Part 920 – Nothing To Fear?

Ambrose Smith felt like he was out of his own mind.

I know what time it is.

I can feel it.

The hours.

The minutes.

The seconds.

It’s still day.

And I’m still awake.

He growled and punched his pillow.

I don’t even have a reason to be awake.

No bad dreams.

Robin’s not doing his version of yeti karaoke.

Everything’s quiet.

He uncovered his head and caught their guest’s apple and cinnamon scent right away.

So, she’s still here.

Why is it so quiet?

He dropped back onto his pillow.

so soft…

tired

Barbara

not

here

bar…

He exhaled into his pillow.

But his eyes refused to stay closed.

He rolled onto his back and tried to count 100 black sheep.

He made it all the way up to 1100 without so much as a yawn.

He thought about Barbara.

Her voice.

Her touch.

He thought about holding her in his arms.

Her hands in his hair.

Her eyes looking into his eyes.

Surprisingly enough, that failed to relax him.

This time next week…

I will either know the greatest happiness or the most hurtful rejection.

He trembled as he imagined her pushing him away in disgust.

Or, worse, in pain.

He pulled his phone out from under his pillow and called her number.

If she doesn’t want me…

If she rejects me…

If I hurt her…

“Hello?”

He breathed out a sigh of relief. “Barbara.”

“Hey, kitten! You still up? You’ll be tripping over your own feet tonight at work.”

“I know. I can’t sleep. Barbara.” He hesitated. “I know what we agreed on, but I need to see you. I need to see you now. Please come.”

She didn’t respond.

“I will not make any demands. I swear I won’t. Just come to me. Let me see you. Please.”

“Ambrose, I can’t come.”

“I—”

Ambrose sat up straight as he caught the scent of semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla bean. He dropped his phone, jumped out of bed, yanked the door open, and ran out into the hall.

She stood at the far end of the hall with her phone to her ear and a smile on her face. “I’m already here.”

He let out a happy cry and ran to her.

She quickly put her phone away.

Ambrose swept her up into his arms and set her into a squealing/giggling fit as he spun her around.

He laughed, delighted by her happiness.

He started kissing her before her feet could even touch the ground. “I love you. I love you so much.”

She ran her fingers through his thick, black hair. “I love you too.”

“Are you real? This isn’t a dream, is it?”

She giggled. “I sure hope not. Because then I’d wonder what is real.”

“Barbara. Is our wedding really only eight days from now? It seems like such a long time. Yet, it’s only a matter of days. Just days.”

“And then.”

“And then. Oh, Barbara. Then.”

“You’ll be all mine and no one else’s.”

“And you’ll be all mine and no one else’s.” He teased some strands of hair out of her bun and twirled them around his fingers.

He imagined her hair completely undone and spread about her head in joyful disarray.

He imagined the brightness in her eyes as he came down on her. But is it fear that brightens them or simple excitement? “Are you nervous?”

She shook her head. “I trust you.”

“Even though I did bite you?”

“I let you bite me. You needed it.” She rubbed her thumbs along his cheekbones. “You totally earned it. You have nothing to regret.”

“But I was weak. I gave in. What if I gave in to other desires? That temptation is always there, Barbara. Even now, I can feel its black-fired pull to push you against the wall. To steal into your mind and break down your defenses and convince you that this is what you want right now.”

“And you would force yourself on me. Would that really make you happy?”

He shook his head. “Because it wouldn’t make you happy.”

“Then, I have nothing to fear.”

“There’s always something to fear. Pain. Rejection. Loss.”

She smiled and gently kissed him. “Don’t be afraid of me, kitten. I won’t hurt you.”

“You might reject me. I don’t know. I keep imagining it. You looking at me in disgust and pushing me away. You looking at me in pain and yelling at me to never touch you again. You looking at me and—-”

“Shh. That won’t happen. I know what will happen. I’ll look at you and feel so overwhelmed. I’ll look at you and feel amazed and proud that you’re mine. I’ll look at you and know that you’ll guide me through it all. I’ll look at you, Ambrose Smith, and I will trust your love for me. I will trust your desire to protect me. I will trust that you won’t hurt me.”

“But I still might hurt you. It’s been such a long time since I’ve done it right. After my failure with Rebecca, I fell into an easy routine. I’d grab my partner, push her down on the bed, strip her, have my way with  her until I was satisfied. I had no care for her pleasure or her needs. It was entirely about what I wanted.”

“And you’re worried that you’ll be that way with me?”

He nodded. “And you’ll hate me for it. I won’t be enough for you. I won’t share enough with you. Then, you’ll turn it around and wonder if there’s something wrong with you. Our relationship will self-destruct. I don’t want that to happen to us.”

“So, don’t let it happen. Take it easy and slow. Forget about all of the other women you’ve been with and all of your old habits. Just focus on me and love me as if I were your first time. And I will focus completely on loving you.” She smiled with a tilt of her head. “What could possibly go wrong with that set up, Mr. Ambrose Negativity?”

He smiled. “Give me a few minutes and I’ll come up with something.”

“I bet you won’t.”

“Oh?”

“It’s too perfect a plan.”

“Is that so?”

“Mm-hmm. And you know it.”

He kissed her forehead and whispered, “Brat.”

She giggled.

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