Friday, October 7, 2011

Chapter 29

Richie took a deep breath as he paused inside the doorway, looking around for signs of life.  It was 7:10 a.m. and Eddie’s Texaco was obviously open for business, one of the twin roll-up doors raised and lights burning in the garage bay.  But the kindly proprietor was nowhere in sight.

Richie scrubbed his hands over his stubbly cheeks, trying to make himself fully alert.  He had gotten only a few hours of sleep before Annie roused him to begin their day.  He cleared his dry throat before raspily announcing his presence.

“Eddie? You here?”

A moment later he heard the big man’s muffled voice, sounding from the little bathroom in back of the bay.

“Yeah. That you, Richie?”

“Yes Sir.” 

“Hang on.  I’ll be out in a minute.”

Richie shoved his hands in his jeans pockets and wandered over to the tool bench against the wall.  There he noticed a medium-sized cardboard box, one bottom corner smashed in and its top flaps angled open.  The black print on the side of the kraft cardboard confirmed Richie’s suspicion.  It was the new thermostat for his Impala.

Pushing aside the cardboard flaps, Richie stared into the box.  The part was new, its shiny metal glinting with a light sheen of oil.  Richie felt a stab of dread in the pit of his stomach as he regarded the little gadget, wondering how much much its installation would cost.  He muttered a silent prayer that this was the only problem in the Impala’s greasy, worn engine.  If this part wasn’t the fix, a more extensive repair could cost him much, much more.

During his morning shower Richie had realized today was the day he would have to come up with some means of financing the Impala’s repair.  The weekend’s events had pushed his money worries to the back of his mind.  But the weekend was over, and now he had to face reality.

While Annabelle was dressing Richie had dug through his rucksack, looking for his checkbook.  When he flipped through the tattered register his heart sank.  He had only thirty-six dollars in his account, and maybe twenty dollars and change in his pocket.  That was all he had to his name. 

He was pretty sure the Impala’s repair would cost far more than that.

Over his coffee Richie had pondered what to tell Eddie about his financial situation, and how to make some quick cash to settle his debt.   He didn’t think the little town of Darien had a pawn shop, and he didn’t really have anything of value to sell anyway.  His guitar and his car were his only possessions worth anything, and only one of them was in working order.

A lump formed in Richie’s throat at the idea of pawning his guitar.  He just couldn’t do that, not now.  Not when the music was finally coming back to him.

For a fleeting moment Richie considered the possibility of using his talent to earn some cash.  After all, he had been able to scratch out a living in Memphis playing his guitar.  But this wasn’t Memphis; Darien didn’t have any nightclubs or music halls where he could play for tip money.  The only places where music was played here seemed to be a backwater Juke Joint and Church.  There wasn’t even really a place for him to busk on the three-block-long main street.  In this little town, his talent was basically useless.

By the time Annie was ready to drive them to town, he had nothing.  As he sat silent in the passenger seat of the old pickup truck, Richie decided he would have to wait and see how things went.  Maybe once he knew what kind of money he would have to come up with, an idea would present itself to him.

The only thing that had kept Richie from slipping into despair this morning was Annie.  He awakened to find her smiling down on him like the angel he knew her to be.  She had kissed him good morning, given him a cup of coffee, then curled against him on the porch swing to watch the sunrise before reluctantly slipping away to shower and dress for her shift at the restaurant. 

Sweet memories of their previous night’s passion made Richie smile despite his worry.  She was his salvation, no matter what happened.  As long as he was with Annie, everything would be alright.

Richie heard a door creak open, followed by the whoosh of a flushing toilet.  Eddie emerged from the washroom, drying his hands on a dingy red shop rag.  He was dressed exactly as he had been when Richie had last seen him here, in faded, grease-stained blue coveralls and scuffed work boots.

“Mornin’ Son.” 

“Mornin’ Sir.”  Richie pulled his hands from his jeans pockets as he turned to face the big mechanic.  He reached out to accept Eddie’s damp hand, extended in greeting.

“You have a nice Sunday?”

Richie nodded, a small smile curving his mouth.  “Yeah.  You?”

“Sure did.   Nice and quiet.”   Eddie gave Richie an appraising look.  “You and Annabelle didn’t stick around too long at the potluck.  She take you someplace?”

“No.  Just back to her house.” Richie shuffled his feet as he flinched under Eddie’s ill-disguised interrogation.  “She had chores to take care of, so I just helped out.  Mowed the yard, worked in the garden.”

Eddie snorted a quiet chuckle.  “So much for Sunday as a day of rest, huh?  Marlene had me pullin’ out bushes and weedin' her flower beds all afternoon too.”  He stuffed the rag in his pocket and clapped Richie on the shoulder.  “Well, now it’s back-to-work time.  Let’s see about gettin’ you back on the road North.”

Richie tried to muster a grateful smile as his heart throbbed dully at Eddie’s declaration.  For some strange reason he felt almost guilty that he wasn’t planning to head back to Jersey when his car was fixed, as he had promised on Saturday. 

Richie remembered Eddie’s gentle warning, when they had sat in his office and had their man-to man talk.  Think twice about Annabelle before leaving her lonely.  Well, he wasn’t planning to leave her at all.  He was going to start a new life here in Darien, with her. 

Richie's smile faded.  He had been bursting with excitement yesterday, at the idea of spending every day and night with Annie.  But now his happiness felt somehow hollow, like a compromise.

“Go ahead and pop the hood.”  Eddie waved a hand in the direction of the Impala, which was parked on the pavement apron outside the garage.  “We should be able to fix ‘er without havin’ to get 'er up on the lift.”

“Okay.”  Richie nodded and turned to look at the beat-up sedan.  A little sigh escaped from him as he regarded the old car.

“Son… Things okay?”

The note of kind concern in Eddie’s voice made Richie look back at him in surprise.
“Huh?  Umm… yeah, I guess.  Why?”  He hoped he didn’t sound worried as the image of his pathetic checkbook register flashed in his mind.

“You just look like you got somethin’ on your mind, is all.” Eddie gave Richie a fatherly smile. “A girl, maybe?”

His allusion to Annie made the corners of Richie’s mouth twitch slightly upward, a tiny motion that wasn’t lost on Eddie. 

“Nah.  All good.”

“Well, okay then.  Let’s get to work.”

Annie swiped the cloth absently across the counter as she gazed out the plate-glass window.  A little smile curved her lips as she watched the two men ducked under the Impala’s raised hood, working together on the day’s task.

Eddie was clearly explaining the internal combustion engine’s workings to Richie, his lecture apparent from his animated hand gestures.  Richie watched and nodded along, his dark hair swinging with the motion.  But his body language betrayed his inattention.  He shifted from one foot to the other, then finally stepped back and stood upright.  Richie glanced toward the little diner across the street as he raised a hand to swipe back his shaggy bangs from his face.

Annie’s lips pursed thoughtfully as she wondered what was on Richie’s mind.  This morning he hadn’t seemed himself; at least not like the Richie she had come to know over the course of the weekend.  He also hadn’t seemed to have reverted to the haunted sadness he had carried into town with him. 

Today was different.  He was different.

Something had changed.

Annie shook her head slowly, trying to clear away a shadow of worry.  The answer was as obvious as it was unwelcome.  What was different wasn’t Richie… it was Them.

Annabelle had felt a connection with the handsome young stranger the moment he first flashed his shy smile. Their bond had quickly grown as they recognized in each other kindred spirits and mutual desire.  This weekend they had shared more than just a bed.  They had shared dreams, hopes, truths, and fears.  Passion and pain.  Hearts and souls. 

They had shared each other.  Fully.

He had told her he loved her.

And then he didn’t.

Something had changed.

Annie’s gaze followed Richie as he turned to face Tillie’s front window.  He gave her a little half-smile and a brief wave before striding into the shadows of the garage bay.  Annie smiled in response to the gesture but didn’t move.  She just continued to wipe at the grey formica as her thoughts continued to swirl.

Last night had been special.  What she and Richie shared was so deeply intimate, in more ways than one.  She let go of her inhibitions and trusted him to please her in a way she had never allowed any other man.  He had shared with her something special and personal of his own… his music.

His music.  It was beautiful.  Soulful, touching… even elegant.  And he had thanked her for bringing it back to him.

After their lovemaking she had lain awake and listened to him softly singing and playing on her front porch, just outside her bedroom window.  She didn’t recognize any of the words or melodies or chords… they were rough and new, born of the night.  It was as if she was listening to Richie’s soul whisper through his guitar, sharing his secrets with the moonlight.

For nearly an hour she waited for Richie to come back to her bed, to hold her and share in her contentment.  But he kept playing.  Finally she had fallen asleep to the lullaby of guitar strings and his soft croon.

Yes, something had definitely changed.  For both of them.

“I think that spot’s clean there, Missy.”

Tillie’s calm observation startled Annie from her contemplation.  Looking down at the tepid rag in her hand, Annie chortled quietly.  “Is it?”

Tillie brushed past Annabelle to deposit a stack of freshly-washed plastic tumblers under the counter.  “Eddie’s gettin’ Richie’s car up and runnin’?”

Annie tossed the rag aside.  “Suppose so.  Chick Newton brought the part they were waitin’ on over Saturday, right about closin’ time.”

“Mmm.”  Tillie straightened and gave Annabelle a long once-over.  “And did he have a nice time prayin’ at church with you yesterday?”

Resisting the urge to roll her eyes, Annie nodded.  “Yes, Ma’am, he did.  As you know very well.  I’m sure Miss Adeline filled you in at your Sunday card game.”  She arched a brow at the older woman, waiting for the questions to come.  She had no doubt speculation about her and Richie’s weekend activities had been the hot topic at the Darien Ladies’ Bridge Club.

“And how ‘bout after church?  You two didn’t stay to help clean up after lunch.”  Tillie gave Annie a direct look.  “Guess you had somewhere to go?”

“We went home.  I had my chores to do.  And Richie was getting’ tired of everybody starin’ at him and whisperin’ behind his back.”  Annabelle planted her hands on her hips and gave Tillie a defiant little smirk.

“Well, can’t blame folks.”  Tillie wiped her hands on her apron.  “You two givin’ ‘em plenty to talk about, apparently.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Tillie moved past Annie, toward the coffee pot.  “Well, it ain’t like you two were home watchin’ the TV on Saturday night.”  She slid a cup and saucer from the line at the back of the counter and picked up the pot.  She slowly poured a cup, then turned to give her God-daughter a questioning look.

“Yeah, so?  We went to Ruby Mae’s.  You know I go there on Saturday nights.”  Annie waited for Tillie’s disapproving response, but none came.  “What’s so interestin’ about that, that’s got the town all buzzin’?”

Tillie took a sip of her coffee before calmly replying.  “You don’t usually go there with some long-haired, guitar-playin’ Yankee Boy.”

“And?  It’s not like everybody in town didn’t already know Richie’s entire life story by the time we got to Ruby Mae’s.”  Annie couldn’t keep the thick sarcasm from her response.  She snorted derisively.  As much as she loved the people in this little town, sometimes their nosiness drove her crazy.

And.”  Tillie gave Annabelle a stern look.  “From the sounds of things you were mighty friendly with each other.”

Annie threw her hands up in exasperation.  Her honey-blonde curls bounced with the quick shake of her head.  “Oh, Hell, Miss Tillie… we were just dancin’ together.”

“Annabelle, language.” Tillie warned.

Ignoring her scold, Annie continued.  “God forbid a grown man and a grown woman go out and have a good time dancin’ and drinkin’ and listenin’ to music on a Saturday night!”

“Annabelle!”  Tillie’s second warning was sharp.  “Don’t you get fussy with me.  I’m just sayin’ what I heard.”

Annie exhaled noisily in frustration.  “Sorry.  This just makes me crazy.  I suppose Richie and I were doin’ more than just dancin', according to what you heard?”

Tillie allowed a little smirk to crack her serious demeanor.  While she wasn’t wild about the Girl spending time at a rough place like Ruby Mae’s, she had been secretly happy to hear Annabelle had gone there in Richie’s company.  Even if he was a stranger, Tillie was reasonably sure Richie would let no harm come to Annie if things got a little out of hand at that place.

“Why, were you?”

Annie’s lips parted with a little gasp of surprise, then pressed into a firm line.  She was just ready to fire off her denial when she saw the little twinkle in Miss Tillie’s blue eyes.  She realized she had answered the woman’s question with her reaction.   Despite her annoyance, she smiled. 

“Well, Miss Tillie… this town’s gonna believe what they want, so what I did or didn’t do doesn’t really matter, now does it?”  Annie crossed her arms over her chest and gave her gold curls a defiant toss.

“I heard what that Hippie Boy was doin’ out at Ruby Mae’s with Annie.”  Otis’ grinning ebony face appeared in the kitchen order window.  His deep brown eyes twinkled merrily.  “I hear Hippie Boy was burnin’ it UP with the Band.”

Grateful for the interruption, Annie turned to smile at Otis.  “Now that is true.”  Annie wagged a finger at Tillie.  “And that’s from a reliable source.”

“Don’t you shake no finger at me, Young Lady,” Tillie warned good-naturedly.  “And how do you know where Otis heard that?”

Annie turned back to the cook, her face now lit with a smile.  “Sammy told you, didn’t he?”

“He sho’ did.  Said Richie borrowed his guitar and stood up wit' the band.  And WHOOOO!  Did Hippie Boy PLAY!”  Otis shook his head to accent his exclamation.  “Sammy said was like Richie ‘been playin’ with them all along.”

Annie nodded excitedly.  “And he sang, too.  Oh, Otis… his voice.  It’s just amazin’.  He sang 'Johnny Be Goode' and 'House of the Risin’ Sun'.”  She sighed dreamily, recalling the fiery flush of desire that had raced through her at the sound of Richie’s soulful voice.

“Yeah, Sammy said he was good, that Hippie Boy.”  Otis chuckled at Annie’s swooning.  “We oughta sign him up to the Church choir.  Bet he could sing him some Gospel.”

Annie giggled, the vision of Richie in a white choir robe popping into her mind.  “Yeah, he’d be great.  ‘Specially at your Church.  Think your kinda hymns are a little more to his likin’.”  She sighed again.  “But I betcha I can talk him into joinin’ our choir.  Miss Adeline says we need more men, and his voice is so strong…”

Tillie cut her off.  “What do you mean, talk Richie into joinin’ the choir?  Ain’t he goin’ home soon as Eddie gets him fixed up?”

Friday, September 9, 2011

Chapter 28

 Annabelle raised her head to glance at Richie.  She saw he was still staring at her, his mouth open and bewilderment painting his handsome face.  She felt a wave of shame sweep through her, dampening the want that still simmered in her core. 

Jesus, what was she doing?  Why the Hell was she letting this bother her now?  Of all the lovers she had had, Richie was the one who made her feel bold, free, wild, uninhibited… and safe.

So why the Hell did she just get a sudden attack of modesty?

“Annie… I….” Richie tried again to engage.  “What… did… did I do something… wrong?”

Annie sighed heavily.   “No.  God, no, Richie.  It’s not you.  It’s… me.”  She gave him a weak smile.  “I’m sorry.”

“But… Uh… I don’t get it.” Richie raised a hand to scratch his head.  “I thought we were having a good time.”

“We were.  We are…” Annabelle felt her cheeks heat again with shame, as much for how unfair she was being to Richie as for her own embarrassment.   She took a deep breath.  “Sorry.  Hey…”  Annie gave Richie a half-hearted attempt at a sexy smile.  “Let me make it up to you.”

Pushing herself up to sit, Annie scooted down on the bed beside Richie.  He jumped when he felt her hand on his lap, her fingers curling around his still-ready cock.  Richie gasped with surprise and gave Annie another wide-eyed stare.

“But… Annie…” he protested weakly.  “We were gonna take our time… I was gonna…”  Richie watched Annabelle drop her eyes again to his lap, a sheepish little smile turning her mouth as her cheeks darkened in the moonlight.

Suddenly he understood.

“Annie…” Richie’s hand closed around hers on his dick.  He grunted softly when it throbbed in protest.  “Are you… um…” Richie fidgeted a little, not quite knowing how to say it without embarrassing her further.  “Didn’t you… want me to… uh… go… uh… down there?”

Annabelle didn’t answer.  She just let out a little breath.

Richie could hardly believe it.  The way Annie was acting was so out of character for the woman he had come to know.  She was bold, self-assured, adventurous, and way naughtier than he had ever imagined her to be.  Hell, last night she had drank and smoked grass with him, literally dared him to fuck her, then rode him like a Cowgirl under the wide-open Georgia sky.  And then this morning… she teased him in church for fuck’s sake… and blew him on the front porch…

Despite his bewilderment Richie smirked slightly.  He felt bad for Annie, but he found her modesty almost sweet.  Ill-timed and frustrating, but sweet.  And just maybe this was something he could help her with, after all the help she had given him.

“Annie…”  Richie gently removed her hand from his cock, then laced his fingers between hers and pulled their twined hands to his chest.  “You don’t have to be embarrassed.  I just… I didn’t… know.”

Annie shrugged and settled onto her side, bending her arm to prop up her head.  Her gaze rested on her hand, twined with Richie’s, as she chuckled half-heartedly.  “I know.  It’s stupid.” She looked up, her eyes meeting his as she smiled sheepishly.  “But we don’t have to stop.  I still want you, Richie.”  She chuckled again.  “Actually, I really want you.”

“Baby, I want you too,” Richie replied earnestly.  “But… I just… I want it to be good for you too.  As good as it is for me.”

Annie smiled.  “Oh, it will be.  If last night wasn’t a fluke, anyway.”

Richie chuckled, then pulled Annie’s hand to his lips.  “It wasn’t. That I can guarantee.”  He gave her a cocksure grin, then his smile gentled.  “Can I ask you something?”

“Uh huh.” Annie nodded, her blonde waves swaying in the moonlight.  “Go ahead.”

Richie gave Annabelle what he hoped was a sincere look.  “Have you ever had… had a guy… go down on you?”

Annie felt warmth rush to her cheeks again but she held Richie’s gaze.  “Actually… yeah.  Once.”  She felt Richie’s hand tighten around hers in a gentle squeeze.  Reassured by the little gesture, Annie took a deep breath and continued.  “The summer after high school.  It was… uh…” She paused and sighed.  “God, Richie.  I don’t know why this is so embarrassin’ for me.”

“Just say it, Annie.  I won’t laugh.  Promise.”

Annie regarded Richie for a moment before sighing again.  “Okay.  It was a guy I’d been seein’ for awhile, most of senior year.  He always wanted to… uh… go ‘Down South’.   I would never let him.”  She smiled sheepishly.  “I may be a modern girl, but I was brought up by a proper church-goin’ Southern Lady.  And doin’ that ain’t proper.”

Richie had to fight to stifle a chuckle at Annie’s choice of words.  No, “proper” was definitely not a word anyone would use to describe muff-diving.  Of that Richie was certain.

“Uh… okay.  So it was kinda like… guilt, huh?” Richie gave Annie a little grin.  “I get that. I’m Catholic, for fuck’s sake.”

Annie giggled.  “Yeah, I guess so.  Maybe ‘guilt’ is a little too strong a word, though.”  Her nose crinkled as she grimaced.  “It’s just… just so dirty.”

“Yeah, but… That’s what makes it so good.”  Richie’s grin softened.  “I mean… it’s so… like… intimate, ya know?  It’s like a privilege or somethin’, when a girl lets a guy do that.”

Annie couldn’t hold Richie’s gaze as she felt another flush of shame paint her cheeks.  “Well… maybe.”  She dropped her eyes to their clasped hands and wiggled her fingers against Richie’s chest, not really knowing how to counter Richie’s argument.  Or if she wanted to.

“So, you finally let this guy do it, and… You didn’t like it?”  Richie couldn’t help but cut to the chase.  He didn’t want to embarrass Annabelle further, but he was getting impatient. 

Annie shook her head.  “No.”  She chuckled quietly.  “Now mind you, I’m all for some good foreplay.  What you were doin’ to me earlier, strokin’ me…” Annie purred softly, then gave Richie a shy smile.  “And I’m no prude.  Ya know, sometimes it’s a good long time between boyfriends and… Well, a Girl’s got needs.”

Richie couldn’t hold back a chuckle at that.  Annie had obviously relaxed a little; her humor had returned.  “Yeah, I know.  Guys got even more needs than Girls do.  Like daily needs.”  Richie grinned self-depricatingly.

Annie giggled.  “Yeah, well… Anyway.  I finally figured ‘Well, Hell.  It supposedly feels really good, and if I just don’t watch, just get caught up in the moment… well, I’ll be happy, he’ll be happy. It’s a win-win, right?’ “

“Sounds like it to me.  But it didn’t work out that way?”

“No.  Most certainly not.”  Annie’s firm tone made Richie stifle another chuckle.  “It was awful.  And uncomfortable.  He just was too… Well, too… hard, or fast, or eager, or somethin’.”  She blew out a frustrated little sigh.  “And I just… I just don’t like…”  Annie paused, then gave Richie a little grin.  “Gawd, I can’t believe I’m tellin’ you this.  I just didn’t like that guy nosin’ around down there.”

Richie couldn’t help himself.  He snorted a laugh at Annabelle’s choice of words.  Almost immediately he gave her a guilty grin.  “I’m sorry.  Really… I’m not laughing at you.  It’s just…”

Annabelle giggled softly and pushed at Richie’s chest with their joined hands.  “I know, I know.  S’okay.”  Her smile gentled.  “So anyway, now that you think I’m crazy, that’s that.  And I am sorry, Richie.  I didn’t mean to ruin the moment.”

Richie’s smile softened as he gave Annie’s hand another squeeze.  “So that guy.  The one that was really bad at… that.  Did you like him much?”

Annie shrugged.  “He's okay.  Nice enough.  I’ve known him forever, still see him now and again.  But I wasn’t exactly interested in spendin’ the rest of my life with him.  Why?”

“Because.”  Richie dropped his gaze to their joined hands, pausing for a beat.  His lips pursed thoughtfully before he looked back up at Annabelle.  “Maybe the problem wasn’t you.  Maybe it was the guy.”

Annie’s blue eyes widened as she heard the persuasive note in Richie’s tone.  She shook her head slightly.  “Naw, I don’t think so… I just… well...”  Her husky voice trailed off as she realized she couldn’t really explain her hangup over this particular act.

“You said he… it… was uncomfortable.”  Richie felt his pulse quicken a tic as he saw Annie’s hesitance.  She could have flatly closed the topic, but he could almost see the wheels turning in her pretty head as she considered his words.  

Suddenly Richie wanted more than anything for Annabelle to let him show her how it should be done, to erase her guilt or modesty or fear or what the Hell ever she had about being on the receiving end of oral sex.

Richie’s lips curled into a persuasive smirk.  He knew he could open Annie up to a whole new plane of pleasure.  After all, if there was one thing he was good at besides playing guitar, it was eating pussy.

Richie gave Annie’s hand a little squeeze before he began to pull it slowly down his torso, their fingers still entwined.   “Just maybe…” His voice had lowered to a silky croon.  “Maybe this… Boy… didn’t know what he was doing.”  He felt his abs clench as the back of Annie’s hand brushed over his navel, then bumped against his head.  He swallowed his quiet gasp at the contact.

The husky timbre of Richie’s voice drew Annie’s gaze to his face.  Her lips parted in a silent gasp when she saw his soulful brown eyes shining in the dim light.  His knowing smile sent a little tingle of nervous anticipation through her core.

“I…” Annie could barely whisper, hypnotized by Richie’s expression.

Gently Richie untangled his fingers from Annie’s, nudging her hand a bit toward his groin in the process.  He bit back another little groan as his cock jumped at the contact.  Turning his hand over, Richie traced his touch around Annie’s navel, then downward.  

“Annie… do you trust me?”  A long finger slipped through her curls and between her slickened folds.  Richie felt another surge through his groin at her damp warmth.

“Oh!” Annie gasped softly, her breasts lifting with the abrupt  exhalation.  “I… yes…”  Annie’s fingertips curled against Richie’s groin, tangling in the wiry curls there.  She saw the question repeated in Richie’s smoldering gaze.  “Yes, Richie.  I… I trust you.”

“Okay.”  Richie’s slow stroke reached the hardened little bud of her womanhood.  He watched Annie’s lashes flutter as he circled her clit, then slipped his fingertip downward again.  “This feels good, yeah?”

“Yeeessss….” Annie breathed. 

Richie leaned forward to brush his mouth over hers.  “Trust me, Annie…” he breathed against the kiss before moving his lips to her shoulder.  He gave her warm skin a gentle nip before pushing himself up on his elbow. 

Annie watched him, her eyes wide and swirling midnight with arousal.  Again she felt a little flush of shame as she realized Richie’s intent.  She swallowed hard, shoving her embarrassment aside.  When Richie withdrew his hand from between her thighs she sucked in a deep breath before allowing him to guide her onto her back with a gentle push at her hip.

“Relax, Baby,” Richie crooned.  He hoped he sounded calm and soothing, since inside his heart was racing with excitement and his pulse was pounding in his head.  The last thing he wanted to do was make Annie nervous now, as he was coaxing her to let go of her inhibitions.  “Trust me.”  

Shifting downward on the mattress so that his hip was on the lower edge, Richie dropped his mouth to Annabelle’s hip.  He sucked lightly at its point before trailing a lighter line of kisses across her pelvis, tracing the line where the lacy band of her panties had lain.

Annabelle moaned softly at the warmth of Richie’s lips on her sensitive skin.  Again she felt a spike of nerves as Richie’s soft hair trailed across her hip while his mouth traversed her lower abdomen.  Her hands curved into a half-clench as she fought the urge to tangle her fingers in Richie’s mane and stop his delicious torture before it went too far. 

“Trust me, Annie…”

With a soft snort of frustration Annie raised her hands to tangle in her own hair, depriving them of the chance to interfere.  She heard Richie’s soft chortle as he pulled his mouth from her skin, then she felt the mattress shift as he slid off its edge to kneel on the floor.

“Oh, God…” Annie breathed.  The utterance was as much a repent as it was a sigh of pleasure. Her womb clenched in anticipation of Richie’s next move.

Richie paused for a moment, kneeling at the foot of the bed.  His eyes swept hungrily over Annabelle’s beautiful naked body.  She looked absolutely delicious, her long lashes closed against her cheeks, her soft hair glinting gold in the moonlight, her creamy breasts cresting and falling with her quick, shallow breaths. 

He knew she would taste even more luscious than she looked.

As if in response to his thoughts, Annie shifted on the bed, pulling her thighs closer together.  Richie smirked at her reaction.  She wouldn’t be in that position for long.

“Jesus, Annie… you’re so damned beautiful…” Richie’s soft voice carried a soothing, almost musical note as he raised his hands to rest lightly on her knees.  Gently he slid his touch up her thighs, his fingers curling to the insides of her legs.  Richie watched Annie’s full lips part with her soft gasp as his calloused fingertips inched higher.  Her eyes remained closed though her expression betrayed her arousal.

Richie sank into his kneel to place his lips against the inside of Annabelle’s thigh.  “Baby, I’m gonna make you feel so good…” he crooned against her skin.  As he licked at her flesh he pushed gently against her knees, urging her to open further to him.  With a little whimper Annabelle responded.

“God, yeah…. There you go…” Richie purred in response.  He shifted again on his knees, standing up a little more as his mouth traveled higher up Annie’s thigh.  As he turned his head to give attention to its twin, Richie’s shaft pressed against the side of the mattress.  He groaned as he felt a little surge of moisture at the impact. 

Richie realized he was so aroused by what was about to happen he could barely control his cock.  He hoped fervently he didn’t lose that battle and blow his load before he was able to finish Annie off.

“Richie…” Annabelle sighed hoarsely as she felt his soft hair brush over her thighs.  She squirmed a little at the tickle, but the sensation was quickly replaced by the warm pressure of Richie’s mouth moving over the flesh of her thighs.  “Oh… Oh God…”  Annabelle’s fists tightened in her hair.

The breathy pitch of Annie’s soft moan excited Richie even more.  He sucked a little harder at her thigh as his dick throbbed again against the side of the bed.  He could smell her, he could taste her on her own skin.  Richie raised his head just enough to look up, across Annie’s supine body and between the mounds of her breasts to her beautiful face. 

Annabelle felt Richie’s mouth leave her skin, and his movement still.  Despite herself she slowly opened her eyes and looked down her body at him, wondering what he was doing.  Her heart skipped when she saw him gazing back at her, an expression of pure passion painting his handsome features.

“Baby… Trust me.”

Annie stared at Richie for a moment, then felt another wave radiate through her body.  But this time it wasn’t nerves or shame or even passion… it was calm.  It was as if Richie’s husky command had soothed her at this most delicate moment, the one she feared.  Annabelle’s fingers relaxed in her hair, letting the thick tendrils slip from her grasp.  Her eyes not leaving Richie’s face, she pushed herself up to her elbows and gazed back at him for a long moment.  Then she nodded before her whisper.


Her look, her word, her beauty, her breath…  they set Richie aflame.  He sucked in a deep breath and leaned hard against the mattress as his dick surged mightily.  Richie’s eyes squinted closed as he held his breath, willing his impending climax to subside, to hold off until he could fulfill his promise to Annabelle.   He hadn’t counted on her submission being so fucking sexy.

“Richie?”  Her voice was husky, with a faint note of concern.

“Yeah…” Richie gasped.  “I.. I’m okay.  Gimme a minute.”  He closed his eyes and breathed deeply, in and out, until he felt the heat in his groin subside a bit.  Then Richie forced his eyes open.  Annabelle’s face swam into focus, her expression a cross between concern and amusement.

“I… Sorry.” Richie rasped.  “You just look so Goddamned sexy, looking at me like that.”

Annie gave him a demure little smile.  “Sorry.  You okay?”

Richie gave a quick nod of his head as he felt his balls tighten again.  It wouldn’t be long for him.  And judging from the darkness of desire in Annabelle’s eyes and the little beads of perspiration shining in the valley between her breasts, it wouldn’t be long for her either.  Especially with what he was about to do for her.

“Stay there.” Richie commanded softly.  “Watch.”

Annie’s lower lip quivered slightly, then she slowly nodded as she stuffed down one last little pang of embarrassment.   “Okay.”

Richie kept his gaze locked with hers as he lowered his face between her thighs.  He didn’t have to look; her sweet, musky scent guided him to the place he sought.  He saw Annie’s blue eyes widen as his lips parted, then closed over the apex of her downy cleft.

“Mmmmm….” Richie couldn’t help but groan, his lids drifting closed with pleasure.  Her scent and her taste engulfed him, overwhelmed him.  He suckled at the damp golden curls in his mouth for a moment before allowing his tongue to press forward, sliding firmly up the tender flesh to the firm little bud at the top.

“OHHH!!!”  Annie’s whimper made Richie’s eyes flicker open.  But this time her cry was one of pleasure, not of panic.  Annie’s hips automatically pulsed forward against Richie’s mouth as again his tongue swiped slowly over her inner flesh.

“Mmmf… Ammy…” Richie wasn’t willing to pull his mouth from her to fully form his moan.  His hands moved to Annabelle’s hips, pushing down, restraining her gently against the bed as his mouth widened to more fully taste her.  

He hazily reminded himself to go slow, to take it easy.  He wanted to devour her, to satisfy his own hunger, to bury his face in her pussy and smear her sweet juices from ear to ear.  But he didn’t want to freak her out like that other guy had done, to make her cut him off again.

No, this was for Annie, not for him. 

Annabelle could hardly believe what she was seeing or feeling.  She stared, shyly fascinated with the sight of Richie’s mouth on her.  It was somehow erotically beautiful, watching Richie’s dark bangs curling over his forehead, his hair fanned across her creamy thighs, and his lush lashes fringing his smooth cheeks just above her own tawny curls.

And how it felt… A low moan slipped from Annie’s throat as Richie’s tongue swept over her tender flesh in soft, full strokes.  It was as if he was burning her womb with each long lick, leaving trails of sparks along the path.  Again she tried to buck up against his mouth but found her hips restrained by his big hands.

“Oh… Oh Hell… Oh Richie…”  Annie could do little more than pant.  She almost cried out when he stopped, raising his face to look at her.

“Okay, Baby?” 

Annie felt her cheeks flush with heat as the moonlight glinted off Richie’s mouth and chin, shiny with her juices.  But her blush was mirrored by another jolt of electricity through her core as her pussy protested the sudden cessation of attention.  The primal urge quickly overrode the more modest one.

“Oh… oh… Yeah…” Annie breathed, staring back at Richie between the heaving mounds of her breasts, now slick with perspiration.

Richie smirked at her expression.  “Feels good, don’t it, Baby?”  He lowered his head again, still smirking up at her, to nibble at the moist curls covering her mound.  “You taste so fucking good…”

“Richie…” Annie’s whine was plaintive as she again pulsed her hips up toward Richie’s mouth, silently begging for more. 

Richie chuckled in reply.  His hands slid from Annie’s hips down her thighs to her knees.  Hooking underneath the joints, Richie firmly pulled Annie’s long legs into a bend, resting her feet on the mattress on either side of his waist.  Then he circled her ankles with his hands, pulling them up a bit more as he shifted his kneel beneath her.

Annie fidgeted a bit as she realized her new position opened her even more to Richie’s mouth, making her totally vulnerable to his ministrations.  Her unease was quickly forgotten when Richie resumed his task.

“Oh GOD!  RICHIE!” A sharp wail of need tore from Annie’s throat as his tongue flickered around her clit, sending fiery fingers of sensation ricocheting through her womb.  Annie’s head dropped back as her hips bucked up again, this time restrained only by Richie’s mouth against her.  The increase in pressure made Annabelle gasp again.

“Ohhhh…. Baby…” Richie hummed against Annabelle’s clit, sending a shudder of pleasure up her thighs.  “Fuck, Annie… So sweet… So thick…”  His voice was a feral growl as his tongue rasped over the length of her, lapping away the increased evidence of her arousal.  He felt his cock throbbing with the rhythm of his tongue's strokes.

Wicked arcs of pleasure whipped through Annabelle as she felt her muscles clench in anticipation.  She couldn’t wrap her brain around what was happening to her body, how Richie was doing this to her.  How he knew how to do this to her.  Surely he was possessed of some sort of Dark Magic or VooDoo that gave him this incredible talent.

Annabelle felt her arms shaking with fatigue as her back arched in response to another heavy stroke of Richie’s tongue.  She let out a strangled moan and collapsed panting onto her back, relieving the pressure on her tired muscles.  She gasped when Richie responded to the shift in her position by lifting her legs to hook over his shoulders. 

With a rough growl Richie grasped Annabelle’s hips to drag her closer to the edge of the bed.  She responded with a breathy whimper.

“Baby… you ready?” Richie panted, already knowing the answer.

“Ye… Yes.  God, Richie… Yes!”

Richie groaned with want as he buried his face between Annabelle’s thighs.  He pushed her legs apart, holding them wide as he voraciously consumed her.  Her hips jerked against his grip at each rapid circle of his tongue around the pulsing knot of her clit, and her buttocks clenched while her thighs quivered with each long, hard stroke of his tongue over her length.  Annabelle let out a strangled cry when Richie’s wicked tongue drove into her aching center, lapping at the thick juices that were now flowing freely from within her.

“God, RICHIE!  I… I can’t… I can’t take… anymore…” Annie panted.  She could no longer stand the torture, couldn’t take another stroke of his wicked tongue….  She tried to scream, to demand a cease to the pressure… to beg for quarter…

Her release was cataclysmic.  It erupted from deep within, drawing her muscles tight, clenching her thighs around her tormentor’s head with an iron grip.  The shockwaves rocked her, rolling through her body like powerful forces of destruction.  Behind her closed lids stars exploded in a supernova of indescribable pleasure.

Richie let out a muffled shout as he was flooded with Annabelle’s climax.  The hot, thick, sticky, sweet nectar engulfed him, covered him with reward.  He eagerly drank of Annie’s sweetness until he had to come up for air. 

Panting heavily, he glanced up at Annie’s face and saw it contorted in a grimace of pure rapture.  Her lips were parted as she gasped for oxygen, her chest heaving with every labored breath.  Around him, her legs quivered and clenched along with her pussy as the aftershocks of her orgasm continued.

Richie couldn’t hold on any longer.  Fingers of flame raced up his spine as his climax built to explosion.  With an urgency born of intense need Richie grabbed Annabelle’s hips and dragged her further up on the mattress, then parted her thighs.

“God, Richie… YES!!!!”  Annabelle gasped as he plunged inside her, burying his shaft to the hilt.  He was already coming as he shoved into her, only managing a trio of powerful thrusts before his orgasm blasted forth.

“Oh.. FUCK!  ANNIE!”  Richie’s back arched with the intensity of his eruption, his head falling back as his eyes squeezed shut and his face contorted in a fierce scowl of ecstasy.  His torso shimmered with sweat and his hair matted to his neck and shoulders.  He gasped in a breath then fell forward, catching himself on his braced hands on either side of Annie’s shoulders.

They panted wordlessly, staring at each other as the clouds of passion slowly cleared from their eyes.  Finally Annie smiled weakly.

“I… God, Richie… I just… Oh.. Oh My.”

Richie laughed raspily at Annie’s incoherent attempt at communication, then slowly pulled away from her.  He carefully shifted on the bed to lay beside Annie, one hand propping up his sweaty dark head.

“Uh.. yeah.  Wow.”

Annie turned her head to give Richie another dazed little smirk.  “That was… was… somethin’ else.”

Richie snickered and reached up to brush a damp tendril of honey-blonde hair away from Annie’s cheek.  “Liked that, huh?”

Annie giggled hoarsely.  “I think you can probably guess the answer to that question.”  She drew in and blew out a deep breath.  That was certainly nothin’ like I remember.”

Richie smirked.  “Yeah, well… Gotta have a Man to do a Man’s job, Baby…”

Annie arched a brow at Richie’s boast.  “A man, huh?  Ya mean a Man… all of nineteen?”

Richie’s jaw dropped as he remembered his fib about his age when Annie had given him a ride into town.  Shit.  How did she find out about that?  He grinned sheepishly.  “Uh… well, yeah.  But I’m almost twenty.  In a couple weeks.”

Annie gave Richie a faux-stern look, then smiled.  “Well, then.  I guess that’s okay.”  She giggled at her tease.  “ ‘Sides.  You know stuff full-grown men don’t even know.”

Richie grinned and leaned down to give Annie’s cheek a nuzzle before brushing a light kiss across her mouth.  He noticed her wince slightly as she realized he still had her taste on his lips.  “Hmm.  Maybe I’ll have to do that again, then, huh?”

“Maybe.”  Annie and Richie gazed at each other for a long moment, sharing a sweet smile.  Then Richie spoke, softly and earnestly.

“Annie, I’ll make love to you every night, if you want.”  His hand moved to her stomach, tracing the little dimple of her navel with a gentle fingertip.  He gave her a mischievous grin.  “And twice on Sundays.”

Annie returned Richie’s smile even as her heart squeezed at his words.  He still wanted to stay here in Darien.  “That sounds like a plan,” she said softly.  “But... but what about… your music?”

“What about it?”  Richie watched his hand, circling lazily on Annie’s flat belly. 

“Well… You were pretty into your writin’ and playin’ earlier…”

Richie raised his eyes to meet Annabelle’s.  “Yeah?” he replied, not understanding her meaning.

“Well, I just thought maybe you… you may be thinkin’ about givin’ music another try.  You know, working at it?”

Richie shrugged and returned his gaze to his hand.  “Dunno.  Maybe someday.” He smiled wistfully.  “Hell, Annie.  I just figured out how to write again.  That don’t  hardly make me a candidate for a music career.”

“Well, it’s a start.”  Annie reached up to trace a finger along Richie’s jaw.  “And you love it, right?”

Richie nodded and turned his smile back to Annie.  “Yeah.  And I love…” 

He hesitated, his mouth hanging open as he realized what he was about to say.  “I.. I have you to thank, Annie.”  Richie’s smile turned wistful as he flattened his palm against her belly.  “You inspire me.  You’re my Muse.”

Annie’s heart skipped a beat as she realized what Richie had left unsaid.  Just last night he had told her he loved her.  Even if it had been in the afterglow of sex and weed, he had said it.  And now…  Now he had avoided those three little words. 

Annie knew she should be relieved.  But the stab of disappointment in her gut told her she really wasn’t.

“Um… well, I’m glad.”  Annie mustered a smile, pushing aside her silly emotion.  “Maybe someday you’ll get all famous and I can tell everybody I know that some big Rock Star wrote a song about me.”

Richie grinned.  “Yeah.  Hell, maybe I’ll write one about tonight.  About me showing you the Ways of Love.”

“Don’t you dare!” Annabelle slapped playfully at Richie’s arm as she giggled at his dirty leer.  That ain’t no topic for a song.” 

“Sure it is!  Hell, lotsa songs are about sex.” Richie countered playfully.  “In fact…”  Suddenly he stopped.  “Oh, Shit!” 


Richie abruptly sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed.  “My guitar.  I left it outside.”

“Huh?”  Annie pushed herself up onto her elbows.  “Oh.  I’m sure it’s fine.”

Richie stood and strode around the end of the bed.  He leaned down to pluck his wadded up jeans from the floor, then sat on the edge of the bed.  “Yeah, but I can’t leave it out there all night.  It’ll get wet, warp the wood.”  

He shoved first one leg, then the other into his jeans, then stood and fastened the waist.  He turned and gave Annie a little smile before leaning down to give her a soft kiss.  “I’m just gonna go get it, bring it inside, ‘kay?  Be right back.”

“Alright.”  Annie watched Richie make his way around the bed and to the door.  Then she listened as he traversed the little hallway, crossed the living room, and pushed through the screen door.  

Letting out a little sigh, Annie fell back against the mattress and stared up at the ceiling.

He hadn’t said he loved her. 

But he still wanted to stay in Darien. 

And tomorrow his car would be fixed.

Annabelle tried for a few long minutes to sort through the thoughts swirling around in her brain.  Finally she gave up and rolled onto her stomach, pulling a pillow beneath her chest and cradling her chin on her folded arms.  She gazed at the window, watching the curtains stir in the breeze and the moonlight shining on the yard beyond the porch.

She wanted him to stay too.  The thought of making a life with Richie, of sharing her days and nights with him, was a beautiful dream.  One that could easily become reality.

But she couldn’t tell Richie that.  This wasn’t where he was meant to be.

She had to let him go, to make him go.


Annie heard Richie’s footsteps on the steps and the porch.  She held her breath as they hesitated, then continued.  Her brow furrowed in puzzlement when she didn’t hear the screen door.  When Richie’s shadowy form passed by her window she realized what he was doing.  The creak of the porch swing’s chains confirmed her suspicion.

Seconds later she heard a gentle melody and a soft voice.

I never knew what love was
‘Til I met that Georgia Peach
Even though a woman like her
Seemed so outta reach...

Turning her head to rest her cheek on her pillow, Annie sighed.   

Friday, September 2, 2011

Chapter 27

Richie’s pulse raced as Annabelle led him up the front porch steps, through the screen door, and into the living room.  Pausing just inside the front door, Annie released Richie’s hand and stepped away from him, over to lift the lid on the stereo cabinet in the corner.  Richie took a deep breath as he watched her, trying to calm his surging anticipation.

A quiet click was followed by soft music, then Annie straightened and turned to smile at Richie.  She held out her hand again, her blue eyes glowing in the dusky moonlight that flooded through the picture window.  “C’mon,” she invited quietly.

Richie swallowed hard and reached out to take Annie’s offered hand.  His smile mirrored hers as together they moved across the room and down the little hall.  Richie paused at the threshold of Annie’s bedroom, tugging lightly at her hand.

Annie turned to him, puzzlement in her gaze.  “Richie?”  His name on her husky voice was an uncertain question.

“It’s okay.”  Richie’s reply was soft.  “Just…”

He tugged again at Annie’s hand as he stepped close to her.  His free hand settled on her hip as he smiled down at Annie before lowering his mouth to hers. 

Richie’s whole body flushed with warmth as Annie responded to his kiss.  Her body arched toward his as her arms slipped to encircle his waist.  She sighed against his mouth, a meek whimper of anticipation slipping from her throat. 

Richie responded in kind, moaning softly as he pushed her back, pinning her to the paneled wall.  They gasped in unison as her soft curves yielded to his taut muscles.

“Oh, Richie…”  Annie slid her mouth from his, her head tipping back as she felt Richie’s lips move along her jaw and to her throat.  “I… God…”  She pulled in a breath and tried again.  “We… we got all night…”

It took a second for the meaning of her words to penetrate his brain.  Then Richie groaned before gently nipping Annabelle’s delicious throat.  “Yeah…” he sighed, half to himself.  “Sorry.  I… I’m just a little… excited.”

Annie giggled softly and brushed her lips across Richie’s.  “Me too.  But I wanna take our time.  Savor it.” She giggled again.  You know, since we’re not gonna get interrupted here.”

Richie chortled quietly.  “Yeah, guess not.  Ain’t like we’re out in the open, hiding out in the woods or something.”

“Like last night,” Annie finished for him.  She gave him a little smirk, her eyes sparkling.  “And tonight we’re stone-cold sober.”

Richie grinned.  “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

“Not at all.”  Annie giggled again at his tease.  “This time I’ll know for sure I’m not dreamin’ or hallucinatin’ or somethin’.”  Her smirk softened.  “That it’s all real.”

Richie’s smile faded as he gave Annie an earnest look.  “It’s all real, Annie.  How you make me feel…” His voice dropped to a husky whisper as again his lips lowered to hers.  “How I want to make you feel…”  Richie pressed his body hard against Annabelle’s as they shared another breathless kiss.

Annie whimpered needfully against Richie’s mouth as she felt his hands slide roughly over her buttocks, to the tops of her thighs.  Arching her back to push her hips hard against against his, Annie pulled her arms from around Richie’s waist.  She snaked them around his neck just before Richie lifted her, his mouth not leaving hers. 

Annie gasped and wrapped her legs around Richie’s waist as he pushed her harder against the wall, their kiss turning fierce.  Her whimper turned to a hoarse moan as she flushed with wet heat at the feel of Richie’s cock surging against her crotch.  Richie responded instinctively to her heightened arousal, his hips thrusting forward to intensify the contact. 

“Ri… Richie…” Annie panted, pulling her mouth from his.  “We… we got…”  The rest of her reminder died on her lips as she struggled to control her breathing.

Richie froze, then drew in and blew out a long, shuddering breath. “I know… I know…” he replied weakly, nodding his agreement.  “Okay…”  His hands curved under the globes of Annie’s ass as he leaned away from the wall, lifting her.   Annabelle clung to Richie as he turned and carried her carefully through the door to her bedroom, moving slowly in the near-darkness.

When he bumped against the side of her bed, Richie wobbled slightly.  He stood still for a moment, letting his vision adjust to the dim light.  His heart continued to race as he felt Annabelle’s warm body quivering in his arms and her breath in his ear.  He turned his head to press a kiss into her soft hair before leaning forward, slowly lowering her onto the mattress.

Annie sighed as she settled onto the bed, loosening her arms around Richie’s neck and scooting over to make room for him beside her.  She felt the mattress dip with his weight, then again his mouth covered hers.  This time the kiss was slow and deliberate, filled with barely-restrained passion. 

Annie chuckled softly when their lips parted and Richie let out a long breath. He rested a hand on her abdomen between the waist of her cutoffs and the knot of her tied-up shirt, making her bare skin tingle.  A surge of warmth radiated through her core at his touch. 

“You okay?”

Richie nodded.  “It’s dark in here,” he commented distractedly, gulping in another deep breath.  He was trying his hardest to keep his body under control, to resist the powerful urge to rip Annie’s clothes off her body and jump on her.  Like Annabelle, Richie truly wanted to take his time and fully enjoy every beautiful second of their lovemaking.  But his cock didn’t want to hear from his brain at the moment.

“I can open the curtains.”

Richie nodded again.  “I got it.”  He took another deep breath before sitting up, then standing.  He carefully shuffled around the foot of the bed to the small window on the wall opposite the door.  When he reached up to push aside the curtains and raise the shade moonlight streamed through the little rectangle, illuminating the room with a silvery glow.

Richie heard the creak of springs as Annabelle shifted on the bed.  He turned around to find her smiling invitingly back at him.  She had scooted to the center of the mattress and was now reclining against the pillows, her golden hair fanned out around her head and shining like a halo in the moonlight.

Richie’s mouth curved into a gentle smile.  “That’s better.”  He stepped closer to the bed.  “You look beautiful.”

“Thank you, Handsome.”  Annie’s eyes glowed sapphire in the soft light as she giggled quietly.  “You’d look even more handsome without those clothes, ya know.”

Richie grinned.  “Well, you’re beautiful with or without your clothes,” he flirted gallantly.  Then he chuckled.  “But if you want me outta mine…”

Annie laughed, then gave Richie a sultry come-hither pout as she arched her back, making the unbuttoned front of her shirt gap a little wider to expose her cleavage.  “You first.”

“Okay.”  In a quick movement Richie stripped off his tee and dropped it on the floor.  His hands went to the waist of his jeans and rapidly undid the button and zipper, then he shoved the denim downward.  He kicked free of the jeans then stood naked, smiling down at Annabelle.

Annie giggled at Richie’s eagerness as her eyes slid appreciatively over his body.  She felt another tightening of her womb at the sight of his tautly-muscled form, her body eager to feel his on top of and inside her.  “Guess it’s my turn now, huh?”  She pushed herself up onto her elbows.

“No.  Let me.”  The playful note was gone from Richie’s voice, replaced by gentle huskiness.  “Lay back.”

Annie’s eyes widened slightly, then she silently obeyed.  A little smirk of anticipation turned the corners of her mouth as she waited.

Richie stood motionless for a moment, steeling his resolve as he let his eyes travel over Annie’s body.  Though he had enjoyed his fair share of women, he didn’t often have the opportunity or ambition to use his partner’s body as an erotic playground.  Usually he was too focused on his own needs to worry about much more than the main attractions.  But tonight he had the chance to play, and he wanted to take Annie on all the rides.

Richie snorted a quiet chuckle at his carnival analogy, then he slowly leaned forward.   His gaze locked with Annie’s as Richie crawled slowly onto the bed beside her.  He chortled softly again when he heard her soft gasp of anticipation and saw her pupils dilate with desire.

Richie settled on his hip beside Annabelle, giving her a long stare before reaching up to trace a fingertip down the vee of bare skin exposed by her open shirt.  Automatically Annie arched toward his hand, involuntarily sucking in a breath as his touch traveled down the valley between her breasts.

“So beautiful…” Richie murmured reverently as his gaze followed his hand’s movement, back upward toward Annie’s delicate throat.  He nudged at the soft chambray shirt’s plackets, exposing the firm creamy swells of first one breast, then the other.  Only the tie above her navel prevented him from uncovering her dusky nipples, visibly erect under the pale fabric.

Richie’s fingers moved to the knotted shirttails at her waist.  He tugged gently at one end before trying to work his index finger into the tight twist.  He was momentarily distracted by Annie’s delicious navel as her abdomen contracted under his workings, then he realized the task of undoing  the knot would take both his hands.

With a snort of mild frustration Richie pushed himself up onto his hip, his own taut abs clenching as he balanced himself.  His freed second hand joined the first to tug the knot loose.  Annie giggled softly at the tickle of Richie’s fingers against her stomach, then purred when he lowered his mouth to nibble playfully at her bellybutton.

“Richie…” Annie sighed as she felt his lips move lower, suckling at the warm flesh below her navel.  “Whatcha doin’ down there?”

Richie’s chuckle rumbled against her skin.  “Just having a little taste.”  His lips moved back up to again cover her bellybutton, his long hair tickling her sides as it hung down in a dark curtain around his face.  Annie couldn’t resist reaching up to stroke it before tucking the silky strands back behind Richie’s ear.

Richie raised his face from Annie’s belly to give her a sexy grin.  “You taste as delicious as you look.”

“So do you,” Annie smirked back.

Richie shifted again, returning to his recline beside Annie, propped up on one elbow.  He brushed a soft kiss across her lips as with one hand he covered both of hers, now folded across her bared abdomen where his mouth had just been.  “Here,” he directed in a husky murmur, squeezing her top hand and pulling it gently away from her body.  He guided it up to her pillow, resting it palm-up beside her head before repeating the action with her other hand.  Richie gave Annabelle a long gaze to see if she understood what he wanted.  “Okay?”

“Okay,” Annie whispered, her arms remaining in their surrender pose.  A little shiver ran down her spine as she realized she was relinquishing control to Richie, silently agreeing to let him do with her as he wished. 

The shiver repeated as Annie watched Richie raise his hand again, this time to gently push apart the now-freed halves of her blouse.  At the same time he lowered his lips to hover over hers, in a whispering tease of a kiss.  Annie gasped against Richie’s mouth as the smooth pad of his thumb brushed over her sensitive bare nipple.

“Relax, Darlin’…” Richie murmured, rolling his thumb back and forth across the erect nub.  His dick twitched excitedly at Annie’s reaction, but he was determined to keep himself under control.  He wanted to concentrate on her pleasure first.  Then he would take his turn. 

“Oh… God, Richie…” Annie breathed, her eyes fluttering closed as she smirked with delight.  “That feels so good…”

“I know it does…” Richie whispered in agreement, his hand moving to her other breast and repeating the action.  He smiled as he watched Annie’s expression, her little winces of pleasure at each flick of his thumb making his groin throb in response.  He couldn’t help but sidle a little closer to Annie on the bed, so that his rigid cock rested against the smooth skin of her thigh.  Annie let out a little purr of acknowledgement as she felt him twitch against her.

Richie groaned softly then curved his hand over her breast.  Pressing it into his palm, he gave the firm mound of flesh a semi-rough squeeze before moving his hand to its twin.  With an eager growl he lowered his head to pull her exposed nipple into his mouth.

“OH!” Annie yelped with surprise at the sudden stimulation.  Her fingers laced into her hair and clenched as bolts of electricity fired through her.  She was determined not to touch him, to interfere with his attention to her body.  So far his every touch had been exquisite, stirring her simmering desire.

“Mmmm…” Richie hummed as he suckled at her breast, gentling his mouth as he took in more of her flesh.  He pulled in a deep breath as his tongue rolled slowly around the peak of the quivering mound.  Her skin smelled wild and beautiful, just like her, scented faintly with roses and spice.

Richie’s hand moved from her breast to be replaced by his mouth.  Annie moaned again and arched upward to meet his lips, her hands still clenched on her pillow.  She felt Richie’s hand slide down her abdomen as his lips teased her breast, causing her to unconsciously hold her breath.

“Jesus, Annie…” Richie breathed against her flesh as his long fingers curved over the button of her cutoffs.  “You’re so fucking delicious…”  He let out another muffled groan as he again filled his mouth with her breast.

“Oh… Oh Richie…” Annie panted softly.  She felt him tugging at the fastening at her waist and it was all she could do to remain still.  She wanted desperately for Richie to divest her of her scanty garments so she could relish the feel of his naked flesh against hers.  Her bottom lip slipped between her teeth as Annabelle growled impatiently while Richie continued his fumbling.

Sonofa…” Richie matched Annabelle’s soft growl with his frustrated mumbling as he continued to struggle with her shorts.  With a sharp exhalation he raised his head from her breast, turning his attention to the workings of his fingers.  He scooted downward on the bed to get a better view of the confounding button, his hair trailing over Annie’s abdomen and making her gasp.

“Richie… let me…”

No!  I got it…” Richie levered himself up onto his elbow so he could attack her waistband two-handed.  With the improved dexterity he quickly shoved the button through its hole and pushed down the zipper of her fly.  His smirk returned when he felt lace under his fingertips as he pushed them inside her shorts.  He quickly tunneled his fingers under the fabric, finding a nest of soft hair at the apex of a warm cleft.

Annie’s whimper was almost musical when Richie slipped his long middle finger into her wet warmth.   “Ohhhh… Annie…” he groaned, his eyes wide and fixed on his hand as it flexed with the movement of his fingers.  Automatically his fingertip found the tight little bud of her clitoris and circled around it.

Richie stared at the rhythmic movement of his hand, entranced by the sight of his touch in Annabelle’s most private of places.  As his hand moved his knuckles pushed the unzipped denim halves of her cutoffs further apart, exposing more of the pretty lavender lace decorating her panties.  The moonlight glinted off tight blonde curls that peeked over the lace’s edge and between his fingers.

Richie!” Annie gasped, her body tensing at his sensual massage.  “Oh!… Ohhhhh myyyyy…”

The soft Southern lilt of her moan drew Richie’s gaze from his hand to Annie’s face.  His heart jumped when he saw her wide eyes glittering the color of midnight as she panted softly.  Her hands were still surrendered beside her shoulders, but now her delicate fingers were clenched into fists as she struggled to restrain herself under his erotic touch.

God, Annie…” he breathed, staring at her beauty as he continued his strokes.  His cock jumped as he watched her lips part in a shuddering gasp just before a surge of warmth coated Richie’s fingers, alerting him to the extent of her arousal.  

Her slickening stirred Richie to action.  With an eager growl he slid his hand from Annabelle’s warmth and pushed himself up onto his hip.  With both hands Richie yanked her cutoffs and panties down her thighs, struggling slightly to untangle them from around her knees before succeeding in stripping them completely from her body.  Richie flung the useless garments away from the bed before dropping back to his recline. 

With his free hand Richie grabbed roughly at Annabelle’s bare hip, turning her lower body toward him.  He shifted awkwardly on the bed as he bent to press his mouth again over Annie’s navel, sucking roughly at it before moving his mouth downward, devouring her flesh.  Richie licked and sucked eagerly at the warm skin below her bellybutton as he slid his body down the bed, his rigid cock dragging along Annabelle’s leg as he moved.  He moaned at the fantastic sensation.

Richie felt Annie squirm under his grasp.  “Richie!” she gasped.

Realizing his fingers were clenched tightly around Annie’s hip and digging into her buttock, Richie relaxed his grip.  He didn’t want to hurt her in his excitement.  Richie groaned with delight as his mouth travelled lower to Annabelle’s warm private flesh, her soft curls tickling his chin and lips before he tasted the salty-sweet tang of her juices.

“RICHIE!”  Annie’s utterance was more of a yelp than a gasp.  The almost-frantic note in her voice made Richie freeze.  A second later he felt Annie’s hand in his hair, tugging his head backward.  Again he felt Annie squirm in his grasp, her thighs pressing closed as she rolled her pelvis away from him.

Richie raised his head to look at her, his chocolate eyes wide with surprise.  He was taken aback by her expression as she stared back at him, her eyes as round as his.  She had pushed herself up onto one elbow, and her other hand was tangled in his sweaty locks.

“What… I… what’s wrong?” Richie stammered.  His stomach sank.  “I… I didn’t hurt you… Did… Did I?”

Annabelle let go of Richie’s hair and withdrew her hand, dropping it onto her stomach.  She rolled a bit more to her side, tipping her body further away from Richie.  She ducked her chin, unable to hold his gaze.   “No!... No.”  She swallowed hard.  “You didn’t hurt me… God, not at… at all.”

Even in the dim moonlight Richie could see the rosy flush Annabelle’s pretty cheeks.  He stared at her for a long moment, confused by her sudden interruption of their foreplay.  She said he hadn’t hurt her… God, he hoped he hadn’t.  Richie blinked in puzzlement.

“Oh, God…” Annie groaned softly.  She ran a hand through her hair, the honey-gold curls tangling around her fingers as she blew out a breath.  “God, Richie… I’m.. I’m so sorry…”

Richie was taken aback by Annabelle’s unexpected change in demeanor.  He stared at her as he tried to process what was happening, his head spinning as his cock throbbed.  She had asked him to make love to her.  She had led him to the house, to her bedroom, and kissed him like a woman possessed.  She had ordered him to strip and allowed him to undress her, had let him rub against her and feel her up… And now she was suddenly backing out on him? When she was clearly as revved up for action as he was? 

Richie opened his mouth, but no words came out.  He had no fucking idea what to say.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chapter 26

Annabelle wiped her hands on the kitchen towel and dropped it on the counter next to the drainer full of freshly-washed dishes.  A stray lock of honey-blonde hair tickled her cheek as she turned toward the stove.  She reached up to tuck it behind her ear before reaching for the aluminum-foil-covered plate resting on the back burner.

With the plate in one hand, Annabelle used her free hand to pull open a drawer and extract a fork and knife.   Sliding the drawer closed with a firm bump of her hip, she glanced toward the kitchen window.  The sky outside was the soft aubergine of twilight.

Annie moved through the quiet little house, to the front door.  Again using her hip to push open the screen door, she stepped out onto the porch.  She paused, looking out across the yard.  Richie was still where she had left him nearly two hours ago, sitting in the weathered old chair, his guitar cradled in his lap. 

His form was silhouetted in the dusky evening light, against the soft silvery backdrop of the marsh.  Across the yard fireflies winked like twinkling little stars, dancing just above the ground.  Annie watched Richie’s slight movements as his soft bluesy croon drifted through the heavy night air, mingled with the gentle melody from his guitar strings. 

The scene melted Annie’s heart.  A tender smile curving her lips, she stepped down off the porch and crossed the lawn. 

“Hey there.  You hungry yet?”

The quiet inquiry startled Richie, even as he felt her presence.  “Huh?”  He turned in his seat, looking back over his shoulder at the source of his interruption.  

With the movement he bumped the small spiral-bound notebook that was resting on the chair’s wooden arm, sending it fluttering to the grass at his feet.  Richie muttered a swear as he leaned down to pick up the pad and toss it into his guitar case, then turned his attention to Annie.

 A sheepish grin spread across Richie’s face as he saw Annie smiling at him, holding a foil-covered plate.  He realized he had forgotten all about Annie’s dinner call.  The one she had made while it was still light out, at least an hour ago.

“Oh.  Umm… Yeah.  I’m starving, actually.”  Richie chuckled softly.  “Sorry.  I was supposed to help you cook, wasn’t I?”

“Uh huh.”  Annie smirked gently and moved forward, circling around Richie’s open guitar case to the empty chair at his side.  She lowered herself onto the seat, resting the warm plate on her knee.  “And you were supposed to eat with me, too.”

“Sorry.”  Richie felt his cheeks flush at her gentle chastisement.  “I heard you call me.  I just… well, I was working on this riff and I thought it would only take a minute…”

“Richie, it’s okay.”  Annie cut off his apology with a warm smile and a shake of her blonde head.  “I coulda called you again.  But I didn’t wanna interrupt.  I could tell you were on to somethin’.”  She held out the plate in a silent offering. 

Richie ducked his head and pulled his guitar from his lap, propping it against the side of his chair before reaching for the plate.  He sat forward on the edge of his chair, balancing the dish on his knees as he tugged at the edges of the tinfoil. 

“So… Umm… What is it?”

“Nothin’ fancy.”  Annie smiled gently as she watched Richie pick at the foil.  “Ham steak, some fried taters an’ onions.  Green beans from the garden.”

Richie succeeded in lifting the foil wrapper, crinkling it into a ball and tossing it into his guitar case beside the notebook.  He chortled softly as he found himself confronted with a good-sized mound of food.  “Damn, Annie.  You keep feedin’ me like this I’m gonna get fat.”

“I don’t think there’s much chance of that.” Annie giggled softly.  “You ain’t got an ounce of fat on ya.  Miss Tillie thinks you’re too skinny.”  She handed Richie the fork and knife she had carried out from the kitchen.

“Yeah, well… spendin’ all the little money you have on beer and gas and guitar strings will keep ya skinny,” Richie replied wryly.  He scooped a big forkful of crispy brown potatoes into his mouth.  “Mmmm… fuck, these are good.” Richie mumbled.

Annie grinned and sat back in her chair, pulling her legs up beneath her on the wide seat.  She watched Richie eat for a minute before letting her gaze wander to the guitar at his side.  Her smile softened as she evaluated the simple instrument, until now a source of mystery to her.  Since Richie’s arrival it had been locked up in its case, a prisoner of his sadness. 

But for some reason Richie had taken out his guitar and began to play; not for her, but for himself.  For the past several hours he had been consumed by the task, seemingly in his own little world out here at the far end of her yard.  Annie had been able to hear snippets of the music he was making, but she didn’t recognize any of the words or melodies.  Her eyes dropped to the notebook resting inside Richie’s guitar case.  She could see faint lines of messy handwriting in the dim light.

“So…”  Annie hesitated, not sure if she should ask.  Richie had been so sensitive about the topic of music in the short time they had known each other.  But he seemed so relaxed and unguarded right now.

Richie looked up from his almost-empty plate, waiting for her question.  He arched a brow when she didn’t immediately continue.  “So?” he prodded.

Annie felt an inexplicable little nervous flutter in her stomach.  She shrugged and wrapped her arms around her bare legs, pulling her knees in closer to her chest.  “So… what have you been out here playin’?”

Richie swallowed the mouthful of ham he had been chewing, then looked back down at his plate.  A secretive little smile curved the corner of his mouth before he answered.  “Just some… stuff.  Something that just kinda came to me, earlier.”

Annie tilted her head, his response piquing her curiosity.  “Came to you?”

Richie nodded, then turned his head to give Annie a full view of his little smile.  “Yeah.”

“You mean…. Like… Like you had an idea for a song?”

Richie shrugged, returning his gaze to his food.  He speared the last piece of fried ham on his fork and popped it into his mouth, his smile broadening as he chewed.  He could feel Annie’s expectant gaze on him, but he needed a minute to figure out how to explain what had happened, how he had suddenly been hit with the lightning bolt of musical inspiration.  

Annie realized she was holding her breath as she watched Richie eat.  She didn’t know what to think, what to say.  It was obvious from his little smirk that he wasn’t upset or unhappy with her question.  There was no trace of the melancholy that had cloaked his handsome features every time she had asked him about music before.  It was almost like he was puzzled with her question, unsure how to answer.

A quiet sigh escaped Annabelle’s lips as she remembered to exhale.  The gentle rush of breath made Richie turn his attention back to her.  He swallowed, then set his knife and fork across his plate and moved it from his lap to the wide wooden arm of the Adirondack chair.  Richie shifted in his seat, turning to more fully face Annie.  When he spoke his voice was calm and even.

“I was watching you from the porch.  You were hanging up a sheet on the clothesline.” He chuckled softly.  “You had to stand on your tiptoes to pin it up, and I was checking out your legs.”

Annie giggled softly but didn’t speak, not wanting to interrupt.

Richie’s smile gentled.  “I was thinking how it nice it is here.  Peaceful.  I mean, today it was like I was in some place where I didn’t have any worries or cares.  Someplace I could just hang out and relax.”  He chortled quietly.  “Don’t get me wrong, I worked my ass off in your garden and your yard.  That wasn’t exactly relaxing.  But it felt good.”

“Thank you for that,” Annie responded quietly, her eyes sparkling in the dusky light as she smiled back at Richie.

Richie brushed her thanks away with a wave of one of his big hands.  “Naw, I was happy to do it.  Anyway…”  He paused for a moment, gazing at Annabelle.  When he continued his voice carried a note of huskiness. 

“I was watching you hang out the clothes, and you looked so damned pretty, Annie.  Those long, tan legs and that shiny blonde hair and that sweet smile...  With the sun, and the grass, and the sky…   I just could hardly believe my eyes.   Or my luck.  That such a beautiful, smart, kind, generous, fantastic woman could fall for some doofus like me.”

Annie’s eyes moistened as her heart squeezed.  “Richie…” she breathed.  But the rest her words caught in her throat.

“Annie, I don’t know what happened, but somehow… I was watching you, and all of a sudden I just… I heard music.  In my head, in my heart…”   Richie blushed slightly and shrugged.  Now that he had said it out loud it sounded kind of silly.  But it was the truth.  “I could hear my guitar, hear myself singing the words, in my head.  I had to write it down.”

Annie’s gaze flicked back to the notebook in Richie’s guitar case.  “So you grabbed your guitar and came out here… and started writin’.” 

Richie nodded and reached for the object of her attention.  He pulled the notebook onto his lap and leafed through it, smiling sheepishly.  “I got some ideas, mostly riffs and melodies.   But I got some lyrics too.” 

He chuckled and shook his head at himself before looking up at Annabelle.  “It’s been a long damned time since I’ve been able to write, Annie.  Not a note or a word, for almost a year.  I was…”  Richie’s voice cracked slightly, and he paused to clear his throat.  “I was sure… I’d lost it.  That I couldn’t write anymore.  And a musician who can’t write his own stuff ain’t never gonna make it out of the bars.”

Richie dropped his gaze again to the book in his hands, his long fingers tracing over the words he had written as he swallowed the lump in his throat. 

“Maybe you just needed to take some time off,” Annie observed gently, her own voice husky with emotion.  “A change of scenery, somethin’ different…”

“Inspiration.”  Richie supplied the word for her.  “I needed something to make me want to write again.”

Annie’s heart fluttered as she heard the subtext of his words.  “And me hangin’ out the wash is what made you wanna write a song?”

Richie smiled at her husky chuckle, turning his eyes to meet hers.  You inspire me, Annie.  Just you.”

“Oh.”  It was the only word Annie could utter, a soft whisper that escaped past the rising lump in her throat.  Her sapphire eyes glittered with moisture in the twilight, the little tears on her lashes catching the light of the rising full moon.  She had never had a man say such a romantic thing to her before.  It was almost overwhelming. 

But even as her heart squeezed with emotion Annie knew what she had to do.  She had to be honest with Richie, that he didn’t belong here.  That he had to go back home, share his music, and reach for his dream.  He had a gift, a special talent he couldn’t let wither away here in this little town, just so he could be with her.

But she didn’t have to tell him right now.

Annie and Richie stared at each other for a long moment, sharing a gentle smile.  Annie felt herself falling into the chocolate depths of Richie’s beautiful, expressive eyes.  His gaze was different now, full of warmth and contentment where before there had been guarded melancholy. 

“Can… can I hear it?”  Annie’s soft voice broke the spell, delivering her meek question.  “What you’ve been working on?”

“Well…”  Richie paused before answering carefully.  He didn’t want to hurt Annie’s feelings, but he wasn’t sure he was quite ready to share the words he had written.  “I don’t exactly have a song yet.  Kinda just pieces of one.  Of a couple, actually.”

“Oh.”  The quiet word was tinged with disappointment.  “Oh… okay.”

“But  I can play you some of it,” Richie continued hastily, his heart clenching at her sad tone.  “The guitar parts, I mean.  I just… I don’t quite know what to do with the lyrics yet.”  He let out a little breath of relief when he saw Annie’s lips curve upward in response to his offer.  “They.. uh… they don’t really make sense.”

Annie nodded, reaching up to tuck her hair behind her ear.  “Oh.  Okay.”  She shifted in her chair, turning a little more toward Richie.  “Just the music, then.”

“Okay.”  Richie reached for his guitar, careful to avoid toppling the dinner plate resting on the chair arm.  He pulled the instrument onto his lap and scooted to the edge of the seat, his long legs folding awkwardly under him.  Annie giggled softly as she watched Richie shift around until he was comfortable.

“This is kinda rough, so bear with me.”  Richie apologized.  “I think I got the melody down, but I’m not so sure about some of the chords.”

Annabelle smiled and shook her head at Richie’s nervous explanation.  “Richie, it don’t bother me if it ain’t perfect.  I just wanna hear you play.”

Richie gave her a little shrug in reply.  “Okay.  Here goes.”  He took a deep breath and looked down at his hands on the strings, then began to play.

Delicate notes flowed from the strings, seeming to float on the night air.  The melody was soft and gentle, almost like a lullaby, yet it carried a subtly mournful note.  When Richie added the chords, the piece took on an almost haunted quality, rich and vibrant yet somehow comforting.

Annie couldn’t hold back a little gasp of awe as she watched Richie’s fingers dance over the strings.  She had always been amazed that such beautiful sounds could come from such a simple instrument, in the right hands.  And Richie’s hands were wondrous.

After a scant few minutes Richie stopped playing.  “Uh… that’s kinda all I have,” he shrugged sheepishly.  “I was about to work on the bridge when you came out with supper.”

“It’s beautiful,” Annie breathed.  “And you… you wrote that… because of… of me?” 

Richie smiled at Annie, his heart squeezing at the wonder in her wide blue eyes.  “Yeah.  All I had to do was close my eyes and picture you… and the music just came out, through my hands.”  He shrugged and felt a light blush warm his cheeks as he modestly dropped his gaze to the guitar on his lap.  “It happens like that… when it’s good.”

“Richie… it’s amazin’.  You’re amazin’.  You have such incredible talent…”  Annie realized she was gushing and stopped herself.  She didn’t want to embarrass Richie, after what he had shared with her.  But he was just so good…

Richie shrugged again and chuckled softly.  “Thanks.  But I think you’re a little biased.”

“Maybe so.”  Annie smiled gently.  “But I do know what I like.  And I love that, Richie.  It’s just gorgeous.”  She reached out to give Richie’s arm a gentle squeeze.  “An’ I can’t wait to hear the words you put with it.  I love the way you sing.”

Richie returned Annie’s smile, his hand moving from his guitar to cover hers.  “You asked me last night if I’d play something for you.  Before we went out, remember?”

“Uh huh.”

“You still want me to?  I mean, I can play something you know.  I know lots of covers.”

Annabelle grinned eagerly.  “You bet.”  Gently pulling her hand from under Richie’s she turned in her seat to fully face him, folding her legs under her.

“What do you wanna hear?”

“Whatever you wanna play.  I’m easy.”

Richie chuckled at her eagerness, his hand automatically dropping back to its place over the strings.  He absent-mindedly strummed a few soft chords as he looked out over the marsh, trying to think of an appropriate song with which to serenade his lovely Muse. 

When Richie glanced over at Annie and saw her golden hair shining in the rising moonlight it came to him.  The perfect song for this moment.  Richie smiled and began to rock gently in his seat as he picked out the introductory notes to Joe Cocker’s ballad. 

Annie’s eyes widened as she recognized the gentle melody.  It was even more beautiful on the delicate strings of Richie’s guitar than it sounded on quiet piano keys.  Her hand moved to her chest, resting over her heart as it fluttered with happiness.

Then he sang.  Softly, earnestly, honestly… the lyrics giving voice to the emotion swelling in his heart as Richie gazed at the beautiful angel before him.

You are so beautiful
To me…
You are so beautiful
To me…
Can’t you see
You’re everything I hoped for
You’re everything I need
You are so beautiful
To me

Richie’s velvety, whiskey-blues voice was nearly Annabelle’s undoing.   It nourished her soul, ignited her body.  It made her want him more than she had ever wanted anything before.

She watched Richie with passion-veiled eyes, taking in the strong line of his jaw, the soft curve of his lips, the dark fringe of his lashes against his moonlit skin.  His long shag falling over his strong shoulders, his trim torso rocking in time with the silent cadence of his song.  And those hands… those lovely, gifted hands… dancing across the strings of his instrument.

He was beautiful.

You are so beautiful
To me…
You are so beautiful
To me…
Can’t you see
You’re everything I hoped for
You’re everything I need
You are so beautiful
To….. me……

After he plucked the last note, Richie opened his eyes and turned his face to Annabelle’s.   He almost gasped at the raptured expression on her lovely face.  Then he chuckled softly. 

“That okay?”

“That was… perfect.”  Annie’s voice was breathy, full of desire.  “Richie… thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”  Richie slipped the guitar from his lap and carefully laid it in its case, then pushed himself up from his seat.  He held out his hand, a silent invitation for Annabelle to join him.

The look she gave him as she placed her hand in his nearly made Richie’s knees buckle.  He swallowed hard as he watched Annie gracefully unfold her legs and slowly rise from her seat.  She stepped close to Richie, her arms sliding around his waist as she tilted her face up to his.  Her moist, plump lips glistened in the moonlight, enticing him for a taste.

Richie’s hands automatically went to Annie’s hips as he ducked his head to press his mouth to hers.  A soft groan escaped him as he savored the kiss.  A warm flush swept through his body as Annie moved closer, molding her body against his.

When their lips parted, Richie and Annie gazed at each other for a long moment before Annie spoke softly. 

“It’s gettin’ late.”

Richie nodded.  “Yeah.  You gotta work tomorrow, right?”

“Mmm Hmm.  At eight.  An’ you’re gonna go work on your car with Eddie, right?”

“Yeah.”  Richie sighed and slipped his arms around Annie’s waist, pulling her closer.  He smiled as she turned her cheek against his chest.  “So, no gallivantin’ tonight, huh?”  He felt Annie’s giggle in response.

“Nope.”  Annie could hear Richie’s heart racing under her, and she could feel the swelling lump in the front of his jeans.  “Besides, there’s nowhere to go out gallivantin’ to.  It’s Sunday.”

“Oh yeah.  I forgot.”  Richie chortled quietly, then sighed as the fresh scent of her hair filled his senses.  “Well then… um… what do you wanna do?  I can play some more, or we can watch TV, or… or play a game or something….”  Even as he spoke Richie fervently hoped Annie wouldn’t want to undertake any of the activities he mentioned. 

Richie felt Annie chuckle against his chest, then she raised her head.  She pulled back enough to look up at him, her eyes meeting his.

“Richie, I think we’re past playin’ games, don’t you?”  Her voice was soft and husky.

“Uh huh,” Richie breathed.  Unconsciously his tongue slid across his lower lip as he drew in a slow, deep breath.  He could see in Annabelle’s eyes what she wanted, before the words slipped from her soft, shiny lips.

“I want you to make love to me, Richie.”

Richie exhaled softly as he silently nodded.  He and Annabelle gazed at each other for another long moment, then she gently disengaged herself from his embrace.  Taking his hand, she turned toward the house.  Richie silently followed her across the night-dampened lawn and up the steps to the porch.

A pair of lightning bugs winked at each other as they hovered over Richie’s guitar, abandoned under the summer moon.