Authors: Elizabeth Lennox
Gabby woke the following morning just as the sun was coming up over the horizon. She smiled, feeling Damon’s arm on her waist, his hand actually holding her breast in his hand. He’d only woken her once last night and he’d been so gentle, she’d cried as he brought her to fulfillment. Afterwards, he’d curled up again with her in his arms and they fell back to sleep, his kisses soothing her back to unconsciousness.
She slipped out of bed, careful to not disturb his sleep. She pulled her robe on and tied it at the waist, looking down at the man who had completely changed her weekend. It had started out so horribly at the dance club Friday night, but meeting him had made her weekend into an adventure.
She looked for her slippers, wondering where they’d been kicked but spotted them sitting in her closet next to all of her other shoes. That was odd, she thought. She knew she’d worn her slippers on Friday evening while getting ready for the bridal shower, but was pretty sure she hadn’t had the time to clean up afterwards.
Looking around, she realized that everything else was also put away. And dusted! She walked out of her bedroom and noticed that all the dishes were cleaned and put away, her carpets vacuumed…her whole house was completely cleaned!
She poked her head into the bedroom and sure enough, her laundry basket was empty. She glanced in her closet and the clothes she’d worn to work this week were hanging in plastic bags next to all of her other clothes. Had Damon…? She had no other explanation except that Damon had made a call and someone, or a team of someones, had come in and cleaned her whole house and done her laundry while they’d been out to dinner last night.
She glanced over at the large, muscular man with his feet dangling off the end of her bed, the pink rose colored comforter surrounding him and something tugged at her heart. She’d only casually mentioned cleaning her house and he’d secretly arranged to have someone do the job for her. Shouldn’t she be irritated that he’d allowed strangers to come into her house? She supposed she should be, but she wasn’t. It was a thoughtful surprise from a man who didn’t appear to be as sensitive as she was finding him to be.
What a sweet man, she thought as she padded over to her electronic keyboard. She slipped the headphones over her ears so she wouldn’t disturb him or her neighbors at this early hour. She’d love an actual piano, but they were too expensive and she simply didn’t have the room in her tiny cottage. Besides, this small keyboard gave her the music she needed, something to satisfy her craving to create. Her fingers slid over the keys, her mind sifting through the various music pieces she loved. Thinking about Damon, her fingers started playing Debussy’s “Claire de Lune”, her fingers skimming over the keys as the music soothed her soul.
As the day slowly started to seep into his mind, Damon knew that something was wrong but wasn’t ready to fully wake up just yet. He was already hard and aching, but he knew that Gabriella was still tender from yesterday. He’d made love to her last night and it had been wonderful, but he was determined to leave her alone today, give her time to recover.
But as his mind started working slowly, he realized that she was no longer curled up next to him. He looked to the side and found that she wasn’t in the bed with him any longer and her absence disturbed him. She was supposed to be right here with him dammit!
He jerked upright and looked around. She wasn’t even in the bedroom but he heard something out in her small den. He stood up and immediately thought about buying her a larger house. This one was tiny and if he was going to be here more often, she would need more space. Hell, he didn’t even fit on her miniature bed! That would be the first to go, he told himself with determination.
First things first though. He had to find the missing woman before he could tell her that he was going to buy her a larger home.
He walked out to her tiny den and stopped, frozen in place as he took in the lovely picture of Gabriella sitting at an electronic keyboard, headphones covering her ears and her eyes closed as she swayed to whatever she was playing on the instrument. Her body was leaning to the right and left softly, shifting to whatever music she was playing and her beautiful, long fingers stroked the keys gently.
He swallowed the lump in his throat as he absorbed the scene before him and tried to put this picture into perspective. This was just sex, he reminded himself. He liked spending time with Gabby and she had the most incredible body he’d ever seen with her soft curves and flashing eyes. But raw emotions like what he was feeling right at the moment were never part of his relationships with the opposite sex. He didn’t
emotions so seeing her like this, so enraptured by the music,
affect him in any way, he asserted to himself firmly.
But he couldn’t stop himself from moving towards her. Sensing his presence, she opened her eyes, watching him approach but she didn’t stop playing. He halted when he was standing in front of the keyboard, his hand reaching down and unplugging the headphones and gently taking them from over her ears to set them off to the side. Suddenly, the whole cottage was filled with the sound of her music and something in his heart ached as it absorbed the incredibly beautiful sound her fingers created as they touched each of those keys. He didn’t move, didn’t think he even blinked, not wanting to miss a moment of watching her play the music.
Slowly, the piece built up to a crescendo, her fingers flying and her body straining to reach all the keys while she maintained her gaze with him. As the music slowed, and eventually ended, her hands floated above the keys for an instant….the house filling with a moment of silence and she looked up at him….then her hands dropped to her robe covered lap.
“That was extraordinary,” he finally said, his voice rough with an emotion he wasn’t comfortable feeling. He walked over to her, took her hand and gently pulled her so that she was standing next to him. He kissed her, conveying all of those feelings back to her that he couldn’t define, showing her with his kiss what he couldn’t say with words or even admit he was feeling to himself.
Gabby was overwhelmed with his kiss, her hand reaching up to touch his cheek, to calm him in a way. He leaned into her touch and she wrapped her arms around his neck, reassuring him that everything was still okay. She knew exactly how he felt because music did the same thing to her. It both soothed and excited, while creating turmoil as the notes wove through her body and soul. When any song ended, she felt both exhilarated and sad, eager to start a new song so that the magic could once again float around her.
Damon didn’t want another song. He wanted her arms and legs around him, squeezing him and making him feel desire once again. He wanted her to obliterate that painful emotion her music created within him that almost hurt inside with the beauty of what she’d just played. He picked her up and carried her back to bed, kissing every inch of her body, making her scream with frustration and need. And only when she begged him would he move between her legs, taking her slowly, giving every part of himself to her just as she’d done with the music.
When the storm subsided, Gabby curled up in his arms while Damon stared at the ceiling. She was so soft and perfect, fitting against his hard body like no other woman ever had. And that scared the hell out of him. He didn’t want to be vulnerable. Life was hard, and difficult. He had to be strong or someone would come in and hurt him as well as the people he cared for.
He needed to find his brother. Something inside of him snapped and he knew that he had to get back to his mission of finding his brother quickly. He had to leave.
Looking down at this woman, this incredibly cute, beautiful and magical woman, he felt as if something were crushing his chest, hurting him and stabbing at his heart.
With extreme care, he slipped his arm out from underneath her. He rose from the bed, watching her as he dressed as quickly as possible. The sun was coming up, shining through the trees and his only desire was to get out of this tiny house, take several deep breaths and figure out where his brother might be hiding now with his books and his thoughts.
He made sure that the door was locked as he stepped out into the cool morning. His guards were already standing beside the limousine door, still scanning the woods surrounding Gabriella’s house. He nodded to both of them as he ducked into the back seat, handing his wardrobe bag to Justin just as he shut the door on them. Moments later, they were driving away. Damon had to actually grit his teeth at the ache that formed in his chest. Several times he almost told hid guards to turn around and take him back to Gabriella. But he remained strong, fisting both of his hands to try and diffuse the memory of her soft, porcelain skin and the silk of her curly hair.
Gabby woke up, startled by the silence and the lack of warmth from Damon’s body that she’d grown used to so quickly. Looking around, she felt a strong urge to find Damon. Where was he? She slipped out of bed and found her robe, tightening it around her waist as she pushed her curls back off her forehead. She checked the bathroom, the kitchen and even looked outside. Gone was the long, black limousine parked in her driveway. Had he just gone to a store to grab something for breakfast?
She looked outside her kitchen window, trying to see if perhaps one of his guards was still checking the perimeter of her property. But the more she stared out at the silent, dew-damp trees, the deeper the sadness went inside of her.
He was gone, she told herself. He’d left without even saying goodbye. She had no doubts that she would ever see him again. He wasn’t the type of man who would settle down with someone like her. Wretchedly she acknowledged that she wasn’t his type, except maybe for a private weekend fling.
She made herself a cup of herbal tea and curled up on her sofa, willing the heat of her tea to seep into her freezing cold fingers. Unfortunately, the tea couldn’t compare to the heat of Damon’s body against hers, or the heat from his eyes that never failed to warm her up.
Staring out the front window, praying that he would come back, that his silly limousine would turn the corner into her driveway and just appear out of nowhere with him inside, jumping out of the back before it even stopped and rushing to her door to tell her he was sorry for leaving her so abruptly. He’d have a bag of still-warm bagels in his arms, grab her around the waist and lift her up for his kiss.
As the tears trailed down her cheeks, Gabby knew that her fantasies were not going to come true. She had to accept that he was gone, not coming back. As the morning shifted into afternoon, and then the sunshine faded into night, she continued to cry, curling up on the sofa and staring at nothing in particular. Her mind wouldn’t let her remember the moments in his arms because the bittersweet memories were too painful, but nor could she think about how she was going to get through the next day. Or even the next minute.
She must have fallen asleep at some point during the night because she woke up on the sofa, her back and neck aching from the uncomfortable angle the pillows had forced her into during her sleep. Glancing at the clock over her mantle, she knew that she should get ready for work, but it just seemed like such a monumental task.
She pulled herself up off the couch and headed into the bathroom. The warm water soothed her slightly, but she still felt the tingles all over her body when she remembered how sweet Damon had been while he’d washed her so gently the previous day.
The next few days at work were difficult, but as she went through the motions, throwing herself into projects so that she didn’t have to think about Damon, wonder where he was or what he was doing, she slowly started to put her weekend with him into perspective. It had been a fantasy weekend, she convinced herself. There had been no promises on either side for a future and if she’d been thinking along those lines, she’d been deluding herself and she deserved this kind of pain and anguish.
Anytime she started to think about Damon, she pushed him from her mind and forced herself to focus on something else. She couldn’t think about him, couldn’t remember their weekend together. It hurt too much to think about those moments and wonder where he was now. And more specifically, who he was doing it with.
Gabby hated the idea of Damon in another woman’s arms, doing to her what they’d shared last weekend. She had to ignore those images or it would tear her up. She had no right to be jealous and had to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and continue moving forward with her life.
She didn’t even have a way to contact him, to ask him why he’d left so abruptly. She did a search for him on her computer and found his company, but the size and complexity of what he’d created intimidated her. She supposed she could have called the headquarters and asked to speak with Damon Petrov, but there were probably so many levels of personnel to protect him from crank callers that she’d never get through.
Was she being a coward for not even trying? Or was she accepting that he’d moved on and she needed to accept that? One part of her wanted to fight for what they’d shared, to try and convince him that they could experience that magic again. But the stronger part, the one that had all the pride, refused to let her make the call. He’d walked out on her without even a goodbye or an explanation. He’d skulked away in the morning and that was wrong. She didn’t deserve that kind of treatment so if he thought so little of her, then she should be glad he was gone!
Slowly, she started to pull herself out of the funk that his departure had instigated. In the future, when she was ready to date again and find someone that could possibly make her feel like Damon had, she promised herself that she would be strong, smart and cautious. She’d gone right into that weekend with Damon thinking that he was better than this, but she hadn’t even known the man, how could she have known he had a love ‘em and leave ‘em type of attitude?
If she wasn’t working, she was organizing a bridal shower for Maggie, minus her future husband’s petty cousins. She didn’t feel bad in the least about not inviting them, assuming they were probably on the prowl for their next male victim anyway and she didn’t want a reminder of that night that had started her weekend fling with a jerk.