Hi, peoples. Here we go again with the story. It's still a work in progress so I'll hold off posting any more until I tie down a few details.
Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of www.islandhideaways.com.
The moon’s rays filtering through the curtains awoke Natasha several hours later. She sat up on the unfamiliar bed, disoriented. She glanced around at the marble floor, expensive rugs and mahoghany furniture and grimaced when recollection came flooding back. The children in the pool, Michael saving her, the sirens…
Alerted by muffled noises coming from a neighbouring room, she headed in the direction of the sound. She found Michael in the kitchen, preparing a meal. She brushed a hand self-consciously through her loose hair and tightened the belt of her robe. A vague memory of Michael deftly removing her soaked clothes flashed through her mind and she blushed.
He looked up from the pan he was stirring on the stovetop and smiled. “Hey, sleeping beauty. How’re you feeling?”
She came over and sat at the kitchen table, which was set for two. “A bit light headed but okay. How long was I asleep?”
“About five hours. Your family was here earlier, as well as Mr. Goddard. They felt it was best to let you rest and not disturb you.” He placed a cup of peppermint tea in front of Natasha, which she accepted gratefully.
“How are the children?” she asked worriedly.
“They were shaken up, but okay. I called the ambulance as a precaution. I had the EMTs check you out too, just to be safe. They said you were probably suffering from post traumatic stress and would need to rest for a few days.”
She nodded. “But what I don’t understand is how they got in. There’s a six foot fence around this property!”
He removed some dishes from the oven and placed them on the table. “The Police spoke with the older boy. Apparently they came in through the front gate, just before it closed behind your guest this afternoon. He said they wanted to play in the park. They started to explore, were curious about the waterfall by the pool, decided to go in and got out of their depth.”
Natasha traced the red scratches in her palms with a finger. “I guess I would have tried the same thing as a kid. Thank God it didn’t turn out worse.”
“I filled in the blanks as best as I could for the Police, but they’re going to need a statement from you. I asked them to hold off until tomorrow,” Michael added, reaching over and smoothing a lock of hair away from her face.
She grasped his hand before her could turn away. “Michael, thank you. Without you I would never have gotten those boys out of the pool.”
He shrugged and gave a quick smile. “You’re welcome. You would have done the same for me.”
He stroked her face before moving to the refrigerator. “I baked some fish and potatoes and threw in some corn, tossed salad and beets on the side. I knew it would be late when we ate and didn’t want to do anything too heavy.”
“Sounds great. This is the second time you’ve fed me now. I really need to return the favour,” she laughed as he placed more dishes on the table and sat.
He chuckled. “Whenever you’re ready. I’m looking forward to tasting your hand.”
She glanced up to see him grinning mischievously at her. “Why do I get the feeling you’re not talking about food?” she teased, holding out her plate for some fish.
“I don’t know what you mean,” he said huskily, arching an eyebrow. “Eat, woman. We’ll talk after.”
They ate in companionable silence, Natasha savouring each bite. Sighing with contentment , she set down her knife and fork. “You did good, Mr. Austin. My compliments to the chef.”
“Thank my mother. She insisted I learn how to cook so that I wouldn’t have to rely on a woman and get “unfaired”, as she called it.”
Laughing, Natasha assisted in clearing the table and stacking the dishwasher. As soon as she stacked the final plate and closed the door, Michael pulled her to him and hugged her tightly.
“You scared the life out of me today. When I saw you struggling in that pool my first thought was what if I lost you.”
She raised her head from his chest and looked up at him. “I’m glad things didn’t end that way, because I need to apologise for shutting you out these past few days. I was so humiliated when Mr. Goddard saw us….”
She lowered her head in shame. Michael cupped her face with his hands. “Hey, there’s no need to apologise. It wasn’t my finest hour either. I’m not sorry for what happened between us but I’m sorry for placing you in that position. I should have known better.”
She shook her head. “I’m to blame too. I never do things like that, letting my feelings run away with me.”
He started to kiss her neck, working his way towards her lips. “My feelings were running wild from the moment I met you. We both know what’s going on here. The question is, what do we do about it?” he whispered.
In response, Natasha pulled his face to hers. As the kiss deepened, Michael lifted her in his arms and carried her over to the sofa in the living room. She pulled him on top of her, kissing his neck and lips and eagerly unbuttoning his shirt.
He broke the kiss first. “Baby, there’s something I need to tell you,” he groaned as she flicked her warm tongue over his exposed nipples.
She broke off trailing her fingers across his toned abs and looked up at him.
“Are you married?” she asked.
“No!” he exclaimed, confused.
“Do you have HIV, AIDS or an STD?”
“Of course not, no!” he protested. “I’ve always been very careful. I’ll protect you.”
She gave him a sultry smile. “Then there’s nothing you have to tell me that can’t wait.”
Shyly, she unbelted her robe and parted it. Michael’s eyes flickered over her ample bosom, trim waist and supple thighs and uttered a muffled curse.
“You’re making this really hard for me, woman,” he said hoarsely.
Natasha reached between their bodies and stroked him. “That’s the whole point, love.”
As he lowered his body over hers, Michael knew he had lost his final opportunity to make things right. With a silent pray to the Almighty for forgiveness, he surrendered to the pleasures of her warm flesh.
“So, how are things going with this new man of yours?”
Natasha slowed her pace on the treadmill and grinned at her close friend and training partner Barbara Lewis.
“I can’t complain,” she laughed, taking a swig from her water bottle. “It’s still early days but so far, so good.”
Barbara snorted. “Please girl. You’ve been going out with this guy for over a month. That’s a lifetime compared to the length of some of my relationships.”
Natasha threw a sympathetic glance at her friend. For an attractive woman with a good career, Barbara really did have horrible luck with men.
“What about Carl? I thought you two were working things out?”
Her friend sucked her teeth and hit the cool down button on her treadmill. “Girl, he turned out to be as straight as a hook stick. Had some man coming up in my workplace cussing me out over him. I was so ashamed I had to take a week’s leave.”
Natasha consoled her friend as they wiped down the treadmills with the disinfectant provided by the gym and headed upstairs to the weight room.
“Hey, did I tell you I think I saw your guy Michael on the internet? Is he a hot-looking brown-skinned fella with a shaved head?” Barbara asked suddenly.
Puzzled, Natasha nodded.
“Girl, where did you find him and where can I get one just like him?” Barbara teased as she placed the appropriate weight on the leg press machine.
Natasha frowned and asked, “You said you saw him on the internet?”
“Shoot, girl, I didn’t tell you? Your swimming pool incident at Emerald Bay is all over YouTube. A cameraman was there and took footage of the house and the pool area. There’s a shot of your man talking to the Police just before the cameraman got kicked out. I’ll send you the link later.”
All conversation ceased as the women began a rigorous circuit of the weight room.