“Ooooh,” she moaned, moving back and forth, up and down. “God…”
Go for it, Brenda, he thought. Just go for it. He rubbed a little harder, reached a little further, making contact with her opening with one finger just as his other finger stayed with the magic button. He gave it a great deal of personal attention—teasing her, softly touching, roughly rubbing, all according to the suggestions in the book. The whimpering sounds she made were almost as if she was crying; panting, squirming, writhing. And then, kabam! She froze, her breath caught, and against his hand he felt the most amazing clenching sensation. “Oh God,” he whispered. “Oh my God.”
“Tom,” she said in a breath. An exhausted, happy breath. She collapsed in his embrace. “How did you know to do that? That wonderful thing you just did?”
He was not about to say his sister tipped him off. “Everyone knows,” he lied. He wondered if half the male population was as dismally uninformed as he had been. “Come on,” he said, getting off the couch. “We’re going to get more comfortable and do that some more.”
“I’m not sure I can even stand up,” she said, limp and satisfied.
“Come on,” he laughed, pulling her up.
He took her to his room, the chick flick still playing in the background. They fell onto his bed, kissing. He pulled off his sweater and then hers, holding her close with her breasts against his chest and thought—I have waited forever to feel this. It didn’t take him long to coax her out of her jeans, because she wanted his hand on her again. His pants coming off was another story. When he started to remove them, she said, “I’m not sure.”
“Let me know when you’re sure, because I’m pretty much past sure…”
“Maybe you could just put it close. Touch me there a little bit. I mean, don’t put it in yet, but touch it there a little bit, let me get used to the idea…”
“I can do that,” he said, but he was positive what she was asking for was beyond the realm of possibility. Whatever, it got him out of his pants, and he was desperate.
They’d never gotten this far before, but she had always said she wanted the first time to be special and if what she had out on the couch wasn’t special, he just couldn’t imagine how much more special it could get.
He got a condom out of the drawer and ripped it out of the package. “Brenda, we’re gonna play it real safe, honey. We don’t want to get too close and not be double safe, huh?”
“Okay,” she said, laying back, eyes closed, ready to be pleasured again.
He laughed in spite of himself. “You like that, don’t you?”
“I like that.”
Sheathed and ready, feeling as if he didn’t unload this gun he’d be walking on three legs for the rest of his life, he lowered himself to touch her in the place where he might enter her if he ever got permission, and then he put his fingers on the magic button and went to work. This thing was like a miracle, he thought. Response was instant. Faster than instant. She was moaning, writhing, panting. And he was dying, barely touching her, holding out, holding back. The strain was starting to make his head pound. He was in complete misery while she clearly neared ecstasy once again. Finally he just lost his mind. “Let me,” he begged. “God, Brenda. Let me in.”
She tilted her pelvis up a little and he slid forward. He put a hand under her bum while he massaged with his fingers. “Okay,” she said. “Okay.”
“I’m sure,” she said.
He slid into her slowly and discovered it was everything he dreamed it would be. He was surrounded by this tight, hot, wonderful body, cinching down on him. But he wasn’t crazy, he wasn’t letting go of that miracle button. He worked it, and beneath him she went crazy. It didn’t take long before she rose against him, froze, gasped and the spasms he had felt against his hand before were nothing compared to what he felt when she tightened around him while he was right there, inside. She went off like a missile and, although she might have been totally unaware, so did he. It was the most amazing experience of his young male life. It shook him up so bad his whole body trembled. He pulsed until his brain was emptied.
“Ooooh,” she said.
That was how much more special, he thought. And he croaked, “Good God.”
“Oh, Tom,” she said, not unhappily. “We did it.”
“We did,” he said, breathless.
“That was…Holy cow, Tommy. That was awesome.”
“Awesome,” he agreed, almost faint.
“Let’s do it again,” she said.
And that’s when he learned that for women, all things are possible, and for men, time is required. There was recovery involved. Women, apparently, could just hop back on that bus, while the men were left to deal with a flat tire. He committed that to memory—these gorgeous creatures needed no time to get ready again. “You might have to give me a couple of minutes.”
“How long?” she asked impatiently.
“Well, Brenda, we could always time it…”
She giggled. “Did you know it was going to be that wonderful?”
“If I had known, I don’t think I could have waited as long as I did.”
“I love you,” she whispered.
“I love you, too,” he said, kissing her softly. And what he thought was, who knew? This girl who had been saving it, waiting for that special moment, so nervous about the whole thing—well, once she was a little stimulated, she was hot as a pistol. On fire. Completely and totally into it, giving and giving, trusting, wild and wonderful. And people said the first time wasn’t that great for a girl. Hah.
She snuggled closer to him and giggled.
“What’s so funny?” he asked.
“In the end, you begged.”
He sighed. “I did. I begged. I’m sorry—I swore to you I’d never beg.”
“I’m okay with it now,” she laughed. “I don’t think you’ll have to beg again.”
“That’s a relief.” He kissed her again. “I want to tell you something.” He brushed her hair back from her face. “When I go into the Army, I’m planning to be faithful to you while I’m away. Until you tell me you want to be free of commitment or have somebody else or something, I’m going to be thinking that you’re my girl.”
“Aw, Tom. Are you sure you want to do that?”
“Baby, I’m totally sure. I was sure a long time ago. I didn’t just say that to get into you, Brenda. I think you know I’m not the kind of guy who wants to screw around. This means something to me. I love you a lot.”
“I want to be your girl,” she said. “I love being your girl.”
“Maybe someday, when we’re older, when we’ve finished school, maybe it’ll be more than that…”
“Maybe I’d like that.” She smiled. “I was going to save this for a surprise—but what the heck. I’ve been applying for scholarships and university admissions. I’m applying mostly in New York.”
“Near the Academy?”
“Uh-huh. I don’t want to be away from you, Tom. Not any more than I have to.”
“Brenda,” he said, pulling her close. “That’s such good news.” He slipped his hand down and put his fingers on her. “Were you timing it?”
“I think enough time has passed…”
“Good,” she said. “That’s good. Ooh, that’s very, very good.”
The general, Vanni and the baby returned home on Sunday night. Tom had washed all his linens, cleaned the house, taken care of the horses and was doing homework when they arrived. Vanni appeared to be extremely tired and irritated, so he went straight to her and took Mattie out of her arms. “Was it fun?” he asked.
“Depends on your definition of fun,” she said, walking down the hall to her bedroom.
Tom followed her. “What’s up?”
“I asked Carol if she’d invite Paul—I haven’t seen him since the baby was born. And she said sure, but she also invited another guy. She was fixing me up. It was very uncomfortable. I didn’t really get a chance to talk to Paul.”
“What kind of guy?” he asked, holding the baby against him.
“A nice guy. Under any other circumstances, I would’ve enjoyed meeting him. A doctor. A pediatrician from Grants Pass.”
Tom laughed. “Well, I guess if you’d just fall for him, you could marry a guy who’s really somebody, move to Grants Pass, be close to Granny and make her look good.”
A stricken look came over Vanni’s face. “God, that’s it! She’s trying to hook me up with a local guy—to get us under her thumb again! But then—” She stopped for a minute, thinking. “Why doesn’t she try to hook me up with Paul?”
“Paul is a construction worker. He was an enlisted Marine. Vanni—this new guy is a doctor! Besides.” He shrugged. “Paul wouldn’t put up with Carol’s shit. I know him. He wouldn’t. Not for long, anyway.”
Carol had never approved of the fact that her son hadn’t finished his degree and spent his career in the fighting Marines; she was pretty snobby about things like money, credentials, prestige. She had always intimated that Vanni’s decision to be a flight attendant, even though she had a degree, was copping out. She had always asked Vanni what she planned to do next.
“You know Carol,” Tom laughed. “The sooner she can get you fixed up to her satisfaction, the less she has to worry you’ll fall for someone who makes his home in Florida. She always covers her bases. She’s on top of everything.” He put the baby in the crib. “How’d he do on the trip?”
“Great. He’s a good little traveler.”
“How’s my man Paul?”
“Good. I keep begging him to come back here, but he won’t commit. Hey, how was your weekend?”
He ducked his head. “Nice,” he said. “We watched a movie.”
“You seem pretty relaxed,” she said, smiling.
“I’m not telling you anything,” he said.
“That’s okay, buddy. But everything around here was all right while we were gone?”
“Yeah.” He left her bedroom. Then he stuck his head back into the doorway and said, “Know what I said about wishing I’d had a big brother? I take it back.” Then he disappeared.
L ess than a week after visiting Grants Pass, Vanessa opened the front door of her father’s house to find Cameron Michaels standing on the stoop. “Well, hey,” she said, surprised.
“Hey,” he said, showing her that sexy, dimpled grin. “I decided to have a look at this little town, see what all the fuss is about.”
“No kidding? You should’ve called. We could have made some plans together.”
“Is it too late for that? Because all I was going to do is drive around the area. Maybe drop into that bar you and Paul were raving about. If you’re not too busy…”
“Kind of far to come for just a look around…”
He shrugged. “I have a couple of days off in a row, which I pay for by being on call all weekend, and I thought, what the heck? It’s worth a shot. It was a very last minute idea.”
She lifted one brow and folded her arms over her chest. “You didn’t have any trouble finding the house.”
He had the grace to laugh a little and avert his eyes, caught. “Carol,” he said.
“Look, you should understand something. I respect my mother-in-law, but she can be a little pushy and—”