Authors: Amanda Meredith
Tags: #Fiction, #Retail, #Romance, #Suspense, #Thrillers
The sunlight was peeking through the mist rising from the mountains as my eyes crept open. The last traces of darkness had crept away and the birds had begun to greet the morning. I was watching Libby sleep, curled in my arms. She slept with a slight smile, curled into me; legs tangled together, her breasts pressed against my chest. Her head was nestled in the crook of my arm and I carefully moved a strand of hair that had fallen over her face.
I was tracing a finger down her back when her eyes blinked open. She sighed with a smile and closed them again as I ran my hand down her backside. With her eyes still closed, she moved her hand down my chest and reached for me. I was already hard and twitched when her fingers touched my sensitive skin. I smiled and reached over to still her hand.
“Libby,” I murmured, pulling her hand away. “That’s not a good idea right now.”
Her confusion had me chuckling and I hugged her body closer.
“You’re going to be sore after last night and I don’t want to hurt you again.” I explained, stroking her back.
“Hmm,” she murmured, scooting closer to me until she was curved against my body. I held back a groan and chuckled again.
“How about we share
a hot shower first and see how you’re feeling?” I suggested. She moaned again and I reluctantly pulled away from her. “I’ll start the water.” I kissed her lips and rolled out of bed, pulling on my boxers. I went to the closet to grab my robe and brought it back to her. “I’ll have to get you one; mine’ll be pretty big on you.” She smiled and stretched and I had to look away before I did give in to what she wanted.
I walked to the bathroom and turned on the shower, thanking my lucky stars that
I’d gone overboard with the amount of money I’d spent on the multi-head, spa system. The water warmed quickly and I heard Libby close the door behind me. With a seductive smile, she dropped her robe and walked past me into the water.
“You relax; I’ll be back in a second.” I murmured
, half temped to get in with her. She nodded, already groaning under the jets of hot water and I smiled as I slipped out. I went back to the bedroom and pulled the blankets away. There was a little bit of blood on the sheets where Libby had been laying. Though my male pride swelled again at the knowledge that she had only been mine, the sight bothered me. I wasn’t sure if Libby had known what to expect the first time but I didn’t want it to worry her so I tore the sheets off and quickly replaced them. I threw the sheets down the laundry chute and went back to join Libby in the shower.
She was still standing in the multiple jets of water, seemingly unable to move. I chuckled and opened the door, letting the warm water hit me full force. Libby turned towards me and wrapped me in a hug, her slick breasts rubbing against my chest. I could feel myself beginning to harden.
The warm water helped calm me down, but it seemed like Libby would stop at nothing until she got what she wanted. I was more than happy to give it to her but the fear of hurting her held me back. We lathered each other with soap and let the water rinse it away. Libby was running her hands over my body, tracing her fingers across my sensitive scars. I pushed her back against the shower wall and crushed my lips against hers. I wanted to pleasure her, to erase any trace of pain from last night.
I kissed her face and her neck then down to her breasts. I sucked on her hard nipple as the water sluiced over us. My lips trailed down her stomach and I lifted her leg over my shoulder as I buried my face in the apex of her legs. She cried out and nearly collapsed but I held her hip in place against the shower wall. She grabbed my hair and the grafted skin on my scalp tingled painfully. The sensation only turned me on and I stood, water pouring over us, as I plundered her mouth again. I sunk my finger inside of her and she moaned beneath my lips.
She was tight and wet and I felt her muscles clenching, straining for more. She sagged when I pulled my hand away but I lifted her arms above her head, pinning her wrists against the tiles with one hand. Using my other hand, I hitched her leg up to my hip and when I thrust into her, she was ready. She came quickly and the intensity of it had me nearly following her. But I took her breast in my mouth again, nipping gently at the rosy peak and she was already climbing again. This time, when she flew, I let myself explode inside her.
She leaned against the shower wall, completely sated. She moaned when I slid out of her and leaned heavily against the wall. I chuckled, and reached for the soap. I washed her body gently, very carefully cleaning the tender area between her legs before washing again myself. She wrapped her arms around my neck as the water rinsed the soap away. She sighed as I shut the water off and reached out to grab a towel. I wrapped one around my waist before grabbing two more towels. I wrapped one around her body and helped her use the other to wrap her hair. Her eyelids were drooping so I gently picked her up and carried her to the bedroom.
I lay her on the sheets and covered her before she chilled. Removing my own towel, I lay down beside her and pulled the blanket up around us. She curled into my chest, her body fitting there perfectly.
“I love you, Cole,” she murmured before exhaustion overtook her.
“And I love you, Libby,” I whispered as I watched her sleep. The first rays of sun were trickling through the balcony doors as I felt my own eyes grow heavy. As the sun began to rise above the mountain, I happily sank into a dreamless sleep.
Carol Ann called the house a week later.
“Momma, where are you? I called the police and filed a missing person’s report!” Libby was near hysterical as she cried into the phone.
“I’m okay, honey,” Carol Ann tried to assure her.
“Where are you?” Libby repeated, more forcefully.
“I can’t tell you, sweetie,” she answered. Libby snorted but her momma continued. “I’m safe and I’m with a friend but I can’t tell you anything more, Libby. I can’t risk him finding out.”
“Momma, we can go to the Sheriff. We’ll have him locked up where he can never hurt us again.”
“I’ve talked to the Sheriff already, Libby. Unfortunately, he can’t do anything unless they have proof of abuse. I’d never filed a report on him before so they didn’t have any records to go off of.” She sighed, letting the silence hang for a moment. “I filed a restraining order and started the process for divorce. But honey a piece of paper won’t keep him away from me. So my friend thought I should leave town, go into hiding. There are a few women’s shelters I can stay at.”
“Momma, come stay with me and Cole,” Libby mumbled, trying to hold back her tears. “We’ll keep you safe.”
“No, Libby,” Carol Ann murmured. “I’ve put you in danger from the minute you were born and never could do anything to stop it. I won’t do that again.”
“Momma, how will I know you’re alright?”
“I’m with a friend,” she answered, her voice stronger. “He knows how to protect me.”
I wasn’t supposed to say that. Just, trust me honey. It’s a long story. Maybe someday I can tell you everything.” She sighed again. “There’s so much you don’t know, sweetheart. So many things I wish I could tell you.”
“I don’t care, Momma,” Libby mumbled through tears. “I just want you happy and safe.”
“I will be sweetie. I have to go now, but I’ll call you Monday night.”
“Momma, please let me come get you,” Libby whispered.
“No honey. I’ll call you Monday, I promise.”
“I love you, Momma.”
“I love you too, Libby.” The line went dead and Libby kept the phone to her ear a moment before setting the phone in the cradle. She started sobbing and fell into my arms. She told me what her mother had said and I didn’t like anything that I’d heard. I didn’t trust this ‘friend’ that Carol Ann had referred to. I wanted to call John Paul and talk all this over with him but he was still out of the office.
When Monday came, Libby paced by the phone waiting for it to ring. The sun had gone down but the phone stayed silent. Near midnight, Libby had fallen asleep on the couch near the phone. I carried her to bed and double-checked all the windows and
doors again before returning to the bedroom. I looked out the balcony windows at the dark waters of the lake. There was no moon tonight and the gloomy black made me shiver. I’d always had this feeling when things were about to go wrong, this sort of tingling down the back of my neck. I knew something had happened and I dreaded going to sleep, knowing that tomorrow would only bring darkness.
The next morning, I stood at the stove making omelets. Libby had padded into the kitchen wearing the light blue robe
I’d gotten her. She came up behind me and hugged me as I flipped the eggs. I turned around and kissed her, dragging my fingers through her soft hair.
“I love you, Libby,” I murmured, kissing her forehead.
“I love you, too.”
We sat at the table and ate our breakfast while we flipped through different sections of the newspaper. Libby put the dishes in the sink and filled it with soapy water. I came over and washed while she rinsed and dried. I chuckled at how easily we fell into a comfortable routine. The phone rang at nine. Libby began to put the dishes away as I went to answer it.
it’s John Paul.”
I’ve been trying to get ahold of you for days.”
“Is Libby there with you?” John Paul
interrupted, his voice shaky. My breath caught in my throat. Something was wrong. Libby had thrown the dishtowel on the counter and walked over to me. Her face was full of concern.
“Well, yeah, John Paul. She is.”
“That’s good. She’s going to need you.” I felt the blood drain from my face as John Paul took a ragged breath. “Cole, Libby’s Momma was killed last night.” His statement stopped my breathing.
“What?” I choked out, my heart sinking into my stomach.
“I didn’t want to have to call… I mean, I would’ve come over and told her myself but I couldn’t leave… I,” his voice cracked.
“What the hell happened, John Paul?”
“She was found this morning in a hotel between Lynch and Middlesboro. She appeared to have been beaten.” I could hear the tears in his voice. “Someone from another room heard the struggle and called 911. Police responded in less than ten minutes,” he stopped, taking a deep breath. “Even if we’d gotten there sooner…” his voice caught again. “Nothing could have saved her, Cole.” My mind was spinning furiously, trying to imagine what John Paul was describing. I shuddered and decided I didn’t want to know.
“What else?” My own voice cracked.
“We put an APB out for Jackson. He didn’t show up for his shift at the mine and the house is empty.” I couldn’t move. I glanced over at Libby. Her face was pale. She knew, just by my reactions that something was horribly wrong.
“Cole, we need Libby to come down to the morgue and identify the body,” he whispered. I gasped at the cruelty of the request.
“Why can’t you do it?” I asked, the question choking out of me.
“I’ve already told the coroner that it’s her but the country requires next of kin. Libby’s the only family Carol Ann had left.” John Paul explained.
“We’ll be there,” I whispered before hanging up the phone. The tears gathering in my eyes must have been enough for Libby to guess a little of what was going on because she had slid into the chair.
“What did he do?” she whispered, staring down at the floor.
“Libby,” my voice cracked. I crouched down in front of her. “It’s your Momma, baby.” She looked up at me, tears filling her eyes. I hesitated, unsure of what to say. How could I tell her something so horrible when I loved her so much?
“She’s dead, isn’t she?” Libby whispered. I knew by the dazed look on her face that she had known. I slowly nodded and watched her slump into the chair. “Did they find him?” I barely heard the whispered words.
“He’s gone. They haven’t found him yet.” I answered. She stood up slowly. Her hands were shaking as she reached for a glass from the table and numbly walked to the sink. A few steps away, she stopped, her breath hitching. The glass slipped from her fingers, shattering on the floor. I was quick to get to her as she started to collapse and caught her before she hit the glass-covered floor. I held her as she wept great, racking sobs.
Thirty minutes later, we were on our way to the county morgue. Libby
didn’t speak the entire way, only stared out the window. We pulled into the parking lot and saw John Paul come out of the door as I put the truck in park. His eyes were red-rimmed and his face looked twenty years older as his eyes locked on Libby.
“Libby, I’m so sorry,” he murmured, reaching out to pat her shoulder awkwardly. She nodded stiffly and John Paul’s arm dropped. “I want you to be prepared… this will be… difficult.” He choked on the last word and Libby’s head snapped up.
“This isn’t the first time Pa beat her beyond recognitions, Sheriff,” she spoke with bitterness as she looked at him. “And it isn’t the first time nobody did anything to stop it.” John Paul’s face paled and I flinched at Libby’s words.