After their guests had all left, everything had been cleaned up and the kids were in bed, Tori went looking for Richie and found him sitting in a lounge chair by the pool enjoying the warm night. When she stood beside him, he looked up, reached for her hand and tugged her down to sit between his legs on the lounge. She leaned back against him and gazed up at the moon and stars.
“I thought the party went well.” His hands trailed idly up and down her arms.
“Mmmhmmm.” She shivered at his touch and the goosebumps that rose on her skin.
“Cold?” He smirked when she shook her head.
Talking quietly, they rehashed the party, relating stories of their friends lives, their hands intertwining and playing with each others fingers. After a short silence Richie spoke again.“Do you want to tell me now what today was really all about?”
Tori sighed, looked down and fingered his wedding ring. “I felt like we were kind of stuck and I wanted to get things moving forward again. Ever since we got back home, we’ve been in alone in our own little world here – except for the guys. I wanted to see what it would be like to be around other people.....other women....especially Heather.”
He nodded. “I figured it was something like that. So did I pass?”
“You did wonderfully, but it was more of a test for me than you. Rationally I know that, Heather aside, the other women here today are not a threat to me or our marriage, but no one ever said that fear is rational. But if we’re going to make it, I have to face my fear and deal with it. You’ve been trying so very hard and I know that I’m the one that’s holding us back from getting at least close to where we were before. And I’m sorry about that.” Her eyes filled with tears.
Richie hugged her close. “It’s okay angel. I know that it takes time to rebuild trust. I’m the one that destroyed it in the first place. I’ll wait as long as it takes to get it back. There’s lots of time.”
She shook her head. “No there isn’t. I’ve got to find a way to get past this before Jon takes you away on tour. I have to have a healthy level of trust before you go gallivanting all over the world without me, or I’ll drive myself crazy worrying about what you could be doing.”
“And the Bongiovi in you won’t let things happen at a natural pace, you have to make it happen. Hence the party and inviting Heather.” She wrinkled her nose at him, but didn’t disagree. “And your bathing suit today was what......to remind me of the prize I could win or lose depending on my behaviour?”
She smirked. “Something like that. It was also to boost my self confidence.”
His brows rose at that. He would never get used to her odd moments of insecurity when it came to her physical appeal or her talent. He didn’t understand how someone so beautiful and so skilled could ever doubt themselves. “I didn’t need the reminder. I’m well aware of what I’d be throwing away if I fucked up again.” His lips twitched. “I will admit that I didn’t mind showing everyone else what a lucky man I am. I got the best prize of all.” She turned her head and kissed him. After a few minutes of silence he asked the question uppermost in his mind even though he was almost afraid of the answer. “Did it work? The party I mean.”
She nodded. “It helped at least. I was a little anxious....well, more than a little actually, when Heather showed up. I wasn’t sure she’d come.” She paused. “I saw a different side of her today. She was friendly, considerate, kind, even funny. Probably more like the woman you married. I watched every nuance of every interaction between the two of you.”
“I know. That’s human nature. Once you’ve been hurt you watch for it to happen again.” He hesitated, but had to say it. “But Tori, you can’t – we can’t – go through life with you watching and waiting for me to hurt you again. That’s no way to live. You miss out on all the good stuff if you’re constantly on the lookout for the bad.”
She shifted so that she could see his face and raised one hand to stroke his cheek. “I know. I’m trying. I promise. In fact, I realized something today. As beautiful as Heather is......and despite your past with her...... or maybe because of it.....she’s not a threat to me or our marriage anymore.”
He resisted the urge to shout in triumph. “What finally brought you to that conclusion?”
“You. The way you look at me, even when we’re surrounded by other people. Like there’s no one else around. Just us. The way you seem to sense when I need a little reassurance, even if it’s just a wink or a touch as you walk by. The connection between us is as strong as it ever was. It’s like my senses constantly reach out for you. I always know where you are. I miss you when you’re not near.” Blue eyes locked with brown. “I do love you, you know.”
He smiled, kissed her palm then bent and kissed her lips. “I know. I love you too.”
A few minutes later, Tori rose from the lounge, took off her sarong and walked to the edge of the pool. She glanced back at him over her shoulder, then dove in. Surfacing, she considered him for a moment, then slid her hands over her hips and down her legs, taking cloth with them. Next her hands went behind her back and to her nape. Two tugs and there was nothing between her skin and the warm water enveloping her body.
Richie watched her throw something onto the concrete surrounding the pool, but couldn’t see what it was in the soft light glowing from the lights scattered around the back yard. It wasn’t until she floated away from him on her back that he realized it was her bathing suit and that she was naked. She crooked a brow at him in challenge. With a grin he stood to answer it, shucking his own bathing suit at the edge of the pool before diving in to join her.
Treading water, she watched him swim underwater towards her and eased back towards the shallow end. When his hands closed around her her calves she took a deep breath, expecting a dunking, but it didn’t happen. Instead, as he surfaced, his hands followed her curves over her hips and slid around her waist to pull her against him. “There’s consequences to teasing your husband you know.”
Her low throaty chuckle hardened him even more as she locked her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist, trusting the buoyancy of the water and the fact that he could stand to keep her head above the surface. She pressed even closer, tangled the fingers of one hand in his hair, and licked and nibbled at his lips. Her hips shifted to better feel his erection with the soft folds between her thighs. “Mmmmm....if this...” She rocked her hips. “....has anything to do with it, I’ll gladly pay the price. Whenever you want.”
He groaned and crushed her against him, his mouth devouring hers, his hands rubbing up and down her back, cupping her bottom, kneading and squeezing her soft flesh, rocking his hips, caressing her most sensitive flesh with his.
Breaking the kiss on a gasp, Tori licked her lips and framed his face with her hands. “Touch me Rich.”
His eyes searched hers a question in the dark depths. Satisfied with what he saw and not needing to be told twice, he walked over to the steps leading out of the shallow end and set her down on the edge. His hands stroked her thighs as he urged her to let go.
Feeling the solid support under her, she loosened her grip to create space between them and let his hands explore. He took full advantage. Long fingers smoothed droplets of water from her shoulders and arms. His hands settled again on her shoulders and eased her back a little more. After a moment’s hesistation she braced her hands behind her and leaned back, exposing her body to him and silently giving him permission to touch her however he wanted.
Tori gaze alternated between his face and his hands on her body. Starting at her collarbone, his large hands stroked down to her waist, then returned to cup and caress the swollen mounds of her breasts. He couldn’t ignore them, but knew he couldn’t handle them like he’d like to either. They were the baby’s territory for a while longer.
Next he turned his attention to her stomach and thighs, rubbing her smooth skin over and over, teasing her with his calloused fingertips. Finally, he focused on the pulsing flesh at the juncture of her thighs. One finger reached out and traced the length of her cleft. His eyes flicked up to her face as her back arched. She sighed and murmured in appreciation. Seeing no signs of fear or that she might stop him, he touched her in ernest, in ways that had been denied him for months. He teased apart her folds with light touches, revealing the swollen nub at the top. This he flicked and rubbed for long minutes, noting that her thighs spread wider and soft moans hummed deep in her throat.
“Mmmmm. Richie.” She sighed.
He looked up and grinned. “Like that huh? How about this?” He slid two fingers inside her hot, moist passage and stroked.
“Oh! Mmmmmm. Oooooh.” Her hips lifted towards his hand, driving him deeper.
Looking down, they both watched his fingers slide in and out of her body. When he would have bent his head to add his lips and tongue to the torture, she stopped him, dragging his mouth to meet hers instead. He got the message. She wasn’t ready for that yet. Abiding by her wishes, he used his other hand to rub and pluck her clit, added a third finger inside her and sped up his strokes.
Tearing her mouth away, Tori looked down at his hand again, chest heaving, her breathing laboured. Her arms began to tremble. The increase in her heartrate was due to more than just his ministrations.
He could feel her tightening around his fingers, and knew she was close. He could also tell she was fighting it. He sensed her fear and caught her gaze. “It’s okay angel. Let go. Trust me. Please!”
The soft glow in the warm chocolate depths was easy for her to recognize. It was love. Taking a deep breath, she released it, and her control, and surrendered to him. A ragged cry was ripped from her throat as his fingers reached deeper yet and pushed her over the edge. Her arms gave out and she sank down onto the ground.
Richie watched the pleasure overtake her, sensed the tremors shaking her, felt her body squeeze his fingers tightly. He slowed the motion of his hand, but kept moving until the spasms passed and her body relaxed. As much as he wanted to carry her inside to their bed, he knew he’d never make it. Standing on the wide bottom step as he was, put him at the perfect height. He stepped closer, gripped her hips, pulled her to the edge of the pool, positioned himself and slid inside her.
Her breath caught and her hands came up to clutch his forearms at the feel of his hardness stretching her still throbbing flesh. “Oh!”
Buried to the hilt, he stopped. “Ok?”
She licked her lips and nodded, her blue eyes dark and hot. “Mmmm. But it seems I’ll be even better very soon.” His deep chuckle had her moaning as it shifted his buried shaft. “Mmmmm yes...more Rich.”
“Yes dear.” He growled and began to move. He kept his thrusts long and slow.
After a couple of minutes, Tori pushed herself into a sitting position, leaned her head against his chest and watched their bodies merge again and again. Seeing what she was doing, Richie hooked his hands under her knees and opened her even more and watched with her.
She took the sweet torture as long as she could, then lifted her head, pushed his hands away, wrapped her legs around his hips and pulled him closer. Deeper. Her arms slid around his neck. She noted his flushed face, and sweat sheened chest. “Please Richie!” Her tongue came out to lick his lips. “Give me more!”
His mouth opened and sucked her teasing tongue deep inside. And thrust harder. For long minutes only their moans, and the sound of the water slapping against the side of the pool drifted on the warm night air. When the tension became too much, her nails dug into his back and she threw back her head to scream her pleasure. Feeling her clamp down on him and her body go rigid in his arms, Richie crushed her even closer, and with a flurry of thrusts followed her into paradise.
It was several minutes before they could even let go enough to separate their bodies, several more before they had the strength to slide into the pool to cool their heated flesh, and several more yet before they had the energy to dry off and walk, arm in arm, into the house and up to bed where they curled up together and slept, another step closer to where they’d been five months before.