Emma sipped absently from her champagne glass and glanced around the room. The three piece band had just begun playing, the lively tune almost drowned out by the thrum of voices. Many of the guests had already found their tables, while others milled around the bar chatting and drinking.
She smoothed the skirt of her black strapless dress and tucked a tendril of auburn hair behind her ear. Her stomach fluttered as she searched for Daniel. Her bridesmaid duties had kept her busy enough at the church she’d not had time to dwell on him until now. She’d managed to avoid seeing him without really trying.
Now, though, with the bride beaming excitedly and surrounded by a throng of well-wishers, Emma finally had a moment to herself.
She’d never felt so torn before; wanting to see him, yet dreading that final moment when their eyes would meet. She took another sip of champagne, closing her eyes as the bubbles danced across her tongue and tickled her throat.
“There you are.”
Emma flinched. Her fingers tightened around the stem of her glass. She kept her eyes closed and drew a long breath, fighting the urge to slip off her heels and sprint from the room.
Daniel stood behind her, far enough away he wasn’t touching her, yet close enough she could still feel the heat from his body. “Are you going to talk to me, Em?”
She swallowed hard. His deep voice still caused her skin to break out in goose-bumps despite the year they’d spent apart. She pressed her lips together and tried to gather her composure. “I’m working up to it.”
He ran his palms over her shoulders, caressing her bare skin with his thumbs. “Turn around and let me look at you.”
An involuntary tremor swept through her at the huskiness in his tone. Emma opened her eyes and reluctantly shrugged off his hands. She held her breath and turned to face him.
“I’ve missed you,” he said. Daniel stood a head taller than her. The charcoal-coloured suit he wore moulded to his broad shoulders and the masculine lines of his body. His dark hair was cut shorter than she remembered. His blue eyes were filled with affection, hope.
She’d missed him, too. Terribly.
He relieved her of her empty wine glass and deposited it on a tray held by a passing waitress. With nothing left to occupy her hands, Emma linked her fingers together to keep from fidgeting. “When did you get back?” she asked. She glanced around the room, finding more comfort in the chaos surrounding them than Daniel’s steady appraisal.
“A couple of hours ago. The plane was delayed. I ended up missing the wedding.”
“Oh.” Her gaze flickered back to him before darting away again. “That’s a shame. It was beautiful.” She chewed the gloss from her lower lip and contemplated working next on the polish coating her nails.
“I’ll have to take your word for it.”
Emma cleared her throat. “I suppose you’ll be able to look at the pictures soon enough.”
“I don’t care about the photos right now, Em.” Amusement filled his deep voice. He used his knuckle to gently nudge a lock of hair from her cheek. “I prefer looking at you.”
Her stomach dipped with pleasure. Emma closed her eyes and sighed. His hand curved around the back of her neck. She had her hair pinned up in intricate little twists and felt his fingers sweep over her skin. He leaned in and whispered against her ear. “Let me feel your arms around me…please…I want to make things right between us.”
Emma ignored the warmth spreading through her and clenched her hands into fists at her sides. “We had a huge argument before you left,” she said. Her voice strained as she stared up at him. “Don’t you remember? You said it was over between us.”
“I know. I thought it was the best thing to do at the time.” He sighed and pulled back from her, shoving his hands in his pockets. “I think we both said things we didn’t mean.”
Emma nodded and focused on his tie, his words taking her back to those last few days they’d spent together. Daniel worked as a design engineer for a major car manufacturer and had been offered a twelve month contract in Japan. She’d known it was a great opportunity for him to further his career; he’d even asked her to accompany him. Instead she’d chosen – wisely, she’d thought at the time - to stay behind and nurture her fledgling catering business.
They’d fought more in those final weeks than they had in their entire relationship.
Even now, after everything, she wanted to push aside the painful memories and slip her arms around him. She loved and loathed that part of her, the part he controlled no matter how hard she tried to hold back.
Emma blinked the moisture from her eyes and rubbed her brow. Her throat ached. She’d waited so long for this day; now it was here, she wasn’t sure she could handle it. “I don’t have time for this right now, Daniel,” she said. “I have to go check on Amy.”
“I’m sure Amy’s fine. I counted four bridesmaids. She won’t miss you if you’re gone for five minutes.” He pulled his hands from his pockets and touched her dangling fingertips. “I would, though. Come dance with me.”
“I-” Emma stared at the floor, trying to gather her thoughts. She frowned back up at him. “Why? You didn’t phone or email me the entire time you were gone. I assumed you didn’t want me anymore.”
He lowered his head and swore under his breath, the first indication he wasn’t as composed as she’d first imagined. “Jesus, Emma, I’ve never stopped wanting you. Not having contact made it easier to handle the distance between us. All I did was work and sleep and try to keep my mind off you.”
Emma snorted out a breath. “That’s nice. I’m glad it was easier for you. Meanwhile, I was left all alone to deal with-” She faltered and bit her lip, silently cursing her big mouth.
Daniel stepped closer and cupped her chin in his palm. “Deal with what?”
“Nothing.” Emma closed her eyes, too defeated to bother pushing his hand away. “A broken heart, that’s all.”
“I’m so sorry, Em.” He smoothed his palms over her cheeks. He pressed his lips to one closed lid, then the other, his mouth lingering, his sweet breath drifting over her. “I was miserable without you. I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in twelve months.”
Emma opened her eyes and stared at him. She wanted to resist him, if only just to salvage her flailing pride – but she’d waited for him for God’s sake. She’d pushed aside her social life and concentrated on her business and home life instead. Amy’s wedding had been her first real attempt at getting back into it all again.
Her attention dropped to his mouth, to the sensual lips that had brought her so much pleasure over the past years. She watched as they curved upwards in the slightest of smiles.
He brushed his thumb across her temple, his expression open, his gaze unwavering. His other hand came to rest on her hip, applying the gentlest of pressure to bring her closer.
She sighed inwardly. Her resolve weakened despite her will to stand strong. She’d never been able to hold a decent grudge, especially where Daniel was concerned. “We can’t talk about this now, not here,” she said, swaying toward him. She pulled back, then finally gave in and let herself lean against him. “I’m still angry.”
“I don’t mind.” He cradled the back of her neck, sweeping his thumb over her exposed nape. “Just let me hold you for a minute.”
Emma’s cheek came to rest against his chest. She linked her arms around his waist, the sounds of celebration fading around them until all she could hear was the steady thump of his heart.
Emma took a moment away from the wedding festivities. She rubbed the chill from her arms and strolled through the grounds of the reception centre. Her heels sank into the damp earth and the dew tickled her toes. Gnarled trees towered overhead, surrounded by neat flower beds and lush grass. The darkness enveloped her.
She wandered toward a park bench set in an alcove surrounded by fragrant blooms. Emma lowered herself to the wrought iron seat and braced her hands on either side of her, watching as dots of moonlight broke through the leaved canopy above and shimmered across her dress.
Her thoughts drifted to Daniel, stirring the butterflies in her belly again. Although they’d only shared a couple of dances and minimal conversation throughout the night, each new encounter had acted like a kind of foreplay, building the intensity inside her until she’d had to escape outside to catch her breath.
She’d worked hard over the past year to become independent, to set up her own business and make her own way. It hadn’t been easy, especially with a few unexpected challenges along the way. Now Daniel was back, she just wanted him to slip his arms around her and take care of her again.
Emma sighed and watched her breath curl out before her in a cloud of mist.
“I thought we’d passed the point of avoiding one another.”
She sucked in a breath and looked up to find him leaning against a tree, watching her. “Why do you keep sneaking up on me?” she asked.
His teeth flashed in the dim light. “Because I like the sexy little gasping sound you make.”
Her cheeks flushed. “Oh, you do, do you.”
“Yeah.” His eyes lit with a smile as he walked toward her. “I’d rather give you other reasons for making that sound, but I’ll take what I can get right now.”
“You always did have a one-track mind.” Emma breathed in the scent of his masculine cologne as he took a seat beside her.
His thigh came to rest against hers and a corner of his mouth hitched as he gazed out into the darkness. “I know. It’s a curse. I’ve always struggled to keep my hands off you.”
“I don’t remember complaining.”
He sent her a sideways glance and that little half-smile of his made its reappearance. “That’s one of the things I like about you.”
He leaned his elbows on his knees and took his time looking her over. His presence both comforted and aroused her. She’d missed him; his humour, his passion, that way he had of looking at her that melted her insides.
He shifted slightly and reached for her, brushing her knee with the backs of his fingers. “Come here, lovely.”
Emma glanced his way. Her heart thudded against her ribs. “I couldn’t get any closer without sitting on your knee.”
His eyes glinted with humour. “I like the way your mind works.” He wrapped his hands around her waist and hoisted her onto his lap.
Emma let out a shocked laugh, thrilling at his easy strength. She draped an arm across the back of his shoulders. Her legs dangled over the side of his body, the warmth from his thighs seeping through her dress. He slid his palm up and down her spine, tilting his chin to look up at her. “Much better,” he said.
She hummed her agreement, using her free hand to explore the features she’d grown so used to over the years. Her thumb swept across his forehead, her mouth curving in a smile when his dark eyebrow rose under her touch. She trailed her palm down his tanned cheek, pausing at his jaw. Her fingertips found his lips and a heady combination of love and lust swelled inside her.
Emma watched his mouth open slightly. His tongue appeared, flicking at the ends of her fingers. A shiver of anticipation rushed through her. She leaned in and brushed her mouth across his, tasting his lips. His hands tightened at her waist, drawing her closer.
Emma twisted her body until her breasts settled against his chest. She cradled his face in her hands and looked into his eyes.
His palms caressed her from shoulders to hips. “I love you, Em,” he said. His gaze met hers openly. “You know that, don’t you?”
She nodded quickly and took a breath, letting it out in a rush of air. “I love you, too.”
A smile hovered at his mouth. “Still?”
Emma stroked his cheeks and slipped her fingers into the hair at his temples. “I can’t help it.” She closed her eyes and pressed her lips to his.
Daniel groaned and wrapped his arms around her, holding her close. His heart thumped against her chest. His lips moved lazily over hers, his tongue making brief forays into her mouth before retreating again.
His palm slid up her spine, curving around her nape. He pulled his mouth from hers and explored her throat, nuzzling the sensitive place just beneath her chin. She shivered and held him tighter.
“I remember that spot,” he said. His kissed her nose, then traced the shell of her ear with his tongue. “Hmm…that one, too.”
She shuddered and thought about begging for more. “You’re teasing me.”
“I know.” He laughed huskily and pressed his mouth to hers. He sank into the kiss, dragging her with him. Their lips moved together in a slow and sensual dance. His tongue explored the moist depths of her mouth, each new touch stoking her desire, building her need for him.
Emma closed her eyes. She felt her stomach dip and her muscles go lax. Warmth spread through her, trailing from her flushed cheeks down to her belly, and tingling between her thighs.
His hands curved over her rear, squeezing her flesh as his mouth devoured hers. Emma slipped her fingers inside his open jacket and flattened her palms against his chest. His responding growl sent her heart hammering.
She squirmed on his lap, remembering what it was like to have him thrusting inside her. His erection nudged her thighs and the temptation to let him do just that - right here, now - was almost irresistible.
He tore his mouth from hers. “Come closer,” he said, lifting her slowly. He urged her around until she was straddling him. Her dress rode up her thighs, the cool breeze caressing her exposed skin. The tips of her toes brushed the damp grass.
His hands wrapped around the backs of her knees. She threw a furtive glance at their surroundings. A surge of excitement hit her when he pulled her into intimate contact with his body. “Would you stop man-handling me?” she asked, barely able to keep the tremor from her voice.
He flicked his tongue over her collarbone, kissed the pulse point in her throat. “I think you’re long overdue for a good man-handling,” he said.
Emma tried to laugh but the sound came out more like a strangled moan. His husky voice wreaked havoc inside her. His palms swept up and down her thighs. His breath warmed her neck, his lips gently nibbling, exploring. Desperate need for him clawed away at her.
Daniel’s fingers pulled at her zipper. Her dress slackened across her chest and gaped at the back. She squeezed her eyes closed as his hands dipped inside, running over her flesh. “We can’t do this now, Daniel. Someone’s going to come looking for me.”
He hooked his fingers in the bodice of her dress. “Your bridesmaid duties are over, Em. I heard Amy thanking you. She told you to go have fun.” He tugged her dress and strapless bra down in one swift movement, tucking the bunched material beneath her bared breasts. He pressed a kiss to the base of her throat. “This is fun.”
Emma sank her hands into his hair, curling her fingers in the thick strands. She let her head fall back and sighed as his mouth closed over her nipple. His lips pulled gently while his fingers cupped and moulded her other breast.
She wanted nothing more than for him to sink deep inside her and make her forget the time they’d spent apart, but there were certain things he needed to know first, things that might alter his opinion of her.
Emma fought to keep her head as his hot breath warmed her skin. He suckled her nipple, laving the tender bud with his tongue. He kissed the underside of her breast, encouraging a moan from her. “Daniel, I…ah,” she gripped his hair and pressed him a little closer, “I have to tell you something.”
He smoothed his hands over her breasts, massaging firmly. His lips worked their way back up her neck. “What is it?” he said against her ear.
“I’m not-” He nipped at her earlobe. Emma closed her eyes and blew out a controlled breath. “I’m not the same person you left behind a year ago.”
He kissed her long and deep, then spoke against her mouth. “Neither am I. We all change.”
She sighed when his hands dipped between their bodies. “This is important. You don’t understand.”
He nipped at her lower lip as he unfastened his belt buckle and tugged down his zipper. “Explain it to me.”
Her breaths came heavy and hard; she’d given up trying to control them. “Don’t you see the changes in my body?” It seemed like the subtlest way of approaching the subject.
Daniel shifted beneath her, shoving his pants and briefs over his hips. His movements forced her legs further apart. “I see curves where angles used to be,” he said. He pulled her against him, her bared breasts brushing against his crisp white shirt. “And I’ve gotta say, Em, it’s sexy as hell.”
His heated gaze brought a flush to her cheeks. “It’s not just that. There’s something else. When you find out what it is, you might not want to be with me any more.”
“Emma.” His hands framed her face. He planted a soft kiss on her lips. “Unless you’re sporting a brand new penis underneath that dress, I can’t think of anything else that could put me off being with you.”
Emma laughed despite herself. The sound caught in her throat when he shoved his hand beneath the layers of black satin bunched between them. He stroked his knuckles back and forth over her pussy, his eyes smouldering as they met hers. “Looks like we’re good to go,” he said.
She wanted badly to go with the moment and forget about everything else, but he needed to know what had happened after he’d gone away. He’d be angry, she expected that, but he still needed to know. “Before you left…” Emma almost cried out as his fingers delved inside her panties.
“Don’t tell me yet.” He tugged them over to one side and brought his gaze back to meet hers, stroking her clit with his thumb. “You need this; I need this. The rest can wait.”
Emma let out a long breath, desperately hoping he wouldn’t hate her afterwards. She braced herself as his hands slid over her rear, grasping her buttocks. He lifted her and waited. Her heart hammered. Her fingers reached for him, wrapping around his length. She watched his expression as she guided him to her warm entrance and slid slowly down his cock.
Inch by inch his erection disappeared inside her. Daniel’s jaw clenched and his eyes blazed with heat. He looped his arms around her waist and buried his face against her breasts. She stroked his hair and listened to his laboured breathing, tipping her head to stare at the towering trees. It felt so right having him back inside her, his arms holding her tight, his breath whispering over her.
His tongue darted out to lick her nipple. “Emma, honey, if you don’t start moving soon, I’m taking over.” His voice was warm with amusement.
Emma smiled and ground herself down on his cock, relishing the laughing groan that slipped from him. She reached behind her to grasp his knees for balance, jutting her breasts out to his hungry gaze. His hands glided up her legs, his thumbs rubbing the sensitive skin of her inner thighs. Emma drove her hips toward him, again and again, watching his eyes darken as they roamed over her.
He relaxed into a semi-reclined position, pulling her with him. She braced herself with her hands on the backrest. Daniel gripped her hips and began thrusting hard inside her. She bit her lower lip and closed her eyes. Her breasts jolted against his chest.
“God, I’ve missed this,” he said. “You. Me. We’re good together.”
“Yeah.” The word left her as a breathless sigh. She kept her hands on the backrest and leaned in, closing her mouth over his. He expelled short, sharp breaths through his nose as his lips moved over hers. Daniel kept up his hammering thrusts, holding her tightly, groaning when her tongue tasted his.
Emma straightened her back and pressed her breasts against his chest, wanting him to use his mouth on her nipples again. She opened her eyes and pleaded silently for his knowing touch. He’d grown to understand the signs so well over the years; he laughed huskily and gave her one last hard kiss before releasing her lips. “I know what you want, Em.”
Daniel cupped her breast in his palm and thumbed her hardened nipple, slowing his thrusts until he was grinding against her. He pressed his hand between her shoulder blades and brought her breasts to his lips. Emma combed her fingers through his hair as he sucked one tightened peak into his mouth. She sighed and watched his lips move over her, fascinated by the way her moist nipple gleamed in the moonlight.
He licked her nipple, lapping at her with long, slow strokes. He moved his attention to her other breast, suckling softly. He nipped at her and she whimpered deep in her throat.
Emma curved her hands over his broad shoulders, holding on tight. She dug her toes into the dewy grass and lifted herself off his cock. Her eyes remained on his as she slowly lowered herself back down his length. She relished his deep groan and repeated the movement, smiling when his concentration broke.
“You’re going to make me come, honey. Hold on.” He wrapped his arms around her and leaned back on the bench. His pace increased as he pumped away inside her.
Emma cradled his neck and kissed his lips, jolting against him with each fevered thrust. Her insides warmed and her cheeks grew hot. The pressure built inside her until her belly tightened and her muscles tensed. She met his eyes and let go, moaning loudly as pleasure sparked inside her. Her body shook violently. Her fingertips dug into his shoulders.
Daniel clenched his jaw and watched her come. “Oh Christ, Em, I’ve missed seeing that.” He gripped her waist and held her gaze, pushing her down on his cock as he shoved his hips upwards. She knew he wouldn’t last long. A vein stood out in his neck. His eyes were half-closed, his attention remaining intently on her. He tensed beneath her and came hard, his limbs trembling with the effort. A long groan tore from him. He pulled her mouth down to his and kissed her deeply as the last tremors left him.
Emma leaned her forehead against his and tried to gather her senses. Their breaths took a moment to slow. She could feel the rapid beat of her heart.
Daniel was the first to move and break the sensual spell surrounding them. He cupped her chin in his palm and pressed a soft peck on her lips. “I’m taking you back to my hotel room tonight. We’ve got a lot of lost time to make up for.” He kissed each nipple farewell and tugged her bra into place.
Nerves stirred in her belly. He was still inside her, their bodies connected. Emma struggled to meet his gaze. “I can’t, Daniel. Someone’s waiting for me at home. He’ll be upset if I’m not there when he wakes in the morning.”
“He?” Daniel smoothed her dress over her breasts and closed the zipper at her back. “You met someone?”
“Not exactly.” She nibbled her lower lip and fought desperately for the best way to explain. “He’s very important to me, though.”
His features hardened. He lifted her up briefly so he could tuck himself back into his pants. She almost cried out at the sudden separation. Daniel zipped his fly and buckled his belt. He sent her an accusing stare, his eyes glittering in the darkness. “What’s his name?”
Emma drew a breath and gathered her courage. “James.”
His lips lifted in a derisive smile. “My middle name. How sweet.”
“You don’t understand.”
He clasped her cheeks in his hands. “Make me, Emma.” There was a hint of desperation in his tone.
She hated this, hated the way it made him feel. It was time to get it over with, let him know the truth so he could decide what to do with it. “He’s your son, Daniel. Our son.”
He shook his head in bewilderment. His mouth opened, but no sound came out. A multitude of expressions crossed his face.
“He’s five months old.” Emma struggled to fill the awkward silence. She traced his lips with her fingertips, hoping with all her heart he’d try and forgive her. “I wouldn’t let anyone tell you about him while you were gone. We couldn’t come and visit, you couldn’t come back. I didn’t want to put you through the torture. I showed him photos of you instead and talked about you all the time. He recognises your picture now.” Emma knew she’d started to ramble. She gulped back the emotion rising inside her and stroked Daniel’s hair from his forehead. “I’m so sorry. So very sorry. I was stupid and impulsive. I wouldn’t be surprised if you never forgive me.”
Daniel blinked and focused on her. It was a lot to take in. She could see him trying to make sense of it all. “I can't...it's too much. I can’t get my head around the idea right now, but I will. I want to.”
Emma's mouth turned upward in a tentative smile. She looked at him through tear-filled eyes.
“We’ve got a lot to talk about,” he said. He let out a heavy breath. “A hell of a lot, Emma. I want to meet him, figure this out between you and me. I’m angry, confused…God, I don’t even know how I feel about this.” He urged her off his lap and moved to stand. “The only thing I’m sure about is the way I feel about you.”
Emma rearranged her dress and braced herself, waiting to see how he'd end their encounter. Moonlight sprinkled through the trees, glittering over his dark hair and his charcoal suit. His gaze travelled over her. She heard the deep breath he took. He reached out for her in the dim light, his expression unsure but determined. She sobbed with relief and stepped into his open arms, sighing when they closed around her.
Her racing heart slowed as her cheek came to rest against his chest.
It would take time to make things right between them again, that much she knew for sure - but it would be all right.
Everything always had been with Daniel around.
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with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
<a href="http://www.lushstories.com/stories/love-stories/together-again.aspx">Together Again</a>