The next few days passed in a whirl of blissful happiness. See how quickly I turned into one of the people we all hate? You know, those people who constantly gush about their picture-perfect relationships and can't stray from their significant other for more than an hour? Well, I turned into a big ball of love, and Henry and I spent almost every waking moment together. Except for when I slept; he would nap every now and then, but he never actually slept with me because he didn't need to. It's funny how comfortable one can get in a relationship, isn't it? Anyway, my cynicism was slowly fading to optimism, but, never fear, my sarcastic humor remained intact.

I had also done some major spring cleaning in my life during those few days as well. After much encouragement from Henry, I finally quit my crappy job and went looking for one that suited me and made me happy. But Henry was already on top of the job searching for me.

"You don't have to work you know," he said to me one day while he was scanning the Sunday Times.

"Why?" I asked.

"Well, because I have more than enough money-"

"No!" I cut him off, "I refuse to mooch off of you. That gives you all the power, and makes me a freeloader."

Then something occurred to me, "Is this because you're extremely overprotective, or because you just want me here all the time?"

"A little of both," he said matter-of-fact, giving me a sly grin.

I sat back sulkily until Henry broke the silence.

"So, since I can't persuade you to be my kept boyfriend, what kind of job would you like?"

"I would like to be an editor," I said immediately. I'd always been borderline obsessed with books. Back when I first moved to the city, I used to buy books and magazines instead of dinner. Sad, huh?

"I know a lot of names in publishing. Maybe I can get you an interview," he replied.

As soon as he finished that sentence, I quickly walked over to him and kissed him with as much enthusiasm as I could muster.

"I'm guessing I did something right?" he chuckled after he gently broke the kiss.

"You did everything right," I replied, trailing kisses down his jaw and neck and feeling the impressive bulge in his jeans. He sighed as I stroked him through the denim and groaned softly as I increased the pressure and licked his earlobe. I deftly unbuttoned the top button of his crisp Oxford shirt, but, as soon as I began to kiss his collarbone and throat, he stiffened and softly pushed me away and held me at arm's length.

"What's wrong...." My voice trailed of when I saw his expression. His grey eyes were blazing and wild as they locked with mine and this square jaw was clenched tight.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable," I choked.

"No," he said in a strangled voice, "It's me. You just caught me off guard. You were so close and your throat.... Your pulse-" he cut off, his jaw clenching again.

We sat staring at each other for a few minutes until he finally relaxed. He rose from his seat and walked to the far wall, leaning against one of the enormous windows. I watched him walk away as I rubbed the circulation back into my newly freed arms.

"I think I'm gonna go for a walk," I said, flinching at how loud my voice sounded in the silent room.

He hesitated. "Okay," he whispered.


I pulled on one of Henry's sweaters before I left the apartment. Of course it was a little big on me, but that's what made it so comfortable.

When I walked onto the sidewalk from the warm and luxurious lobby, I saw Max standing next to the black Mercedes.

"Where do you want to go, Mr. Jacob?"

"Please, Max, call me Jacob, and I don't need a ride. I'm just going to the park for a walk."

His eyebrows knitted together. "But I have orders from Mr. Clairmont to drive you wherever you want to go."

"Well tell Henry that I dismissed those orders and that I have given you the day off from babysitting me," I said with a smile as I walked away.

The brisk wind helped clear my head and awakened my senses. I was still a little shaken by Henry's outburst, but I couldn't blame him; I had pushed a little too far. But he was so gentle with me and he cared about me, so I can handle the limitations for now.

My stride quickened as I neared Central Park, craving the cover of evergreen trees and wizened tree branches. If you ever get a chance to visit New York, the Park is a must see. After I had wandered a fair distance, I settled on a bench that faced a playground filled with parents and children in various stages of activity. I watched as a young mother chased her son around a fountain, his chubby toddler's legs treading uneasily on the unfamiliar ground.

I couldn't help but smile, and feel a pang of sadness, as I heard the child's squealing laughter as his mother caught him up and covered him with kisses. Maybe that's why I am so dependent on Henry, I thought. I had never been looked after by anyone, so I immediately attached myself to the one person who cared for me. Not that I was needy or emotional, I was just starved for human companionship and love. And Lindsey, my best friend, provided most of that, but I still felt empty until Henry came along. It's so cliche, right?

Another thought suddenly came to me; the time had come to tell Henry about my past. I knew that my grace period had run out and I couldn't play the scared card anymore. If i wanted this relationship to go any further, I had to let him decide if he wanted to be with someone so damaged. That's what I was: damaged goods. How depressing.

The sky started to dim and I decided that I had better head back. As I walked back to Henry's building, I steeled myself against his probable anger at my walking off on my own. I also forced myself to tell him all about me.

When I opened the door of the penthouse, I was caught up in a pair of cold, strong arms.

"I missed you, darling. And I'm so sorry about before," he whispered into my hair.

"No, it's okay. I should've recognized the boundaries. You're not mad at me for dismissing the team of Pinkerton guards that were ordered to escort me?" I asked as I slipped my hands under his shirt and rubbing the smooth skin of his back. I softly inhaled his scent, relishing the smell of lilac and musk.

He chuckled. "No, I'm not angry. I knew you were safe."

We stood like that for a while until the gnawing feeling in my stomach became unbearable.

"Henry? I need to tell you some stuff," I said quietly.

He pulled away and looked down at me, his grey eyes wary.

I grabbed his hand and led him to one of the overstuffed brocade couches that was housed in the cavernous living room.

I seated myself on the coffee table in front of him and looked him square in the eye. I wasn't sure if this was a good idea, but it had to be done either way. How could I completely open myself to Henry if I still had these permanent scars concealed?

I rubbed my cold hands together and inhaled deeply before I let the words tumble out.

To Be Continued....



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