Astrid woke Saturday morning thinking of Remy, flustered by the wetness between her thighs.
Cocooning herself under a blanket didn’t stop the distressed pleas of Remy’s deep voice over the phone from playing in her mind like a record stuck on half-assed explanations of why his former girlfriends mistreated him. He sounded broken and as hard as she tried to deny it; she did miss Remy. How dare he act as if she should sweep his deceitful actions under the rug! His bullshit continued to pile up, but curiosity brewed and she itched to know more about Remy’s history, although Calder wouldn’t understand and if she contacted him again, it might permanently damage their relationship.
With a grunt of frustration, Astrid sprang from the bed and showered, scrubbing skin raw as if she could wipe away feelings for a man who tore her heart and mind in two. When she dried off, there was a knock on the front door. Pulling on a robe, she walked zombie-like to answer.
Calder held a box of chocolates, smiling cutely, “I have yet to do the old fashion things and give my lady candy.”
She accepted the small package with a smile, “You’re too sweet, honey.”
He kissed her, then shut the door. She placed the gift on the coffee table before facing him.
“You look nice and clean,” he grabbed her by the hips, “Smell great too.”
She giggled when he rubbed his nose on her neck, “That’s sweet.”
He tugged at the tie holding her robe close, “You keep saying that. I don’t feel sweet right now.”
Astrid wasn’t in the mood, especially when he turned from gentle to heavy-handed, reminding her how Remy fucked her with vigor. She didn’t rebuke his advances though, figuring the revelations she learned last night were still throwing her off-kilter.
If she stayed angry at Remy, it kept her from admitting she messed up by not allowing him to confess his tragic past in his own time, but Calder made her lose herself sometimes. When he asked her to abandon Remy, she did so out of selfish reasons, not because either man deserved her over the other. Society taught her to stand beside people who cared for her, but by never having a solid person to rely on, bounced from one conflicting behavior to the next, hoping to land safely with her heart intact.
Calder issued a low growl, sliding the robe off until it hit the floor, “You have the softest skin, princess. Looking at you so clean makes me want to dirty you up.”
She tightly smiled as he ran his palms down her back to squeeze her bare bottom. He didn’t notice her quietness or the way her arms remains by her side. He was in a taking spirit. She hadn’t seen him like this since the first time they slept together.
He let her go to undress. She stood still, watching him shrug out of his clothes while slowly becoming aroused by his leer. She drank it all in, wishing thoughts of Remy would stop. Kissing and caressing his toned body finally did the trick while he took her against the wall, claiming the bedroom was too far away.
“Astrid,” he panted, “You make me crazy. You’re so damn sexy.”
“Please,” she dug her nails into his flexing back muscles, “Give it to me harder.”
Breathing hard, Calder granted her wish and nothing beyond the glorious orgasm that rippled throughout her body mattered. He carried her to the bed and told her to get on her hands and knees.
“Show me your ass,” he growled, “That’s right, ass up, sexy.”
She moved to obey when the phone rang. He caught her concerned expression, even bent over, prepared for his entrance. He gripped her hips, dragging her to the edge of the mattress, “Expecting a call?”
She shook her head, flinging hair out of her face, “No! Now, take me, honey.”
Calder flexed his fingers against her hipbones, “I will. Who is it?”
Astrid heard the suspicion in his voice, wiggling in his tightening grasp. She wasn’t worried if Remy called until her battery died. She told herself he didn’t matter. “Are you going to fuck me or not?” her tone harsh, “I don’t think you’ll last another minute.”
That did it. Calder slid into her ass, and she arched her back, crying out. He clutched her hip in one hand, the other taking up a handful of hair, forcing her head to the side as he gave her a series of long, penetrating strokes that sent her off into space.
“You like it?” he grunted, “You do enjoy it rough, huh? With my fat cock stretching your small hole?”
She didn’t answer, knowing he was baiting her. Remy was a skillful lover when not out of control. Calder was learning she preferred both sides of the fence. Unexpectedly, he shoved her forward then rolled her over. He kissed her with a fierceness that stole her breath. She moaned, on fire under his brutal groping. He drove inside once again, filling her over and over until she broke apart into a million pieces.
“I love you, Calder. You know how to touch me.”
“Shh… I’m close,” he gritted out.
Wrapping her legs around his, she urged, “Come for me. Fill me up.”
That’s all it took. He pulled out, jerking himself off on her tits. She grinned, watching the hazy ecstasy on his handsome face. Calder smiled back before collapsing next to her. “Fuck Astrid, you are unbelievable. Why I can’t look at you without ending up in bed has to stop.”
“If you want to quit having sex I’ll manage,” she teased, “Maybe we should so I’ll see the sun once in a while.”
He groaned, “No! No, I change my mind.”
She pecked his sweaty forehead giggling, “Come on, let’s shower together then go to lunch.”
“Sounds like a plan. We can’t fuck in a restaurant.”
She raised an eyebrow, “Says you. It’s been a long time since the club.”
He swallowed, “Oh, boy. I created a monster, didn’t I?”
* Later that day *
Calder glanced at Astrid in the passenger seat of his car. She seemed as contented as him during the long drive to his fathers’ house. Warm sunlight highlighted new buds sprouting on trees as they wound up the mountain. Springtime was upon them, and it was the perfect time for a getaway in the countryside. She pointed out deer when they appeared, and he wanted to bottle her carefree laughter.
His family’s property dated back to the nineteen-twenties. Over the years his father bought up the surrounding land, accumulating fifty acres. Each of Cal Sr.’s sons was gifted ten on their twenty-first birthdays. Calder mentioned this as they neared the sprawling estate.
“Wow,” she raised her eyebrows, “Have you built on your plot? Have any of you?”
It surprised him she would assume he would want to, “No and no. The parcels are undeveloped and, although marked, considered a whole. We’re coming up to the Lewis crested gate.”
She grinned, gazing at the oversized cast-iron archway. The large family crest overhead gleamed in the sun like a fashion statement rather than heritage pride. “Your father certainly has an enormous yard,” she muttered when seeing the winding road leading up to the house.
The five acres pointing to the mansion were immaculately tended to with grass so green it looked plastic. Roses were in bloom, bombarding the interior of the vehicle with their scent. When they reached the brick inlaid circular drive, she gasped at the massive structure ahead. The French provincial design gave the cream and red stone residence a welcoming impression.
“It’s beautiful,” she sighed in awe, “Did you love growing up here?”
He shrugged, parking next to Chris’s Rolls Royce, “I wasn’t here much, why I don’t know Tucker City. Father either stuck us in private schools across the country or in hotels wherever he worked. This house is a shrine to Lewises. Especially my mother.”
Astrid climbed out after he did with a quietness he didn’t remark on, already worried she would feel out of place. There were two live-in maids, a chef, and a groundskeeper who resided in a cottage behind the creepy hedge maze he avoided as a kid and whoever else Cal Sr. deemed necessary to have close at hand.
When Calder was sixteen, his father hired a masseuse to dote on himself and boys. He soon came to realize her purpose was not too solely massage the tension out of shoulders and had almost lost his virginity to the twenty-year-old, but she left before he could summon up the courage, unlike his older brothers. He liked the think she ran off because she had better sense than to be a plaything for a debased household.
“Are you okay?” Astrid touched his arm.
He cleared his throat, “Yeah. It’s weird being here. Stirs up memories. Come on, let’s get this party started.”
A nineteenth-century chandelier hung in the main foyer and Astrid’s jaw dropped, taking in the opulent decor when maids came to collect their luggage. Calder noticed the young women were his age, curvy with sly smiles sent his direction before disappearing as quickly as they appeared. He ignored them, noticing the artwork on the walls the same as he remembered. The place was a damn time capsule of when his mother roamed the halls and even though he never met her, her ghost remained as his eyes swept the familiar luxurious furnishings. Astrid spun to face him with a beaming smile, oblivious to his turmoil.
He grabbed her hand, leading them up a wide staircase, “My rooms are this way. Ones a game room or was when I was younger. I haven’t stayed here for years. Father always told us to take what we didn’t want messed with because the maids tore our shit apart cleaning. You can imagine what a mess we made as teenagers.”
She snorted, “Thanks for the warning. So, this is how you lived? Amazing, rich boy. You’re sweet to not let money rule how you live now.”
He unlocked the first door on the left, scowling at the adolescent objects inside. She released his hand and laughed over the vintage pinball machine in one corner. He looked around, noting the covered recliner in front of his gaming systems. They piled on top of each other like precarious dominoes.
Astrid opened white double doors, going into the bedroom. Calder followed, cringing at the dorky movie and rock band posters on the wall along with a few racy Playboy bunnies near the four-poster bed. She sat on it, yelping at the unexpected movement of a waterbed.
“I can’t believe you!” she giggled, “How adorable you must have been in your teens.”
“Yeah, yeah… laugh it up. All the girls wanted to see how much motion we could generate on it.”
“Hmm, I bet,” she snickered.
He peeked past the balcony outside the window, having the perfect view of the expansive backyard. Cody and his half-naked date frolicked in the figure-eight pool while Julia stood next to Cal Sr. by the grill. The huge BBQ island housed everything a person needed to host over a hundred guests, and it was his fathers’ favorite hang out in the summer. Chris and Cameron huddled together in the garden behind the water feature, ignoring everyone.
“Oh,” Astrid said over his shoulder, “Seems the ladies from the office decided to not come. Are we the last to arrive?”
He turned, “Ready for my family?”
She smirked, “If Chris gives me any crap, I have no problems throwing Julia into the mix.”
The seriousness in her voice unsettled him, wondering if she would really rat out his brother’s wife for having an affair. He led her through the house until they reached the back patio. She took her time, gawking at the paintings and opulent decor, and he smiled at her childlike wonder.
Chris and Cameron were lounging around a table next to the cookout area drinking by the time they exited the house, and their bodies stiffened the second they spotted Astrid. He pulled her close in a comforting gesture, but she didn’t seem phased at the assessing looks she received.
“Hello!” Cal Sr. grinned, turning away from the meat on the grill, “Come over here.”
Calder accepted his father’s hug warmly, and Astrid flushed when he swept her up in one too.
“Perfect timing,” he winked at her, “I hope you like to eat, unlike Julia. Can’t get anything past her lips except alcohol.”
“I love food,” She laughed, still blushing, “Ask Calder and he’ll say I clean my plate before him every time.”
Calder smirked in agreement, giving her a chaste kiss on the forehead before joining his brothers. He watched Astrid assume the role of a doting girlfriend. She asked if he needed refills of the tasty Mojito they drank and spoke highly of him, even politely correcting Chris when he misunderstood his point during discussions. He relaxed as the hours past, pleased she wasn’t nervous.
Dinner was a strange affair. The family atmosphere surreal. Cal Sr. fixated on Astrid. Calder understood since she was sincere and sweet, plus his stupid siblings never tried to know her while she worked alongside them. Her positive, glowing nature was why he loved her. She soon had everyone, but Chris and Julia, under her spell. Cody’s random date floated in the pool in her scant bikini after eating, probably relieved no one asked her a single question.
Night fell swiftly, and the temperature dropped. When they moved indoors, Cal Sr. requested for them to come into the study. Flashbacks of being berated in his father’s office flooded his brain and wondered he was in for another battle of wills. The smug look on Chris’s face during dessert clued him in something was on the man’s mind.
Astrid fiddled with her fingers nervously when his dad firmly closed the door. He acted indifferent, knowing to play nice or things might get messy. He snatched her hand, leading her to sit beside him on the brown leather sofa.
Cal Sr. took the armchair opposite, eyes glinting like cold, hard emeralds all traces of warmth vanished. His stiff posture indicated a nasty conversation was about to begin.
“What, no Brandy?” he drawled, placing an arm around Astrid’s shoulder.
“It’s come to my attention,” His father eyed him sternly, “That you’re not pulling your weight at work.”
“What?” he refrained an eye roll, “Did Chris tell you this?”
Cal Sr. leaned forward, “All your brothers, actually. They made room for you in the firm at my insistence because everyone starts somewhere. But, Astrid’s kept you occupied elsewhere, isn’t that right?”
Astrid turned red and anger pumped through his veins, “I put in my hours, the same as they do. I’m there every damn day. I have one client!”
Cal Sr. smirked, “Putting in your hours doesn’t produce a profitable lawyer, Jr. I also know about the investigator who followed a man named Renold Meys.”
He cursed his lack of foresight. Astrid avoided looking at either of them, red-faced and shamed into trying to make herself as small as possible. Cal Sr. knew he came across as intimating and was making her feel inferior on purpose. He clenched both hands into fists, taking his arm away from the woman who didn’t deserve this treatment.
“I pay the fucking bills!” his father shouted, startling them, “Did you think the PI wouldn’t alert me to the fact my youngest son’s involved with someone who already has an obsessive boyfriend?”
“Father…” Calder hesitated with excuses on the tip of his tongue, knowing it was useless.
“I don’t care if you fuck whores,” Cal Sr. rose, looming over Astrid, who gasped near tears, “Or if you’re into dudes, but you will do your job. I didn’t send you to Harvard to watch you fail. It’s not fair to me. It’s not fair to your brothers who have proven themselves capable. Astrid?”
She meekly raised her head when he snipped her name. Calder checked his fury because his father held influence over his entire existence. Authoritative power over his job. His money. Hell, even the condo he lived in. The way he spoke to him past degrading and the sneer he let loose on his unsuspecting girlfriend deplorable. He never expected his father to be so blunt or cruel, especially to her. Poor Astrid looked up with doe eyes, and he shifted in his seat helplessly.
“You seem sweet,” Cal Sr. lowered his voice, “I realize, by the information I read, this man threatened you. Have you latched onto my son for protection? To prevent further disputes? Calder can’t protect you if that’s your end game.”
Astrid shook, but not from helplessness. He watched tears dry in her eyes before she jumped up, standing toe to toe with Cal Sr. and he stood too, afraid she would run from the room and his world. This was a total nightmare. Gone was his charming girl, replaced with the hellcat she kept reserved for the bedroom.
“Fuck you, you arrogant asshole!” She spat, “I love Calder. What goes on in my life is none of your damn business. You can take that report and shove it up your ass.”
Then she bolted, confirming he was a coward when it came to his father.
“Calder!” Cal Sr. yelled, rooting him to the spot instead of chasing after her, “Did you believe she’s the one? Guess again. You’re young and someday you’ll thank me for making you confront unavoidable facts.”
He chuckled humorlessly, actually laughed in his father’s face who stood tall and smug as if Astrid hadn’t just told him off. “You pretended to welcome Astrid, but this was an ambush. You’ll never change. Should I get a wife like Julia? Fact; She’s screwing Astrid’s ex-boyfriend. Fact; April’s sleeping with Cody and Cameron’s banging Marla at the office.”
Cal Sr. shoulders went rigid, and he cast him a wary gaze, saying nothing.
“I love a woman who’s beautiful inside and out. She’s not like our family. You can take a lot from me, but you will not have Astrid,” he sneered, “Goodnight, father.”
Calder stormed out of the study, running up the stairs to his rooms, wondering if Astrid packed and wanted to leave. The nerve of his father! The changes he saw in the man were nothing but a false front. A trap. Cal Sr. was a money-hungry tyrant who would never accept Calder’s choices.
To his surprise, he located Astrid laying on the bed in the dark. He lingered in the open doorway, hearing her soft cries. It broke his heart knowing the hatefulness his egotistic father spewed got to her. Silently, he curled up behind her while she sniffed back tears. The darkness hid both their expression when she turned around.
“Am I interfering with your job?” She asked in a small voice.
He caressed her silky chestnut hair, hating she felt rejected yet again. People stubbed their noses at her when they should look up to her. “No princess, you’re not. I’m sorry my father said what he did. He’s a spiteful old man who doesn’t know what happiness is.”
“What did you tell him?”
“That I’m madly in love with you,” he ran his hand across her stiff spine.
Astrid snorted, burying her wet face against his neck, “You probably took ten years off his life by admitting you care for someone without a trust fund.”
He held on tightly, glad she found humor in the situation. She was so warmhearted and brave telling Cal Sr. off when he himself hadn’t the courage. His mind reeled, imagining the future consequence of their actions, but with her in his arms, everything else seemed trivial.
She kissed his lips then whispered, “He knows about Remy. I can’t believe he thinks we’re together because of him.”
“It’s nonsense,” he soothed her by rubbing her back in slow circles, “He’s an asshole. Don’t put any stock into anything he says.”
She laughed in agreement, kissing along his jaw, pressing until their legs intertwined. He grew hard the longer she ground against his body, absorbing her warmth, pleased she wasn’t leaving. Or was she staying because his family didn’t approve of her? Mutual compassion fueled their passion but trusted Astrid knew he adored her.
“Honey,” she cooed, fingers grazing his erection, “Make love to me.”
“Um, don’t you want to go? I figured you’d run as far away as possible.”
She sat up, stripping off blouse and bra. He breathed out a groan, always ready for her affection. Aching to make his lovely girl come in his childhood room, he licked a path down her chest, loving the sound she made when he bit her tightened nipples.
“Why?” she panted, “Why should we give them the satisfaction of running? I say we fuck loud and proud.”
He wasted no time undressing, “Well, I’m game.”
Astrid rolled on top and her burning skin drove him crazy. When they came together, she hadn’t been joking about the rowdy part. He was sure the entire household heard the shrieks of pleasure her filthy mouth shouted.
She was an amazing lover and quickly realized she kept a trick or two up her sleeve. The way she moved! The urgent cries when begging for him to finger her asshole while pounding her pussy gave him chills. Later, completely exhausted, he laid with Astrid’s sweaty limbs draped across his chest. She was on fire, wanton and perverse, but he couldn’t orgasm wondering if she faked a performance for the others in the house. He cringed at the idea she put on a show because tonight she fucked better than any woman he’d been with.
When she sucked his come out with her sultry lips sometime later, he groaned her name to the heavens. The silence afterward felt like a silent voyeur, soaking up their carnal act in awe. Calder suddenly didn’t care if her behavior resembled a cum-slut in a porno, suspecting his brothers listened to every sloppy deed.
Smiling, he pulled her close, falling into a deep sleep.