Thursday, 28 November 2013

Her Bad Boy (Chapter 14)


Her Bad Boy
How does a girl cope when her twin flame is the definitive bad boy? (18+ Erotica)

Chapter 13 | Chapter 14: Sally’s Secrets

“Sally, what just happened? Did I say something wrong?”

Motherhood. Just one more high wall to climb. “No... I’m OK. As OK as I can be.”

He saw much, but for reasons vague to her for the time being she wanted to hide how she felt. How talking about children and motherhood grabbed at her heart. So, she tried to feign some kind of assurance, hoping he wouldn’t see in her eyes the rising fear she was trying so desperately hard to push down. But it was like bile in her throat.

“You sure?” Stephen’s words seemed to stretch and echo inside her mind. “Did I say something wrong?”

“No. It’s just... you know.”

“Of course I do.” But he didn’t look convinced. He was right not to be.

I have so many secrets, Stephen. So many. That I want to tell you. But...

She instinctively knew they both had their share of secrets they needed to tell each other, if whatever they had between them was going to pull them through this time. Because she knew first hand how secrets kept people apart. They built walls between people. They closed in on you, so you felt you couldn’t breathe with the knowledge that you’d bricked yourself in by your own fear.

But secrets shared could also push people apart... and which secret would be the one to do that to them? She worried whether they would survive her secret fears of motherhood, how she would probably never be a mother. Then there was Daisy... And at the top of that list was Iain. Trying to get used to the idea she’d never have children, she’d focused all her motherly instincts on her brother.

She didn’t even want to think about life without Iain, and if anything happened to him now, she didn’t know if she could survive, let alone know whether a relationship with Stephen would. First her mother, then her father, but to watch helplessly as Iain fell into the same chasm of darkness would be too much... For her, Iain’s loss would be the most senseless of all.

Yet he was a responsibility Sally felt she’d no right to ask anyone else to shoulder with her, because it meant denying them a normal family life. Not even Stephen, who despite what he thought of himself, was a natural with kids. She remembered how good he’d been with her brother when she introduced them. He’d been patient and kind, taking a polite interest in Iain’s books, and on his second visit had brought with him a box full of the things. She could see he would make a great father one day, and that was something else she’d no right to deny him.

“Have I upset you, Sally?”

“Upset me? Oh, if you only knew just how much it means to me having you here.”

For many people family was what made the purpose of life good, but her parents had shown her that love was also a powerful force that could tear people apart. You don’t always get to choose who you fall in love with. Who had said that to her? Was it Molly? She wasn’t sure, but it didn’t matter, because if she could choose, she knew what her choice would be. And that was the point, wasn’t it? The thing that separated them from her parents - and his?

But just as you don’t always get to choose who you love, you don’t always get to be with them, either. It was heartbreaking, but true nevertheless. She knew how much it hurt when Stephen left, and it had frightened her to discover just how little power she wielded over her feelings. Initially she’d thought the responsibility Iain had presented might have made him take up with Daisy... but she realised now how wrong she’d been.

This time, though, she needed to be certain which way the wheel turned for them, even if she had no idea where to start looking for the answer. A voice spoke from somewhere inside. Love is the answer. She could almost hear Molly’s voice saying the words. Of course, it had been Molly. You don’t always get to choose who you fall in love with. Or maybe she had made that choice a long time ago.

She felt she knew better than most how real love could take a long time to come around. You never knew where love would strike, so you had to be open to it at all times, and not let it slip away - but how could you know it was the real thing, when you had nothing to compare it to? It seemed cruel. Life was short, but the chance at love seemed even shorter.

In her mind, the search for real love, identified with ideals like passion and truth, had just been stories in the books she’d read. In those pages, it was worth taking a risk in love, to follow your heart, she thought, because there was nothing to lose. In the real world, though, there were huge plot holes you could fall into.

And there was her baby Iain, lying so still in the heart of all her indecision. She wouldn’t be able to think straight until she saw him out of that hospital bed. She was trying her best to put on a strong front, because it was expected of her. It’s what a McMasters would do. But moreover, she knew that screaming and crying wasn’t going to help her brother. Not now.

“Your brother is one tough cookie. He is going to get through this.”

“When I hear you say that, I just about believe it.”

He moved closer to her. “Believe it.”

They stared at each other, and she felt the full force of their magnetism speak. Still undefined between them in any term other than sexual attraction, it had the power to close the space their secrets threatened to push between them. All Stephen had to do was look at her and her doubt would dissolve. She sensed that he was part of something eternal in her, like the stars were to the sky. The imagery brought their heated moments at the fairground to her mind.

She blushed red, tried to look away, but he directed her gaze back to him. He raised a finger to her lips, and his touch gave her a heady thrill, skittering across her skin, as he softly traced a line down the side of her cheek. “We take it slow. OK?”

“How slow?” Her blood clamoured at the knowing edge to his voice. Her brother was lying right next to them, but he could have taken her there and then if he wanted. This was hunger of a different kind. “You know those things we did. You were my first.”

“It showed.” He planted a gentle kiss on her forehead. “So we go as slow as it needs to be. OK?”

Her colour deepened, as his finger traversed further down her body. “OK. I hear you. Slow.”

Cheek to cheek now, his lips barely touched the lobe of her ear as he spoke, but his breath stoked the fires raging below. “You know, there was a time I’d have just fucked you here. But now... you’re a bad influence, Miss. McMasters. You’re a mystery to me...”

“Is that why you chatted me up? You wanted a challenge?” she asked, her voice cut down to whispers. “Is that how you saw me?”

“No, but I bet guys round here peg you down as the spoilt brat of a rich father. Couldn’t be further from the truth. Good thing then I’m not from around here. I just saw you. But it was like you’d put a distance between you and the world... And what did you think of me? A bit of rough to smooth your lonely nights over with? A wild beast to tame?”

“I saw the real you inside.”

“And it didn’t frighten you?”

“No. Like you, I wanted to touch what no one else could...”

“You’re braver than me, then.” He pulled her to him. There was still a conversation going on, but now it was a conversation of body language and facial expressions, and all she could see was the way she was reflected in his eyes.

“Stephen... I-”

Before she could get the words out, they were interrupted by a quiet knocking from behind the door. The swing of mood suddenly reversed, they pulled away as the door opened, and a new duty nurse Sally hadn’t seen before walked noiselessly in. The nurse raised her eyebrows at the scene in front of her with more than a modicum of surprise.

“I’ve just come on my shift and I thought I’d let you know the doctor will be in shortly, Miss. McMasters.”

“Thank you,” Sally said, standing up and brushing herself down. “Does he know I’m here?”

“Yes, he does.” The nurse stared pointedly at Stephen, still seated on the floor. “That is very unhygienic young man, and you really shouldn’t be in here you know. Visiting hours are not until ten, and this is a restricted area for family visits only. Are you family, may I ask?”

Stephen began to make his apologies, but Sally intervened. “He is family,” she said firmly. As she spoke, she caught him glancing at her, and it was a look that scattered her fears far into the shadows. For now, at least, she thought. She couldn’t say for any certainty whether love was a cosmic truth, but staring back into his honey coloured eyes just then, she needed to be blind to doubt what she had seen in them.

What passed between Sally and Stephen went unnoticed by the nurse, who walked over to the bed, and satisfied nothing was amiss on the instrument read-outs, gave a quick shrug of her shoulders. “Well, not much longer, then. Please make sure you’re gone before the doctor arrives.”

“The doctor is our family physician and friend. He won’t be any trouble.”

“Who me or the doctor?” Stephen asked with a grin, jumping to his feet. It was infectious, and the nurse found herself smiling with him. He picked up an unopened tea cake from one of the boxes and presented it to her, as she made her way to the door. “A peace offering.”

She accepted it graciously. “Thank you.”

“I should thank you for being so understanding. Here, let me,” he said, opening the door for her.

“I’m glad chivalry is still alive and well. There’s not many left like you, young man.”

Stephen winked. “What else are we good for?”

“He’s a keeper,” she said to Sally, before taking her leave.

He closed the door behind her, and they were left alone. Eyes darkened with concern, he dropped the joking demeanour she knew had been for the nurse’s benefit. “If your doctor doesn’t come soon, I’ll go looking for him. Isn’t he semi-retired? What’s taking him so long?”

“Now, how on earth do you know that?”

Stephen told her about his conversation with Tony. She said, “That’s just one of his many secret visits. The official line is he’s retiring, but it’s just to give him more spare time to help those really in need. If he isn’t here yet, it’s because there’s someone more in need than us. I’m sure he’ll be here as soon as he can...” Conversely, the doctor’s absence had been one of the thin threads of hope she’d been holding on to, but it sounded as though she were trying to reassure herself more than Stephen. “To be honest, it makes me feel better he hasn’t rushed over. I’m hoping on hope it means he thinks Iain is going to be OK.”

Looking unconvinced, he said, “Whatever the reason, he should be here now.”

“If he thought his condition was really serious he’d have spent the night here himself,” she said, adding as way of explanation, “Dr. Merryweather has been like a father to both of us.”

“I have to say I’m kind of envious of this doctor of yours.” He walked over to her, and took her in his arms. Her heart began to beat in her ears, louder than the torrent of rain raging outside the window. “He must be a very special guy if he can get your eyes to look like that. Should I be jealous?”

“The man’s been happily married for nigh on forty years. I think his wife would have something to say about that, don’t you?” Wanting to keep herself busy, she forced herself out of his embrace. Before I start seeing stars again, she said to her herself, and began picking up the food boxes from the floor, transferring them to a bin in the corner of the room. “And you said yourself Iain is one tough cookie, though I don’t know who he takes after.”

He looked at her. “I do.”

She sensed him staring at her, and deflected his gaze behind a crumpled piece of greasy cardboard. “Oh yeah. Regular Rocky Balboa, that’s me... You hardly ate anything.”

“Neither did you.” He made a move for Molly’s flask, unscrewed the cap and poured himself another pitcher of coffee. Cup in hand, he walked over to the window, and looked out at the rain hammering at the window.

She suddenly sensed one of those walls lift up between them, and she wanted to knock it down. Secrets. Secrets everywhere. By the slant of his neck, she could almost imagine the muscles in his back tightening. He was reliving some time in his past that she was still locked out from.

He took a gulp of his coffee, then raised the pitcher to the framed sunlight. “Is there anything stronger than coffee in this? Makes you feel like you can say anything.”

“If it gets you to talk, I’ll ask Molly to patent her coffee.”


“I’m serious.” The coffee never seems to run out or go cold, she found herself thinking. Maybe it’s not even the drink, but what the drink is in.

She inspected the flask, wondering not for the first time where she had seen one like it before. It was as mysterious as the owner. It seemed to be some type of super container, and it hadn’t gone unnoticed by her that the coffee always stayed the perfect temperature to drink, tasted delicious, and never ran out. It was the drink that kept on giving, that was for sure.

“It’s better than the vending machine slop she brought me, at any rate. But it sure makes me want to talk.”

“So talk. Tell me about Afghanistan,” she said, clearing away the last of the boxes. Take my mind off my fears. Off the sounds of the beeping and hissing that makes me want to cry. Take my mind off the waiting, even though I want to wait. I want it to take forever for Dr. Merryweather to come through the door. Because I’m afraid of what he might say. Because he may also have stayed away thinking there’s no hope for my brother. Nothing more he could do...

Sally was about to say something, when Stephen spoke up as though he’d heard her plea. “You know the army is the only real family I’ve ever had. My father was married to the army, sometimes I think I joined to try and finally make him see me...”

He hitched his shoulders in a tense little shrug that echoed through her. “But getting recruited was an improvement on home. Shit, the army was my home. No other home, there never was, not much at least. My mother died when I was born, so I never knew her, but her death gave my father the excuse he needed to beat me with it every chance he could get. And he beat me into the man you see now.”

His voice sounded hollow, and his words seemed to hollow out her insides, too. “Problem is, Sally, it’s our family that instructs us, tell us who we are and how we should be. Without that, we find it hard to make sense of ourselves, what we want, what is right. The army did that for me, and then it sent me to war...”

He stopped for a moment, lost in a previous time, and a sudden silence fell, punctuated only by the sound of raindrops. It was a silence loaded with his torment, and as she waited patiently for him to speak, not wanting to obstruct his flow of thoughts, his pain cut into her skin as though it were made of paper.

“You know, it’s funny how developed countries have no horizon... You ever noticed that? Look out of a window here and all you see are things getting in the way. In Afghanistan all you see is the horizon. Over there you feel you should be able to breathe more under all that sky, but it’s not the horizon, just you that’s stuck in a box.” He turned around and his gaze fixed on hers, so serious and earnest that her heart stilled in her chest. “Then you get sent home in one, or walk around in one for the rest of your life.”

“You were strong enough to walk away from it,” she replied with sincerity.

“Strong? I didn’t feel strong, I felt a coward. I’d deserted my family.” He took a slow sip from the pitcher, before saying in a thickened voice, “I’m damaged goods, baby. I left a war behind, only to find out it hasn’t left me. I’m still fighting it, and I don’t want you to get hurt. I’ve killed too many already. There’s a long line of casualties behind me.”

She’d never heard him sound so vulnerable. He doesn’t talk like he’s scared, but that’s what his act is about. It’s just that he’s scared. She never realised that he could be scared. When people grew up they learned not to show when they were scared, and she guessed Stephen’s military training helped him to do that more than most. But everyone got scared at one time or another.

That’s where he is right now, he’s scared he’s not going to be do right by you. By anyone. She didn’t know where that piece of wisdom had come from suddenly, but the realisation that he was scared moved her. She imagined him as a young boy, with no mother, and a strict father, and her heart went out to him.

It was as though she had in that instant discovered how his peripatetic military childhood had helped to shape him. He had no idea of family, and neither, if she were honest, had she. The failings of their parents, their insecurities... there was a lot that was similar about them, she thought. She knew exactly what family life did to you and there was no need to empathise. As he stood there, she became him. She was him.

He said, “You never believed that bullshit line I fed you about leaving to fight for world peace, did you?”

“I thought you were making fun of me.”

“I thought it would be what a woman would want to hear.”

“All a woman ever wants to hear is the truth, Stephen. You have such a way with the ladies, I’m surprised you don’t know that. You don’t need to impress me, or frighten me off with lies.”

“I’ve never wanted to lie to you, but are you so sure the truth is something a woman shouldn’t be protected from? The truth isn’t pretty. Especially ones in Afghanistan. You don’t want to know about that, and it’s a subject I’ve no business talking about with anyone.”

“You can’t leave it all blocked inside. You have to talk to someone about what happened to you out there. About how you feel. I want you to know, when you’re ready, you can tell me. I won’t judge you.”

He turned around and looked at her again, and his eyes were the darkest she had ever seen them. Deep, unfathomable, unreadable. Another brick in the wall. “No one can judge me as harshly as I judge myself,” he said. “Things happen in war. You do what you have to do. Then you live with it.”

“You don’t have to live with it alone.”

“Sometimes alone is better, it narrows the risk down to one. The truth is I’m a fuck up, Sally. I make a mess of things.” he said.

“Whatever you think you’ve done, or how bad it was, I won’t believe there wasn’t a good reason.”

His eyes lightened a shade. “You so sure of that? So sure I’m not a monster?”

I couldn’t love a monster. “Open up to me. That’s all I’ve ever wanted you to do.”

“That’s all, she says... before I met you I didn’t- I don’t do feelings. Opening up gets you killed where I come from.”

“And not opening up can kill you, too, inside. Don’t keep it all bottled up. Talk to someone. If not me, then Kevin. Or anyone. I would rather it was me... I know I’m not a great substitute for someone who was there, but I can listen.”

“I’ll make you this promise. If- No, when we get through this, and Iain is out of this bed, then we can bare our souls as much as you like.” He dug his hand in his pocket. “Besides, you have your own fair share of secrets.”

“You’re right I do. But some aren’t mine. Some were forced on me.”

“Like Daisy?”

“My responsibility to Daisy is part of it. But her secret isn’t mine to tell.” She sighed. Another legacy from the great Paul McMasters left for her to deal with. “Not until I find the right time to tell her first. Daisy has a right to know before anyone else. But I’ll hold you to your promise, Stephen Granger.”

“And I’ll see that you do, Miss McMasters. Maybe I should have done that in the first place to get you to quit me.”

Realising what he had just said, he tried to backtrack, but she stopped him. “Just don’t do anything like that again. I recovered once, but I’m not sure I could do it a second time and still live to be your friend. And that’s what we have to do. Get to know each other. And I mean really know each other. Become friends first, lovers second.”

“The right way round this time?”

She nodded, taking hold of Iain’s hand. “We’ve all done things we’re ashamed of, but if we keep secrets we’ll always be strangers, and we need to be friends, Stephen. We never gave ourselves a chance to be friends. We need to take a risk with our secrets. Be honest with each other.” Deep, lasting relationships grew out of friendship and mutual respect. No good loving someone if you didn't take the time to get to know them. Worse, maybe that was what tore you apart.

“You want honest? Right then.” He drank the coffee in one go, as if summoning up the courage to speak. Gripping the pitcher to his chest, he gave the impression he was about to give a pledge. A drunken one, at that.

“Are you making fun of me?”

“Do you mind? I am trying to say something to you here.” He placed the pitcher on the bedside table, and took hold of Iain’s other hand. “I want your help with this sister of yours, OK?”

With his free hand he reached out to her, and they bridged hands across the bed. “I promise to share my soggy bacon with you.”

“Thanks... I think.”

“That’s not all. I’ll open every door for you.”

“For me and all the nurses in the world? I’m honoured, but unnecessary.”

He ignored her quip. “But most of all, I promise I’ll always want to wake up next to you.”

That caught her breath. She was lost for words.

“And however far away I am, I will always wake up next to you.”

Alight with emotion, their eyes seemed to set fire to the room. The rain died down. Bright sunlight followed, filtering its peach haze through the window blinds, filling out the shadows. The glow of the room enveloped them; three linked in a circle standing in the silence and the growing light.

Like moonlight, she thought. But why does it make me think of Molly?

In that moment, a gentle tremor fluttered in the palm of her hand. She thought she was trembling at first, but looking down she saw it was Iain, moving his hand in hers.

Do that again!

Fighting back her tears, she stared into her brother’s face, coloured by the same burning light of the room, not daring to hope. For some reason she thought of Molly again, as his eyelids flickered the tiniest sign of life.

And when the Moon burns, miracles happen.

“Iain, baby. It’s Sally. I’m here, sweetheart. Open your eyes! Please open them!”

And slowly, he did.

End of Chapter 14 | Read Chapter 15

Yours in love,

Mickie Kent