Part Twenty Two
Peter looked at her, broken and sad and knew he was doing the right thing, he’d rearranged everything in his diary to get three days free to travel to her, and now he was relieved that she really DID need him.
Reaching out he took her hand, “I’ve worked it all out Lex, once we’ve both finished what we’re doing, me in Australia, you here, we’ll go back to Geneva. Healthcare is amazing there! You’ll be well looked after. And no one need know any different!”
She opened her mouth to protest, but he silenced her, “you don’t want Luiz?” He breathed a huge sigh of relief when she shook her head, “I want us to be together, this baby doesn’t change that. OK?”
Lex felt the air leave her chest in a whoosh, “you don’t care?” When he shook his head she stepped backwards, “it would never look like you!”
He laughed, “who cares! It would look like you, that’s all that matters.”
Peter stepped towards her and she gasped, then fell into his arms, a safe, happy and wonderful place. She could feel his lips on the top of his head, murmuring words as she broke down in a snotty, tearful mess.
When she finally stopped crying, she realised that they were in the lounge somehow, “I must look a mess!”
He shrugged, “you’re always beautiful.” Then he reached out and wiped the tears from her eyes with his thumbs, “I’m quite liking the vulnerable Alexis...she doesn’t bite as much!”
She offered a watery smile, then pulled back, “I need to wash my face...”
In the bathroom she shut the door and leaned back against it, heart racing, he wanted her regardless. She was amazed, suddenly her life wasn’t over. As she made for the sink to splash cold water on her panda eyes, she spotted the windowsill and the stick that a few moments had been the centre of her universe. The wobbly legs and heart sink were back, he may want her, but this baby wasn’t the best way of them trying again. Wasn’t the greatest start to a relationship, bringing up another man’s baby.
The sound startled her.
“What are you doing? You’ve been in there ages!”
Lex opened the door in silence and looked at Peter.
“What is it? You look whiter than when I arrived!”
She bit her lip wanting to stop the tears, she looked at the window sill and sighed, Peter followed her eyes, “what is that?” He stepped closer, “is that a test?” When she nodded he shook his head, “you haven’t done a test yet? Bloody idiot!” The last part was hissed under his breath. “What are we looking for here?”
“One blue line negative, two blue lines positive!” She said almost robotically as she watched him step towards the windowsill and pick up the stick she’d left there what seemed like an hour ago.
He looked at it for a moment, then looked at her, “So two lines?”
She felt a tear well, “is positive.”
He grinned, “well it’s extremely lucky that this only shows ONE line!” He held it out for his inspection, then tossed it over his shoulder before scooping her up in his arms and swinging her around.
The tears truly fell now; Alexis clung to Peter, never knowing relief as she did now. Suddenly there wasn’t a dark cloud over the future; suddenly it was the two of them and the friendship that had only supplemented the passion between them.
Peter eventually led her back to the lounge pulling her to sit beside her, but it was a long time until she was up for talking.
“Do you want something to eat? You must be starving! When did you arrive in Rio?”
Peter smiled, typical of her to think with her stomach, “I landed at three o’clock, but it took AGES to get here from the airport. And you’re right, aeroplane food is hardly enthralling, I’m sure you’ve got better!"
She chuckled nervously as he followed her into the lounge. She had cold meats, fresh bread, cheese, olives, and salad, enough for a good meal, and there was the nice red she’d opened earlier, grabbing another glass she poured, then handed it to him.
“I can’t believe you’re here!” She couldn’t believe most things about that evening, she felt as though she was floating, nothing made sense any more.
Peter laughed after sipping the wine appreciatively, “and I can’t believe we got into all that worry when you hadn’t even done a test!”
She sighed, “I was too scared. I could pretend it wasn’t happening when I didn’t really know. It made me feel sick just doing a test.” She dropped her head, embarrassed that they were having this conversation.
Smiling he perched against the work surface next to her, “You’ve had a stressful few weeks.”
She shrugged, “not stressful enough for me to skip a period I didn’t think...never had that with my finals even!”
“I saw your Dad, in London a few weeks back, it must’ve been a shock for you finding out he was so ill.”
She shuddered at the memory, “he was SO ill the first two days, it was touch and go. But he’s as strong as an ox...”
“He looked dreadful when I saw him, it shocked me, but you’re right, he’s the strongest man I know.”
"Did you really run away from me both times because of my father? He told me that he spoke to you back when I was sixteen." By the time she managed this question they were sat opposite each other at the small dining table attacking the food she’d prepared.
He had to pause from eating some bread slathered with hummus and took a deep breath, "when your father took me under his wing I loved feeling part of a family. My mother has travelled constantly since I was a child, wherever the latest man lived or was going. I was left with a variety of relatives on a temporary basis. Then the Carmichaels sort of adopted me..."
He stared up at her wide eyes, "you were so special to me, in the beginning you were like a little sister, but then all of a sudden you were so much more...I knew you liked me, and I knew you were young, too young, that I couldn’t entertain acting on it.” He sighed, “I mean you were sixteen I was almost twenty four. But I lived for those times I spoke to you, our long conversations, walks in the garden."
He stood and walked across to the window, looking out onto the busy road that lined the beach at Copacabana.
Eventually he turned back to her, "the night before your birthday, I was leaving college, and your father called me back. Basically he warned me that you had a crush on me and that he knew I was honourable and would never do anything to damage your reputation or my career." He laughed, "I stood there and promised him that I felt nothing for you, and would never insult him by getting involved with you. And I wouldn’t have, but I intended to come to the party, as I’d promised. Then I heard him and Chris the other intern talking and he threatened to call the police, get me on the sex offender register. Looking back you were sixteen, it was morally wrong, but never legally, but I was too scared to work that out. So I ran."
She dropped her head into her hands and groaned, it was so much worse than she imagined, her bloody father! Eventually she picked up her head, once again met his eyes, "he never told me he threatened the police or your career. The man’s a bastard! I told him that once he was well again."
Peter shrugged, “the fact was I WAS too old, and you were way too good for me."
Alexis smiled, "don’t be ridiculous, though I can see it wasn’t easy. But what about Stockholm?"
Taking a long drink of her wine he watched her for a moment as he contemplated a reply, "I’m a man of honour Lex, I promised your father I would never touch you..."
"And you did more than that!" Peter looked at the floor, feeling dreadful, so she added, "my dad fixed us meeting again, he knew you were there, that’s why he made me go in his place. After dragging us apart he practically threw us back together again!"
His eyes snapped up to meet her gaze, "really?" That was news to Peter, but then their conversation recently had revealed that her father was keen to see them together, he knew exactly how Peter felt.
She nodded; "I think he was giving us his blessing..." she walked towards him purposefully.”And as I recall last time you were here you asked me a question."
He looked puzzled for a moment, then she swooped her mouth down to capture his lips, lips that were tender, a tongue that was insistent, he responded with a moan that made her heart race.
Eventually he managed to pull back dragging his lips from her, looking down at her, he smiled, she was breathless, her teeth ensnaring her bottom lip, her eyes glittered, and she still had her body pressed up against his, "now tell me THAT wasn’t special!"
She smiled, "it definitely was! But then it ALWAYS was!"
With that she reached up for him again, drawing his face back down to hers. And it was powerful, destructive and as all encompassing as the memories they shared.
After just a few moments of passionate kisses, her knees weakened, her body was pulsing, and she was pressed up against him, draping her arms around his neck, all fear and anxiety gone.
Suddenly Peter stepped back, "we can’t do this!"
This was NOT happening again! Alexis shook her head, "Peter, what are you trying to do to me?"
"I want to speak to your father before this goes any further. I want to do something the right way for a change. We need to get this out in the open. Once he’s agreed that he’s happy for us to date, then maybe..." He looked as though he was as tortured as her, but he was adamant, and the one thing Alexis knew was that he was a man of his word.
“Agree to what? Get what out in the open? We’ve slept together on one occasion, that’s all. We hardly have to proclaim out intentions to others...though it’d be nice to know how you really felt about me. And my father definitely doesn’t have a say in what we do. It’s not the sixteenth century you know!"
He cupped her face, "You know how I feel about you, I meant everything I said to you last time, I want you, I need you in my life."
"Well then maybe you need to start putting me above my father and your career for a change!"
He looked at her and smiled, “I’ve booked into a hotel, I’m going back there, then we can meet tomorrow when it’s easier to control things.”
Alexis hadn’t noticed he didn’t have a bag with him; he’d left it somewhere before coming to her, damn! She cursed him, why did he have to be so self righteous and so stubborn?
“So you’re going back to your hotel room...alone?” When he nodded, she shrugged, then turned and crossed the room, as she got to the door leading out into the hallway; she paused mustering up all her strength and bravery, then glanced over her shoulder, "I’ll be in the bedroom if you change your mind! Or otherwise lock the door when you leave."
As she stepped out into the hallway, she lifted her sleeveless top over her head and threw it behind her. Her bravado had faded when the bedroom door closed behind her, and as she kicked off the remainder of her outer clothes, she felt sick with nerves. Then she saw the door handle move, and with a deep breath she faced the door, in just her underwear, head held high.