Hey! Sorry I took off from blogging longer than anticipated. But I’m posting a nice long section to make up for it today.
Charisse and Conor just made love (for that chapter, you’ll have to buy Episode 4). Unfortunately, it’s bringing back memories Charisse has been avoiding for a long time.
Charisse sighed and quivered with the shock waves of the last orgasm. Making love had never been so incredible. She smiled when he lay back down next to her and covered their bodies with the blanket. He was the perfect lover.
The sky was lightening outside, and she knew she’d have to go soon. But she wanted to bask in Conor’s presence some more. She’d never been with someone as tender as he was or as able as he was to make her climax. He wrapped his arm around her so she could nestle her head in his shoulder.
He said, “So I think I’ll be calling in sick again today, and I think you should definitely join me.”
She wrinkled her nose, resisting reality as much as she could. But there was no denying what she had to do today. “I can’t. My schedule is full, and I have to sort out the loan.”
He nibbled her ear and said, “As your boss, can I demand you stay in bed with me?”
She tried to wiggle out of his arms. “Don’t even joke about that. I didn’t plan for this to happen–” She choked off her words when a realization hit her.
“I’m sorry. I’m really sorry,” said Conor. “I shouldn’t have said that.”
She stared at him, forgetting the crack about being her boss. Suddenly it wasn’t Conor she was seeing. It was Josh. She squeezed her eyes shut. When she opened them, Conor was there. He was going to be so mad at her.
“Charisse, what’s wrong? You know I won’t make you stay here with me if you don’t want to.”
She sat up and pulled her knees up to her chest, trying to put distance between her and Conor without falling off the swing. “I’m sorry.”
He frowned and appeared confused as he sat up. “Why? I was the one with poor taste.”
She didn’t know how Conor would react, but it was better to get it out as soon as possible. “I, I haven’t been on birth control since…well for a year now. I was planning on asking you to use a condom, but I guess I got swept up in the moment.”
He brought his hand up. She flinched like the time when she’d told Josh she was pregnant and he’d slapped her. Her cheek actually stung.
But Conor hadn’t slapped her. He pulled his hand away and said, “Why are you acting like I was going to hit you?”
She couldn’t answer him. She couldn’t even look at him. It was like all her thoughts were stuck in the past.
His arms wrapped around her, and soon he lifted her into his lap. He wrapped the blanket around her, holding her tightly against his chest. She didn’t know if it was his gentleness or Josh’s past cruelty, but silent tears washed her cheek.
“What’s going on?” he whispered. “This should not be a big deal. I have a box of condoms in my bedroom that I bought for us. This is not all on your shoulders. I got swept away too. But we’ll go to the drug store and get you Plan B.”
Confusing emotions from the past swirled in her head and made it impossible to think or talk rationally. She broke out of his arms and stood up, thinking maybe distance from him would help her think straight. It didn’t work. “I always took my pills before. The pregnancy wasn’t my fault.” Her body shook. She clutched the blanket to her chest. What was wrong with her? That was all over and done, but right now everything seemed fresh. Like she’d just come home from the hospital.
Conor stood and ran his fingers through his hair. Was he mad? Josh had been mad. He’d been so mad when he’d found out she was pregnant that he’d struck her. But he’d been sorry and everything was better. Mostly. Until she miscarried.
She crumpled to the ground and wept. She’d been foolish not to use protection. She was always stupid. She heard Conor talking. She wasn’t sure if he was talking to her or on the phone. He approached her, took the blanket from her hands and wrapped it around her again.
“I’m sorry,” she said, the fog in her brain lifting a little only so she could realize she’d ruined their perfect love making.
“Don’t be sorry.” He lifted her up and cradled her close to his chest. “I only want to help you.” He walked over to the path, carrying her as he talked.
“I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I got so upset.” Her voice quivered like she was about to cry again.
“Quit apologizing. You’ve done nothing wrong. Do you have a doctor I should call?”
“No, I’m fine. You can put me down. I need to get my clothes on and go to work.” Her voice cracked at the end of the sentence and tears threatened to escape again.
“No, you’re not going anywhere. I’ll call a doctor or your sister or even Roy, but you’re taking the day off.”
She tried to jerk out of his arms. He held her tighter. He was stronger than she’d realized. He stopped walking, but he didn’t set her down.
“You don’t understand. Work is all I have,” she said.
“No, it’s not.” His voice cut through her panic. “You have me now. Let me help you as you came over and helped me.”
Trusting another man. He wasn’t her father and he wasn’t Josh. He probably thought she was the craziest woman he’d ever met. But he was still holding her. She nodded her head and then leaned it against his shoulder.
He carried her all the way out through the living room and to his bedroom where two steaming mugs of coffee sat on his dresser. A blue terry cloth robe was laid out on his bed, and she could hear running water in the bathroom.
“I thought you could use a hot bath. I’ll call Mei to cancel your appointments today.”
Charisse had always worked since the miscarriage. Whether it was getting licenses or hiring stylists, she’d worked so she wouldn’t have to think about what had happened. All she wanted to do at the moment was go style a client’s hair. She didn’t want Conor to force her to think about the past by making her slow down.
She broke into tears. Conor came back to hold her again instead of making the phone call. She didn’t know how long they sat there, but at some point she stopped crying. Conor pulled the sheets back and tucked her in. At least he hadn’t kicked her out. But it was probably the last time she’d see him.