Cherry Girl (Blackstone Affair) (4 page)

BOOK: Cherry Girl (Blackstone Affair)
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is declaration was soft and gentle
in the way he formed his words, but so honest and clear at the same time, I believed he meant it.  Neil had just told me he loved me and I believed him.

I felt my heart
lose a beat; sure it’d just up and stopped working, when he’d said those three little words to me.  Hearts will do that when under emotional duress or when something sad or terrible comes along.  I think this qualified as emotional duress.  No sad or terrible here tonight though.  This was glorious and perfect.

Neil loved me.

“Neil…I—I’ve loved you since I can remember.  There was never a time when I didn’t.”  I looked to the side and gathered more courage to say the rest.  “But then, there was never a time when I thought you’d
feel the same about me either.”

“Look at me, Cherry.” 
He took my chin and tugged me back to him.  “You silly, beautiful, sexy, gorgeous, amazing girl, were once again, so very, very wrong about me and what I was feeling for you all these years.  How could I not love you?  You’re perfect, remember? 
perfect.  I just had to wait for the right time to tell you is all.”

I listened to every word he said as he smoothed over my hair.

“Every time I was home, you’d have someone new and it wasn’t fair for me to try to steer you away from them and into my arms.”

I started crying again but this time it was
mostly in happiness.  “I wish you would’ve.”

No.”  He shook his head once.  “No, I had to wait.”

He took
my face in his hands and brushed along the tears wetting my cheeks with his thumbs.  “You’re so beautiful to me, Cherry, even when you cry.”

And then he
kissed me like he had the right to.  The way I’d always wished he might.  Neil kissed away my tears and wiped out all of the longing I’d known for ages, all in an instant.  I melted into his big body and savored his touch.  His lips.  His words.  I had everything I’d ever wanted from him now.

You were my Cherry Girl when you were little.”

“I was.” I nodded into his hands.

“And you’re my Cherry Girl now.”

“Yes,” I managed another nod and
just that one word.

I love you, Elaina Morrison, and you’ll always be my Cherry Girl.  Always.  Nothing will change it for me.”  He leaned forward and kissed me sweetly, whispering, “Believe me.”

I couldn’t speak
.  My ability to voice words had completely left me.  I was so overwhelmed.  All I could do was stare back.  And breathe.

Neil tilted his head a
t me.  “You look like maybe you don’t.”

I do but I—I have to take a shower now,” I blurted.  “And use your toothbrush, and get something to wear.  I puked with this mouth tonight. 
And I’ve got no clothes on.”

He broke into a smile at my annou
ncement, and didn’t even flinch at my puke comment.  He must really and truly love me.

“Please say
I get to help you with all of that.”

“The teeth brushing
, maybe—the shower, no,” I fired back, suddenly feeling shy about the direction this conversation was heading and my state of undress. In the sanctuary of my mind I could be bold about wanting to be with Neil, but it was too soon to just slide between the sheets together and start shagging.  I needed to come out of my shock first before we got down to the sex part. 
What if he wants it tonight?
  How would he take the news when I told him I needed a little time to get to that point?

Turned out
I had nothing to worry about because Neil was the perfect gentleman with me, as always.

“I know that, beautiful
girl,” he said, with a peck to my nose, “but you’re staying here tonight, yes?” He swept his eyes over me again before landing on my face.  The look he gave me was almost a look of pleading.  I could see how much he wanted me to stay, just as much as I wanted to pledge myself to him.

Yes.”  I nodded slowly.  “I’m staying here tonight.”  I planted both hands on top of the sheets, one on each side of my hips, showing him I really meant it.  “I want to be here with you.”

“Good.  That’
s all I need right now.  I just want to hold you and know you’re here, safe with me and that this—with you…is real.”  He brushed over my hair with his hand again.  “I’m afraid I’ll wake up and you’ll be gone.  I need to get used to the idea of having you all to myself.”

es please!

burgeoning shyness grew stronger until I had to look away.  My eyes landing on the thin sheet barely covering my body didn’t help me to feel extra confident either.  I needed to establish some truths first.

”  God, I sounded like such a trembling idiot.  “This…with us…it
real, right?”  My insecurity rang out clearly in the tone of my voice.  I breathed heavier as my heart pounded, waiting for him to answer.

“Yes, Cherry, it’s real.”  He tugged on my chin with his index finger to get me to lo
ok up.

I could see
the earnestness in his eyes, and in the way he studied me with his dark browns when I finally looked at him.

Completely real.”  He took one of my hands and placed the palm over his heart.  “Feel that while I kiss you,” he said, before sliding behind my neck with his other hand and pulling me onto those soft magical lips of his, “and you’ll know it’s very real.”

But this time, Neil was trying to make a point
, and his kiss was more demanding as he tangled tongues with me.  He plundered my mouth and I allowed him access.  And I did feel his heartbeat under my hand.

I tried to memorize this moment because I couldn’t bear the thought of forgetting how I felt with him
at that moment.

Neil finally broke away from our kiss he still held the back of my neck firmly in his hand, taking control of our moment together, and I loved it.  He made me feel cherished and I wanted to float in the feelings for forever.

Cherry, I love you.  And I just need you to be here with me.  That’s all I want.  I won’t ask you for more than that until it’s right, and we both want it.  We’ll know when that time comes.  And everything else will get itself worked out when we’re ready.  Okay?”  Another slow and thorough trace of his tongue in my mouth had my stomach fluttering and my heart racing.

managed to nod back and whisper, “Yes.”  I brought my hands up to hold both sides of his face.  “I’ve loved you for as long as I can remember.”

, Neil smiled at me.  His entire beautiful face lighting up from his eyes to his chin.  My guy looked really happy. 
My guy.  I have a guy.  Neil.  Neil McManus is my man now.

and my birthday had come to me early this year, and both at the same time apparently.

I watched him get up from the bed and head into his bathroom.  I heard the shower turn on and then the opening and closing of cupboards.  He returned a few moments later with a big towel to wrap around me, and said he’d left me a shirt and some shorts I could wear after my shower if I liked.  He told me he would be in the kitchen setting up the coffeemaker for the morning, and then he left the bedroom and closed the door.

stayed in Neil’s bed for another moment and did my best to take everything in.  I was definitely a mess on the outside, but inside where my heart still thwacked out a beat, I was absolutely floating around cloud nine.

He loved me.
  Neil really loved me, but damn if I’d allow him to kiss me again before I got clean and comfortable.  I felt utterly gross and hideous and still had trouble processing all that had just happened with us in the span of a very few hours.

I left his bed and headed
into the bathroom.  The shower was already hot and steaming up the small space.  As promised, he’d set out his toothbrush and paste for me to use, and even some silky boxers and a soft black T-shirt with 
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
 in white letters across the front.

I knew Neil was a Hendrix fan
, and I’d even seen him wearing this very shirt on occasion, and yet the fact he’d picked it out for me in particular, touched me.  I reached for it and buried my face in its softness, inhaling deeply.  Neil’s scent has always been heavenly to me and I’d been addicted to it for years.  Hard to describe, but, absolutely lush on my sensibilities.  Like fresh air, and forest spice, and pure water all combined into the perfect blend of male fragrance.

And I’d been restricted from indul
ging in it for most of my life.  But not anymore.

I shut the bathroom door, stripped out of my bra and knickers, and got clean in my boyfriend’s shower.
I so loved the words contained in that thought.

I’m sure I wore a ridiculous grin on my face the whole time
I scrubbed.  Once I was done in his shower, and worked out my teeth with
toothbrush, I was still grinning stupidly into the mirror like an idiot.  I was so glad the door was shut and Neil couldn’t see how much of a lovesick fool I was being at the time.  Pointless indeed.  He would know it the moment I stepped out, anyway.  He probably already did know.

I left the bathroom dressed in his
T-shirt and silky boxer shorts.  Better than naked in a towel or my puked-spotted clothes, and really sexy to have my skin against things that had been against his previously.

shirt came down to the top of my thighs and I’d already decided I was keeping the thing.  Yeah, Neil’s beloved Hendrix shirt would forever belong to me.  I had absolutely no qualms about my thievery either.  I didn’t want to have to be without the scent of him once his leave was over.  I wouldn’t have him for long before he had to go back to being owned by the British Army in Afghanistan.  That meant his shirt wasn’t getting washed anytime soon.  If ever.

My inner ramblings distracted me to the point I wasn’t thinking about what might be waiting for me when I came out.
  But the sight that greeted me upon my return to the bedroom in nothing but Neil’s shorts and shirt, was not even close to what I expected.  Stopping dead in my tracks, I’m sure my eyes were bugging out of my skull.  The towel I’d been using to dry my hair slid from my grip and onto the floor with a soft thud.

Neil wa
s in his bed, and he was waiting.  For me.  Definitely for me.

Holy Hell
, he was a beautiful man.  Sitting up against the headboard, he was leaning back, his wide bare chest exposed for my eyes to drink in.  The cuts and angles of his hard muscles and golden skin, in contrast to the white sheets, nearly made me whimper aloud.  I wanted to touch him so badly and knew there was a very good chance I would be getting my wish soon.

I could see
that his nipples were hard.  His gaze was trained upon me, deep with liquidity, mysterious and sensual, with a bit of an edge.  I could only imagine what he was thinking about.  Sweaty, crazy, naked shagging I’m sure.  I definitely was.

My nipples were hard too, and I felt an involu
ntary shiver roll down my spine at the thought of Neil putting his hands on them.

I’d seen his body before.
  I knew what Neil looked like without his shirt on, and I knew very well about the washboard abs, and how they tapered into a V at his hips that made my insides a quivering mess whenever I was lucky enough to get a decent look at him.  Which happened only on occasion, unfortunately.

Neil was blessed with an earthly form t
hat easily put him into mythical god territory, but I’d never been in a position to allow myself to think of him in that way.  Those times I’d seen him had been when he was working out with Ian or roughing ’round with boys at football or having a swim.

situation was completely different.  Neil was like this for me, and for me alone.  He was offering himself to me—his body for my eyes to see, for my hands to touch, and for my lips to kiss.

’ve dropped your towel,” he said softly, splaying a hand out over the sheet, making his forearm muscle flex.

“I know.”
  I struggled to breathe through the pounding inside my chest and reached down for the towel.

“Leave it.”

Neil’s voice was harder, different—a command really. I froze mid-step, flipping my eyes up so I could see his face and understand what he meant.

His long muscled arms were stretched out
toward me. “Come here, beautiful,” he said softly. “Don’t think about anything that scares you right now. It’s only me…and you.”

I nodded at him but no words would come from my mouth. 
All I could do was take in the experience of the moment and try to hear what he was saying to me.

BOOK: Cherry Girl (Blackstone Affair)
8.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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