It didn’t matter to her then that he didn’t love her—his kisses and caresses were so much what she needed at that moment. All the sadness within her was swept away as his mouth found her eyes, her ears, and traced kisses into the vee of her shirt. Unrestrained she clung to him, her very ardour proving she had not been lying when she had said she loved him.
Then after one long lingering kiss, when her lips had parted and she had clung to him as though she never wanted the kiss to break, Crawford put her away from him, cupping her chin with his hand, a light in his eyes that hadn’t been there before.
‘I said earlier you’d been in no danger from me the last time you responded to me,’ he reminded her. ‘I'm afraid, my love, I can no longer say with any conviction that that’s now the case—so if you don’t mind ..
Gerry had no idea what he had in mind—though anything would have been all right with her then. But to her regret when she would far rather have snuggled up close to him, he stood up with her in his arms, placed her back in the seat he had vacated, and went to take the chair facing her.
‘You’re beautiful, Gerry,’ he said, looking across at her. ‘Beautiful,’ he murmured, ‘even without that warm colour I can only assume comes from making love.’
She blushed hotly at that, and realised his teasing was an attempt to get some heat out of the moment. He made some comment to the effect that her blushes made him want to come over to her and kiss her again, but he didn’t move, but stayed where he was.
‘While I still have a little sanity left, I think we’d better arrange one or two details,' he said, giving her a warm look that had her on fire for him again. ‘I want to marry you without any waiting, so I’ll contact an aunt of mine who’ll be pleased to have Teddy and the twins if your sister’s arrangements aren’t oft' the ground by then. Then we’ll..
Gerry just had to stop him—he was going much too fast for her. She knew he wasn’t in love with her, but even so there had to be some solid reason for him wanting to marry her other than the undoubted physical reaction they drew from each other. He had been watching her the whole time, and as a slight frown appeared on her brow, he leaned forward to ask urgently:
‘What is it, Gerry? You are going to marry me, aren’t you?’
‘I ... I want to marry you, Crawford,’ she said, after a faltering start, and saw him relax from his sudden tensing. ‘And I’ve told you why—but—I have no idea why you want to marry me.’
Crawford looked at her as though he couldn’t understand her question, then told her—which had the blood roaring in her ears, ‘I thought you knew—I’ve loved you almost from the first. I’ve loved you from the time you looked at me in the chilly way you adopted and without knowing it, challenged me to do something about it.’
‘Crawford!’ His name escaped her, and all inhibitions forgotten, she was out of her chair and going to sit on the floor beside his chair, her hand resting on his knee as though she just had to touch him.
I had no idea—you never said, looked, indicated or anything.’
'At the risk of living to regret this,’ said Crawford, his hands coming down to settle beneath her armpits, ‘come up here where I can kiss you.’
Once more at home in his arms, Gerry felt the warmth of his kiss. It was gentle this time, as if he was making a determined effort to hold back his passion. And as their kiss broke, Gerry pondered on what she had said about him not giving her any indication that he loved her—it had been there all the time, but she’d been too blind to see it. He had told her once when he’d thought Teddy was a man that he had taken her home to see what sort of a man would let her go about looking so ill. He had personally taken her home from work instead of getting someone else to do it. He had seen they had Mrs Chapman to lighten the situation, and apart from giving Teddy the money which enabled them all to have new clothes, she needn’t look any further than her spanking new A35 to know Crawford had showed he cared.
‘I’m going to make you happy,’ she vowed, love for this man holding her, threatening to drown her. Crawford kissed her, and she forgot everything but the fact he loved her and she meant all of what she’d said.
Then Crawford was setting her to her feet, telling her she was headier than wine and suggesting that if they didn’t leave the confines of his room pretty soon, he wouldn’t be answerable for the consequences.
‘Let’s have dinner downstairs,’ he suggested. ‘Or do you have to get back in a hurry?’
Not many men would have been so understanding about Teddy, Gerry thought, especially at a moment like this. ‘I have all the time in the world, darling,’ she said huskily.