Abie collapsed on his body, panting with exhaustion. Davis’s legs fell to either side of her and his own breath was still coming out hard. “What do you call what we just did?” he chuckled, caressing her back as she lay plastered to his chest.
She giggled herself at his question. “You may call it anything you’d like. But I think I’ll call it claiming my stud,” she teased, kissing his sweaty chest. She moved her leg to go over his, and his came together in between hers.
The normal haste she’d have to quickly get off of him, he noticed wasn’t there tonight. Instead her cheek was still on his chest, the cowboy hat fallen to the side, and she caressed his biceps quietly. “What’s wrong?” he asked cautiously.
He’d seen that she was going to move off of him, so the hand that was caressing her now held her in place. She laughed quietly. “Nothing’s wrong. I just had a different scenario playing out in my mind when I asked you to make love to me. I didn’t expect for you to turn me on so immensely that I couldn’t keep my hands off you, or the overwhelming need to dominate you,” he heard her say with a smile in her voice. “Not quite the lovemaking I was going to give you.”
His hand smoothed up her back, making its way to the back of her neck where his fingers entangled with her blonde curly mane, pulling her head up so he could look at her. “I really loved your version of lovemaking, Abie. Let’s do that more often, sugar,” he growled.
“You like to be dominated, don’t you?” she asked with that sly smile of hers.
“I like when you take over. But at the same time, I love to take you over.” He smiled his own wicked smile when he thought back to what they just did. “There was something so damn hot when you used that oh so luscious female body of yours, acting all masculine.”
She sat up enough to climb off him, and this time he let her. “Well, my plan was for you to be in control. I guess maybe next time,” she chuckled. She put her head on his shoulder, lying next to him. Her body stuck to his side as she draped over a leg, and petted the patch of hair on his chest.
His arm squeezed her to him. “I still have more that I have in mind for us,” he told her huskily.
She stayed there, still petting him, but he could feel her light giggle. “And what more do you have in store for me tonight, Davis?”
“I want to wash your body down in the shower.”
He looked down at her, and she had that sly smile back on, making him shiver. “Do you now…”
“Yeah, and I want to wash your hair as well. I can’t tell you how much I love curly hair. In fact, I want you to wear your hair natural when we’re together,” he commanded.
That had her laughing. “I’ll tell you what. I’ll wear my hair natural when you do things for me in the buff.” She grinned at her cleverness. “You want to cook me dinner with no clothing, I’ll let my hair stay curly. You paint my toenails, with no clothing on, again I’ll let my hair go natural, and etcetera, etcetera…”
He chuckled. “Okay, I can do that, but I might have to throw in a little more. Like birthdays, holidays. The days I want to lock you up in my room for days on end, just enjoying your body,” he crooned. Davis gently peeled her off, and started walking to the restroom. “Where are you going?” she asked with a smile.
“Starting the damn shower, woman,” he grunted, as his mind filled with the many dirty things he’d like to do to that body of hers.
It was early in the morning when Davis woke. He blinked a couple of times before looking over at the clock that was flashing seven a.m. at him. He started to moan at his damn internal clock that always woke him up when he was trying to sleep in. But this morning he felt a warm body move next to him, cuddling a very soft little ass right next to his hip.
He turned over, moving some of her hair out of the way, and was feeling that hip that was just begging for some male attention when his cell rang. He quickly turned to his nightstand and grabbed his phone.
“Yeah?” he whispered gruffly, assuming it was Richie or Yancy calling him this early to bust his balls about what happened with Abie.
“Davis, is that how you say good mornin’ to your momma?” his mother’s voice chirped at him.
He quickly and carefully made his way out of bed. “Good mornin’, Momma. I wasn’t expecting a call so early from you. Is everything okay?” he whispered, slipping on his boxers, and heading out of the room so as not to wake Abie.
His mother started to giggle. “Are you with her?” she asked too loudly, and too damn happily for this early in the morning.
“Momma, I just got out of bed for you to be screeching in my ear.”
“Oh bubba, I can’t wait to meet her! I just gotta let y’all know that Jessie and I are flying in to spend Christmas with you two love birds,” she informed him happily, and so quickly he couldn’t even get a word in edgewise.
He sighed, and cursed his big sister under his breath. “Momma, I’ve already made plans with Abie for Christmas…”
“Oh my word, what an adorable name!” she gushed to him. “Abie, how sweet. Your sister wouldn’t tell me anything other than ‘bubba’s got it bad,’ and I might have grandbabies in my future… Oh, one can only hope, Davis.”
“So you need to tell me her size…”
“Because y’all know I’ll have to go shoppin’ for her as well…”
“Momma…” he tried once again.
“And for Christmas dinner…”
“Momma, stop!” he cut in a little more sharply.
“What?” she asked, and he could tell he’d upset her. But before he could say something further, warm hands drifted to his middle, and a soft kiss was felt on his back. Abie made her way to the front of him, letting her fingers trail along his skin.
She held out her hand for the phone. “Momma, Abie wants to talk to you. You don’t mind, do you?” he asked with a proud little smile on his face.
“Oh my word, bubba, no baby, I would love to!” she gushed happily once more.
He placed the phone in Abie’s hand as she walked towards the kitchen. He’d seen she’d put one of his shirts on again, and nothing else.
“Mrs. Mills, good morning… Oh thank you, Betty Ann, and you must call me A.B…yes, well that’s close enough,” she chuckled. “I’m sorry Davis was so rude to you about us having made plans already. And I couldn’t help but overhear that you wanted to come to Boston for Christmas?” she said, nodding, and a smile formed on her face. “Yes, it would be lovely to meet you as well… No, please don’t think you’re interfering. Yes, yes…” She laughed softly.
“Please don’t fret over such small matters. No, I would love to go shopping with you for the preparation of the Christmas festivities. My mother, and father? Well, no, I have just my mother now…no, no, please don’t worry. I am going to have Christmas Eve dinner with her, though. I hope you won’t mind if Davis accompanies me?”
She shook her head. “No, my mother hasn’t been feeling well for some time now. Yes, that’s correct. I’m afraid she won’t be able to accompany me to Christmas dinner this year. But I’ll make sure to tell her that you sent an invitation to her just the same. She will be very pleased to hear that… Yes, it was lovely talking to you as well… Yes, see you soon then, bye.”
She smiled, handing the phone back to him, and he reached down, kissing her thoroughly before getting back on the line with his mother. “Momma, I’m going to let you go.” He started to head down the hall after Abie.
“Oh my goodness, bubba, she sounds so beautiful, and so smart. Jessie told me she was gorgeous. I can’t wait to meet her!” she began, and he could tell she was in full talking mode at the moment.
“Momma, I’ll see you in in eleven days, all right?” he cut in, his mind on other things at the moment.
She stopped her quick patter, and was silent, but he heard a small laugh. “All right, Davis. I’ll let you go. I love you, bubba, and I’ll see y’all in a couple days,” she told him, and hung up quickly. He groaned, wondering if she was going to be coming out earlier just to meet his woman.
He quickly made his way down the hall, going into the master suite. “Abie?” he called out. Then he heard mumbling in the bathroom.
“I’ll be out in a minute. By the way, I’m using your toothbrush. I figured we’ve shared every other bodily fluid with one another, I thought you wouldn’t mind,” she told him through the door.
“No, sugar, that’s fine in my book,” he laughed. His cell chirped in his hand and he turned it over to see if it was his momma, saying she’d be there in five hours. But no, it was just a text from Rich.
“Been knocking, come open the damn door!”
Damn, he couldn’t believe his luck this morning. He finally gets the woman he’s been wanting in his bed, only to have everyone, including his mother, calling or coming to his damn place. He tapped on the bathroom door. “Abie, someone’s at the door. I’ll be back.”
Slipping on a pair of jeans, he went to the front door and opened it for Richie. “Damn, bubba, feels like I’ve been knocking for hours,” he grumped. “Why the hell don’t you have people to do your shit yet around here?”
Davis shut the door behind him. “Because I planned on heading home soon. There’s no need for someone to come cook for me, and everything else, when I had no intention of staying.And I have a service that comes three times a week to take care of everything when I’m at work.”
Rich helped himself to the kitchen, and Davis followed, hoping he could quickly get his best friend to vacate the penthouse so he could go back to bed with Abie. “Why the hell are you here so early in the morning anyway?” he asked. “Didn’t you go out and find yourself a piece of ass last night?” he mumbled quietly so a certain woman wouldn’t hear.
Richie put a pod in the coffee maker, grabbing himself a mug. “What the hell, Davis. We all know your ass is up at five a.m. every day,” he chuckled. “And no, I just went to the hotel and watched some TV before I fell asleep. Wasn’t in the mood to go deal with all the shit… You know how it goes. So what happened with your woman?” Rich asked, putting a mound of sugar in his coffee.
Davis’s hand went through his hair as he glanced towards the back rooms. “We got all the shit sorted out.”
Rich looked in the same direction. “Oh shit, you mean you got her to stay the night?”
“Yeah, she stayed the night,” he confessed happily.
Rich started to get up to leave. “Sorry, bubba, I didn’t know…” he began, when Abie walked into the kitchen.
Davis smiled as she came in, seeing that she’d raided his closet. She’d found his old Rice University sweatshirt, and he could’ve sworn that underneath was the collared shirt from their first night together. The ends of the shirt hung down from under the sweatshirt, covering most of her black pants. “Good morning,” she said as she came into the kitchen where the two of them stood.
She placed her arm around Davis’s waist, observing Rich. “I believe we’ve met once before, but have never been properly introduced,” she smiled.
Rich laughed, glancing at Davis’s smiling face, then smiled at the little woman at his best friend’s side. “Richard Hancock, ma’am. It’s a pleasure to finally meet the woman who’s had bubba all in a tangle,” he laughed.
She glanced over at Davis. “Bubba?” she questioned, holding back a giggle.
He snatched her up in his arms, kissing her forehead before he answered. “Yes, bubba. It’s what my good friends and family call me,” he informed her. Then he gave her one more quick kiss before letting her go.
She shook her head at him before making her way to Rich, who had sat down in one of the chairs at the high kitchen table. “By the way, I’m A.B.,” she offered, shaking his hand.“Davis’s normally stunning manners have fallen so short this morning,” she laughed.
She walked out of the room, and when she came back she had her coat on as well as her boots. Davis came around the counter. “Where are you going this early in the morning, hon?”
Her hands came up, rubbing his bare arms. “I’m off to Dunkin’s to get myself a sugar cookie latte. It’s only here for the Christmas season, and it’s my favorite. I think I deserve my calorie-infused coffee this morning.”
He frowned, wanting to get rid of his friend, not the woman he had plans for. “I’ll make you coffee, sugar, hell I’ll even whip you up some breakfast. I don’t like you wandering around on the street this early in the morning. No, I take that back, I don’t like you wandering around the streets at all. You just stay in and I’ll get everything ready for you,” he commanded.
She really laughed then, taking his head in her hands and softly kissing his lips. When she let him go she buttoned up her coat. “First, I’m a New Englander, so I drink Dunkin Donuts. Second, I’ve walked these streets all my life, and I’m not going to stop now because an extremely pushy man is forgetting his place, and commanding me to,” she said. “Anyway we’re in Boston, there’s a Dunkin on every corner. That happens to include the one right next to your own building, you silly man.”
She kissed him one last time. “I’ll get some bagels and schmear as well. You really need to learn to eat like an East Coaster,” she told him, then turned to Rich. “If you’re not here when I get back, it was a pleasure to see you again,” she told him, making her way out the door.
After both men heard the door shut Rich started laughing, and Davis smiled. “Holy shit, bubba. You are so whipped, boy, it isn’t funny!” he exclaimed with a deep laugh.
Davis made himself some coffee, a grin plastered on his face. “Yes, I am,” he admitted.
“Oh man, so when’s the wedding?” Rich chuckled, now playing around.
“As soon as I think she’ll say yes.”
That made Rich stop laughing, but his smile lingered. “It’s like that then?”
“Yup, just like that,” Davis told him easily. He turned back to his friend with coffee in hand. “Hey, are you flyin’ back home for Christmas?”
Rich sat back in the chair, thinking. “Haven’t really thought about it. Mom’s off around the world with husband number five at the moment. Christmas is just another day for me at this point in my life,” he said.
“Well, Momma and Jessie are heading out here to meet Abie, so why don’t you make your way over as well. Momma would love to see yah.”
He shrugged his shoulders. “Why not. I’ll stick around, get some shit done out here. Poppa’s always wanted to get into the docking side of business. Now that my best friend owns most of the shit, might as well look into it for him. Besides, I love to bug the hell out of Yancy,” he chuckled.
Davis laughed. “Damn, Richie, you never leave that man alone. You’ve been bugging the hell out of him since we were four.”
Rich smiled and took a sip of his coffee. “Yeah, so what’s the point in stopping now?” he grinned.
Rich had left by the time Abie returned. Davis heard the door open and he went to go help her. “Hey sugar, what took so long if it’s just around the corner?” he mumbled.
“Davis, you do remember it is a work day? Half of the city is in the shop right now!”
They made their way into the kitchen, and she prepared to get them breakfast. “I wasn’t sure what kind of bagel you’d prefer, so I picked up a couple,” she told him, taking the bag from his hand after putting her coffee on the counter. He just stood and watched her going around his kitchen, and that possessive beast was very pleased.
She glanced up at him as she sliced through a bagel, then back down at the task at hand. “I wanted to show you something,” she began.
His brows went up in surprise. “Is it in my bedroom, or in my bed? Please tell me that it’s in the shower, because damn, woman, you could’ve broken me last night,” he chuckled.
She grinned as she spread some kind of cream cheese on a bagel that he knew she was making for him. “Davis, not everything begins with foreplay, and not everything ends with you having that beautiful mouth of yours under me cleaning up after yourself,” she told him, but he heard that laugh she was holding in.
“Abie…” his chest rumbled in excitement.
“Sit. Now, pet,” she ordered him softly, and he did.
She put the plate in front of him. He picked up the bagel and was about to eat when she started talking again. “I want to take you over to my brownstone this morning.”
His eyes met hers over the bread, then he put it back down onto the plate. “Really, sugar?” he asked cautiously.
She nervously picked up her coffee, and her hand was shaking while she took a sip. “If I’m going to let you in, then I’m letting you in completely, Davis.”
“Will you tell me why you get so nervous when you talk about your brownstone? Because you also act like you love the place,” he commented gently to her.
She leaned against the counter, playing with the white lid of the cup with her finger. “Yes, I’ll explain everything to you in detail, and all the questions that you’ve wanted to ask will be answered as well. But first we’ll eat, then we’ll go together.”
Davis watched her subdued demeanor, and knew this was going to be difficult for her. “Okay, sugar. Let’s eat, then we’ll head out,” he said.
Once they were on Chestnut Street, Davis could see Abie’s body language change instantly. “There, that one with the black door,” she told him. When they pulled up in front, her head fell back onto the seat, looking at her place. “I knew the place was mine when I saw the black door,” she said wistfully.
He got out, then went and opened the car door for her. They made their way up the steps where she took out her key, taking a deep breath before she unlocked the door. They both stepped inside, and Davis saw what a magnificent place she had. “Abie, this place is amazing.”
She set her keys on the hallway table. The black and white marble entry floor stopped at the oak floors that went all through the living room. The place was completely empty except for an old green couch.
He followed her through the massive rooms. They walked through the kitchen and up a flight of back stairs that lead to the second story. They passed four other rooms before she opened the door leading into the great master suite, all in white, with white and blue toile curtains on the grand windows.
She stopped, turning around to look at him, as he looked at the old beat-up mattress on the floor by her feet. She sighed, going to the double doors that opened into a massive walk-in closet, well stocked with clothing.
“This is what I have, Davis. This brownstone, the couch, the table, the old mattress on the floor, and the clothing in this closet. This is my life after thirty-seven years.” She took a shuddering breath. “I have very little at Kitty’s and Allie’s places. Just enough to stay there for a couple of weeks. I’ve never stayed in one place very long.” She paused, then continued. “But I was thinking it was time I faced my fears, and moved what little I have here. Maybe make it my home.”
He walked up to her, and looked down into those sad eyes. “Abie, why are you afraid to stay at your place?” he asked. Her head quickly turned away from him, but he took his finger under her chin, lifting it back up to him. “Tell me, sugar,” he pleaded quietly.
She nodded, and he let out a breath he didn’t even realize he was holding. She leaned back against the wall, and he saw her mind work on what she was going to tell him. “Just tell me everything. Don’t keep it in anymore,” he urged her.
Her hands came up to his chest. “I need you to give me my space. I know it sounds odd, but I feel very claustrophobic when I’m nervous,” she tried to explain.
“Okay, sugar,” he said, taking a couple of steps back from her. She nodded at the distance and her hands came in front of her, twisting themselves together.
“The night I moved into this place started out to be one of the happiest of my life. When I was a teenager, Kitty and Allie and I would drive up to Beacon Hill looking at all these beautiful homes, dreaming that one day we would live here. When the realtor pulled up to this place and I saw it had a black door, I fell in love with it instantly. Then when we walked in and I went through all the rooms, I knew it was mine.”She smiled.
“My Aunt Sally and a couple of her friends helped me move what I had out of my studio that day. I remember I received a call from my lawyer, telling me that Jonathan’s father was making sure he left that day, and everything was finally finished.” She glanced at him. “It always amazes me how people of great wealth can get things officiated much quicker than the average working man.
“But anyway, I was told he was gone, my brownstone was ready for me to move into, and I felt like I’d put some very terrible things that had happened in my life behind me with the purchase of this home.
“I made myself a grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner that night. I know it seems silly that I remember that, but I do. Lord, I felt like the world was mine to conquer. I had won my lawsuit, and stepped away with not only myself intact, but the man who caused my pain was never coming back into my life, and I would never have to lay eyes on him again…or so I thought,” she murmured.
“I was just sitting down, when I heard pounding on my front door. So I went to go see who it was. You know, you would’ve thought Jonathan would’ve come to mind after everything he’d done to me, but he didn’t. I was informed that he’d left, and I had no reason to believe otherwise. Not only that, but part of the condition of the papers stated that he was not to come within a thousand yards of me. I truly felt very safe.
“So when I opened that door and there he stood, glaring at me with so much anger, so much hatred written on his face at the sight of me…that was truly the first time he frightened me. Not even the night when he physically hurt me was I really frightened of him. But when he stood in front of me at the door…that was the start of my very first panic attack.
“I went to quickly close the door when he pushed himself in, slamming the door behind him. He pinned me up against the wall, and his hand went to my throat, squeezing it, and I swear Davis, I couldn’t move. It was as if all the things I had been taught to defend myself left me.”
Tears started rolling down her face, and she brushed them away. He couldn’t take it anymore and started to walk to her, when she stopped him. “No, please. Let me just get through this. I want you to know everything about me, Davis, it’s just hard,” she whispered.
His shoulders fell; he felt helpless, but also understood her request for room. “What’s hard, Abie? What did he do to you to make you so fearful of this place, me, of everything?” he asked her delicately.
“It’s not what you’re thinking. He’d already tried to hurt me physically, and that didn’t work for him to break me. When he came over that night, he did what he was best at. He broke me mentally. He was the one man who knew everything about me, and he was going to use it to devastate me,” she told him, but stopped.
“What did he say, honey?”
She tried to give a little shrug of indifference. “He told me that he never loved me. That for me to have assumed that he ever could have, showed how ignorant I truly was. How could a man like him ever love a woman like me? I was nothing but a low-life whore he used to get his kicks off of, while he was sleeping with the love of his life.
“He told me that I was the type of woman men keep in the closet to do all the dirty nasty things with, because what they have at home was far too precious to get dirty, like the way he used me.
“He also informed me that my work at the Thompson Agency was lacking, and that it would be better for me to maintain my job in the den, because a woman of my station would never amount to anything in the real man’s world,” she huffed, but more tears fell. She quickly tried to swipe them away, but they were coming harder now.
“Abie…” Davis begged. But she shook her head, wanting to continue.
“If what he said wasn’t bad enough, wasn’t enough to tear me down and make me question myself, he had to take it a step further to make sure I was destroyed for anyone else who came along.” She took a deep breath before she continued. “He told me all men want the young women. That I was past my prime, as he called it, and I was no longer any use to him, and was simply the cheap whore he knew me to be.
“He also told me that without my makeup and my black leather, I really was nothing special to look at, rather ugly was his precise term. And he couldn’t figure out why someone like him would even want to associate with trash like me.
“But then he laughed, and his hands tightened around my neck. He told me all men like to play in the trash every once in a while, to get their hands dirty with the wild…pussy. But he had the woman he really loved now. And she was young, beautiful, and extremely wealthy.”
She looked down to her hands, which still twisted. “This next part was his masterpiece of devastation. You see, he told me he was going to marry this girl, and that right then she was carrying his child, and he was going to have a family with her, it was always going to be her. That his father paid me off because I was the trash that needed to be taken care of, so he could lead the life he was supposed to lead. And that life didn’t include some slut from Revere.
“He kissed me after he said those vile things to me, shoving his tongue in my mouth. He was rough, so mean, and I wanted him just to let me go, so I hit at him. He laughed while he was still assaulting me, and before he let me go, he bit my lip with so much force it started to bleed. This was the second time he’d done that to me, but this time he did what he set out to do, he scarred my lip with his bite,” she whimpered on a small sob.
“How do you know that that’s what he wanted to do, sugar?” he asked, once again very gently.
She shrugged ever so slightly. “He told me. He said whenever I kissed another man, I’d know that he was still there on my lips as a reminder of what I really am to any man who wants me,” she told him softly.
“And what’s that?”
“A used-up whore that was cast aside from the best, because she deserves nothing but the worst,” she told him, holding back a sob.
He couldn’t handle it any more; he came over to her, taking her in his arms. “Shit, Abie,” he growled, as he held her tightly. A hand went into her hair, pushing her head closely to his heart. Her hands came around, clutching into his shirt, as she tried not to cry uncontrollably.
He kissed the top of her head. “That asshole is a damn liar, and a damn fool! You, honey, you are something so special, and I knew it the moment I first laid eyes on you. You sparkle brighter than anything I’ve ever seen in my whole damn life. Do you understand that?”
Then he bent down to whisper in her ear, “For even the chance to have you all to myself, and you in my life… I’d give up every damn cent I have. Money can buy you a lot of things in the world, and yes, it can make you happy for a short time. But if you don’t have someone to love, sugar, you’ve got nothing at all. And you, Adire Black, you, woman, are priceless!” he declared fiercely to her.
Her arms squeezed him tighter, as she now sobbed into his chest. He caressed her back and soothed her. He closed his eyes, knowing he needed to ask her one last thing before they could put this past them.
“Sugar, what did Jon say to you that night? I was running to get to you, but I saw him saying something,” he said.
She sniffed, and again shrugged at the question. “He just repeated the same thing he said to me all those years ago. This time he just put you in his place. He told me that I was nothing but a fun fuck to you, and that you’d leave me when something young and soft made its way to you,” she whispered, and he could hear the hurt in her voice.
He squeezed her tighter. “That son of a bitch!” he gritted through his teeth. He let her go to take her by the face so she would truly look at him. “And you don’t believe him anymore, do you?” he asked. She shook her head to that question, and he relaxed.
“You do believe that I love you?” and she nodded. His head came down, taking her mouth, tasting it, showing her the love that she deserved.
He placed her down on the floor, kissing her neck, stripping off her clothes as quickly as he could. As soon as she was undressed he took off all his clothing as well, and once again found her sweet lips, but this time making love to them, just like he was going to do with her beautiful body.