“Okay. Here goes.” I took a deep breath before starting, my head swimming from my hammering pulse.
Henry just looked at me and smiled softly, but the smile didn’t touch his eyes. Either he was expecting the worst, or he was worried about me. I made myself believe that it was the latter.
I forced myself to continue. “My mother and father never married; they were teen parents. I was born in Kentucky to a very poor family. No siblings, no cousins, and no grandparents that I knew of. My parents were both alcoholics and weren’t very kind to me.” Saying that they weren’t very kind to me was an understatement.
My voice trailed off as Henry stood up abruptly, walked over to the large marble sculpture of Athena against the far wall, and stood facing it, his broad back to me. Noting my silence, he turned his head slightly to me and gestured for me to continue.
“I’m listening,” he said softly, half of his beautiful face cast in shadow.
“Anyway, they weren’t very kind to me; they obviously didn’t love me and blamed me for every hardship they had to endure. As if their drinking and occasional drug use didn’t ruin their lives enough,” I scoffed. I took another deep breath before revealing the rest. “I was seven when the beatings started—“
I saw a flash of white in my peripheral vision and heard the deafening crash as ancient marble met sturdy wood paneling. I covered my face to protect myself from flying shards and sank to my knees on the carpet.
After a period of stunned silence, I stood up and assessed the damage. Directly across the living room, the statue of Athena lay shattered and crumbling, it’s once lustrous glow now dimmed.
“That was from the acropolis,” I whispered, the history buff in me making an appearance.
Henry said nothing. He just stood there staring at me, his chest heaving and his face twisted with inhuman rage. His teeth curled into a snarl, revealing deceptively benign white teeth; I took an involuntary step back.
“How long did this go on?” he ground out.
I stood perfectly still. “Until I moved out. I was 16.”
His breath was slowly becoming more regular, but his rage was still apparent. “Did they ever…. touch you?”
It was the one question I had hoped he wouldn’t ask-- my deepest secret. I hadn’t planned on ever telling him or anyone. “A few times,” I whispered, looking down at the floor. “They used to… sell me… to their friends whenever they needed money.”
He sucked in a sharp breath. “MY FUCKING GOD,” he roared.
I leaned against the wall and waiting for the new wave of anger to abate, my face lowered in shame.
Eventually, I felt the air stir as he crossed the room with supernatural speed. He quickly took me in his arms. “You never tried to get help? You never told anyone?”
“How could I? I was ashamed, and I would’ve been ignored. The system for dealing with abused and neglected children isn’t exactly infallible. Or efficient,” I answered. He tensed, and I could feel waves of renewed anger rolling off him.
We stood in silence for a while. “Are you okay now?” I asked.
“No,” he growled, “but I will be.”
Surprisingly, I hadn’t shed a tear. I was holding myself together very well. Several years of self-therapy clearly paid off.
“Will you promise me one thing though?” I asked.
“Anything,” he answered.
“Don’t track my parents down or anything like that. Please. It’s a part of my life that’s over now. Although I’ll carry the memory and the scars with me forever, I’ve put it behind me. Or at least tried to.”
His body tensed again. “I make no promises on that.”
“Please.” I said more firmly, reaching up and taking his face in my hands. Something in my expression clearly had an effect on him and he nodded, lowering his eyes with a sigh.
I felt drained. The mental and emotional stress had caught up with me and I was almost ready to drop. “I’m going to take a shower and go to bed.”
“I’ll be waiting for you,” he said as I extricated myself from his arms. I was hoping that he would take one with me. I needed him. And I wanted him.
I got the water so hot that it was almost burning my skin, but I didn’t care; my body needed cleansing. The memories of my past years made me feel dirty, but I quickly blocked them out. I was never gong back there again. I was safe now. I was with Henry…
A sudden noise disturbed my thoughts and I jumped. I felt two cool arms wrap around my waist from behind.
“I wanted to make sure you were okay. I thought you might need me,” Henry said softly in my ear.
“I do,” I said as I lifted his hand and kissed it.
I turned in his arms and lifted my eyes to his. I could see traces of anger in his soft grey eyes, but they were mainly filled with worry for me. “Everything’s alright now,” I said as I lifted up on my toes to kiss him. This was one of those moments where I wished I were closer to his height, instead of being a full head shorter than him.
“As long as you’re sure,” he said against my lips before my kiss cut off verbal communication completely.
This kiss was different, more primal. Before the night’s revelations, Henry had usually given me fairly chaste kisses unless I took them further. This time, though, he was in control. His hands, warmed slightly by the steamy water, settled lightly on my hips, almost as if he were afraid of breaking me.
“You don’t have to be unnecessarily gentle. I’m way tougher than I look,” I said lightly, laughing when I saw his wry smile.
“I’ll take mental notes for next time,” he growled.
“Oh, so there will be a next time? This isn’t just a rare moment of horniness?” I asked, feeling his apparent, and quite impressive, answer against my leg.
“Just be quiet and let me work my magic,” he whispered against my shoulder, giving it a VERY careful nick with his teeth.
He maneuvered me away from the spray of warm water and against the granite tile of the shower. I yelped as my skin came in contact with the glacial tile.
Henry pulled back quickly, “What happened?”
“Nothing. The wall is just really cold,” I gasped before claiming his mouth once again.
His cool hand snaked its way down my hipbone to rest against my ass, softly pinching me. He chuckled as I stifled my gasp. In return, I brought my hand up to his chest and tweaked his nipple, which elicited a groan that would make a normal person come from the mere sound of it. Feeling a bit more confident, I brought my hand down between his thighs, obviously seeking something much more important.
When my hand wrapped around his raging hard on, he groaned into my mouth and wrapped his arms tighter around me. My hand travelled slowly up and down his thick cock, feeling its coolness, which would take a little while to get used to. All too soon, he pulled my hand away.
“You were getting me too close,” he said shyly, avoiding my eyes.
He was embarrassed? Now? After what we had already done? I laughed, “Don’t be shy. I’ll try not to corrupt you too much.”
He kissed me quickly before replying, his tongue flicking against my lips, “It’s not you I’m worried about; it’s me. Right now, I want to gather you up, take you to my bed, and make love to you until you pass out with exhaustion.”
My body temperature reached an all time high. “Let’s go then,” I said desperately, heading for the shower door.
His hand wrapped around my wrist and gently pulled me back. “Not yet. I want to the anticipation to build a little more.”
“Tease,” I grumbled angrily.
He chuckled softly, “Just think how good it’ll be when the time comes, my love.”
My mind sort of froze for a minute. His love? Did that mean that he loved me? I mentally shook myself as he kissed down my cheek toward my throat once more.
I could feel the inevitable response coming, almost like a word barf. I tried to stifle it, but I couldn’t. He said it, so why couldn’t I?
“I love you,” I breathed.
Henry froze. Slowly bringing his eyes up to meet mine, he whispered, “What?”
“Um, I love you?” I said uncertainly.
His whole faced softened and I leaned into him, but almost as quickly as it appeared, the happy face vanished. He took a small step away from me. Shaking his head in disbelief, he mechanically opened the shower door, stepped out, and walked out of the bathroom totally naked.
I stood under the warm water, feeling cold as I watched the perfect male specimen walk away from me. He had shunned me. Shunned my love. What the hell was I going to do now?
He didn’t come to bed that night. Not that he needed sleep, but he would usually lay there with me and hold me until I fell asleep. His absence left me all alone with my thoughts; vile, self-deprecating thoughts, might I add. I berated myself for scaring him away with the “L word” because it was obviously too soon. His reaction had made that very clear.
But, after much deliberation, I realized that, this time, it was not my fault. He had called me “his love.” That usually entails love, right? Or was I just crazy to think that? I had put my feelings out there and he rejected them. I knew I couldn’t stay there anymore because, since he apparently didn’t return my affections, I was just a burden, someone who just hangs around annoying people.
I threw the blanket off me and began to gather my few belongings. I went to bed in sweat pants and a hoodie because I knew from the beginning that I would probably leave that night. True to fashion, I did not disappoint myself. After I had put everything in my duffle and checked the bedroom and bathroom for anything I had forgotten, I walked towards the door, but I decided to leave one last thing.
I found a notepad and pen from the nightstand and quickly scrawled out a note that read:
Thank you for everything. Saving me, looking after me, feeding me, caring for me, just…. everything. Don’t feel guilty or anything. Be happy. I wish you all the best because you certainly made me happy in the short time that I was with you.
I do love you. A lot. Promise you won’t forget me.
With that done, I quickly dashed the traitorous tears from my eyes and tiptoed out of the room. If I went quietly enough, he might not hear me. I immediately felt stupid. Of course he would hear me. With his supernatural hearing, he could hear my heartbeat from across the apartment.
I made it to the door before I heard Henry clear his throat behind me. I turned around quickly and saw him silhouetted against the light from his office. His hands were braced on both sides of the doorway, his broad shoulders almost blocking out the light from the room. He had on jeans and a V-neck t-shirt, which made me wonder where they came from—he was naked when I last saw him.
Smiling weakly when he lowered his head in shame, I turned to the door and reached for the knob. I could feel him walk slowly towards me, but I yanked the door open and ducked out quickly, shutting the paneled double doors firmly behind me. I felt a twinge of guilt for running, but I knew that if he touched me, I would either stay or cry, which didn’t sound appealing. Yeah, show you’re emotional instability—that’ll make him love you forever, I thought. The fact that he didn’t come after me made it even easier. It was like I could almost wipe him out of my life. I would never forget him or stop loving him, but I would act as if he were just a figment of my imagination.
I pressed the down button on the elevator quickly, willing the slow car to hurry up and reach my floor. I debated taking the stairs to expedite the process, but I would probably just fall and Henry would find me dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs. The thought of his pain at finding me dead filled me with a savage happiness, but I stifled those feelings. I was not angry at him, just hurt.
Finally, the elevator made a noise that announced its arrival, and I quickly stepped in, sinking down into the velvet settee in the corner. I caught one last glimpse of the wood paneled doors before the doors closed—the doors that lead to my happiness. Sadly, that happiness had slipped from my fingers. I brought my knees up to my chest and rested my head on them as I made me long descent to the lobby.