Chapter Thirty Four
“Good morning.” Her sweet voice rouses me from my sleep. I open my eyes to see her beautiful sun bathed figure in my arms. Her bright heart stopping smile is directed at me and I smile back at her taking her in.
“Good morning beautiful.” I greet her sweetly. She blushes slightly and gives me her shy smile. My beautiful strong goddess, so loving and brave. I pull her against me tighter as I take her lips in mine. She laughs as she breaks away from my lips, then my embrace.
“Let’s go for a run.” She insists playfully. I raise an eyebrow at her curiously. She smiles seductively.
“Really?” I ask her curiously. She bites her lip and nods.
“Rowan is going to be freaking out all morning about the lunch he’s putting together. Poor Damien will be on damage control. Besides it’ll be a good chance for us to burn off some energy.” She smiles seductively at that last part. I get up from the bed to stand in front of her.
“I can think of some ways to burn off that energy of yours.” I challenge her wickedly. She smiles playfully.
“What are you afraid you won’t be able to keep up with me?” The challenge in her voice makes me laugh.
“Oh baby.” I say shaking my head at her. “You’re going to be so tired by the time you manage to catch up to me that I’ll have to carry you home.” I tease playfully. Her hands go to her hips as she takes a step back from me glaring defiantly.
“Well baby, I promise not to tease you too badly when a girl runs you into the ground.” She shoots back, with a confident smile. We set about getting dressed. She pulls on a pair of short exercise shorts and a white tank top. She pulls on trainers and I smile at the determined playfulness of our smack talk. I pull on a pair of shorts and a muscle shirt and my trainers. We sneak quietly out of the house and Lexi leaves a note on the fridge explaining our absence.
Outside the apartment we head down to the small grass courtyard to stretch. Lexi bends over right in front of me to grab her ankles with ease. Damn her dancer flexibility. I bite my fist at the sight. “Stop it.” I scold her playfully and I hear her laugh in response. “Or I’ll throw you down on the grass right here take you, neighbors be damned.” I threaten playfully. She laughs standing back up and turning to face me. She looks at me coyly as I lunge to the side.
“Will you help me stretch?” She begs looking every bit the innocent girl. I laugh at her act.
“How?” I ask. Her leg flies up to rest her ankle on my shoulder. She smiles victoriously at me as I look shocked.
“Like this.” She plays as she pulls her standing body closer to mine until her legs are in a vertical line from each other as she presses her crotch against the top of my thigh. I shoot her an I-know-what-you’re-doing look. She shrugs innocently as she swaps legs gracefully. Damn dancer flexibility. I grab her hips pulling her hard against me, I lean to kiss her but she bends backwards all the way back over her hips letting her hands touch the ground behind her. Every bit of strength I have is focused on not thinking about how incredibly sexy this is.
She brings herself back up against me with a completely wicked smile of victory. “Let’s go.” She says nonchalantly. I shake my head and laugh as we take off at a jog.
“We’re going to explore those moves of yours a bit later.” I challenge as we run. She shrugs.
“That depends.” She challenges.
“On what?” I ask playfully. She smiles wickedly.
“On if you can keep up.” She shoots before her jog turns into a full speed run. I give chase with a laugh as I run to reach her. I’ll give it to her, she can run. Her form is perfect and graceful, and I’m actually running full out to keep pace with her. Her long legs take long even strides, somehow she looks like she’s gliding. The effect is effortless and graceful, it’s amazing to watch and I wish I could just sit back and watch her run. I laugh as she pulls away again.
“You okay back there baby, do you want to stop and rest for a while?” The challenge in her voice inspires a new vigor in my stride. We run for almost two hours straight and she hasn’t slowed up even once. We circle back towards the direction of the apartment and she pulls ahead again shooting a challenging smile over her shoulder at me. I catch up and keep pace the whole way home. She’s amazing.
We fall through the apartment door both breathless and Damien meets us in the doorway.
“I hate you both.” He hisses at us as Rowan calls his name urgently from the kitchen. We both burst out laughing as he rolls his eyes at the sound.
“Coming baby.” Damien calls towards the kitchen. Lexi turns on me.
“I’m going to take a shower.” She says and I eye her seductively. “Alone.” She adds laughing and shaking head at me. “Don’t worry Rowan, Link is here to help you.” She tells him leading me into the kitchen and fleeing down the hallway. I shoot her a quick glare as I mouth the word traitor. She laughs as she continues fleeing.
After one of the most painfully long hours of my life, we are all finally seated around the small dining table with a spread of food in front of us. We all talk and laugh and eat until nothing else will fit in. We drink and play a shot game that requires we take a shot whenever Rowan went to fuss over something else in the kitchen. Lexi bowed out giving a poor excuse about wanting to be sober today.
Damien and I were almost plastered by the time dessert was served and we were laughing as Rowan asked us how we got so drunk so fast. Lexi’s beautiful smile is directed at me and I take her hand in mine and bring it to my lips.
“It’s almost game time.” Rowan announces fangirling. Damien shakes his head, he’s apparently not as big a football fan as Rowan and I. Lexi looks guilty for a moment as I watch her. Laughter breaks out at Rowan trying to explain the importance of football and thanksgiving.
“That’s what the pilgrims and Indians fought about all those years ago, the rules of football.” Rowan concludes his explanation and we all laugh at him. The phone ringing interrupts our revelry and Rowan heads to the kitchen to answer it. Damien and I argue over whether Rowan’s departure to the kitchen warrants another shot and we agree yes as we take a shot and laugh.
Rowan comes back to the table holding his hand over the mouth piece of the phone and looking like the grim reaper was on the other end of the line. He looks at me for a moment.
“What?” I ask seriously. He exhales.
“It’s the old man. Your Colonel called the house to confirm your departure details with you and he explained to dad that you re-upped. He’s calling to congratulate you on making the honorable decision.” Rowan chokes out the distasteful words.
“Tell him I’m not here.” I say simply. He looks at me desperately.
“Give me the phone.” Lexi’s sweet voice says standing up to take the phone from Rowan. Everyone’s jaws fall open at her sweet tone as she greets the old man.
“Hello Mr. Jefferson, happy thanksgiving.” She coos sweetly into the phone. I’m more than shocked. Rowan looks as if his heart just failed. Damien just looks confused.
“Uh huh. I just wanted to introduce myself to you. My name is Alexandra Harrison, and I’m in love with your son.” She says still the perfect picture of sweetness. “I’m glad to hear that.” She continues sweetly. “Because I’m completely devastated by the decision being forced on your eldest son.” She spits and her tone has done a complete one eighty. “No you listen.” She barks down the phone.
“My heart is breaking inside my chest, and you’re calling to give him approval that he neither wants nor needs for a decision that is tearing him apart as well.” Her voice is pure ice and menace. “You understand nothing. You couldn’t possibly understand the word love if you’re happy for your son to be dragged back to hell. I swear to God if he gets so much as a scratch on him while he’s gone I’m going to drive to your house and choke the life from you. You miserable bastard.” She yells the last words before hanging up and throwing the phone against the wall.
We all flinch at the action and the image of pure wrath standing before us. She shakes her head before storming off silently and slamming the door to my bedroom. I look to Rowan who is just in total shock over what just happened before he smiles.
“Un bridled hatred for the old man is apparently contagious.” Rowan chuckles looking at the pieces of phone on the floor. “I can’t believe she just did that.” He adds proudly.
“You’re not angry?” Damien asks. We both laugh at that.
“She’s got balls, she didn’t say anything he didn’t have coming a long time.” Rowan assures him. I shake my head laughing.
“I better go make sure she’s okay.” I tell them and they both give me a sympathetic look as I stand.
“Well I’ll turn the game up really loud in case you feel the need to drive her to submission.” Rowan teases and I shoot him a dark glare. He and Damien both laugh before retreating to the lounge together. I open the door to my room carefully so as not to startle the wild looking creature pacing along the floor.
“Now that was almost verbatim what I was going to say to him.” I tell her with a smile that she doesn’t return. “Only I was going to tell him about this amazingly beautiful woman who’s changed my life since I fell in love with her.” I add and her eyes soften as she looks at me she shakes her head as she sits down on the bed trying to calm down.
“I’m sorry.” She whispers as her tears start to fall. “I was trying to be so strong and enjoy our time together. Inside all I want to do is curl up against you and beg you not to leave me.” She drops her face into her hands as I drop to my knees on the floor in front of her. I pull her hands away from her face and stare directly into her eyes desperate to convey everything I feel for her. Her tears are coming hard and fast as I place my hands on either side of her face to catch them.
I can feel the warm trails of water running over my hands and down my wrists.
“You are strong baby.” I tell her honestly she closes her eyes at me. “Listen to me.” I beg her and her eyes open again. “You don’t even realize how strong you are. You’re my strength too, the only thing holding me up right now is your love and your strength. That’s why you don’t feel like you’re very strong right now, because I’m taking it from you to help me.” I confess
“I love you more than I ever knew it was possible. The thought of leaving you is killing me inside, but how can I show that weakness next to the pure strength of you?” I declare in awe. She lunges off the bed and climbs onto my lap and tucks herself against my chest wrapping her arms around my ribs and squeezing tightly.
I wrap my arms around her and hold her tightly. She sobs against my chest until her tears dry.
“You can have it.” She whispers nodding. “You can have all my strength, and my love, they’re yours.” I breathe deeply as pull her face to mine and take her lips in a bruising desperate kiss.
We’re lost in our kiss and I feel desire build inside me.
“Shit.” She curses suddenly jumping back from me.
“What?” I ask urgently worried I hurt her. She looks at me guiltily as she stands and steps away from me.
“I have to go.” She says urgently. She looks rueful. “I swear it isn’t because of this.”
“What are you talking about?” I ask concerned standing in front of her.
“I’m sorry it’s a surprise, but I really do have to go.” She reaffirms reaching for the door. I look at her trying to hide the sting of her departure. She smiles sweetly before stepping back to kiss my lips chastely. “The boys will tell you after I’m gone. I’ll see you later.” She says with a sweet smile before she disappears out the door. I follow her path as she exits through the front door calling goodbye to Damien and Rowan.
I arrive in the living area and I stare at them incredulously.
“What the fuck?” I ask them annoyed. They both smile reassuringly at me.
“Take a seat bro. It’s the second down and Tennessee is up.” Rowan says coyly. I drop down to the chair in a huff still glaring at them. Damien takes pity on me.
“She has a performance tonight. We’re all going. She’s gone to get to the dress rehearsal. You’ve never seen her dance before, she wanted to surprise you. We organized it before.” Damien’s voice trails off lightly. I breathe a huge sigh of relief.
“I’ve seen her dance before. At the bar.” I tell him matter-of-factly. He smiles a huge knowing grin at me.
“No Link, you’ve never seen her dance. Trust me. It’s part of thanksgiving production at city hall. We have front row seats.” Damien announces proudly. Rowan claps and starts fangirling beside him. We all turn our attention back to the screen to watch the game, while I try to relax.