Authors: Lynda Chance
"Hurry and finish up there. I want to take you for a walk." She took a last bite and moved their dishes to the counter.
He reached out and grabbed her hand.
She pulled on her arm to slow him down. "Don't you w-want dessert?" Her tongue reached out and moistened her lips.
Desire clenched his guts. Saturday couldn't get here soon enough. He looked at her mouth. "Yeah, I do." He pulled on her arm. "Let's go."
As he rushed her out the front door, she heard her aunt tell them to have fun. When they got out on the street she tried to keep apace with him. "Where are we going?" Her voice was breathless. Night was falling and they were going to be out in the dark, all alone.
"Let's go to the bridge." The Waco suspension bridge had opened just two years before, and it was one of the most amazing sites she had ever seen. There were a few other suspension bridges in the United States, but nothing could compare to the bridge that crossed the Brazos River.
"It's going to be dark, and I don't have any money, Jake." Even though she argued against it, she wanted to go to the bridge; she loved it there.
"It's not too dark. I'll pay your tolls." He turned to face her. Right there in the street, he lifted her face and twined her hair through his fingers. "You don't ever need to worry about money again, Becky. I'm going to take care of you." Fascinated, she felt the magnetic force of his attraction. He reached for her hand again and pulled her along.
They hurried through the evening traffic, the temptation of the night to come all around them. Jake held her hand in his, the memory of last night teasing his brain.
After she ran from him the night before, her words had slammed into him. Becky thought she was in love with him. She had been so quiet all these years, he hadn't known. But even from the very beginning, she must have been infatuated with him.
He had a lot of stuff to work out in his head about Kyle Bolton. He knew he needed to get over it. It was just his damn ego suffering. He had to believe her. She wanted him. And he was just selfish enough to take her. He needed to be alone with her, to have her to himself for a few minutes. He needed to touch her, to hold her.
They reached the bottom of the bridge and he gave the coins over to the toll keeper. There were quite a few people milling about, enjoying the evening. Several couples stopped to talk to him and ask him questions, and as he was answering them, their curious eyes kept turning to Becky. When he could get away politely, he moved them a bit off to the side, away from the crowd. He kept her by his side, and let the other evening strollers get ahead of them. He picked up their joined hands. He took her palm away from his and laced his strong fingers between hers in a more intimate clasp. He raised their entwined fingers to his lips and kissed the back of her hand. Her lips were trembling as she tried to smile at him.
The sun was just beginning to go down as they crossed to the middle of the bridge. They stopped and watched the serenity of the water flowing below. Hauntingly beautiful, it was completely amazing that they could be standing here together, suspended so high up in the air, above the swirling water down below. They stood together and watched for some moments, until the breeze began to bite as the sun sank deeper.
He felt her shiver beside him. He pulled her body back against his. Her back nestled into his chest and he lightly rested his chin on the top of her head. With his arms wrapped around her, they watched the water together. Becky sighed in sheer bliss. Nothing could ever be better than this. He whispered in her ear. "Are you cold, sweetheart?"
"Yes, but I don't want to leave. It's so beautiful, Jake. The water is so beautiful."
Jake thought of that damn brick house on the river and something like pain made his stomach clench. How could he deny her that? Didn't she understand what she could have everyday of her life if she chose Bolton?
He pushed the gut-wrenching thought aside. He refused to step aside. She was his. She had been his since she was fourteen. No man but him would ever have her. He would see to it.
He moved his lips against her hair and kissed her gently. "We can come here anytime you want, Becky. We can come one day and have a picnic by the river. Would you like that?"
She turned in his arms. "Oh yes, Jake. I would. I would like that." Her lips trembled and her eyes glowed into his.
He knew he shouldn't touch her in a public place. But he couldn't help himself, and it was so dark now, no one would see. He pulled her in and lowered his mouth over hers. Her lips softened as he pulled her lower lip into his mouth. He tasted her sweetness, and let her taste his need. Her lips parted with her ragged breathing. He took advantage and pushed his tongue into her mouth. He felt her go slack in his arms. He held her up and drank deeply of her lips, her tongue, her mouth. She hung, shocked in his embrace.
He lifted his mouth and spoke. "Kiss me back." He breathed in raggedly. "Please, Becky, kiss me back." His mouth lowered again.
Shock faded, and desire took its place as fierce excitement speared through her. Her heart slammed against her breastbone as she felt Jake's tongue slide into her mouth again as she absorbed his words. He wanted her to kiss him back.
Hesitantly, she gave him her tongue. He sucked it into his mouth and swirled it around his. Lights exploded in her brain and her reasoning disappeared. She relinquished all thought and hung in his arms as he continued to savor her mouth. It could have been seconds, or it could have been minutes. But it wasn't long enough.
Jake lifted his head. "Open your eyes." Her eyes blinked, then opened. "You're mine. Understand? From this day forward, you belong to me. All that sweetness is mine." His voice was deep, melting her insides and flowing through her veins.
Oh, God, yes, she didn't want it any other way.
Miranda stared at Becky in shocked silence. She looked around the empty store and back at Becky. A gentle laugh escaped her. "Yes, silly. Men use their tongues." The two girls stared at each other and flushed. "Didn't you know that? I thought I told you what happens when. . ." Her voice trailed off.
"You told me what happens
," Becky whispered. "You didn't tell me a man opens his mouth to kiss." Just the memory of last night was enough to make the heat rise inside of her. She could still taste Jake on her tongue, in her mouth.
"Becky, I thought you had been kissed before. I thought Kyle had kissed you. I'm sorry, I didn't realize. I wasn't trying to keep something from you. My gosh, I told you the rest." She finished in a rush.
"I guess I thought Kyle
kissed me. But never like that. He grabbed me a few times and put his lips on mine, but I always got away from him really quickly." Becky didn't know what she would have done without all of Miranda's insight. It was such a good thing her friend was married now.
"Okay, well, did you like it?" Miranda waited with curiosity.
Becky blushed again. "Oh my God, yes. It was the best feeling I've ever had in my life."
Miranda grabbed her by the shoulders and smiled into her face. "Well, guess what? You remember when I told you that some women don't like the marriage bed, and some woman love it? I've come to the conclusion that if you like kissing with your mouth open, you're gonna love all the rest of it."
Becky couldn't wait until tomorrow. She wanted to be Mrs. Jake Cooper more than anything she had ever wanted in her life. From the moment she met him, she had dreamed of him holding her and kissing her. And tomorrow, he would belong to her completely.
Miranda continued, "I shouldn't have told you anything. It was probably wrong of me, but I was so mad at Sarah Williams when she wouldn't tell me. You remember she got married a few months before I did? And even when I was getting ready for my wedding and so scared and nervous, all she would say was, 'You'll find out.' Oh, I could have killed her!" She lowered her voice. "And then it was all so wonderful, there was no need to be scared at all."
Becky envied Miranda for already having all of the marriage secrets. "And you're sure it doesn't hurt?" At this point, Becky didn't think she cared if it hurt or not. She was willing to go through anything to have Jake. She had been waiting for three years.
Miranda was shaking her head back and forth. "At the very worst, you might feel a little pinch the very first time, but it quickly goes away. Don't worry so much, Becky. The sheriff is a kind man, he’ll be gentle. But I'm gonna tell you another secret." She looked around to double check that they were still alone. She lowered her voice to a whisper. "Johnny loves knowing that I love it, too. He told me that all men feel the same. He said that secretly, men want their wives to enjoy the marriage bed. So anything you may have heard differently, isn't true. Men get more pleasure from your pleasure. If you remember that, you should have a good marriage."
Becky digested this new information. The thought of Jake holding her naked, and putting his tongue in her mouth again was almost more than she could bear. The excitement would surely kill her!
"Are you coming with me to pick up my dress this afternoon?" There hadn't been time to sew a new dress for the wedding. She had bought a readymade one, and was having it altered.
"Oh, yes. I can't wait to see it on you. My father will be here at one o'clock and then I can leave. I'll meet you at the dress shop."
Becky left and hurried down the town square. She needed to get back to the boardinghouse. Her aunt was busy baking the cake for the reception tomorrow. She wanted to be there to help.
As she rounded the corner on Main Street, she saw a crowd of men in the street. Several ladies were watching the commotion from the sidewalk in front of the bank. Her steps slowed as she approached. Mrs. Foster saw her and took her hand. "Oh dear, oh dear. Just don't look, dear. I'm sure everything will be all right."
Becky had to look. Her eyes were welded to the scene. The crowd cleared somewhat, and she could see one of the saloon girls with her dress torn and her face bleeding. Shock and pity ran through Becky. A man struggled on the ground and she saw Jake in the middle of the brawl. His strong voice rang out and issued a warning to the man on the ground and all the men watching. "Nobody treats ladies that way in my town." He jerked the man to his feet and pushed him to walk in front of him.
"She's not a lady. She's just a slut--"
Jake swung him around and hit him in the face. "You're going to jail, Yoakum. I'd make you apologize to her, but she won't want you anywhere near her. You're going to serve your time, and then you're going to clear out of Waco."
Becky's heart threatened to beat out of her chest and she clutched Mrs. Foster's hand as she watched the scene play out. The man Jake had in custody was bloodied and limping. His chin was bruised and cut open. Jake held him in a vicious grip and pushed him away from the crowd. The scowl on Jake's face was ferocious, and the muscles in his forearms were straining against the weight of holding up the other man. Blood dripped down his face, and antagonism radiated from him. The authority stamped across his features was implacable.
The first person Jake saw when he pushed away from the crowd and moved toward the sidewalk was Kyle Bolton, walking out of the bank. He had on a clean white shirt and shiny new boots. Anger and jealousy ripped through him.
The second person he saw was Becky, clutching Mrs. Foster's hands with a look of horror on her face. She was staring right at him.
He sure as hell didn't need her seeing this.
He stalled him movements and struggled with the dirt bag in his hands. Blood pooled in the side of his mouth where he had taken a hit to the face. He turned his head and spat out the blood. His eyes turned back to her. His voice rang out over the crowd. "Get home, Becky.
." The order was harsh and unbending. It left no room for dispute. Tension poured from him as he waited for her to obey him. Her eyes were glued to his. He felt their provocative effect on him even now. His nostrils flared. She bit her lip, tore her hands free from the older woman, and turned and ran. He waited just long enough to make sure Kyle went in the opposite direction from Becky, then turned his attention back to his job.
The entire day, all Jake could think about was getting the deed done tomorrow. He wanted her, all tied up and legally his, before something happened to change her mind. The scene on the street nagged at him, and he didn't want her upset by it. To his knowledge, Becky had never observed the seedier side of his job before. She was usually safely tucked away in his house, making a home for him. That she should witness an altercation like the one today, and on the day before she was supposed to marry him, sent fear slithering down his spine.
He thought briefly of getting her alone tonight, and anticipating their wedding night, but he didn't want to dishonor her that way. She deserved better. He might not let himself compromise her entirely, but he would stick to her side like glue and give her no spare time to think about Bolton.
Becky's day passed swiftly. The dress fitting went perfectly, and she was pleased with the way the store bought dress came out. In a deep shade of blue, it was the first time she would wear something other than a light colored pastel. The veil she would wear had been her mother's. It was simple lace, without a headpiece. It was one of the few possessions that had belonged to her mother she had left.