Special thanks to my editor, lokeman, who has been with me for the last six months, through thick and thin. He is an established author who writes under the name of Marc Jarrod.
“Kathryn,” was his simple greeting, accompanied by a nod as he held the door open for her.
Kathryn walked inside her sister’s home and did not look behind her as Richard closed the door. By the time she reached the kitchen, she was no longer trembling and was just barely able to speak without her voice showing how nervous she was. She hugged and greeted Elaine, wished her a happy anniversary, and went in search of her brother-in-law, to offer the same congratulations.
Although she saw Elaine and Howard often, she had not seen Howard’s brother in five years, not since the afternoon of the wedding, and that was only the second time. He had come to town, arriving barely an hour before the rehearsal and the dinner that followed. Kathryn was no longer the immature twenty-two year old Maid of Honor. There had been changes in her life. A lot can happen to a person in five years.
Since the last dance of the wedding reception, when Richard had danced her through the wide open doors into a deserted hallway and kissed her, she had not seen or spoken to him. When possible, she had even avoided saying his name. During the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, wedding, and reception, he was the Best Man and oldest brother of her older sister’s new husband. The wordless kiss and the look in his eyes had frightened Kathryn…and he was a married man.
After closing the front door of his brother’s house, Richard watched Kathryn walk away from him, just as he had watched her walk away five years ago. He had two or three hours, four at best, to make up for a very terrible mistake he had made that day. In a moment of clarity, or pure insanity, he wished he were a man of many earlier millenniums and could hoist the woman over his shoulder, take her with him, keep her until he could convince her she belonged to him, or until he had destroyed all their pursuers, thus making her calm once again.
Instead, he would need to be a modern man, use all of his skills at being polite and friendly. He had to take that one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind by invading the unknown to convince a woman he was not what she thought he was. He was aware he would never have a second chance to make a first impression so he had to see this thru.
For over an hour, Kathryn avoided Richard, never stepping close enough that she could smell his aftershave or allow him to see that when his attention was directed elsewhere, she watched him. If he looked at her, she was looking at her sister or brother-in-law. While everyone was outside, watching the small fire in the barbeque pit turn to coals dusted with white ash, Kathryn stood at the edge of the wooden deck, watching the squirrels cavorting in a few trees at the back of the yard where Elaine kept a feeder filled for the small animals.
As Elaine stood, announcing she was going inside to get the steaks and finish the salad, Richard also rose to open the sliding glass door for the two women. Kathryn stepped in front of her sister, escaping the chance that Richard might want to hold her arm, as he did for Elaine, when she walked up the three open steps.
Kathryn lifted one hip to sit on the edge of the bar stool on the opposite side of the kitchen island where her sister was working. Elaine asked, “Is your car still in the shop?”
“Oh yes, despite all their pretty promises they would have it out in one day. I just couldn’t see paying half the rental fee for a car to drive to lunch, so I’m afoot. I had one of the other teachers from school drop me off here. Can you take me home, or I’ll get a cab later.”
“Sure,” Elaine answered absently mindedly as she tossed the salad and began dishing it onto small plates. “Or we can ask Howard or Richard to drive you home.”
Kathryn looked away, trying to think of a good reason to avoid letting Richard take her home. Noticing Elaine was only filling four salad plates, Kathryn asked, “I thought Mom and Dad were coming tonight.”
Elaine waved her hand, dismissing their parents, etimesgut escort “Aw, they wanted to go to their dance. We see them all the time anyway. It’s just you and me, plus Howard and Richard. Golly, can you believe it’s been five years?”
Kathryn allowed her sister to hear a moment of artificial laughter, “Five years, right.” Her voice cracked when she added. “In some ways it feels like fifty.”
“Kathryn,” Cautioned Elaine, quietly as she looked behind her sister to warn her.
Howard placed the platter of steaks on the counter and Kathryn looked at the two men who stood, one on each side of her. Unconsciously, she leaned away from Richard, not wanting to risk that he would accidentally touch her, or worse, do so on purpose. The two men were the oldest, and youngest of five brothers. From the day she met Richard, Kathryn continued to marvel that the two brothers were so different. The youngest, Howard, was short and slender, had almost blonde hair with a fair complexion, and was barely two inches taller than his wife was. He often told of how he was lucky to have another brother, two years older, of similar size and weight, else he might have thought he had been switched at the hospital when he was born.
The oldest, Richard, and their two other brothers were more like their father, very tall men, broad shoulders and dark, with dark hair, dark eyes, and a darker skin tone. Kathryn wondered if all four of the dark Robinson men were as solemn and serious as Richard seemed to be. Howard was not nearly so solemn. He smiled often, loved to tell funny stories, and was a perpetual tease.
Howard nudged his elbow against Kathryn and winked at her, “My boss still wants to take you to dinner.”
“Howard,” Kathryn warned, giving little thought to her words. “I’ll tell you the same thing I told Joel Hastings. I don’t date married men.”
“Well, he ain’t gonna be for long, married, I mean. I heard he was served with papers earlier this week.” Howard reached over and slapped his brother on the back, “I think she beat him to it by about ten days.”
Richard leaned over with his forearms on top of the kitchen island, looking down at the swirled pattern on the marble top. His voice sounded deep and angry, “Lord, I’m glad I don’t work out of that office any more. Which one of them caught the other cheating?”
Howard chuckled, but turned serious when he answered, “Both, as far as we can tell. He was just a little better at hiding his.”
“Then why are they getting a divorce?” Howard’s voice didn’t turn any nicer, if anything, he sounded even angrier. “They have children, why don’t they just give each other a little more rope and keep the family together? They deserve each other.”
“Hey guys,” interrupted Elaine, after one look at Kathryn’s face. She stopped the uncomfortable conversation by telling the men, “If you two will go wash your hands, dinner is served.”
The dinner conversation was rather quiet. Howard and Richard shared information about their other brothers, the frequent family get-togethers, and Elaine even demonstrated that she knew the names and ages of all the growing nieces and nephews. As Elaine placed dessert plates on the table, she picked up Kathryn’s hand and squeezed it until Kathryn looked up at her. Elaine looked down at Kathryn for a moment, trying to offer an apology, but knew it would not be enough.
Without taking her eyes off her husband, Elaine said, “Richard, you better start being prepared. You’re the last one to give your parents a grandchild.”
Richard’s head jerked up to look at Elaine, his head swiveled to look at his grinning brother, his smile began to show when he turned back to look at Elaine. “How far along are you?”
“Three months,” Elaine answered, falling into her seat and watching her sister’s face turn pale.
“Well, well, congratulations,” Richard said and raised his water glass, silently waiting for Kathryn to do the same. When he saw the look on her face he started to stand, but Howard grabbed his arm and held him in his chair.
“Excuse me,” Kathryn spoke very quietly as she stood and left the table.
Elaine rose as if she was going to follow her younger sister sincan escort but then resumed her seat.
Richard looked from Elaine to Howard waiting for one of them to explain.
Elaine finally spoke quietly, “She’ll be alright. Just give her a few minutes.”
“What the hell!” The words burst from Richard’s mouth. He was unaware of the vehemence of his question.
Howard opened his mouth, but when his wife shook her head, he closed it again. Instead, Elaine spoke quietly, “She will tell you, if she wants you to know. Eat your dessert and then one of you needs to take her home.”
When Kathryn emerged from the bedroom end of the house, her eyes were red rimmed, and most of her makeup was gone. Richard handed her purse to her and took her arm, leading her to the front door.
Elaine rushed from the kitchen, hugged and kissed her younger sister, then stepped back and said simply, “Good night, Kathryn.”
Much like a sleepwalker, Kathryn walked beside Richard and got into his car as he held the door open for her. If Richard asked for directions, she answered but did not look at him. When they arrived at her house, she was out of the car and racing to the front door, fumbling in her purse for her keys. She almost made it, but Richard managed to pull his small suitcase out of the back seat and get to her front door before she slammed it in his face.
Instead, Richard jerked the door out of her hand, pushed her inside, dropped his bag by the door, and then tried to hold Kathryn, “Tell me…Kathryn, talk to me…I don’t know what’s wrong…tell me.”
She fought him, struggling to get away, “Leave. Go. Get out of here. I don’t need you.”
His voice was raised many decibels above hers, “Like hell I will. Tell me what’s wrong. You won’t look at me. You won’t let me touch you, and you won’t talk to me. Tell me what the hell’s going on.”
“No!” screamed Kathryn wrenching herself out of his hands and turning to him, growling as she told him, “Don’t you understand that I don’t want you here.”
“Well, that’s just too bad,” he declared, “Because I’m staying. I’ll be here all night until you talk to me. I’ll be here in the morning when you wake up, waiting until you will listen to what I have to say.”
Walking into the kitchen, she jerked open the door of the refrigerator and grabbed a bottle of water then closed it sharply and loudly, paying little attention to the clanking of bottles in the small shelves on the inside of the door. After removing the cap, she tilted the bottle up and took several large swallows of water, then slammed the bottle on top of the counter, bracing her arms at the edge trying to take deep breaths to still the tremors inside.
Almost as if it was happening to someone else, Kathryn watched large hands come to rest at the edge of the counter, beside her own. She felt the warmth of a living, breathing human being at her back, as Richard stood behind her, less than a hand’s width between them.
Richard’s breath stirred the small hairs at the nape of her neck. “Kathryn, please. I need to tell you something.”
Shaking her head, Kathryn declared, “I don’t want to hear it, Richard.”
Richard stepped closer to her, his legs pressing against her, his chest touching her shoulder blades, and his chin brushing the curls on top of her head. His voice was low and rumbling near her ear, “I’m going to tell you. I’ll grovel, apologize, get down on my knees, or anything else you want, but you must listen to me.”
The muscles of his legs flexed, Kathryn felt the beginning of his arousal, and he did nothing to hide it from her. As if she was mesmerized, she watched his hands move while he talked to her. One of Richard’s hands left the countertop and moved around her waist, pulling her back against him. “About a month after Howard told me he was going to marry your sister, I found my wife in bed with my boss, Joel Hastings, and a client, Henry Bledsoe. She was sucking on Joel’s cock and Bledsoe was fucking her in the ass.”
Richard’s other hand moved to hold her belly. His hand was hot. Kathryn could feel the warmth through her dress. “Phyllis tried to tell me it was a mistake and that she would never do it escort etimesgut again. She promised to go to counseling and I accepted a transfer to get her away from this town. Two months later, it was the same story, only different men.”
Then Richard’s hand moved downward and pressed her dress between her legs, as his hot hand cupped her sex. “The reason I was almost late for the rehearsal dinner was because I was in court that morning, listening to a Judge, and watching him sign the final divorce decree. I hadn’t said much because I didn’t want to create a pall on Howard’s wedding. I’m sorry. I am so sorry I didn’t tell you. I’m not sorry I kissed you that day; I’m just sorry I allowed you to believe I was still a married man. Please forgive me.”
Richard’s hand moved from around her waist, going slowly up her stomach until he was cupping her breast in him palm. His voice was quiet, and his breath was hot against the skin of her neck as she rested her head against his shoulder. “I went home to sign papers to sell the house so Phyllis could have her half of the money.”
Turning Kathryn around to face him, Richard gathered her into his arms. He kissed her lightly and did not realize he was rocking her from side to side, offering her the comfort he had never been able to give her. “Before I could get back here, you had announced your engagement to Jeremy. I know about the car wreck. I know you lost your husband and your child, but it’s been two years.”
As if she was a lightweight, Richard put his hands on her waist and lifted her to sit on the kitchen counter. Moving between her knees he was pressing his painful erection against the kitchen cabinet, sliding his hands up her thighs, and finding her core, his fingers pressing against her, feeling her heat, and groaning from his own answering throb. “Oh God, you are so wet. Sweetheart, please tell me what I have done wrong. Howard won’t talk to me, he told me to leave you alone. Elaine won’t say anything except that you are hurting. I don’t want to hurt you, but I’ll be dammed if I’m going to let another man take you away from me, or wait another five years.”
Kathryn had her forehead resting against the side of Richard’s neck, feeling the throb of his heartbeat. She was talking as if they were having a pleasant conversation. “I always thought Julie was my best friend, we did everything together. She never would say who the man was that got her pregnant. She just said it was an accident. She liked to babysit for us, so she could get some practice before her baby was born.”
Pulling the crotch of her panties aside, Richard was sliding his fingers through her wetness, feeling it collecting in the palm of his hand. As if it was second nature to him, he unzipped his jeans and spread her juices on himself, relishing the knowledge she was no longer afraid of him as he pulled her to the edge of the countertop. “Jeremy was taking Julie home after she babysat for us one afternoon. Billy was somewhat fussy, but he always went to sleep in his car seat so Jeremy took him for the drive to Julie’s house.”
He was sliding into her heat and wetness, seeking something he needed and giving her more. Feeling her welcome him, finding some solace, and offering his balm to her as she finished telling Richard what she had previously only told her sister. “After the car wreck, the mortician told Julie’s dad that he was cleaning the bodies and dug the missing half of Jeremy’s penis out of her mouth. Julie’s dad called the police and had a DNA test done on the fetus.”
Then he was slamming into her, driving her demons away, obliterating her anguish, telling her he wasn’t going to leave her until he had destroyed every reason she could find to feel hurt. Seconds, minutes, or hours later they were tangled together on her bed. Her tears were drying, she was smiling, and then her eyes closed as her body thrummed with her approaching orgasm. Her body shook, she screamed, driving another demon away, and Richard roared, the sound of a caveman, completing his dominance over the woman he had captured, and then he was falling into the comfort of her arms.
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