“Hmmm?” He was enjoying the feel of her in his arms. How many times had he held her, wishing for more but afraid she’d panic? How many nights had he stayed awake, hoping she would come to him? Too many. But here they were, sitting on his bed, the future open to them. Maybe he was still dreaming…
“Caleb!” She poked him in the ribs.
Ouch. Okay, so he wasn’t dreaming. Smiling, he stroked her back and looked down at her. “What is it, Calli?”
“If we don’t go downstairs soon, Jack will come looking for us. Don’t you want to make dinner?” She was looking up at him, as if being held in his arms was an everyday occurrence and not some miracle he’d never even dared to hope for.
He shook his head. “I don’t feel very hungry for food right now. Will you let me kiss you again?”
He knew he caught her off-guard and he’d planned on taking things slow, but she smelled so good and felt like heaven – and she was in his bed. When would he get another opportunity like this again? Probably never.
“Caleb?” She asked softly.
Lowering his head slowly, afraid to scare her off, he pressed his lips to hers. Gently at first, testing their softness and fullness. He kept his eyes open, not wanting to miss her reaction. Her own eyes were shut tight and he almost pulled away, but then she opened her mouth a little. Taking that as a clear invitation, he darted in with his tongue. She tasted perfect. His eyelids lowered and he pulled her closer to him, pressing as close as their sitting position would allow.
When she moaned he decided to hell with it and pulled her onto his body, lying down on his back so she was flush against him on the bed.
Kaylynn felt the world tilt around her and for a minute she thought it was just a reaction to the man kissing her. She opened her eyes to look at him and realized the world had actually shifted. She was now lying on top of Caleb. When his tongue touched hers again she shut her eyes and reveled in the feel of him. She’d been kissed before, but never like this. This felt like she would die if he stopped.
As if reading her mind, he pushed a hand into her hair to hold her steady and pulled her even closer. Close enough for her to feel every inch of his body flush against hers.
Putting her hands against his chest, she pushed up and away from him. He let go of her hair and wrapped his hands around her waist. After some shifting, she sat straddled over his hips and his hands slid down to lightly grip her thighs. His eyes were slits and he had such a self-satisfied smile on his lips that she couldn’t help but smile back. She could feel his muscular body underneath her and as she moved to get more comfortable, he groaned a little. Her eyes widened when she realized what she was doing.
He was aroused – by her. To make sure, she slid down just a fraction more. He tightened his grip on her legs, effectively preventing her from moving, and she knew. The bulge in his pants that was pushing against her was because of her.
“So, am I like, your girlfriend now?” Calli smiled nervously down at him.
Hell no. She was so much more than that to him.
“Do you want to be?” Something flashed in her eyes that looked suspiciously like doubt. And he so was not okay with that. “Because I’d like you to be my wife.”
The smile that lit up her face was worth every minute of loneliness he’d felt while she’d been gone. He would make it his life’s goal to keep that smile on her face.
“Oh, I think I like your suggestion better.” She leaned down and hugged him. “But I think we really should get up now.”
“Yeah, I know. I can hear Jack coming up the stairs.” Sighing, he shifted her away from him and sat up once again. He smiled, watching as she got up and fixed her hair. He would get to see her wake up and get out of his bed every day for the rest of his life. And maybe sometimes, she would even be naked; and didn’t that just make him feel like a boss?
As he went searching for a shirt, there was a knock on the door. “Come in, son.”
The teen pushed the door open gingerly and looked inside at his parents. He sniffed the air and smiled when he saw his mother blush. “Should I order pizza or do you two need some more time?”
“Don’t be a smart ass. I’m going to make some steaks. Do you want to call Amber and invite her over?”
When Jack blushed, Caleb laughed.
“Alright, I get it, no teasing mom. But can I actually invite Amber?”
“I’m sure she’s already on her way.”
Scratching the back of his head, Jack said, “Yeah. Probably.”
“We’ll be down in a minute. Go take the meat out of the freezer.”
After he was gone, Caleb walked up to Calli and gave her a kiss. A long, deep one that brought that sexy blush back to her cheeks. “I would still rather skip dinner. Jack and Amber can order a pizza.” She gave a shaky laugh and tried to slip pass him. He wrapped his arms around her to keep her still. “Calli, what’s up?”
“Nothing. Why – why do you think something is wrong?” He didn’t say anything, but he didn’t let go either. “Oh hell. I’m a little nervous. That’s all.”
“Do we have to talk about this now? Can we do this later?”
“We can do it whenever you want.”
She stiffened, “Not everything is about sex, Caleb!” She turned her head to the side and wouldn’t look at him.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. She was upset. Why the hell was she upset? He tilted her chin back until their eyes met. “I wasn’t implying that it was. What’s going on Calli?”
He searched her eyes a minute longer and saw fear there. But of what? Of him? “Okay. We’ll talk later.”
He gave her a quick kiss and then left her in the room so she could have a moment to herself. What had he done to make her scared? Maybe it was just too much, too fast. Maybe he needed to slow things down; even though it would kill him to give up any of the ground he’d just won with her. Damn it!
Damn it damn it damn it!
Kaylynn paced up and down Caleb’s bedroom, berating herself for being so stupid. She was a grown woman, with a kid! Why was the thought of having sex with Caleb freaking her out? She sat on his bed, where only moments ago she had made out with the sexiest man alive. She wanted to sleep with Caleb. That wasn’t the problem. She just didn’t know if she could. What if she wasn’t good enough?
This was absurd. He knew about her past; hell, he’d been to a few of her therapy sessions! He would help her – if she would just let him. So why was she afraid?
Deciding that she was done thinking about it, she finished straightening her hair in Caleb’s mirror and headed downstairs.
In the kitchen, she saw her son and her…Caleb, prepping for dinner. He looked up as she walked in and gave her a tentative smile. Feeling guilty for snapping at him, she smiled back and walked to the counter to start on a salad. She’d been wishing for this day for years, and now that it was here, she wouldn’t let her fears prevent her from enjoying it. She needed to stop thinking about the what-ifs and just enjoy this time with him. Lord knew she deserved it.
As they were sitting down to eat, Amber walked in. “Hey guys. Good to see you back, does that mean Jack is staying here while you go on tour, Calli?
All eyes turned to her. “We’ll see,” was all she would say. If her “talk” with Caleb didn’t go well, she might end up exactly where she’d been this morning – alone, planning a life without him.
Dinner was a tense affair. Jack was understandably upset and confused, Caleb was upset, she was confused and Amber – dear Amber, had no idea what was going on. Just another normal day at the Romajin house.
After dinner, the kids ran off to spend what might be their last night together for a while, leaving Caleb and her to clean up. Afterwards, he leaned back against the sink and held his hand out. She was so relieved that she didn’t even hesitate. She walked into his arms and wrapped her own around him.
“I’m so glad you’re not angry.” She laid her head against his chest, breathing in his scent.
Smoothing down her hair, he asked, “Why would I be angry?”
She shrugged, not knowing how to voice the turmoil in her head and heart.
He lifted her face towards his and smiled. “I can never be angry with you. Frustrated, hell yes, but never angry.” When she finally smiled back at him he leaned down and placed a soft kiss on her lips. “Do you want to tell me what’s wrong now?”
“What are we going to do about Jack?” She asked instead of answering his question. She wasn’t ready to admit her faults, no matter what she’d decided earlier. He leaned back, letting her go and she could have kicked herself. If he wasn’t angry before, he was now.
“He’ll stay here of course. I’ll ask your parents to ship your stuff back.” He crossed his arms, as if daring her to argue. But she didn’t want to, she wanted to stay here, with him.
“Just okay?” He raised an eyebrow.
“Yeah.” She looked down at the floor, unable to hold his gaze any longer. This was so stupid!
Caleb pulled her back to him. He didn’t say anything and that made her feel worse. He was always so patient with her. She could do this. Taking a deep breath and closing her eyes, she hid her face against his shoulder. There was no way she could tell him and look at him. She said, “I don’t know how to be with you the way a couple should. I’m scared that you won’t – I don’t want to disappoint you.”
While she was talking, he’d begun to stroke her back but he stopped now and stepped away from her a bit. Before she could feel the sting of his rejection though, her world tilted again and her eyes flew open. He held her in his arms and walked purposefully out of the kitchen. She almost asked where they were going, but when he took the stairs, she knew. They were headed back to his room. She wrapped her arms around his neck and told herself to breathe.
She was worried that she’d disappoint him? Caleb wanted to laugh but didn’t want her to read that wrong. He felt joyous. If that was the only problem, he could fix that easily enough. Closing the door to his bedroom, he walked over and laid her gently down on the bed. She had her eyes tightly closed and her whole body was tense. He left her on the bed for a moment while he went into his bathroom to grab a few things. When he came back, she was still in the same position – her hands fisted at her sides. He sat on the edge of the bed and leaned over to kiss her. She responded instantly, opening her mouth in invitation for his tongue. He groaned at the pleasure of it, at the knowledge that he could kiss her whenever he wanted to now. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her up to a sitting position. He kissed her until her body relaxed and her breathing grew ragged. He broke away and chuckled when she followed, trying to seal their lips together again. He licked at the spot where her chin met her neck, nibbled at the delicate skin of her throat and sucked on sweet spot right above her collarbone.
“That’s going to bruise,” she said breathlessly. She held onto his shoulders tightly and it felt good to be held by the woman he loved.
“I hope so.”
When she laughed, he had the urge to capture her lips under his again, so he moved back up to her mouth and kissed her until she moaned. He could do this all night and still it wouldn’t be enough. He wanted her, body and soul and he wanted her now.
She broke this second kiss and gasped when she looked down at herself. While he’d been kissing her, distracting her, he’d unbuttoned her top and removed it. Except for the one time while she was having Jack, Calli never showed more than her arms and legs to anyone. She had scars across her lower back, chest, and stomach; claw marks that were faded but still visible.
She sat in jeans and her bra now. He looked down at her too and smiled. She was breathtaking and he told her so. Her blush reached all the way to the tops of her breasts and fascinated, he gently stroked the edge of her black lace bra, dipping a finger into the material as he neared her nipple. She gripped his shoulders tighter but didn’t ask him to stop, so he gently pulled the cup down and bared her left breast. “You’re beautiful, Calli.”
He leaned down and caught her rosy nipple in his mouth. At the taste of her, he moaned. She arched her back, giving him more access. He stroked her with his tongue, loving the feel of her, needing more. He reached behind her and unclasped her bra, letting it slide down her arms and pool on her lap. With both breasts free and bared to him, he let go of the one in his mouth and reached for the other, his hand moving up to cover, and continue to tease, her nipple. Her breasts were full and heavy but not big. They were perfect; everything about her was perfect.
He was going to drive her crazy. The moment his lips touched her skin, she felt on fire. His touch was like an electric shock and she just couldn’t stop reaching for the outlet. With every stroke of his tongue, every pull of his fingers, a jolt of desire coursed through her body and down to her core.
“Wait. Just wait a minute. I need to catch my breath.” She moved further up the bed and placed a pillow against her chest, either to cover up her nudity or place a barrier between them. She couldn’t decide.
He sat back on the bed, letting her put as much distance between them as she wanted. Calm and with a reassuring smile, he asked, “What is it Calli?”
“Caleb, I want this, I do. But…” How to explain the terrifying fear? The ugliness of her flesh? The taint on her soul?
“Do you want to stop?”
“Maybe.” She searched his face for any signs of anger or disappointment, but he kept his features neutral, no emotion except concern showing through.
“Okay. We can watch TV or something.” He looked around for the remote and she suddenly felt utterly alone. Her body still tingled from the places his mouth and hands had been; and he was looking for the remote.
“Yeah?” He found what he was looking for on the bedside table.
He looked up at her, frowning. “What is it Calli? You have to talk to me or I can’t fix it.”
“But what if you can’t?” What if he didn’t want to?
“Would you at least let me try?” He smiled and placed the remote back on the table.
“My scars – I know they must look horrible, but only at first. They are barely visible now…”
“I’ve seen them before.”
Her eyes widened in shock. “You have?”
“Yes.” He moved closer to her and pulled the pillow away. She let him.
“When?” She asked breathlessly. He began tracing a particularly long scar that went from her shoulder-blade all the way down to mid hip. Dillon had been in a nasty mood the night he did that. She shuddered, refusing to think about him.
“When you were going into labor.” Caleb bent down and kissed the top of the scar.
She stopped thinking of Dillon and his cruelties and thought of Jack. She remembered that night vaguely. Caleb had rushed her to the hospital and although he’d tried to hide it, she’d seen the panic in his eyes. He’d been much too young and unprepared for that moment. She tried to think when he could have possibly seen her scars.
As if reading her thoughts, he said, “I had to help you into your hospital gown. You wouldn’t let anybody near you, not even your parents. You just sat on the bed going through your breathing exercises.” He reached out and pulled her closer to him, his hands making random patterns on her skin. Soothing her with his touch. She could feel the frantic beat of her heart start to slow down.
She remembered now. “I was waiting for you. I didn’t know where you were and I didn’t want to start without you.” He chuckled and kissed her and she could literally feel his love. He’d seen her scars before when they were still red, angry, raw and he didn’t seem to mind them now. No thoughts or words would come to her except more. She wanted – needed – more of him, of his acceptance, of his love. “Caleb?”
“Can I change my maybe into a no?” She looked up at him, trying to express everything she was feeling in that one question.
“Yeah, I think that’d be okay.” He grinned and kissed her again.
But even though she’d given the okay and she lay in his arms topless, he didn’t touch her below her collarbone. Yes, his hands roamed her body, but he purposely avoided her breasts. She was too afraid to ask him if something was wrong. Perhaps he just wasn’t interested anymore.
She lay there, bared to him and he couldn’t touch her. She placed a trembling hand on his chest, fiddling with a button, but made no move to slip it out of its hold. He took both of her hands and pulled them up over her head. He lay down beside her, leaning over her. When her back arched up, he stared for a while, before leaning down and placing a kiss over her heart.
She wasn’t ready. There was still too much baggage, too much hurt and pain. He’d always thought he was doing a good thing by not speaking of her time with Dillon. He’d seen the scars when they were fresh and he hadn’t wanted to be the one to bring up those memories. Had he done the right thing?
His cheek brushed the side of her breast and she shivered, her heartbeat racing for completely different reasons now. She was like a hothouse. She had within her a beauty that he wanted to cultivate, see grow. She was nurturing, an amazing mother, sweetly shy, yet carried a wildness and passion inside that made her amazing as a performer. And would make her an incredible lover.
He let her go and kissed her one last time before rolling over onto his back. He pulled her with him, tucking her into his side and throwing an arm around her, lazily stoking her back and side.
She giggled, “That tickles.” She reached under his shirt to get at his flesh but he laced their fingers together and kissed the back of her hand before placing both over his heart. “Caleb?”
“Let’s just rest for a while, okay?” He looked down at her face. That same look of doubt that he hated seeing flashed again, but there was nothing he could do about that.
“Are we okay?” Her voice was low, unsure.
“Of course,” he said. She smiled, snuggling into his side. Her breasts pushed up against him and he had to stifle a groan. He turned the TV on and hit the mute button. When she couldn’t sleep they would sometimes watch TV. She liked the images but hated the noise. Half an hour later, her breathing evened out and he was finally able to get up and go take a long cold shower.
It was morning and Kaylynn woke up to Caleb at her breasts again. “Caleb?” She asked, groggy.
“Hmm?” That one sound heightened her pleasure, forcing her to arch her back. Yeah, she definitely needed more of that.
“Do that again,” she panted. When he did, her grip on his shoulder tightened and she spread her legs a little.
Caleb shifted and pulled her onto his lap, her legs straddling his on the edge of the bed. This position was so much better. Her breasts were right in front of him and she was able to press down on him, relieving the pressure that was building inside her. She started to rock back and forth a little on his lap. She needed to find release, but his jeans were in her way. She was naked but he still had all his clothes on. Not fair!
When she made a frustrated sound, he lifted his head and kissed her lips. She needed to feel his skin on hers or she would combust. Now that they had a purpose, her hands reached for the buttons on his shirt. She was shaking so bad that it took her three tries to undo the top one. This was going to take forever. “Caleb.”
“You can do it Calli. Just take your time.” He nibbled on her earlobe and she was grateful she didn’t wear earrings often. When he bit down harder, she gasped. Her belly clenched, and she tilted her head to the side, giving him more access. There was no reason for a bite to feel that good, but she wouldn’t complain. If his lips could do that to her by nibbling on her ear, she didn’t want to think about all the other places his lips would touch. Actually, she did…
It took some time and there were a couple of button casualties, but she finally got the shirt open. She frowned in dismay when she saw he was wearing an undershirt.
Laughing, Caleb took pity on her and removed both shirts. “Better?” he asked.
Instead of answering, she leaned into him, pressing her breasts against his chest. They both groaned and he took her mouth again, this time harder and she opened for him. The feel of the crisp hairs of his chest rubbing against her sensitive nipples did something to her insides. His other hand dipped down and cupped her ass, squeezing and pulling her closer to him. He pushed up a little and she felt the hardness of him against her. She was going to have sex with Caleb. She was going to make love to the man of her dreams.
“Calli?” The way he was looking at her might be enough to send her over the edge.
“Yes?” She was breathless, hungry for more of him.
“Calli, it’s time.”
“It’s time to wake up.”
Kaylynn jerked open her eyes to find Caleb staring down at her. Was all of that just a dream? She sat up and looked at Caleb, who was staring at her chest. Looking down, she realized she was naked from the waist up. Groaning, she pulled up the sheet that had pooled around her waist. She could feel the heat creeping up her neck onto her cheeks. Okay, so it wasn’t all a dream.
Caleb cleared his throat, “Morning. I think you overslept.” He sounded incredulous, which made sense. She never overslept, let alone sleep so deeply that she didn’t hear him get up. “I made you some coffee.”
“What time is it?” She looked around for the clock on her nightstand and was reminded that this wasn’t her bedroom. It looked like hers, but had a different layout, different furniture. She’d only been in here a handful of times before yesterday, but in the space of twenty-four hours, she’d fallen asleep in his bed, in his arms, twice.
“What! I’ve been asleep for twelve hours?” She threw her legs over the edge of the bed and stood up, dragging the sheet with her. Where the hell was her shirt? “Jack must be looking for me by now.”
“He’s fine; he went over to Todd’s house to play ball.” He leaned back against a bedpost and watched her, amusement in his eyes. This was not funny.
“I take it you’re enjoying this?” She saw the cup sitting by the bed and grudgingly said, “Thank you for the coffee.”
“My pleasure.” The way he said that made her think he wasn’t just talking about the coffee. When she glanced at him and saw him staring at her chest, she knew he wasn’t. She was blushing again. Damn it. “Caleb…”
He stood up, walked up to her and pulled her to him, “I’ve been waiting all morning for you to wake up so I can do this.” He threaded his hands in her hair and pulled her lips to his. The kiss was soft and gentle, what she imagined a good morning kiss should feel like. If it wasn’t for his hands wrapped tightly in her hair, she might have floated away. She wanted to pull him closer, to drape her arms around his neck but she still needed to hold on to the sheet covering her upper body. As she was debating whether to let go or not, he stepped away, that satisfied grin on his face.
She could feel a matching one on hers. She said, “I need to take a shower. Where’s my shirt?”
“Here.” He pointed to a chair by his dresser, where her shirt was folded neatly. “Are you hungry, should I make some toast?”
“Toast would be fantastic.” It would also get him out of the room. Letting Caleb see her topless at night while they were in bed was not the same as her standing in the bright sunlight. She felt too exposed this morning.
He nodded and gave her one last kiss before leaving. Watching the door snick shut behind him she let the sheet drop and looked down at herself. She didn’t look any different. The scars were still there, some were so faded she could barely see them; others were harder to ignore. She’d never thought of her body as something that could give and receive pleasure. But it could, Caleb was proof of that.
She traced a barely there scar that ended just above her belly button. When her parents had first seen them, they’d thought she’d been attacked by a wild animal. At the hospital, the term claw marks were used to describe the lacerations. But they weren’t. Not really. Each stripe was done on purpose. Dillon never clawed her; he made calculated furrows in her skin. One for each imagined slight. She touched one going across her chest – that had been for calling him a monster. He’d threatened to slice open her chest and pull out her heart. He was romantic that way.
She shook herself out of her morbid memories and went to pull on her shirt. Caleb was waiting with breakfast.