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Authors: Suzetta Perkins

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BOOK: A Love So Deep
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“I’ve suffered some of life’s tragedies, but I was able to move on. I was married once,” Rita hesitated, “to a very popular man who mistreated me. I wanted to wallow in self-pity, but I picked myself up and made a new life for myself. I’ve been divorced over twenty years. I’ve dated off and on but never had a serious or meaningful relationship. And then, I finally met someone…someone I was drawn to for a reason unknown to me. But when I met him, I immediately knew that there was something special about him.

“If Graham was smitten, he couldn’t have realized it when we first met. The man I met was drowning in sorrow. I drew strength from him, and he from me. But I knew he would be all right.”

“My, my, my,” Martha said, breathing a sigh of relief. Martha fanned herself and took another sip of coffee. “We didn’t come by, sweetie, to render judgment on you. The fact of the matter is, we came by to talk to Graham here, about what happened in Bible study a few weeks back.”

“Yes, Lord,” Elroy put in.

“You were part of the discussion, but Graham was the major topic, and the church folks seemed to have come armed to do battle.”

“You should have seen my Martha,” Elroy teased. “She knocked out Sister Mary Ross with a one-two punch.”

“Hush up, Elroy.”

“Sister Mary Ross?” Rita chimed in. Rita looked over at Graham who sat still with his mouth closed, seemingly enjoying the festivities.

“Yes, one in the same. Mary had called all the saints to tell them she had seen you at my son-in-law’s house and…well you were there, you know the story. Anyway,” Martha sighed, “that information was routed out to the whole church network, and instead of having Bible study that next Wednesday, we had Let’s Oust Deacon Peters Day.”

“I’m so sorry, Graham,” Rita said, dejected, not sure she wanted to hear the rest of the story.

“I’m fine. You might want to hear what happened.”

Rita turned her attention back to Martha, who was dying to get the rest of the fiasco out of her mouth.

“Sister Mary Ross, as Martha said,” Elroy butted in, taking the lead and not waiting for Martha to give her account, “started talking about how she saw the two of you hugged up together and Amanda hadn’t been dead but a minute. She asked Reverend Fields what he was going to do about it. Then Deacon Harris called for Graham here to be put off the Deacon Board. This is where it gets good.”

Rita noticed the grin running across Graham’s face.

“Then Momma gets up out of her seat cuz she done had just about enough.”

“And you sat back in your seat like a scaredy-cat,” Martha said.

Graham chuckled.

“All right, Martha,” Elroy said. “Let me finish. Martha commenced to telling Sister Ross off. Told Mary Ross in front of the whole congregation that she didn’t care nothing about how the church felt, because Mary had an eye on Graham for herself, which was why she was making all that fuss in the first place. The church was
r-e-a-l
quiet.

“Then, Sister Ross hollered back at Martha, and at one point I thought Martha was going to knock her down. But this is the good part. Martha told that nosey woman that if Graham was going to be with someone, it wouldn’t be her.”

“Mom,” Graham spoke for the first time, “Did you really say that? And you stood up for me? I really appreciate that.”

“Look,” Elroy said, not wanting to be slighted in giving the whole account, “Reverend Fields got up and started clapping his hands, and Bible study was over for the evening.”

Martha grinned at Elroy. “See, I love that man. We’ve been together longer than time itself. He still has a little spunk left in him.”

Elroy coughed and continued, “God has blessed us—He’s given us long life, a wonderful daughter and son-in-law, grandchildren, and a life she’d never trade for anything.”

Martha looked at Graham and Rita. “It’s obvious you are in love—not just mere acquaintances. Amanda was the apple of Graham’s eye. He loved my daughter for all those many years and was a true gentleman, father, and friend. It
is
difficult seeing Graham with someone else, but you seem nice enough, unlike the description my granddaughter Deborah painted of you.”

Rita flinched.

Martha bowed her head, and then lifted it. She turned toward Graham and Rita with all eyes looking at her. “I was concerned when my granddaughters told me what happened the other day. And, of course, there are always two sides to a story. But, I’m Amanda’s mother, and knowing the love that flows within this family, our history, and what all else, I’ll admit I was hurt that Graham had brought someone into this house so soon after…A-Amanda was gone. Yes, I was angry and I wasn’t going to have any of it, but I became angrier still when I heard Sister Ross disrespecting my family before the whole church.” Martha began to sob and Graham went to her.

“I’m all right,” she admonished, shooing him away. “While I don’t apologize for my granddaughters, Rita, I do understand their hurt and pain. We are all part of a grand family chain. We had each other for a long time, and it was devastating for all of us when Amanda died. Our family was so close, and the thought of outside intervention was non-existent. And now a new face dares to replace one of familiarity, a face that had been with the family for sixty odd years, that is now but a shell buried away in a lush garden overlooking the city.” Martha clasped her face in her arms, and all drew around her to offer comfort.

This is a wise, old woman
, Rita thought to herself. Much like her own mother. She was instantly drawn to her—maybe it was her wisdom, definitely her grace and wit. But Martha had the strength of a thousand women, and time had not held her back. Rita rubbed Martha’s shoulders.

“I understand,” Rita said. “I understood before I ever entered this house, because Graham had already made me aware of who Amanda is in his life.”

Martha looked up with a smile on her face. “Sweetie, I know the state my son-in-law was in after Amanda died. For weeks on end, he was a pitiful wreck. I heard he wouldn’t eat, sleep, or even clean himself up. He didn’t want any of us around—just wallowed in self-pity like the rest of us didn’t miss our sweet Amanda. He almost drowned himself in a lake thinking he had seen her reflection in the water. I know he missed, and still misses, Amanda dearly.”

Graham came and stood behind Rita and placed an arm around her, the other around Martha. “I know I’ve been rather quiet. Actually, I had hoped to avoid a confrontation by searching you and Dad out earlier today. In fact, I was afraid if you came by and Rita was here, there would be a repeat of the debacle with Deborah and Liz. I couldn’t chance losing Rita. But now I understand it had to be this way.”

Graham looked at his in-laws. “You will always be my family. I’ve just been fortunate enough to find someone to possibly share what time I have left on this earth. I can’t explain the timing, but I do hope you can forgive me if I’ve in any way disrespected you or disgraced the memory of Amanda. That was certainly not my intent. I’m not even sure where our relationship will go, but I appreciate this moment, this time in which we have been able to sit down and talk about what’s in our hearts. I will always love Amanda, but I’ve come to realize that I do have room in my heart to love again.”

Martha smiled and rubbed Graham’s hand while Rita squeezed the other. “I know you love Amanda, son. Elroy and I were a little shocked at the news that you might be seeing a woman so soon after Amanda’s death; however you, me, and Elroy don’t have a lot of time left here on this earth.” That elicited a snicker from the group.

Martha’s voice became serious, whispering almost as she continued to speak. “I want to see you happy, Graham. It seems Rita makes you happy.”

“She does.”

“Elroy and I are in our eighties, and we don’t have a lot of time left to be worrying about what you youngsters are doing as long as it’s right. God has blessed us, and we got a little livin’ left in us. And a little more lovin’.”

“Martha,” Elroy shouted.

“How old are you, Rita?”

“Forty-five.”

“A little young,” Martha said, giving Graham a sideways glance. “But age is only a number if you truly love someone. Look, I just want you both to be sure what you’re doing. I know it doesn’t look good so soon after Amanda’s death, and it will still be hard for me to see the two of you together, but Amanda is gone, Graham, and you served her well and in an upright manner.

“You seem to be a nice lady, Rita. I will try to talk to the girls, but I can’t promise any miracles. I’ll do my best. Just don’t disappoint me.”

“Thank you,” Rita said. She gave the old woman a kiss and went over and hugged Elroy. “While I don’t quite know what to say, I’ll say this. I’m just Rita. I have a good and kind heart. I’m not here to take Amanda’s place. I felt her warmth when I stepped in this room for the first time, when I looked at her picture, and at all the things in and around this house that told her story. Thank you for giving me a chance.”

“Well, sweetie, it’ll take time, but this is a start. Elroy, let’s go. I’m sure these two would like to spend some time together.”

“It was nice meeting you, Rita, and we’ve got to get together and go fishing real soon, Graham.”

“I think I can handle it now, Dad.”

“Elroy, get my door,” they heard Martha say as the couple stumbled to their car. And a burden fell from Graham’s shoulder.

Chapter 25

D
usk
had fallen and a full moon was in view. The clock ticked on the mantel and lent the only noise to a melancholy evening. Graham and Rita sat silently on the loveseat, reeling from the unexpected meeting with Graham’s in-laws.

The moment was tender and innocent as they held each other’s hand and reflected on what had transpired. Relief was written in their body language and love written in their hearts. It was a sign from God that everything would be all right.

Rita stroked Graham’s arm. Her business with William kept nagging at her.

Rita had a dilemma. If she was going to forge a relationship with Graham, she didn’t want it to start off with secrets. But was it a secret? She didn’t want to keep anything from Graham, but this was her business. Did Graham need to know? If William showed up again, what would she say?

A voice that belonged to Martha rang in her ears, admonishing Rita not to disappoint her.

She still could not bring herself to say a word.

Graham was lost in his own thoughts. Although unplanned, his in-laws stopping by and what had transpired during their visit could only be a blessing. Their unwavering love and understanding meant more to Graham than life itself. All he had anticipated would happen once his in-laws confronted him gave way to a new meaning of love, trust, and faith. And to know that Martha stood up for him, no matter how she may have really felt deep down inside, said more to the character of that great lady.

Although Graham’s mood had mellowed, the nagging feeling that something else was up remained. Rita gave no hint to that possibility, and since there was no time for conversation because of the untimely visit from Graham’s in-laws, Graham would have to continue to speculate. It was probably all in his mind, but the mere thought that Charlie was privy to information unknown to him, and the aloofness in which Charlie delivered his message, left an air of uncertainty.

Graham turned to look at the full length of Rita. She was truly a stunning woman—from her shoulder-length mane to the points on her tan-suede boots. They exchanged a quick glance, and Rita sensing Graham’s hesitation, came over and placed a tender kiss on his lips.

Yes, she was remarkable. Graham closed his eyes and pulled Rita to him with the force of a gale wind. She leaned into him, and Graham gingerly tasted her lips before thrusting his tongue into the fullness of her mouth.

She incited him. He teased her. Consumed by the moment, their lips remained locked as each competed to be the first not to come up for air while their tongues searched and tasted.

It was becoming sheer madness—his cologne intoxicating her and she holding on for dear life. Her sculptured nails ran through the thick forest of hair on his head. She panted every now and then when the electricity was more than she could stand. He was lost in the heat of passion wanting to consume every bit of the sweet, chocolaty morsel that had aroused more than just his manhood.

Rita let the coat-like cardigan slide off of her shoulders and onto the floor. Graham pushed back and surveyed her petite frame with the healthy portion of breasts protruding from the knit cowl-neck tunic. He reached out and drew her to him—the sweet smell of honeysuckle exuding from her hair intoxicating. He began to massage her breasts through the sweater, stimulating Rita all the more. The more aggressive Graham became, the more Rita gave in.

Rita’s hands crawled down the length of Graham’s angora sweater. The soft feel prompted Rita to play there a while, making it hard for Graham to concentrate. And without any persuasion, Rita followed Graham to the room, the room where only one other woman had lain with Graham, made love to Graham, conceived his children, and gave him her all. Rita didn’t hesitate. The emotion she held inside was bursting at the seams. And likewise, Graham didn’t want to waste another moment getting to know this woman better.

They removed their clothes in silence trading kisses at five-second intervals. When Rita was down to her Victoria’s Secret, tan lace, push-up bra and bikini panties and Graham in his Joe Cool boxers, she crawled upon the bed and lay on her side, beckoning Graham to come closer. She moved her tongue in and out in a sensuous rotation. Graham reached for Rita, trying to sequester his overpowering passion. He wanted to leap upon the beautiful goddess that lay before him.

Graham brought Rita’s face to within a half inch of his. He thrust his lips upon hers again and kissed her with all the passion he possessed. He removed his tongue and slowly let it slide down her chin, down her neck, encircle her shoulders, and finally catching sight of her very firm breasts just south, pushed away her bra until he had one pointed, tender nipple in his mouth and the other between his fingers. Rita moaned with pleasure at fever pitch until Graham had to stop and look up to see if she was all right.

Rita pushed his head back down, and he continued to suckle each breast in turn. He released his hand from her breast and traveled farther south finding the very essence of her womanhood ready and in wait of him. Graham was intrigued that his own inhibition did not prevent him from making love to Rita. Although he and Amanda had an active sex life up until she died, he found himself wanting to please Rita from the top of her well-coiffed mane to the tips of her gaily polished toes.

Graham felt her wince as he explored the whole of her. His hands traced her hips and again moved to the mound of all her glory. She moaned and hissed when he touched her, and he breathed heavily as he fought the premature urge to come before he was ready. He parted her shapely legs, bringing her knees up to his chest. He found her waiting, and he went in. They moved to a rhythm that was all their own, stirring up emotions and passion inside of them that was dormant but had now come to life.

Soon they lay spent from their lovemaking. Being with Rita awakened a new surge of energy—a new life for Graham. For Rita, it was being without a real man for the last twenty years and finally finding someone she wanted to give her soul to.

A new woman had brought a new passion and a new thirst for life. A new man had brought love and a desire to conquer the world. Oh, it seemed so right—a good fit like the right glove to a hand.

“Together,” Rita sighed softly, as she rubbed Graham’s temples and kissed him softly on the lips.

“For all times,” Graham murmured, a smile crossing his face as he continued to tease Rita with his tongue, stroking the fires of desire once again.

Rita silently prayed that it would be for a time. Graham thanked God that love had found its way—again.

BOOK: A Love So Deep
11.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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