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The Bodyguard (Completed)

Chapter 2

Rebecca? She'd never heard that name from him before. She didn't know much about his life before her. He kept no pictures of his family who lived in London, even though she knew they were still alive. She'd once walked in on him talking to someone on the phone who might have been his mother, but the conversation was in Russian and he pushed her out of his office and closed the door before she could hear anymore of it.

"Alex." She gingerly tapped his shoulder. "Wake up."

His handsome face was contorted with anguish and beads of sweat had sprung on his forehead. "I didn't know about the baby, I didn't know!"

What baby? She couldn't stand to see him in pain any longer and didn't know how else to wake him. Though she didn't want to hurt him, she steeled herself and slapped him hard across the face.

Alex jackknifed from the mattress so violently that she was almost thrown off the bed. He caught her elbow in time to keep her from falling and pulled her back toward the middle. He was breathing hard, taking big gulps of air. "Did I hurt you?" he demanded.

"Nnn-no," she replied, her heart pounding in her chest. She passed him over the glass of water that she had on her nightstand.

He took it without a word and didn't stop drinking until the glass was empty. She watched his powerful throat muscles as he swallowed, momentarily entranced by the sight. When he handed the glass back to her, she blinked, released the breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding, and returned the glass to the nightstand.

"Are you all right, Selena?"

She didn't answer him. His shoulders and chest were drenched in sweat. She went into the bathroom, grabbed a towel, and silently handed it to him. He took it and wiped his face, chest, and shoulders before tossing it on the floor.

When she struggled to get back on the bed, he reached for her arm and pulled her up until she was next to him. Selena looked into his eyes and saw that they were burning with need.

"Take off your nightgown."

She hesitated because she had never been truly confident of her body to begin with and now that she had gained the extra weight due to the pregnancy, she was near phobic about taking off her clothes in front of him.

"Selena, do as I say."

She was shocked by the quiet dominance in his tone. Alex had always been kind and respectful of her, even though he seemed cold and distant at times. Ingrid told her that's just how Russian men are.

Unnerved by this change in him, she pulled her nightgown over her head and dropped it on the floor. Her first instinct was to cover her chest, but she resisted and allowed him to look his fill. She was his wife. It was childish that she still got shy around him.

He raked his gaze over her bare legs, the thatch of dark hair between her thighs, rounded belly, and full, pendulous breasts. His eyes flared with lust. He seized the back of her head by her hair and crushed her mouth under his.

He kissed her until they were both out of breath and when he lifted his head, she saw that the cool, calm, and collected Alex that she knew was gone for the moment and replaced with this man who was practically feverish with passion.

"Alex," she said uncertainly.

He seized her face in his hands. "I need to be inside you right now, Selena, do you understand me? Tell me you understand."

His words were guttural, his voice harsh like he'd gargled with sand. It was as though he was standing on the precipice of something and only the physicality of their love could bring him back from the edge. She had nothing else to say, but, "Yes, Alex, I understand."

He kissed her again, thrusting his tongue into her mouth as he put his hands on her shoulders and firmly pushed her down toward the mattress. He immediately got on top of her, pushing off his silk boxers down his legs, and looked at her with what seemed like reverence.

"You are so fucking magnificent, Selena," he whispered, lowering his head to kiss her breasts. "I don't tell you that enough."

Selena marveled at his masculine beauty, at this man she was allowing to make love to her, a man she didn't really know anything about. And she was carrying his child. "Oh, Alex, just love me."

"I do, my darling, I do." With that, he settled himself between her legs, scooted down the mattress until his face was hovering just where she needed him most.

She closed her eyes and shivered as Alex's breath warmed the surface of her vulva.

"Ask me, Selena," he growled in a voice she almost didn't recognize.

"Oh, Alex, please… please..."

And then suddenly he was there, gently prying open her labia with his thumbs and licking her clitoris like a cat with milk. He was relentless. He lapped and sucked, nibbled and teased. As her orgasm began to crest, he lifted himself and plunged his engorged penis into her.

Selena couldn't help but shriek. It had been so long since she and Alex made love that she began to think her pregnant body disgusted him. But he was proving the opposite now.

"Oh God, Selena," he groaned as he continued to pump in and out of her. "I've forgotten how perfectly we fit together. My beautiful wife."

He kept his upper body apart from hers so he wouldn't put pressure on her stomach and stayed kneeling between her thighs, his hands holding on to her hips as he thrust into her over and over again.

Selena's orgasm hit her like a train, starting from the very core of her and spreading to her upper body, then down her legs until her scalp tingled and her toes curled in. Alex followed soon after her, pouring himself into her before dropping to his side of the bed like he'd been shot off a horse.

"Just give a minute," he said, "to catch my breath."

Selena nestled into his side and put her head on his shoulder. Alex lifted his arm, so she could rest on his chest, instead, and settled his palm on the curve of her hip. Her rounded belly lay between them.

They were both silent for a moment, listening to each other breathe. Alex was nuzzling her hair, while the tip of her index finger lazily circled his navel. No one wanted to speak in fear of shattering their peace and contentment.

Until she couldn't stand any longer and she had to ask. "Alex, who is Rebecca and what baby were you talking about?"

In her arms, he froze for a few seconds as though in panic, then his fingers bit into the flesh of her hip. "What are you talking about?"

She raised her head from his chest and peered down at him. "You were having a nightmare, so I woke you up. Don't you remember? You were yelling about someone named Rebecca and saying you didn't know about the baby."

"Oh, God." He sat up and covered his face with his hands. "There are many things I haven't told you about myself, Selena, and I'm sorry for it."

She pulled herself up next to him and rubbed his back. "Tell me, Alex, please."

Alex turned to her, lifted her chin toward him, and brushed her lips with his. "Bear with me, my love." He rested his forehead against hers for a moment before leaving the bed to put on his boxer shorts.

Selena watched silently as he picked up her glass before heading into the bathroom. She heard him turn on the faucet and some splashing noises. When he came back, he placed the glass of water on her nightstand.

"I just had to rinse my face a little bit," he said, as though embarrassed. He returned to the bed, stacked his pillows against the headboard, and lay down against them. "God, I'm so tired."

Selena set up her pillows next to his and did the same. She put her nightgown back on while Alex was in the bathroom. "We can talk in the morning?"

He picked up her hand and brought it to his lips. He shook his head. "This has been weighing on my mind for so long. You need to know about it. It will explain my anxieties over your pregnancy."

Selena was surprised to hear this. Alex rarely showed his vulnerable side. She was starting to think he was infallible. It was only in bed that she saw him capable of expressing true emotion. "What's going on?"

He sighed heavily, as though the action pained him. "Rebecca was my partner for almost ten years. We were going to get married."

It hurt to imagine Alex being married to someone else, but Selena told herself to push past it. Alex was thirty-seven years old. Of course he had a life before her. "Tell me everything."

He laughed bitterly. "I don't know if I'm ready to do that." He raked his hand through his hair. "She was pregnant with my child, but at the time we were fighting a lot and I was out of the country most of the time, trying to save my company by shoring up investors. She didn't trust me enough to tell me about the baby."

His voice broke at the end. Selena cradled his head against her shoulder and kissed him. "What happened to the baby, darling?"

"He died. I was afraid to tell you about my past, Selena, because I don't want to lose you. I've done… many things to get to where I am now that are…"

Selena held him tighter. "Morally questionable?"

"Yes." He exhaled with a sob. "I was raised in England, but I was born in Russia. We didn't move to London until I was nine. My parents are Russian exiles. My father was a wealthy and powerful man in his country… so he made any enemies."

Selena turned her head and kissed his hair. He'd always been the one to hold her and assuage her fears, the rock in their relationship. Now, she had to be strong for him. "Was he a gangster?"

It took a long time for him to answer, but after several seconds, he said, "Yes. His main rival was a man called Vadim Kalyagin. For several years after my father moved us to London, there was a ceasefire between them because my father had retired from the business. He would find out later that my Uncle Boris, his younger brother, hadn't…"

"Oh, Alex…"

"By this time, I was running my own hedge fund company and Rebecca was working for Sydney Bloom, a self-styled ethical capitalist. Rebecca and I had met in New York while we were both interning at Goldman."

Selena smiled in self-deprecation. She never experienced anything like that. She attended a state school, then quickly after graduation, went from one mid-level admin job to the next. She had to live in mediocrity to stay under the radar. She'd had to change her name every few years as well as her address more times than she could count. "So you two had a lot in common, then?"

He didn't answer that question. "My Uncle Boris had escalated his feud with Vadim Kalyagin to the point that he landed himself in financial trouble and needed my help. I tried very hard to keep my nose clean and stay out of the family business, but I was inadvertently dragged in when my Uncle Boris was murdered."

"Alex, I'm so sorry. Were you two close?"

"We had our differences, but he was a lot of fun. He'd pick me up from school during the weekends and take me fishing. There was a time I was embarrassed of him because he'd come to school wearing a yarmulke, so the lads started calling me a 'Yid'."

Selena stroked his arm. She knew all about getting called racist names, too. "You were bullied?"

"A bit." He shrugged. "But I had a growth spurt one summer and turned out to be good at rugby. I wasn't pushed around anymore after that."

"What happened after your uncle was killed?"

"An Israeli billionaire that my Uncle introduced me to, Semiyon Kleiman, told me Vadim Kalyagin had him killed. He would help me exact my revenge on Kalyagin if I helped him manage his money."

"What did that entail?"

Alex lifted his head from her shoulder and wrapped his fingers around her upper arms, shifting her so that they were face to face. "Skirting around some finance laws. Moving his money around to different funds and offshore accounts so that large transactions wouldn't be detected." He stared into Selena's eyes. "Money laundering. Do you understand?"
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