Chapter 44


The yielding. It was what I waited for. It was the part of the whole seduction when I knew I had him. He'd played hard to get, but I had his number. Oh yeah, he was mine, he just didn't know it yet.

"Come on Sterling baby, we haven't got all night—oh right—we do have all night." I smiled seductively and pulled his tie as I lead him off to the bedroom. Of course he followed me; he was mine after all.

"I'm not sure this is a good idea... are you sure you're ready?"

"No one's ever ready for this, baby." I let go of his tie, and peeled out of my knit shirt. It was then he knew I had him. He couldn't resist my red lace basque, with the ribbon lacing it up my back If that wasn't enough, I stepped out of my skirt, and I knew his eyes were fastened on my red lace panties. Red got to him, like a cape to a bull. I kicked off my high heels, but left on the seamed stockings as I posed on the bed.

My hair cascaded halfway down my back, and I flipped it enticingly as he stared at me. I met his eyes with a smile, and I let him see my gaze travel lower, down to where he was straining to be free of his pants. I licked my lips, then looked back up—gotcha.

His shirt was off before his weight hit the bed, and I knew those buttons might never be found they flew so quick. In the bed, we worked together and tore off his clothes, and a very sexy, very naked, very aroused man, pressed me back into the mattress and grinned down at me. He'd already rubbed against me once, and I felt his hardness against my thigh.

He slid my red lace down my legs, then I opened to him, pulling him close. He didn't need any more encouragement, and his hard, warm flesh slid through my wetness before he paused.

"Are you really sure?" I loved that he was so concerned for me. I traced my fingernails down his sides lightly, until my hands reached his firm ass and took hold.

"Yes baby, do it!" Oh god, the feel of him inside me was magic. I cried out and arched against him, trying to hold on to him any way I could as he moved. No doubt he was the best—no comparison. The way he shoved into me, satisfying both our lusts, made me cry out with every hip thrust. He asked things of my body it was eager to give, and my voice rose in answer to his moans and rough grunts.

Sterling was always the best ride at the amusement park, and I'd paid my admission and waited in line for my turn. He was definitely worth the wait. With my hands in the air and my eyes wide open, I'd taken the ride, and in spite of some wicked turns and some dark tunnels, he'd never let me down. Now it felt like we were almost back at the station, and I had no intention of ever leaving my seat to make room for another rider.

Later, spent and sweaty in his arms, I watched the red numbers of the clock click over to three sixteen. I felt his lips on the back of my neck, and I turned to face him. I loved being naked with him. He was strong and lithe and the sexiest thing on two legs. He held me so tight, with those legs interlocking with mine, and as much skin touching as we could manage, and still be two different people. I felt his face resting against my cheek, with the scratch of his emerging stubble making it uncomfortable. But I didn't care.

His lips gently explored my neck and ear, and I heard him softly whisper all the sweet little endearments he rarely said in the light of day. He told me I was beautiful, sexy, and the hottest woman he'd ever seen. But then those were sentiments I was used to hearing from him. They made my pulse race and almost always made me want him. It was what followed that made me sigh.

"I'm so glad I didn't lose you. You're too good for me baby. I love you so much." All punctuated with tiny little kisses, and his arms tightening around me.

"You're the one who's too good for me, I love you too. You make me happier than I ever thought I could be."

He laughed, and a twinkle lit his blue eyes in the dim light. "You're just saying that because you want me to fuck you again."

"Mmm, you know me so well."

I woke up with him spooned against me. It was early morning, but I was used to waking up at the crack of dawn. I felt a little bit sore, but satisfied. It had been a long time since we'd been so unrestrained. I pulled his arm over me like a blanket, and my rings caught the morning sun. We'd been married almost three years, and every day I was glad I'd accepted his proposal. For once I did something right.

I can't believe how broken I was back then. But he had been just as damaged; he just handled it better. Somehow we put our two broken lives together, and made something wonderful. I've always hated the phrase, but he really does complete me.

I snuggled against him, and felt him wake up—well a part of him anyway. It was something I had not done for a while, but I moved quick, and took him in my mouth. I wanted to see the look on his face when he woke up to fellatio. Of course he had another name for it, but I was doing my best to reform him, a little bit at a time. The profanity was slowly fading from his vocabulary, and it was only in bed that he really cut loose. It was in bed that I really liked hearing it.

After making love with the dawn, we nestled in each other's arms. We kissed, neither of us caring about morning breath, or the sticky feeling that would soon drive us to the shower.

"I love you so much." I ran my fingers through his hair.

"I love you too." His lips on my neck made me moan. "Do you think we made a baby last night?" His question made me catch my breath. I know it's childish, but I didn't want to jinx it by talking about it.

"I don't know how my eggs could stand a chance against that attack." I giggled as I kissed his nose.

"You sure you want to go through all this again?" He wasn't joking, but so concerned, as he gazed at me.

"It won't be so bad. The last time was just a lot of random circumstances that couldn't happen again." I wanted to believe it. Childbirth had been a nightmare for me. We did everything right, but everything seemed to go wrong. After that fiasco, I really did think Murphy had it in for me.

My doctor discovered that I had placenta previa, and that the placenta was covering my cervix. She was a little concerned, and she scheduled a C-section delivery for thirty-seven weeks. I had bleeding in my third trimester, and I was ordered to pelvic rest. Pelvic rest meant no internal exams, no strenuous house work, and no sex. It was awful.

Sterling was amazingly understanding—I was the one most frustrated by the orders. I missed our closeness, and it just wasn't enough that he held me and kissed me. It just left me wanting more. I couldn't even offer him oral satisfaction, because even that excited me too much. Adding to that stress, was the way my family handled our reconciliation.

It seemed like I was related to the Hatfields and McCoy's, and a feud was about to break out. Unexpectedly, my mom stood up to my father, and supported us. My father didn't want anything to do with us, unless we were married in a church, and he went too far when he called our soon-to-be born child, a bastard. Of course I heard all this second hand, through phone calls with my brother and sisters. Half of them sided with our father, and half were with me and mom. My brother sat on the fence, in support of me but hating anything to do with Sterling.

Then there was the wedding we were fussing about. If the battle within my family wasn't bad enough, Sterling's mother got involved, and she and my mom butted heads like I never would have imagined. Kathleen wanted to have our nuptials in her home, or in the back yard. Mom wanted the event in the church, and I'd even entertained the idea of renting the Venetian Pool. I finally just stepped back and let them fight it out. It wasn't as if I'd fit a wedding gown anyway, as big as I got.

More bleeding put an end to the bickering, and put me in the hospital. They gave me medication to stop it. I was about to go crazy, held hostage in a room where everyone could visit me and bring me their complaints. Finally, a few days later for my peace of mind, the doctor said I could go home.

I was instructed that if I started to bleed again, I was to get back to the hospital immediately. I would have too, but everything happened so fast, there just wasn't any time. I went into preterm labor, and the bleeding started. I was able to hit the speed dial for 911 on my phone, before I collapsed in a pool of my own blood. I don't remember much of anything, until I woke up in the hospital.

Sterling was there at my side, looking like he'd been through Hell and back. I'd come close to dying again, and I'd needed several blood transfusions. They were going to do a hysterectomy on me, but my doctor fought not to have to take such a drastic step. I learned all that later, but at the time just seeing the tears running freely down his face, was enough to tell me how bad it was. I immediately thought I'd lost the baby.

Our baby lived, but he was premature, and he was in the NICU. It was three weeks before he was developed enough we could take him home. In those three weeks I saw what Sterling was really made of. He didn't go to work, but left his business in the hands of Janelle. He didn't allow visitors if they so much as raised their voices. He was there for us, and when I was released, we both drove back and forth to the hospital to make sure our baby was held and fed, and loved. He never once complained.

It was seeing him holding our tiny infant, that made me know with every fiber of my being, that I would never leave him. I loved him deeper than I ever thought possible. More important, I trusted him with everything. That rocking chair in the hospital held everything that mattered to me—the love of my life, and our son.

"What are you thinking?" His words startled me out of my thoughts.

"I'm just thinking about how much I love you, and how happy I am with you." More kisses lead to thoughts of making love again. But the morning was slipping away from us, and instead we got up to take a shower. It should be illegal to look as good as he does, with water running through his hair and over his body.

His hands moving over my body were more than a distraction. He kissed me, and I felt that same breathless feeling I felt the very first time he kissed me. "I wish we had time, I'd love to fuck you again—right here and now." I laughed at his words. He was a passionate lover, but we always made love. We'd stopped the birth control six months ago, but nothing had happened yet. We were now using a basal thermometer to determine when I was ovulating. Last night was a prime opportunity to make a little more magic.

"Later. We'll have more time tonight." Reluctantly we dried off and dressed, then ate a quick brunch in the kitchen. I tidied up the house, putting away the clothes we'd dropped in our rush to the bedroom last night. When they pulled in the driveway, I was anxious and only his arms around me kept me from rushing to the door. They knocked unnecessarily, and I answered for them to come in.

The door flew open, and sunshine flooded the house. Blond curls and sparkling blue eyes raced through the entryway and I stooped and held my arms wide. A bundle of energy clung to me, and covered my face with sticky kisses.

"I missed you, Mommy!"

"I missed you too, Elliot. How did the sleepover go?"

"It was fun. Grandpa is going to paint me, but not on my skin, on paper. We had ice cream, an I got to put sprinkles on mine!" I held him tight, but he didn't let me hug him as long as I wanted to. Instead his little foot dug into me as he launched himself at his father. Sterling held him tight for a second, kissed his cheek, then lifted him to his shoulders where he sat astride his neck, holding his hair in his little fists.

"Thanks Dad. Did he give you any trouble?"

"Not a bit, except he insisted his bedtime was midnight, and not eight. He also 'bout scared Linda to death, when she gave him a bath, and he pretended to be a scuba diver. Did you teach him to hold his breath under water?"

"I told you, the kid thinks he's part fish. We keep the doors and the gate locked, or I'm sure we'd find him in the pool some day." He was only partly joking. We were teaching him to swim, and he knew he wasn't allowed near the pool without us. But he was very daring, and with his water wings, he wasn't afraid of deep water.

"Well, anytime you want, we'll be happy to take the little fish for a night. Don't you two have an anniversary coming up soon?" They loved him so much, and they were always glad to keep him for a few hours. Last night had been the first time they'd kept him overnight.

"We do. We'll have to take you up on that offer, so I can take my bride someplace special."

"I want to go someplace special too!" His declaration in that little voice, just made me laugh.

"I'm going to send you to the moon, Squirt." Sterling pulled him from his shoulders and tossed him into the air." I held my breath, always afraid he would drop him, even though I knew he wouldn't. Elliot laughed, as he flew through the air and landed safely in his daddy's arms. Sterling was an amazing dad, and together we had the kind of family I'd always dreamed of having.

Six years ago I married her. As much as her mother argued for a wedding at her church, we decided we wanted something that mattered more to us. Her father swore he wouldn't attend, and wouldn't give us his blessing. He changed his tune a little, when the minister from their church agreed to do the ceremony, and we got married on the beach. She held our son as she walked to where I was waiting for her, and I promised to give them everything. I'd hoped it was enough.

Six years, and I love her more than I did the day we said our vows.

Alissa Brooke was born when Elliot was three. She was an easy pregnancy, and an easy birth, compared to the way her brother came into the world. I loved my son, but his little sister made me change the way I looked at the world. My god, baby girls are so scary! I know what's out there waiting for her, and it's going to kill me when she runs into someone like me—the old me that is. She's this precious little angel, and I can't imagine some asshole treating her the way I treated women. She's only two now, and I'm afraid it's going to get worse as she starts school, becomes a teenager, and eventually grows too big for her daddy to protect her. I count down the years with every birthday, wondering if it will be in as few as twelve years when she first gives herself to someone who doesn't deserve her.

I've already got Elliot in martial arts classes. He's growing so fast, and he's already demanding to be called by his middle name—Harrison.

"Some of the big kids call me Ellie, and that's a girl's name!" His indignation makes me laugh, after growing up with Stacy. I call him Harrison, and his mom calls him Elliot. He's going to break hearts some day—probably ours first. For all the worrying we did before he was born, and even afterward, when we sat beside his crib for hours, he's fine. He's smart and active, and just this happy little kid. Sometimes I can't believe that he's my son.

His little sister is deep water next to his bubbling stream. She's quiet, and shy like her mother. Grandma Linda adores her, and Grandmother Kathleen is bent on lavishing her with every thing a little girl could want. No, I don't allow that; I don't want another Stephanie in my house. Nanna Penny thinks both children are just like those she's given birth to, and I'm afraid some day they're going to come home smuggling a kitten or a pup they won't part with. They're both staying with my dad tonight, and tomorrow they'll go to Kendra's parents, so we can celebrate our anniversary alone.

Her dad and I don't talk much, but he's become a decent grandfather to our kids. He's learned not to preach at us, or we don't bring the kids around, and then he hears it from his wife. I've gotta admire the way Penny has finally come to stand with her daughter against his bigotry and judgment. I think she changed her opinion of me, when we were both sitting on opposite sides of Kendra's bed, when she almost bled to death.

I used to wonder if we'd ever have an easy road. One thing after another seemed to make our life together a challenge. Once we were able to take Elliot home, it's like everything finally clicked into place. We kept the house in Coral Gables, and it's been a great place for the kids. It's been great for us too, and we even host the occasional neighborhood cook-out. I feel disgustingly domesticated.

I still get occasional reminders from my old life. Just last month, Michelle and her husband came to visit us. She's pregnant, and David couldn't be prouder. I hardly recognized her, since she's had a lot of the implants removed. They're expecting twins, and she wants to breast feed them. I kept my mouth shut, and shook his hand.

I got a wedding invitation from LaDonna and her fiance', but it was the same weekend as Elliot's fifth birthday, and we couldn't go. I sent her a gift, and a card wishing her all the best. I also see Heaven quite a bit, since she's the top model with my agency. Janelle knows just how to market her, and she's been a good fit for the company. She's also turned out to be a good fit for Tony as well. They married shortly after I married Kendra, and from what I can see, they're happy together. She schedules her bookings so they don't overlap with their trips and engagements. They're living the kind of life I once wanted, with travel, parties, and high society.

I don't envy them one bit. I wouldn't trade one of Alissa's hugs for any Milan shopping trip. I wouldn't trade hearing my son say, "I have such a cool dad!" for even one vacation on the Riviera. And there's no penthouse suite worth even one of my wife's orgasms.

No, I haven't reformed entirely; I still love to fuck. I just happen to have a woman who can keep up with me. She's everything I ever want. I didn't think it was possible that a woman like this existed. Sometimes she's insatiable, and we just go at it like there's no tomorrow or yesterday. But usually, we're just so caught up in each other, and we could make love for hours.

Of course we have more to do than make love. We do a lot with our kids, and some weekends it's all about parks, birthday parties, and play dates. We spend time in our pool, and we take them to the beach. We do all those family things I used to think of as a dull, life sentence. With Kendra, they're not dull, they're what's real. She keeps me grounded.

More than being my wife and the mother of my children, she needs me. I'm not just her lover, I'm the one who holds her hand and gets her through her disappointments and heart-breaks. I'm the one who encouraged her to go back to school, and I'm the one who makes sure the kids are taken care of when she's in class. She's following her dream to be a veterinarian.

As for me, the modeling industry just doesn't hold the fascination it once did. I no longer have the knack for picking out the next top, self-absorbed, thing. I just don't get excited when I see some pretty young girl, with hip bones, sex appeal, and attitude. They're just too young, too skinny—too not Kendra. I've now got the best agency in the area, but it's because I've had the sense to turn most of the operations over to Janelle, and anyone she recommends. She's the boss, and I'm the owner. I go to the office once a week, just to meet with the staff, and make sure everything's running smoothly.

I'm working with my dad now. I'm surprised how much I loved going back to the beginning, and just taking pictures. With my help, he expanded to do all kinds of photography, not just families and kids—though that is our specialty. We've both won awards, and Marcus tells me he's glad I'm not interested in taking his place. I love my job, taking great photographs, working with my dad, and being home with my family. Hell, forget about the job, I love my life.

Sometimes late at night, I think about where I came from and where my life was heading, and it keeps me up, taking stock of what I have now. I'll lie in bed, watching her sleep, and just be flooded with this overwhelming gratitude. On these nights, I'll get up and go check on the kids, and kiss their little blond heads. I'll slip back into bed with her, and pull her gently against me, kissing her cheek or her neck. Even in her sleep she snuggles against me.

I'm glad we didn't give up. It would have been so easy to toss away something that was dark with tarnish, but instead we made the effort, and worked hard to make it shine. Yeah, that's right, the Silver family shines.

A/N: Thanks to all of you who stuck with me through the end. I'm going to miss Sterling, now that I'm finished with his story. Maybe some day I'll get around to the much needed rewrite. I appreciate every comment and review. If you've picked up this story after it's marked complete, I'd still love to hear what you think about it. I can take criticism, though I'm not as patient when it's a pairing or plot issue.

I'm already working on my next story, and I think you'll like Cole Black Heart. I need to do some research for this one, and that's slowing me down. Cole Black has a radio call-in show, and he gives dating and relationship advice. Some of his advice comes directly from mistakes he's made himself. A publicity gimmick sets him up with a handful of his most prolific callers, and he is expected to date these gals, while his listeners weigh in on who they like and what they've done right or wrong. Sort of like reality radio.