In Name Only

Chapter 98

He lay there in the dark, heart pounding, afraid to move.

He’d heard her enter the house and go to her room, but hadn’t mustered the energy to get up and greet her. She’d find him soon enough, and if he needed to get up then he would. Now he was glad that he had chosen to stay where he was. Glad, but also terrified. Those words…. The soft touch of her lips on his forehead… God! Those words…

He shrugged the blanket off his shoulders and cradled Chris tightly as he rose from the chair. He gently placed him in the middle of the bed. Chris fretted slightly, murmuring a protest at being away from the warmth of Kevin’s arms then drifted back into deep sleep as Kevin folded the blanket over him. One little hand snaked out to grab the plastic dinosaur toy – more on instinct than anything - but otherwise Chris gave no indication that he was going to wake up. Kevin smiled, brushing the hair back from his son’s face.

“And I only see you when I look at him,” he whispered huskily.

He rose and left the room, pulling the door shut behind him carefully. Then he walked down the hallway to the guest room that he had designated as Kat’s.

She had her back to him and was pulling things – mainly toys and boy’s clothes -- from her suitcase. Even if he hadn’t known it, that would have been a clear indication of where her thoughts usually lay. Chris. Always Chris.

He’d been an idiot to think things always came back to Howie. Hadn’t he seen it enough over the last few weeks? Hadn’t she made it clear that she had only come back into the open so that her son would have his father? If she’d wanted to come back and fix things with Howie she could have done that any time, but Howie’d ceased to be a central force in her life the moment Chris had been lain in her arms. God! He’d been so blind. So self-involved. What a moron!

She ran her hand through her dark red hair, and continued to talk into the cordless phone, not even noticing him standing there.

“I AM serious, Nicole. This is what I want. This is the way things should be. Sell it. Sell the house too. I don’t care if I lose money on it. Okay, so I do, but I still want them sold.”

“Oh come on, don’t pretend to be so surprised. You were the one who suggested it in the first place. I’d been thinking maybe a timeshare or something. This is just a bit… umm… more.”

“No, he’s asleep. I’ll tell him in the morning. I’m sure he’ll be happy. He’ll miss his friends, especially the ones at school, but he seems to have made enough buddies down here… yeah, yeah, I think so.”

She sighed, and ran her hand through her hair again. “That’s my problem, isn’t it? This is for him. Not me. And I don’t think I’m spoiling him by giving Chris what he wants when it comes to this. Even though we both know that little munchkin has me wrapped around his finger.”

Kat kicked the suitcase away, then sat down on the bed, unfolding and refolding some of Chris’ clothes. She laughed. “Hell no! One thing at a time. I’ll get us a house here and get him set up with school. If he wants to start nagging for a dog he can forget that for a while.”

“Talk to the guys about that. They know who in town is looking for permits and so on. They might be able to help find a buyer. Maybe someone wants to move to a bigger place. Or a second location. I dunno. Just ask them.”

“Yeah, I appreciate it. And sorry I called so late. Okay… good. Thanks, hun.” She laughed again. “When I see him I’ll tell him you say hi. Just watch out; wouldn’t want Em coming after you with a big stick.”

Kat rose, walking over to the window to look out at the dark sky and twinkling lights. “True enough. No! That wasn’t a jab. Gee, you’re crabby when you get woken up. Okay. Night. Thanks, Nicole. Bye.”

She clicked off the phone, then sighed, gazing out the window for a second before turning and seeing him. Kat let out a little gasp, her eyes going wide.

Now was his chance… his time to say something, anything, about what she’d said in Chris’ room. But all he could think was how beautiful she was in the half-light, and how full her lips were, and…

He took two strides forward and swept her into his arms, mouth descending crushingly onto hers. He flicked his tongue across her lips, relishing the taste. She gave another gasp, a smaller one and he used that to push past her lips and enter the warm cavern of her mouth.

He couldn’t get enough of it. His hands rose, to hold her face as he continued to pillage her mouth. His thumbs stroked her cheeks, which were now flushed and pink. He pressed forward, pushing her up against the bedroom wall so that he could press his body firmly against hers.

Groaning softly he drew back, his eyes hooded as he gazed on her face. She looked stunned – classic ‘deer in headlights’ appearance. Eyes wide and dilated, her moist mouth still in that “o” of shock. He leaned down, capturing her mouth again as his hands moved down her sides, stroking her sides. Gingerly her arms raised to circle his neck, pulling him tighter to her. Kevin moaned huskily, and bent back just enough to allow his hands to move to her front, down from her throat, across her thin shirt, to cup her breasts.

This time it was Kat who moaned, as his hands caressed her firm skin, thumbs working her aching nipples to tight peaks. Suddenly - she wasn’t sure how - and even if her head had been functioning fully she probably wouldn’t have known – the top buttons of her shirt was open and his hands were actually on her flesh. Her response was to thrust her hips forward, brushing against his rock hard erection, cradling it within the pliant tissue of her stomach.

Kevin had been watching the play of emotion on her face, but that little thrust caused his eyes to shut and roll back into his head. His hands gripped her shirt and pulled sharply. The buttons popped everywhere and the light fabric gave with a muffled ripping sound. He didn’t care. He just lowered his mouth to her chest as his arms moved to her back, pulling her body forwards him. She gasped loudly, her hands going to his head, her nails starting to dig into his scalp as she gave into the sensations he was creating.

But he didn’t want her hands there… he wanted to feel them on him. He stripped his t-shirt off quickly, then placed her hands on his back before he resumed his suckling on her soft, silky skin. He used to love the way her hands would tease down his back, gently one minute then firm and demanding the next. The way she would run her nails over his vertebra causing shivers down his spine. The way she was doing right now… he panted under their ministrations, starting to lose what little control he had left.

“Fuck it,” he mumbled. Who needed control? He had her here where he’d wanted her for so long…

He stood up abruptly, untying her wraparound skirt, then twisting the waistband on her panties so that it broke and fell to the floor. He took a step back, pulling off his shorts and chucking them aside. Then he swept one arm under her, steering her quickly to the bed. He pushed her and she fell back onto the covers, her body sprawled and open to him.

She’d been swept along by the passion until then, but as Kevin crawled on top of her, Kat’s mind cleared. It was pretty obvious what was about to happen, but what did it mean? What the hell was going on? What the…

Then with a determined thrust he pushed his way into her and all rational thought fled.

Years had gone by, but some memories last forever. Within moments they were back, following that familiar rhythm that they had known so well. Flesh against flesh, bodies moving in synchronization, arms grasping. Both so lost in the sensation, they were hardly capable of words.

“So tight,” Kevin grunted in surprise. In the deepest recesses of his mind – the part that held itself away from these physical things – the realization formed that one of his fears was unfounded. She HADN’T had sex with anyone else (except for the incident with Howie that he already knew about) during the time she’d been away. He felt a flush of shame and wished he could say the same.

“Deeper,” Kat begged as she pulled her legs up around his waist. Muscles that were unused to this kind of movement protested but she didn’t care. Kevin was inside her. At last. Body be damned. Conscience be damned. If he wanted her, even just for right now, that we enough for her. The rest could be dealt with later…

Her movements, her demands were driving him into a frenzy. His hands came to rest beside her head as he drove himself into her tight heat. Kat could feel it coming… it had been a long time, but all the warning signs were there. It was like all the warmth in her body was focussed on one tiny spot. And Kevin was getting closer and closer to that spot with every stroke. She arched her pelvis, trying to help him reach it, throwing her hands above her head. His hands moved to clasp hers, holding them firmly, his finger knotted in his. She looked up into his bright green eyes and then it hit.

Kevin’s eyes bored into her as his body lashed furiously, his orgasm sending him so high. Kat’s body constricted around him and her mouth opened wide, as if to scream, though no sound came out. The two of them clung together, riding out their mutual orgasm. Slowly coming down to earth.

Kat was just starting to regain her senses – and her scruples – when Kevin suddenly rolled to the side and burst into tears. He laid his head on her chest and sobbed. She did the only thing she could think of doing. She held him until he calmed. Finally he lifted his head and looked at her with swollen, bloodshot eyes.

“I love you so much,” he said.

Kat’s eyes went wide. “I…”

“I love you so much,” Kevin continued. “I thought you hated me. I thought you must have because of all the things I said, all the things I did. I just couldn’t think that you wouldn’t. I hated me. And I love you so much.”

Kat swallowed shakily. “Kevin, I couldn’t hate you.”

“I hate myself enough for both of us.” He paused. “All this time, I tried, in my mind, to make you the bad guy. You were the one who left. You were the one to take Chris away. But I knew it was me. I knew it was my fault. And when you came back I thought I’d be tough. I’d be strong. I wouldn’t show you how much I wanted to hold you again.” He laughed grimly. “’Be a man, Richardson,’ I’d say. ‘Make her come to you.’ And then I’d see you and it was all I could do not to throw myself at your feet and beg for your forgiveness.”

“Then Chris got involved. He’s too damn smart that kid. It was like he knew what I was thinking – the battle I was waging within myself – and he wanted to give me a helping push. He told me that you loved me He even got you to say it once when I could hear it. But still I was so scared.”

“How could I tell you? How after all I did could I tell you about the nights I cried myself to sleep, praying that you were okay? Praying that you’d be safe and sheltered. Praying that you’d come back to me. And then, God, I displayed myself across any magazine that would take me… fucking every famous woman I could get my hands on, just so you’d see it. Just so you’d think I could care less. And all I was doing was hiding it. One of them said I was weeping on the inside all the time. She was right.”

Kat was still stunned at the outpouring. “But you said… you told me you didn’t love me anymore,” she murmured weakly.

“I LIED!” he bawled, another wave of tears descending. “I lied. I lied about the most important feeling in my life to the most important person in my life. I was stupid and jealous and I let it all turn into such shit because I was so scared.” His voice faded out to a thin whisper. “I lied.”

He pushed his face down into the mattress, sobbing quietly. Kat just stared at his shaking form. He loved her. He’d never stopped. All this time… all that she’d been running from… It had never been because of Howie. Okay, so SOME of it was because of him, but mostly she’d been running from the belief that somehow she’s caused Kevin to stop loving her. Somehow she’d driven him away.

She felt a rush of anger so sharp it made her see red. She wanted to smash her fists into him. Beat that beautiful face to a pulp. Make him hurt as much as she had for so long. Then as quickly as that feeling had taken hold it was gone, leaving her reeling from the sudden absence.

She rolled towards him, one arm tentatively stroking his back. Kevin lifted his head to look at her.

“I love you,” she pronounced solemnly.

“You do?” he asked timidly. “Even now?”

She nodded. “Now and forever. I love you, Kevin Richardson. I’ve never loved a man the way I love you.”

“Really?” The needy thread in his voice was a new thing.

“Yes.” she replied firmly, punctuating it with a kiss. “I love you.”

“And I love you. God, how I love you.” He reached up, kissing her back gently. Then again and again, each time professing his love.

They fell back into each other’s arms, knowing that they had much more talking to do but not caring because the most important words had been said. Besides, their need for each other was so great...

The second time they collapsed in post-coital bliss, Kevin begged her to tell him how things had been when she first left – on her first desperate flight from his lie. He’d heard some of it from his mother, but wanted to hear it from her. His conscience needed it; needed to feel that full force of the pain he’d caused. Kat was wrung out by the time she’d finished – reliving it all again briefly.

Kevin held her close as they both worked through the anguish, then asked quietly if there was anything that she wanted him to tell her. She looked at him, as he lay half-draped across her, slowly kissing the tips of her fingers on the one hand. She raised his head with her other hand, stroking his face tenderly.

“Tell me... tell me how you cried.”

How you cried
Melanie Doane

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Chapter 99