They sat in her living room for hours barely noticing how the day slipped by. To say that the conversation with Daniel was easy would have been a huge exaggeration but for the first time, he actually seemed to be a real person and that at the very least made talking to him a lot easier. He made no move to kiss her or escalate things in any way. She still loathed herself for sleeping with Daniel a few weeks before but now that he wasn’t making a move on her, she felt confused.
“Are you alright?” Daniel asked.
Amy snapped back to attention, “Huh? What? I’m sorry. What did you ask me?”
“You really just zoned out. You want me to go so you can get some rest?” He’d spent the better part of the day napping in her bed and lounging around in her personal space and now he was going to get up and go. When she’d asked him to come home with her that morning, he’d agreed, expecting that they’d maybe make-out…or more. And why not? They both could have used the distraction. “You thinking about Dorko and Pilates Barbie?”
Amy snickered, despite her annoyance. “I wish you wouldn’t call him that,” she stated sadly, avoiding the question. She hadn’t exactly been thinking about Nate and his new girlfriend but if she was honest, he was always on her mind, even when she was thinking about other things.
“You’re really still hung up on the guy aren’t you?”
“I probably will be for a long time. We were together for four years. That’s not something you just get over.” There was a hint of defensiveness in her voice.
“Okay, easy,” Daniel said, softly. “I wasn’t trying to pick a fight. It just irks me that you can get so worked up over someone like him.”
“Someone like him?” she laughed and looked down toward her feet. “Nate’s the whole package, he’s…”
“Superman, I know.” Daniel finished, rolling his eyes. “Maybe that’s the thing that pisses me off the most. He’s not like you and me. Everything comes easy to him. He’s smarter than everyone else and better at everything…”
“That is so not true,” Amy argued but she couldn’t come up with any example to contradict it. Nate was gifted but while others resented him for it, she had loved him.
Daniel continued his rant,”…and no one is that gregarious all of the time. The man is never in a bad mood.”
“That,” Amy insisted, “is definitely not true. He’s good at what he does and is happy doing it. Is that a crime?”
“Why are you, of all people, defending him?”
“I’m not,” Amy countered, “You don’t have to like him but your reasons are… they’re flawed. You’re right, Nate is not like us. He’s got his shit together. He’s kind and brilliant and despite what you think, he has worked very hard to get where he is. No one knows that because he doesn’t complain or try to draw attention to himself.”
Daniel only nodded and stared back at Amy, who was flushed and near tears. In the past, he’d have pushed these buttons on purpose but he hadn’t meant to upset her now. “I didn’t mean to hurt you. And…for what it’s worth, I’m sorry he hurt you.”
“I don’t know why you let him bug you,” she whispered. “Unless you’re jealous.”
“Me, jealous? Why? Just because he’s… what did you say…kind and brilliant? Do I wish I had what he has? You bet your ass I do. The man’s a freakin’ MENSA genius and if that’s not enough he’s not horrible to look at, though someone could teach him how to dress. He walks around with that dumb smile on his face, knowing that he’s got the world on a string and that he’s gonna save the day. The perfect life, the perfect, girl, the perfect job…” He took a breath. Yeah, he was jealous.
“She’s not perfect,” Amy pouted, wounded by what Daniel had said in anger.
“You said he has the perfect girl. She’s not…”
“I wasn’t talking about her. I meant…I meant the last girl, the one before her.” He smirked and started to say something more when his phone rang. “Jules!”
“Mmmmnnn,” Nathan groaned, rolling over on the floor where they’d fallen asleep. He had a kink in his neck from his weird position on the floor. He started to complain until Carrie mumbled into his bare chest.
Kissing him from his chest up to his neck she whispered, “We should do naked naps on the floor every day.” She tickled him playfully and suddenly he couldn’t agree more.
“Uuugh, I don’t want to go to work tomorrow!” he moaned, laughing at himself.
“I’m sorry, are you saying that Dr. Nathan J. Dorough, doesn’t want to ‘doctor’? Who are you?”
“Dr. Nathan J. Dorough, double board certified Cardiothoracic and Vascular surgeon…” Nathan winked, placing his moist lips to her ear and grinning.
“Oh pardon me…” Carrie waved her hand in front of her as if to bow.
“…would like to stay here and “boyfriend” for one more day.
“You should quit your job and “boyfriend” me all the time,” she teased, slowly dragging her nails up his torso to his neck and back down again.
“Great idea,” he laughed. “You gonna be my sugar momma?”
“No, I’m going to quit too. I’ll sell my club and buy an RV. We can park it by the ocean until the hurricanes come and you can do… lot’s of boyfriend…things to me.”
“Seems like a solid plan. You realize that you can’t bring your entire closet with you in an RV?”
“Ya know… way to spoil my fun. Just for that, I’m going to put some clothes on”, she threatened, playfully.
“No, no, no, no,” he spat rapidly, throwing a leg over her and pinning her to the floor. She pretended to struggle and then happily relented.
“Do you realize that since I got back, we’ve basically had our hands on each other like 98% of the time?” she cooed.
“Mmmm, our hands and other things.” he rasped, looking her body up and down like she was a stack of waffles. He rolled on top of her and rested his head in between her breasts so that with one I opened, he could see nothing but with the other, her pert little nipple was so close to his lips it was out of focus. “Can you breathe?”
“Mmm, yeah,” she whispered, cradling his head next to her heart. What passed between them at that moment was heavy. It more than sex and deeper than she’d ever be able to describe. She felt him tremble slightly and sigh deeply. Her chest ached with the love that threatened to expand beyond her capacity. She thought about telling him so but there weren’t words that seemed good enough.
He turned his face up to her, absentmindedly kissed the flesh of her left breast and smiled, his dimple flashing. “I…” he began, as he made his way up her sternum and over her neck, leaving a trail with his lips as he went. “I get to kiss you anywhere I want to.”
She nodded, taking a fistful of his hair and biting her bottom lip.
“But, I keep landing right here.” He kissed her mouth, firmly but gently, letting out a long, audible sigh and resting his weight back down on her. He was so drunk on her.
“Do you want me again?” she whispered, raising her legs in anticipation.
“I love how you ask me that like you don’t know the answer.” Nathan chuckled. “Maybe we should take it easy?” He didn’t want to take it easy. What he wanted was to slide inside her again and lose himself.
As if she’d read his mind, she took his face in her hands and shyly pleaded, “I want you inside me again.”
The combination of the quake in her voice and the hunger in her eyes would, eventually overpower his resolve.
Amanda Van Dresen sat on the floor of her little apartment with the lights off. Legacy Price was after her, not that she blamed her. But Legacy and her dumb blonde friend were the least of her worries right now. Amanda manipulated her once, she’d do it again if she had to. She did what she had to in order to get by. This time, she’d made a pact with the devil to get ahead and the devil wanted to collect ahead of schedule. Richard was 56, many years older than she and he’d seemed quiet and sweet. He was also loaded, though she’d never cared to ask where the money came from. She hadn’t been particularly attracted to him but she was tired of struggling and he did like to lavish her with expensive things. He had been the one who had convinced her that she needed the fancy 5th Avenue address and high couture to impress and attract some higher profile clients. It should have seemed strange to her that he’d never even looked at any of her designs before “investing” in her company. She hadn’t cared. She also should have been a little more in tune with the verbiage he’d used every time he wrote her a check. He expected some pretty high returns but as she was regularly putting out and not for her own pleasure, she’d assumed they’d work something out.
She’d gotten drunk one night at a club and had left with an impossibly beautiful boy, really a boy. He couldn’t have been more than 22 and he had rocked her world, over and over again. In the morning, he’d ordered them breakfast and handed her a letter. It had all been a set up to catch her in the act. Richard was calling his “loans” due. She had 30 days to pay him in full at 40% interest for the equipment she’d bought, her handbags and shoes (which she thought were gifts); everything was itemized neatly in a spreadsheet and he expected payment or else. The following day, a man came to her apartment and broke her dining room table with a hammer, for no reason except to make it very clear that Richard wasn’t kidding. She holed up for two days and finally decided to get out and do something. She got decked to the nines, determined that if she ran into one of Richard’s cronies (who were likely tailing her) she’d at least look like she wasn’t afraid. She headed for the Garment District not exactly sure what she was hoping to find but she needed to clear her head and come up with a plan. Legacy Price had been just sitting there, innocently sipping a coffee and sketching as if she’d just been dropped there to rescue poor Amanda.
She’d won the Halstead wedding as a result and she thought that would call Richard off. It wasn’t enough. The deposit, large as it was was merely a dent and if she planned on actually finishing the job, she had to actually buy supplies and fabric. She’d had cheaper fabric sent in from overseas and cut corners where she could. It was backfiring royally. The weave was inconsistent and it was clear that the bolts of fabric had come from different dye lots. When the Halsteads found out and they’d find out soon, she’d been in a heap of trouble. Assuming Richard didn’t kill her first. He’d come to her apartment personally, apologizing for how ugly things had gotten. He said some nice words but there was something in his eyes that had her trembling inside. When he’d left, he threatened her to figure it out and fast, grabbing her ass and stating that she didn’t have anything else he wanted. He didn’t seem to care that she’d been in a magazine and if she was unable to finish the wedding, people would find out. He stayed clean so it was of no concern to him.
She sat hovered in the dark with literally nowhere to turn. She was too terrified to go to the police and she couldn’t very well tell the Halstead’s what she’d done. Legacy kept sending her messages threatening to find her and expose her for the thief that she was. Too bad there was no way to make those accusations stick, she’d be safer in jail.
She was hardly surprised when she heard glass breaking from the kitchen window.