Authors: Katherine Owen
“So?" He asks with a laugh. “Come here.” He pulls me closer and trails his hands down between my legs knowing full well this is my ultimate weakness for him. I cannot not respond. His touch right there gets me to do just about anything for him. I moan. He laughs again as he starts to make his move.
We put Cara to bed fifteen minutes ago and left the bedroom door slightly ajar so we can hear her but closed enough so she doesn’t hear us. Usually, we wait the agreed-upon half-hour before commencing with
doing the deed
as I still like to call it, but she was extra tired because I let her stay up late to watch
. I’m not sure she understands the story line completely. I’m not sure I do either but she loves Rapunzel’s long hair. We watched it together while we waited for Linc’s return from practice. Cara played with my hair for most of the movie and kept running her little fingers through it over and over, while I filled out endless wedding invitations, imploring the ninety-five percent of strangers I do not know to come witness our nuptials in the middle of October.
“The article won’t run for weeks. Don’t worry about it. By the time it does, the season will probably be over. We’ll be married. Settled. Nobody is going to care about how we met or what happened in Moscow. They’ll be staring at your photograph, the
one, and be thinking how did that guy get so lucky and get a girl like her? All those
fans wishing they were me and holding you up in the air just like Baby.”
“Even the girls?”
He laughs. “Even the girls. When are you going to start believing we’re the two luckiest people in the world?” I turn into him then and stroke his face and search his eyes for solace and truth but I don’t answer. “When are you going to let go and let this happen and believe in it? In me? In us?” Linc asks again.
I trace his lips and kiss him. Lightly. Just a trace.
In the next, he smothers my face with kisses of his own and eventually pulls me up beneath him. “Come on, Tally. Let it go. Let it all go. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. Don’t put a time clock on this. Don’t walk down the aisle toward me, less than a month from now, still not believing that this isn’t real or this won’t last because it will. I’m here. You’re here. So. Believe it. In me. In us. Now.”
He pulls away from me and studies my face.
Guilt arrives right on time. I wince along with it.
“What is it? What aren’t you telling me? Because with that face? It is definitely something.”
“Dr. Eldon scheduled an ultrasound. I just…she’s optimistic and I just hope that we can find a way to have another child. I want to give you a son because you’ve given so much to me. And I want you to be happy. With me.”
happy with you. I love you because you’re my life. You’re my water. Don’t forget that. I couldn’t survive without you.” He plays with a strand of my hair and lets it slip through his fingers. “And I’m your air.” He sighs a little. “I love you just as you are whether we have more kids or not. That’s why we’re going to make it. But you have to stop believing that something bad is going to happen. You have to believe in us as much as I do. We’re going to have this great life together. We already
. I love you. You love me. And believe me; love is enough.
I hold my breath and gaze at him for a long while. The commitment and compassion I see in the depths of his eyes begins to steady me. All the doubt, and even the guilt, begin to fade away. Like a protective shield, his love encircles me from all around. Then when he pulls me into his arm and looks at me as if I’m the only one that counts, just before he kisses me, is reassuring in the only way that matters.
Lincoln Presley, baseball star, is one of a kind. And, he’s mine. It’s a miracle really.
What an unbelievable stroke of luck at having him in my life and loving me back. I kiss him and let go of all my deep-rooted fears: falling, failing, even losing. I actually feel them disappear as if a strange wind has come by and blown them away.
I take in air—his air—that allows me to live and breathe.
“Okay,” I eventually say. Then, I grab his hand and lightly kiss the inside of his wrist, and then trail my lips along his broad chest. He leans back against the pillows with a knowing look pulling me along with him, but cedes all control to me. I start to smile, but then another errant thought crashes in on me and threatens to undo all of these joyous declarations.
She Is Love -LINC
She’s beyond agitated,
lamming kitchen cupboards and doors. She insisted on making dinner for me because I told her I could make it, because I’m home, which hasn’t been too often as of late.
There are dark circles under her eyes which immediately tells me she’s not getting enough sleep and she’s rehearsing too much and most definitely not eating enough. I think this whole dinner scenario she’s got going is to throw me off that last one. Food is Tally’s nemesis.
One of them.
I continue to watch her with keen interest and start to feel guilty because the Giants are doing awesome and one of the reasons I came over here early was to tell her we’re probably going to have to postpone things. October seemed fine. But with the spectacular run the team has put together we’ve made it to the playoffs; the idea that the Giants might actually make it all the way to the World Series start to get real. And just like that, getting married in the middle of October like we planned may not work at all.
And I have to tell her tonight.
She gets this vexed look while she focuses all her outward efforts on
The Joy of Cooking
cookbook. The book was Marla’s wedding shower gift a few weeks ago. It’s a little dig at Tally. Marla knows perfectly well that her best friend doesn’t do more than boil water—everybody’s cliche for the non-cook, but, in Tally’s case, it’s absolutely true. I catch her eye and smile wide. She forces one my way.
The noise from the television and an old episode of Sesame Street filters into the room and to the two of us. Cara watches television in the adjoining room and claps her little hands every so often at the wondrous things Big Bird is saying.
It’s the perfect domestic situation, except I should be cooking and Tally should be watching or resting or both. I continue my study of her in quiet amazement since she refuses to let me help with any of the food prep and reflect on how fortuitous my life has become in just the past few months with her and Cara. The crevice between Tally’s brows deepens. She murmurs about the lack of clarity in the cookbook’s instructions that is propped up against a full bottle of wine and sits precariously close to the edge of the granite counter. White flour streaks the left side of her face and travels upward into her dark hair. She’s still beautiful even though she looks completely stressed out.
God, she’s so hot.
My libido wants to skip dinner, put Cara to bed, and ravage her in a thousand different ways starting now.
“I missed you.”
She looks up in surprise.
I clear my throat trying not to appear so damn vulnerable and needy of her. I’ve been gone for the better part of a week traveling, playing baseball. It’s good to be home—be with her—even if it’s for just a day before everything ratchets even higher in baseball.
You start winning; everybody’s expectations go up, exponentially.
“I missed you too.”
She gets this tired smile, but avoids looking at me directly for some reason. She bites at her lower lip and then turns back to the pan on the stove. She’s cooking some kind of marinara sauce. She pretends to be nonchalant, shrugging her slim shoulders, and yet her hands shake as she stirs the sauce.
“You won, right? It’s all good?”
Here’s my opening. I’m going to have to take it.
“Too good,” I say softly. She looks at me closely, leaning in across the space that separates us. Me on one side of the counter-top, she out of reach on the other. “If we sweep, we’re in New York on Tuesday. And I pitch tomorrow.” I raise an eyebrow and look at her more intently experiencing both joy and trepidation as I wait for her reaction. She recoils a little, and I know that’s when she understands what I’m actually saying.
“So. We postpone.” She stumbles over the last word and looks uncertain for a few seconds. “Because if you’re pitching, you’re winning and that means baseball through October. You’re probably going all the way. That’s…amazing.” She pastes on this wide smile, but I see her disappointment just before she turns away.
“Looks that way. Yeah.” I hang my head and then look at her with an unspoken apology. “I’m sorry. I really wanted to make this work out, timing-wise. I didn’t think we’d get this far, but everybody's brought their ‘A’ game. There’s really nothing to stop us from going all the way, just like you said, except maybe ourselves.” I look at her intently. “I know you're pissed.”
“No. I'm happy for you. I
.” She frowns a little. “But I got a dress. Like you wanted. We set a date. Like you wanted. We booked the Hollins House for the 25th of October and invited four-hundred and fifty people. Like you wanted. And now, we have to cancel it all. See the pattern here? And all I wanted to do was to get married at that little church at Half Moon Bay.”
“Yeah. Next July right in the middle of the baseball season,” I say.
“I’ve had to handle everything while you’ve been playing baseball
all of the time
“Geez, Tally, I’m sorry we’re doing so well. That baseball is such an inconvenience for you. It is my life, you know. It pays the bills around here, we kind of need me to play.”
She blows out air with a heavy sigh.
First fight since we got back together.
“No, there have been others. Half Moon Bay, remember?” I say softly but suddenly try to reel back some of what I’ve just said to her.
“I remember...” She pauses for a long time, stirs the sauce, turns off the stove, and finally looks over at me. “Do you ever think that maybe we’re just not meant to be together? Like God and the entire world is trying to tell us something? I mean, I don’t know why we planned this wedding for October…” Her voice trails off and she just looks sad.
“Nothing was going on in October. Your mom could be here.” I get up from the barstool and go around to her side. “Nobody died in October.” They are stupid reasons to anyone else but the two of us. “You’re not having any doubts about us, are you? Because I will fix that shit right now.”
The clock ticks off time on the far kitchen wall and we both seem to hear it while we seemingly wait for the other to break the silence between us first.
“You have doubts.” My voice is flat. My disappointment obvious. We’ve been through this enough already to fill a couple of romance novels. People would call them fantasies, but we actually lived through it all. There’s been plenty of fucked-up shit that’s gone down between the two of us preventing us from being together in the past. “Tally,” I sigh in saying her name. “
“I don’t want to talk about this,” she says slowly. “Not now. You have a game tomorrow. Let’s just let it…lie.”
She get this weird introspective look—the I-think-I-can-lie-my-way-out-of-this-one look, but I sense her apprehension. I can practically see the thoughts racing through her mind as to how to handle this. I grow alarmed and desperate at the same time. Yet, in the next moment, she delivers her lines so calm and perfect. “We’ll just cancel everything. And then, let’s just wait and see where things are after the playoffs. After the World Series. Wow. How incredible is that?” She smiles, but it’s forced. It’s all an act. She’s got one of her cheerful smiles—the one she utilizes for public appearances when I know damn well she doesn’t want to be there.
This shit has to be stopped.
I move fast, taking a hold of her and set her up on the kitchen counter and then step between her legs and take full ownership of her and the situation. I grab the metal spoon from her outstretched hand, but not before accidentally splashing the two of us with red sauce. I slowly lick the stain from her T-shirt and make my way up to her neck and then her face. “Don’t fuck with me, Tal. What is your problem?”