The door opens, I kick my shoes off and trample through the colossal open space, taking the stairs carefully. When I reach the top, I don’t veer left to the master suite, instead taking a right and letting myself into my favourite spare room. I collapse in the bed fully dressed and without taking my make-up off, a clear indication of thorough exhaustion and drunkenness. I don’t let it concern me for long, though. My eyes close of their own accord, and I feel myself slipping into a drunken slumber.
‘Let’s get rid of that.’
I feel my dress being peeled from my body. I’m half asleep, I know I’m still slightly drunk and my eyes are semi stuck together with mascara. ‘Are you going to cut it to pieces?’ I mumble irritably.
‘No,’ he says calmly, his strong, familiar arms wrapping around me and lifting me from the bed. ‘I might not be talking to you, lady,’ he whispers, ‘but I want to be not talking to you in our bed.’ My arms automatically reach up and around him to hold on, and my face buries in his neck. I might be a little drunk and massively pissed off, but I recognise my favourite place. He lowers me to bed and a few moments later, he’s laying the full length of my back and pulling me into his chest.
‘Ava?’ he whispers in my ear.
‘You make me crazy, lady.’
‘Crazy in love?’ I mumble sleepily.
I feel him squeeze me closer. ‘That too.’
* * *
‘I love you.’
What is that? I splutter and rip my mascara clogged eyes open.
‘Drink.’ he commands softly.
I groan and roll over into my pillow. ‘Leave me alone.’ I whine, hearing him chuckle. My head is banging. I’ve not even lifted it off the pillow and it already feels like Black Sabbath are having their practice session in my skull.
‘Hey, come here.’ He curls his forearm around my waist, and then drags me across the bed, onto his lap. I feel his palm smooth my hair and pull it from my face, and I peek through my eyes to see a glass of fizzing water being held to my lips. ‘Drink.’ he presses. I let him tip the glass to my mouth, and I sip the welcome cool, fizzing liquid. ‘All of it.’
I finish the whole glass and then collapse against his bare chest. I’m truly rubbish at hangovers.
‘How bad is it?’ he asks. I know he’s grinning.
‘Bad.’ I croak. My eyes are heavy, and I’m far too comfortable to open my mind to the events that have united me and this stonking hangover—united me with this maddening man.
I feel him shift on the bed and then lean back, taking me with him. Well, at least he’s talking to me enough to look after me in my pitiful state. What sort of person punishes the alcoholic love of her life by going out and getting drunk? And when she’s pregnant, not that he’s aware. What sort of person torments her crazily possessive husband by shoving her tongue down another man’s throat in front of him? The same sort of person who hides the love of his life’s pills to try and get her pregnant on the sly, that’s who. We’re made for each other.
‘I’m sorry-ish.’ I say quietly.
He kisses my hair. ‘Me too.’ He’s brave. I must look and smell shocking. Hangover aroma can’t be the most pleasant wake up call, especially for a recovering alcoholic.
I lay in a sorry heap across him, drifting in and out of sleep and in and out of thought.
‘What are you thinking?’ he asks quietly, almost apprehensively.
‘I’m thinking we can’t go on like this.’ I answer honestly. ‘It’s not good for you.’ I leave out the fact that it’s not good for me either.
He sighs. ‘I don’t care about me.’
‘What are we going to do?’ I press.
He’s silent for a few moments, and then he shifts me onto my back and nudges my thighs apart to cradle himself between them. He takes a deep breath and drops his forehead to my chest. ‘I don’t know, but I do know how much I love you.’
I sag and look up at the ceiling. I know that as well but the saying love conquers all is being tested to its limit here. He plays the love card every time, like it’s an acceptable excuse for his neurotic ways.
‘Why did you do it?’ I ask. I don’t have to elaborate further. He knows what I’m referring to.
He looks up at me, his frown line crawling across his forehead. ‘Because I love you.’ he says defensively. ‘Everything is because I love you.’
‘You treat me like trash, fuck me in the toilet of a bar, with no words, and then walk out to go and feel up another woman? Did you do that because you love me?’
‘I was trying to prove a point.’ he argues quietly. ‘And watch your mouth.’
‘No, Jesse. You were trying to be a wanker.’ I shift slightly under him, and he looks up at me anxiously. ‘I need a shower.’
He searches my eyes but eventually rolls off to let me up. I drag myself from the bed and into the bathroom, closing the door behind me before brushing my teeth and getting in the shower. I feel completely deflated and just want to crawl back into bed and forget about everything, but my racing mind is venturing into frightening territory, making my head ache further. I’ve not seen him for four days. I’m trying my hardest not to venture there, but I really can’t help it, especially in light of his last disappearing act.
I jump when I feel his hand slide around my stomach and his lips rest on my shoulder. ‘Let me.’ he whispers, taking the sponge and turning me around. He kneels in front of me and takes my foot, resting it on his thigh, before starting to sweep the soapy sponge up my leg.
His frown line is nowhere to be seen. He looks content, peaceful and relaxed, just how I like him to be, and it’s because he’s looking after me again. ‘Where have you been since Monday?’ I ask as I watch him closely. He doesn’t tense or flick me cautious eyes, he just continues slowly washing me as the water beats down around us.
‘In hell.’ he answers softly. ‘You left me, Ava.’ He doesn’t look at me, and he’s not using an accusing tone, but I know he’s pointing out that I broke my promise.
‘Where were you?’ I push, dropping my foot back to the shower floor and lifting my other when he taps my ankle.
‘I was trying to give you space. I realise how I am with you, Ava, and I wish I could stop myself, I really do. But I can’t.’
He still hasn’t answered me. I know all of that. ‘Where were you, Jesse?’
‘Following you.’ he whispers. ‘Everywhere.’
‘For four whole days?’ I blurt.
He looks up at me and stops with the sponge sweeps. ‘My only comfort was seeing how lost you were, too.’ He reaches up and takes my hand, pulling me down to him so I’m kneeling, too, mirroring him. He pushes my wet hair from my face and leans in to softly kiss my lips. ‘We’re not conventional, baby. But we’re special. What we have is really special. You belong to me, and I belong to you. It just is. It’s not natural for us to be apart, Ava.’
‘We drive each other crazy. It’s not healthy.’
‘Not healthy would be my life without you in it.’ He encourages me up onto his lap and links my arms around his neck before circling my waist with his big hands. ‘This is where you’re supposed to be.’ He squeezes my waist to re-enforce his point. ‘Right here, always with me. Don’t ever kiss another man again, Ava. They’ll be locking me away for a long time.’
I realise my stupidity. I reach up and caress his jaw. There’s no bruising or marks. ‘You need to stop with the crazy shit.’ My anger has completely disintegrated, and I know why. It’s because of how much I know he loves me, but does that excuse his behaviour? He seems to snap straight out of self-destruction mode as soon as he has hold of me and I’m doing as I’m told. I can’t pretend that he doesn’t frustrate me, stress me out or make me wonder sometimes what the hell I’m setting myself up for, but this side of him, the incredible loving affection, the doting side of him, almost supersedes all of his confusing, neurotic ways, which swiftly reminds me that I’m still pregnant. And Jesse thinks I’m not.
He clenches my cheeks and pushes his lips to mine. ‘And you need to stop with the defiant shit.’ He’s grinning around my lips.
‘Never.’ I soak him right up, there in the soaking shower.
We spend most of Saturday making friends. I’ve relished in the sleepy sex, and I’ve disagreed with almost everything Jesse has said, just to get some sense fucked into me. I then swiftly forgot what I’d agreed to during the sense fucking, instigating a reminder fuck. We had an alfresco fuck right after we ate on the terrace, followed by a retribution fuck when Jesse decided that breaking my promise warranted one. But I know he just wanted me in handcuffs and, quite frankly, I deserved it. I’ve been fucked in every way, shape and form, and I’ve loved every single second of it, even if I am a little sore now. I’m back to relaxing sweetly on Central Jesse Cloud Nine. With the absence of a pregnancy, he’s back to taking me how and when he wants and any which way, too. Yesterday has more than made up for my lack of dominant Jesse in recent weeks. I couldn’t be happier. But there is really no lack of a pregnancy.
Kate checked in, and I’m sure I heard my brother in the background, but she denied it, proceeding to ask me if Jesse and I had made friends. Yes. She also asked if I’d told Jesse that I’m still pregnant. No. After a full day of being indulged in him and having things completely back to normal, just how they should be, I’m sure this is the right decision.
‘Are you going to lie there all day, or are you getting dressed so we can shoot to The Manor?’ He stands in the bathroom doorway gloriously naked, rubbing a towel over his dark blonde locks.
I push myself up and crawl to the bottom of the bed, and then flop back down on my front, propping myself up on my elbows and resting my chin in my palm. I know what I’m doing, and so does he by the look in his twinkling greens. Not that I don’t want to go to The Manor. With the absence of a certain whip wielding witch, Jesse’s country estate is a far more pleasant place to be.
‘I might.’ My voice is inviting and low, just how I intended it to be. ‘You’re hard.’ I nod at his groin and flick my eyes back up to him, struggling to hold back my grin. I bite my lip and watch him closely.
‘That would be because I’m looking at you.’ He drapes the towel over his shoulders and leans on the door frame.
I start drooling at the mass of pure, tempting gorgeousness and smile. ‘You’re hard everywhere.’
‘Except here.’ he says, all deep and coarse, tapping his chest. ‘Here, I’m as soft as shit. But only for you.’
My smile widens. ‘You can be hard-hearted sometimes.’ I muse, rolling over onto my back, my head hanging off the end of the bed.
‘You’re a temptress, Mrs Ward.’
I watch his upside down body approach slowly until he’s standing looking down at me, his steel shaft brushing my top lip. ‘You want it?’ he asks, clasping the base and guiding himself from side to side across my lips. The hot dampness has my tongue darting out to taste, but he pulls back, his lips tipping at the corners. ‘Say please.’
‘Please.’ I reach up and run my fingertips down the centre of his chest, and he moans, guiding his cock straight to my lips. I open slowly while watching as his face contorts with anticipation, then I close my lips around him.
‘Ava, that damn fucking mouth of yours.’ he groans, clenching his eyes shut.
‘Should I stop?’ I bite down lightly and drag my teeth across his smooth flesh. ‘Do you want me to stop?’
‘I want you to shut the fuck up and concentrate on what you’re doing.’