Alex padded down the stairs into the living room. The house was deathly quiet with Rick gone. She had not expected to miss him quite this much. Of course she knew she would miss him...but this...this she could never have expected. When she had stepped off the plane less than a month ago, she would never have believed that fate would deliver her here. She reflected on the events of the last weeks as she sat at the counter in her state-of-the-art kitchen, sipping her coffee....
Alex woke as the plane touched down, and squinted at the bright morning sun that streamed through the small plane window. She was wrapped securely in Rick's arms and could even say she was happy to be there. The few weeks alone with him in the Maldives had provided her with some much needed perspective. Without the constant reminders and media saturation, she had come to the realisation that while Jon would forever hold the bigger piece of her heart, Rick was her future. Her heart understood now why her head had made the decision it did...Jon could never be there for her, never be what she needed. Rick already was...and had promised to be for the rest of his life. And she had promised him the same. It was time for her to grow up and fulfil that promise.
When the pair finally cleared customs an hour later, they emerged from the airport to find a stretch limousine waiting at the curb, the suited driver holding a sign for Mr & Mrs Carlisle.
"Did you do this? I thought Lanie was coming to get us." She looked up at Rick smiling.
"I wanted just a little more time alone with you. I have one more surprise for you Mrs Carlisle." Rick looked at her adoringly. He had never been so happy. There had been a few seconds there at the altar when he thought she would run, but then she had turned towards him and uttered the two most magical words he had ever heard... 'I do'.
"Rick...you've already done so, so much...really...I don't need anything else." Alex protested.
"Not even somewhere to live?" He grinned.
"You didn't? Rick...please tell me you didn't buy me a house?" She said exasperated.
"No...of course I didn't buy you a house..."
"I bought us a house!" A wide grin warmed his features. She couldn't even be mildly annoyed. "You should see it honey...it's down in Fair Haven, right near Rumson and Bruce. Now it's not huge, but it's in a lovely quite area near the river. It's actually a lot like home...well it is except in winter I guess. There is another small out building on the property and I've had that renovated into a studio and darkroom for you so you can work from home." He was positively beaming, "Of course if you don't like that idea, we can always go ahead with the original plan of a studio in the city...come to think of it you may need both...the commute could be a bit tedious if you had to do it every day. Maybe a small loft in the city that can double as a work space...." He drifted off.
"Rick...are you insane? Why would you do this? You don't even want to stay here...not really."
"No...but you do." He took her face gently in his hands, "Sweetie don't you know I'd do anything for you. This is where you need to be...so this is where we'll stay. I can work anywhere in the world. You need to be where the stars are...and that ... is here."
"Oh Rick..." She threw her arms around him, "You are far too good to me you know. I don't deserve all of this...I don't deserve you." A tear stung her eye with the knowledge of how true her statement was. She had cheated...she had lied...and yet here he was. Of course, if he knew of her indiscretions perhaps that would change, but she had a very strong feeling that he would stick by her regardless...In good times and in bad.
"Despite what I may or may not deserve...I have you," his eyes lit with pride, "and I am never letting you go."
A little over an hour later, Alex sat staring out the window, eyes wide with awe as the car coasted through what was to be her new neighborhood. The area was lovely, and obviously one of the more prestigious suburbs of New Jersey. As they drove she caught glimpses of waterfront mansions and the river beyond, the sun glinting off it giving an effect similar to diamonds. Alex's breath hitched as the car began to slow, and turned into a slightly more populated area, heading for the river itself.
"Why are we slowing?" Just as she spoke the car pulled off onto the long gravel driveway of an imposing – to her - waterfront mansion, "It can't be. Rick?"
"Welcome home honey!"
Alex took to her new role of wife like a duck to water, in fact she revelled in it as she never thought possible. Her "little" house was by no means little by anyone's standards, except possibly those of some of her neighbours. Across the river new mansions were under construction that dwarfed her new five bedroom, six bathroom Cape Cod inspired home. True to his word Rick had also begun to look for a studio space in the city for her. Though she assured him the commute wasn't an issue, he insisted that her clients may not appreciate it. She supposed he may be right about this, and of course Bruce had agreed, so eventually she had to acquiesce.
Their new home was set on a slightly larger parcel of land than most that immediately surrounded it. It had a pool, river frontage and a small dock and Alex was enjoying watching the gardens bloom with life in the warmth of Spring. She wasn't all that sure how she would feel about this place in winter though. Winters here were so much harsher than what she was used to. It had taken her no longer than a couple of days to relocate her possessions to the new house. She had always travelled light, and besides Rick had had most of her equipment and work requirements taken care of.
She transported the rest of things from Bruce and Patti's guest house in her 1970 Camaro. She had always loved muscle cars. Rick had tried to talk her out of the purchase...but she wouldn't hear a word of it. It was in no way practical for her commutes to the city, something she knew she would have to address very soon...but for now it suited her fine.
It had been barely a week since they moved in, when one Saturday morning the shrill ring of the phone, interrupted their lovemaking.
"Let it ring," she muttered, pausing her ministrations on husband's cock only long enough to speak.
Rick groaned as her mouth wrapped around him again, "I can't Al...it might be important." She did not skip a beat as he stretched to pick up his cell. "Fuck Al... how can I concentrate with you down there."
She merely shrugged and took him even deeper.
"You're incorrigible...." He pressed the little green button and took in a sharp intake of breath as her teeth gently scored his length on the way up, "Hello." It was almost a pant.
"Oh hi Steve," Rick said looking at Alex pointedly, "Yes I'm fine...just kicked my toe trying to get to the phone."
Alex giggled and went back to work on him, though not quite so fervently now...Steve was Ricks agent and had been brokering deals with several top shelf publications. She flicked over the tip of his cock with her tongue and Rick gasped. This time he grabbed a fist full of hair and pulled back gently – a signal for her to stop - as he listened intently to the man on the other end of the phone. Alex looked up at him and Rick shook his head. She sat back on her haunches between his thighs, waiting for him to finish and admired him. He looked very much like a new actor on the Hollywood scene...one Brad Pitt had caused quite a stir when he had appeared in Thelma and Louise a few years before. And most recently Alex had done a series of photos for him for a movie he was working on in Canada. Laying here before her now she couldn't help but compare her husband to, what she believed to be, a future Hollywood heavyweight.
When he was still speaking five minutes later, she left their bed and padded into the bathroom to take care of her morning ablutions. Since her resolve to make the marriage work, their sex life had improved dramatically...they fucked like rabbits. She now understood that any problems they had been having were cause by her lack of commitment to the relationship. Rick was a generous lover, always making sure she was taken care of before even thinking of himself. She jumped into the shower, washed her hair and washed the night's sex from her body. When she emerged twenty minutes later Rick was only just hanging up.
"What was that about," she asked as she rubbed a towel through her hair.
Rick would never get his fill of looking at the gorgeous woman that was now his. She stood in the middle of the room, not an inch of fabric to cover her, looking like a goddess, her skin polished and dewy from the shower, her cheeks slightly flushed. His eyes travelled up and down her length and she smiled gently at his admiration, making no attempt to move or cover up. Even now with her here like this, he couldn't quite believe she had said 'I do'. "I've been offered a commission, but I'm turning it down."
"Why would you do that?" She asked as she crossed to her dresser and stepped into a pair of lacy French knickers.
"Because it's in the Middle East," Rick explained, "And it's for at least two years. He can't even tell me if I'd be able to get home on leave. It's to report on the political climate."
"Rick...honey...you can't turn that down. It's what you've been dreaming of." Alex joined him where he still sat on the side of the bed and put her arm around his shoulder.
"Alex we've been married only a few weeks...I'm not going to leave you now." Rick was highly conscious of her naked breast pressed against his arm, but was doing his very best to concentrate on the matter at hand. He feared that would be a losing battle as he began to nuzzle into her hair and neck, her scent completely intoxicating to him.
Gently Alex separated herself from him and prompted him to look at her. "You know I'm not happy about the Middle East...but Rick...you cannot turn this down. Do you know what it will do for your career? And of course I'll be here waiting when you come home. We've done the long distance thing before...we can do it again." She justified. "Besides...who know where my assignments will take me."
"I don't want to do the long distance thing again," he sulked, "I want to be here with you." He placed a hand on her shoulder and began the slow journey down to her breast. He smiled when he felt her shiver under his touch.
This time Alex didn't try to stop Ricks skilful hand, her eyes began to flutter closed, but fortunately her mind had not yet disconnected from her mouth, "When are you going to get an opportunity like this again? You know how this industry works."
"Probably never, at least not if I turn this down. They won't ask again." He conceded as he moved his mouth to her breast.
"Exactly! You have to do this honey. This kind of work could get you nominated for that Pulitzer you've been aiming for." She encouraged as she threaded her hand in his hair, holding him to her. She knew her life would be so much better with him there by her side...but this was about him. It was his time to shine. For the last few years he had been so supportive of her...it was past time that she return the favour.
And that was how she came to be living alone in her 'not too big' mansion. Rick had left within days after a marathon sex session and a very teary goodbye in their bedroom – he told he could not bear to say good bye to her at the airport.
The loneliness was already almost unbearable and he had only been gone a little under a month. It amazed her that in those few short weeks they'd had alone he had come to mean so very much to her, especially since she had been adamant before she left that she would be leaving him when they returned home. The very thought of that baffled her now.
Scooping her keys up off the bench, she walked through the house and into the garage. She had an appointment with a gynaecologist in the city. She'd been feeling a little off. Not sick per say but not quite right either. She'd also been having problems with her cycle and had missed her last period entirely. In fact her last cycle had been a few weeks before the wedding. It wasn't something she was overly concerned about, it had always been this way for her, but if she and Rick were ever to start a family it was something that needed to be addressed.
So she wondered why it was then, that a sense of underlying apprehension plagued her as she pulled out from their tree lined drive and onto the road.