Pretending Ch. 06
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Sunlight peeked through the blinds and prodded Connie awake. She took a moment to orient herself. I don't have piles of books on top of my computer, she thought. Then she remembered where she was and turned her head. Simon lay behind her, his hand on her waist, sleeping like a log.
Her first instinct was to jump out of the bed, but she resisted. That would wake Simon up, and she wasn't sure she was ready for that yet. Instead, she moved his arm and slid out of the bed. He turned over but only to burrow back into the pillow and blanket. She smiled as she left the room, making sure the door didn't slam shut.
Now what? she wondered.
Nothing like this had ever happened between them before. There'd been no awkward moments, no hugs that went on too long, no almost-kisses, nothing like that. She'd managed to keep her feelings under wraps. After last night, she wasn't sure she'd be able to much longer. Not when they were planning this charade for the holiday, and not when she'd be sharing a bed with him again.
As she got ready for her shower, she could feel her insecurities rising up again. I do not want to deal with this. I can't. My boss wants three projects due when I don't have time for one. Mom has been all over me about Simon. Now this . . .
Stepping under the hot water, she decided she just would have to sort it out in her head and talk later. She just needed to get through Thanksgiving, which mercifully was only five days away, and three of those would be occupied with work.
It was difficult, though, to ignore what had happened. She'd dreamed about it, hoped for it, and then . . . she'd almost had it.
Simon woke up and out of habit reached out to smack the snooze button on his clock. Gradually, it dawned on him that it had been quiet before he hit it, and was still quiet. Ah, he thought, it's Saturday. Thank God for that. He recalled how Friday had worn him out with meetings and deadlines. He was so tired that he'd almost been afraid to drive home. When he did get home, he felt bad that he could barely keep his eyes open before saying good night to Connie.
He had to admit, he was enjoying being her boyfriend. Pretending to be her boyfriend, he corrected himself, and sighed when he recalled Connie's words the night before. That led to thoughts of what followed and . . . wow, what had followed had been great. The feel of her next to him, under him, touching himit had driven him crazy. He wanted it again.
That was when he realized Connie wasn't in the bed. He shot upright. Oh, no. Did I just screw it all up? No, he reassured himself after a minute's reflection, he didn't think so. Connie was a fairly early riser, even on weekends, and probably hadn't wanted to wake him after he'd been so exhausted. Would she talk about what happened? He was willing to bet not, at least not right away.
After analyzing the situation, and what he knew about Connie, he decided it was best to wait before talking, and certainly before confessing his feelings. If he told her now, he was sure that she wouldn't believe him. She would think he was doing it out of obligation, which wasn't true, but it would be hard to convince her. One thing he'd learned during this rehearsal period was that Connie put on a good front of self-confidence, but it was often just a front. He didn't want to pressure her.
I'll find the right time, he promised himself. It will have to wait, but I'll find the right time.
Thanksgiving arrived with a jolt. They both worked hard Monday through Wednesday as their offices moved to make up for the coming lost time that the days flew by. It seemed to Connie that before she knew it they were in Simon's car, which was larger than hers and more comfortable, and starting on the four-hour drive that would take them to her parents.
The night they'd almost made love never came up again, even though Connie had spent two more nights in Simon's bed. When they had come home from work on Tuesday, it was to discover that the ceiling in Connie's room was leaking badly and had soaked the bed. There was a problem with the apartment above theirs and although the superintendent was working on fixing it, her room was unusable. There was an unspoken agreement that nothing besides sleep would happen, and they stuck to it.
Connie loved sleeping next to him. He made her feel safe, just as she had imagined. She had decided the next day that she would tell him how she felt, but the time had never seemed right. As more time passed, she became less certain about it. She'd been in his bed, letting him hold her. They had been stressed, both of them, and it was only naturalwasn't it?that in those circumstances, they would turn to each other for physical comfort. Comfort, she decided, was probably exactly what Simon had been offering, and she left it at that.
Simon wondered what Connie was thinking, but didn't ask her, as he was pondering a few things himself. Although they had both avoided discussing the previous Friday night, there had been no tension between them. Mostly there was no time for tension; neither of them had gotten home before seven for the past three nights.
Simon had also sensed that Connie needed to think about it before she could talk about it, so he didn't press her. We have a few days with no work ahead of us, he told himself. I'll take her for a walk, or something, just the two of us, and then we'll be able to discuss it. Simon hoped that if they were doing something like that, just walking, then she'd see that he was serious about loving her. He was afraid that if he said it while he was hugging heror more, should more happen againshe wouldn't believe him.
I'll be so glad when this game is over, he thought to himself. Pretending had mostly been his idea, he knew, even though Connie had made the suggestion. He, however, had pressed the issue and convinced her, so he felt like the fact that they were at this impasse was his fault.
Not for much longer, he promised himself.
To be continued...