Chapter 19: Time to talk
It was still dark when Kat finally woke. She glanced at the alarm clock. 4 am. She'd been out for hours. She was about to get up when she noticed the armchair pulled up in the corner, and the man asleep in it. He was so peaceful. She gazed at his strong face, sensual lips and long eyelashes. His hair was pulled back in a ponytail, but little wisps of hair were escaping from it now. He had obviously been tossing and turning. She slipped off of the bed and covered him with the blanket, smoothly his hair back gently. He stirred, then his eyes opened and focussed on her.
She wanted to say something, but couldn't get her voice to work. She was drowning in his dark eyes, lost on the waves of emotion there that mirrored the ones that she felt.
"You promised you'd never run away again," he said softly.
She sat back on the bed and hung her head down sadly. "I had to leave before I did anything else to hurt you."
"That hurt me."
"I'm so sorry."
"I thought we agreed to work things out together."
She laughed sharply. "Not this. I betrayed you in the worst possible way. That is unforgivable."
"You didn't even give me that option. You just left. Without a word."
"I said goodbye. I called before I left. I told you I was sorry."
"But you never said what for. How was I supposed to understand that you were saying goodbye when I didn't know…"
"I'm not good enough for you, Howie."
"I'll be the judge of that."
She turned back to him and looked him straight in the eyes. Gods, it was hard. "No. You won't. I'm not good enough for you. End of discussion. You should go home now." She rose, trying to leave the room, but he grabbed her arm.
"You are doing it again; running away from me."
"I've gotten used to it over the past while," she returned.
"It stops now. Talk to me, Kat."
"What do you want me to say, Howie? I slept with AJ. I was in love with you and I had sex with him. Not much to talk about there," she laughed harshly.
"Are you still in love with me?" he still held her arm, tried to get her to turn back, to look at him. "Kat? Are you?"
She swallowed a sob. "I can't answer that question. I won't."
"Fine. Then are you in love with AJ?"
"No!" she said, surprised by the question.
The fervor of her answer gave him hope for the first time in days. He released her arm. "Well, that's a good place to start," he said with a sigh of relief.
"How do you do it, Howie? How do you sit there so calmly and ask me these questions?"
"What do you want me to do? Yell at you? Hit you?"
"It'd be a start. It'd be what I deserve," she replied angrily, guiltily.
"I love you, Kat. Nothing else matters but that," he said simply.
She sat heavily, tears rolling down her cheeks, sobs wracking her body. He moved to comfort her, to hold her and she pushed him away. "No. You can't love me. I won't let you."
"It's not something you can stop," he joked.
"No. You can't. There is nothing in me to love."
"There is everything in you to love."
She moved away from him, not wanting him so close to her, so close she could smell his masculine scent. She wiped tears away from her face. Then looked at him and said, with a cruel twist to her voice, "don't you want to know about AJ? Want me to tell you how good it felt to have him inside me?"
Howie sat back, stunned.
"Yep, quite a good lay that friend of yours. And the things he can do with his tongue. Magic, I tell you."
"I don't want to hear this."
"Why, Howie? Didn't you want me to tell you everything? Here it is. The whole truth. Just like you asked for."
He looked away.
"We were at it for hours. Some stamina he's got. The moves he makes. And the way he said my name."
"Orgasms galore, I tell you. Haven’t felt like that, well, ever."
"Hey, did I tell you I almost slept with Kevin once, too? Keep going like this I'll have the complete set."
"Stop it!" he yelled, standing up, moving towards her, grabbing her arms.
"Are you going to hit me, Howie?" she taunted. "Come on, hit me." She stared into his rigid visage, then her face crumpled, tears spilling and she slumped down the wall. "Please…"she begged as she fell.
Howie just held her. He realized what she had been trying to do -- to make him so angry that he would be the one to leave. But he had stood his ground for longer than she had been able to keep up the act.
He held her close, rocking her body as she sobbed violently. He didn't even stop the tears that started to roll down his face. He just let them flow.
It was several minutes before Kat could calm herself down enough to comprehend that he was still there, that he was still holding on to her. She looked up at him through red-rimmed eyes, stunned that he could even touch her after what she had said. Then he did more than just hold her. He stroked the hair away from her face and leaned in and kissed her lightly, delicately, on the mouth. She gasped in surprise, not just at the fact that he had done it, but also at how good it felt. It felt like a butterfly's touch, like an angel dancing on her lips. When he leaned back, separating from her, she was bereft, and could not restrain a slight sound of disappointment.
He stood, leading the way, and sat her down in the armchair, then pulled it close to him as he sat on the corner of the bed, their legs touching. "Now, are you going to talk rationally?" he asked.
She nodded her head, unable to speak.
"Okay. First. Why do you think you are not good enough for me?"
"I betrayed you. Twice."
"What with Kevin?" he shook his head dismissively, "I knew about that. He told me after we first met."
"No, not Kevin. That was even before I knew you, and it just wasn't right. No. With AJ."
"AJ says he forced you."
"He's lying. I don't know why, but he is lying. He didn't have to force me to do anything."
"The first time we were drunk. It was like a dare."
He swallowed the knot of fear he felt. "And the second?"
She looked away. "The second time we both knew what we were doing."
He was silent for a moment. "Why, Kat?"
She shrugged. "He wanted me. He was there and he wanted me. You didn't. You'd made that quite clear."
"God!" he exploded. "I wanted you."
"You pushed me away, Howie," she said, remembering afresh his actions before the concert.
"I did that because… " He stopped, exasperated. "I wanted you so badly that I wanted it to be the most perfect thing that had ever happened. I want to make love to you, not just have sex with you."
She couldn't answer that. She had wanted the same thing, but knew in her heart that any time they were to be together would have been making love for her.
"Hey, look at me," he took her head in his hands, rubbing her face delicately. "I love you Kat. I did then, I do now. And I know you love me. Please just say it."
She tried to turn away, but his hands wouldn't let her. "Yes," she whispered.
"Yes, I love you, Howie. Yes, I still love you. Yes, I'll always love you."
He looked at her, eyes shining. "That's all I needed to hear." He swept her into his arms, and laid his soft, supple lips on hers.
Kat moaned, opening her mouth to his, and he intensified the kiss. All the fear, rage and passion that the two had been holding back for so long surged forth. The kiss became fierce, almost violent, as they fought to release the strong feelings that they had repressed. She pulled his head closer, forcing his teeth along her lips, mixing pain in with the pleasure he was giving her. He gripped her hair tightly, pulling it down, exposing her neck to him, and bit down on the sensitive flesh, savoring the taste of her sweet skin, taking note of the deep moan that he had elicited. Her fingers grasped him, her short nails biting into his back.
He leaned back, pulling her out of the chair and across his body. He slid his hand under her shirt and up her back. She groaned with pleasure, arching her body. Her movement threw them momentarily off balance, and they rolled to the side, he now on top of her, still clinging together. He drew away from her for an instance and she whimpered in denial, then sighed as he pushed her shirt up and ran his tongue along her stomach. She unbound his hair, and ran her fingers through his dark curls, pushing his face, his tongue, deeper into her. He bit her lightly and she loosened her hold, and concentrated on stroking his back.
Howie leaned back, sitting up. He reached forward and unbuttoned every clasp on her shirt, slowly, carefully, lightly stroking her skin as he pushed the material aside. His eyes never left hers. She reached up and unfastened his shirt with the same tenderness. Her hands glided over his firm physique, grazing his nipples, and he noted the flushed look on her face as she touched him. As if the mere feel of his flesh was enough to push her over the edge.
"Howie," she murmured, almost as if she didn't believe he was there, that she was touching him. He moaned and lunged on her, hands and mouth touching as much of her as he could. She cried out with pleasure, her own lips and hands busy on his body. She licked his chest, sucked on his nipples, stroking the strong muscles on his abdomen. She felt like she was drowning in him, the scent, the taste so overpowering. She had been starving and he was her feast. She raked her fingers down his spine, thrilled by the way he arched, thrust his body at her, in reaction.
Howie was overwhelmed by his ardor for her. Her skin was like silk over his steel, and he wanted to crush her body under his, to free the fever she built in him. His hands went to her panties, her soaked panties, and he stroked roughly, causing her to cry out. He slipped his fingers in her soft folds, delighting in the feel of her warmth. He grazed his thumb over her swollen lump and she exploded in orgasm, clutching him anxiously, frightened by the swiftness of her eruption. Tears rolled down her face as she gasped, again and again.
He rolled away from her, removing his pants, and pulling her underwear away. His erection sprang forth, harder and higher than it had ever been before. His hand stroked her body, lower, feeling for her. He was about to enter her when she put a hand on his chest, stopping him.
"Not if isn’t right." she said, trying to let him know that she was willing to wait until he was ready, whenever he was ready.
"It's never been more right. It could never not be right if its with you," he replied and surged forward.