Jon woke the next morning dazed and confused. He knew something wasn't right with the situation he was in the moment consciousness dawned. He could feel a warm body pressed up against his back, her warm body. That much he knew. He also recognized the fact that she shouldn't be there.
His memory of the evening before was hazy at best. It had been so long since he had slept, he was amazed he had any recollection at all. He remembered ringing her. He remembered knowing that he shouldn't. He remembered her insistence that he come to her, and his arrival…but little beyond that. It seemed that her mere presence had been enough to relax him, to lull him into a state of unconsciousness.
He rolled over as gently as he could so as not to disturb her. It didn't work. She began to stir almost immediately. Her arm draped lazily over his torso, her hand rubbing reflexively up and down his ribcage. God but she was beautiful. He didn't think he would ever be able to get enough of her. Even just the sight of her was enough; he would never do anything to risk that ever again. He couldn't bear it if she wasn't in his life in some form. He moved back a little, so she wouldn't be subjected to his persistent hard-on.
"Good Morning," he attempted a small smile.
"Oh shit," she jumped, jerking her hand away from him, "I must have fallen asleep. I'm so sorry Jon. I was going to go sleep on the couch… I didn't mean to…"
"Shhhh," he quieted her, "It's fine Ali. Nothing happened. We just slept…didn't we? To be honest I was so tired last night, all I can't remember anything other than getting myself here. How did I end up in your bed?"
Alex scooted up on the pillows till she was semi reclined, distancing herself from him a little. "I insisted you sleep in here before we talked. You looked like death last night. What's going on Jon? What could have you this worked up?"
"Oh shit Alex…it seems so stupid to have called you now. You don't need to hear about my problems. In fact, I'm sure it's the last thing you need." Jon began to roll towards the edge of the bed.
Alex stopped him with a gentle hand on his arm. "Jon, you're here now. You obviously need to be. Talk to me. What's going on?"
Jon sat up, and after plumping the pillows behind him, reclined back against them until he was mirroring her position. It felt strange. It was so intimate, just the two of them lying in bed talking. It reminded him of an earlier time when they had spent full days just like this. Well, not exactly like this. Back then their talks had been intermingled with hours of love-making.
"Dot's pregnant," he blurted out, rubbing his hands up and down his face and missed seeing her flinch.
"Oh…and I assume from the state you're in you feel that's a bad thing?" By the time Jon turned to look at her Alex had composed herself, her features were smooth but interested.
"Things aren't good at home Ali. They never really have been, I mean how could they? With how I feel about…" he trailed off. "Anyway, we had discussed another baby, and I told her I wasn't ready. I don't want to bring anymore kids into this. Hell, I don't think I want to stay in it myself."
Jon turned away from her as a tear threatened to spill over. He wondered how he had managed to fuck up his life so completely. This should have been a time of happiness…would have been if it were Alex carrying his child and not his wife.
Alex leaned over him and gently turned his face back towards her. Her heart lurched when she saw the despair there. With the pad of her thumb, she chased the tear from the corner of his eye. "Listen to me Jon, you can't deny the gift of a child. They are too special...too precious. Please don't take that for granted. I know this isn't how you wanted this to happen, but you can't deny that you love your daughter. You will love this little one just as much. Just give yourself some time to get used to the idea."
"I know that I will…that's what makes it so tragic. I want to give them the best Ali, I want to give them everything, and that includes a happy home…but I just don't see how that is possible. I'm not in love with her Ali, she's not…" you, he finished in his head. "All I can see coming from this is that I will grow to resent her…more than I already do. And that's already too much."
Alex needed some distance to pull herself together. She was on a knife's edge of emotion, balancing precariously and she knew if she stayed in here that balance would tip. "I'm gonna go make us some coffee. I'll be right back."
"I knew it would be too much for you. I'm sorry Alex. Please don't go… I… I just need you near me right now. We can talk about something else, anything else." He pouted. It was almost her undoing.
"Don't be silly Jon. It's fine…I'm fine. It's just coffee. I'll be back in five minutes. Why don't you go have a quick shower…it will make you feel better. Your duffle is over there on the floor." She pointed to the doorway, as she slid out the opposite side of the bed narrowly avoiding his reach for her.
Alex padded from the room without looking back. Just a few minutes. That's all she needed, just a few minutes to pull herself back together. Who could have thought that supporting a friend would be so damned hard. From the en suite off the bedroom she heard the sound of running water. Good, he had taken her advice. That gave her a few extra minutes grace. She turned on the coffee pot in the small kitchenette, and went to stand before the window overlooking the city skyline. The sky was washed in tones of pink, violet and amber as the sun was just starting to rise. Storm clouds hung heavy in the sky, off in the distance. It cast an eerie light beyond her into the room.
On hearing the water shut off in the bathroom, Alex returned to the coffee making. She entered the bedroom a couple of minutes later to find Jon in the same position she had left him, only showered and now wearing only a pair of grey sweats. Hell but he was gonna make this hard on her. She wondered if that was the intent. She placed both cups of coffee on the night stand, with a short smile in his direction and headed for the bathroom.
"I'm just going to freshen up…back in a minute," she said over her shoulder.
Jon watched the sway of her hips as she walked the short distance to the bathroom. Damn was she doing that to him on purpose. He was finding it almost impossible to resist her as it was, but he was determined to do the right thing. She made her choice…and it wasn't you, he reminded himself.
In the bathroom, Alex took care of her morning ablutions - taking the time required to pull herself back together after finding him half naked in her bed - only realizing too late that she didn't have a fresh change of clothes in there with her. There was no way she was going out there in a towel, so she donned her pajamas sans panties, took a deep breath to steady herself, and walked back into the room. He was still reclined against the headboard, his legs stretched out before him and crossed at the ankle, his coffee wrapped between both hands.
"Feel better?" she asked, as she moved to the nightstand to retrieve her own cup.
"A little…you?" he asked in return.
"Mmm hmm," she purred as she took a sip of the steaming black liquid.
As Alex raised her arm to sip from her cup, a red line low on her abdomen caught Jon's attention.
"Have you been ill?" he asked her cautiously.
"What's this?" he asked as he tenderly traced the scar with his thumb.
Alex winced at his feather light touch, and immediately felt the blood rise to her cheeks. "It's nothing.
"It's not nothing…what happened?" he asked the concern evident in his voice, his brow furrowed.
"I had a little procedure last month, that's all. I'm fine really." She hoped he wouldn't pursue it. Of course that was a silly hope.
"Alex…they cut you. That is not a little anything." He pushed.
"It is nothing Jon." She said, "nothing that will ever affect you, nothing to concern yourself with. So can we please drop it?" Jon grabbed her hand then and pulled her down to sit on the edge of the bed facing him. She knew it was dangerous to be this close to him, but he held her hand firmly. He wanted answers. And she knew from experience he was very used to getting what he wanted.
affects you concerns me." He took the coffee cup from her and placed both of them on the nightstand.
Alex shook her head, "Not this, sorry."
"How can you say that? Just because we aren't together doesn't mean my feelings have changed. Please tell me baby," he pleaded, "you have me really worried here."
She looked down at her hands and he took them in his. "Please?" he asked again.
Her face was shrouded in hair, so he didn't realize until a tear splashed into his hand that she had begun to cry.
"Alex?" he asked, panic starting to grip him now.
"I…I can't…" she managed to choke out.
"Ali…tell me," he demanded.
She looked up at him through a veil of hair, "What you don't want…I can never have."
Jon tilted her face up with a knuckle under her chin. "What?"
A perplexed frown suddenly gave way to realization, as he watched her hand move unconsciously to her stomach and the tears continue to stream down her face.
"Oh…" it was all he could manage at first, "Oh shit Ali...and here I am…Oh shit. What happened?"
"Nothing…nothing happened." She said turning away from him, her lie ill concealed.
"Ali...talk to me."
"It's just not possible for me...can we leave it at that please."
"We could…if there wasn't more to it," he pushed. "What happened Alex?"
"I miscarried a very long time ago, but didn't realize it at the time. Apparently it created some scarring…the doctors have told me it's inconceivable that I will be able to have children."
"A long time ago when Alex?"
"It doesn't matter, the result is the same regardless."
"It matters to me. When?" When he took on that demanding tone she was hard pressed to deny him anything.
"I don't know for sure…" she evaded.
He shook her shoulders gently, "When?"
"After Queensland…are you happy now?" she glared at him, watched the shock at her tone flicker across his face right before recognition dawned. She turned away from him then, would have run from him if she could, if he didn't still have her firmly in his grasp.
"Was it mine?" his voice barely above a whisper.
"I don't… No, I'm sure it wasn't," her whole body shook with the force of emotion.
"How long after Queensland Ali?"
"It's not important Jon."
"Please Jon…please don't make me say this…I don't want to think about it..." She hadn't even told Rick any of this yet…she didn't know how too
His worst fears were being confirmed, "Please honey…I'm begging you…I need to know."
"I was sick a few weeks after…I…I was young…you were my first…I didn't realize anything was wrong. It never occurred to me until…well until I saw the test results last month."
"Oh hell baby...I'm so sorry." He leaned forward to cradle her in his arms. It was his turn to provide the comfort. He didn't realize until she wrapped her arms around him that he needed comforting too, it was their child she had lost. The one he had always wished he could have had.
Alex sobbed quietly into his shoulder for a few minutes before pulling back. It was too comfortable there, too familiar. "You want to hear something dumb…I never even wanted kids...and yet look at me...I'm a complete mess."
"Baby...just because you didn't want them, doesn't mean you didn't want the option. And it doesn't make losing one any easier to take. You need to….No…we need to mourn what we've lost here Ali." She looked up at that and could see the sheen of unshed tears in his eyes.
"I just feel like I'm not whole anymore…like I'm not a woman anymore." The sadness in her eyes was more than he could bear.
Jon bought his hand slowly to her face. His fingertips grazed back across her cheek until they came to rest threaded in the hair at the nape of her neck. The pad of his thumb wiped away the single tear that leaked from her eye.
"How could you think that Ali? He moved his thumb to her lips, tracing their swollen curves, "You are every bit the woman you have always been. Every bit as beautiful, every bit as sexy and so God damned irresistible, if not more so! This new self assurance that has come with age is so fucking seductive Ali...you have no idea."
"I wish that were true," she whispered.
"Oh believe me...it so is." He said huskily. "Will you let me show you?"
"What...what do you mean?"
Keeping eye contact he began to move towards her, drawing his face nearer to hers. He moved his hand further back into her hair and replaced his thumb with his soft moist lips. He felt the slight pressure of her hands on his chest and pulled back.
"He isn't here baby. But I am. Let me show you...let me love you."
He moved towards her again, this time stopping just inches short. It had to be her choice. She had to want him as much as he wanted her. He stayed there and waited for her next move.
Alex hesitated. Instinctively she knew that if she took this step now it would mean so much more than a one night fling. It would be an admission, both to herself and him, that he was indeed irresistible to her. That they couldn't abstain from one another, and that was so much more dangerous now than it had ever been. She had once lived on the other side of the world, now she lived on the other side of town. She couldn't even fathom how this could work.
She studied him intently. Looking into the deep azure pool of his eyes, she saw it there...the love he had spoken of. She also saw the hunger...the lust. His lips parted and his tongue swept over them, leaving them glistening before he drew his bottom lip in between his teeth. His breathing, as was hers, was heavy as they both fought to control the emotions roiling within them. Through the haze of emotion she felt the slight tremble of his hand that had never left her neck. And then, without even a conscious thought, her body made her decision for her. She lurched forward and fell into his arms. Her arms wrapped around him, drawing him close as their tongues tangled in a fiery, sensual kiss. He pulled her with him as he reclined onto a pile of downy pillows.
As the kiss slowed, Jon moved his lips from hers tracing a line along her jaw to her ear where he paused to whisper, "You taste so good...," his tongue swirled around her ear, "Fuck Ali...you have no idea how bad I want you right now."
He snagged her hand from its position in his hair and moved it down to place it over his straining cock, "See what you do to me baby...what you have always done to me. Let me love you the way you deserve to be loved. I need you baby. I can't even be me without you."
She rubbed her hand up and down his hard length through the fabric of his sweats, and felt her stomach grip as he moaned in pleasure. "God help me Jon...I can't do it. I just can't stay away from you. I'm gonna burn in hell for this...and I don't even care." Her voice was breathless...uneven.
"Oh don't worry baby," he chuckled, "I'm sure you'll have company, besides...how could it ever be Hell if we're together."
Jon folded his arms more tightly around her and she tucked her nose just below his jaw. Her soft curls were draped across his torso and he had to will his heart to stop thundering in his chest. He knew that she had accepted what was happening for this moment, but worried that at any minute, she would change her mind. Reaching down, he tipped her chin upward. She regarded him gravely through slitted eyelids. "You know that I will never, ever hurt you Alex," he whispered.
"I know," she said softly. "At least not intentionally…"
His thumb was once more drawn to her full lower lip. "No. Never," he assured her, before bringing her mouth to his once more. The kiss was slow…seductive… Even though he knew he didn't have all the time in the world, he wanted to pretend that he did. He wanted to pretend that this elusive beauty in his arms could be there forever. "Let me make love to you baby," he breathed against her mouth, shifting her weight more fully on top of him. His hands could nearly span her tiny waist and he dragged his fingertips slowly up and down her bare sides, exposed by her nightclothes. "Let me show you how much I love you."
Alex knew that if she turned away from him, he would not push her, even though she had already come this far. But at that moment, the comfort he was offering was like solace to all the wounds she had born. The feelings of rejection, of never being good enough to be his wife, of envy over his perfect family and perfect child…all of that was forgotten when he touched her and looked at her with his soul burning in his clear blue eyes. She knew she was lost. He sensed her lack of resistance without her saying a word. He took her hand in his, their fingers interlaced as he kissed her, then slowly, carefully, he rolled her over his body until she was lying in the center of the bed