Story 92

She kept a fresh pot of coffee on the burner and stepped out on the porch. The cold air of early morning made her shiver. She wrapped her arms around herself and took a deep breath. She could see her breath as she exhaled slowly. It was too cold to be outside in the open; it was too early for her to be out of bed. She was on a vacation here, she had promised herself that she would rest as much as she could. Her therapist had recommended taking a vacation, to take a break from work. She should have been sleeping; cozy underneath the warm sheets, with the man she had come here with.

The whistle of the coffee pot brought her back to the present. She turned around to go inside but stopped as she saw him in the kitchen. He had just climbed out of the bed and was still in his shorts. He removed the coffee pot from the burner and turned to look at her.
“What are you doing up so early?” he asked as he walked close to her and kissed her on the lips. She kissed back reluctantly.
“Couldn’t sleep” she said and walked past him to pick up the coffee-pot.
“Want some coffee?” she asked him out of courtesy.
“Sure” he replied as he closed the door to the porch and sat at the dining table.


She had kept the kitchen door open as she had stepped onto the porch and the cold air had entered the house and it was cold in the kitchen despite the heat being turned on. It was not too cold but definitely cold enough for someone in shorts. She hoped he would excuse himself and put on his jeans or at least wrap a robe around his semi-nude body, but he did nothing of the sort. She tried to ignore him as she poured coffee in two mugs. She walked over to the dining table and handed a mug to him, which he took from her hand and as he did, he made sure to touch her hand, just an excuse to feel her. She smiled.


They finished their coffee in silence. He kept the mugs in the sink and walked back to the dining table but instead of sitting opposite to her, he stood behind her and wrapped his arms around her shoulders and kissed her neck. “It’s cold here” he said as he continued kissing her. “Let’s go back to the bedroom” he said as he kissed her jawline.
“You go ahead, I will be there in a minute” she said, hoping that he would leave her alone. She wanted to be alone, that was the reason she had walked out of the bedroom. She had brought him here but now, she did not want him around. She knew she was being selfish but that’s how she felt.


She stood up and walked away from him. He should have taken the hint but he did not. He walked closer and wrapped his arms around her, holding her in an embrace. She moved his hand over her back and she realized he was feeling the strap of her bra. He moved away from her and looked at her questioningly. “Since when did you start wearing a bra to bed?” he asked.
It was a simple observation, it should have not meant anything but she felt claustrophobic. She felt as if he had violated her privacy. He was getting too close, she thought.


She did not say anything but he read in between the lines.
“You were not going to come back to bed, were you?” he asked. He looked at her, expecting a reply.
“I have some work to do” she gave an excuse.
“We are on vacation” he said, his hands on his hips.


‘We’ that was the second time he had overstepped. She thought they had an understanding. He worked for the rival company and their alliance was based on terms that she would get information and he would, well, get free sex. She was not the kind of person to offer sex for information; actually, she was initially not the kind of person but had now become one. Her therapist told her that it was because of her obsession to reach a goal that always shifted further away from the point she reached. It was because of the kind of childhood she had. It was always about the childhood, she had joked about it to her therapist who had stared at her without saying a word. That was, he told her later, her way of denying the truth.


“Just leave me alone” she said. He looked hurt when he turned around to go without saying a word. She took a deep breath. She was turning into this mean person she hated herself. She walked to the living room and sat on the couch. She held her head in her hands.


Things had seemed perfect in the beginning. He gave her inside information that helped her bag quite a few projects for her company. Their chance meeting had turned beneficial for her. Thinking about it now, she realised, she seemed more like a prostitute than a businesswoman. What was she thinking? Well, she was not thinking, a little voice in her head said.


True, she saw him and her reasoning flew out the open window. She hated to admit but she was attracted to him. In the conference room, when the decision was being made, all she could think about was how handsome he was and wondered how he was beneath the layer of clothes he wore.
She had asked him out that day after the meeting and that night she had attacked him like a predator attacked a prey. It was the fiercest and satisfying sex of her life.


She got up from the couch and walked towards the bedroom. She had expected him to be asleep but found him standing at the window. He had opened the window allowing the chill of early morning to enter the bedroom. He had put on his jeans but was still shirtless.
“I am sorry” she said as she walked towards him. He looked at her and smiled. She thought about how he had smiled at her the first time they had met.
“I know you want to be alone. And, I am sorry for ruining the moment for you.” He apologized. Maybe, he got the hint that she did not want him there anymore.


“I was thinking, maybe, I should leave.” He continued.
“No” she replied spontaneously, surprising herself. “I don’t want you to leave.” She said and kissed him on the lips.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and smiled.
“I hate this” he said, taking a deep breath.
“Hate what?” she asked, concern in her voice.
“That I have to peel off all the layers of clothing you have put on” he said and smiled.
She laughed and wrapped her arms around his neck and he picked her up in his arms and took her to bed.


---


Ten months later, she stood at the same spot on the porch. Thinking about the changes in her life. A couple of months after their vacation at this place she had two shocks of her life – 1. She found out that he was not only the inside man who fed her information; he was, in fact, the owner of the company whose information he leaked. And 2. She found out that she was pregnant with his child.
It took some time for her to process both information.
Why would someone do that? Why did he agree to the arrangement when it resulted in loss to his company? The answer was right there in front of her but she did not want to see it.
She was sure what she was going to do about the pregnancy but she was not sure, then, whether she would tell him about it. She avoided him for weeks after the news.

Finally, she gave in. Like she had months ago. She had given in to the fact that their relationship was beyond the arrangement they had made for themselves. The arrangement was merely an excuse for them to keep away from the truth both of them had been unwilling to accept. They were in love with each other.

She called him one day out of the blue and told him the news. She was not sure how he would take it. He proposed marriage to her the same night and she said yes.
Couple of months into the marriage, she signed an agreement wherein she named him the co-owner of her company. She was ready to settle. She let him handle all the affairs of her company. She wanted out of the race. She was finally contented with her life.



She stepped back into the house and closed the door. She adjusted the temperature as she walked back to the bedroom. She smiled looking at the person sleeping in her bed. He meant the world to her. She climbed into bed next to him and kissed his forehead. He moved in his sleep. She hoped he would not wake up, it had taken hours for her to put him to sleep. He had been restless after she had breast-fed him; she wondered whether she had done something wrong. She had moved around, holding him straight in her arms, patting his back and he had given a loud burp and then he had laughed and she laughed too, until she had tears in her eyes.


She was still watching her son sleep when the bathroom door opened and his father stepped out. He climbed in bed next to his son and when he was sure his son was still asleep, he kissed his wife.

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