To Know Her (Erotic Romance) (7 page)

BOOK: To Know Her (Erotic Romance)
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Right.  She was going to
have a baby.  She didn’t fight him as he pulled her back to the front
door.  Gretchen rushed at her with a bath sheet as Derek stripped her
dress off.  The beautiful dress now lay in a muddy puddle on the
floor.  The other man strode toward her with a smaller towel and helped
her wrap her hair as Derek patted her dry.   Gretchen brought a robe,
and Derek wrapped it around her shoulders.  Through it all, Sara waited
without a flicker of emotion.  The pain was so heavy, she didn’t want to
speak or cry.  She just wanted to be left alone.

“I have some soup on the
stove.  I knew it was going to rain, and it seemed the perfect weather for
it.”  Gretchen took her hand and led her to the table.  The man stood
leaning against the counter, frowning at her from across the room. 

Gretchen sat a bowl in front of
her and urged her to eat.  She ladled several spoonfuls of broth to her
lips.  Then, Derek was there, dry and redressed.  He sat near her but
didn’t touch her.  She was thankful for that.  She didn’t want him to
touch her again.  She didn’t know everything, but the feeling of
tremendous pain, the weighted feeling choking the air from her lungs was his
doing.  She had no doubt.  With the glimpse of a memory came that
certainty. 

Her staying separate from him
was what he wanted.  He had forced it. 
You’re not her. 
You’ll never be her.
  The words echoed through her mind.  She
glanced up to see Gretchen hovering.

“You’re okay?”  Gretchen
had taken punishment for trying to help her.

She smiled down at her. 
“I’m fine, Sara.  Just worried about you.”

Sara nodded.  “I am going
to lie down.  I …”  She shook her head.  The throbbing was back
behind her eyes.    She stood and moved to climb the
stairs.  Derek was behind her.  She could feel his domineering presence. 
This time, when she was faced with the choice of rooms, she took the first
one.  She entered the stark, bare space and turned to face
him.   Derek stood just outside in the hall, and his expression was
tortured as she closed the door between them. 

She moved around the
room.  There was nothing personal on the furniture.  Even the sheets
were pristine white.  No personality.  The coverlet matched. 
Plain cotton.   When she opened the closet, she found revealing
outfits, similar to the ones she’d worn the past few days.  She checked
the dresser.  Lingerie, all alluring and her size. This was her
room.  She shut off the light, dropped the towel and robe and climbed into
the bed.

Chapter
Eight

 

With morning light came
reality.  The night had been long as she moved from cloudy uncertainty to
stark clarity.  She rose from the bed and stood under the hot spray of the
shower.  When she felt clean, she dried and dressed.  She quietly
moved to the front door and outside to the cars.  The one she thought was
Gretchen’s days before was there.   It was hers.  Derek must
have had it moved here after her accident.  She ran her fingers under the
wheel well until she felt the hidden key holder.  She was in and gone
before anyone knew she was outside. 

Her house was, ridiculously, only
a few miles away.  She had been on her way home when she had run off the
road nights before.  She didn’t remember the accident, but she clearly
remembered the hours before.  She had gone to Derek’s which she did
several times a week.  After their work days were over, they had dinner at
his house and then went to the basement.  For sex.  He was in
control.  Always.  And she was a nobody, face hidden, so he could
imagine she was his wife, Victoria.  He’d told her more than once that he
would always love his wife.  There would be no one else in his heart but
her. 

Sometimes she stayed
afterwards, sleeping in the stark room at the top of the stairs.  She’d
never slept in the room adjoining his or in his bed until these past few
days.  He’d never invited her to.  She had hated that small room, the
separation from him, but he’d worn her out sometimes to the point she couldn’t
safely drive home.  She’d never had sex with him there either.  It
was always faceless, controlled, and in the basement.  Like a dirty secret. 

She pulled into her drive and
found her house undisturbed.  Of course, as distant as the memory felt, it
had only been empty a few days.  She sat in the car for several moments
studying the landscape.  It was lacking.  She spent her days working as
an accountant from her home office for several area businesses, and her nights
were Derek’s.  That would have to change.

She left the car and walked
tiredly into the house to sit at the table.  She had gone to tell him
about the baby that night.  When she had arrived, there hadn’t been dinner
or any fraternizing planned.  Instead, he met her at the car
.  I
can’t forget her.  You will never take her place.  We won’t be
meeting like this anymore.
  It hadn’t seemed like the time to tell him
about the baby then.  Her heart had been breaking, and she felt like a
fool for thinking there could be more.  She was faceless sex.  He was
in control.  It was over when he said so.  That was that.

The phone rang in her office,
and she rose to pull a bottle of water from the refrigerator.  She didn’t
answer, and it finally stopped.  She was a practical woman. 
Usually.  Her mind was analytical.  Her relationship with Derek was
completely out of character.  Her judgment had been skewed from the
emotions she’d felt for him.  She needed to regain control.

Derek’s wife was the woman in
the pictures.  She’d found him looking at them once, when she’d come over
to retrieve paperwork she needed for his taxes.  It was how she’d know
about his preference for domination.  It created an openness they’d
explored together and had led to their involvement. 

She was pregnant by a man who
she’d be involved with for over a year.  From his accountant to his
submissive.  But Derek had always kept that distance between then. 
Until he’d picked her up on the side of the road, he had only kissed her mouth
a few times, and he’d always limited her touching him.  The hood was
nearly always in place when he touched her because she might be the woman he
wanted to fuck, but he didn’t want anything more than that.  His wife was
dead.  Everyone in the area knew the story.  She had died from an
aneurism while she was pregnant five years earlier.  And Derek had loved
her more than life itself.  Now he didn’t do love.  He had told her
that clearly. 

She went to her office and sat
at her computer.  Neat stacks of paperwork waited for her attention. 
She had plenty of work to keep her busy.  She sat aside Derek’s paperwork
which was always in prime position on her
to do
list.  She booted
up the machine, opened her email, and clicked Compose.

Dear Derek,

I thank
you for your care for the last few days.  I have fully regained my memory
and realize this must have been an inconvenience and a disruption of your
orderly life.  I thank you for doing it anyway.

In
light of recent developments, I feel it is no longer in either of our best
interests to continue our business arrangement.  I can no longer represent
your business with acceptable distance or attention.  I will be happy to
recommend you to another associate with an impeccable reputation if you need
assistance finding a replacement. 

Sincerely,

Sara S.
Hudson, CPA

She reread the words twice
before clicking send and closing the program. 

The doorbell rang within the
hour, and she ignored it.  It was Derek.  She could see his car in
the drive, but she wasn’t up to talking to him.  Instead, she dug back
into the paperwork in front of her until he pressed the buzzer for so long she
was afraid it would break.

She opened the door but didn’t
step aside for him to enter. 

He studied her face but didn’t
speak.  Instead, he lifted her out of the way and walked inside.

“What do you think you’re
doing?”

“Having a business
meeting.  My accountant is trying to break our contract, and I need to get
her to see reason.”

He scanned the room, taking in
the warm décor. “Nice place you have here.”

She huffed.  Of course
he’d never seen it before.  She’d always gone to him.  For business
or pleasure.  He hadn’t put out any effort to come to her.  She
closed her eyes and tensed her jaw to tamp down the emotions that the sad
thoughts evoked. 

He was watching her struggle
with herself.  Best to get this over with quickly so she could get some
privacy.  She gestured to the living area.  “Have a seat.”

He planted his big body in the
middle of her sofa.  He fit perfectly.  He should.  She’d
imagined him there enough times. 

“I see you got my email. 
I hope you can be sensible about this.  I’ll gather your files and get
them ready over the next few days.  I plan to work with the new accountant
to make the transition as smooth as possible.”

“We have a contract,
Sara.  You’re not getting out of it this easily.”

She sat on a chair some
distance away from him.  She looked down at her hands where they clenched
in her lap.  “I hoped you would see this was for the best.”

“Best for whom?  My
business?  You’ve always taken great care of my business so it’s not best
for the business for you to break the contract.  Best for you? Me? The
baby?”

She nodded.  “I don’t think
I can keep a clear head about anything that concerns you or the business, so I
feel it would be best for all of us.”

“I disagree and since I make up
half of the contract, we’re not through.”  His words were hot, angry, but
she didn’t understand why.  He had plenty of money and could hire someone
more experienced and expensive to do the job. 

She bit her lip to keep from
saying anything back.  She wasn’t angry with him and didn’t want to say
anything in haste.  She didn’t hate him.  She loved him.  He
loved his wife.  How could she be angry about that?  A man who loved
his wife, even after he lost her, was loyal.  It was a good quality. 
Unfortunately, it wasn’t directed at her.  The whole situation was a
mess.  She should have kept her distance.  He was a client, not a
boyfriend.  The lines had blurred, and now she had to redraw them.

“Alright then.  I’ll
continue to work as your accountant for the terms of our contract.”

“Four more months.” 

She nodded and stood. 
“Yes.  Four months.”

She opened the door and waited
for him to follow and leave.  He didn’t.  Instead he leaned back on
the sofa as if he was settling in for a while.  She sighed and closed the
door.  He was ripping her heart out.  She wasn’t ready to chat about
the baby or anything else right now.

“Sit.”

She bristled.  He wasn’t
in the basement with the faceless woman anymore.  She no longer needed to
mind
him.    “I wasn’t planning on you staying long, Derek.  I
have work I need to do.”

“The other day…”

“Please.  I don’t want to
discuss any of that now.  I’m going to have a baby but not any time
soon.  There’s plenty of time to discuss any arrangements or interactions
you will want with him or her when the time comes.  Please.  Please
go.”  By the time she was finished speaking, her voice had whittled down
to a whisper. 

“It was our anniversary – my
wife and I.  I didn’t realize it until just before you arrived, and I was
angry with myself.”

“Funny.  You weren’t the
one punished over it.”

“Wasn’t I?  The look on
your face when I sent you away made me feel infinitely worse.  I had spent
all day, just like every other day, looking forward to our evening.  I had
even prepared something special for dinner.  Then I glanced at my phone
and saw the date and realized I hadn’t thought about her all day, for days in
fact.  I felt guilty.”

“Of course.  I
understand.  But you don’t have to feel guilty anymore.  I understand
exactly where I stand.”  She opened the door again.

“This is not how I want it to
be, Sara.  It doesn’t have to end this way.”

“It does.  A baby doesn’t
change anything between us.”  It was true.  She still loved him with
or without a baby.  He didn’t love her either way.

He approached and stood in
front of her.  He stroked her neck with his warm hand and kissed her forehead
before turning to go. 

Chapter
Nine

 

Three weeks passed.  Sara
struggled with bouts of morning sickness intermingled with heartache. 
Gretchen called every day to check on her and complain about Derek’s moodiness
at work and changes he was making around the place.  Mark, the man Sara
would have sworn she didn’t know from Derek’s house, came by twice to check on
her and bring crackers and juice.  He was one of her dearest friends and
Gretchen’s husband.  The couple worried over Sara’s condition and told her
what a great mom she would be.  During Gretchen’s last call, she’d pushed
for a dinner date. 

“Let us take you out for
dinner.”

“I couldn’t.  I never know
when I’m going to be sick.  The morning sickness isn’t concerned with
time.  It happens all hours of the day.”

BOOK: To Know Her (Erotic Romance)
5.38Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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