Episode Five will be available to buy on Thursday! I’ve been so excited about it, that I was tempted to release it over the weekend. But I have much more of a publishing and PR plan this year, so I thought I’d better stick to it to see how it goes.
I know I promised pictures from the Taos ski basin over the weekend. I will get those up tonight.
And now to finish off Charisse’s backstory! Follow my blog so you don’t miss a scene!
She shook her head so much against his chest that he thought she was going to start crying again. “I didn’t,” she said. “Isn’t that pathetic? I got pregnant even though I was using birth control pills. I never missed a day like some women do. He was so mad and blamed me for doing it on purpose to get attention. That’s why I flipped out when I forgot to ask you to use a condom.”
“Calm down.” He could feel sweat through her t-shirt, and her body temperature had risen. “I take full responsibility for this morning. I’ll go get Plan B for you myself if that’s what you want to do. I looked it up and it’s effective for like five days after.”
She nodded but kept her eyes down. “I know. I should take it. It’s just weird to think of doing it after instead of before. Maybe it’s because I had a miscarriage. It was awful. At one doctor’s visit there was a heartbeat and at the next, nothing.”
She fell silent again for a long time. Conor wished he could soothe away her pain but recognized the best he could do was listen.
A tear streaked down her cheek, but she didn’t break into sobs. “Josh didn’t think I should have a D&C, and he wouldn’t let me rest. For some reason the bleeding wouldn’t stop. I passed out at a party he insisted I go to with him, and I woke up in a hospital room. I almost died from blood loss. I had to have a blood transfusion. I never saw Josh again.”
She let out a long sigh, and her whole body went slack against him like all her tension had left.
His muscles, though, were all knotted up. He could feel the onset of another migraine behind his eye. He pushed back at it. She needed him to comfort her, and he couldn’t do that if he blacked out. He wished he’d been able to reach through the phone and rip Josh’s throat out. He had half a mind to find her phone and try to call him just to yell at him.
At least he understood why Roy and Marie were so protective of her. They just went about it in a shit way. It would’ve been a lot better if Roy had insisted Charisse see a psychologist rather than control her business without her knowledge. But that was another matter.
She said, “So that’s why it’s been hard to trust you, especially when I found out you controlled my business. I’ve been such an idiot, always letting everybody do things for me and make decisions for me. I thought at least with Ma Charise I had done it on my own with only a little help from my dad. But I was wrong even about that.”
“No, you still did all the work for Ma Charisse. That’s all you. There is nothing in there that says Roy worked on it. I can tell every part of that salon was designed by you.”
“Thank you.” She leaned in and kissed him. Not for very long, but it still surprised him. He hadn’t been sure she’d want to resume anything physical. Holding her on his lap had been more than he’d expected.
When she snuggled against him, he said, “I wish I had met you a year ago. You’ve been suffering for so long. Let me help you now.”
“I don’t want to hear that you want to give me the salon. I still plan on settling that myself. I need to have that control. Even Dr. Mandal agrees.”
“I actually wasn’t talking about that. Let me be your friend. I’m so afraid you’re going to leave and stop returning my calls. Let me be the one you yell at when you have a bad day or need to cry to for inexplicable reasons.”
She blinked a few times as she looked at him. “Are you sure? You seem to be going through your own loss still…”
“Which you’ve already helped me with. That’s what being in a relationship is about. It’s about both of us. Not one of us.”
Charisse didn’t speak, but she nodded her head several times before she leaned it on his shoulder again.
He absently played with her curls and said, “So how about we go to the Hamptons and recuperate for a few days? It’s still warm enough to swim, and you’ll love the hedge maze.”
Charisse shook her head. “It sounds wonderful, but I need to settle the business with Ma Charisse. I have to secure the loan. But Dr. Mandal said I needed to take a vacation soon.” She smiled when she said it, and he dared to kiss her.
“Okay, then. But no work today. Streaming bad movies and having a popcorn fight is about as active as we should be.”
She giggled and said, “Deal.”
“Should I go fill your prescription? Walgreens isn’t very far.”
After a moment she said, “Please, and I guess get Plan B.”