"Angel is getting her medicine ′n then has to brush her teeth so you can start to read me the book now.” Lena had already changed into her nightgown. She moved over after climbing under the covers to make room for me so I could read to her. I still couldn’t believe she was my daughter. Mine.
The curly hair was mine, but I couldn’t see it at first. Since Angel had curls, I assumed it was a trait passed down on the Stennet side but that was foolish of me now remembering that Brandt had been adopted. And the eyes. The blue eyes. They remind me of my mothers and I looked down and sighed.
“Are you all right?” This little girl, my little girl seemed in tune with how people felt. She always helped her cousins when she could and the happy, resilient little girl she was amazed me. Rea did a good job raising her. Although I hated the fact she kept the knowledge of my daughter from me, I realized I was leaving for the army and it gave her reason to doubt the future.
I could have taken her along. She could have lived with me in basic training and then went with me...
What kind of life would it have been for a child? I saw what the army did to families. In all fairness, I would have been likely taken away from them and it might have been worse as I was put in dangerous situations. Then my daughter would have known what she was missing. Rea was just looking out for her.
“Yeah. It has just been a long day. As of an hour ago, I didn’t know I had such a neat little girl. It isn’t every day you meet your daughter for the first time.” She looked up at me with her head cocked to the side and it was the cutest thing.
“You met me before.” She didn’t understand the context of my statement and it made me chuckle. When I shifted on the bed, my pant leg rode up to expose my prosthetic. Out of habit, I pulled it down quickly so no one would notice.
“What is that?” Reaching down I almost stopped her but decide against it. When she lifted my pant leg, her eyes widen at the sight of a metal extremity.
“Oh honey, that is a long story you see when I was overseas there was a...” How do I explain terrorists and war and bad guys to a six-year-old with stars in her eyes?
“I knew it.” Her smile grew as she became more animated. “I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!” Trying to calm her down I looked at her questioningly, but she seemed too worked up to settle. “I knew my daddy was a hero pirate, I just knew it!” Jumping on the bed and squealing, she looked so damn cute I couldn’t stop her but a hero pirate? “You are a pirate, aren’t you?”
It took a while to realize what she meant. She saw my prosthetic. My ‘peg leg’ and I started to laugh. “Do you own a ship, and a parrot, and a big sword that you used to beat up the bad guys to keep the others safe?” The more questions she asked the more animated she got.
“Whoa there. Slow down. I’m not a pirate.” When she looked up at me with her big eyes, my eyes, I.... caved. “Okay, I’m a pirate, but you can’t tell anyone, all right?”
Suddenly I liked having a secret between the two of us. “Is that why you were overseas because you had to keep people safe?”
Tears stung the back of my eyes. I know it was wrong to lie to her, but I couldn’t disappoint her. Not tonight. Not ever maybe, and I realized in a hours’ time she had me wrapped around her pinky.
“My job was to keep people safe overseas but now I keep them safe over here. And I want to keep you safe too. Do you think you would like that? If I saw you more?” She squealed as her arms flew around my neck solidifying it as the greatest feeling in the world.
“I’m so lucky to get a pirate daddy. And Evelyn at school says her daddy is great because he is a doctor.”
I laughed. “But remember, it’s our secret.”
She put her tiny fingers up to her mouth and locked it with an invisible key. “Our secret poppa P!” I laughed again. Poppa P? Her imagination was incredible all with the innate ability to make me feel special.
After reading the pirate story over twice, once to her and once when Angel joined her in bed, I kissed them both on their little heads and left to go downstairs.
Brandt stood outside by the deck, but I didn’t see Chelsea. I really didn’t know what to say to either of them now ashamed for barging in their home and admitting my asinine plan. The one that included how I wanted to intentionally use Rea for revenge. What did it say about my character? What did it say to them about how good of a father I would be?
Walking out on the deck, I found Brandt but not the person I felt I needed to talk to at this time. He sat down and drank what looked like expensive bourbon. He offered me some but I declined knowing I needed my wits about me right now.
“Where is Rea? I believe we have more to talk about.”
He motioned down the deck stairs, “She left for the pool house when you took Lena to bed.” Brandt turned solemn and I couldn’t tell if he held sympathy for her, for me, or for both. As I was about to leave for the pool house, he stopped me. “Right before the end of the tour, you tried to talk to me, didn’t you? You asked me if you should stay for a woman. You were talking about Rea, right?”
I nodded. “Yeah, I asked for your advice and you told me a good woman wouldn’t kill my dream, she would foster it.”
Brandt shook his head and laughed. “Well, I guess I should have told you the rest of the story.”
My turn to look flummoxed. “The rest of the story?”
“Yeah, the rest of the story about what a good woman would do. The story of how I met Chelsea. You see, she did follow me to California to help me follow my dream but that was after she dumped me.”
Startled I asked, “She dumped you?” I never did get into the full story of them meeting, and now it fascinated me as he continued.
“Dumped me was being nice. She actually told me that she didn’t care for me thinking if we stayed together, she would kill my career. Kill my dream. And she loved me too much to let it happen. To make a long story short, in the end, she decided she loved me enough to try it for my sake and it ended up well... perfect.”
Sitting back in his chair he gave me a look of wonderment as if he digressed back to his own journey with Chelsea. “You see a good woman will help you reach your dreams even if she feels she has to step out of the way to make it happen for you.” I nodded wistfully thinking Rea always tried to help people even when it hurt her to do so.
“Don’t be too hard on her. I can’t say for sure what her motives were, but I know in her mind she did it for you.” Emotion making it hard to swallow, I just nodded. She did do it for me thinking she would take the burden so I could follow some half-ass dream that didn’t even pan out.
“Ah Brandt, you could have told me that story earlier.”
He laughed at me. “And you could have clued me in man. My sister?” My turn to laugh. I shook my head and looked down at the pool house. The lights were on and I knew what I had to do.
“Brandt, will you excuse me I have to...”
He stood up and nodded, “I’m pretty sure you know the way out. I mean, you did design the security system.” I smiled at him but as he turned to leave, he stopped me, “You know, you were the only one I trusted with her that summer. The only one I ever thought to be worthy of her. I never said it to you because I really didn’t want anything to happen between the two of you. You were leaving for the army and I was being overprotective.”
Brandt felt I was worthy of Rea? The words sank in and made me happy as well as sad. I only ever wanted to be worthy of her and now I acted like an ass the whole week proving what an idiot I turned out to be. This time it wasn’t Brandt’s fault.
“Thank you.” Nodding his good night, he walked back inside the house. When he got to the kitchen door Chelsea greeted him and took his hand while he led them both down the hallway and out of sight.
Turning to the pool house I descended the back deck not knowing how the night would end. With just one knock the door opened with Rea in front of me. Tears still stained her cheeks and her caramel eyes look like they were swimming in a strawberry pond they were so red. It pained me to see her like this no matter what she did to me.
“Can I come in?” She stepped to the side, unable to speak. Making it just inside the doorway I lean against the wall as she closed the door. ”Rea--”
She didn’t let me finish, “Logan you can’t take her away from me. You can’t. She is my life. I don’t know what I would do without her. I love her so much and I’m so sorry, but please don’t t... take...” Sobbing so hard she couldn’t even finish her sentence. My heart went out to her.
“Hey, wait. Nobody said anything about taking her away from you. C’mon, over and sit down.” I dragged her over to the sofa and sat down beside her with her looking as though the weight of the world laid upon her shoulders.
Why beat her up when she looked as though she did a good enough job on her own? But I needed answers, “When did you find out? About the pregnancy?”
She choked back more tears and wiped her cheeks looking down at the flooring. “I... I didn’t really know until I went to Seattle for the job interview. I guessed earlier, but I really didn’t know until you were already gone.” She guessed. A guess wasn’t exactly proof, so I tried to remain calm.
“Seattle? Where you had the interview for Boeing?”
Rea nodded, “I bombed it. I was in shock and couldn’t concentrate. It worked out for the better though. When I found out about the pregnancy, I had to think of a solution. I knew I need... needed to go home.” She still had a hitch to her voice, but she was settling down. The urge to wrap my arms around her and tell her it would be all right was too great, but I held back. Still, my anger with the situation had dissipated.
“You never wanted to work for the family business. You did it because you were pregnant.” That was why she never left her parents. She needed the support.
“I didn’t at first. I...” She swallowed and then hung her head down, “I wanted to abort it.” Her answer shocked me. She was going to abort my child, but she didn’t?
“I made four appointments. The first three I couldn’t even get inside the building and the last one all I did was cry the whole time. I never thought I wanted kids. I...” She sniffled before continuing, “I had been selfish though. I wanted to keep a piece of you.” She brought her head up and looked at me when she said it and I knew it was true. She still had feelings for me and worse, I still had feelings for her.
Rea had every reason to get rid of the pregnancy. She was on her own with a child and the man who knocked her up moved thousands of miles away placing himself in danger for the thrill of being a hero.
We sat in silence for a while as I contemplated what she said. The whole day weighed down on me and I felt confused.
“Where do we go from here?” She kept her voice small and full of fear.
“I don’t really know. I guess we take it day by day.” Studying her feet, she just nodded.
“She has to go back to school on Monday. I could only take her out for a short time. I guess I could... I could bring her back in summer sometime though.” The thought of us living on opposite coasts put a rock in my stomach. Lena didn’t deserve to be whisked away for holidays and vacations, or spend most of her time in the air, or go with a phone conversation for a nightly bedtime story.
It saddened me. She was mine but I had no right to take her away from the life she knew. I had no right to pull her away from the only parent she had ever known.
I looked at Rea and remembered her the summer I fell in love with her. The way she took it hard when Chelsea almost lost the pregnancy. The way she always felt it was her fault when things didn’t work out. The way she wanted everything to resolve itself and how she was so sad when it didn’t. She thought of everyone’s happiness before her own to the point she had a hard time knowing even what she wanted out of life.
“What do you want Rea?” I asked her the same question once before.
Her voice small and barely above a whisper, “I don’t know. I feel as though every decision I make just ends up hurting the people I love.” What did that mean? Did she want me? Did she not? I never knew where I stood with Rea. Her feelings always seemed to waver, and I couldn’t understand her and if she still didn’t know what she wanted after all this time, maybe she would never know. I gave up.
When I went to stand, she followed suit. She walked with me over to the door in silence. When I reached for the handle and opened it slightly not turning around, I couldn’t help letting my dismay show. “Well, I think it’s about time you find out.” Opening the door wider to leave I was met with resistance. The doorknob stripped from hand as the door shut in front of me forcing me to turn around and face her in wonder.
“You. I want you. I want the chance at a relationship with the one guy I have ever truly loved in my whole entire life. The one guy who would make me feel cherished. The one guy I could always count on. I want my dream finally and my dream was always you. I want you.”
A smile broadened my face so large I felt as though my cheeks would burst. She decided on one thing and that one thing was me. I pulled her into me and grab the back of her neck bringing her lips to mine. First passionately and then deepening it to a dull throbbing lust.
Rea’s body softened into me and I held her close taking in her peach scent. The scent that always reminded me of her. I kept her to me not wanting even a millimeter of space between us as if she would dissolve if I let her go.
She let herself melt in my arms and I freely took it. There was no denying the amount of need I had to be with her. I still loved her after all this time. We shared something which doesn’t happen very often, and we had an even bigger reason to try again.
My hands roamed up her sides and it felt delightfully familiar. Her earlier comment made me slow down and think of all the things I wanted to do to her, all the things I should have done. The slow caresses, the sensual licks and teases, the embraces that would have endeared her to me, but I had been too much of a revengeful ass to let it happen.
Softly I kissed her jaw up to her ear and then down her neck. She sighed and it sounded like heaven. How I missed the small sounds, the intimate nuances of our lovemaking. The way her body felt next to mine whether we had clothes on or not. She pulled away from me, “Are you still mad at me? I couldn’t do this if you were. It wouldn’t feel right.”
I shook my head, “Rebecca I could never stay mad at you for very long. I love you too much.” Tears glistened in her eyes and I kissed her quickly to try to abate them. I didn’t want her to worry anymore much less cry about how things happened. I just wanted to concentrate on how things would be from now on.
Breaking free from our embrace she took my hand and led me down the short hallway to the bedroom. I came willingly reveling in the feel of her touch. The way her body moved in her dress, the promise of an affectionate end to a night of mixed-up emotions.
When we got inside the bedroom, she looked up at me in earnest, “Tell me you have more than one condom with you.”
I laughed a full out guffaw. My head reared back, and my upper body shook as I wrapped her around me. “I think I learned my lesson from the first time.” She blushed and it made her look like the young girl I knew so many years ago.
Rea placed her hand on the top of my pants and my smile froze as my hands went to stop her. She looked up with concern obviously confused by my unwillingness but she had yet to see what I looked like with my prosthetic. Now was so much different from the body she lusted after before. She stammered, “If you don’t want to, I understand.” But she didn’t understand.
“Rea, I...I don’t look the same as before.” Realization crossed her face as she looked down at my left leg and then back up at me.
Smiling she cautiously grabbed for my zipper awaiting my response. “Logan, I can assure you my interests always were a little more north.” I laughed and shook my head but let her continue with her task as my anxiousness rose.
I tried not to be nervous, but she was the only woman I had been with since the incident and even then, I had been careful not to expose too much. Looking around the room I chose to avoid her eyes. I didn’t want to see the disappointment on them when she saw me without a limb. Instead, I looked at the window dressings or the pictures on the wall. Anything which would divert my attention.
Rea pulled out my wallet and threw it on the bed and I couldn’t help but smirk. When she had my pants undone and puddled on the floor, I couldn’t stand it anymore and I looked at her. Rea’s eyes were so full of tenderness and love, and she looked straight at me. Next, she worked my shirt up and over my head kissing my chest. “You are still just as much a man now as you were then, and I am so in love with you.” She continued to kiss my chest as tears stung at the back of my eyes.
She loved me. Rea might have disguised her love for me in the past but it was on her face, out in the open now, and couldn’t be denied. She loved me then enough to want me to fulfill my dream even if it crushed hers. To save a child of mine even though it scared her to death to raise it on her own. Rea loved me then and she loved me now. I could feel it.
Bringing my hand up I cupped her face and brought her lips to mine. Gone was any inhibitions I had with being with her. She loved me with two legs, and she loved me with one. Not wanting to change what we had in the past in the least, I reached down and tugged her dress up exposing her to me. Remnants of our lovemaking still shown on her body. A bruise from my hand here, and the reddened area of where I fucked her against the wall shown on her pale skin, and I promised myself it would never get that rough again. She gave herself to me and even though a lot of shit went down today, I still didn’t deserve the beauty before me.
Not to be undone, I lifted her into my arms and set her gently on the bed before me. And then I looked her over. She was still so beautiful. Slim legs met at a peak where she was still bare, her underwear still lying in shreds in the waste can at the hotel. I couldn’t hide my smile at the thought. The apex of her thighs glistened slightly giving me the feeling she was just as aroused by my presence here. Her breasts were still heavy and full, and the only noticeable change was a little less of a firm abdomen but even that didn’t bother me in the least. It was where she grew my child inside of her and I only wished I could have seen her belly swollen, ready to give way to the product of our love for each other.
She moved over in the bed patting it lightly. I sat down on the edge and worked at removing my prosthetic while she ran her fingers up and down my chest, along my pecs, and down my arms, the sensation pleasing. She didn’t even flinch when I moved on top of her, now without a little less of a leg on one side.
Moving her to the side I tenderly kissed her lips. Unable to hold myself back, I ravished her amazing breasts. The feel of her nipple between my teeth only excited her further. I remembered every inch of her body that caused her pleasure, and I was hell-bent on licking, sucking, and fondling it all. She came undone underneath me. Writhing and moaning and my cock grew hard to the point of pain within moments.
Rea palmed my erection, but I couldn’t let her continue. The feel of her hand on my shaft brought me to the edge, and now I had to calm down before I could let her touch me again. “Rea, you are playing with fire.”
She smirked, “Why should you have all the fun torturing me?” She broadened her smile and reached up for my wallet. I grabbed it from her and removed the condom I had placed in there earlier.
Instead of donning the thin rubber sheath, I decided to lick every part of her upper body spending an enormous amount of time on her delightful breasts. She went wild underneath me and started to grind her teeth even before I penetrated her. She was right where I wanted her. Right where she always had been in my wildest dreams when I dared to let my mind go there. And it didn’t need to be animalistic in the least. She didn’t need unbridled passion to the point of bruises and pain. What she needed was the simple act of me loving her, and I was more than willing to oblige.
“Logan, please.” I knew what she wanted and when I opened the packet she was overcome with excitement and ripped the condom from my hand. I just smiled and watched as she unrolled it over my straining erection. The warmth of her hand sent lightning bolts up my stomach and down to my balls.
“Logan.” A plea shown in her eyes, and I couldn’t stop myself from enjoying her neediness. The one from years ago. The one that stroked my ego and made me feel like the only man she would ever want.
Shifting to position myself at her entrance, I looked down at her and gauged her reaction. No hesitation from her, only the deep, dark eyes of lust. Those gorgeous brown eyes that looked like melted caramel. So big and luscious to match her welcoming body below me.
When I entered her slick folds, her whole body soared to meet me and the moan came from deep inside. Her eyes rolled back in her head and her breath caught in her lungs. She looked so sensual, so erotic. Her carnal groans rose up and vibrated beneath me trembling as my body bonded with hers.
Slowly and efficiently I stroked inside her. I remembered every inch of her and what would cause her to writhe into me. Her vibrant body surged up to me and joined in the motions to seek out our combined pleasure. She came alive as each thrust inside of her caused small tremors to build.
Steeling all my willpower, I kept up the impossible deliberate renderings of each slow plunge deep. She gripped my arms tightly and started to grind her teeth again and the smile on my face couldn’t be removed with a chisel. In, out, grind, and then moan. Each time a repeat of the first and each time I could feel the sensation increasing in both of us.
“Oh God Logan, I’m coming. I’m coming!" No better words were uttered out of her throat at the exact best time. I plunged in deep as she wrapped her legs around me tightening me to her body as she exploded. The sensation made me growl and stiffen as I released myself into her warm depth. Three long jerks and I softened into the feel of her body. Guiltily I lay my large body on top of her small frame for at least a little while savoring the feel of us together.
As our breathing came down from the crescendo of our lovemaking, I turned to her side tucking her in deep to me. She had the lazy look of being totally sated and I smiled while kissing the top of her head realizing this was exactly where she should be. With me. Always.