This would have taken place between the end of Chapter 1 and the beginning of Chapter 2.
Please remember that this is copyrighted. Enjoy!
Mia awoke the next morning feeling nice and warm with Luke’s arms wrapped loosely around her. She snuggled a little closer to him. She missed his very fine, fit body. She remembered her surprise the first time she undressed him and looked upon his lean, muscular body. She spent forever touching and kissing his chest that night.
Placing the tips of her fingers on his chest, she traced the contours of his body, reliving a little bit of her past. She flattened her hand on his chest, the steady beat of his heart strong against her palm. She sighed sadly as she felt his heartbeat. She missed the intimacy they used to have together. God, she simply missed him. They lived too far apart. Phone calls, texts, and emails just didn’t cut it for her. She missed the way he looked at her. She missed his smile. Granted, she could always hear it in his voice, but the sight of his smile instantly made her feel happy, instantly made her at ease with herself and life.
It hurt like hell when she had to tell him they were over. She remembered feeling so afraid that she might never see him again, but at the same time, she knew she had to free him, let him be the father to his newborn daughter, Kaitlyn. That was his priority, not Mia. She couldn’t bear the thought of keeping him from Kaitlyn. Mia couldn’t be the reason Kaitlyn didn’t have both of her parents in her life. She had wanted him to be free to start a family with Kaitlyn’s mother, if he wanted.
But then Taylor moved to Indianapolis and Luke wasn’t far behind. The moment he left, she second guessed her decision. He was gone … he left her and she ached. Just like she ached when her mother left.
Though, Luke proved himself different than her mother. He made quite an effort to keep her in his life. He wanted her in his life, in his daughter’s. And, she loved him more for that. She knew Luke would always be in her life. He would not leave.
Looking down at him, Mia smiled. Here he was, lying next to her … in her bed. Half-naked. She raised her eyes to his peaceful face and moistened her lips. What a gorgeous man you are, Luke Stapleton, she thought before she kissed his hard chest, allowing herself to linger for just a moment, allowing those old feelings to flood her mind.
He stirred beneath her as her mouth made the trek upwards towards his slightly parted mouth. She kissed him lightly, and then softly traced his lips with her thumb. She bent to kiss him again and froze when she noticed his hazel eyes watching her.
“Good morning,” he said, wrapping his arms around her waist, holding her securely to him.
“Good morning,” she said in return, her teeth toying with her lower lip as she regarded him.
“Oh, nothing,” she replied coyly.
“Really? Well, if that’s the case, could you please continue with the nothing then? I was enjoying myself.”
She stared at him, still with surprise. Her eyes opened wide, her mouth parted. “Luke?” she asked, narrowing her eyes as she studied his face.
He unclasped his hands resting at her waist and eased them inside her panties, firmly grabbing a hold of her bottom. He smiled easily at her.
“Mia, you are gorgeous. Sexy. Lovable. Did I mention sexy? So very sexy,” he said with quiet emphasis.
“You think I’m sexy?” she asked, a sheepish grin transforming her face. He rolled her onto her back, positioning himself between her legs.
“I think you’re the sexiest woman I’ve ever known,” he paused for a moment, letting his words penetrate. He then kissed her with all the built-up passion consuming him. She returned his kiss, matching his fervor, kiss for kiss, touch for touch. Her fingers dug into his back, pulling him ever closer to her. Oh, God! How she missed this!
He maneuvered one of his hands behind her and expertly unsnapped the sheer hot pink bra she wore. Pushing the fabric aside, he quickly took one of her nipples into his warm mouth, slowly moving his tongue across her aroused nipple. She arched her back with a moan, giving him even more of her breast. He eagerly attacked her breasts with his mouth, leaving soft bites along the way.
The moans, sighs, whimpers and the occasional murmuring of his name increased in intensity. He returned to her mouth and she eagerly accepted his seeking tongue. Her hands found the waistband of his boxers and searched for an opening. And when she found it, he lost his balance. A small giggle escaped her lips before she began pushing down his shorts. He hurriedly helped to remove them along with her panties. He absently tossed them aside as he stared at her.
“I’ve missed you,” he said, his mouth just above hers, his eyes locked on hers.
“Same here, Luke, and not just this. You realize that, don’t you?”
“I know,” he said, a smile growing on his face, “but this is nice.”
“Oh, it’s more than nice,” she whispered. “I’m having a hard time coming up with just the right wording.”
He chuckled, closing the distance between their lips. He gradually entered her, inch by beautiful inch, both of them savoring this moment.
Mia grabbed his face and emotionally brushed her lips against his as she moved her hips up to meet his slow thrusts, patiently waiting for him to pick up his pace. He moved inside her, filling her with each wondrous stroke. Her head fell languidly back into the pillows as he increased the tempo. Man, did she miss sex!
Wrapping her legs high on his back as he loved her, she moaned her pleasure. “Oh, Luke, please. Please …” she breathed against his neck as the pressure released from her.
When he climaxed shortly after, he rolled them over and situated her on top of him, still inside her. She rested her head upon his chest, just below his shoulder.
“Now, why didn’t we do this last night?” she asked after a few moments of silence.
“I don’t know, because we’re stupid?”
They stayed like that, catching their collective breath, enjoying the feel of skin against skin. Eventually, Mia moved off of him, the effort ridiculously hard.
“I’m going to shower,” she stated, kissing his tender lips one more time. She rose from the bed, forgoing the sheet, knowing her robe was on the bathroom door. She hurried, naked, to the bathroom.
She turned on the shower, waiting for it to heat up. After a short moment, she tested the water with her hand before entering. Pulling the curtain closed, she stepped under the flowing current, letting her head fall back under the cascade of hot water, a smile playing with her mouth as she recalled her time in bed with Luke, but it quickly faded. She knew too well that this was an extremely rare occurrence between them and that they would go back to being best friends—but without this weak-in-the-knees benefit.
When she first met him, she knew almost instantly that he would be a very special person in her life. At that time, she thought he would be the man with whom she would spend the rest of her life. Things were going in just that direction until Taylor Smith entered their world and announced that Luke was the father of her newborn child and basically took that dream away from her. Even so, Mia would be the better person—Kaitlyn needed her mommy and her daddy. She would not be the person to stand between that baby girl’s family.
Now, Luke was the best friend she had and she intended to keep him. But she still felt empty. She had pressed pause when this had all happened over four years ago. She hadn’t been with any other men. She’d had just concentrated on her music. Ethan Christopher’s face floated through her mind. She needed to go forward with that. Press play on her life and see where things would go with that sexy quarterback. She needed to get on with her life and quit waiting around for Luke because that’s all she’d been doing.
It was time to move on.
While Mia showered, Luke ordered up some lunch. He threw on his pants and sat down in the living area and flipped on the television while he waited. His mind wandered to Mia, as it often did. He missed her so much. Even so, he wouldn’t change anything. If he did, he would not have his daughter in his life. His only regret was that Mia was not the mother of Kaitlyn. Then he would have everything. He absolutely trusted her with Kaitlyn. She loved his little girl and Kaitlyn responded in kind. He had often thought about asking her to marry him, but she wouldn’t do it. He knew that and was actually okay with it.
He did say only okay. He knew if they ever did marry, she would end up leaving him. He couldn’t handle that. He loved her and knew she needed more, more than he could give her. How did knew that, he was unsure. Just a feeling he had deep inside his heart.
So, he did what any best friend would do. He tried to get her to take the next step. But change was very difficult for Mia to handle. She liked things very constant. But he sensed that she might be ready for change and that is why he went ahead and introduced her to Ethan. And if things did progress with Ethan, would she be okay with them as only friends? Hell, would he be okay with them as just friends?
Change wasn’t too easy for him either, he thought, as she entered the room. He looked up as she entered the room, wrapped adorably in her pink robe. The woman wore more pink than his daughter.
“Whatcha watching?” she asked, walking towards him, her robe swaying with her movements.
“You,” he replied intensely.
“Luke?” she asked, sitting next to him, her face sobering.
“Mmm?” he mumbled, pulling her onto his lap and enveloping her in his arms. He didn’t want to talk; he wanted to make love to her again. He wanted to see, taste her freshly washed skin. He wanted to savor the sweetness of her breasts. He wanted to be deep inside her, again and again. Goddamn! Change really does suck!
His hands caressed her back as he held her in his arms. Then he felt a drop of water slide down his shoulder. He moved her back so he could look at her and was surprised to see her tear-filled eyes.
“Mia?” he said, concern flooding him.
“We can’t do this anymore. If we do, I have this sinking feeling that I will lose you and I don’t want that. I can’t have that,” she said quietly, her voice choked with her tears. She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. “I don’t want that. Ever. Do you understand? I need you too much.”
He understood all too well. He could not lose her either. She kept him sane, though he doubted she knew that. And here it was—she was ready for the change.
“I know it’s not the best scenario for us, Mia. Part of me doesn’t care, but part of me agrees with you. I don’t want to lose you either. It’s just,” he paused, staring at his hands still in her robe. He figured he should remove them, but just not yet. “It’s just so hard to move past what we had, especially when I still love you.”
“Don’t you think I know that? I haven’t wanted to be with anyone else and it’s been months since we’ve last been together.”
“We need to move on, Mia. Both of us.”
“It’s hard, Luke,” she said, lowering her face.
“I know it is, sweets,” he said, finally removing his hands from the inside of her warm robe. “But we have to force each other to do it. That’s partially why I introduced you to Ethan last night. It’s like I realize we need to move on, but as the expression goes, easier said than done.”
“What time is it?” she asked, her eyes opening wider.
“A little after one thirty. Why?”
“I’m supposed to meet Ethan at six for dinner.”
Luke raised his eyebrows. Ethan worked fast. He didn’t know whether to be happy or mad at that. Suck it up, dude. He had introduced them knowing full well that this could happen. He couldn’t be against this. That would not be fair to Mia.
“What do you mean by ‘supposed to?’” he asked, elbowing her softly until she laughed.
“Oh, quit it, Luke,” she said, finally smiling for him.
“No, seriously. What did you mean?”
“Well, it’s just …”
“What? You need to do this,” he said firmly.
“I don’t want to lose you.”
“You won’t. Ever.”
She gave him a small smile, still unsure.
“So, what did you think of him?” he asked, curious to her impressions of the man.
“Um … I liked him. He was very nice.”
“You’re leaving things out.”
“I know I am,” she said, turning towards him, a smug smile on her face. “On purpose even.”
The knock on the door stopped him from responding. Oh, but he had a good retort for that and he couldn’t remember it. Damn. He shook his head at her and rose from the sofa and ambled to the door. He opened it for the waiter, who placed the food tray on the coffee table. With a quick glance at Mia before returning to the food tray, Luke chuckled to himself. Did the waiter think that she looked as sexy as Luke thought?
“Thank you,” he said as the waiter hurried from the room, closing the door behind him. When he turned back to Mia, her head faced the window. She seemed deep in thought, her face blank of emotion, like she closed herself off.
“I ordered us some lunch while you were in the shower,” he said, hoping to break her out of it. These episodes concerned him. He had no idea what to make of them.
Turning towards him, he noticed her eyes were glossy. She shook her head before she spoke. He found her behavior quite odd, like she was shaking some bad thought away. “Oh yeah, what did you get me?”
“Um, I got you your favorite—fluffy buttermilk pancakes.”
“Oh yum!” she exclaimed, scooting to the edge of the sofa, waiting for him to pull off the silver cover to the tray.
“I know we were supposed to go out to lunch, but I didn’t feel like sharing you today.”
“Aww, sweets,” she said with a hint of the smart-ass she normally was.
“Eat,” he replied, stuffing a piece of strawberry in her mouth.
“Mmmm …” she said laughingly, getting them past the unpleasantness of earlier.
He sat down on the opposite corner of the couch. He watched her chew the fruit and then he saw a smile.
“What?” he asked curiously.
“I was just thinking that despite everything bad that has happened between us, meeting you has been one of the best things to have ever happen to me,” she said, shrugging her shoulders.
“Come here,” he said, pulling her into his arms. She slipped her arms around his waist. “I feel that we were meant to meet each other for some reason, whatever it may be, and, yeah, I am glad you are in my life.”
“You brought Kaitlyn into mine,” she said happily. “So, I can’t see her until Tuesday?”
“Sorry, she’s in school during the day and goes to Taylor’s after that. Taylor will drop her off before she heads to work. She’s off of school on Tuesday.”
“So what are we going to do?”
“Uh, well, I was thinking of a picnic at the park but we might change that if it snows.”
“Oh, I’d love a picnic! It’s been ages since I’ve been on one!”
He smiled down at her, kissing her head, loving her enthusiasm. “Then we will do our best to have a picnic.”
“How has she liked kindergarten?”
“She loves it!”
“I can’t believe she’s going to be five!”
“I know. It’s been a crazy few years, but she has made it all worth it.”
“Look at you! You love being a dad, don’t you?”
“I do,” he said proudly, smiling.
“Did you always want to be a dad?”
“Uh, no,” he laughed. “There was a time I just wanted sex and lots of it …”
She raised her eyebrows, challenging him.
“Okay, I still do,” he admitted. “But things changed when I found out about Kaitlyn. I could not let her be without her father. Being adopted and losing my dad when I was eight played a big factor in that. I missed my dad. I mean, I still do.”
“It’s so amazing the relationship you had with your adoptive parents. And then there is the relationship I have with my father which is pretty non-existent.”
“When was the last time you spoke to him?”
“Christmas, maybe? I’m not sure.” He felt her body stiffen as she talked.
“It bothers you to speak about this. I can see it in your body. You are all tense and anxious.”
“Well, change the subject then!” she exclaimed.
“Well, alright then,” he said, laughing.
“How about we eat our food?”
“Ooh. Speaking of food. Want to have brunch with me tomorrow before I head to Kaitlyn’s birthday party?”
“Yeah, I’d like that. Glad I came early for the show. I get to spend more time with you.”
“You can come to the party tomorrow,” he offered again.
“Oh, no way! Taylor cannot contain her dislike for me. Kaitlyn shouldn’t have that at her party.”
“Yeah, she does not like you.”
Taylor, from the beginning, had been at odds with Mia. Probably because Mia was the reason he had called things off with Taylor. He had told her there was someone else. But it wasn’t like they had had a real relationship—it was just basically sex—sometimes they went to clubs together. That was it.
“I was competition. Keyword—was. She should get over it.”
“So come, let’s force her to get over it.”
“No. Same reasons still hold. I’ll see the squirt on Tuesday.”
“Okay,” he said, a bit unhappily. He took a bite of his toast. Taylor Smith—always a thorn in his side.