…time for this shower.” He laughed and grabbing her hand led her to the bathroom. Eliza entered the tub first with Richard helping her and then he followed her inside. While he turned on the shower she poured some shower gel on his sponge, squeezing it, creating foam.

“Turn.” She ordered him, and he obliged smiling. She started rubbing his broad back slowly, taking great care not to leave an inch without foam. He was tense but after a few minutes of this she finally felt him relax. “I have to give you one of my famous massages one of these days.” She said quietly, passing the sponge from his firm buttocks.

“Famous? Have you given a lot of massages Eliza?” he asked, tensing again, jealousy obvious in his voice.

She smiled and kneeled down in front of his strong thighs, rubbing them thoroughly. “Only to my ex. He said I had the touch of an angel. One of the rare compliments that I’ve ever had from him. I would really love to massage you Richard. You are always so tense.” She could feel the rigid muscles under her palm.

“Your ex was a dick and I’m really happy that he cheated on you ‘cause now I have you. He didn’t deserve you.” he replied, at last relaxing again and leaned forward placing his palms on the wall in front of him.

Eliza continued her attentions, rubbing his calves. She then stood up and after adding more gel to the sponge, moved her hands in front of him. He straightened up, a muffled sigh escaping his lips when she started rubbing his chest with her hand and the sponge.

“That’s amazing.” He murmured.

She pressed her body to his and he relaxed on top of her. She placed her cheek on the back of his shoulder and closed her eyes letting her senses take control.
She heard the water running; she smelled Richard’s shower gel.
He was wet and worm against her body, her cheek burning from his body heat. Her fingers trailed his chest; his skin was soft to the touch, his hard muscles now relaxed at last but always there, never letting you forget how strong he was even in tranquility, his strong heartbeat echoing in her palm. His nipples were hard, the little hair around them tickling her.
She kept rubbing him lightly with the sponge and her other hand continued the travel down his firm stomach, feeling the goose bumps raising his skin. She felt his deep and slow breaths lifting his stomach up and down. She placed her palm there for a few seconds, mesmerized by the movement. He seemed magical to her. A magical creature. Even his breaths were hypnotizing.
She moved the hand that was holding the sponge to his stomach and she slid her palm lower, to his hard belly. She felt his exhale and she smiled. The only times he was so relaxed were the few moments he laid on top of her after their love making or when he was asleep. So she cherished this moment even more now, feeling him melting underneath her touch.
She passed her palm slowly over his hard muscles, circling his navel with her fingers. He murmured something but she didn’t understand what, the water that was running muffling his low voice. She only knew that he spoke because his voice travelled from his back to her stomach, making her heart clench. She moved the sponge to his belly then and her fingers slithered down to his pubic area. The rough hair was prickling her fingers; his cock that had relaxed was writhing again when she started massaging him there. She felt him tense again against her.
“Hunny relax.” She pleaded.

“How when you are torturing me like that?” he whispered.

Taking some foam from the sponge she wrapped her fingers around his semi-hard erection. A very audible hiss was heard then and she smiled again.
“I’m just going to wash you, relax…” she purred while she slid her fingers up and down, making sure that he was properly lathered. She felt his breathing accelerating.
But instead of relaxing he turned quickly and moved them both underneath the running water. Eliza feeling him stir in her arms opened her eyes when he turned. She saw his heavy lid eyes smoldering her and when she felt the warm water hitting her, closed her eyes again.
He took the sponge from her hands and felt its coarse path when he started sliding it over her shoulders. She moaned relaxing and let him pamper her. He was gentle, and while he sponged her all over her body he massaged her with his other hand, kneading her skin pleasingly.

“Ahhhh…. You are so good at this…” she sighed, exhaling serenely.

“I’m glad that you like it.” He murmured close to her. She opened her eyes and saw him a few centimeters away from her. Saw his beautiful face leaning down covering the little space that separated them and felt his breath on her lips a moment before his mouth covered hers. His lips were warm and wet and tasted like heaven. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and pulled herself closer. She felt his hands on her back, enveloping her in his big embrace, holding her tight.
Their kiss deepened and their desires flared up. He caught her thigh and raised her leg on top of his hip, bringing them even closer. She slid a hand down his back and reaching to his rock hard bums rested her palm there, pulling him closer. He stopped their kiss and turning her towards the wall he lifted her astride him and supported her against it. She wrapped her legs around him and pulled his head up for a deep, wet kiss. He entered her hastily, their moans drowned in each other’s mouths, and he started his slow rhythm. Eliza felt that he was very careful, trying to hold his footing on the slippery tub floor and she started to get scared that he would slip and they would both fall. Then some not so sexy images came to her mind, with both of them falling down, breaking a limp or two and Richard’s guests finding them there immobile, in pain and stark naked and she started laughing.

“What happened?” he asked her perplexed, stopping his thrusts.

“I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!” she laughed, tears running down her eyes. He let her down and looked at her with his arms crossed on his chest.

“Sorry for what?” he asked a little irritated and very bewildered.

“I’m s-so sorry sweet-h-heart.” She was laughing so hard she couldn’t even breathe properly.

“I really want to know what was so funny to make you laugh like that while we were making love.” He asked in a firm voice.

Ohhh he was definitely pissed! And that made her laugh even more. He turned off the water and got out of the bathtub. Eliza was trying really hard to stop laughing but he’s angry face started new waves of laughter. She just couldn’t get out of her mind how ridiculous they would both look. She thought the magazine covers ‘Famous Actor In Weird Sex Accident’ and she just lost it.

“Eliza I’m not amused.” He said while he was rubbing himself with a towel.

Eliza tried again to stop laughing. “Oh my god Richard, I’m so sorry, I really am!” She tried to get out of the tub but she almost fell and started laughing again. Change of the magazine covers would be then with, ‘Weird Girlfriend Of Famous Actor In Stupid Bath Accident’.

Richard came to her rescue and once she was safely on the bathroom floor he looked at her, rocking his head back and forth, a little smile appearing at last on his lips. “Ok, now I’m really intrigued. Could you please tell me what happened?”

“Ok, yes…oh my god sweetheart. I’m so sorry for ruining the moment. I just wish you could be in my mind right now. I don’t know if you will find it funny when I’ll explain it to you.” She said at last more collected, wiping a few tears from her cheeks.

“Try me.” he declared and taking a towel he started rubbing her dry.

“Ok.” She tiptoed and gave him a peck on the lips and he smiled.

“I’m waiting…” he said drying her hair.

“Well, when you had me against the wall I felt that you barely held yourself upright and I got afraid that you would fall and throw me down as well. And after that I thought both of us sprawled on the bathtub floor, unable to move or call for help and then I thought of your guests coming and finding us here, naked, in pain and ashamed and then I thought of the headlines on newspapers and magazines ‘Of Famous Actor In Weird Sex Accident’ and then I almost fell for real and it was just too much.” She said in one breath, holding herself not laughing again. She saw his little smile transform into a grin but he didn’t burst out laughing as she did. Well, that she expected. He was a man after all. He couldn’t understand the complexity and sophistication of a woman’s mind. She almost burst out laughing again with her complex and sophisticated mind but held herself in order, only a little giggle escaping her.

He was looking at her rocking his head again. “You are weird love.” He said at last, smiling more broadly.

“Weird, Armitage? I’m not telling you anything again! Not a single thing!” she said, pretending the offended.

“First of all, yes, weird! I have the weirdest girlfriend, but I like it." he smiled. "I’ll admit that making love while showering is not the easiest thing on earth but I wasn’t going to drop you.” he continued, dropping the towel on the floor and brushed her crazy hair away from her face, Eliza waited patiently to hear her logical man with his logical thinking. “Secondly, how on earth would my friends get in my apartment if we were both going to be in here writhing in pain?”

“I don’t know…I didn’t say that my thinking was rational! It was just a train of thought that got out of hand.” She answered rubbing her cheek in his palm.

“I know. I’m teasing you darling. But…” he said and he slapped her lightly on her bum “when this infernal dinner it’s over you owe me love.” He added kissing her and caressing her butt.

“I owe you love or awe?” she asked on top of his mouth, teasing him.

He laughed. “Just love darling…you already awe me.”

“Your humility leaves me speechless every time.” She laughed and kissed him again.

“One of my most endearing characteristics. All women love me for my modesty.” He teased her.

“Love you or awe you?” She teased him again.

“Oh minx, we must leave this bathroom now or else we are both going to be naked and writhing, though not in pain, when the caterers come.” He laughed and kissed her forehead.

They gathered the towels and Eliza took them to the laundry room while Richard got in his room to get dressed. She grabbed her underwear and wore it and then got into her dress. She zipped the zipper on the side and walked to the bedroom. Richard was already wearing a pair of jeans and a red knit sweater, with a v neckline and he was sitting on the edge of the bed tying the laces on a pair of black biker boots. She stopped at the door, looking at him stunned. That man was just divine. She was out of words for his unearthly beauty.

“Why are you looking at me?” he asked tying the laces on the other boot.

“Because for a moment you took my breath away.” She answered without thinking.

He looked at her and smiled smugly. “Did I now?”

“Oh you are insufferable!” she cried seeing his confident posture while standing up and swaggering her way all high and mighty as a peacock or better a lion.

He reached her and engulfed her in the warmth of his arms. “Every time I look at you Eliza my heart loses a few beats, did you know that?” he asked her seriously, looking down at her with eyes blazing.

“No.” she answered, looking up at him, not able to avert her gaze or even wanting to.

“Yes my love. And I’m really happy that the same thing happens to you. I like that immensely.” He murmured and leaning down he kissed her lovingly. “I never loved anyone as I love you. I never felt like this before.” he added after their lips parted at last, making her shiver.

“I love you too Richard. I love you so much that I think my heart will break.”

“I know sweetheart, I feel the same way.” he answered with his deep voice and his full of love eyes.

“I really wish you hadn’t arranged this dinner. I just found you again. We have so many things to say.” She said resigned, feeling guilty for saying it but it was the truth.

“I know darling, I wish that too. If I knew that yesterday would be my lucky day I wouldn’t have arranged anything. But I didn’t know that I would hold you again in my arms. I didn’t think that I would ever see you again.” he said quietly.

She leaned her head over his chest for awhile and then they parted reluctantly.

“Come my beautiful lady, let’s find your tights and shoes and hurry to your apartment.” He said, kissing her hair.

She sighed and walked to the corner of the room where a recliner was. She had left her tights there earlier and finding them she sat down and started sliding them up her legs. Richard was looking at her motionless from the other side of the room.
“Why are you looking at me?” she quoted him from a little while ago, smiling.

“Because you are the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen.” He said, gulping.

She gulped too with the sensual timbre of his voice, making her stomach somersault. She averted her gaze and wore her little boots. If they didn’t have to leave, like yesterday, she would have him on his back already. Sighing inwardly she stood up. Later, she thought. She owed her man love and she had to atone. She smiled with what she had in mind for her atonement.

“Why are you smiling so improperly my love?” he asked smiling too, both of them walking to the door.

“In my mind I have all these improper ideas of how to redeem myself for stopping, so abruptly and tactless, our love making.” She smiled up at him, looking at his naughty expression.

“I can hardly wait to find them out.” He purred and helping her wear her jacket and retrieving her bag from the living room, he wore his jacket too and they left the apartment with Richard letting Eliza pass first, like the English gentleman he was, and then locked the door behind him.

Chapter Text

Chapter 18

 

 

 

 

 

“So, where are we going love?” he asked starting the engine and pushing the button in the control for the garage doors to open.

Eliza told him her address and he whistled. “What?” she asked.

“Well, that’s almost on the other side of the city.” He said looking at his wrist watch. “But I think we will make it back until five.” He added as he drove away from the building.

Eliza saw black menacing clouds gathering on the horizon and it was colder than yesterday. She zipped her jacket and Richard noticing it turned on the AC. “Better?” he asked after a while and she nodded relaxing back on her seat. He must be the most thoughtful human being in this world. She was so lucky that he fell in love with her! She still couldn’t believe it. She glanced at his beautiful profile and marveled that this incredible creature wanted her. He was looking at the signs in front of him trying to find the right road, unaware for once of her ogling. Then he spoke waking her up of her reverie.

“Darling I forgot that my phone is still closed. Can you turn it on please?” he said searching his right jacket pocket and after finding it he handed it to her.

“Sure.” She took it, turned it on and it started beeping with lost calls, messages, and notifications. “Wow… is it like that every day?” she asked astonished.

“More or less.” He said smiling. “I’ll look at them later.” He answered, watching the traffic in front of him. “Damn! I hope we’re not going to be on congestion now.”

Eliza raised her head and looked outside her window. Yep, the cars were moving slower than snails. “Darling I think it’d be better if I’d take a taxi. Just tell me your address.” She should have thought this sooner and not drag her poor man outside when he had things to do.

“No Eliza. I’ll take you there.” He said sternly. “I think I remember another road…” he mumbled. After a little while he added, “Hunny, turn on the GPS app on my phone and write your address. I think I know which road to take but I’m not sure.” She did as she was asked. They found a few different routes and at last he found one that was not the fastest one but was definitely faster now that the others were jammed with traffic.

During the drive they talked and laughed and Richard was pointing out sights for her and promised her that they would go to every single one of them. After a while, that Eliza thought was like traveling from London to Coventry, so much while, they reached her block. “There it is.” She pointed at the building.

“Nice. How did you find it?” he asked while he searched for a place to park his car.

“It belongs to the company that owns the magazine and they rent apartments to their employees if the employees want it. I wanted, of course, because I didn’t have anyone to help me search for something here. I was very relieved when they suggested it to me. And it’s really close to the office too.”

“I wish someone had told me.” he said looking at her sideways, meaningfully after he parked.

Eliza shrugged and smiled. Would he ever forget her ‘deceive’? “Darling you were the last person I would ever tell. Now you are the first.” she said smiling.

They got out of the car and Richard locked it. “Of course I’m going to be the first! Whatever problem you have I’ll expect you’ll come to me first so I can help you.” he told her from across the car.

Eliza walked to his side and he held her hand in his. “Yes my love, I will. And I expect the same from you.” she looked up at his eyes and her heart stopped. They were nor gray nor azure; they were the lightest shade of blue and with the way he looked at her she felt her knees getting weak. He seemed like a wolf to her. But it didn’t feel like he was preying on her, no. He had a look of protectiveness that made her feel secure and cherished and so loved! Right then he seemed like a man that could die for her.

“Of course darling.” He answered tenderly and brushed aside some locks of her hair that the wind had tousled. Her stomach made a few flips with the tenderness of his voice.

They walked together hand in hand to the building’s entrance. Eliza greeted the doorman and introduced Richard. Richard joked with him, saying he would see him here a lot and don’t think he is a stalker or a pervert and call the police. The doorman replied he’ll think about it, depending his visiting hours and both men laughed while Eliza embarrassed pushed Richard to the elevator.

“Very funny my stalker.” She smiled when the doors closed behind them.

“Yes, I thought it was.” He teased and catching her by the waist, brought her closer and kissed her. “So much time had passed without kissing you and I started to have signs of withdrawal.” He said quietly when they came for breath.

“I know exactly how you feel.” She smiled earning another sweet kiss from him.

“So, you never told me if you are divorced now or I’m dating a married woman.” He said when the doors opened. Eliza walked out first, searching the keys in her bag. “Unfortunately you are dating a free woman so if you had any crazy fantasies I will disappoint you.” She smiled up at him and reaching at her apartment she stopped and unlocked the door.

“Damn that’s a shame… but I have other fantasies too…” he warned her, following her and closed the door behind him. “Nice.” He said, looking around him.

“Make yourself at home.” She told him and took off her boots. “If you want anything to drink, well, you can see where the kitchen is.” She smiled and walked to her bedroom.

“That’s very hospitable!” He laughed and followed her. “No, I don’t want anything.” He added smiling.

Eliza started to search her wardrobe for clothes and Richard leaned on the bedroom door, crossing his arms over his chest.

“So, this dinner tonight, is it formal? What am I supposed to wear?” she asked buried in her closet.

“I want to say nothing but then I’ll have to fight off you all my friends, so wear whatever you want.” He answered smiling.

“That was extremely helpful Richard.” She said smiling. She found a pair of black pants with really wide legs from the hips down and a soft purple turtleneck. She smiled. Back to the turtlenecks we are. I have to tell him to do whatever he wants in places far away from neck and shoulders, really far away like in the south region she thought and shivered expectantly. That man and his capable tongue… Now it’s not the time Eliza she chastised herself, and tried to clear her mind of Richard doing immensely enjoyable things between her legs. She found the matching bra for the underwear she was wearing and found another pair of underwear and bra, crisp white. She had never worn them and they were pretty sexy… he would appreciate them. She smiled and searched clothes for tomorrow and a pair of yoga pants. She found a pair of soft blue corduroy pants and a black knitted turtleneck. She left them on her bed and she almost screamed scared. Richard had lain on her bed and he was looking at her smiling. She hadn’t heard him at all. He was as quiet as a cat… no, not cat… a panther…lithe and muscular and graceful and all hers!

 

 

 

“Are you comfortable?” she asked smiling and crossing her arms.

“Very. I had to try the bed, to see if it fits me.”

“It fits you perfectly love, though you fit better somewhere else.” She teased him, trying to wiggle her eyebrows suggestively like he did, but failing miserably. “So my bed passed the test. I’ll tell it to the landlords.” She smiled and turned to find her black boots for tomorrow and a pair of socks. She heard his hearty laugh and smiled broadly, butterflies flying in her stomach. Amazing was the creature behind her, simply magical. She found another pair of black tights and her sneakers and she started to get undressed. She had her back on him. She couldn’t turn to face him feeling suddenly very self-conscious. And that was really weird when most of the time they were together she was completely naked. She couldn’t understand her reluctance now. With a sigh, she sank her hands underneath her dress and started to pull down her tights. She heard something behind her to get dropped in her nightstand with a bang. Probably he was looking at her books, but now he had his full attention. Trying not to over think it she took off her tights and threw them on her bed without looking at him. Then she unzipped her dress. She heard an intake of breath from behind her and movement. She smiled, feeling more confident, and grabbing the hem of her dress pulled it over her head. She definitely heard a hiss this time and it came from far closer than her bed. Then she felt cool fingertips tracing her back, making her skin crawl and shivers to run up and down her spine.

“Richard…” she murmured.

“What my sweetest?” he asked, keep trailing a path up and down her back with the back of his hand now.

“Richard don’t. We don’t have time.” She pleaded, closing her eyes. Her desire that boiled slowly in the pit of her stomach after her last fiasco in his apartment, burst through her veins, traveling in waves all over her body.

“I know but I can’t seem to take my hands off you. I just can’t.” he sighed, dropping his arm to his side. Eliza shivered and retrieved the matching black bra from her bed and put it on. Richard was standing motionless, breathing through his nose, his eyes closed.

She wore her yoga pants and a tight cotton blouse with long sleeves and finding another pair of socks wore them too. Then she found a bag and put her clothes inside.

“Richard do you have an iron at home?” she asked, knowing that her black pants would be ruined until they’d reach his apartment.

“Yes hunny, I have.” He said opening his hypnotizing eyes. “Are you ready?” He asked, watching her put on her sneakers, his hungry gaze traveling her body.

“Almost.” She put in another bag her boots for tomorrow and a pair of black stiletto heels for tonight. She ran to the bathroom, leaving Richard in her bedroom and took her toothbrush, shower gel, and shampoo. Then she walked quickly back to the bedroom and took the little case with her make-up staff and her perfume and threw them too in the bag she was holding. Then she looked around her trying to think if she forgot something important.

“Your charger.” Richard said simply and she smiled at him and unplugging it she threw it in her bag as well.

“Well, let me find a pair of earrings and we’re out of here.” she said passing right beside him to go to her jewelry box that was on top of a little bookcase on the other side of her room. He caught her arm trapping her in his embrace.

“You must pay if you want to pass.” He said smiling childishly, his eyes sparkling.

“Tell me your price beautiful.” She answered smiling herself.

“Well, what about a kiss?” he asked, leaning his head down.

“Only that?” she smiled stretching her face upwards and placed her lips to his.

“You’re going to pay the rest later.” He mumbled, deepening their kiss, licking his way into her mouth, his hands moving to her bum, cupping the twin orbs and bringing her against his body.

“I’ll pay with interest.” She teased sighing and took a step backward to end their kiss before they would really lose control.

Richard followed her lips. “Don’t.” he pleaded and kissed her again, holding her close to him. Not wanting this kiss to end.

She let herself get lost in their kiss. Why did they have to entertain tonight? The only person she wanted to entertain, in every way possible, was between her arms. He ended their kiss, but he still held her tightly. She opened her eyes slowly, goose bumps traveling from her lips to every nerve in her body. He was looking at her awed with a little twitch in his shapely lips. “I love you.” he said simply.

Eliza nodded not able to speak. She just cupped his face between her hands and pulled him down for another kiss.

With great difficulty, they managed to separate from each other and after Eliza found a pair of earrings they gathered the bags and left.

The traffic was even worse on the way back but they managed to arrive at the apartment the exact moment the caterers parked their van outside Richard’s building. Richard informed the doorman to let them pass and helped Eliza with her bags upstairs and into his bedroom. He then waited for the caterers to arrive while Eliza stayed in his room.

Eliza placed the bags in a corner of the room and hurriedly took out her clothes. Yep, her black pants needed to be ironed, asap. The other clothes were in a good condition so she hung them in Richard’s wardrobe. She took the bag with her make-up and other toiletries and headed to the bathroom. She brushed her teeth (at last!!!) and when she finished she put her toothbrush next to Richard’s. She looked at them, resting side by side, with a big grin splattered on her lips. It was one of the most amazing feelings. She never thought that two toothbrushes together would make her so elated, but they did! This was a new start. This was the beginning of a new era in her life. She looked at herself and for the first time in ages, she saw that she was beautiful. She could see what Richard saw in her. Though she was plain and all brown and mousy her eyes sparkled with love. And that love was reflected in her whole demeanor, making her glow. It was the first time in her life that she was truly in love.

With Stephen it was not love. Now she could see that she had been flattered by his attentions and confused excitement for love. That’s why she wasn’t so devastated when he  cheated on her. Yes, her pride was wounded, her self-esteem shattered, but in the end, she never loved him. She loved him as a human being, as her companion for many years but not as she loved Richard. She could die for Richard. She could do anything for this man. He was her other half, her partner for life and that thought never even crossed her mind when she was with Stephen, even when she accepted his marriage offer. For Richard, she could pull the moon down. Stop daydreaming and go and help your man, she chastised herself.

Smiling euphoric she went to find Richard. He was just closing the entrance door, all innocent and tempting, and feeling very mischievous she sneaked from behind and with a warrior cry and a big leap she was tangling from his back in seconds, wrapping her legs around his waist.

“What the….?” he exclaimed surprised. “You scared me little monkey!” he chuckled placing his arms under her thighs. “Are you attacking me, my little minx?”

“Yes! I saw this tempting neck and a sudden urge to nibble it, suck it, bite and kiss it filled me.” And she did exactly all that, in that order, making his skin crawl and earning a hearty laughter from the men beneath her. She made sure not to leave any marks on his silken smooth skin though. She would mark him in hidden places later, she promised herself.

“Where do you want me to take you now?” he asked walking to the living room.

“Well… I must say to the kitchen though I want to go to the bedroom… but I’m a good girl so let’s go my great stallion! Ride me to your kitchen!” She laughed when she heard him trying to imitate a neighing. “Don’t ever play a horse!”

“Ahhhh, and it was one of my dream roles.” He chuckled entering the kitchen. She let her down and caught quickly her wrist and pulled her into his embrace. “You owe your ride a treat.” He demanded grinning.

“Maybe a sugar cube? Or an apple?” she suggested smiling.

“Neither.” And he captured her lips swiftly and hungrily. She surrendered willingly and let herself get lost in his alluring kiss. When his hands started to travel her body she smiled and backed off. “Hunny,” she said panting, “later. Is it going to be a sitting party or buffet?” She tried to distract him.

 He groaned frustrated but let his hands drop from her body. “You’re thinking about the party and I’m thinking to take you over the kitchen table.” He closed his eyes, taking some deep breaths trying to tame his obvious excitement.

Eliza smiled. Her heart was swelling with love for her insatiable man! “Right now Richard that’s the only thing I want too, to lay you on the table or the floor and ride you to oblivion.” She saw the spark in his eyes and his little naughty smirk and raised her hands, palms up to stop him from coming near her. “But, we have to get ready hunny. So tell me, dinner; sitting or buffet?”

“Buffet.” He said resigned and Eliza smiled and turned to the boxes to see what she could do with what they had brought. Richard came near her, stealing a kiss and then helped her with the food and plates.

They headed to the living room to move his dinner table to the side of the room and drug the couches against the walls to leave space in the center of the room. He placed the table’s chairs here and there and brought the ones from the kitchen too. Eliza was coming back and forth from the kitchen, carrying the plates and the silver wear and arranging them on the table. When they did everything it was supposed to be done, they went to the bedroom to get dressed.

Richard gave Eliza the iron and he searched in his closet for clothes.

“I really like seeing your clothes next to mine.” He turned and said smiling sweetly while Eliza was ironing her pants.

“Sorry I didn’t ask if it was ok, but I didn’t want the rest of them to have the same fate as my pants.” She answered.

“I just told you I liked it Eliza. I actually more than like it. I don’t know how to describe what I felt seeing them hanging there… for the first time I’m at a loss for words.” He said with a grin and eyes full of love.

“Probably you felt what I felt when I saw our toothbrushes side by side. Euphoric and literary bursting from love.” She smiled back. How she wanted to be in his arms right now.

“I want to kiss you.” he replied, looking at her longingly.

“No, Richard please! Don’t do this to me. I’m barely containing myself not to throw myself on you. When you say things like that you make my defenses crumble.”

“Am I now?” he smiled wickedly.

“You insufferable man! Now find your clothes and tell me if something needs freshening up while I’m doing my pants. Once I’m finished here and the iron is unplugged I’m not doing anything and you’ll be all wrinkled in front of your friends.” She teased.

“Then I’ll be at my party with my boxers or better… naked…” he joked back, leaving on the bed a black, three-piece suit and a white shirt.

Eliza moaned inside at the thought of a naked Richard parading all night in front of her AND in front of numerous other women…oh no no no! No other woman would see her man naked! He was hers to enjoy and only hers! “I know you’re joking but I can’t even imagine you walking naked in front of horny women… You are only mine to look, touch and taste. No one else’s.” She declared jealously. She couldn’t help it. She knew she shouldn’t be jealous with a joke but just the thought of other women looking and flirting with him made her blood boil!

He chuckled and started to get undress slowly, seductively, looking at her. First, he took off his red sweater, making sure to flex his muscles, more than was needed… and threw it her way smiling. Eliza rocked her head laughing. She grabbed the sweater and brought it to her nose, smelling his perfume, looking his masculine torso. She then left it on the bed, next to his costume. He took off his boots, still grinning, looked at them, then looked at her, saw the look of utter horror on Eliza’s face and burst into laughter.

“Oh, sweety! I’m not going to throw my boots at you! You should see your face, though!” And continued laughing heartily, letting the boots fall on the floor.

“Good to know… A bump doesn’t go with the outfit I chose.” She laughed too.

He took off his pants and threw them on the bed too. He then walked her way with just his black socks and gray boxers. “You shouldn’t be jealous my love. There is no other woman out there for me. The one I love and want, I have. No one can compare to you, darling.” And taking her in his arms he kissed her gently. “Come, let’s get dressed, my beautiful lady.”

Eliza nodded, kissed the tip of his nose and taking her make-up case walked to the bathroom. It was Christmas so she had to pay extra attention to her make-up. She caught her hair in a ponytail and started her ritual. She washed her face well and then applied her day-cream. She continued with the make-up, making sure to apply it evenly. She was applying eyeliner, very carefully when Richard came. She saw his reflection in the mirror and her heart skipped a bit, her hand almost destroying the perfect line. He was beautiful. He was stunning. He was breathtaking. He was already dressed in his costume pants and his white shirt open at the collar. He walked her way and stood beside her.

“I just came to fix my hair.” He said smiling.

“Why?” she asked, looking at him through the glass. His hair was in beautiful disarray, persistent strands falling on his forehead, the little curls on his nape touching the white collar of his shirt. He was decadent and utterly irresistible.

“Why? Because they are awful!” he chuckled opening a tube of hair wax.

She decided not to tell him how her heart stopped when he saw his 'awful' hair. So she let him do what he wanted with his dark mane and she continued to her other eye, applying a straight black line, as better as she could with this distraction beside her. She put a lot of mascara to lengthen her eyelashes and then searched in her case for her red lip-liner. She was ready to start on her lips when Richard stopped her, looking scared.

“What are you doing?” he asked looking anxious.

“Ehmmm…ahhh…putting on make-up?” She answered perplexed.

“Before you do that, wait.” He answered and moving near her leaned down and kissed her parted lips. “There.” He smiled and moved back again. “Once you apply this thing I’m not going to be able to kiss you all night.”

“If that’s the case, then come here and do it properly.” She teased.

He complied and placing a hand on her waist and the other behind her neck he pulled her down with him, holding her steady and kissed her extravagantly. She caught his strong arms for support and surrendered to his sexy mouth and deep kiss.

“There, how was that? Was it proper?” he asked smirking mischievously when he raised her upright again.

“More than proper.” She said panting, feeling dizzy. “I always wanted to be kissed like in the movies.” She added smiling dreamily, flying in the sky.

“I would really like to make all your dreams come true.” He said quietly and caressed her lips with his thumb.

Eliza inhaled sharply and kissed his finger. “And I yours.”

“I’m already living my dream.” He whispered and caressed her neck with his fingers. She gulped and her heart fluttered in her chest. They just looked at each, Richard still caressing her neck, Eliza holding his arms when Richard’s cell ringing dragged them to the real world again. He kissed her forehead and left and Eliza turned to the mirror again to finish her make-up.

Her cheeks were flushed, as it was her habit since she met him. She waited a little while for her hands to stop trembling and her heart beats to drop by taking a few deep breaths, and only when the side effects of his kiss passed she grabbed her red lip line and started drawing the perimeter of her lips. When she finished with the pencil she passed her hot red lipstick, using a generous amount. Satisfied with her make-up she looked at her hair. Now that would not be easy. She tried a few things but in the end, she decided to make a loose bun on the top of her head with little strands falling here and there around her face. Easy and extremely easy hairdo, she laughed. She was awful with hair. That’s why she cut it in the first place. Just by straightening it she was ready and acceptable in minutes. Now they were a little longer so she decided for something different and the bun didn’t look so bad. Contented she walked to the bedroom to get dressed. She found Richard tying his tie in front of his mirror and her heart stopped completely. He was dazzling. The sun had escaped from between the black clouds and slithered through the shutters the exact second she walked into his room, allowing her to witness the most magical thing. He was illuminated gradually, from his feet to his legs to his body and slowly up his majestic profile.

 

 

“Wow!” she exclaimed under her breath.

He turned and looked at her, making her knees weak. “What did you say darling?”  wearing his vest and fixing the collar of his shirt.

 

 

She couldn’t speak. Say what? She shook her head and moved tentatively to the bed where she had lain her clothes. Just by looking at him she was lost. She started to get undressed and when she was with only her underwear she felt his arms wrap around her from behind, resting on her waist. His clothes were tickling her sensitive skin in the back; the fabric was warm by his heat body. Then his mouth was on the side of her face, on top of her ear. He grazed slowly his teeth on her earlobe making her shiver and his arms to hold her more tightly. “I love to have you here. You don’t know how my heart jumps in my chest every time you walk into a room.” He whispered, catching her earlobe in his mouth, sucking it.

Eliza moaned, aroused, her own heart racing crazily in her chest. She heard his sigh and then his arms fell slowly to his sides. She felt a light kiss, a ghost kiss, in the nape of her neck, making her hair rise all over her body. Then she felt the cold that engulfed her skin when he stepped back, taking the heat with him and heard his retrieving steps. She stood motionless; she took a ragged breath, shocking her lungs. She had forgotten to breathe. 

              _________________________________________

 

When she entered the living room she saw him sitting casually on the couch, checking his phone. His suit jacket was thrown carelessly on the back of the couch. He had already lighted the fireplace and old Christmas songs were heard from the speakers.  He hadn’t put any seasonal decorations up but he had lit a lot of candles, all around the room, their sweet aromas filling the air, their warmth and delicate light caressing Richard’s beautiful face. 

              

 

“Hey, sweety.” She said standing in front of him.

“Are you ready?” he asked smiling, looking at her and forgetting his phone completely.   

                                                                                                          

“What do you think?” She answered smiling, making a circle around herself, the legs of her pants flowing around her.

Richard put his phone in his pocket and looked at her smiling sensually. “I think I’m the luckiest man on the planet.” He stood up. He caught her right wrist and with his other hand he caressed her jaw, moving up to her cheek and catching a stray strand, twirled it around his finger. “I like your hair like that.” he stated rubbing the silken strand.

“Then I’ll do it more often.”

“You know what I like most about them? The moment that I can take all these pins off and see every single silken lock fall around you face again. Then I’ll sink both my hands in their softness, I’ll bring you closer and I’ll kiss you until you feel the earth shaking; and there will be no interruptions, no phones, no parties, nothing. Just you and me.”

 His glance was so intense that butterflies started flying in her stomach. She gulped and kissed lightly his fingers that played with her strand.  “I can’t wait.” She answered breathlessly.

“Me neither…” he sighed and kissed the side of her mouth, close enough to make her mouth prickle but not to ruin her lipstick. He placed his hands in her arms, catching her and sank lower his head, to the side of her neck. She tilted her head back and a ragged sigh left her lips when his nose started trailing a way from the side of her jaw, down her neck. He raised one hand and with the tip of his finger lowered her turtleneck placing a feather light kiss on top of her pulsing vein. "You smell delicious..." he whispered. Eliza whimpered and caught his arms for support. All these games were leaving her body longing for him, aching for him. She felt his ragged breath on her exposed skin, her skin crawling. His other hand slid down her arm to her waist and slithered underneath her blouse, his long fingers tracing her sensitive skin of her stomach, to her ribs, and up to her breasts. She moaned in sync with the buzzing of the intercom.

“Fuck…the first already arrived… rather early.” He said breathlessly, looking at the time on his phone. He fixed her blouse and giving her a longing look went to answer the call. Eliza tried to compose herself. She took his jacket from the couch and walked towards him, helping him wear it when he reached him. He smiled sweetly.

“Are you ready to meet my friends?”

“No.” she answered. A new thought clouding her already fogged with love and desire mind. What if his friends didn’t like her?

“They’re going to love you.” He answered, reading her concerned look, and opened the door for his first guest.

Chapter Text

Chapter 19

 

 

Eliza was surprised when she saw a huge man, taller and broader than her Richard, walking thunderously inside the apartment, grasping Richard in a bear like hug and looking at her, pushing him unceremoniously aside and walking towards her menacingly. She felt being lifted off the floor and his lips pressing on hers.

“You’re scaring my girlfriend.” Richard stated chuckling, pulling him off her and placing his arm around her waist. “Eliza, this Neanderthal that threw himself at you is, by unfortunate circumstances, my best friend Lee.”

“An honor to meet you Milady and a great pleasure! Where have you found this brooding, grumpy, old man and why haven’t I found you first?” he asked teasingly taking her hand and kissing her fingers one by one.

Eliza was stunned speechless. Was that who she thought he was? “Ehmmm…nice to meet you, Lee.” She answered, trying to retrieve her hand but he didn’t let her. He looked at her with playful eyes and lipstick on his lips. “You have lipstick.” She said stupidly, pointing with her other hand at his mouth.

“Aaahhh, the casualties of war… I love every single wound I ever attained and this one from a beautiful woman as you, I cherish most.” he purred, smiling like the Cheshire Cat.

“Ok, back off, before I kick your ass to the moon.” Richard laughed and pulling her hand from Lee’s grasp he leaned down, kissed her forehead and whispered in her ear. “Go and fix your lipstick, my love. You look completely terrified.” He chuckled under his breath.

She just nodded smiling and saying an ‘excuse me’ to both of them, went to the bathroom to fix her lipstick and compose herself. So…that was Lee. She thought while she was applying the lipstick on her lips. He looks really nice and funny… I think.
More confident, less starstruck, and knowing what to expect, she walked back to the living room and paused at the door. She saw Richard chastising Lee and the later looking at him like a kid that broke his mother’s most expensive vase but he would do it again given the chance…with a few words, not repentant at all.
When she came closer Lee saw her first and his eyes sparkled mischievously; he left abruptly Richard’s side, who was still talking, to walk towards her. Oh-oh… she thought… Richard seeing his friend’s expression rocked his head resigned.

“Well, Eliza, tell me how you two met… Richard never, EVER,” he pointed out, looking sideways at him, meaningfully, “told me that he had a stunning English girlfriend…”

Eliza looked at Richard questioningly; he raised his shoulders and came beside her.

“There is nothing to tell. We are together since last night.” He told Lee, letting Eliza escape.

“So… you JUST met then?” he asked with a sheepish grin on his face. “And last night’s drama was two total strangers meeting for the first time…tsk tsk tsk….and I thought we were friends mate.”

“Who told you?” he asked resigned.

“No one bro… I just thought I’d pass my time this morning by scrolling through the vast and terrifying world of the internet. But don’t think that I had to search deep… no… you two kissing are all over the place. In fact, it was the first thing I saw when I logged on my twitter. Your Army Richard is having a blast.” He chuckled seeing Richard’s alarmed face and Eliza’s terrified one. “And it’s not just you kissing…there is one that you chase her with her jacket and stuff on your hands, one throwing her things to the ground grabbing her, one with Vicky and the two of you…quite the drama if you ask me… the scenarios and speculations are blown out of proportions… I swear I’ve never laughed so much in my life.” he added grinning with mirth.

“Fuck…” Richard exclaimed. “And why haven’t my agent called me?” he thought loudly.

“Probably because it’s Christmas and the man has a family and no time to follow your nightly adventures?” Lee answered chuckling. He walked to the table with the drinks and poured himself a glass of red wine. “By the way, love the candles. They give a very festive and warm touch to the place.” He smiled, taking a sip and looking at the stunned couple before him.

“Oh my god Richard, I’m so sorry.” Eliza whispered. What had she done? But she was mad last night! She didn’t think that her behavior would lead to this! She just wanted to get away from his attraction.

“What are you apologizing for love?” he asked, walking beside her and taking her in his arms. “It’s not your fault. I don’t regret a thing.” He said quietly, kissing her hair.

“So… how long are you two together? I’ve never heard Richard call someone, love, except Abe, but he’s his nephew so he doesn’t count.”Lee pointed smiling, at last sympathetically, all teasing gone.

“It’s a long story and now it’s not the time.” Richard answered Lee.

“Oh, I think it's the perfect timing, now that we are still alone. It would be awkward to tell the whole story in front of everyone!” he chuckled.

“Oh shut up!” Richard exclaimed and held Eliza tighter. The intercom buzzed then and Richard went to answer it with a sigh.

“So, little swan… now that the greyhound is gone, I’m dying to know how you two met.”

“He really never told you anything?” Eliza asked a little hurt. Didn't he think she was important enough to mention her to his best friend?

Lee seeing her sad face left his drink on the table and took her hand to his. “Richard is a very private person. He must have had a good reason that he never mentioned you to me. Don’t judge him harshly. Let him explain later. When you are alone ask him.” She looked at him, still confused and hurt and he sighed with his stupidity of opening his big mouth without thinking. “It’s obvious he adores you. I could not only see it but sense it, the moment I walked into the apartment. Talk with him later. Now, cheer up beautiful. We’re going to have a splendid time teasing the old man tonight. Ohhh I just can’t wait for the others to find out!” he smiled. “Come, do you want a drink?” he asked pouring her a glass from the same wine he was drinking.

Eliza took it reluctantly; she drunk a sip and heard the commotion behind her and turning saw a couple entering the apartment. They hugged Richard and gave him a big wrapped box with a silver ribbon on it. He closed the door, searching her with his eyes. When he found her he smiled beamingly and taking his guests coats hung them by the door and left the box on the floor. The couple came towards them, greeted Lee cordially and looked at her curiously making her feel a little uncomfortable.

“So,” Lee started, without waiting for Richard to make the introductions, “this little-terrified bird is Richard’s Eliza, and here are our close friends Monica and Theo. We have worked together on many occasions.” he said looking the three of them, sipping from his glass when he finished.

Eliza exchanged warm handshakes with both of them and felt Richard’s hand on the small of her back. She turned and looked at him. He was looking down at her lovingly. She smiled and a little more confident she engaged in conversation with the couple. She learned that Monica was a graphic designer and Theo a software engineer. They had met when they had worked together for a movie. That was ten years ago and they were married the last six. They didn’t have any kids but they were thinking of adopting. She asked them when they met the guys, motioning her head to Richard and Lee. Theo answered that he had known Richard for over 20 years; they practically started their careers together. He met Lee, two years ago, when they were working together on a project. All four of them shared common stories making Eliza laugh and feel extremely comfortable, at last relaxing. Then the couple asked Eliza some things about herself and while Eliza was answering their questions, Lee was listening intently and interestingly, while Richard was brushing the small of her back absentmindedly with his thumb.

“So, how did you two meet?” Monica asked at Richard and Eliza, taking a sip from her wine.

Three pairs of eyes looked at them expectantly when the intercom buzzed again, saving Richard while he went to answer it. Then the three of them looked at Eliza who started feeling anxious again. What should she answer to that? The moment we saw each other we couldn’t take our hands off one another? That these last three months, we haven’t even spent a whole weekend together? That all in all, adding the days they knew each other, they didn’t even count as a whole week? Hopefully, Richard came quickly followed by an impressive but petite, dark-haired woman, a really tall, almost like her Richard tall, and brown haired beauty and an old gentleman. Hugs, kisses, and wishes for the holidays were exchanged and further introductions began. The two women were fellow actresses, the short one was Michaela and the goddess, tall one was Olivia. They worked with Richard in a little play and the money from the tickets was going to a charitable organization.
She knew who the man was without any introductions. Sir Ian MacKellen was renowned around the world. She was again starstruck and she couldn’t utter a single syllable. He was very polite though and helped her get over her initial shock and actually had a very cordial conversation with him. While she was engaged in conversation with Sir Ian, many more of Richard’s friends arrived; various actors, a director and behind the cameras crew. They had been stuck in New York, like her, their job responsibilities not letting them go to their families. She didn’t recognize anyone really famous, like Sir Ian famous, and she had a really hard time remembering all their names.

Everyone was really friendly with her, though some of them looked at her more than was proper or comfortable. Especially the two actresses, Olivia and Michaela; they were looking at her from across the room, barely spoken to her except for the necessary introductions and they whispered amongst themselves or flirted with Lee and tried to attract Richard’s attention. She decided not to give them another moment's thought and she had a fabulous time with everyone else. Everybody was in a really good mood. Eliza was sitting on the couch with Ian on one side and Monica on the other having a really interesting conversation. Richard had brought her a plate filled, with the fear of overflowing, with food and with his stern gaze warned her to eat. He then moved back to a very boring by Eliza’s standards conversation, about English football that was going on in animated tones for some time now. Men and their football!

Lee and a short blond actor were flirting with the women in the room, telling jokes and acting as silly as they could. Lee at some point had changed the ‘boring old peoples’ music as he said, and had plugged his phone into Richard’s speaker and modern dance music was heard for some time now. He had taken Olivia in his arms and was whirling her around the room making her laugh exultantly. Eliza was afraid that she would break a leg with those heels and how quickly they danced. Petite Michaela was dancing with a really good looking young man, with long dark curly hair and intense dark eyes, that Eliza could not remember his name even if she was threatened with a gun. She knew she had seen him in some movies and on TV but with so many people that she met tonight his name escaped her. She turned her attention to Ian then, which he had asked her a question. She got lost in conversation, sharing opinions with him and Monica. Then Theo, Monica’s husband, came and dragging a chair sat close to them. All of them were so emerged in conversation that it was some time before Eliza raised her eyes to the people around her.

Lee was now dancing with Michaela and Olivia was dancing with her man… HER MAN! She wanted to throw the plate, frisbee-like, to her beautiful head and with her vivid imagination she had already climbed on top of her and had clawed her pretty whiskey colored eyes out. Deep breaths Eliza. They are just dancing. Nothing to be jealous about. He barely touches her… Son of a bitch I will kill that bitch!
Olivia was rubbing provocatively her ass on Richard’s crotch but to his defense, he was avoiding her very expertly. She excused herself from the company and left her plate on a side table before she made her imagination reality, and the plate would indeed fly to Olivia’s head. She then went to Richard’s iPod and found Rihanna’s ‘Te Amo’. She waited for the infernal song that was playing to be over and when all the dancing couples had a break, she plugged Richard’s iPod to the speaker and pushed the play button. When the first notes filled the air she walked purposefully to her man and grabbing him by the hand dragged him towards her. He looked at her smiling questioningly but then she twirled around, still holding his hand for support and Richard taking the hint, grabbed her waist and started dancing. A teasing smirk was spread on his lips, his eyes were sparkling and when Eliza came closer and started dancing more sensually he tightened his grip on her waist and brought her closer to him. She looked up into his eyes and saw passion, love and desire reflecting there and felt one of his hands leaving her waist and traveling down to her ass, resting there and pulling her even closer to him. Her breath caught in her throat when she felt his semi-hard erection. Thank god he was still wearing his suit jacket and it was buttoned! She smiled at him wickedly and rubbed her abdomen once, fleetingly, to his crotch. He engulfed her in his embrace and moaned in her ear.

“That’s why I was avoiding you all night my minx… I knew that if I danced with you I would be embarrassed afterward…” he whispered in her ear and grazed her earlobe with his teeth fleetingly. Eliza smiled ecstatic and kissed his stubbled jaw.

When the song ended he gave her a kiss on the side of her mouth and then a kiss on the inside of her wrist, resting his lips there a little more than was necessary. She smiled beamingly and wiped her lipstick mark from his beautiful jaw. Then she felt someone drag her away from her man and turning saw Lee grinning and he engulfed her in his big arms. The song ‘Sweat a la la long’ by Inner Circle started then and Eliza laughed. Her man had indeed really weird taste in music. She had to search this iPod more thoroughly.

“Now is my turn! I didn’t know you could dance or else I wouldn’t leave you sitting as long as you sat!” He smirked and they both started dancing to the music, with Lee doing weird dance moves, making Eliza burst to laughter with his silliness and everybody to end up clap and whistle to them while they watched them ‘dancing’.
When the song ended Lee dragged Eliza to bow theatrically in front of their audience with him. After they both stood upright again Richard took her in his arms and lifting her off the floor twirled her around once and holding her there kissed her passionately. The whistles and claps intensified and all laughed when he left her down and she was blushed to the roots of her hair. Richard’s lips where lipstick smeared and his friends found that extremely hilarious and a storm of teasing began. Eliza tried to wipe it from his lips but she only made it worse, spreading it everywhere.

“Ok… taking my woman to the bathroom to clean me up.” he joked. He didn’t stay to answer to the howling, teasing and laughter. Grabbing her hand he pulled her to the bathroom. Closing the door behind them he grabbed her again and kissed her fervently.

“I’m sorry,” he apologized, not really sorry (she could tell by his naughty eyes), “but I couldn’t not kiss you. You were so cute with your silly dance.” he answered. Eliza giggled and kissed him again. When at last they came for air she cleaned his sensual mouth, smiling elated and he cleaned hers. They heard knocks on the door and Lee’s teasing to why it took them so long to come out. Richard told him to ‘bugger off’ and Lee howled with laughter and kept banging the door while a few more of their friends came to his aid, helping him with the banging.
Richard opened the door and pretended he was zipping his pants making Eliza blush more than before. All laughed and Lee came inside the bathroom.

“Mate, next time take your time. Ladies don’t like it quick!” he teased him putting his arm around Eliza’s shoulders which she was blushing again. Looking at her he said, trying to be serious, “Ok, tiny, next time come to a real man to show you how we keep our women happy.” And winked at her.
Richard dragged him away from her and kissed her again before he pushed everyone out and closed the door behind him, to leave her some privacy.
Wow… they were in reality, every single one of them, trapped adolescents in middle-aged bodies. She smiled with their childish behavior and fixed her ruined lipstick.
When she came out after a while, she found the men, and some daring women, in a ‘who can drink the more booze’ competition. Ohhh… this was going to end badly… Richard was not taking part in this, thank the heavens, but he was the referee. She sat beside Monica on the couch and both waited resigned, for the catastrophe that was about to come, especially as Theo, Monica’s husband, was one of the most enthusiastic participants.

Remarkably all went well, although that game left most of the guests in a very precarious state, drunk beyond rational comprehension. The most drunken of all a David or Daniel, Eliza couldn’t remember, suggested a pantomime game and all agreed enthusiastically. Richard came and sat beside her, grinning like a lunatic from joy. Eliza didn’t believe that she could love him more than she loved him right then. His face and countenance of absolute happiness were contagious and she grinned back at him too. He was like a little kid that invited his friends over to play. He was absolutely the cutest man/child she’d ever seen.

They were separated into three teams. This Daniel or David guy was the leader of the first group, Ian of the other and of course, Lee was the leader of the third group. Daniel/David picked Richard immediately to be on his team. Then it was Ian’s turn. He looked at Eliza expectantly and then Richard and seeing his face he laughed and chose Theo instead. Lee didn’t have any guilt when his first choice was Eliza; neither looked perturbed by Richard’s gaze. Eliza just smiled, kissed lightly on the cheek her big man that tighten his grip on her waist for a heartbeat, and standing walked to Lee’s side. The choosing continued and the teams were almost formed evenly. Olivia, for Eliza’s great chagrin, was in Richard’s team but her gorgeous man was beside the leader of the group with Monica on his other side, not paying any attention to her. When Lee started talking she averted her gaze and started thinking of movies. Of course, the pantomime would be about movies and plays. She wasn’t that good in that department, especially when she was surrounded by professional actors who knew everything, and she felt out of her element. Lee had two films in mind equally difficult to pantomime. Everyone on the team was asking him how the hell they were going to pantomime Moreau or Macon.

“The point is to choose something difficult!” he nagged like a child.

“Yes, but we have to find something that we can pantomime man! ‘The island of Dr. Moreau’? ‘The baby of Macon’? How on earth will we act this?” Dean-something asked.

They continued debating and suggesting films. Eliza could think of only one movie and that was Disney’s ‘Ariel, the little mermaid’, that she had seen a few days ago. When she suggested it everybody agreed and decided that Lee should do it. He only agreed to do it if he chose the next movie and who would pantomime it and looked at Eliza cunningly.

“No…no no no no… I’m not going to pantomime whatever crazy thing you’ll choose!” Eliza opposed laughing, arms crossed on her chest, rocking her head negatively.

“All of us are going to pantomime something so if I’m doing yours, you’re doing mine.” He smirked.

“I prefer to do mine then.” Eliza answered.

“No tiny. I’m doing this; you’re doing the next one.” Lee winked and yelled at the leaders of the other teams to see if they were ready.

When all the teams had decided they sat on the chairs. Richard looked at Eliza longingly from across the room and Eliza waved at him. The leaders of the teams decided who was going to start first and they agreed that since Daniel/David (Whatever! From now on she would call him Dexter!) guy had thought of the game he would start first. One team would do the pantomime and the other two had to find what they were trying to say. The team who would find it first won. The two teams with the highest scores would compete with one another.

The game began and a woman from ‘Dexter’s’ team started. She was actually pretty good but Eliza had no inclination whatsoever as to what she was trying to tell. Ian’s team was excellent but Lee was a force to be reckoned with. He with Michaela were pretty knowledgeable and they found the pantomime of ‘My fair lady’ pretty quickly. Everyone on their team started high-five each other and jumping like they won an Oscar or something. Eliza smiled with their happiness while Ian’s team booed and hollered. Gods they were all so drunk!
Lee’s team was up next and Lee got up with the cheers and clap of his team. He bowed to his team ignoring the rest and started the ‘Ariel’ pantomime. He lied down on the floor and writhed like a fish making everyone cry and howl with laughter.

“The exorcist!” Michaela yelled.

“Antichrist!” Ian said.

“Smeagol without his ring!” The director yelled from the other side of the room.

"Jaws!" the pretty guy with the dark, long, curly hair suggested.

“NO, NO , NO ,NO!” Lee answered resigned, getting up. “I showed you one finger, that means one word!”

"Jaws is one word!" the pretty man clarified.

“Hey! You’re not supposed to talk!” ‘Dexter’ said getting up himself.

And they started to quarrel. Eliza was watching all this commotion rather quietly. She was tired and sleepy. She just wanted this party to be over so she could go to bed engulfed in Richard’s strong arms. Suddenly she felt an arm over her shoulder. Turning she saw her beautiful man looking at her smiling. It was like he knew what she wanted instinctively!

“I think you’re tired.” He stated, leaning closer and kissing her forehead.

“Yes, a little. What time is it?” she asked, leaning her head on the crook of his neck. She sighed contently. That, right here, was heaven. She closed her eyes, smelling his scent, feeling his warmth sipping through her cheek and all over her body. She felt his fingers fleetingly caress some of her strands aside, teasing her neck with his fingertips; she could stay like this forever.

“It’s almost twelve. Are you going to sleep on me my little minx?” he asked quietly, kissing the top of her head.

“If you keep caressing my hair and neck like that, yes.” She purred, kissing the side of his neck, feeling him tremble.

“Hoy Richard! Unless you’re trying to elicit the title of the movie from your girlfriend, leave the enemy territory!” A guy from Richard’s team yelled, causing the laughter from everyone around them.

Eliza opened her eyes; the sounds, talks, laughter from the people around her attacking her senses. For a few moments, it was like Richard and she were the only people in the world.

“She won’t tell. She’s very discreet.” Richard answered chuckling, still caressing her neck.

“You suck at torture, Richard.” Olivia stated pretending to joke but Eliza felt the vehemence in her voice. Eliza really couldn’t care less. She knew that her man was desired and coveted by a lot of women but he chose her and she knew that he would never cheat on her. She didn’t know how she knew it; it was more of a gut feeling than anything else. She smiled and kissed his neck a second time, letting the tip of her tongue touch his skin for a mere second, but that was enough to make Richard tighten his grip around her shoulders and felt a shiver permeate his body.
“No, he doesn't suck and tortures. He knows how to torture me very expertly. He’s a master at tormenting me, my man.” Eliza answered smiling causing her man in question to raise an eyebrow and smirk and the men in the room to cheer him.

“Am I?” he whispered in her ear, a little blush coloring his cheeks.

Eliza nodded, goose bumps raising her skin from his hot breath.

“Ok lovebirds, I’m trying to act this freaking title your girlfriend chose so if you could make out later I would very much appreciate it.” Lee said acting the offended.

Richard chuckled and kissing her forehead whispered ‘later’ and walked to his team again, among teasing. Eliza sat down again. Richard was better than coffee, he woke her up and made her crave for more. He was a master of torture even if he didn’t know it. Her only master. She giggled with the thoughts the word master had evoked. So many possibilities…

The guests around her were shouting title movies, plays, and even songs. Lee was very tired of trying to make them understand so he was sitting on the floor, cross-legged and crossed-armed, looking at them moving the head negatively with every wrong answer.

“Ohh..the hell with it! What is it?” Ian asked at last, making the rest agree with him.

“It’s freaking ‘Ariel’!” Lee yelled getting up.

“You are awful mate.” Dean said chuckling.

“Oh shut up!” Lee exclaimed and looking at Eliza mischievously he added smiling. “I have the perfect movie for you.” he pretended to laugh diabolically, Loki style.

“I’m sure you do.” She smiled resigned. She was going to be humiliated. She sucked at this game.

It was time for Ian’s team and Ian himself decided to act the next pantomime. He was very good and Eliza was at last absorbed by the game. Her team won this pantomime and it was again ‘Dexter’s’ team turn to play. Richard walked in the middle of the room making Eliza’s heart constrict in her chest. She was always left breathless every time she saw him, even if they were together a few minutes ago. He started the pantomime raising fingers for words and making weird grimaces and moves, making her and the whole room, laugh. He was jumping up and down twirling himself around imaginary polls. In the end, the other team yelled ‘Singin’ in the rain’ and they won the point. Eliza clapped enthusiastically when her man stopped dancing and send him kisses. He pretended to grab them in the air and the women laughed and awed while the men groaned exasperatedly.

“You’ll make me want to have a serious relationship if you continue to act like that.” Dean said smirking. “If it makes you that happy, I must try it too.” he added laughing.

“Maybe you should.” Richard answered laughing too.

“You’re right. Eliza,” he turned to her smiling mischievously. “Richard just let me have a serious relationship with you.” he saw Richard stomping his way threateningly and laughing he run to the opposite direction. So a game of chase ensued with Richard chasing Dean and the rest of the guys taking part themselves, helping one side or the other.

Ok, they were really, really drunk all of them…time to make some coffee, Eliza thought and headed to the kitchen. She found a tray and plastic cups (Richard owned only three mugs and one of them was cracked). She used three cups together for every guest so they wouldn’t burn their fingers when they held their coffee. She also made sure to make the coffee extra strong because especially the guys, needed it.

Once in the living room, she saw that Richard and his friends had stopped chasing each other and they were trying to continue the pantomime game without any success. Lee was shamelessly and openly flirting with petite Michaela who was red either from the booze or Lee’s attentions, Eliza didn’t know. Ian was trying to pantomime a dirty movie from the look of it, making everyone howl with laughter.

Smiling she started making rounds around the room, giving the coffees and then went to Richard’s side and wrapped her arm around his waist offering him a cup too. He took it smiling broadly and placed his hand on her waist and then turned to his friends again, tracing with his fingertips her spine up and down. She had started to feel sleepy. Thankfully she hadn’t drunk like everyone else or else she would be already passed out on a couch. She just had the one drink Lee offered her and nothing else. She didn’t know how much her man had drunk, though. His cheeks were a little flushed and his eyes were sparkling, but otherwise he seemed in a pretty good shape.
He had taken off his suit jacket at last and had opened the vest and the first two buttons of his shirt; the tie was hanging loose on his neck and he had pulled his sleeves up, revealing tempting forearms. His hair was falling on his forehead again making Eliza’s palms itchy to brush it back. All in all, he was the picture of pure decadence and lust. She was so lost looking at him she hadn’t noticed the eyes that were looking at them; some with jealousy, others with wonder.

 

                                                                   

 

The first guests started to take their leave then, making Eliza joyous. She really liked all of Richard’s friends but she really wanted to sleep. They had to wake up really early so she would be at work on time.

After approximately an hour the only ones left in Richard’s apartment were Dean, Lee, Michaela, and Olivia. They had sat on the couches, Eliza leaning comfortably on Richard’s arms, her head on his shoulder. She was caressing the exposed skin above the open shirt, her fingertips drawing shapes, mostly hearts. Richard with the arm that was holding her was stroking the nape of her neck, twirling some strands in his fingertips and with his other hand, he was holding his glass of red wine, taking little sips once in a while.
Lee was holding Michaela’s hand and was rubbing her fingers while he talked animatedly with Richard and Dean about a series he was playing, while Olivia and Dean were not touching at all, not even looking at each other.
Dean was the first from the four of them that stood up to leave, saying he had to wake up really early in the morning. Lee decided that he too had overstayed his welcome. He offered to drive the girls to their homes and everybody stood up. Eliza noticed the cold way Olivia said goodbye to her and how warmly she embraced Richard, giving him a kiss on his cheek, close to his mouth. But she was determined she was going to be the adult here (the fact that Richard just patted Olivia's shoulder and not even kissed her back, helped a lot to Eliza’s decision to be the better person).
Lee engulfed her in his big arms whispering a ‘thank you for making my best friend so happy and I haven't forgotten that you never pantomimed tonight, you will soon’ and kissed her cheeks smiling wickedly.
Dean hugged her, wished her Merry Christmas and then turning to Richard he thanked him for the great party. Michaela shook her hand and hugged Richard.

When at last the door closed behind them Richard turned and taking her in his arms found her lips hungrily. They kissed fervently with Richard guiding her slowly to the couch. When they reached the couch he lifted her in his arms and sitting down he placed her on top of his lap. They never stopped kissing and Eliza would wonder later how they haven’t fallen or tripped somewhere. Richard started pulling the pins off her hair and throwing them to the floor. He moaned on top of her lips when the first locks fell heavy on his hands and sank his fingers into her hair bringing her closer, deepening their kiss even more. Eliza threw the tie across the room and blindly started unbuttoning his shirt. Their tongues were dancing, their lips were burning and they were breathing heavily. Love songs were heard through the speakers and clothes were thrown clumsily here and there. When they were at last both naked Richard pulled her in his lap again, Eliza sitting astride him. She felt his huge erection on her belly and rubbed her pelvis against it boldly. He groaned against her lips and sank his fingers on her back, bringing her closer.

 

“I want you.” He moaned.

“You have me.” she answered breathlessly leaving his lips and moving down his jaw and neck licking and nibbling her way to his chest. Her hands were holding him close, stroking his back sensually while she rubbed her intimate area a second time to his crotch. He growled and placing both his hands in her butt he stood up holding her against him. She wrapped her legs around him and he hurried to his room. He let her on the bed and tearing open a condom wore it quickly and followed her on the bed, opening her legs and placing himself between her.

“I’m sorry that I’m not going to be gentle but I wanted you the whole night, I couldn't wait for everyone to leave. I can’t hold on anymore.” he apologized while he entered her with a swift movement.

They both grunted and Richard sank his head down to hers, licking her lips while he started moving his hips up and down. Eliza moaned and licked his mouth back.

 

                                                              


She needed to feel him everywhere, wanted his touch everywhere. She was burning for him. She moved her legs higher so with every thrust he was buried deeper and deeper inside her. Helping her, he moved her knees to her chest and placing his hands on each side of her, he started moving faster and deeper, making Eliza growl ecstatically in his mouth. He kissed her more vigorously taking both their breaths away. When they felt the end coming he touched her forehead and Richard started pounding harder and faster, rubbing her clit and hitting that special place inside her simultaneously, forcing her whole attention and focus on these two spots.

 

                                                                      

 

“Yes… like that…YES RICHARD!” Eliza screamed his name throwing her head back, eyes closed, heart beating so fast she thought it would rip her chest. The orgasm was so intense she started shaking. Richard growled feeling her pulsating vagina sucking him and with a few more thrusts he stilled and cried her name that echoed through the bedroom walls. He fell on top of her panting, exhausting, sweaty. She held him close, feeling his strong and erratic heartbeats, listening to him panting in her ear, trying to find her breath along with him.
“I love you so much. Please don’t ever leave me.” She whispered in his ear, kissing his temple, surprising herself with this request.

“I will never leave you, my love. Never.” He vowed and turning his head he found her lips. “Never” he vowed again and kissed her sweetly, placing his arms underneath her back and bringing her closer, cradling her in his embrace. “I love you so much my darling. You are my life Eliza, my breath, my heartbeat, my sense, my mind. How can I leave all that? How can I leave my breath? My heart? You hold everything in your little hands, my love. My whole life is in your two beautiful hands.” He kissed her again and again and again, sealing with his kisses his promises. She nodded tightening her grip around him, her eyes welling up. He kissed the few tears that escaped and were sitting on top of her eyelashes and her lips again, tasting her salty tears on his lips along his sweet taste. He threw the condom on the floor and pulling the comforter he covered them both. He turned on his side, pulling her with him. They intertwined their legs and arms, kissing until their eyelids drooped and Morpheus claimed them both in his tender embrace.

Chapter Text

Chapter 20

 

Eliza woke up due to her phone that was ringing persistently. She opened her eyes and the first thing she saw was Richard’s beautiful face with his bow shaped lips partially open and smeared with lipstick. He was sleeping peacefully on his stomach, his head turned to her side, one arm resting beside his body and the other beside his head not at all bothered by the constant ringing. She disentangled herself from the comforter real slow, trying not to wake him up and then got off the bed and tiptoed to the living room where she could hear her phone. She found it and turned off the alarm. Total quietness descended around her and she yawned. She was so sleepy. She only wanted to go back to bed with her Richard and sleep until tomorrow. She noticed the mess in the living room and looked at the time. She didn’t have a lot of time to spare but she decided to collect some things because Richard’s house keeper, Mrs. Hernandez, was going to have a fit if she saw the mess.

She started collecting plates and glasses and loading the washing machine. Then she programmed the coffee maker to start making coffee in two hours. She wasn’t going to be here to make her man breakfast, like he did yesterday for her, but at least she could make this and he could have fresh coffee when he would wake up. She looked guiltily at the mess around her. She wished she had more freaking time. Sighing she headed to the bathroom. She took a step back frightened when she saw her reflection. The make-up was spread everywhere making her look like a clown and not the funny ones, mind you. Thank god she woke up first and she didn’t scare poor Richard. She had a quick shower and blow dried her hair wearing it down. She looked at her phone again. She had no time for make-up so she just tiptoed back to the bedroom, saw that her sleeping-beauty was still sleeping peacefully, took her clothes and shoes and went to get dressed in the living room so she wouldn't disturb him. She had decided to take a taxi to work. There was no need for both of them to be awake, especially when one of them had nothing important to do and he could sleep as long as he liked. Finding in her purse her notebook she scribbled a quick note.

 

                                                          

 

She noted her phone number underneath and decorated the paper with hearts of various sizes. She tiptoed in the bedroom again; left the note on her pillow and leaning down kissed his cheek and caressed some of his hair away from his forehead. He didn’t even stir. Smiling she took her things and walked out of his apartment. Thank god he was so horny yesterday that he forgot to activate the alarm.

On the ride down she was reminiscing last night and the night before AND yesterday… In just a few hours he changed her life completely again. She felt shivers travelling down her body remembering his love making and then the declarations of his love. She must be the luckiest woman on earth, hands down.
She greeted the doorman and asked him if he could call a taxi for her. He complied and after ten minutes Eliza was already heading to work.

She arrived early because the roads were still comparatively empty. She made a cup of coffee in their little kitchen and walked to her office, mug in hand and opened her computer trying to remember what she had to do today. After an hour she was so engrossed in her work she neither listened to her coworkers arriving nor the knock on her door. She raised her head scared when her door opened suddenly.

“Eliza good morning. Merry Christmas. I knocked but you didn’t answer, Michael wants to speak to you.” John was standing at her door. Fuck! She had forgotten about Michael and the abrupt way of living him in the club. She didn’t want to see him. She knew nothing good came out of these kinds of situations, dating the boss is always wrong. Or maybe, something good happened… She found Richard again. Her Richard. Her life.
What’s done is done. She just hoped her job wasn’t in jeopardy. She stood up, nodded, wished Merry Christmas at John and straightening her pants she walked to her boss’s office.

Helen greeted her cordially, wishing her Merry Christmas.

“Merry Christmas to you too.” Eliza replied, smiling warmly and hugging the girl.

“Did you have a good time?” Helen asked.

“Yes.” Eliza said, smiling broadly and blushing. Helen’s eyes sparkled.

“I sense that good things happened to you and I really, really want to know the details.” She answered and added looking at her boss’s door, “But Mr. James is waiting. Do you want to come for coffee at my place after work?”

“Yes, sure.” Eliza answered without giving it much thought. She really missed female company and mindless chit chat. In reality she missed her sister and Tracy. They talked almost every day on the phone but it wasn’t the same. She couldn’t wait to have a little girly time. “I have to go inside. See you after work.” She smiled and walked the few steps to her boss’s door. She took a deep breath and knocked.

“Come in.” She heard the stern voice of Michael and gulped. Her palms had started sweating but she composed herself and entered the office with her head high.

“Good morning. You’ve asked to see me.” Eliza started the moment she closed the door behind her. He was sitting behind his desk, typing something on his computer.

Michael looked at her and motioned her to sit on the couch. Eliza walked there and sat at the end of the couch with her back straight. She waited a few minutes and only when he finished, whatever it was he was typing, he came and sat in the couch opposite hers.

“What happened on Christmas Eve? I came back with the water and you were nowhere. Your things were gone. I asked the people on the nearby tables but no one saw you. Was my company so dreadful that you had to escape like that?” he addressed the subject immediately, with no ceremony, irritated and rigid. But Eliza had to acknowledge that; he tried to be calm and she could see the effort behind his façade. She decided to be as honest as she could.

“First of all I’m really sorry for disappearing like that. It’s the first time I’m behaving that way, but something happened and I had had to leave.”

He interrupted her, “What do you mean something happened? Had I done something?” He asked again.

“I’m going to be honest with you. I didn’t feel comfortable. Don’t get me wrong,” she tried to clarify when she saw his hurt look, “ most of the night I had an amazing time. You are funny and smart and I really had a great time. But then there were these moments when you were trying to flirt with me and I felt really awkward. If the situation was different I would be very flattered but you are my boss, and as my boss I can’t see you romantically.” She concluded trying her best not to hurt his feelings more. Well done Eliza! You‘ve succeeded in making a mess once again! But as you got in this mess by accepting his offer in the first place, now you have to find a way to get out of it without losing your job.

“If your only problem is that I’m your boss, then you have nothing to worry about. I can fire you.” he chuckled seeing her shocked look. “No, I’m kidding.” He stood and came and sat in the couch beside her. “Eliza do you think I’m an adolescent that can’t control his hormones, or that I’m that petty that even if things didn’t work out between us I would fire you? I can assure you I’m nothing of the two. We are two grownups that happen to work together. If you get over the fact that I’m your boss you’ll see that I’m just a simple man that happens to like you, a lot.” He tried to touch her hand but she retrieved it and sat a little further on the couch. He tried to act nonchalant and to seem unaffected by her reaction.

“Michael I can’t see you as anything else beside my boss. I cannot date you. When everyone finds out that I’m with you they are going to treat me differently and I don’t want that. I’m trying to make friends not push people away from me.” She tried hard to make him understand her situation without having to refer to another man. She didn’t want to mention Richard but she really didn’t know why either. Her gut feeling was warning her against saying anything right now and she would listen to it.

“Eliza, you don’t have to worry about that. I won’t treat you differently while we are at work. My conduct with you at the office will be purely professional.” He said trying to touch her hand again. Eliza stood up and Michael looked at her puzzled.

“Michael, please.” She pleaded taking a step away from the couch. He stood up too. “I can’t see you romantically, I’m sorry. If you can’t handle it I will resign right now.” Her heart was in her throat waiting for his response. She couldn’t lose this job! She liked this job very much! It was fan and creative and she had just started fixing her life again. She just couldn’t lose it!

“Eliza I don’t want you to leave and I’m not going to fire you. You’ve only been here for three weeks but you already made a great difference to the magazine’s image. Your ideas are fresh and unique and I’m not going to lose one of my most promising editors because she doesn’t like me. I’m just going to try harder to win you. It has never happened to me before, a woman not to want me. It’s actually exhilarating. My hunter’s instincts are awake.”

Eliza moved further away. Why couldn’t he understand? “Look Michael, as much as you’ll try I will never see you that way. I can’t see you that way. I’m really sorry. You are a really good looking, funny, smart man and you can have whichever woman you want. Just not me.”

“We’ll see about that…” he said while his cell started ringing.

“Please Michael, don’t try anything with me. I’m not the woman for you.” She tried again while he checked his phone.

“I have to answer that. We will have this conversation another time. But be reassured you are going to like me sooner or later.” He smiled and with that Eliza knew she was dismissed.

When she reached her office she closed the door and sat on her chair placing her elbows on her desk and burying her face in her hands. What the hell had just happened? Why didn’t he understand that she didn’t like him? She was stupid. So sooooo stupid! She should have told him that she was in a relationship. Stupid! You were so afraid of losing this job too that you made things even worse! Aaaaarrrggghhh! I cannot believe that I didn’t say anything! Ok…relax…take deep breaths…. With the first opportunity you are going to tell him that you are in a serious relationship and let’s just hope that he will be the better person he claims he is and he won’t fire you. Why couldn’t he like Helen? She was tall and gorgeous and his freaking secretary! Wasn’t men supposed to have relationships with their secretaries? What was wrong with him? You are going to fix this Eliza. Now get back to work because you have a deadline and a meeting in half an hour. Make yourself irreplaceable in this company.

She got back to work and she didn’t even have a lunch break. They were working for the next month’s issue and they had to get it ready in a week so they could start March’s issue. It was crazy and Eliza enjoyed every minute of it. All this adrenaline and creativity, the camaraderie and jokes, the anxiety and pressure was her drug. She loved her job. She felt safe in this job like when she was in Richard’s arms. She knew what a magazine needed, what this magazine needed, and she knew she could manage anything that came her way. She had started to bond with her co-workers and everyday it felt more and more that they were accepting her in their team, that she was one of them. They respected her and listened to her opinions. She couldn’t lose that. She would do anything in her power to keep this job. Sometime during the day she had a great yearning of seeing her beloved. What was he doing right now? Was he having a shower? Was he at his apartment, drinking the coffee she made for him? Was he outside with friends? Was he thinking about her at all? Since the meeting was over she stole a few minutes and searched the YouTube of videos of him. And found one... and regretted the moment she found it...

Around six o'clock Helen came and asked her if she wanted to share a taxi with her. Since they lived in the same building it would be a shame to spend extra money or lose time with the tube. Eliza agreed and after saving her work in a file on her computer, she turned off her PC, she gathered the things she needed to check at home and with Helen left the offices.

Once inside the cab she remembered to check her cell. She had seven missed calls from a number she didn’t know, two from her mother and one from her sister. Shit! She had to ask Simon if he could do this interview Michael wanted! She had totally forgotten! And she had one message from the same unknown number.

 

 

Love it’s me. I’m calling but obviously you’re too busy. I’m really mad that you didn’t wake me up and you’ll pay for this later. I had a call from the theatre for some extra rehearsals, the writers changed something in the script and the director had an idea that he wanted us to try. I don’t know what time I’ll finish but I’ll come by your place so tell the doorman to expect me. Be prepared to pay for today’s impertinence. Take care and call me when you see this. I love you my little minx. <3

 

 

Eliza smiled and her heart flattered in her chest. She saved his number on her contacts and apologizing to Helen saying that she had some important phone calls to make, she called him but he wasn’t picking up which meant that he was probably rehearsing. She decided to try again later. She wanted to call her parents next but looking at the time, it would be midnight back home and they would be probably asleep, she just sent a message saying that she was ok and she would call them tomorrow. Since she started sending messages she thought one to her sister was in order, so she sent a message asking her to call her because she had something really important to ask Simon. She was considering sending a message to Richard too when the cab stopped in front of their building. Aaargghhh! She would text him later. They paid the cab and walked inside, the doorman greeting them warmly.

“Merry Christmas!” Both of the girls chided together.
They asked him how he spent Christmas day; they laughed when he told them the prank he played to his son, putting a coal in his stocking and the look of utter terror his son had until he realised it was a joke. Helen told them about the Christmas party a friend had in a club and that she would never, ever, go to this place again and Eliza told them about the party she attended and the silly men that were there, without giving away any identities. Before they took the elevator, Eliza turned and told Mr. Smith, the doorman, to let Richard come up immediately when he arrived. Helen just smirked amusingly. Eliza smiled, blushing and shrugged her shoulders.

“So...” Helen started when they were at the elevator. “Richard? Where have you met this guy? You’ve not even been here a month! I’ve been in New York for three years and I’ve never even been in a proper relationship! I want to know EVERYTHING!” she said excitedly.

Eliza smiled. Ok… what could she say? She couldn’t say that he was an actor that’s for sure! They were working in a freaking magazine so no one should ever know. Her mind was working overtime. When they reached Helen’s floor she had an idea of what she could and couldn’t say. "Well.... lets go inside and I'll tell you everything." she said embarrased. She wasn't the kiss and tell kind of woman. She always said as little as possible about her relationships.

Eliza’s first thought walking on Helen’s apartment was that she entered in a real life Barbie house. It had the same furniture as hers but she had added colorful rugs, throws and cushions everywhere, lighting up the place with their vibrant pink, deep pink, fuchsia and red colors. She had huge and small cushions thrown on the floor and every flat surface was covered with Jamaican ornamental wooden things. It was very girly and unique and it suited her personality perfectly.

“I love what you did with the place.” Eliza said politely. Maybe she could use more color in her apartment too.

“I grew up in a colorful house with laughter and happiness. I tried to bring something of my home here. It’s not the same but that way I feel closer to them.”

Eliza nodded. She knew how lonely Helen must feel. She was here only three weeks and she felt very lonesome. But this loneliness had started the moment Richard had let her go. There was this emptiness inside her that no one could fill. Not her parents, her friends, her sister… no one. But since Christmas Eve she felt whole again. She had found her missing piece, her loneliness evaporating. She was home.

When Helen brought the coffee and some sandwiches the interrogation started.
“So, tell me all about this mystery Richard! Where did you meet?”

“Well… our story started three months ago. We met in London, we spent a dreamy weekend but then, due to various circumstances, we broke up. Then I saw him again, by chance, on Christmas Eve. We talked; we found out that we wanted to try again and so here we are…two days later, waiting for him to come home from work.” She was very vague but she didn’t want to go to any details.

“Ok… so how does he look like? Where is he working?”

“He’s the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen.” Eliza answered with eyes sparkling and an enraptured look on her face. “He’s also the kindest, the funniest and the smartest man I’ve ever encountered. He’s perfect in every way.” she concluded dreamily.

“Wow… Now I want to meet this dream guy… it seems to me that you’re in love girl.” Helen said having a sip of her coffee.

“Yes, I am. Madly and completely in love. I cannot hide it even if I wanted to.” She answered sipping from her cup as well, smiling, her head full of images of her Richard, laughing, talking, raising eyebrows, licking lips, smouldering her with his love.

“Wow again…" She said looking at her, a little jealous. "I wish I could feel like this soon. I just asked you a few questions about him, and you transformed in this radiant, glowing creature. It’s been so long since the last time I was in love." She still looked at her a little awed. "I was still in Jamaica the last time I was in a serious relationship. I left my country when we broke up. I wanted a new start. So this dreamy-Richard, what does he do for a living?”

Eliza was surprised at how many similarities her story had with Helen's. So a lot of women around the world decided to a new start somewhere far away, to forget and move on. “He works in the film industry.” Eliza tried to answer the question as honestly as she could but not revealing too much. "You know, I left my country because of him when we broke up. I wanted to forget him and everything there reminded of him. That's why I came here. But destiny obviously wanted us together."

“Awwwww... That's one of the most romantic things I've ever heard. You are very lucky Eliza. I think he must be the one for you, your other half." She sighed drinking another sip of her coffee. "I'm really jealous right now.. but maybe he knows some famous people that he can introduce me to.” Helen laughed. “Maybe he has worked with Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt! Maybe he knows Benedict Cumberbatch!” She exclaimed, obviously dreaming of meeting the aforementioned actors.

Eliza laughed. "I don't know if he knows Depp or Pitt but I think he knows Cumberbatch. I’ll ask him tonight. Though I think he's happily married...” She chuckled. Helen was such a good and outgoing woman, so genuine. She could really understand her crush on beautiful male actors. She still had a crush on Sam Heughan. Yes, she was madly in love with the most beautiful man on earth but that didn't mean that she couldn't admire the second best too.
They started a conversation about crushes and their love lives. Eliza told her about her marriage and Helen about her relationship with Pedro. They concluded that the majority of men were pigs and assholes, her Richard and obviously Cumberbatch excluded and obviously Pitt and Depp not excluded at all. They laughed a lot and she was giggling uncontrollably with a funny story Helen was saying that happened in the office a few weeks before she arrived when her phone started ringing.

“I’m sorry, it’s Richard. I have to pick it up.” She apologized, trying to stop her laughter and wiped a few tears from her eyes.

"Yes sure... Who am I to stop twue wuv?" She giggled with the look that Eliza gave her.

She rocked he head smirking and picked up her phone. “Hey.” She said sweetly, instead of hello.

“Hey to you too. How are you my minx? I had a little break, so I decided to call you. I missed you my witch. I’ve been wanting to hear your voice all day.”

“I missed you too. Very much. When are you going to be here?” She wanted to say that she missed him so much that she managed to watch a scene of one of his earliest shows of him on YouTube, just to feel him a little closer, but with Helen sitting next to her she couldn’t say much.

“I hope that in an a few hours I’ll be in your arms.”

“I can’t wait, my arms are empty.” She heard voices in the background and Richard saying something to someone. He was with her again after a few seconds.

“Mine too my minx. I have to go, the director is calling me. See you in a while my love. Wait for me.”

“Always.”

She ended the call with a big sigh escaping her lips.

“You are so in love that it’s actually painful to watch! I want that too!” Helen whined.

Eliza smiled embarrassed. “You are going to find the right man sooner or later. I know you will. You're too beautiful, funny and smart to be alone much longer. Just be patient.” She was so happy that she really hoped that all the people in the world could find a love like the one she shared with her Richard.

“Yeah… tough cookie. I don’t see that happening soon. I don’t go out much and in the office there is no one that I really like. Well except Michael, but he’s my boss. I would never do anything with my boss, I think.” She was eating a sandwich and spoke between bites.

Eliza was left speechless. Did she know something? Had she heard anything? “Yes, dating your boss is never a good idea.” She agreed, deciding to leave the subject there.

“Well if he liked me I wouldn’t say no.” she continued, “But if he really liked me he would have done something these last two years that I work for him.” Helen took a sip from her coffee. “Anyway, enough of this crazy talk. Tell me about England. I always wanted to visit your country. My favorite writers are the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen. Whenever I think of your country is this magical place, with your queen and royalty, with carriages and impeccable manners, with tea and scones, with romance and rain and with these amazing English series! Have you seen ‘Poldark’? I swear to you Aidan Turner is one hot Irish bun!”

Ohhhh so that was the pretty man with the curls at Richard’s party last night! She knew him! He played Kili, moron! Nice… you never mentioned anything to him about his work. He must have thought you were rude. Has Richard fogged her mind that much that she couldn’t recognize a celebrity right in front of her face? And Dean was Fili! Oh my god! She had the nephews of mighty Oakenshield in front of her the whole night, talked to them, laughed with them, joked with them and she couldn’t remember who they were? Wow… very nice Eliza… Well done again…
“Yes he is very handsome.” Eliza answered not knowing what else to say.

“And have you seen the ‘Vicar of Dibley’? This show was the first English series I’ve ever seen. Dawn French must be the funniest actress in the whole U.K!”

Eliza gulped alerted. Had Helen seen the ‘Dibley’ series? “Yes, she is one of my favorite actresses.” She answered cutting a toast nervously into pieces.

“I loved that show! I have bought the DVD’s and I watch them when I’m feeling down. It’s the best antidepressant.” Helen continued excited, showing with her finger the aforementioned collection in a shelf underneath the TV.

“Yes, the series were very funny. I watched them too.”

“And your English accents! Argh! I swear to you, I could have an orgasm just by listening Richard Armitage and Tom Hiddleston reading from the phone book!”

Eliza that was swallowing a sip of her coffee chocked. She coughed, spraying the hot liquid everywhere and Helen came quickly at her side, patting her back and handing her a tissue. “Are you ok? I’m going to the kitchen quickly to bring you a glass of water.” And with that she stood up and run to the kitchen.

Eliza was still coughing, but her mind was thinking quickly. Ok… so Helen knew Richard. Why was she surprised? Maybe he wasn’t as famous as Sean Connery but his work was renowned. He had one of the leading parts in Hobbit for crying out loud! She saw Helen hurrying back with the water and she took it gratefully from her hands. When she drunk and her coughing seized a little she let the water on the table. “I’m really sorry, I sprayed coffee everywhere.” She felt so guilty she took a few napkins and started cleaning the coffee table.

“No, don’t worry. No problem.” Helen tried to reassure her, taking the napkins from her fingers. “No harm is done; you just spilt some coffee on the table, it’s not the end of the world. I’m just glad you’re ok.”

Eliza nodded and drunk a little more water. She decided to change the subject completely. “So, tell me about Jamaica. I find it more interesting than our boring, grey country. How is the life there?”

And with that, a thrilled Helen started to tell her about her birthplace, their traditions, the people and their culture. Eliza made sure to ask a lot of questions so they could stay in that subject. After an hour she had a message from Richard saying that he was on his way. She excused herself saying that she had to go, thanked Helen for everything and they promised each other that they would arrange something like that again. They said their goodnights, hugged and Eliza took the elevator to her floor.
Once inside she took off her shoes and wore her comfortable slippers. She searched the contents of her fridge and finding what she needed she started preparing a quick pasta Bolognese.

When her doorbell rung half an hour later the sauce was almost ready, the water for the pasta was boiling and she was cutting green vegetables for a salad. She wiped her hands in a towel and run to open the door. She was immediately engulfed in strong arms while hungry lips were sealing hers in a searing kiss.

“I missed you my minx.” He groaned on top of her mouth, closing the door with his foot. She heard something behind her back going ‘thud’ when it landed on the floor but didn’t give it much thought.

“I missed you too my love.” She answered wrapping her arms around his neck.

He groaned again, deepening the kiss. Eliza didn’t know how long they stood in front of the door, kissing hungrily, hands caressing each other everywhere. She stopped their fervent kiss reluctantly when she smelled something weird coming from the kitchen.

“Hunny, I think the sauce is burning.” She mumbled on top of his lips.

“You’re cooking?” he asked, raising his head and smelling the air, his nostrils flaring. Eliza left his arms and hurried to the kitchen with him following right behind her.

“Yes, and everything went well until you came.” She teased him, stirring the sauce and seeing that indeed it had started to burn.

“Then I should go…” he acted the wounded, searching his keys in his jacket pockets.

“Don’t you dare set a foot out of that door Armitage!” Eliza said with her most intimidated voice throwing the burned mixture in the bin and searching in the fridge for ingredients to make another sauce. She didn’t have any more minced meat so she could only make a simple tomato sauce with a lot of vegetables.

“I’m teasing you love. I don’t want to be anywhere else than here. Do you need any help since I’m the cause of this misfortune?” he took off his jacket, hanging it in the back of a stool.

“No. I want you to sit and relax. I’m cooking tonight. There is white wine in the fridge if you want.” She had washed the little pan and then she started cutting vegetables. She heard Richard opening the fridge and she smiled. Her amazing, gorgeous boyfriend was opening her fridge! He then heard him search the cupboards for glasses. She heard his exclamation of relief when he found them and then she heard the sound of the bottle opening and liquid been poured to glasses. Suddenly she felt him beside her and saw the glass he placed in front of her. “Thank you my love.” She said and stopped cutting the vegetables. She took a small sip turning and looking at him. Her man was feeling so at home, opening and closing cupboards that she wanted to scream from joy!

“Please my sweet angel; tell me what I can do to help you. I cannot just sit and watch you, doing nothing.” He was rubbing her back sensually up and down with his fingertips, while he was looking at her above the rim of his glass.

“Ohhh… you won…” Eliza answered closing her eyes for a second, her senses focusing on his fingers and their repetitive movement. She opened her eyes and tried to clear her fogged mind and dizzied senses. “You can make the pasta, the water is boiling already.” She told him and turning her back on him again, with great difficulty mind you, continued to cut the vegetables, unevenly this time, trying hard not to lose a trembling finger in the process.

He smiled, kissed her hair and after washing his hands he threw the pasta to the boiling water and stirred it a few times. Eliza had already started sautée the vegetables. When they were properly sautéed she added the tomato sauce. Richard sipped wine, humming a song while stirring from time to time the pasta. He tried a spaghetti, careful not to burn his tongue and took them off the fire. The vegetable sauce didn’t need a lot of time to be ready and after ten minutes they were already sitting on Eliza’s kitchen counter, side by side, eating their pasta and salad with gusto, joking and talking while Eliza was asking a lot of questions about Richard’s play and rehearsals while drinking their wines and touching as often as they could.

“That was amazing love.” Richard said after he emptied his plate and leaned back on the stool, rubbing his flat stomach.

“The Bolognese sauce would be more amazing but I promise to cook it for you again soon, without burning it.” She replied smiling, rubbing his flat stomach too, making his eyes twinkle and a lopsided grin to appear on his lips.

“I thought we established that it was my fault that the sauce was burned.” Purring like a cat.

“Yes, but I forgive you and I’ll give you a second chance to try my Bolognese sauce.” She said tracing with her fingertips his muscles on his stomach.

“I’m so relieved I’m forgiven…” he grinned properly catching her hand that was moving dangerously close to his southern region. “So what do we have for dessert?” he asked quietly sitting upright on his stool, and leaning closer capturing her lips on a sweet kiss.

“I didn’t have time to make something and I haven’t thought to buy something…” she answered pretending naiveté when Richard moved his mouth from her lips to her jaw.

“Don’t worry my love, I already know what I want.” He answered unperturbed.

“Yes I can see that…” she smiled and sank her free hand in his hair, bringing his face closer to her neck.

“I’m sensing you want the same dessert as me…” he giggled with her eagerness, lowering her turtle neck with his cool fingers so he would have access on her neck.

“I know that you have impeccable taste so I would be stupid not to follow your rule.” She teased him moaning when his mouth sucked tenderly the sensitive skin on the side of her neck.

“I have to have a shower first but then I’ll come and claim my dessert.” He mumbled on her neck while he rained it with feather light kisses.

“Ok, go my love. I’ll clean here and then I’ll have a shower too.” Eliza kissed his forehead and leaned back on her stool, leaving his embrace with great difficulty.

“Do you care to join me?” he asked with eyes flashing with desire.

“No, sweety." She answered frightened. "I don’t want a repeat of yesterday’s fiasco.” She added embarrassed.

He giggled and pulled her inside his arms again. “Hunny, you have to understand that I’ll never let you fall or drop you. But there are other positions we can do in the bathroom, safer, if you’re afraid with this one.”

“Other? Are you tempting me Armitage?” she giggled too with his contagious mirth.

“Am I succeeding?” he whispered in her ear and started licking and sucking her little earlobe while his hands started travelling inside her blouse, tracing a path from the sides of her waist to her ribs to the sides of her breasts, his thumbs making circles in her erect nipples pressed inside the bra.

“Now you are…” she groaned and getting off her stool she caught one of his hands and guided him to the bathroom. “So, what position do you have in mind?” she asked eagerly, licking her dry lips.

Richard licked his lips too, mimicking her action. “You’ll see my witch.” He pulled her in his embrace and after a passionate kiss, he started undressing her. He was very eager to get rid of her turtleneck sweater first. He was a little irritated about the few seconds the sweater made him lost by sticking in Eliza's head. She giggled, not helping him at all but when she was freed and saw his exasperated face she reciprocated by taking off her slippers and socks all by herself, while he was stroking and kissing her bend back. When she was upright again he started a kissing journey from her cheeks and jaw to her neck and collarbones to the swell of her breasts, making growling sounds of contentment. He cupped the two perky, dressed in white lace, orbs groaning and bit the clothed nipple of her left breast making Eliza moan.

“Too many clothes.” He mumbled on top of her breast, his breath sending hedonic ripples from her nipple to every erogenous zone in her body while he started unzipping her pants. Eliza started panting, unintelligible whimpers escaping her lips.

“Now you’re wearing too many clothes.” She said breathlessly when she was at last free of her pants and was standing in front of him with her white underwear. She started pulling his black jumper over his head, threw it on the couch behind her and continued by unbuttoning his dark grey shirt slowly; kissing the exposed skin with every button she opened.
He sank his hands in her hair, massaging her scalp and nape of her neck. His head was tilted back, his eyes closed, his lips open. When Eliza pulled the shirt off his pants a little moan escaped his lips. She retrieved his hands from her hair and bringing them in front of her, started unbuttoning the cuffs on his wrists.
He was looking at her now, with half-opened eyelids full of desire. When the cuffs were open she placed her hands on his shoulders and pushed the fabric off him slowly, stroking his biceps and arms while she kissed his chest and licked and suckled his nipples. Another moan, louder this time, was heard from the man above her. She smiled and let the shirt fall on the floor behind him.

“I missed you so much today.” she kissed his jaw. “I have a confession to make…” She whispered while she rained his jaw down to his torso with little kisses.

“A confession? What have you done my minx?” He asked, his breathing starting to get rugged the closer she moved to his crotch. His hands stopped massaging her scalp and instead grabbed her strands guiding her closer to his growing erection.

“I missed you so much that I watched a hot scene of you just to get my fix. You have become like a drug to me. I can’t function without listening to you or seeing your beautiful face every few hours.” And with that she unbuckled his belt, pulling it slowly from the loops and letting it fall to the floor with a loud thud.

“Did you like what you saw?” he asked hissing while her fingers started unbuttoning his pants, caressing the tender skin of his lower belly.

“Oh…I liked it alright… I liked it so much that I was thinking of going to the bathroom with my phone and masturbate while watching you…” She blushed admitting it. Thankfully Richard didn’t see it as her head was bent downwards. She heard a quick intake of breath and then him trying to swallow some saliva down his dry throat.

“Which scene was that?” he asked almost breathlessly.

“One from Between the sheets” she admitted blushing more and tried to hide her face by kissing the exposed skin above the hem of his pants. She started to pop open the buttons slowly, caressing with her fingers the sensitive skin. She saw his already hard erection, getting stiffer. His hips moved forward and another groan left his lips when her fingers caressed his manhood fleetingly.

“Are you going to tell me which one?” he asked again, hearing in his voice and feeling from his tightening grip on her hair, that he was losing control quickly.

“The one on the couch… it reminded me when you took me like that yesterday. It made me all hot in the right places…” She had unbuttoned all the buttons and she was pulling his pants down his strong, muscular legs.

“So… today you’ve been a really bad girl…” he said quietly while Eliza was taking off his shoes and socks and then he helped her by lifting his legs to get rid of the pants. “First you don’t wake me up to get you to work and then you’re watching sex scenes when you’re supposedly working… I have to punish you really hard my minx…” he purred and when she was standing again he pulled her close and kissed her lips fiercely while he cupped her bum, bringing her closer against his stiff member.

“And how are you planning to punish me…Master?” she teased him, when they came for air, rubbing her pelvis on his crotch, making him groan.

“Master? I like this game…” he whispered moaning and with that he threw her over his shoulders and walked towards the bathroom.

Eliza laughed and pretended to hit him screaming ‘put me down you monster!’

“No wench! You must be punished for your disobedience and sins.” He giggled and smacked her bum once.

“No! I was good! I didn’t wake you up because you were sleeping peacefully and I didn’t want to disturb you, and I was watching a video of you… not of Henry Cavill…If I was watching a video of another man I would deserve to be punished…Ouch!” she exclaimed startled while he smacked her bum again and she giggled.

“Cavill? Oooohhhh your punishment is going to be fierce!” he turned on the light and opened the door to the bathroom. He then placed her on the floor before him. They were looking each other with mirth in their eyes and a naughty smile on their lips.

“So Master… what is going to be my punishment for being rather good in my opinion?” she was trying to be serious but she couldn’t, this game exhilarating her and amusing her at the same time. The look he was giving her now was like she had Guy of Gisborne in front of her, full of promises of bad but pleasurable things to come. She shivered in anticipation. Richard noticed and his nose flared.

“Because I’m in the mood of a game and you indeed have been a bad girl not waking me up, not to mention your want to masturbate in the middle of the day, in your work..." He licked his lips, moving around her, smouldering her with his eyes. He lifted a hand and with a finger started to trace a path from her shoulders to her blades, to her spine and moving in front of her again to her collar bones, to the swell of her breasts, between her breasts. Ηer breathing became erratic, her skin crawling wherever his finger passed. He smirked his famous lopsided smile, seeing the reaction he had on her. "So, my little naughty girl, take off your bra, slowly…” he commanded with his deep, orgasmic, baritone voice, the smile dying on his lips as he was getting in his role. “And don’t talk to me unless I ask you to.”

Eliza smiled wickedly and put her arms behind her back. She liked how her punishment was starting. She unhooked the bra and bringing her arms in front of her again dragged the straps down real slow.
He was looking very serious, his eyes following her every movement. If it wasn’t for his prominent erection that was getting harder by the moment and his swallow breaths, she would think that he indeed wanted to punish her and not in a pleasurable way. When the straps had fallen to her elbows she let her arms rest on her sides and the bra to fall on the floor. Richard took a step forward licking his lips, but he quickly remembered his role and taking a deep breath he continued to give her orders.

“Turn and place your hands on the sink.”

She turned, still smiling. She saw her reflection in the mirror, flushed cheeks, bright eyes and a smile that never wavered. Raising her eyes she saw him, gulping, looking at her behind with the hungriest of looks. She wanted to giggle but she repressed it. It was the first time that she played a game like this. Sex before Richard was always boring and predictable. This man had completely ruined her for other men. She really hoped he would keep his promise of never leaving her and forever loving her. She couldn’t think a life without him in it.

“Bend more and spread your legs. Always look at me!” he commanded again, piercing her with his intense eyes through the mirror.

She complied, looking at his beautiful severe ‘Guy’ face. His hair was longish enough and dark enough to remind her of one of her most beloved of his roles. That this game would turn her on was very surprising. She hated to give control to men but with this particular man she felt safe and desired. When she saw him trying to suppress a smile she figured out that even he didn’t know what to do as a Dom. Introducing Dom/sub play in their sex life was new to both of them. But so far it was very pleasurable...

“Push your ass higher.” he continued, regaining his composure.

She did it and saw him move forward. She gasped when she felt his fingertips tracing the lace of her underwear between her thighs and her bum.

“Already so wet…” he said quietly, taking in a ragged breath. She tried to rub herself on his fingers but he smacked her butt once more. “No moving until I say so.”

She nodded, trying to suppress a giggle as he continued to trace a path with his fingertips, pressing her sensitive area more, passing his fingers above her clothed clit repeatedly, making her forget her name.
His beautiful, concentrated face with the look of utter awe was making her wetter than his fingers. He was teasing her, sinking his fingers ever so slightly underneath her panties, tracing the lips of her vagina and her perineum. She closed her eyes, concentrating on the feeling of his fingers, his face ingrained in her brain.

“Open your eyes. I told you I want your eyes always at me.” He ordered again and pinched lightly the lips of her vagina.

She moaned and opened her eyes, trying to focus on his face, but he had already sunk all of his palm underneath her underwear, cupping her sex and her eyes closed involuntarily, this time, her mind was trying to focus on the movement of his hand.

“I told you to look at me!” He said, raising the tone of his voice a little while he rubbed his palm up and down her vagina slowly, teasing her clit and vagina lips, spreading her wetness everywhere and making the slide of his palm more pleasurable.

“Richard…” She moaned his name, asking for more…and opened her eyes to meet his fervent gaze and saw his other hand rubbing his erection above his tight boxers. That was hot! He couldn't wait either! She suppressed a naughty smile.

“No talking!” he hissed and buried a digit in her vagina, slowly opening her up, until his whole finger was inside.

She groaned, tightening her vagina muscles to keep his finger there, trapped. He growled and pulled it slowly out and then in again with a lazy movement, the friction making her wetter and wetter.

“I want you to keep your vagina like that, tight, until I tell you to relax it. Don’t lower or close your eyes. Always look at me.” he said and kept moving his long finger in and out slowly, while he continued to rub his bulge with the same leisure rhythm as he moved his finger inside her.

She didn’t know how much time had passed with her looking at him, eyes wide, trying to keep her muscles tight, the friction of his finger on her walls making her whimper for more. Seconds, minutes, hours? It could’ve been days for all she knew.
She started to tremble from her effort, sweat gathering in her brow and the little droplets to fall slowly down between her breasts and back, tickling her. Richard was looking at her intently with a smirk pasted on his beautiful lips. Another droplet started its descent from her brow, to the side of her face, to her neck, to her collar bone and down her breast, finally stopping on top of her nipple making it glisten like a pearl. She saw in the mirror his hand, that he was using on him until now, to be lifted up and coming forward to catch her nipple between his finger and thumb.
She instictively tightened her vagina muscles more, waiting in anticipation for his fingers on her nipple to give her pleasure. She exhaled disappointed, relaxing her muscles when he just gathered the little droplet on his fingers and then licked, first one and then the other finger and then licked his lips; always looking at her while he thrust another finger inside her, making her groan and close her eyes. She felt a hard smack on her butt again and she opened her eyes immediately.

“Eyes open, vagina tight, now!” he growled his commands and she tried to obey, tired and trembling, tightening her walls again and fixing her gaze in his eyes. He smiled reapprovingly and thrust a third finger in, opening her even more. She moved her hips trying to find release but she saw him rock his head negatively and smacked her bum once more to stop her from moving.

“You are being punished my minx. Your release will come only from me, when I want it.” He grinned seeing her resigned face. “The naughty girls must be punished…” he purred and bowing forward he licked a droplet of sweat that was travelling from her neck, down her spine. She arched her back feeling his scorching breath on her already hot body and the wet path that his tongue was leaving on her spine, making her skin crawl. He caught her waist with his free hand, resting his palm on her belly, bringing her closer and started to move his fingers more vigorously, hitting the place that he knew was her undoing.

Eliza was trying with all her might to keep the muscles tight and her eyes open, but her legs had started to tremble, her arms and hands were hurting from gripping the sink so hard and she just wanted to give in, let her senses guide her and just start to move against his capable fingers. She wanted to climax now!

“Hunny…I need you, now…please...” she whimpered, looking at him pleadingly, moving her hips against his fingers. He was concentrating hard on his task, licking his lips, bids of sweat falling from his forehead to his neck. He was barely holding himself too.

He retrieved his fingers with a growl and catching her underwear with both hands, tear the lacy fabric with no effort. “Always look at me!” he commanded and stepping off his underwear he guided his cock in her entrance. “Ass high, vagina tight, the same rules apply, you are still being punished, my little witch. And you only refer to me as Master until I say otherwise.” He added.

“Yes Master! Please…” she begged when she felt the tip of his cock in her entrance.

He grinned, caught her hair in his grip and entered her with a swift movement.
“Fuck you’re so tight!” he growled and Eliza gasped. Ohhh yes! His fingers were nice but nothing compared to his huge cock. It fitted her perfectly. He started to move pulling her hair, raising her head, his loving eyes scorching her soul. This position was giving him a better access to the special spot inside her and his huge balls hit her clit with every thrust, bringing her quickly to her zenith.

                                                                

“Yes, like that!” she whispered, panting, her breathing rugged, the sweat running from both their faces. She pushed her hips back to meet his movement but he pinned her with his strong hand that was like a vice on her waist.

“Don’t move.” He ordered and licked his lips while he slowed his hips and moved more leisurely.

She groaned. She was so close! So fucking close! She wanted to cry. Richard seeing her face, smiled and thrust one more time hard, earning a cry of approval from Eliza. But then he continued his leisurely pace, grinning from ear to ear. He leaned on top of her and rested his head on the side of hers. “That’s your punishment for not waking me up.” He whispered in her ear, raising a naughty eyebrow and thrusting hard one more time. “Don’t relax your vagina, I never told you to relax.” He added quietly and getting up again he smacked her bum. She whined at him to move faster while she tightened her muscles again. Despite some relapse times on his focus, as a Dom, he was really talented and she started to not like it at all. He teazed her relentlessly and the only thing she wanted was her orgasm and she wanted it now!
After a few minutes of this leisurely pace he exited her and Eliza looked at him alarmed. What happened? Why? Where was he going?

“Kneel in front of me.” he ordered and Eliza kneeled, coming face to face with his glistening, writhing erection. The veins were prominent and the tip swollen and red. She admired his willpower that made him stop while he was so close to his climax too.
“Lick me and suck me until I tell you to stop. This is your punishment for wanting to masturbate where I couldn't watch you.” He stated, and Eliza, supressed a giggle with his last statement. So he wanted to see her masturbate... ok Armitage... now she knew what to do to have her revenge for making love to her while she was talking to her parents. She lowered her head and smelled him and her on his writhing cock. Fuck... their scents mixed together were intoxicating. She opened her lips and licked the tip once, making him jump excited, and then took him in her mouth eagerly... Gods... he tasted unbelievably, sweet and salty at the same time. Her vagina ached for him, missing him terribly, her body completely unsatisfied and throbbing from need. She wanted her redemption too, like really, really bad, but this was her favorite flavor lollipop and she didn’t want to miss an opportunity to taste him.
She licked the tip again, swirling her tongue around it and then closing her mouth sucked it, making Richard thrust his hips upwards and gasp simultaneously. He sank his hands in her hair, guiding her head lower.

“All of it… Take it all in your mouth.” He gasped, looking at her with heavily lid eyes, trying hard to keep the dominant act. His commands sounding more like a plea than orders.

“Yes Master…” she smiled and tried to fit him all in her mouth. He was too big but she could try her best. Seeing the impossibility of the task she used her hand to the base of his cock and her mouth to the rest of his length.
She started the enjoyable task of licking and sucking him while she moved her hand and mouth in synch up and down, twirling her tongue or grazing her teeth on his tip. Her other hand was at his balls, playing with them, rubbing them, feeling their weight on her hand. She tried to take more of him in her mouth and accelerated her rhythm. His hands were pulling her hair trying to make her move even faster, his gasps, groans and trembling body bringing a smile on her lips and euphoria in her heart.
She moved the hand that was on the base of his cock to his tight ass, stroking the rock hard, silken buttocks, pushing him even closer to her mouth. She looked up and saw him with eyes closed, sweat glistening all over his torso, mouth open with unintelligible whimpers escaping every now and then and trembling as a leaf. She did that to him. She didn't mind that she hadn't climaxed yet. She liked bringing him in this state more than finding her redemption. It was more fulfilling and mind blowing than a thousand orgasms. And she did that to him. Only her!
She heard his whimpers turning to pleads for harder, faster and she sucked him harder, her cheeks hollowing from the effort to give him as much pleasure as she could. She knew that he was coming close the moment he took a last breath; his hands tighten their grasp in her hair, making her scalp ache and his body stiffened.

“Eliza!” he yelled as she felt the first throbs of his penis and the first drops of semen land in her mouth and she gulped them down, relishing in his sweet taste. She continued to suck him dry, moving her head frantically, suckling him, trying to give him the best blow job of his life while she still rubbed his balls that had become two hard spheres.

He let out the breath he held inside and relaxed his grip on her hair, his body still spasming from his intense orgasm. His eyes were closed, his head tilted back and Eliza was looking at him, his throbbing cock still in her mouth, spurting the last drops of semen, licking and sucking him gently, both of her hands moving in his fine ass that had relaxed at last.

                                                                   


He was trying to find his breath, eyes still closed, when Eliza left his cock and started kissing and licking his balls and then moved higher to his pubic hair, sinking her nose in the course curls and smelling his heady scent. Continuing her ascent she licked the soft skin above his pubic hair and moved higher to his tight belly, licking every drop of sweat that found its way there and then higher to his ripped stomach, gathering with her tongue every single salty droplet. She did that in his torso too, kissing and licking and sucking his sweat, leaving her saliva behind, marking him as hers. When she was upright again he removed slowly his hands from her hair and opened his eyes that were so blue that they took Eliza’s breath away. He looked at her awed, his hands rubbing her arms and then gripping them, buried her in his embrace. She wrapped her arms around his waist and buried her face in the hollow of his neck, listening to his fast heart beat decelerating, his ragged breaths becoming calmer.

“Am I forgiven Master?” she smiled when she felt him shiver, his skin crawling where her breath had rested.

“More than forgiven my minx.” He responded quietly with his husky voice, his trembling hands stroking her hair and back. “If you wait a few minutes to gain the function of my legs again, I will show you how we can make love while having a shower, without falling and breaking our necks.” he added, making her giggle.