Authors: Kimber S. Dawn
Just as he promised, we dined in my room. I can assume during my afternoon nap he had my sitting area transformed into a dining area with a small formal dining table with two high back dining chairs, complete with a candelabra holding dozens of silver and light blue candle sticks.
We ate in total silence. I’m uncertain what kept him from initiating conversation, as for me, I kept quiet for one reason and one reason alone, I have no idea where I stand with this new and seemingly improved Roman. I don’t know what, if anything will set him off one of his tirades, so instead I say nothing.
I awoke this morning similarly to yesterday, with Roman sitting on my bed, gently brushing his fingers through my hair and smiling down at me. “You’re beautiful, little mouse. I regret not having told you so before, but you are indeed, extremely beautiful.”
I know the following words fall from my lips only because I’m unable to properly filter myself after just having been wakened and as soon as I realize I’ve said the words…I know I’ve fucked up. “Tell me, is it the idea of you possessing such beauty, possessing, then shattering it for your own amusement that I can thank for this new about face you’ve been displaying?”
Without warning and with the grace of the perfect predator his elbows are straddling my shoulders with his knees sinking into the mattress on either side of mine. Leaning his face down before his forehead nudges up my neck, behind my ear, and settles it against mine, his huge hands follow, sliding from my upper arms, over my shoulders to cup my face.
In an effort to prepare myself from his impending strikes, I flinch, closing my eye as quickly as possible.
After what seems like a lifetime I peek up at him and his smile remains. He brushes his lips against mine and mutters hoarsely, “No, baby. I have no explanation as to what it is you hold the other twelve did not. I’ve only recently stopped searching and decided I don’t fucking care any more…because the answer doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is you are mine, and all I wish is to keep you happy.” He smiles, “I’ve finally concurred, when you’re happy… you don’t shut me out, and when I’m not shut out...I am happy.”
His mouth slants, covering mine and I bask in his affection, handing control of the kiss to him before his hands demand it. I’m rarely gifted with tenderness from Roman. The instant I recognize this moment as one of those rarities, I revel in the strength of my love for him, basking in his every sweet, gentle and loving kisses.
This new ability to show love and kindness is a dangerous and wickedly wonderful prelude to what our potential future could hold. And right now, in this moment, I want nothing more than to seize it and hold on to it for dear life, but at the same time I want to pull the fucking pin and launch this ticking bomb as far as I can, turn around, and haul ass.
His chuckled voice pulls me from my thoughts, “I just referred to you in a term of endearment I swore I would avoid ever using, but it fell out effortlessly in regards to you.” His facial expression mirrors both confusion and amusement. “Okay. Here.” He leans back on his haunches.
Handing me two pills he holds a glass of water with a straw up to my lips. “Swallow those down, after your nap you and I will take a little walk through the gardens and if the weather permits we’ll have a little swim afterward.” I do as I’m told, swallow the pills down with a sip of water and look up at him sitting on the edge of my bed. All he does is smile before brushing his lips across my forehead and stands to leave.
I wake to him mumbling inside my closet. As soon as I remember his promised plans for the day, I bolt upright in bed.
“…never even paid attention to what she would have chose. Damn it.”
I reach, pulling the covers back to hop out of bed when I notice three outfits carefully placed on the foot of the bed. After I slip from the bed I tip toe to the closet, but before I’m able to enter I run face first into his chest. “Ouch! Shit!” Immediately both of my hands fly to my face and I feel warm blood gushing from my nose.
“Baby?! Shit, I’m…” His strong hands gently cup the top of my arms and lead me to his chair, once the back of my knees meet the soft leather cushion I slowly sit. A split second after he disappears into my bathroom he rushes toward me and places a cool wet rag on my face. “I’m sorry. It’s my fault. I was trying—“
Patting his busy hands until they still, I take the rag and pinch my nose before leaning my head back and peeking at him through my right eye. “I know what you were doing. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, just an accident. Can you please grab a pair of white shorts, the Noir Gladiator sandals and which ever top you like the best?”
He hurries back into the closet speaking over his shoulder, “I started a bath for you. Is your bottom better from…” His words drift off and I pick up his question, answering it.
“Yes, Roman. It’s fine. And a bath sounds perfect. I’ll be right out. Thank you.”
Standing to make my way to the bathroom, I keep the rag held tightly to my face.
Once I’ve bathed and washed my hair I soak in the tub for a while. After testing my nose and I’m sure I won’t make any further mess, I step from the tub and dry off before slipping on my silk robe and tying the sash.
I brush my hair out and twist it into a loose French braid then walk into my room. I notice the other outfits have been put away and lying on top of my made bed are my shoes, a pair of white Bermuda shorts and a loose pale yellow capped sleeve button up blouse.
I do attempt to apply some makeup but when I realize it only seems to make the mess of my face worse I stop trying and get dressed.
As soon as I have my sandals zipped up Roman knocks and enters my room and I swear I hear him whisper, “Beautiful.”
“I’m sorry?” I ask while standing up and looking at my reflection. Beautiful? No, try horrid.
“Nothing.” He shakes his head. “Are you ready?” Excitement zips through me and I smile at his reflection standing behind me. As sad as it is, this is as close to a first date as I’ve ever come. And I have to admit, I’m giddy. Even beaten ugly by the man who is escorting me on said quasi-first date, dammit I am giddy. And there is honestly not a thing, well, besides the appearance of my face, which I would change.
“I am.” When I turn still smiling, he takes both of my hands in his and peppers kisses atop my knuckles. Clasping our hands together, he leads me from the room, down the massive staircase and out to the garden,
When the sun hits my face a smile as big as you please dances onto it and never leaves. As a sigh leaves me I open my eye and immediately clench it closed because of the suns brightness.
“Silly mouse. Here.” Roman slides sunglasses onto my face. “I know it’s been a while, but it’s still the sun, you can’t look at it without it hurting. Come along, let’s go walk through these beloved gardens of yours you’ve been anxiously awaiting to stroll through.” He chuckles pulling me forward and when my eye opens to see his beautiful smile and his raven black hair reflecting in the sunlight I hesitate slightly before his arm slides around my shoulder and he leads me through the landscape.
The devil he may be, but God almighty there is no denying he is a beautiful one…
I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve never had to be nice to someone a day in my life. I do know on some level I feel satisfaction whenever I win a true smile from her or hear her sweet laugh.
“Can I ask you a question without getting my head taken off?” Her arm loops around the crook of my elbow as we walk underneath the wisteria canopy.
“Do I do that often? Bite your head off over a simple question?” Her laughter resembles one of my favorite eighty songs, and that thought alone leaves me even more confused.
“Umm… question, observation, opinion, or comment. God forbid I attempt to initiate an actual debate with you. Yes on all accounts, Hell yes on the later.”
I have to bite my tongue to prevent myself from making a snide remark. Instead I grit out, “I will not take your head off, question away, mouse.”
“Really?” I nod trying to keep my face as neutral as possible. “Okay, did Dolores tell you about my wanting to go outside by speaking or writing it down?”
My steps falter and I look down at her in question. “She spoke, why do you ask?”
“She’d rather I think she was mute than speak to me, I presume.” Heather continues her slow pace.
“Ahh…” I chuckle before explaining. “Dolores only speaks to me. She tried to play the mute game with me when I was young, but it only lasted a short while. So, yes. She voiced her suggestions. If you would like, I will gladly inform her she must speak and stop her silly quiet game. Just say the words, mouse and it will be done.”
Heather looks down for a moment as if in thought. When she looks up at me and I see tears pool in the corner of her eyes and the same tightening feeling associated with her sadness constricts painfully around my heart. “No, Roman. I’ll not have Dolores forced to speak to me, when she speaks to me I want it to be because she wants to. Do you like having control over so many?”
Damn confusion shrouds my happiness once again. “Control over so many?”
She quickly masks her sad smile before explaining, “Andrew, Sebastian, Dolores, Me, hell, Roman even your own parents. You’re the puppeteer and we are all mere puppets. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m asking.”
The anger from her question swells and batters against the peaceful calm blanketing my usual chaotic mind. It causes me to spin on my heels and bark over my shoulder as I stalk away of her, “If we’re going to swim today it’s either now or never. I’m not sure how long this fickle Seattle weather will allow it.”
Once I exit the wisteria canopy I stop on the pathway, when she steps from the shade I nod towards the pool house. “I wasn’t sure what type of bathing suit you prefer. I had Miquel purchase a dozen or so, hopefully something will be to your liking. I’m headed inside, I’ll meet you outside the pool house in fifteen minutes, mouse.”
After I’ve changed into my swim trunks and gathered some pool towels, I slide my Ray Ban aviators onto my face and make my way through the house and out the back doors towards the pool house. I damn near trip over my own feet when I see my little mouse in a bathing suit that should be illegal in all fifty states. It could possibly be called a black halter one piece, except the plunging neckline resembles a severe V and meets at the front of the bottoms four inches below her navel. Tiny. Bottoms. Which are presently covering the ass she has in the air as she digs through a bag before standing with her back to me, sending the mass of blond curls tumbling down her back. She slides the sunglasses I gave her earlier onto her face, scoops up her bag and turns around, instantly yelping and leaping almost foot off the stone pathway. “Jesus. Christ! Roman, you almost gave me a heart attack! Stop being so damn stealthy, it makes me nervous.”
Once she seems somewhat settled I crack a smile. “Sorry. When I watch you I tend to prefer to do so when you’re unaware. Makes it easier to see the real you.”
Confusion flits across her face and she furrows her brows. “The real me? Why would you ever want to see the real me? All you’ve ever demanded from me is the complete opposite. I’m not sure I’ll ever understand you, Roman.”
“I don’t think I will either, baby—mouse. I hate that term. I hate even more that it keeps falling out.” She slides her hand into mine before pulling me towards the opposite direction of the pool and I stop her. “The pool isn’t that way.” I jerk my head over my shoulder and smile, “It’s this way.”
She smiles and I witness my little Heather go shy. Yes, shy. Of all things. Then I lead her towards the pool. As soon as it’s in sight her steps falter and I have to keep pulling her forward. “Oh, no you don’t.“ I walk down the pool steps into the warmed water and pluck her shoes off her feet when she’s knee deep four steps above me into the pool, tossing them as well as the bag hanging from her shoulder to the side before pushing up out of the water and scooping her up. Her legs instinctively wrap around my waist and her arms slide around my neck as I leap backwards off the stairs into the water then kick my feet to keep our faces above the waterline.
“Oh!” She yelps before releasing an uninhibited giggle, which turns into pure beautiful laughter. Then she snorts. Easily the most unattractive sound I’ve ever had accost my eardrums. And I’ll be fucking damned if it doesn’t make me truly laugh out loud.
“What? You act like you’ve never been in a pool before, mouse.”