Desire Howard had always lived her life very carefully, every decision measured and planned; always seeking the approval of her parents. She could never imagine living outside the only moral code she’d known until the one night she is brought face to face with the source of her temptation during a freak snowstorm. It’s the one time she makes an unplanned decision and it spins her life into utter chaos. Now that she is broken she wonders if she can ever get past her fall from grace to accept the love & forgiveness awaiting her embrace.
Desire was aware of a telephone ringing and then a blinding light all at once. She slowly opened her eyes and found herself on her stomach, her hair uncharacteristically across her face. Something immediately felt wrong. Her mind felt foggy, almost as if she had drunk a bit too much or was medicated. As she heard a male voice murmuring, she began to turn over only to see Philip with his hand across his eyes speaking into the phone. With a huge expanse of chest showing above the sheet that covered him she had little doubt of what lay beneath. As she attempted to set up the covers fell from her, and she realized she was completely unclothed, and immediately began covering herself by grasping the comforter. Fully aware he was watching her she sought to dodge his glance as she began to gather her things as gracefully as possible.
She could see from her peripheral vision that he was gesturing for her to wait, but that only fueled her efforts to escape as soon as possible. She could hear him rushing to conclude the call, but not before she fled the room, not stopping until she was back within her own room and then her own en-suite bathroom. What had she done? She instantly closed her eyes and her mind began to respond by showing live and in color every single thing she did and that was done to her. Despite every effort to make the images dancing across her mind cease, it was to no avail.
She stood at the sink and began to splash her face as she stared at herself in disbelief. How could you do it? You’ve been waiting so long. A laundry list of moral and ethical issues began to slam her brain as the impact of how last night’s actions would affect her personally and professionally played out before her eyes. She could barely look at the man before, how in the world would she be able to now? Pain that seemed to resonate from deep within her tore through her. She’d worked so hard to live a clean moral life as well as establish a professional demeanor and she’d thrown it away in a matter of a night.
She heard a light tap at her bedroom door with Philip’s voice telling her he wanted to talk to her, but she didn’t respond. She only continued to sit on the lid of the toilet and let the tears of shame stream from her eyes. Pain of her heart gripped her and she began to hug herself and cover her mouth at the same time as if to hold it all in. Finally she heard him walk away and seconds later she turned on the shower and beneath the cascading water she let the tears continue to fall. What was she to do now?
Philip walked back toward his bedroom dismayed. When he’d opened his door to see her standing there he thought he was dreaming. And when they came together it was like a dream. She had awakened a hunger within him that even now had not been sated. He could only imagine the turmoil of emotions that she was experiencing. He didn’t think he would ever forget his shock upon entering her and realizing that she was a virgin. He would have stopped, but she encouraged him to continue and in truth he wondered if he would have been able to stop anyway. Besides, that point they were both over the edge.
He never would have thought all that passion lay beneath the skin of his prim and proper executive. From the moment she was in his arms it became some type of feeding frenzy and he couldn’t tell who hungered the most, she or him. All he knew was he just couldn’t get enough. They had spent such a beautiful night together; something he thought was the beginning of more. Now he got the feeling that wasn’t going to be. In fact, the comfort level he’d striven so hard to achieve was obviously damaged as well. And the thought of that filled him with intense regret. Now in his shower beneath the curtain of water his heart felt heavy and he was left hoping that he would be able to salvage something-the idea of losing her altogether filled him with despair.
After taking one last look at her black pinstriped grey wool pantsuit, she decided there was no more time she could take to hide in her bedroom. She was going to have to face Philip at some point, and at the meeting wasn’t the best time. She’d twisted her hair into a French roll while only leaving ringlets in the front. She hoped she portrayed the professional woman for which she always aimed. No one had to know the vulnerable mess of a woman that lay beneath the armor of her business suit.
She regretted not for the first time, how Philip had managed to peer beneath and into her soul. She took solace in the fact that tomorrow she would be back in her town-home and the next time she would see him would be in passing, since she planned to remain as good as a recluse in her little office down the desolate hallway that led to her little office–her haven.
She sighed, as she wondered how long this day would seem to stretch out. Walking toward the dining room, she turned to see Philip standing at the large window that gave a panorama of the downtown area. He turned as he heard her enter the room.
“Good morning Desire. How are you this morning?” He sought to connect with her gaze even as he searched her face for some glimmer of her state of emotions.
She smiled ruefully even as she saw concern in his eyes and heard it his voice. She wanted to assure him that she was a big girl and yet she felt like a small child that tried to play grown up. But she would have to push all those feelings beneath the skin now. She had to slide into her role as his executive, his right hand. She was going to have to pretend that the life altering event that she experienced the night before had never happened. “I am well. Are we prepared for our meeting?”
He blinked, pausing as he tried to decide how to proceed. It was very clear that she wanted to pretend nothing happened between them and while that was a sign that she wasn’t resigning on the spot, he felt regret that she couldn’t embrace what they’d shared. She had no inkling of how appreciative he felt to have been the one with whom she shared her gift nor how he desired to honor her and see if they could build a future together. The last thing he wanted to do was treat it as a one night stand. He’d been attracted to her for a while now and what they’d shared only hours ago to him was absolutely priceless. He’d never experienced anything like that with any other woman. No, he was definitely not willing to just let it go so quickly.
Walking toward her, he stood, careful not to touch her while seeking to connect his gaze with hers. “It seems you would rather pretend last night never happened. I wish you wouldn’t. What we shared was so beautiful Desire and I truly hope that you feel no shame in anything we shared.”
She turned away, preferring to look down at her notes. “Philip there is so much about me that you don’t know and we don’t have time to go into it now. I thank you for . . . your consideration with me last night. I would however prefer never to discuss what happened between us again. Ever. Now if you don’t mind, I would like to begin making sure we are prepared for this morning’s meeting.” Realizing her need to bring distance between them, she walked toward the table and poured herself a cup of coffee.
She felt his eyes boring into her back, but she counted on the gentleman in him and knew he would abide her wishes at least for now and for that she was extremely grateful. It took all that she had to put herself back together this morning and she needed to remain intact until she could get home and lock herself in the security of her bedroom. There was going to be a huge fall- out from her actions, but it was something that she would have to bury until later.
“If that’s how you want to proceed from this point forward Desire, I will respect your wishes. I just want you to know that I am truly interested in getting to know the parts of you that you alluded to; in fact, I think we have an awful lot to talk about. Obviously this is not the right time. That’s just something I would like you to keep in mind while you’re trying to eradicate last night from your memory.”
Desire clenched her eyes close to bank the tears that threatened to escape. She deliberately took a sip of coffee, then placed the cup on the table. Walking toward her briefcase she said, “I thought it would be best if we open the meeting up with addendum D, section two. What do you think?”
Ok that was how she wanted to play it. So be it. Making his facial expression impassive, he reached for his briefcase and settled in the club chair beside hers. After scanning the page he agreed. “That would be a great place to start. Now here’s how we will develop the point going forward. . .”
Desire sighed in relief. Forward was the perfect word. All she had to do was put one foot in front of the other. . .