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Hearing nothing at the other end, Ginny wondered if Chase had hung up. She checked the status; no, he was still there
“Hello?” she said in a small voice. In truth, she was the one who was afraid to talk, afraid of what words, what sentiments, he might communicate to her.
“Ginny,” he said, sounding amazingly close to her. “I finally got alone. How are you?”
She smiled despite herself. “Nothing much has changed in an hour.”
Chase laughed. “Yeah. I know what you mean. My mom is cooking up a storm over here. It looks like Thanksgiving.”
Ginny glanced at her own home, cold and lifeless except for Randy going in the front door.
“So,” he said hesitantly. “Have you talked to John yet?”
“No. I’m still sitting in the car.”
“Oh. Do you want me to come over? I want to be there for you, Ginny, if you need me.”
“You don’t have to do that. Anyway, my mother and sister are coming. I’m going back to Denver with them.”
“I’m not sure. Tomorrow maybe. I have to give my mom time to rest before we start back. I need to pack, get money…that kind of stuff.”
“You have to let me know when you’re leaving. Promise?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Ginny, I’m here for you. I want to be with you. As soon as I can I’m going to Denver. We have to be together.”
The urgency in his tone stunned her; she hadn’t expected it. Being stuck together in the cabin had been one thing but now he was free. He didn’t have to be with her. She closed her eyes, so overwhelmed with emotion she couldn’t speak.
He misunderstood her silence. “Okay, I’ll give you time to think about it,” he said gently. “I already miss you, Ginny. I’ll be thinking of you.”
“Take care, Chase,” she said. “Bye.”
She hung up the call and sat back in the seat, closing her eyes. She had been deliberately cool to him at the end, not wanting to string him along. There was no point in talking about the future. Neither of them could even begin to guess what was in store, anymore than they could have foreseen the past forty-eight hours. Chase could meet someone his own age tomorrow and fall desperately in love. And what would she be as a person if she resented his good fortune? She wanted him to be happy.
Walking into the house, she saw John standing in the hallway waiting for her. With arms crossed in front of him, he looked her over from head to toe as though trying to determine if she had changed in some way. Apparently he was satisfied.
“Well, glad you’re safe,” he said rather indifferently. “Too bad about the car, though. It’s gonna cost me a fortune to pay for the tow.”
“At least you didn’t have to pay for a funeral,” she said philosophically, and walked up the stairs. Her first order of business was to get ready for her mother’s visit, not stand around arguing with John. She was glad to have a task to distract her troubled thoughts.
The next morning she loaded a suitcase and several bags of clothes on coat hangers into the trunk of her mother’s car. Randy helped her with boxes of her personal items. He hugged her before she got into the backseat, whispering that she was doing the right thing.
“I’m gonna miss you, though,” he added. “Don’t be surprised if I show up on Grandma’s front step in a few days. I can only live with Mr. Heartless for so long without you here.”
Ginny nodded and waved goodbye as the car lurched forward. She was aware that she hadn’t called Chase as she had promised. She just couldn’t. Every time she looked in a mirror she was reminded of his youth, and her age. It wasn’t right for her to encourage him. She wouldn’t encourage him.
Within a week she landed a job at the community college in the computer lab, retained a divorce attorney, and put down a deposit on an apartment. Randy came down the following weekend with the furniture John begrudgingly parted with. He brought something else with him. Two somethings, actually: Ginny’s snowy white Samoyeds, Tensing and Hillary. Having been raised as housedogs, they took to the apartment as though it were just a slightly smaller cave. Since the apartment was in a mostly-residential area, Ginny found it no trouble at all to continue their morning five-mile walks.
As Ginny and Randy set up the second bedroom with an antique bedstead that had been one of her ancestors, Randy told her of the recent rappelling expedition he had guided for paying clients.
“I thought you were working at the library,” she said, screwing old iron screws into the bed frame.
“That’s been a temporary job, Mom,” he replied. “You know I’ve wanted to come here to work since before I graduated college.”
“Well, yeah, but I figured it was just talk. I can’t see you leaving the slopes to settle in the city.”
“Hey, there’s a lot more to do around here than just downhill.”
Ginny’s eyebrows went up. She’d never heard him even once disparage his beloved downhill skiing and couldn’t imagine what had brought on this change.
“Anyway, I was wondering casino oyna if I could come stay with you while I get a feel on the job market,” Randy said.
“Of course you can.”
Several times she had to fight off the urge to ask him about Chase. Since Randy didn’t offer any information about his best friend, she didn’t ask. It seemed best for everyone just to let the whole episode slide into memory. At least, that’s what she told herself.
But in reality, the lonely nights only served to haunt her with memories of the cabin in the snow. Images floated before her in the darkness, images of Chase and the tenderness he had brought into her life. Night after night she cried out his name as she brought herself to orgasm, an act that was more desperate than pleasuring. Over several desolate weeks she came to terms with her own feelings. She loved him. Or, at least, she loved what they had had. She couldn’t yet admit to herself that she was in love with him. But she could allow that her feelings for him went far beyond simple desire.
She held out no hope that he reciprocated her feelings. If he’d wanted to be with her, wouldn’t he have called? This question tortured her day and night as she looked at her cell phone at the end of the workday. Sometimes her mother had called during the day and left a message, sometimes her sister, her best friend, or Randy. But never Chase.
One evening Randy did appear at her door, suitcase in hand. He and his father had had a falling out and Randy was ready to take the plunge in the Denver job market. For Ginny it was a reprieve from the almost constant loneliness that crushed her spirit.
A few days after arriving in town, Randy greeted her at the door with outstanding news. “I got a job!” he announced, waiting until she put down her purse to hug her.
“Oh, that’s great!” she cried, returning his hug. Then, sensing in his expression there was a bit of a story behind his new job, she added, “Let me just start a cup of tea and you can tell me all about it.”
Randy waited at the kitchen table while she set the kettle to boil and placed a tea bag in a mug. Then she sat down beside him. He smiled back at her. She raised her eyebrows, wondering if he needed an invitation.
“Well?” she said at last.
Randy looked down at the tabletop. “Well, I’m going to be working with a guy who’s starting up a new company here in Denver.”
Ginny’s heart thumped against her ribs. “Is it Chase?” she asked quietly.
“Yes,” he admitted.
She nodded. In her head all kinds of questions slammed into each other. Had Chase finally moved to Denver? Had he found office space? Had he gotten the startup money? Obviously, the answer was yes to all of the above. She wanted to ask Randy if he thought it a good idea to work for his best friend, but then she would be implying that she didn’t think it a good idea and she didn’t want to discourage him.
Randy took her hand in his. “You okay?”
“Sure. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“You look upset.”
Ginny shook her head. “I’m not upset at all. I’m happy for you,” she said. Then, forcing a smile, she stood up to take the whistling kettle off the stove.
For a long while Randy studied her face. She could see in his eyes that he was wondering about her feelings for Chase, but the temptation to bring her son into her love life was simply out of the question. She assumed an air of complete indifference towards the person he would be working for and concentrated only on the fact that he would be in a job he wanted.
A few days later, Randy packed up his belongings. He and Chase would be rooming together to save money. It would also give them more time to strategize. She was happy that Randy seemed so focused when, since graduating from college, he had floundered around in menial jobs. Still, she was distraught to see him go. It meant his life was no longer the focus of her own.
The following afternoon, Randy left her a voice message asking her to meet him for dinner at a popular Denver haunt of the younger crowd. Her first response was to say no; she was paralyzed with apprehension that she might see Chase. But then she shook off her fear, telling herself she couldn’t allow her brief relationship with Chase Nolan to affect the solid one she had with her son. It wouldn’t be right.
Randy had said seven, knowing that she’d want to go home after work to change. The restaurant on Larimer Square was crowded for a Tuesday night. Since she was early, she sat down at the bar and ordered a white wine. Aware that she must look silly there all by herself, she tried hard to appear enthralled by the bottles stacked along the mirror behind the bar. As she studied them, a tall masculine figure moved behind her. The bartender leaned to get his order.
“Coors Light,” the figure said.
Ginny’s gaze shifted to the hand resting on the bar beside her. She knew that hand. In fact, she knew every knuckle on that hand.
In the mirror across from her, the man stared canlı casino at her. Then he bent, and a pair of lips brushed her ear.
“You never said goodbye.”
She felt Chase slide down onto the barstool beside her, his body close to hers. Ginny turned her head to look into his dark brown eyes. He stared back at her with a hard, relentless gaze that penetrated her soul. She couldn’t breath.
“Well?” he demanded.
She should have called him, she realized. She’d hurt him by not.
“I thought I was doing you a favor,” she said honestly.
She wanted to tell him she was sorry, that she thought it best for him if he just forgot about her. But now her own words sounded so patronizing. He was a grown man and she had been treating him like a little boy. No wonder he was angry with her.
“Is Randy with you?” she asked.
“Yeah, he’s at the table. We got here early. I volunteered to come look for you.”
“We need to join him.”
“No. Not really. He has a date with him.”
Ginny looked at him. He didn’t sound like the same person. His voice was hard…like his eyes. He was staring at her, simply staring at her, and she wondered what he expected her to do or how much more of it she could take.
“Come with me,” he said.
She shook her head. “Where?”
“Just come with me.”
She set down her wine glass as he stood up, but hesitated moving out of her seat. Although she couldn’t imagine Chase lying to her, she wasn’t at all sure Randy had a date. He might this very moment be wondering where she was. On the other hand, she had a cell phone, so if her son wanted to reach her, all he needed to do was call. And he wasn’t calling.
Ginny slid out of her seat and walked around it to Chase’s side. He took her elbow in his hand and guided her out the door. Together they walked four blocks east, to a row of attractive store fronts with lofts above. Unlocking a door, he led her inside a modest space filled in a disheveled state with various kinds of outdoor equipment. A sign on the wall said something about mountain expeditions, but with the lights off she couldn’t be sure. He continued through the space to a side door, which he opened to reveal a stairway.
The lighted stairway led up to a hallway landing. Loft apartments lined the corridor. Chase unlocked a door, holding it open as Ginny stepped in. A part of her was curious about the place her son now called home. But she was equally aware that this was Chase’s apartment. The voices in her head screamed the same warnings that she was now impatiently growing tired of.
The apartment had the look of two single guys who had no interest in decorating. There were papers everywhere, adventure magazines, newspaper clippings. She was relieved to see that, at least from here, the food was being kept in the kitchen and not strewn everywhere.
“Living room,” Chase said, gesturing at the sofa, coffee table, lamp, television.
Nothing there but a few odd boxes.
She could see a counter and a dark space beyond.
“Down here, Randy’s room.”
He flipped on a light to reveal a double bed surrounded by clothes in piles on the floor.
Ginny glanced in, seeing a wet towel on the floor—no doubt Randy’s.
“My room and bath.”
She stood beside him at the threshold, having given the neat space with a bed and dresser a cursory glance. Now she started to turn away, assuming that this exercise—or whatever it was—was over. Chase grasped her arm. Ginny looked back at him. His jaw was squared; his eyes blazed with what she thought was anger. He pulled her to him. She could feel the heat from his nostrils on her skin. She stared up at him, waiting. God, she wanted him so badly. She wanted him to kiss her, to make love to her again. Her body ached for him.
“What,” he bit out maliciously, “do you want?”
The dam of her pent-up emotions burst and she lifted her lips to capture his in a hungry, desperate hold. He didn’t immediately kiss her back, but rather waited, forcing her to release him and try again. Her arms lifted to encircle his neck as she pressed her body into his. Over and over again she kissed his unyielding lips. She may have given up had she not felt his hands on her waist, unconsciously squeezing her flesh as he tried to fight the impulse to give in. Pressing her thigh lightly against his crotch, she was further encouraged by the erection growing inside his jeans. No matter what his mouth was saying to her, his body betrayed him.
Finally his lips parted and Ginny thrust her tongue forward, past his teeth, to the warm interior of his mouth. He groaned despite himself, and she felt him break off the kiss as though irritated at his own weakness. She kept her eyes closed, not wanting to look into his angry face. Just when she was sure he was going to put her away from him, his hands swept up the sides of her face and held her. She lifted her eyelids to look kaçak casino at him.
“Ginny,” he whispered raggedly. “Don’t ever, ever do that to me again.”
She shook her head. “I won’t. I swear to God, I won’t.”
Chase drew her into his room and closed the door. The lamp by the bed burned softly as they lay down, fully clothed, on top of the bedspread. Lying on his side, Chase gazed down at her face as her head rested on his pillow. All the resentment that had seized his mind and body was magically gone. He bent down to kiss her with a gentleness and intensity that robbed her of coherent thought. Ten minutes went by, then twenty, and his hands remained in her hair, on her shoulders, against her stomach, as his mouth made up for all the kisses their long separation had stolen from them.
“I want to make love to you,” he whispered against the skin just before her ear. “But not if it’s a one-shot deal. Ginny, I want to date you. I want to take you out with me, introduce you to people as my girlfriend. I want to tell my parents about us. And I don’t want you to be ashamed of me. If people don’t accept us as a couple, screw them. I have one life to live and I plan on spending it with whomever I want. And that’s you. You, Ginny, and no one else.”
Looking into his eyes, she could see her own reflection: the face of a forty-six year old woman who didn’t understand how or why this had happened. She was scared of the future, frightened of the lines she knew would come, of the gray hair and the birthdays. She was scared of his youth, his gorgeous face, of the young women who would naturally throw themselves at him. But she was more afraid of not being with him. Of regretting letting this moment pass. Of living a future where she was alone and he was alone, or perhaps with someone he didn’t really love. Of denying him because of her own vanity.
“Yes, Chase,” she said simply, smiling up at him.
His mouth softened. He smiled too. Then he kissed the hollow of her neck, allowing his tongue to taste the sweetness of her flesh as he began a downward descent. She wore a wool sweater with a wide collar, and he made fast work of dispatching it over her head to reveal the tank top she wore underneath. Her stiff nipples showed through the thin material. His fingertips meandered lazily over the fabric, circling the stiff points and teasing them with the hard surfaces of his nails. Licking his lips in anticipation, he lowered his head over her chest. He pulled the fabric taut and flicked his tongue against each dark point, eliciting sharp gasps of pleasure as she wiggled beneath him. Being in no hurry, he did it again, and again, and again, until her back was arched so high that her breasts were almost pressed into his face. Then he pushed the top upwards and took one of her breasts wholly into his mouth, sucking it until his cheeks hurt. She fell back on the bed, looking delicious with her one red swollen breast. He left the other one for the moment and kissed all the way down her belly to the top of her jeans. They were button fly, and he worked each one open with slow enjoyment. The front panel of her thong became apparent and he smiled at the cute little panda chewing bamboo.
He stood up to pull off her ankle boots, her socks, then her jeans, watching as the lusciousness between her firm legs was revealed. Her ass was tight as a rock; since getting the dogs from John, she still walked them five miles every morning before work. She’d also taken to working out at the college gym and if possible the rest of her looked even tighter than it had the previous winter. He felt an impulse to lick her from her toes up but stifled the urge in favor of getting out of his own clothes, which he did with a few effortless motions, all the while staring back at her stormy blue-green gaze.
He pulled back the blanket on his side while she wiggled beneath it on hers. She was still wearing the panda thong and, while he harbored no ill will towards the mammal, Chase hurriedly introduced it to his bedroom floor. On his knees beside her, he pushed Ginny’s legs apart and lay down between them, his mouth poised above her glistening pink vagina. He closed his eyes for a moment to take in the scent of her. A warm, contented feeling swept over him and he sighed, his warm breath passing over her already engorged clit. She jerked uncontrollably and he chuckled softly, then intentionally blew a stream of air over her clit. Again she shuddered and he did it again, and again, and again, until the sight of her panting and digging her fingernails into his pillow became too much for him and he plunged his tongue into the depths of her, taking in the sweetness that came from her body.
Ginny squirmed against his face, her brain unable to control her movements. She knew only pleasure and longing, the delight of his tongue as it explored the core of her sex, licking over mysterious surfaces that yielded to the force of his thrust. But there was also longing in her, to have more of him inside of her, possessing her, pushing deeper and deeper within her, until their flesh was entwined completely in a single moment of rapture.
“Chase,” she whispered desperately, “turn around so I can play with you.”
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