Pretending Ch. 09
(C) 2009 All Right Reserved
Connie let the water run down on her from the shower head after she'd finished. The hot water felt wonderful after such a long day. She turned off the water, wrapped her hair in one towel and grabbed another for her body. While she'd been in there, she'd gone back over what Emily had said. Her sister was right. She needed to tell him, and tell him now. She tucked in the corner of the towel and stepped into the hallway, then tiptoed down the hall to her room.
Connie clapped a hand over her mouth to stifle a yell when she found Simon in the room. She hadn't thrown on a robe because she assumed he'd still be downstairs, listening for the shower and then giving her time to dry and dress. For a moment, she couldn't say anything. She watched him watching her, then saw his eyes move downward. Suddenly she was mortified; although the towel covered her, her scar was visible.
Simon studied the scar. It wasn't so bad, he thought. It ran from just above her ankle all the way up her leg, the top part on her thigh hidden under her towel. It reminded him slightly of a rope, but otherwise it just looked like a thick line. It had faded some, he figured, because it was almost a shiny pink as opposed to a red or dark pink. He remembered getting his appendix out and the way the scar had first looked. Years later, it was smaller and had turned to the same light shade as hers.
Connie made a strangled sound in her throat and Simon yanked his eyes back up to her face. He felt terrible when he saw her blush with embarrassment. There was no reason for it.
"Connie." He took a step towards her. She shook her head and tried to press herself into the wall.
"Please," she said, her voice tight. "I need . . . I need to get dressed."
"Connie, you--we--can't keep running away like this. We have to talk." He kept his voice even and comforting as he stood before her.
"What's to talk about?" Her shoulders slumped. Now that he'd seen it, he'd never be interested in her again, she was sure. It's good we're only pretending, she thought. If it had been for real and he told me he didn't want me, I don't know if I could take it.
"What happened last Friday, for one thing," he said.
"That was . . . an accident." She couldn't meet his eyes. "A nice accident, but we both know it didn't mean anything . . . more than that. You were trying to comfort me, and I appreciated it. I still do."
Simon was silent, watching her. She didn't really think that, he was sure. She was . . . well, he didn't know what she was doing. Staving off embarrassment? Letting him down easy? Avoiding her feelings?
"How do we know that?" He took another step closer. "You haven't asked me. I haven't asked you. So how do we know?"
Connie had no idea what to say. She was battling two competing impulses. One urged her to be honest with Simon, the other called for more caution. But was there anything left to be cautious about? Was there any going back to their former friendship after what had happened? She realized that Simon had not agreed with her "accident" statement; instead, he'd questioned it. The glimmer of hope she'd had in the shower resurfaced.
"What happened in the kitchen?" he asked. "What did your mom say?"
"Oh." Connie was startled at the change in subject. "Mom, um . . . ." She took a deep breath and gave him a shaky smile. "She pointed out some of my flaws, and I think was trying to prepare me for the idea that I'm not good enough for you." She tried to joke, but her smile was gone when she finished speaking.
"What?!" Simon gripped her shoulders.
"She invited Ben here because she thought since I had my scar and he'd lost his arm, we'd have something in common." Connie couldn't keep the anger out of her voice entirely. "Imperfect people, perfect for each other, I guess."
Simon let her go and paced the room. Connie clutched at her towel but didn't move. When he stopped and faced her again, she was struck by the intensity in his eyes.
"Connie, I don't want to pretend any more. It's not working."
Connie nodded. Of course. Emily had been wrong. "All right," she said, surprised she could speak. "I'll just throw some clothes on and go downstairs. I can sleep on the couch and get up before Mom does. She'll never know."
"Why would you do that?" Simon asked, nonplussed.
"It's easier." She glanced at him but looked away. "But, um, I think maybe we should keep things up for the next couple of days, at least during the day, okay? I just couldn't take explaining things."
"No, Connie." He placed his hands on her shoulders. "You misunderstood."
"You said you didn't want to keep pretending," she said, puzzled. His hands felt warm and a little rough on her bare shoulders. She tried to focus on the words instead.
"That's right." He smiled. "I want to do this for real, Connie. I want to be your boyfriend for real."
He nodded. "I should have said it a long, long time ago. I especially should have said something after last weekend. I was afraid you would think I was only saying it out of obligation, so I held off. I'm sorry." He raised his hand to her face, and stroked her cheek with his thumb. "I love you, Connie. Very much."
"I love you, too," she said. "I wanted to say it, but I was afraid of messing up what we had."
"I had the same feeling," Simon said with a laugh. "God, we're a couple of idiots, aren't we?"
Connie nodded. "I guess so." Then she got nervous again. "You're not . . . bothered?" She gestured at her leg. "By this?"
"God, no." He leaned in and kissed her. He meant it to be gentle and reassuring, but then he was holding her tightly, kissing her deeply. When they broke apart, he rested his forehead on hers. "I was so scared that night. I thought you would die. I had nightmares about it for years. The only thing that says to me is that you're alive and I should never take you for granted."
Connie was silent as she stood with her arms around him. She was trembling with relief and happiness.
"I think we should finish what we started, don't you?" Simon asked. His eyes were nearly black with desire, and Connie loved it.
"I'll lock the door and get the light."
Simon heard the click of the lock, and watched her turn out the overhead light. One small reading lamp on a nightstand provided soft lighting.
"Come here," Simon said before she could turn that one off. She did, and he could tell she was nervous. He took her hands and turned her so that she faced him with her back against the wall. "I love you, Connie," he said, and found her lips with his.
Connie melted into his arms. She was exhausted and more than content to let him hold her up. It felt good to be held, to be wanted. She parted her lips and sighed as his tongue dove past them. She moved one hand to his face, tracing his jaw and feeling the slight stubble that meant he needed to shave.
She hadn't realized at first that he was no longer standing in front of her. He had left her lips to kiss her neck, her shoulder, and then her chest above the towel. Now he was kneeling in front of her. She felt his hand on her leg and instinctively jerked away, but he put his hands on her hips and held her in place.
"Hush," he soothed. "It's all right." He stared into her green eyes, which were wide with surprise, and ran his hand up her leg, over the scar. She watched him, mesmerized. She could only feel it in certain spots; there were a lot of dead nerves. She couldn't believe he was touching her there.
When he lowered his head and kissed her leg, starting at the knee and slowly moving up her thigh, tracing the outline of the scar, she gasped and closed her eyes.
"I told you." He raised his hands so he could remove the towel. She opened her eyes and met his, unnerved by the desire she saw. "It doesn't bother me." The towel fell and he kissed her stomach, moving down until he could slip his tongue between her legs. He moaned softly as he tasted her. So sweet, he thought. He pulled back and looked up at her. "You're so lovely." Then he went back to using his tongue to tease her, feeling her body heat up the more he did.
Connie closed her eyes and lowered a trembling hand to his head. No one had ever done this for her. When he brought his hand up to touch her as well, she couldn't help but gasp. She lost track of everything, caught up in the sensations he was wringing from her body. His tongue and fingers worked in perfect concert and she whispered his name as she came. He held her up as her legs trembled.
Holding her steady, he stood up, trailing kisses back up her body. When he was standing, he wrapped his arms around her. She rested against him, trying to steady her breathing.
"I think you should take these off," she said when she recovered, moving to unbutton his shirt. Simon complied, then pulled her to the bed with him. He bit back a groan as her hand traveled over his chest, her fingers tracing gentle circles.
"I have been dying for you to touch me," he said when he trusted his voice again. Even then, it was rough.
"Last time, you said stop," she teased, moving her hand down lower and wrapping around him. He groaned and rose up on one arm and kissed her hard.
"Last time, I wasn't sure there would be a next time." His hand tangled in her hair, keeping her with him while he kissed her again. This time he savored every sensation, from the softness of her lips to the sweet taste of her mouth.
Her hand moved up and down. He loosened his grip and bit back a groan as she kissed his neck, every so often letting her tongue peek through to find a sensitive spot on his skin. As she moved to his chest, he hissed out a breath and held her sides as he lay back on the bed.
Connie kissed and nipped her way down his body, loving how strong he felt to her touch. She traced her fingernails over his sides and felt goosebumps rise on his skin. She smiled to herself when he gave a wordless growl as she took him in her mouth.
Torture, Simon thought. She's torturing me. It was all he could think as Connie's mouth covered him, as her tongue slid up and down. He gripped the sheets to keep from grabbing her. After what seemed like hours, he had to make her stop. As she moved back up to look at him, he managed to focus and took her face in his hands. "I meant it, Connie. I love you. I should have told you and avoided this whole ridiculous pretending thing."
"Well, let's pretend it was real the whole time." She slid her hand back down, found him still hard, and smiled as he closed his eyes and let his head fall back. Then she was serious. "I wasn't always pretending."
Simon opened his eyes. "Neither was I." He let Connie touch him for a few more minutes, then stopped her hand.
"This is what I wanted to do last week," he said. He rolled so that she was under him and slid inside. They both stilled, savoring the feeling of their first time. Simon kissed her cheek and nuzzled her ear as he began moving his hips. Connie matched his movements.
"I love the way you move," he said. He kept his pace as steady as he could, and was unable to stop dropping kisses on her face and neck.
Connie couldn't talk, too overwhelmed by the emotional and physical sensations washing over her. Simon whispered something and almost before she realized it, he had rolled to his back, keeping her with him.
"You're absolutely beautiful," he said. He ran his hands up her sides and cupped her breasts. She gasped his name as his fingers played over her nipples, biting her lip once more.
He didn't think he had ever seen anything as lovely as Connie as she looked down at him. When he could take no more he muffled his cries of release against her shoulder.
They curled up in the bed, awake but companionably quiet. Connie stroked his arm, if only to confirm to herself that he was there. More importantly, that he was going to stay there.
"We'll have to rearrange things when we get home," Simon said sleepily, stroking her hair.
"What do you mean?"
"We have to decide whose room we'll sleep in. I'm sure not sleeping without you again."
"My room," she said with no hesitation. Then she giggled. "You can drop some clothes on the floor if it makes you feel more comfortable." She stifled a squeal as he tickled her ribs.
"So, what shall we do tomorrow?" Simon asked around a yawn.
"I don't know." In the dark, she grinned. "I have to wash my hair." She expected to be tickled again, but he surprised her with a deep kiss.
"That's fine," he said, settling back and pulling up the covers. "As long as I get to help."
Once again, Connie tried to warn Rachel about the speeding car.
Once again, Rachel panicked and the car went flying.
Once again, the car splatted onto the pavement, upside down, pinning Connie under metal and plastic. Pain started in her back and radiated through her body. She couldn't stop the tears.
Simon, she tried to call out but her voice wasn't even a whimper. Simon, please, find me. Help me. Please.
She lay there, crying silently, but something was different. She heard voices approaching and felt her fear abating. Then someone took her hand. She opened her eyes and turned her head.
"It's all right." Simon squeezed her hand. "I'm here."
Connie smiled in her sleep and snuggled closer to him.
The End :)