Tessa pressed the code into the front gate and pulled into the driveway. It had been a long day, but for the most part it hadn’t been too bad. Well, at least from a retail point of view.
She slid her pendant back and forth on the fine box chain and let it drop as she parked. She hadn’t gotten a chance to call him, but he’d told her to come home…she paused. No, he hadn’t called it home. “Jeeze, Tess, nothing like rushing things.”
She climbed out of the car and went to the front door. She stood at the front steps and felt a little weird. Was she supposed to walk in? Or was she supposed to ring the bell? She’d never actually come to his house without him waiting for her outside.
She tried the door, but it was definitely locked. Feeling silly, she pressed the bell and waited. Christ. She’d gone to calling the ridiculous palace of a house home and having to ring the bell like a guest. Talk about wall of reality.
She turned and looked out along the huge expanse of land that he had as she waited. It really was a beautiful spot and the Navasink rushed on by with the unusually warm weather they’d been enjoying.
The door opened and she turned with a smile and promptly lost her teeth. “Sweet mercy,” she said on a quick gasp. He stood in the door with a skin tight navy blue sleeveless shirt with a logo on the well formed pec that said UA. Thick, corded muscles stood out from his shoulders and arms. Sweat clung to his forearms and biceps with a matching heart shaped mark at the center of his chest.
Her eyes lowered, as her breath stuttered. He wore gym shorts in a similar material with more sweat beading up within the hair of his stone hard calves. She swallowed thickly and forced her eyes back up to his face. He was covered, his face flushed with exertion and his hair dripping with sweat. She finally met his eyes she stepped forward.
“What’s wrong?” All the flutterings of desire shriveled at his lost and vacant eyes. “Jon,” she grabbed his hand and circled her other hand around his wrist. “Tell me,” she whispered and pushed him inside.
His free hand slid into her hair and pulled her into him. His mouth was hard and a little desperate as he took hers. “Please,” he said with a deep, pain ravaged voice. “I need you.”
She wasn’t sure what had happened but when he dragged her in and captured her mouth in a drugging kiss she lost herself. She fisted her hands into his sweat soaked hair and groaned when he yanked her coat off. Her purse and overnight bag landed with a thud in the entry way, followed by her coat.
He lifted her sweater off, tumbling her hair into her face. He gripped her hair and tugged her head back and attacked her neck with teeth and tongue. Her heart slammed furiously as she gasped. She gripped sweat slicked skin and held on as he turned her toward the living room.
He fumbled with the snap and zipper of her dress pants, growling when it wouldn’t open.
“Shhh, Baby,” she pushed his hands away and released the inside button that kept the pants laying flat. She grabbed his hands as they shook. “Jon, please what happened?”
His eyes still desolate with a pain she’d never seen, scared her. “I just need you right now.”
His mouth was on hers again and she poured herself into the kiss. Whatever it was that had him so…The world darkened as his hands slid inside her panties and she choked on a strangled scream. With knife-like precision he flicked his fingers over her and pushed her screaming over the edge. Her thoughts scattered and the only thing that mattered was taking care of him right then.
He backed her into the living room and they tumbled to the rich carpeting. “I’m sorry,” he said into her ear as he tugged off her panties and plunged inside of her. His thrusts were punishing and his eyes wild as he used her. There was no other word for the way he drove into her.
She lifted her knees up and locked her ankles around his waist as she held on. Whatever demons possessed him, whatever it was that had put that look into his eyes seemed to ease as he buried his nose into her hair and shouted his release. His arms surrounded her as he rolled them so she was cushioned on his chest instead of the floor.
Tessa pressed her cheek against the smooth material he still wore. The sweat already started to pull from his body and dry as his heart still thundered beneath her. His chest heaved and he kept one arm firmly around her as the other draped over his eyes.
She raised herself on an elbow and pushed up the strap of her bra. “Jon…you want to tell me what’s going on?”
He continued to keep his eyes closed and his forearm shielding half of his face. She reached up and tugged his chin toward her. When he wouldn’t budge she pushed his arm away from his face and simply stared at him. A minute passed, then another as she waited him out.
“I’m sorry,” he said hoarsely. He kept his eyes closed as he swallowed with some difficulty.
“It’s okay, just tell me what to do to fix it. Tell me what you need.” She shifted onto her knees and slid her hand over his chest and up into his hair until he allowed her to turn his face to hers.
He opened his eyes, they were bloodshot and miserable. “I-“ he started lamely and closed his eyes again.
Tessa sighed and dropped her forehead onto his muscled chest for a moment before she stood and went into the vestibule. This was a conversation for clothes. Unwilling to put her dress clothes back on she dug into her overnighter and dragged out her well worn Giants jersey and dumped her bra into the bag.
The jersey came to her knees and would do for now. When she returned he was sitting on one of the couches, his elbows propped on his knees and two fingers pinching the bridge of his nose.
She sat next to him and rubbed a comforting hand over his back and up to his shoulders, repeating the gesture even when he tried to shrink away from her.
“How can you want to touch me after that?”
“Well if you tell me what had you all upset I’ll accept all the apologies you heaped on top of me as you fucked me blind.”
His eyes whipped to hers.
She simply couldn’t be mad at him when he was so mad at himself. But under the mad there still was a soul deep pain that she’d never seen before. “Ahh there we go, we’re making progress. At least you looked at me this time.”
He stood and moved to the window, pushing the curtain aside to look out into the night. She sighed. “I’m feeling like a very broken, very scratched record over here, Jon. Please tell me what has you so upset.”
She curled her knees into herself and tucked herself into the corner of the couch. His body was back to the tightly wound, bunching of muscle and bone that she’d walked into a few short minutes ago. She watched as his jaw muscles worked and his molars ground together.
He plowed his fingers through his hair and took a deep breath and walked back to her, sitting down next to her. “I didn’t handle that very well.”
She pressed her lips together and instead of asking the inane question one more time she waited for him to start again.
He leaned in and pressed his forehead to hers for a moment and bumped noses with her before he kissed her gently. “You deserve so much more than me.”
“Okay, can I have my willful and confident man back please? The stupid one sitting next to me is going to get knocked on his ass.”
He laughed and slipped his fingers into her hair, tugging her in for a hug. He kissed her temple and sat back on the couch. “I’ve been pounding the shit out of my home gym upstairs hoping to work off some of my mad. No amount of reps or weight could seem to get me past the conversation I had with Dorothea today.”
“But getting me immediately naked did?”
He laughed, some of the tension easing from him. “When someone rips your guts out and leaves them under the table like scraps for the dog, a guy can go a little nuts.” He tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “When I touch you, everything seems to be okay. It’s all I could focus on.”
She curled back into her corner and draped her legs over his, dragging him closer.
He dropped his hands on top of her thighs and slowly smoothed his thumbs over her skin as he told her about the fight, the threat and the way he’d left things with Dot.
“So, let me get this straight,” she said slowly. “She’s mad that I’ve met the kids even though they don’t know anything about us.”
“Well, that’s not entirely true. Stephanie overheard me talking to Richie on Sunday night. She figured out that I was seeing you.”
“Does Dorothea know about that?”
“Hmm,” Tessa said as she twirled a piece of her hair and nibbled on her thumb nail. All Jon could see was that she was taking his kids. And once he got past the hurt he’d realize Dorothea didn’t have a leg to stand on when it came to taking them away from him. “She wouldn’t be jealous, would she?”
His fingers stilled. “No, why would she be jealous? She’s the one that wanted out of the marriage?”
Silly man. “Jon, just because she doesn’t want to be married to you doesn’t mean she shuts off her feelings.”
“Dot’s never been the jealous type. Even at the height of my less than,” he paused and flushed. “Well, we’ll just say less than faithful days as a young idiot she just didn’t worry about that.”
Tessa swallowed back the acid comment that was burning her tongue and concentrated on the now, not the then. “Just for the record, you cheat on me and I don’t forgive, I find a knife.” She held up a hand when he started to speak. “But in defense to Dorothea, you didn’t love those women. She knew your loyalties were to her and your family. This is all together different.”
“My loyalty is still to my family. It’s always going to be my family that comes first. But she had to know I wouldn’t stay alone the rest of my life.”
“Ahhh. But that’s the rational part of your stupid man brain talking.”
He laughed and started smoothing his fingertips along the length of her thigh and back down to her knee. “You do know you’re the only one besides Richie to call me stupid, right?”
“Yes, but you love me so I can speak plainly. You know you’re not stupid, just man stupid when it comes to certain things.”
“Uh huh,” he said with that same smirk flirting with his lips.
“Look, I give you tons of credit for how well you seem to know women when it comes to your writing, but when it comes to the day to day…there’s going to be some specific things you guys are just never going to get without help. One of those things is the female psyche.”
Jon sighed, “I guess I can’t argue with you there.”
“Do you honestly think this woman is going to want to share her kids with me?”
She tsked and ah-ah-ah’d until he shut up again. “Talk to her again. Let her get over her mad and just talk to her again. She doesn’t strike me as the vindictive ex-wife type that’s going to use your kids against you.”
Deflated he sat back. “I’d never have said it in a million years.”
She laid her hand gently against his cheek until he looked at her. “I’ll tell you one thing though. If she ever puts that look in your eyes again I’ll find a way to hurt her, even if it requires hiring people.”
“You’re a pretty scary chick sometimes,” he said with a startled laugh.
“Yeah well, don’t mess with my man.”
His grin widened into a smile as he let his fingers slide up her thigh and under the jersey. “Well, let’s see if your man can do some damage control of his own. I like the jersey, but it really needs to go.”