Friday, May 20, 2011

Chapter 22

Richie woke to the sound of singing.   It was soft and sweet and accompanied by the quiet patter of falling water.

Slowly his eyes eased open, first a crack, then more fully when they were not assaulted by brightness.  He blinked sleepily as his groggy brain struggled to comprehend the sensory inputs it received from his eyes and ears.

Richie’s gaze focused on an object in the dusky greyness of the room.  After peering at it for a long minute he realized what it was and why it was in his line of vision.  He smiled at the little brown teddy bear nestled on the oak rocking chair next to the bed.  Next to Annie’s bed.

Richie’s eyes drifted back shut as his smile widened.  Images of the night before floated through his mind like flashes of a movie.  Annie smiling up at him as they danced, grinning mischievously as she offered him a joint, her eyes sparkling as she dared him to kiss her… and her face aflush with passion as they made love under the night sky.

His fingers curled over the cotton sheet draped across his body, as if looking for tactile confirmation that it had all really happened.  That he was really here, in Annie’s bed. 

Bunching the sheet into his palm Richie let out a little sigh of contentment, remembering how she had wordlessly invited him into her bed when they returned home after their romantic, erotic encounter on the beach.  Annie had simply taken his hand and led him past the couch where he had slept the night before, down the little hallway to her room.  Then they had slowly and tenderly undressed each other before easing down onto the soft linens and into each other’s arms.

Richie couldn’t remember the last time he had slept so peacefully.

Hearing the steady rush of water, Richie’s gaze drifted from the rocking chair to the small window behind it.  Realizing the roll-up shade was illuminated from behind with bright sunlight, Richie squinted slightly.  It took him a minute to realize the gentle patter he heard was coming from the other side of the bedroom wall, not from outside.

Annie was in the shower.

That thought fully awakened Richie, a little jolt of awareness firing through his groin.  He smirked slightly before stretching, then craned his neck to look at the alarm clock on the bedside table.  His smirk turned to a grimace as he evaluated the positions of the hands on the clock’s face.  Why the Hell was Annie up and showering at 8:15 on a Sunday morning?

The obvious answer eluded Richie for a moment as his mind was filled with delicious thoughts.  When he again heard Annie’s voice in song he realized the answer to his own question.

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand…

“Oh,” Richie murmured to himself.  Of course.  It was Sunday.  Annie was getting ready to go to church.  That’s why she was up and about so early, after falling into bed just a few hours before.
Richie chuckled quietly as he realized that’s what most normal people did on Sunday morning, got up and went to church.  It certainly wasn’t his habit anymore, much to his mother’s chagrin.  But 9:00 a.m. Mass at St. Anthony’s wasn’t exactly compatible with the nocturnal schedule of a Jersey Shore musician.  And since he had been in the South Richie hadn’t bothered to find a church.  His worship had taken place in dingy barrooms and musty studios, with his guitar on his knee.

A little stab of pain in his heart reminded Richie of his reality.  He wouldn’t have that excuse to avoid church services any longer, once he returned home.  It would delight his Ma to have him sitting in the pew next to her every Sunday, kneeling and bowing and going through the motions. 

Next Sunday he would be at St. Anthony’s, in body if not in spirit.  The Wayward Son returned to the flock.  Richie was sure Father Francis would welcome him back with open arms and absolve him of his sins.

Of which there were many. 

Richie shook his head to clear the depressing thought from his brain.  For a long minute he lay still, listening to Annie’s melodic hymn.  She had told him she wasn’t particularly religious, but she obviously still observed the Sunday ritual.

With another sigh Richie rolled onto his back.  He stared up at the ceiling, watching the fan revolve lazily above him.  A gentle smile played over his lips as he pictured Annabelle under the running water, massaging shampoo into her hair and stroking the pink bar of soap he had noticed yesterday over her dewy skin.

With a big yawn and another long stretch Richie contemplated his options; to stay in bed and wait for Annie to return or to get up and greet her with a morning kiss and maybe a cup of coffee.  The first sounded more appealing; the second required effort.

It wasn’t long before Richie’s body made his decision for him.  The pressure in his bladder finally forced him to squirm with discomfort.  He really needed to take a leak.  But the water was still running in Annie’s shower and she was still singing. 

Despite their intimacy last night Richie wasn’t quite sure Annabelle would appreciate him just barging into her bathroom and taking a piss in her toilet while she was naked just a foot or two away.  Annie had certainly surprised him with her brashness last night, but sharing bodily functions in a cramped bathroom was a level of familiarity Richie was reasonably certain he and Annie had not yet reached.

After another minute Richie realized he could no longer ignore Nature’s Call.  Kicking free of the tangled sheet, he swung his legs over the side of the bed and heaved himself off the mattress.  Absently scratching at his left buttock, Richie trudged naked down the little hallway, through the living room, and out onto the porch. 

With a hurried glance around the yard to be sure there were no unexpected onlookers, Richie quickly dismounted the porch steps and moved to the side of the house.  He groaned with relief as he emptied his bladder, directing a long and steady stream of urine onto the earth next to a blooming rose bush.

His most urgent business done, Richie retreated back into the house, dragging a hand through his long tangle of dark hair as he went.  Once inside he rummaged around in his rucksack until he found a pair of grey knit basketball shorts, which he quickly donned.  Minimally clothed, Richie yawned again and scratched at his chest.  Then he turned for the kitchen.

As he wandered through the arched doorway Richie heard first Annie’s singing, then the shower, stop.  He smirked again as he pictured Annie drying herself with one of her fluffy pink towels.  Less than a minute later he heard the muffled click and a dull crack as Annie inched open the bathroom’s wooden door just enough to allow the shower steam to escape.  Inside his skimpy gym shorts Richie’s dick twitched in agreement with his smirk.

 When he turned to the stove Richie found a coffee pot warming on the back burner and a cup, spoon, sugar bowl, and a little pitcher of creamer on the adjoining counter.  Annie’s thoughtfulness made Richie smile as he fixed himself a mug of the fresh brew. 

Richie took a sip of the hot beverage, then swore as it seared his tongue.  Grumbling as he moved to the refrigerator, he pulled open the freezer compartment and pried an ice cube from the bin inside.  He dropped the cube in the cup and watched it shrink as he swirled the coffee around it.  A couple seconds later he again sipped from the cup.  This time he was satisfied.

Swallowing a mouthful of the now-lukewarm beverage, Richie moved over to the little kitchen table under the window.  The lilac bloom was still in the Mason jar, its light scent perfuming the room.  Next to the jar sat two items that made Richie’s eyebrows arch with curiosity.  One was a large plastic-wrap-covered platter of deviled eggs, their creamy yellow yolks freckled with rusty paprika.  The other was a worn, leather-bound Bible.

Setting his coffee mug down on the table, Richie reached for the Bible.  He brushed his fingertips over the embossed cover, slowly tracing the letters as he read them: W-H-I-T-T-A-C-R-E.  Whittacre.  His lips pursed lightly as he wondered if that was Annabelle’s family name.

Carefully Richie picked up the heavy volume, cradling it in his left hand as the fingers of his right hand ruffled the thin, gilt-edged pages.  The tissue-thin paper made a faint crackling noise as the pages parted.  Richie noticed a red ribbon marked the spot to which the book fell open.  The marked page was different from its neighbor, made of thicker paper and colorfully decorated.  Neat cursive writing in faded ink filled the lines with names and dates.

Gently Richie turned the page to find another pair like it, then another and another.  He saw that this was clearly a family Bible that had been passed down through generations. The center plate was filled with the record of births, deaths, and marriages of the Whittacre family. 

Richie’s lips curved into a tender smile as he read the last name listed on the last page:  Annabelle Emmeline Foster, born 24th December, 1957.  Her birthday was on Christmas Eve.  Somehow that seemed fitting. 

His eyes were drawn to the line above Annabelle’s name, to the common surname.  Richie scanned the line, then re-read it.  Lucy Katherine Whittacre Foster, born 27th August, 1934.  Died 24th December, 1973.  His heart squeezed with sympathy as he comprehended the significance of the entry.

The last sentence was recorded in different handwriting, in fresher ink.  Instinctively Richie knew the handwriting was Annie’s, documenting the date of her mother’s death.  Richie’s eyes moistened as he realized Annabelle’s mother had died on her birthday.  On Christmas Eve.  On a night when most of the world was rejoicing , sixteen-year-old Annabelle had been mourning.

Richie cleared the little lump from his throat and blinked rapidly.  He couldn’t imagine the pain Annie must have endured, losing her mother in such a tragic and painful way.  And as a teenager, when her own life must have been so tumultuous.  It made her kindness and generosity seem all that much more remarkable.

And it made his own problems seem petty in comparison.

Richie gently closed the Bible, careful not to crease or wrinkle the pages, then returned it to its spot on the table next to the lilac blossom.  His gaze lingered on its cover as he picked up his coffee mug and took a long drink.  Then his eyes raised to the window.  Richie stared out at the bright morning sky as his thoughts turned to his home.

He really was fortunate to have parents who were healthy and happy and who loved him unconditionally.  Who would welcome him home and tell him they missed him.  Who would help get him through the disappointment of leaving behind a dream for reality.   Who wouldn’t leave him in such an incomprehensibly tragic way.

The Lord works in mysterious ways, Richie.  He heard Annabelle’s words from last night in his ears, as clearly as if she was standing there beside him.  

Maybe she was right.  Maybe he was meant to find her, to learn her story, to let her help him come to terms with his fate.  Maybe God had stranded him here in Darien because of Annabelle.  And maybe he needed to just give in and go with it, let the Hand of Fate guide him.  What was the saying?  “Let Go and Let God?”

“Well good morning, Handsome.”

Her greeting made Richie smile.  He turned around to find Annabelle standing in the arched doorway, smiling back at him.  Richie couldn’t conceal a soft gasp of surprise. 

She was morning-beautiful, clad only in her dressy undergarments, a creamy silk slip covering a lacy bra and what Richie assumed were matching panties.  Her eyes sparkled bright blue, enhanced by the lightest touch of shadow and mascara, and her glossed lips shone in the morning light.  Her hair was still damp from her shower, and curled in soft tawny tendrils around her glowing face.

“Morning,” Richie breathed.  He stared for another second, then snapped to.  “Um… thanks for making the coffee.”

“Welcome.”  Annie chuckled quietly and stepped forward.  She moved over to Richie and slipped her arms around his waist. 

Quickly setting his coffee mug back on the table, Richie enfolded Annie in his arms.  He exhaled softly as he reveled again in the feel of her flesh.  Richie smiled as Annie raised her face to his, then he sipped gently from her full lips.

“You get enough sleep?” he asked quietly after the kiss.

Annie chortled and dropped her cheek against his chest.  “No.  You?”

“I’m okay.”  Richie fought back the yawn that seemed to immediately materialize with his fib.  He smiled and gave Annie a little squeeze.  “What’s with the eggs?”

“They’re for the potluck.”

“Potluck?”  Richie’s brows raised in surprise, along with his voice.  “What potluck?”

“Every Sunday we have a potluck lunch in the church basement.  Everybody brings a dish to share.”

“Oh.”  Richie considered that for a moment, then his brow creased again in puzzlement.  “When did you have time to make eggs?”  He was pretty sure he hadn’t seen a tray of deviled eggs in Annie’s refrigerator last night.

“This mornin’.”  Annie chuckled softly, feeling Richie’s surprised reaction in his breath.  “I got up early and made ‘em, like I always do.”   She grinned.  “Even after a late night of mischief-makin’ and gallavantin’.”

Richie laughed softly at her explanation, marveling in her dedication.  “Wow.  You’re not gonna nod off during the sermon, are you?”

“No.”  Annie giggled softly.  “I can’t.  I’ll be up in the front, with the choir.  How the heck would that look, me snoozin' through Reverend Purdy’s preachin’?”

“Not good.” Richie grinned and gave Annie a little squeeze.  “But I have a feeling you’d be forgiven.   Just say a few Hail Marys.”

Annie laughed at Richie’s solution.  “That’s for Catholics.  We Baptists don’t do that Hail Mary stuff.  Except on a football field.”

“See?  Goes to show ya what I know about religion.”  Richie pressed a kiss against the crown of Annie’s head.  He closed his eyes and smiled as he inhaled the sweet scent of her shampoo.  “So, you gonna sing today?”

“Mmm Hmm.  We sing every Sunday.”  Annie’s eyes had drifted shut as she snuggled against Richie’s firm chest.  She sighed softly, listening to the muffled beat of his heart.  She heard it accelerate just slightly as Richie drew in a deep breath.


The question in Richie’s tone made her raise her head to look at him.  Silently she arched her brows.

“Could I… Do you think… it would be okay if… if I came to church with you?” 

The question surprised Richie, even as it slipped from his lips.  The idea had just occurred to him, in the scarce minute he had thought about Annie singing in her church choir.  He had no burning desire to worship Jesus or hear the sermon or be Saved on this Sunday morning, or even to try one of her deviled eggs at the potluck lunch.  He just knew he wanted to be with Annabelle, wherever she may go.

A warm smile curved Annie’s shiny lips.  “I think that would be lovely,” she replied softly.  “I’m quite sure Reverend Purdy will be happy to have you join us today.”

“Uh… I don’t really have anything to wear.”  Richie grimaced slightly, realizing his faux pas.  He may not have been in the South for long but he knew folks down here took the phrase “Sunday Best” quite literally.  And all his clothes were dirty, wrinkled, or worn.

Annie chuckled softly, her heart warming at his sheepish expression.  “Well, as Otis says, 'God don't care what you wear.  He just wants you to show up'."  She giggled again and gave Richie a little squeeze. "Besides, I’m sure you got somethin’ in that bag over there that'll work just fine.”  She tipped her head toward the living room where Richie’s ruck sat unzipped on the floor, a wad of rumpled fabric sticking out of the opening.

“All I have are jeans.”  Richie felt a little blush creep to his cheeks.  “Not exactly church clothes.”

“You got a shirt with buttons?  One that’s a plain color?”

The little sparkle in her blue eyes made Richie smile.  “Yeah.  I got a white one.”  Reluctantly he released Annie and stepped back.  He gave her another gentle brush across the lips before moving for the living room.

Annie followed Richie into the room and stood watching as he rummaged around in the canvas bag, shoving his arm deep into its recesses.  She giggled quietly and covered her grin as he muttered a curse, yanking t-shirts and socks and underwear from the bag and dropping them on the floor.  Finally he drew out a white garment by one long sleeve.

“Umm… it ain’t exactly church-ready.”  Richie’s nose scrunched in distaste as he regarded the heavily-wrinkled shirt.  “Shit.  Maybe I should just stay home.”

“No, no...”  Annie laughed and reached for the shirt.  She tugged it gently from his grasp and gave him a sweet smile.  “I’ll take care of it.  You go get yourself in the shower, make yourself look like a fine, God-fearin’ Young Man.”  She grinned mischievously.  “Instead of a wild-ass long-haired guitar-playin’ Hippie Boy.”

Richie laughed at her tease.  “You mean try to look respectable, since I’m not.”

“Exactly.”  Annie gave Richie a sly wink.  “But of course, when all them folks at church are admirin’ how nice and proper you look, I’ll know better.”

Richie snorted, then grinned playfully.  “Yeah, I know you will, Annie Oakley.”

Her musical laughter warmed his heart.  Richie jumped as Annie playfully swatted at him, the wrinkled white shirt smacking against his thigh.  “Hey!” he protested.

“Alright, you.  Go get yourself cleaned up.  We ain’t got long ‘til it’s time to leave.”

Annie’s smile softened as she watched Richie stoop to pick a pair of white briefs, a dingy undershirt, and a pair of rumpled jeans from the pile on the floor.  Straightening with the clothing in his hand, Richie leaned over and gave Annie a light peck on the cheek before turning to head for the bathroom door.

With a little sigh Annie pressed Richie’s shirt to her chest, over her heart as it squeezed with happiness.  She watched Richie pause to give her a sweet smile before stepping inside the little bathroom and closing the door behind him.

“Yes, Mama,” she murmured softly, again hearing the gentle voice in her head.  “Mysterious ways.”  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chapter 21

“Uh… Uh huh…” Richie groaned softly as he felt his cock thicken in Annie’s grasp.  “I think you’re right.”

Annie giggled and released him before leaning forward, bracing her hands against the truck bed on either side of Richie’s waist.   Her eyes sparkled as she gave him a saucy smile.  “You do, huh?”

Richie watched Annie’s breasts sway over his chest as she dropped her head to kiss him.  He grunted again against her mouth as she let her torso lower until her nipples brushed against his chest.  His dick throbbed eagerly at the contact.

Richie’s breath escaped in a rush when Annie broke the kiss.  With another soft giggle she sat back on her heels, letting her hands rest on her thighs for a moment.  She smirked as she boldly regarded his now-swollen shaft.  “Yee-Haw,” she drawled playfully.

With that Annie raised up on her knees and reached forward.  Steadying herself with her hands against Richie’s abdomen she slipped one leg across his thighs, straddling his lap.  She settled down upon him, purring delightedly as she purposely shifted a couple extra times, rubbing against him.

“Oh, Jesus!” Richie gasped as he felt her moist lips stroke against his rigid length.  “Fuck, Annie…”

“Yeah, that’s the plan.”  Annie chuckled huskily as she smirked down at Richie.

His eyes meeting hers, Richie grinned.  Struggling slightly to push himself up from his elbows, he curled his torso forward until he was sitting half-upright.  His hands went to her hips, steadying himself. 

“Ya know, you’re pretty naughty for a sweet, innocent lil’ Southern Belle.”  His tease was soft and husky as he reached for her lips.

Annie drew back, denying his kiss.  She gave him a saucy grin.  “Who said anything about Southern girls being innocent?  Or sweet, for that matter?”

“Ain’t they?”  Richie chortled at her challenge.  “That’s what they lead the boys to believe, anyway.”

Annie’s smirk turned wicked.  She gave her hips a little pulse, rubbing a little harder against Richie’s cock.  She chuckled at his involuntary wince of pleasure.  “Well now you’re just makin’ assumptions, based on a stereotype.  We ain’t all Scarlett O’Hara, ya know.”

Richie growled softly and leaned further forward, reaching again for her mouth.  He couldn’t help but chuckle when she withdrew further, continuing her tease.

“Oh, you ain’t all supposed to be demure and blushing and sweet and ladylike?”

“No.”  Annie arched a brow and tilted her head questioningly.  “Just ‘cause you’re from New Jersey and you have an Italian name, you supposed to be in the Mafia?”

Richie couldn’t stop a snort of laughter at that.  She had nailed him with that sharp tease.

“No,” he laughed.  “Touche’.  So you ain’t sweet and innocent and I ain’t Mobbed up.”

“Sounds like we’re a perfect match, then.”  Annie’s smile gentled as she raised her hand.  Using her thumb to push the brim of her Stetson up away from her face, she drifted forward, offering her lips to him.

“Yeah,” Richie breathed as he tasted her lips, kissing her gently before pushing his tongue inside her mouth.  He growled softly as he felt Annie’s arms slide around his torso, pulling him closer to her body.  The warmth of her breasts pressing against his pecs sent another surge to his groin. 

“Oh, God…. Annie…” Richie sighed as she slipped her mouth from his to nuzzle at his cheek.  He hugged her gently and smiled as her hair swept across his face, filling his nostrils with sweet perfume.

“Help me, Richie.”  Annie breathed in his ear.  She raised herself slightly off his lap, sure he would understand what she meant.

He did.  Immediately Richie’s hand slid from her hip to the juncture of her thighs.  He smiled at her soft gasp when his  fingers slipped between her slick folds, gently stroking across the ready little nub at the fore. 

“You’re wet.”  His breath against her ear made Annie’s thighs quiver.

“Yeah,” she whispered before pulling back enough to stare at him with need-filled eyes.

Richie gazed back at her for a moment, watching her as he brushed his fingertip across her clit.  He swore he saw sparks in the deep midnight pools, like the stars twinkling against the velvety blue sky above.  His lips curved upward as he watched her lashes flutter and her lids drop when he pushed his fingers downward, then curled them up inside her.

Oh!” she gasped.  The breathy exclamation made Richie’s cock throb.

Unable to help himself, Richie dropped his eyes from Annie’s beautiful face to his hand.  He sucked in a sharp breath as he watched his long fingers snake through her tawny curls, playing her.  His dick pressed urgently against the back of his hand, its swollen purple head pulsing as his knuckles dragged across the rigid flesh while his fingers delved into Annie’s satiny warmth.

“Ohhhhh…. Richie…..”  Annie’s husky half-moan made it apparent she was ready for more.  With a deep breath Richie turned his hand over, circling his index finger and thumb around his shaft.  He carefully pushed his cock forward, angling it against her mound.  In response she flexed her thighs, raising herself just a bit more, aligning with him until he was pressing at her entrance.

“Easy…”  Richie breathed as he watched his head half-disappear into her curls.  “Annie… Ohhh….”  He groaned quietly as Annie slowly lowered himself onto him, easing herself down onto the thick pillar of his erection.  He couldn’t tear his eyes away from the sight of his cock disappearing into her as she slowly enveloped him.

Annie stifled a little squeak of discomfort as she took Richie inside her.  She didn’t want him to think he was hurting her; he really wasn’t.   As she felt herself stretch to sheath him she grunted softly, from pleasure rather than pain.  She just had never had a man of his stature before.  Annie chuckled quietly to herself at the realization.

“Richie… lay back.”  She pressed lightly against his pecs.

“But it feels so good….”

Annie giggled softly.  “Trust me, Darlin’.  You won’ t be sorry.”  She pushed again at his firm chest, now slicked with perspiration.

With a half-sigh Richie did her bidding, still gripping her hips as he curled backward until he was again reclining on the blanket.  His eyes glowed with eager delight as he gazed up at her nude body, perched on top of his, bathed in moonlight.

Annie pulled in a deep breath and shifted again on his lap, taking him in a little bit more.  This time she couldn’t contain her squeak as she felt the ridge of his head rub hard against the magic spot deep inside her womb.  Involuntarily she sucked her lower lip between her teeth.

“Relax,” she breathed, almost as much to herself as to Richie.  Her hands covered his on her hips, gently prying his long fingers away from her flesh.  She guided Richie’s hands to his abdomen and let them rest there.  “Let me take care of you.”

Richie smiled at her choice of words and what he was sure was an unconscious subtext.   She had taken care of him already in so many ways; now she was on the verge of satisfying his most carnal needs.  And in doing so, she would most likely take care of her own.

Richie sucked in and puffed out a long breath, then raised his arms to cradle his hands behind his head.  He grinned.  “Yes ma’am.  Or should I call you Annie Oakley?”

Annie giggled softly and again reached up to tug at the brim of her hat.  “Well, I don’t have any six-guns, but I can sure ride ‘em, Cowboy.”  She gave him a saucy smirk as she rocked her hips forward, making Richie gasp.  She paused for a moment, then moved back, then forward again.

“Jesus, Annie…”  Richie’s hoarse statement trailed off as his senses were filled by her.  His ears heard only her breath and her husky purr of pleasure.  Her sweet, musky scent made his nostrils flare with desire.  Her taste lingered on his lips and in his mouth, leaving him hungry for more.  The contact of her flesh against his sizzled through his synapses, blanketing him with heat.  And his eyes widened with desire, drinking in her moonlight-dappled naked glory. 

She filled him up, leaving him wanting for nothing.  Not even sweet release.  Not yet.

“You’re so fucking beautiful,” Richie whispered, watching Annie’s round breasts sway with the gentle rock of her hips against his.  Behind his head his fingers itched to reach up, to trace the dusky dimpled rosettes of her perfect nipples and feel them contract under his fingertips.

Her response was her broadening smile and another little tug at the brim of her hat.

Annie paused for a moment, savoring the feeling of him under and inside her.  She gazed down at Richie’s gorgeous face, masked with wonder.  Her soul warmed at his tender expression and at the realization he filled her heart with emotion as amply as he filled her walls with his manhood.

“Oh, Richie…” she sighed softly, letting her eyes drift from his face down his body.  Her gaze stopped on his belly button, bracketed by her hands resting against his taut, tanned abdomen.  She smiled again at the little dimple and at her own happiness.

“Annie?”  Richie’s husky almost-whisper carried his question.

She raised her gaze back to his and saw the need in his deep chocolate eyes.  “Hang on,” she commanded, giving him a little wink before tensing her thighs, raising herself.  She sucked in a breath as she felt him slide half-out of her with the movement, his ridge dragging against her walls.  Jesus, it felt good.  She just hoped she could maintain her self-control long enough to give Richie his pleasure. 

Richie gasped at Annie’s slow ascent from his lap, then yelped in surprise as she dropped quickly, driving his cock deeper into her womb.  Her walls were so tight around him they felt like elastic, giving just enough for him to move but squeezing him with constant pleasurable pressure.  His eyes slipped momentarily closed, then he dragged them back open to focus on Annie.  He didn’t want to miss a single glimpse of her erotic beauty.

A quiet giggle mingled with Annie’s whimper of pleasure at her movement.  She gave Richie a sultry smile, then with a little toss of her head she again tensed her thighs.  Her fingers curled against Richie’s abdomen as she steadied her balance with her hands.  She began to pulse up and down on Richie’s cock, riding him. 

Annie grunted softly with her effort, starting with slow, measured movements then quickly picking up speed.  With each stroke she felt herself slick more, with each up-and-down motion she lowered herself a little harder.  Soon her every downstroke was accented with the moist slap of flesh on flesh as her cheeks impacted Richie’s pelvis.  The deliciously dirty sound enhanced her arousal.  She moaned softly.

“Oh my GOD, Annie…” Richie gasped raggedly.  Of their own accord his hands escaped from behind his head and went again to her hips.  He grasped her warm flesh, trying not to grab her too roughly as her gyrations increased in speed and intensity.  “Jesus!”

“Hang on, Cowboy!” Annie half-laughed, half-panted.  Her entire body was tingling with arousal, a fire spreading through her womb as Richie’s shaft seemed to swell even more inside her.  She could feel his pulse throbbing inside her, his shaft seeming to flex with his heartbeat.  She knew it wouldn’t take long to bring him to orgasm; she just hoped she wouldn’t get there first.  She wanted to watch him, to see pure ecstasy of her own making mask his handsome face, before she lost her own senses.

In response Richie’s fingers dug hard into Annie’s hips.  Involuntarily his head thrashed to the side as she bounced hard on his crotch.  With almost superhuman effort Richie dragged his face back forward and opened his eyes, focusing on her glowing blue eyes framed by a wild tangle of black-felt-topped honey-blonde hair.  “Christ…” he grunted as he felt Annie’s cheeks clench around his balls.  He could hardly believe how deep she had taken him.  It felt incredible.

He wanted more.  Bending his knees and bracing his heels against the truck bed, Richie thrusted his hips upward, instinctively meeting Annie’s downstroke.  Her squeal of surprise ignited him further, encouraging his movement.  “God, ANNIE!” Richie gasped, bucking hard against her, lifting her off her knees with his movement.

“Ohhh… My… GOD…. Richie!!!!”  Annie panted.  Her eyes widened and she clutched at Richie’s sides, trying to hang on as he took control of their furious movement.  As she bounced wildly on Richie’s crotch Annie’s Stetson slid sideways, then tumbled down her back onto Richie’s thighs.   She giggled through her gasps as she realized her little ride had suddenly turned into a rodeo event.

“Oh, Annie!  I’m gonna come!”  Richie gasped.  I’m gonna….”

“Come on, Baby!”  Annie encouraged, her voice breaking with her own arousal.  “Let it go…”  She grinned as she saw Richie’s grimace of release a split-second before she felt him erupt inside her.  His cock spasmed hard against her walls, stretching her even further.  The shock of exquisite pain momentarily stunned her, then sent her spiraling to higher, to the apex of her desire.

“Oh, RIIIIIICHIIIIIEEEEEEE!”  Annie wailed as she lost control.  Her climax exploded, fireballing out through her synapses and leveling her.  It was all she could do to remain upright.  Her chin dropped to her chest, her golden mane curtaining her cheeks as she panted. 

She sat rigid for a moment, her body clenched with ecstasy around the source of her pleasure.  Annie could still feel Richie’s cock pulsing inside her, each little throb like an aftershock.   Her heart thundered in her chest as she gasped for air, trying to regain her breath.  Then her spine weakened and she slumped forward.  She slipped from her knees and collapsed onto Richie’s sweaty chest, her cheek coming to rest on his shoulder and her lips next to his ear.

“Oh my God…” she sighed.  “That was… was…”

She felt Richie chuckle under her, the sound rumbling in his chest between his own labored breaths and thudding heartbeat.  “Heaven,” he breathed.

“Yeah,” Annie sighed in agreement.  “Heaven.”

Richie smiled and slipped his arms around Annie’s waist, hugging her against him.  “You lost your hat,” he remarked with a breathy laugh.  He puffed away a damp lock of her hair that fell across his lips.

“It was… a little wilder ride… than I expected,”  Annie panted softly.  She let out her own husky chuckle before pulling in a deep breath, holding it, then slowly exhaling.  She felt her pulse slow a tic as the influx of fresh oxygen filled her lungs and raced through her bloodstream.  She repeated the breath, then laughed again.  “Didn’t expect a bucking bronco.”

Richie’s laugh was music to her ears, husky and warm.  “Well you couldn’t expect me to just lay there.  I mean, Jesus, Annie…”  He chortled throatily.  “Ain’t no man coulda laid still for that.”

Annie smiled and turned her lips to Richie’s sweaty chest.  She savored the taste of his skin on her lips after pressing a kiss against his pec.  “Yeah, it was pretty good from my position too,”  She giggled softly.  Pretty good? Hell, it was fantastic…

“Hey.”  Richie’s quiet word told Annie what he wanted.  With another breath she raised her head to look at him.  His adoring gaze almost stopped her heart.

“Thank you.”  Richie blinked mistily, receding lust still swirling in his eyes. “I mean it, Annie.  Not just for this… for tonight.  For all of it.  For… I…”  His voice faltered as he searched for the right words.

Annie’s eyes moistened as she smiled back at him, touched by his earnestness.  She blinked back happy tears as she reached for him.  “You’re welcome,” she whispered against his lips.

After a long, tender kiss Annie and Richie sighed In unison.  Annie dropped her cheek against Richie’s shoulder, snuggling against his chest.  She didn’t want to move, to break their union.  She wanted to keep him inside her as long as possible, to hold him in her intimate embrace.

They lay together for a long time, listening to each other breathe and to the radio and the sounds of the night.  It was Annie who finally broke the silence.  “I wish we could stay here forever.”

Richie smiled at her soft lament.  He would like nothing more to remain here in the back of Annabelle’s old truck, cradling her in his arms, feeling her heart beat against his.  There was only one other place he could think of on the whole Earth that would be better than this.

“Annie… let’s go home.”

Annie smiled at his gentle words.  She understood.

“Okay.  Home.”

Friday, May 6, 2011

Chapter 20

Richie winced as he heard the harshness of his tone.  He had no right to snap at Annie.  She was just trying to help, to encourage him.  He closed his eyes, steeling himself for her question:  Why?

But it didn't come.

Richie heard Annabelle let out a soft breath, then he felt her cheek settle again upon his chest.  "Oh."  The word was so soft it was almost carried away on the breeze.

Guilt stabbed through Richie's gut at the smallness of her voice.  He had hurt Annie's feelings.  Goddammit, his stupid, selfish, defensive pride had gotten the better of him again.  Why couldn't he just keep his fucking mouth shut and go along with her pretty, well-intentioned lies?

Richie sighed, frustrated with himself.  Maybe Annie didn't mean her encouraging words that way, but that's what they were:  unwitting lies.  False hopes that like in fairy tales there would be a happy ending and all his dreams would come true.

Again his heart throbbed with regret as he felt Annie's breath against his skin.  Richie gently squeezed her to his side in a one-armed embrace as he dropped his lips against her hair, kissing the crown of her head.

"Annie, I'm sorry."

The little squeeze of her hand in his, resting on his chest, was her only reply.

Annie blinked rapidly, her long lashes brushing against Richie's pec as she listened to his heartbeat under her ear.  His words had stunned her more than hurt.  I quit.  How could that be?  Richie had just been up on a stage a couple hours ago, right in front of her very eyes, playing and singing more amazingly than anyone she had ever seen before.

How could he quit, walk away from something he so obviously loved so much?

"Annie...."  She heard her name rumbling in Richie's chest.  Still she didn't answer, unconsciously holding her breath in anticipation of his next words.

"Annie, please.  I didn't mean to bite your head off.  I just... it's just...."  Richie carefully forced the admission from his lips.  "It's hard for me to think about, okay?"

Annabelle couldn't hold her tongue any longer.  "You love playing."

"Yeah, I do."

"And you did it tonight."


A long pause hung in the air, the quiet between-song patter of the radio DJ and the rush of the waves breaking heavy silence.  When Annie spoke again Richie felt more than heard her words, her voice was so soft.

"You played tonight for me."

Richie closed his eyes and gave Annie's hand a squeeze, pressing it against his chest.  "Yeah."  He swallowed hard, wanting to explain but not quite sure how to say it without sounding like a condescending prick.

"I wanted to... Uh...  To give you something.  To thank you for how nice you've been to me, since I've been here.  And... well... Richie sighed heavily.  "I don't have much to give.  I don't even know how the Hell I'm gonna pay Eddie for my car come Monday."

Again Richie felt Annie's hand move in his, her fingertips curling against his chest.  Heartened by the small gesture, he continued.  "You  seemed to want me to play so bad..."  Richie's words trailed off as a little lump formed in his throat.  He cleared it away with a husky growl.

"So I guilted you into playing, huh?"  Annie's voice was stronger, but carrying a gentle tease.

"No."  Richie answered honestly.  "You didn't guilt me.  Seriously, Annie."  He sighed again.  "To be honest, I really wanted to play.  The minute I walked in the door and saw the band, then when Sammy offered..."  A little smile curved his lips at the memory of the familiar rush he had felt when he strapped on the gold Gibson.  "I wanted to play.  Not just for you, but for me too."

Annie blinked again, not understanding Richie's confession.  "Why do you say that like it's a bad thing?  Like you're guilty or something?"  Curious, she again raised her head to search Richie's expression.  "It ain't illegal to play the guitar, you know."

Her soft, slightly sarcastic observation made Richie snort out a little chuckle in spite of himself.  "Yeah, I know."  He looked into Annie's beautiful blue eyes and saw her confusion.  His heart melted.

"Annie, I wanted to play, but at the same time I didn't want to.  Because I knew it would just make it harder when it was over."

Annie's brow furrowed as she tried to decipher his words.  "What?"

"I told you how I came down here looking for a job, right?  In Memphis?"


"And it didn't work out."

Annie nodded, carefully watching Richie's expression.  She felt a pang of sympathy as Richie pulled his gaze from hers and swallowed hard.

"Annie, I came to Memphis to try to make it as a musician. To try to get somebody to listen to my songs, maybe to record one."  Richie's husky voice wavered slightly.  "But I failed.  Turns out I'm nothin' special.  So I'm going back home to Jersey.  To get a real job."

"Richie... I'm sorry."

Richie shook his head at her sympathetic comfort.  "Don't be.  It's for the best."  He took a deep breath.  "I gotta grow up, start acting like a man.  Get a job, put some money in the bank."  He snorted softly and let a bittersweet half-smile curve his mouth. "Be able to afford a place to live besides the backseat of a piece-of-shit car that breaks down on the side of the road."

Annie smiled at his attempt at humor.  "But Richie... why does that mean you have to quit playin' your guitar?  You told me you were in a couple bands, you played at bars and clubs down at the seashore.  Why can't you have a day job and play your music at night and on weekends?"

Richie gazed silently at Annie for a long moment, trying to formulate a gentle answer to her question.  Of course he had considered what she proposed, working by day and doing music on his off-time.  But what was the point?  It's not like it was ever going to be more than a hobby.  That much was clear, after his experience in Memphis.

He sighed.  "Because, Annie.  As much as I love it, it would be just too hard.  To play nothin' but old cover tunes in shithole bars for the rest of my life..." Richie swallowed again as the lump rose in his throat.  "It would... I just... couldn't."

Annie's heart squeezed at the resignation in Richie's husky voice.  She pulled her hand from his and reached up to touch his lips with a gentle finger.  "Well that's a damned shame.  Because if those folks that make records could see what I saw tonight.... Richie, you're somethin' special."

Richie's eyes moistened.  "No, Annie.  I'm really not."  He blinked rapidly, willing himself not to cry in front of her.  "I'm just... ordinary.  A stupid, starry-eyed kid who thinks he knows how to be a songwriter, a guitar player."  He smiled wanly.  "Just 'cause I can play Stairway to Heaven and I have about three fans back in some smoky Jersey dive don't exactly make me a rock star."

Annie giggled softly and leaned up to brush his lips against his.  "Yeah, but now you're more than just a local sensation.  You got a whole mess of new fans down here in Darien.  Just tonight, just sittin' in with the house band."

Richie couldn't help but chuckle at Annie's sweet sentiment.  "Yeah, well.  It was a one-time deal.  My farewell gig."  He sighed again.  "Besides, nobody ever made it big covering other people's stuff.  You gotta be original, come up with your own songs."

Annie pursed her lips and gave him a quizzical look.  "But you do write your own songs, right? That's what you told me last night."

"Yeah."  Richie snorted ironically.  "At least I used to."  He gazed into Annie's eyes for a long moment, watching them swirl deep sapphire.  "Truth is, Annie... I haven't written anything in a long time.  Months."

"Why not?"

Richie shrugged tiredly.  "I just... I just lost it, somehow.  I can't write, not music, not lyrics... It's gone."

"Maybe it's just temporary.  Like writer's block.  I heard that happens sometimes."  Annie covered Richie's hand with hers and squeezed gently.  "Maybe you just need some new inspiration, is all.  It'll come back."

"No, Annie." Richie shook his head and gave her a sad smile.  "Thanks for trying to cheer me up, but you're wrong.  I know myself.  It's done.  I'm done."

Annie regarded Richie for a long moment, her heart breaking at the resignation she saw in his mournful expression.  Then she sighed.  "I'm sorry, Richie."

"S'okay.  Not your fault."  Richie raised his head, reaching for her lips.  She leaned up to meet him and they shared a tender kiss.  "But thank you."  Richie whispered against Annie's lips.

Annie blinked back the little tears that sprang to her eyes at his words.  She felt Richie's arm tighten around her waist, hugging her closer.  "Richie..."


"The Lord works in mysterious ways, you know."

Richie blinked at Annie for a long moment, surprised.  "Huh?  What makes you say that?"

Annie smiled gently.  "I don't know.  I just... for some reason I feel like you're here for a purpose, with me.  Like you were meant to be here."  Because God knows you need me as much as I need you.

Richie returned her smile.  "Like Karma, you mean?  Fate brought us together?"

"Call it whatever you want."  Annie released Richie's hand and slipped her arm across his waist, dropping her cheek again to his chest as she hugged him.  "I'm just glad you wandered into Darien."

Richie's heart swelled as he pulled her closer.  "Me too, Annie."  He dropped another kiss against her hair as he blinked rapidly, overcome by a rush of emotion.  He felt lighter, as if a stone weight had been lifted from his chest.  His moonlight confession to Annabelle had somehow soothed his weary soul.

And her declaration of belief that they were meant to be together made Richie's heart smile.



Annie giggled softly.  "Umm.... I gotta pee."

Richie couldn't help himself.  He burst into laughter at her unexpected comment.  "Umm... okay.  I guess if you gotta go, you gotta go."

Annie pushed herself up off his chest, grinning sheepishly.  "Sorry.  Guess I just ruined that moment, huh?"  She shifted beside him until she was sitting on her hip.

Richie levered himself up onto his elbows and chortled softly.  "Yeah, you totally did.  But it's okay."

Annie leaned down to give him a sweet kiss.  "Be right back."  With that she scooted away from Richie, moving down to the tailgate of the pickup and dangling her legs over the edge.  She looked back at him, over her shoulder.  "Don't watch, okay?"

"I won't."  Richie sat up and raised his hand, two fingers pressed together and pointed skyward.  "Scout's honor."

Annie laughed again before slipping off the tailgate.  Richie watched her move along the driver's side of the truck and pull open the door.  "What the Hell are you doing?" he asked playfully.  "Gonna drive to the nearest outhouse?"

"No."  Annie leaned into the pickup's cab, ducking from his view.  A few seconds later she reappeared, waving a small box of tissues at Richie.  "Kleenex.  It's a little more complicated for me to take a pee out in nature than it is for you."

Richie chuckled. "True."  He watched Annabelle close the truck's door, then step toward the front of the vehicle.  Respectfully he looked in the other direction, turning his gaze to moonlit ocean.

Richie sighed deeply as he settled back onto this elbows and watched the waves roll onto the small beach.  Despite the emotional conversation he and Annie had just shared, he felt good.  Relaxed.  Mellow.  He grinned sheepishly as he realized at least some of his candor had probably come from his chemically-lowered inhibitions.  Organic truth serum, he mused with a snort.

But he didn't mind.  Somehow it just felt right to share this with Annie.  She understood him.  Since Richie had been stranded in this little town Annie had taken care of him.  In so many ways, more than he could ever hope to repay her for.  She really was his Angel.

Maybe she was right about fate.  Maybe he was meant to find her.

A familiar tune from the radio brought a smile to Richie's lips.  The Stones never failed to lighten his mood, this song in particular.  The irony of hearing it now wasn't lost on Richie, considering where he had spent his evening.

I met a gin-soaked barroom queen in Memphis
She tried to take me upstairs for a ride
She had to heave me right across her shoulder
'Cause I just can't seem to drink you off my mind

It's the honky-tonk women
Gimme Gimme Gimme 
The honky-tonk blues...

Richie sat up and stretched to nudge at the volume dial on the little radio.  He inadvertently bumped the almost-empty Budweiser can Annie had set on the footlocker, knocking it from its perch.  Richie swore as he quickly retrieved the can from its landing place, on the black felt cowboy hat Annie had tossed aside earlier after pulling the feathered roach clip from its band.

"Fuck," Richie mumbled as he set the can back on the footlocker.  He brushed at the hat, attempting to swipe away the warm beer puddled on its brim.

"Whatcha doin' there?"

Annie's playful question made Richie jump. He gave her a guilty look of surprise, then grinned sheepishly.

"Sorry.  I spilled beer on your hat."  He gave the dark felt another swipe with his fingers, then dropped the hat on his lap.  His attention was quickly diverted from his mistake as he watched Annie settle her nude behind on the tailgate before turning to face him, swinging her legs up into the pickup bed.

Annie giggled at Richie's half-guilty, half-lustful expression as his gaze fell to her breasts.  She curled her knees up beside her, stacking her legs as she rested on her hip, posing for him.  She wagged her finger teasingly as she tsked-tsked in response to his confession.

"That's my favorite hat."  She grinned as she looked down at the Stetson in Richie's lap.  It was strategically placed, though inadvertently so.


Annie pulled a fake pout.  "And now it's stained.  You really should be more careful."

Richie's lips curved upward as he realized she was teasing.  "Sorry," he repeated.  "I'll clean it for you when we get back to the house."  He watched Annie's gaze linger obviously on his lap.  Under the Stetson his cock jumped, responding to her attention.

"Hmmm.  Well, okay.  Hope you can get that beer stain out."  Annie gave Richie a sly smile before crawling forward, settling again on her hip next to him. She raised her hand to gently jab a finger against Richie's chest. "And the other one too."

"What other one?"  Richie leaned back onto his elbows in response to the pressure of Annie's finger between his pecs.  He smiled bemusedly at her playfulness as a little jolt of arousal fired through him.  He could feel his dick stirring in response to her coy tone.

"The one that's probably on the inside now."  Annie pulled her finger from Richie's chest and shifted to kneel beside him before dropping her hand to his lap.  With a little smirk Annie lifted the Stetson by its crown, turning it over and pretending to inspect its lining.

Richie sucked in a breath as the movement revealed his quickly-rising erection.  The brush of the night breeze over his cock aroused him further.  "Umm... I think the inside's okay..."

"Hmmm."  Annie shrugged noncommittally before placing the black hat atop her tousled golden waves.  She smiled beguilingly at Richie as she tugged the brim down low over her eyes.

Richie groaned appreciatively at the sight; she looked sexy as hell in that cowboy hat.  "It looks good on you," he rasped before sliding his tongue across his suddenly-dry lips.

"Thank you."  Annie smiled sweetly, then dropped her eyes to Richie's crotch.  "You really do like it, don't you?"  She giggled softly.

Richie grinned.  "What's not to like?"  He gasped at Annie's touch as she reached over to trail a fingertip along his shaft.  "I've always had a thing for Cowgirls."

"Oh really?  There many of those in New Jersey?"  Annie chuckled coyly.  She slowly encircled Richie's now-hard cock with her warm hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.

"Not enough."

"That's too bad."

"Why's that?"  Richie grunted softly as she squeezed again.

Annie grinned cheekily. " 'Cause I don't think you've ever been properly ridden."  She giggled.  "And from the feel of things, you could use a nice, long ride right about now."