Learning to Let go/Rogers 12

Well my beautiful reviewers, we have come to the end of the story. I hope that you will join me at my website where I have another story running. If you decide not to, I hope to see you again when I post my next story. Enjoy

Chapter 20

Candace woke gradually, trying to focus on the room around her. It took her a moment to remember that she was in Stephen's room, with his heated body behind her, his hand cupping her breast possessively. A lazy smile broke out on her face when she remembered last night, the way she'd taken him, made him lose control. A tingle went down her spine when she felt the telltale wetness between her legs, though she was sure that nothing would come of it. Unexpectedly, her confession popped into her mind and she stiffened in panic and mortification. God, she'd been such an idiot. She'd been high on the passion and excitement of the moment, not sure of what she'd been saying.

Carefully and cautiously, she extracted herself from his grip, and slipped out of bed. If she could move quickly enough, he wouldn't know she was gone and she might be able to face him on Wednesday. She had one foot in her jeans when she heard the sheets rustle and the bed creak as he sat up. Struggling to keep some of her dignity, she turned to him, a false smile on her face, as she stood before him half-naked.

"Where are you going?" his voice was hard, his hands gripping the sheets tightly.

Candace at least had the decency to look sheepish. "I…uh…was going to head out. I didn't mean to wake you."

Stephen nodded calmly, despite the fact that she could see a vein pulsing in his jaw as he struggled to contain his anger. "I thought you were going to stay the night?"

Her gaze shifted to her hands still tight on her pants. "I figured it would be best if I left. You know…no awkward moments to worry about." She shrugged, praying that he would just let her go. This was getting more difficult by the second.

"What awkward moment would that be? Such as you telling me you love me?" he quirked his eyebrow, as if he were daring her to deny it.

Candace's mouth opened and closed a few times, her eyes wide. "I didn't think…" Crap, she could feel the tears starting to form, and she had to blink a few times to clear them. "It's fine if you don't…I mean I don't expect you to…" she turned away, a few tears escaping her tightly closed eyes.

"What if I do?" Candace's head swung back around to face him, confused and fearful of what was happening.

He stood and walked to her, the light shining on his naked body. He stopped in front of her, his arms open. "Come here." His voice was quiet and soothing.

Candace's knees went weak. "What do you…I should really…"

"Candace, come here." Now his voice was gruff, with a bit of bite to it. Dropping her pants slowly, she walked into his arms.

He wrapped one arm around her; her face framed by a large hand. He looked intently at her a moment, his thumb wiping the tears from her cheeks. "I love you and I want to marry you and make you happy."

Candace's body shuddered, her eyes flooded with tears, "I thought…I thought you didn't—"

Stephen brushed his lips over hers in a caress so tender and poignant, Candace started to cry again.

"What's wrong? Baby, don't cry." He hugged her close to his body, his hand gentle as he caressed her face. "Don't cry…Please don't cry. I hate it when you cry."

She could hear the panic in his voice and she tried t hold them back, but they wouldn't stop. All the stress and heartache of the past two weeks came pouring out, overwhelming her and leaving her helpless to stop the tide. She could only cling to Stephen, powerless, as her body shuddered with sobs.

"What…what about…the…flowers?" she managed to choke out, her face buried in his naked chest, her tears soaking his skin.

Stephen ran his hands over her back, his movements slow and soothing. "I was hoping that you would call me once you got them…Give me a chance to explain."

His explanation only made her cry harder. His hands stroked over her back, trying to console and comfort her. "Baby, I'm sorry. Please don't cry." He rubbed his jaw over the top of her head, his voice raw and hoarse. Threading his fingers through her hair, he tilted her face to his. He bent his head, kissing away the tears on her cheek. "Come back to bed. Let me hold you."

Candace nodded weakly, still clutching Stephen's shoulders.

He tucked her into the crook of his body, her face buried in his neck, pulling the covers up around them. He rocked her in a gentle motion. One hand moved in a circular movement on her back while the other rubbed her hair, soft and full of regret.

"Tell me why you're still crying." He murmured, his mouth soft on her ear.

Candace hiccupped quietly, burrowing her face deeper into his neck. She mumbled something, forcing Stephen to bend his head closer to her.

"What was that?"

"It hurt so much. Why did you do that? I don't understand…"

He sighed deeply, his body tensing as he prepared to tell her the truth.

"That night I went to pick up Hannah, she made threats. I thought…I wasn't sure that you would stay if things got…difficult. I thought you would run, leave like Olivia did."

Candace jerked back, hot and angry. "You…What?" she tried to sit up, struggling against Stephen's grip, her eyes blazing fire. "Why would you think that of me?" She tried to pry herself from Stephen's arms, hurt by his lack of trust.

Grabbing her tighter, he pulled her beneath him and slid back into her warmth silkily in one smooth thrust. Candace instantly stilled, her arms and legs wrapping around him automatically, pulling him deeper. She started to cry again. Damn her body for betraying her! Damn him for the emotions that he provoked in her! Even knowing that he had so little trust in her, she still loved him. He felt so good moving inside her, as if he was supposed to be there. She had to bite her lip to stifle a moan when he angled up, the hair on his groin rubbing her clit perfectly.

"I'm sorry okay?" He rested his face in the crook of her neck, his head turned so that his mouth rested against her ear. "I'd just realized that I was in love with you and I panicked. I was stupid okay?" he moved in her slowly, his hands fisted in her hair to keep her in place. He was not going to let her go. If he had to fight dirty, he would.

Candace pulled her head back as far as she could, wincing a little when Stephen's' grip tightened reflexively in her hair. Her eyes locked with his, her hands framed his face lovingly. She saw the fear and uncertainty in his eyes, his body tensed in preparation for rejection. She paused, wanting to take just a small measure of revenge. "If you ever put me through that again, I will hurt you." She replied seriously.

Stephen's lips curved up and he dropped his head back into the crook of her neck, relief easing the tension from his body. "I promise."

He rocked against her gently, his mouth moving over her face, kissing away the tears that were still clinging to her cheeks.

"I want to hear you to say it again." He murmured, his lips moving against her neck in a languorous motion. "I need to hear you say it."

Candace shifted her head, her lips coming to rest over Stephen's ear. She had never felt so free or alive as she did this moment, having this man in her arms. Her eyes closed as she spoke. "I love you and I adore you and I want to build a home with you and give you babies…"

He rose up on his elbows, his hands loosening their grip on her hair. His lips sought her, his tongue moving deep and sure, stroking the roof of her mouth with tender hunger. His hips moved in slow circles, building up her passion. Her back arched into his body, her nipples rubbing against his smooth chest. Her thighs tightened around him, her body tensing in desire.

"I love to look at you, hear you laugh. I love the way you treat my daughter, the way she lights up when you're around." His gaze swept over her, caressing every inch of her face. "I love being inside you." His voice was rough, sending chills up her spine.

She ran her hands up his sides, savoring the feel of his hard, muscular chest under her hands. She rose up, a kiss to the tip of his chin, before kissing her way down his neck, her arms draped around his neck.

"I love having you inside me." She nipped his earlobe and Stephen made a chocked noise. Crushing his lips against hers, he sunk into her, pushing her back onto the bed. His movements sped up and moments later, he gave a muffled shout and shuddered, exploding inside her. With his last bit of strength, he reached between them, twirling her sensitive clit between his fingers, smothering a groan when he felt her tighten and spasm around him, her nails digging into his shoulders.

An hour later, Stephen rolled onto his side, roused from the light doze he had fallen into when Candace stirred beneath him. Curling his arm over her waist, he pulled her back into him, a soft kiss to the back of her neck.

"You'll be here when I wake up, right?" he asked, his voice scratchy with sleep.

Candace smiled into the darkness. She scooted back, her bottom nestled tight against Stephen's groin. She stifled a chuckle when she felt his penis stir against her, his arm tightening its hold on her. Stephen pressed a sleepy kiss to her shoulder, inhaling deeply.


The end


Chapter 21

2 years later…

Candace stood in the open kitchen, looking out over the backyard. She smiled as Hannah kicked at her soccer ball, her hair flying behind her. She heard a sound behind her, humming with contentment when a pair of strong arms wrapped around her.

"What are you thinking about?" Stephen nuzzled her neck, inhaling her scent.

"Our honeymoon." Aruba had been wonderful; the sun, the sand, seeing everything.

Chuckling, he nipped at her ear playfully, "Oh really? What part?"

"That time at the beach…when we almost got caught." That had been exciting; the feel of the water surrounding them, Stephen's arms around her, nearly being arrested by the police. She laughed at the memory.

"Ummm…I remember that…very well." He let his hands drift over her round belly, pleased when he felt a ripple of movement.

They both looked up as Hannah came bounding into the kitchen, her face bright with happiness, glistening with sweat. "Dad, come outside. I need you to practice with me. Candace watch us!" She ran back outside.

Candace laughed as Stephen muttered about being too old, before reluctantly letting her go, a quick kiss to her lips.

She watched them play, her hand rubbing her belly idly, thinking about how life turned out. Things were still rough at times, with Olivia in and out of trouble, and Hannah having to deal with a mother who rarely came around, but she was still happy at the way things had turned out. They'd both learned to let go of all their past hurts and move towards the future.

She turned, heading over to the refrigerator to begin making lunch.

The End