Chapter 6 ~ Lost in My Denial
There are candles, rose petals and chilled champagne. There’s soft music playing from somewhere. There are even crisp new sheets with folds in them that haven’t even had time to relax out of them. And then there’s Marc, hovering nervously behind me as I walk through his darkened apartment.
He’s been nervous all night. Even after I tried to put him at ease when a couple of his teammates were hitting on me, after I kissed him in front of them, his hands were still cold and clammy and he would hardly say a word. No matter how many of the wives commented that we make a cute couple, nothing seemed to appease him.
I knew, or at least thought I knew, that this is where I would end up tonight. I was almost sure when he told me he was only going to play a couple of hands at the Black Jack table and even when he was winning, his eyes almost never left me.
I thought then that it was this or he was going to break up with me.
But I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, when that little troll Avery fancied his chances and tried to pull me onto his lap at his table and Marc was suddenly there, leaving his table with a double down showing. I’d never seen this protective, possessive side of Marc and I had to admit, even as he dragged me away from Sean and behind him, that I kind of liked it.
But now that we are entirely alone, that strong, masterful Marc has been replaced by the hesitant and shy Marc that I’ve grown accustomed to and I know that I’m going to have to be the one to make the first move. It’s not that I can’t, it’s just that I don’t want to, shouldn’t have to, but still….Turning to him I reach out and tug at his tie, smiling encouragingly up at him.
“This is nice, romantic,” I whisper, sliding my other hand up his chest as my gaze focuses in on his mouth, his lips, his white teeth, letting my imagination race ahead, wondering what it will be like to have them explore my body.
“I wanted everything to be perfect,” he replies, his hands suddenly cupping my face, his blue eyes gazing intensely down into mine, “because I want tonight to be…perfect.” My chest tightens, my heart races and suddenly I know what’s coming and I’m not sure if I’m ready.
“That’s a lot to live up to,” I reply, pressing my lips up to his as I feel his hands fall away and wrap around me, pulling my entire body against his, holding me close. The kiss is long and soft and as his lips draw back from mine, I can’t quite open my eyes because I don’t want the moment to end.
“I love you Tippi,” he whispers, his breath warm as he presses his lips to my forehead, my cheek, and then to my lips once more. With a hum of contentment I smile up at him, wrapping my arm around his neck and pulling his lips down over mine.
“Show me,” I whisper, tugging at his belt, “take me to bed.”
I trace the sharp line of his cheekbone down to his jaw, my gaze lingering on the slight upturn of his lips as he sleeps, on his stomach, with his cheek resting on the back of one hand while his other hand covers mine. He looks so sweet, so content and so happy and I wish with all my heart that I felt the same.
Turning to stare up at the ceiling I wonder if it would be considered rude to reach down and bring myself to the point he couldn’t reach, despite all of his best intentions, all the time he took, all of the effort he put in. In the end I let him believe he’d climbed that mountain. I gave my best performance, clawing at his back and screaming his name, and yet here I lie, empty, unsatisfied and most of all ashamed.
It isn’t that it was bad. In fact, it was good. While I can’t say he’s the most skilled lover I’ve ever had, he’s certainly eager to please and willing to put in the time and effort and yet…and yet the earth did not move, bells did not ring and for all I wished that it had, his came a distant second to that other night, that other man.
I wish I could erase that memory. I wish with all my heart that I could not compare him to that mystery man, to that one hot night in Vegas, but I can’t help it. Lying here, in his bed, surrounded by candles and soft music, I can’t help but bring that night to mind.
I shouldn’t. The two nights are as dissimilar as night and day.
Marc told me he loves me. He gave me candles and romance and soft, sweet kisses. I don’t even know my mystery man’s name. And yet, if he’d only been a little less sweet, a little less tender, a lot less gentle, maybe then together we could have erased that night altogether.
I don’t blame him. How could I? The fault lies with me and me alone. I need to forget that night, that man, those feelings. This man, this sweet and gentle man lying by my side loves me and if nothing more than he deserves better from me, I must forget, because if I don’t, I’ll end up hurting him and that…that is something I never want to do.
“You awake?” I hear the rustle of sheets as he turns, his arm sliding across the bed, reaching for me, pulling me to him. I feel the length of his body press against mine, warm and solid. Turning, I smile into his blue eyes, blue eyes that remind of that night, of that man. Closing my eyes against those memories I open them again and smile at him. It’s easy to do. He’s heartbreakingly handsome and the look in his eyes…the adoration and happiness in his eyes makes me smile. “I’m sorry, I guess I fell asleep,” he apologizes, yawning as his hand strokes gently along my hip.
“Well, you did work hard,” I whisper, turning into him, feeling his long legs tangle in mine, his broad flat chest pressing against the softness of my own, “and it is late.”
“You will stay, right?” he asks, his blue eyes innocently searching mine and I nod, reaching up to run my fingers along the ridge of his cheekbone and down, down until my fingertips touch his lips.
“I’m not going anywhere,” I promise, letting him see how much I adore him, how much he does mean to me as I reach for his lips with mine.
“Good, because I’m not that tired,” he laughs, pulling me beneath him, the length and breadth of him pressing me down into the mattress. “Unless…I mean if you’re too tired I….” I smile up at him, pressing my fingers against his mouth, silencing him as I arch my body up to meet his, wrapping my legs around his hips, urging him inside.
“No, I’m definitely not too tired,” I whisper, running my hands through his ginger hair while I gaze up into those sky blue eyes, banishing all thoughts, all memories of any other man to the very darkest recesses of my mind.