I was nervous when he took my hand from behind and whispered into my ear, "Come with me." I turned my head to look at him and saw that mysterious, Mooney smile on his face. The noise of the party faded away into the background of that moment and that smile. I remember thinking that a woman could lose herself to the charm of such a grin. So, I curled my fingers in his and allowed him to lead me out the door into the chilly darkness of the autumn night.
We had been playing a game for weeks now. It was a sensual game of cat and mouse, a game of flirtation and teasing. We were young then. I was nineteen and he was twenty. I was shy and had little experience with men and he was in love with that. And that night he made me the center of his universe. He made me special, or so it seemed to me at the time.
He took me to his apartment off campus and we sat together, still playing the game. But this was a new facet of the play. It was the first time that we were alone. We had known each other for some time but had only found this new fascination with one another recently. Or maybe it had been there all along but never recognized until now. Whatever the case, we were alone and we were enjoying it.
Mooney, named so for his platinum hair, was flashing me that enigmatic grin that made my insides turn to mush. We were sharing a beer and smoking a bowl and nothing else in the world mattered except that moment. Then he reached his hand out to stroke my face. He drew nearer and I could see the fire in his eyes as he leaned down to kiss me. It was a searing kiss that left a burn scar on my soul. I was lost then.
He took his time undressing me. He kissed and caressed each inch of flesh as it was exposed, exploring me as if I was a piece of fine art or a treasure waiting to be opened. When finally I lay upon the couch completely nude he stood to admire my body and then removed his own clothing. After that he returned to exploring my body in agonizing detail. When his scorching mouth found the apex between my legs my moans had risen to a fevered pitch. He used his fingers, lips and tongue to drive me over the edge and send me toppling into the tense oblivion of an astonishing climax.
When next I opened my eyes I saw him watching me and smiling that Mooney grin. I reached my arms out to him and he brought himself up along my body to settle his hips between my legs. He whispered erotic words in my ear that nearly caused me to have another orgasm. He raised himself up onto his extended arms and penetrated me slowly, teasing me with his powerful staff. I raised my hips up to meet him but he pulled back, ever playing the game. Finally he entered me fully and each commanding thrust brought me closer to the belief that I could find paradise in his arms.
Digging my nails into his flesh and thrashing wildly I was driven to higher and higher peaks of pleasure until, with a mighty roar, he found his own orgasm and filled me with his elixir and we lay together, panting in our exhaustion.
I could see the sunrise playing its dazzling colors on his white-blond hair and matching the fire in his deep blue eyes. He charmed me once more with his mysterious smile before I closed my eyes and slept in his arms.
It went on like that for months. We played the game and I drifted into love with him, happy with the world—until the day I realized that he would soon be graduating and I would still be facing another year of college life. It would be a lonely year without him but he promised he would return to visit as he kissed me at the door to my dorm that night. He told me he would call me the next day.
But he didn't call. When, finally, I decided to investigate I went to his apartment and knocked on the door. I knocked several times before his neighbor opened the door across the hall to ask what I wanted. I told him I was looking for Mooney and he said that Mooney had moved out that morning. He had returned home to New York. He was hundreds of miles away and I was left standing alone in that dank hallway.
It goes without saying that my young girl's heart was shattered. It occurred to me at that second that I had been a fool. I don't remember the walk back to campus. I don't remember if I spoke to anyone along the way. I only knew the ravaging pain I felt. It was a pain that encompassed my entire being—physically, emotionally, mentally.
I know that I returned to my room. I know that I had a conversation with my roommate who chattered on excitedly about some new guy or what her plans were for the summer. I know that I joined her and several others in the dinner hall. I cannot say if I ate anything. I only remember that with each passing minute my heart was breaking and I could not bring myself to voice my pain.
After the supper hour had ended I left my companions to stroll alone in the campus darkness. I heard a familiar voice as a walked around the corner of a building. It was my best friend, Marck. He seemed to sense that I was there and turned to see me standing some yards away. He smiled at first and waved. But his hand dropped and his smile faded as he saw the devastation on my face. He left the small, boisterous crowd of men and moved swiftly to my side.
"So you heard," he said softly. That's when I crumbled. I fell to pieces like the shards of my heart and he gathered me up to take me back to his room. He held me through the night as I, unable to weep, leaned against him and drew strength from him.
That was ten years ago. Marck stayed my friend through the years and, when his parents passed away, my family took him under their wing and became his own. In all the time we spent together we avoided that one subject that had injured me so deeply. Eventually Marck moved to Chicago to further pursue his career. I stayed downstate to be near my family. I dated a little but avoided emotional entanglements of any kind. Marck found love and married a beautiful woman. I loved my visits with them. Their home was a very happy one and always a joy to be a part of.
Then, on that tenth summer after college, they decided to have a reunion party. It was Labor Day weekend. They invited all the people that had been in our circle of friends in those innocent college days. In truth I was looking forward to seeing all those dear and wonderful faces. Especially since it was announced to me that Mooney would not be there. I had no desire to see him as he had never seen fit to contact me after what he had done.
I was on my second glass of wine, laughing at something Don (or was it Scott?) had said when the front door of Marck's immense apartment opened up. We all turned in that direction and there was a collective and audible gasp as Mooney's white-blond head entered like a glistening apparition. I could feel the eyes turn toward me; could feel the ice that gripped my scarred heart.
Marck, ever conscious of my feelings, moved to immediately greet him. His wife, Jewell, was at my side in a flash, leading me out of the room. I stumbled after her in shock. She got me into a bedroom and sat me in a chair. She stayed with me long enough to be assured that I was still breathing and cognizant of my surroundings.
I heard the voices in the other room. People were happy to see him. They asked how he had been. Then Marck said, "Hey, I thought you told me you weren't going to make it. What changed your mind?"
There was silence after that. It wasn't a long silence but it was long enough for me to know that Mooney had not answered the question. The party seemed to resume by and by but still I sat in my chair. I couldn't think. I couldn't move. I couldn't feel.
Pull it together, idiot, I advised myself. You don't want him to see your weakness. Never give him that chance again. I took a deep breath and prepared myself for the inevitable. I stood, smoothed my clothing, raised my chin and rejoined the party with a cool smile on my face. I kept tight control of my emotions and worked to keep at least half of the people there in the space between Mooney and me. I avoided any more alcohol and did all I could to help our hostess keep the guests happy.
Someone suggested that we walk to the Lakefront to catch the cooling summer breezes coming off the water. Marck's apartment was only 2 blocks away and there were still a couple of hours of evening sunshine so away we went. We walked two by two and three by three up the city sidewalks and the scent of the lake was heady and sweet. It drew us like a siren's song. We laughed and joked and remarked on what a marvelous day it was.
Somehow I lost my focus and discovered that I was walking without a companion at one point. I began to hurry to catch up to the group of women just ahead of me when I felt a warm strong hand encircle my upper arm. A familiar voice in my ear whispered, "Are you avoiding me on purpose?"
I stumbled slightly and looked around hoping to catch Marck's eye. I couldn't see him. Finally I turned to see that baffling smile and deep blue eyes. I felt my belly lurch slightly and became angry with myself. I returned his smile and simply answered, "Yes."
"Emily," he said in his most irresistible voice, "Are you going to be mad at me forever?"
I shook my head and laughed. "I'm not mad at you, Moon. I stopped being angry nearly a decade ago. Too bad you weren't around to see it."
He released my arm then and slowed his step. I turned to see him watching me with an unusual expression on his handsome face. Could that be hurt I saw there? I smiled serenely and continued along my way, reaching the beach with Don and his wife, June. She put an arm around my shoulders and gave me an understanding little hug. I smiled at her to let her know that I was going to be just fine.
Our entire crowd stayed at the beach, tossing a Frisbee and a Hackey-sack until the sun began to set. Couples paired off to sit in the sand and enjoy the spectacle. Everyone had someone except me and I felt a bit out of place. I sat alone. Looking to my right I could see that Mooney was also alone and remembered something that Marck had told me when he declared that Mooney wouldn't be coming to this party. He had said that Mooney had been through some tough years. His first fiancée had been killed in a car accident nine years ago. He found someone new and rushed into a marriage about two years later. She had left him for his coworker within six months.
I stole another glance at him in the dwindling twilight. Marck had told me that Mooney had quit his job after his wife left and spent many months drifting and drunk. He had suffered greatly and had his heart broken. When I felt my own heart soften toward him I decided it was time to leave that scene and return to the apartment where Scott and Mary and a few others still remained. I slipped quietly away in the shadows of the evening and walked back alone. It was only a few minutes later that Marck and Jewell came through the door with concern on their faces. They had gotten worried when I had disappeared on my own. I chuckled at them, giving each a hug in turn.
The rest of the party returned soon after and the apartment was alive with a riot of sound and silliness once again. There was one change; this time it was Mooney who was avoiding me. That suited me quite well. But, still, I would sneak a glance at him from time to time just to assure myself that he was not having such a good time, and he wasn't.
As the night rambled on the party began to die away until there were only those of us that were spending the night left in attendance. Mooney wisely chose to find a hotel and I breathed a sigh of relief. But when he returned for breakfast I found a reason to leave before eating and disappeared into the bright morning light. I was home before noon feeling as if I had been through a contest of wills.
I was still unpacking when my phone rang. I heard Marck's friendly voice on the other end and felt contrite for having left so suddenly.
"Don't sweat it, Sis," he said amiably. "Hey, um, I should warn you though... Mooney rented a car and I think he may be on his way down to see you."
This, I decided, was an unfortunate turn of events. I thanked him for the warning and disconnected. My mind raced trying to think of someplace where I might go to hide out. It was Sunday and I had time to drive home to the farm. A visit with my parents might be just the answer. Then I realized that I was acting like a fool, running away from my problems. I finished my unpacking, took a shower and waited to see if he would show. And he did.
Even with Marck's warning I was startled when his knock came at the door. It was around 2:00 in the afternoon. I sighed deeply and called out for the interloper to enter. I was sitting on the sofa, trying to look calm.
I stared at him in silence, my face expressionless. I watched as he stood in the beams of light filtering in through the blinds. He looked tired. I noticed for the first time the lines that were etched around his eyes and that his eyes weren't as bright as they had been ten years before.
Finally he spoke. "Hello, Emily. It's good to see you again."
I closed my eyes for just a moment, steeling myself against the pain the sound of his voice invoked. I looked at him again, remaining silent.
"Marck tells me that you have been pretty successful here. I'm glad for you. I always knew you would do great things."
Still I remained quiet, not trusting my voice.
Mooney sighed. "I don't blame you for not wanting to talk to me. You must think it pretty callous of me, busting in on you like this. After what I did to you I wouldn't blame you if you took a club to my head."
He was watching me with those eyes and, against my own wishes, my body began to react. I hated him for that. I hated myself. I felt angry for everything that I was feeling. I truly wanted to lash out at him.
"That's why I'm here. I wanted to give you a long over-due chance to let me have it. I just decided Friday to go to Marck's party. Took forever to get there. I had to change planes 6 times. Last minute traveling is a pain. The drive here was long, too. I didn't think I would ever get here. Had to ask directions twice to find your place."
I finally spoke. "You came a long way for no reason then. I have nothing to say." With those words I rose on unsteady legs and walked to my front door. I held it open for him.
He made no move to leave. "I'm sorry, Em. I want you to know that."
It was at that moment that lost control. I charged him. I hit him. I hit him for every stab of pain that I felt in all the years after he left me standing alone and bewildered without so much as a note. I hit him for all the years that I chose loneliness rather than risk my injured heart again. I hit him for the mess that he left in me. And I hit him because it felt good.
He covered his head but did nothing to stop my tirade until he felt that I had exhausted myself. Then he grabbed my flailing hands and forced me back down on the sofa. There was a deafening silence in the room once I ceased my banshee-like screams.
Mooney dropped to his knees in front of me. "I'm sorry," he said again. "I'm sorry and if I could take it back I would, you have to believe me. I'm sorry."
I wanted to hit him again. "You think an apology after ten years of silence fixes everything?"
"No. I know there's nothing I can say or do to change what I did."
"Why?" I whispered. "Why did you do it? How could you do it?"
"I don't have an answer. I was a selfish son-of-a-bitch. I was only thinking of myself. I wanted to get away from you. You scared me and I ran."
I snorted in his face. "I scared you?" I screamed at him. "You tore my heart out! You left me standing in hell! I loved you, dammit!"
"I know and that's what scared me. Emily," he said with a sigh as he sat back on the floor, "I have learned so much since then. I learned enough to know that I'm the worse sort of crap that ever traveled the earth. I hurt you bad." He rubbed his face with both hands before continuing. "Did Marck tell you I was married?"
Mooney took out a cigarette and lit it with a match. He blew out the match and took a long drag on the cigarette. In the wispy exhale of smoke he continued.
"She did to me what I did to you. Maybe even worse."
I bristled at his statement. I wondered what could be worse.
"She had an affair with a guy in my office. I didn't know about it until the day I came home to find her and all her belongings gone. She didn't bother to leave me a note. I didn't know what happened until a friend called that night to tell me who she ran off with. I never heard from her again. That was six years ago. I spent those six years coming to the understanding of what I'd done to you and it finally dawned on me what I lost."
"Too bad," I stated flatly. I had absolutely no compassion for him. I rose to leave the room.
I kept walking. I left the house in my bare feet and began walking across the yard. I was almost to my car in the driveway when he caught up to me. He took hold of my arm and I wrenched it free from his grasp, whirling around to face him. Those eyes, his eyes, penetrated clear to my soul and I felt myself weaken. I hated him and I hated myself as I felt those feelings of loneliness and pain sweeping over me.
He tossed away his cigarette and reached out a hand as if to touch me. "I never got over you," he whispered.
I tried again to get away from him. I ran into the house and nearly got the door closed before he pushed his way through it. I found myself screaming at him to get out. When I was out of breath he took a step forward.
"Not this time. I'm going to stay and face it." He spoke with agony in his voice. "I have been living in self-imposed exile. I cut myself off from all my friends and most of my family after I left you. I wanted to come back; I wanted to beg you to forgive me. Then Marck told me that I had shattered you. He threatened to kill me if I came near you again. I didn't care. I couldn't find you. He wouldn't tell me where to find you. I called your parents and they refused to tell me anything. They swore that they would put the cops on me if I didn't leave you alone. I called everyone I knew but no one would tell me anything. I finally decided that they were right. I knew you were better off without me. I knew you would survive and be happy again."
Again I wanted to thrash him. I sat there listening to his lies and I wanted to tear his heart out with my bare hands. "Do I look like I'm happy?" The words came out without thought. They tumbled from my lips before I could stop them.
He reached his hand out to touch me and I slapped it away. "Em, I wish we could go back. I wish I could hold you like I used to do. I would give anything to have you smile at me again."
"Why are you here, Mooney? What is it you want from me?"
"I don't know. I only know that I had to see you again. I have thought of you every day since I left school. I can't stop thinking of you."
"That is your misfortune," I told him harshly. "How dare you come here? Who do you think you are? I was content to live my life. Why did you do this?" I detested the tremor in my voice and I wanted to find a way to hurt him for that. "Go back to New York. Maybe you can find another little idiot to believe your lies. Maybe the next one will be stupid enough to stick around or even stay alive."
I had hit my mark. I watched as he crashed inwardly, but I found little satisfaction in his pain. I felt like a monster for what I'd said. He pulled himself up from the floor to his full height of six feet, four inches. He gazed down at me with a mixture of anguish and anger and I felt myself weaken further. "I'm sorry, Moon. I didn't mean it."
"I deserved it," he said quietly. "Is there anything else you want to say or do to drag me through the mud?"
I was angry again. I looked up at him with spite in my heart. "I'll let you know when you've suffered enough to satisfy me."
"Bitch." It was a simple word but one designed to tell me just how badly I had stung him.
"You may go now," I told him. "I think you know where the door is."
I picked up a magazine and pretended to read it until I heard the front door close quietly. Then, in the thunderous silence his exit had left I cried. I wept for the first time since that day ten years previous and I wept loudly. Sobs tore at my chest, choking me, distorting my body with pain. Tears blinded me and I pounded the cushions on the sofa. I screamed out at the ceiling and tore at my hair. Ten years of loneliness and self-denied torment boiled to the surface. I thought the intensity of it would kill me.
I had no idea how long it went on—minutes, hours, days. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered anymore. It was as if I had been transported back to that day when time had seemed to stop for me. So inconsolable was my misery that I didn't feel the strong arms that went around me. I didn't feel my body being lifted against something warm. When finally the words that were being spoken into my ear managed to cut through to my conscious self I realized that Mooney was holding me.
Hiccuping and gasping I pulled my head back to look at him. I should have been enraged that he had come back in and witnessed my distress but when I saw the tears in his eyes I felt for the first time that he was sincere. His arms around me became my undoing and I pulled his head down to mine. I kissed him and he kissed me. I began to sob again and he hugged me tightly. His voice pleaded with me. He begged for forgiveness and he told me that he loved me.
He was kissing me again and I was returning it with as much as I was getting. My arms surrounded his neck. Suddenly, a warning bell went off in my head and I pulled myself back from him. He looked into my eyes as he used one of his hands to dry my tear-soaked face.
"I'm putting my life in your hands, Moon. If you hurt me again you'll break me." I was searching his face for some sign that I was making a mistake.
"I never thought I would hold you again," he said candidly as he brushed my hair from my face. "I'll never let you go again. It would be the end of my own life."
I wanted to believe him so I did. He kissed me again and held me close, stroking my back and nuzzling my hair. It was easy to conclude once again that I could find paradise in his arms. I curled up against him and found warmth and comfort in his embrace.
"I love you," he whispered against my hair. "If you let me, I will spend the rest of my life making up for the past. You will never feel anything but happiness, I promise you."
"I'll let you." I tilted my head back. His lips touched mine in an achingly tender kiss. The kiss deepened with passion and his hands found their way under my blouse to stroke my back. I moaned softly against his mouth and he gasped in response. He suddenly stood with me in his arms and carried me toward the back hallway. He stood for a moment, turning his head uncertainly until I pointed the way to the bedroom. He carried me to my bed and laid me down. Without letting go of me he joined me on the mattress and pulled me up against him.
He kissed me with a desperation that I didn't remember his ever having before. The feel of his body against mine was sublime. I wanted to feel him against my bare skin and, as if reading my mind, he began to pull at my clothing. His hands were shaking. This was not the soft and gentle lovemaking of our past. I helped him as best as my own shaking hands would allow. Soon we were both undressed and his hands and mouth were frantically devouring me.
I dug my fingers into his hair as his mouth found first one nipple and then the other. My back arched and I moaned with need. It proved to be too much for him and he raised up, pulling my legs over his shoulders. He lunged forward driving his shaft deep into me. I reached my hands up between my legs to grab his neck. I pulled him down for another kiss as he started to move on top of me. Then he raised back up onto his extended arms and began to buck wildly. My first orgasm was nearly instantaneous. It was followed closely by a second and then a third, but still he continued to thrust himself deeply and ferociously into me, spurred on by my screaming groans until, finally, he growled brutally and plunged himself into me a final time, convulsing as his seed spilled into me.
My legs slipped down his arms and onto the mattress as he collapsed on top of me. We panted as if denied life-giving oxygen for a long period and he rained feathery kisses over my face and neck. I wrapped my arms around him and felt his member grow hard and hot again inside me. He started to move again. This time he was slow and gentle. He rolled me over on top of him and I sat upright. I slowly raised up and sank down on his hard shaft.
"I can't get enough," he said as he watched me with his blue eyes. And then I saw that heart-stopping smile of his.
I leaned forward and began to move in earnest, pumping my hips against him. He put his hands on my waist, lifting me and pushing me back down. Each thrust brought another little cry from my throat. I couldn't get enough either. No one but Mooney could ever make me feel like this and how I had missed him. I was moving faster and breathing heavily. I could feel another orgasm building and he was pushing me onward with his hands and his body. My vaginal muscles tightened around him. I threw my head back and screamed at the intensity of the climax.
He pulled me against his chest and rolled on top of me again. We were motionless for a few moments as my body shuddered against his. He whispered words of love in my ear and once more promised to never leave me again. Then he began to thrust against me again. I could feel him growing larger and harder and I wrapped my arms and legs around him. He moaned and growled and spilled himself within me again. He stayed inside me for a long moment before moving his weight off me and gathering me against him.
He held me for a long time, stroking and caressing me. We didn't speak. There was nothing to say with words that our bodies had not already spoken. I lay with my head on his chest, listening to the strong beating of his heart. After a while I lifted my head and kissed his flesh. The pure salty taste of him was intoxicating. I wanted more and I allowed myself to wander lower along his lean body. I trailed my fingernails along his ribs and across his belly. I felt his breath quicken and heard a sound from low in his throat.
I had worked my way down until I was settled between his legs. He was hard again and I caressed the length of him with my fingers. I felt his body tense as I found those remembered spots of his greatest sensitivity. I heard him call my name as I wrapped my mouth around his lance and stroked it with my tongue. It didn't take long for him to explode in my mouth but I didn't stop until he reached for me.
He brought me up to him and kissed me thoroughly. It was the kind of kiss that took you to edge of the universe, and only he knew how to do it. He came up for air and let his hands trace lazy pathways along my body. I shivered when he brushed his thumb across my nipple. He soon followed with his mouth, suckling, sending tendrils of sensation all the way to my toes.
He released the first nipple and moved on to the other. He teased that one with his teeth until I squirmed with pleasure. His hot tongue moved to the valley between my breasts and slowly trailed down my breastbone. He was taking his time and studying every inch of me. This was the lovemaking of my memory. His lips, teeth, tongue and fingers explored my front at a leisurely pace before rolling me onto my belly and doing the same to my back. My skin was drawn tight and I was struggling to breathe as he drove me to distraction with his thoroughness.
He spread my legs and stroked my inner thighs, moving closer and closer to the center that lay between them. By the time his fingers came into contact with the wet flesh of my sex I flinched from the tension he was creating. He lay beside me, propped on one elbow as he moved the tip of one finger up and down the slit that he found there. My hips began to move against his hand, trying to draw it in. But he teased me and drew his finger back just enough to keep me from getting my way, without losing contact. He kissed the back of my neck as I moaned with yearning.
When I thought I could stand it no longer he settled his hips between my quivering legs. I could feel the head of his hard shaft replace his finger in his teasing of my senses. I raised my hips and arched my back to receive him but he held back, tantalizing my flesh with the promise of more. "Please..." I whispered and he filled me with his manhood in one mighty thrust. I cried out loudly and drew my knees up to better accommodate his large member.
He was rooted inside me, motionless, as he kissed my neck and back. When he finally began to move his strokes were slow and methodical. He was stroking just the right spot inside me until my muscles clasped him as I rose to a fiery peak. He drove hard into me three more times and stopped. He raised himself onto his knees and took hold of my waist. He then continued his movements within me, faster this time. He was pounding into me as I called his name over and over, climbing, again, to those wonderful heights. Just as I was plummeting over the edge I heard his savage growl and he blasted his seed deep inside me.
We rolled onto our sides with him still inside me. He kissed my ear and wrapped his arms around me. "I'll never let you go again," he said as our hearts returned to a regular pace. We fell asleep like two spoons nestled together.
I awoke the next morning. As I began my morning stretch my body protested in a cluster of stiffened muscles. I grinned in memory of the night before and turned toward Mooney. My smile faded as I found the pillow next to me empty. I was on my feet in a flash. I looked around to discover that his clothing was gone as well. Wrapping my robe around myself I ran through the house looking for him. He was gone.
I leaned against the wall in the hallway and sank to the floor. I was horrified and disgusted with myself. Again that day at college came flooding back and suddenly I was standing in a clammy hallway looking at the closed door of an empty apartment. All the hurt started all over again. And this time it came with anger. I used the anger to steady myself.
I could smell him on my body and instantly I wanted a shower. I was on my feet, stripping off the robe and running for the bathroom. I climbed in and turned the water on. It was as hot as I could possibly stand it, as if I could remove him from my heart and mind by scalding him away with a steaming shower.
I scrubbed at my skin until it was raw and reddened. When I couldn't take anymore punishment I stood under the scourging water until it ran frigid. I turned the shower off and grabbed a towel off the rod. I began to roughly rub my face dry, the self-loathing in me growing by the second. At that moment I heard a loud crashing noise. I opened the bathroom door and stepped into the bedroom, listening intently. I smelled something like bacon cooking.
I dropped the towel and ran for the kitchen. I stopped short when I saw Mooney bending to pick something up from the floor. He saw me and grinned that dynamic smile of his as his eyes swept over my dripping, naked form. The smile faded, though, when his eyes reached my face.
"What's wrong?" His gorgeous, hated face was a study of concern. He took a few steps toward me and I stepped back. He stopped.
"I thought..." I found it difficult to speak, the lump in my throat was so large. "You weren't here. I woke and you were gone. I thought you left me..." I hated how my voice cracked.
"Jesus!" he whispered. He crossed the room in two strides and pulled me roughly against him. "I'm sorry, baby, I didn't think. I'm sorry." He was stroking my wet hair and squeezing the air out of my lungs. "I'll never leave you again. I promise you that. I'll always be here for as long as you want me. I love you. I'll make you understand that, if it's the last thing I do."
"I thought you were gone." I said it again and I could feel myself shaking with relief.
He placed a finger under my chin, tilting my face up. He looked into my eyes and I felt as if I would lose myself in his gaze. "I will earn your trust again, Em, you'll see. I hate the pain I caused you. I would give anything to see you smile at me again."
I kicked his shin with my bare toe. "You would have if you hadn't disappeared this morning. I was grinning when I opened my eyes."
He grunted as if I had actually hurt his leg. "I wish I had seen that. I wanted to surprise you with breakfast in bed."
I smiled despite myself and pulled away from him to look at the mess that used to be my kitchen. The skillet on the stove was belching black smoke. I wrinkled my nose and said, "Pass."
"Hey," he countered, "I'll have you know I'm a great cook!" Just then the smell of burning eggs hit his nose. "Damn!"
I laughed as he ran to slam a lid onto the skillet. He shut off the flame under it and cursed again. He put his hands on his hips and stared at his ruined breakfast. "I hope you like your eggs well done," he said with his back still turned to me. I burst into a fresh peal of giggles as he swiveled his head to look at me. "Oh, so you think that's funny, do you?"
He ran toward me and I took flight. He caught me quickly and dragged me back to the kitchen. Picking up my squirming body he kissed me deeply. "I'm hungry," he said when he came up for air. "If I can't have bacon and eggs I'll have to eat you." He sat my bottom on the table and stood between my knees. He kissed me again. I was breathless by the time his mouth left mine and worked its way down to my throat.
I put my arms around his shoulders and moaned. He immediately pulled my arms free and pushed me back and down against the cold surface of the table. He pulled up a chair and sat between my legs. He pushed them farther apart and lowered his mouth until his lips came in contact with the soft folds of flesh at my center. My body reacted immediately as ripples of pleasure coursed through me.
As his mouth nibbled at my labia one of his hands wandered up my torso to find a hardened nipple and roll it between his thumb and finger. My hips began to move without any help from my brain and I closed my eyes. I sighed and moaned and hoped that this wasn't all just a dream.
When his tongue found the hard knot of nerves hidden within my flesh I began to shudder. The pleasure was so sweet that I gave myself up to it completely. I wanted more and more and said his name more than once.
He pulled my clitoris into his mouth while inserting a finger of his free hand into my sex to stroke the sensitive and hidden spot there. Within moments I felt myself climaxing. I was still in the throws of the astounding orgasm when I felt his manhood enter me in one swift thrust. He remained motionless there as my muscles worked against him, massaging his hard erection.
With his hands behind my knees he lifted my legs up, pushing them against my belly. He began to move inside me, slowly stroking in and out. "Emily, look at me."
I had no choice but to comply. I opened my eyes to look into his smoky blue depths. I was startled by what I saw there. It was more than pleasure I saw in his eyes. What I saw there was something I didn't remember ever seeing before and the effect made my heart stop.
"Em, I need you," he whispered as he slowly drew himself in and out of me. "I didn't know it all those years ago. My life was empty for so long." He pulled my legs around him and bent to lift me against him, his hands under my bottom. He continued whispering with his lips against my ear. "I need you, I want you. Tell me you believe that. Tell me you know I love you. I need you to say it."
But I couldn't say anything. I had no voice and tried to tell him with my body as I arched and curled against him. I moaned and nearly screamed as my body tensed for another climax. My nails dug bloody furrows against his shoulder blades as I threw my head back. I bucked wildly, nearly knocking us over. Then I laid my head on his shoulder and quivered as the waves passed over and through me.
When at last I was able to speak I whispered, "I love you, David. I always have and I always will."
That's when I found myself suddenly pinned to a wall as he rocketed himself in and out of me until his groans turned to growling cries and he released all that he had deep within me. His lips were kissing and nibbling at my neck and shoulder. He pulled me up against him again.
He was still inside me as he carried me down that hall and into the bedroom. He stayed erect and ready as he lay down with me on the bed. He kissed me and stroked my face with his hands. Lifting his head he looked into my eyes. "Did you really mean it? Can you still love me?"
"You don't deserve it but, yes, I can and I do."
"You'll never be sorry again. I promise you that. You complete me. I wish I could have seen that all those years ago." He kissed me again and said, "I love you. I want to make you believe that."
He began to thrust against me again. He caught my moan in his mouth with his penetrating kiss. He held me tightly as he brought us both to a simultaneous peak and then sent us hurdling over the edge. He slowly withdrew despite my protest and shifted his weight off me. I cuddled up against him with one leg drawn up across his middle. He stroked my drying hair and sighed contentedly.
"Marry me, Emily. Grow old with me."
I was so startled that I lifted my head to gaze into his face. "Moon, I..." my voice trailed off. I didn't know what I wanted to say when faced with the intensity of his eyes.
"I always loved it when you called me by my given name. You were the only one who ever did. Say my name."
"David," I said. "I don't know what you expect from me. You come back after all this time and you just expect me to just forget all the hurt and say yes?"
He pulled me back down to him. "No, baby, no. I don't. But I can hope."
"Marck's going to kill me," I said.
"He'll have to go through me," he said with a chuckle.
"If I was to say yes and we got married—I can't even believe we are talking about this! Marck went through hell with me back then. He pulled me back together." I raised myself back up to see his eyes. "Dave, I was really wounded. You really tore me to pieces. I wouldn't be here right now if it weren't for him. He stayed by my side for a long time, he put his own life on hold."
Mooney grimaced at the mention of what his betrayal had cost me. "I'm grateful to him for that. Emily, I wish I could make you understand how badly I wanted to come back to you."
"Then why didn't you?" I couldn't help the anger that was in my voice.