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The Hike
By TakersLover


Chapter One

Tree limbs scratched Tess’ arms and legs as she pushed her way through the thick foliage. She wandered off the path several hours ago, wanting to enjoy the hot summer day alone, without interruption from others on these well-trodden nature trails. Glancing down, she noticed a snake curled up between two small trees watching her. A squirrel shimmied up a tree beyond that, and a deer stopped briefly, noting her presence before taking off through the forest. Lifting her face to the sky, she closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, breathing in the clean fresh air.

Smiling she pressed on. The further she went, the denser it got, and just as she thought she would have to turn around and go back, the trees thinned and she stepped onto the shore of a well secluded pond. It was beautiful. The sun gleamed off the water, rippled by the warm breeze; the grass on shore was thick and green and covered with a variety of wildflowers; and the only sounds were those of the small animals scurrying into the cover of the trees.

She let her backpack slide down her arms, catching it in her hand as she strolled to the edge of the pond and sat down. Slipping out of her hiking boots and socks, she slid her feet into the water before opening her backpack and pulling out the sack lunch and bottle of water she’d brought with her. The sun beat down on her as she enjoyed the picnic, but the moister from the pond made the air unbearably humid. Sweat trickled down her face and neck, down the crevice between her breasts, and covered her back, arms, and legs. Her throat was parched from the heat, as opposed to her damp body, and the bottled water, having become warm in the heat, did little to quench her thirst. She swallowed the last bite of her apple and cleaned up the trash before allowing herself to enjoy the day any more.

The water felt good as she slid her feet further into the pond, letting her legs become immersed up to her knees. Back and forth, she opened her legs and closed them again, enjoying the feel of the cool water on her skin. How good it would feel to strip off her clothes and dive in. No sooner had the thought formed, than she was slipping further into the water, stopping when the hem of her shorts touched the water. She couldn’t go skinny dipping. This was a state forest; there was no telling who could come along. But she hadn’t seen anyone since she left the trail, and the water felt so good. She bit her bottom lip as she debated whether or not to take the chance. The longer she sat there, the hotter and more humid it seemed to get, and soon she was nearly choking on the thick air.

She surveyed the surrounding forest carefully, trying to find any signs that someone was there, but she saw no one, heard nothing but the wind blowing through the leaves and birds chirping merrily in the treetops. Taking a deep breath, she slid her legs out of the water and stood up. “I must be out of my mind.” She said aloud as she peeled off her shirt. She nearly moaned in pleasure as a breeze blew across her bare skin, cooling her instantly from the heat, and she wasted no time in shedding the rest of her clothes and diving into the pond. This time she did moan. Not only from the relief from the heat, but from the feel of the water on her naked body as she glided through to the other side. She never imagined what a difference wearing – or not wearing - a swimsuit could make while swimming, even something as small as the string bikini she’d gotten herself for her last birthday. She could envision a giant pair of hands wrapping around her shoulders and sliding down the length of her body in one long, fluid motion. Perhaps this was how a man felt as he buried himself inside a woman’s moist body. The thought provoked a series of erotic images. ‘Now all I need is a man.’ It was more of a wish than a thought, as this whole experience was having quite an affect on her. Being naked out in the open, surrounded by the dense forest, the wildlife; it only seemed natural to make love to a man out here. The images turned into fantasy as she pushed off and swam across to the opposite side.

Glen cursed under his breath as he pushed his way through the thick flora. He’d gotten lost after leaving the nature trail, thinking he would better enjoy his day off if he were able to experience the great outdoors first hand, and not from some predetermined path. Not to mention that everyone he came across seemed to recognize him. So much for concealing his identity behind that mask…

The further he went the more convinced he was that this had to have been the stupidest idea he’d ever had. Not only was he lost, his stomach was in knots from the lack of food, he felt as though he would melt from the heat, the humidity was suffocating, and he couldn’t take off his sweat drenched shirt because of all the damned tree limbs. If he ever got out of there, he swore he’d never do anything this idiotic again - at least not without a map.

A noise distracted him, pulling him from his misery. ‘Is that water?’ Quietly he pressed through a thick grove and peered through the bushes, expecting to see some wild animal drinking from or swimming in a watering hole. To his surprise, he saw a woman swimming toward him from the opposite shore. He knelt silently as he watched her emerge onto the shore, unable to tear his eyes away. Water glistened in the sunlight as it rolled down her naked body, which was perfectly tanned, except for the tan-lines that seemed almost luminous against her dark skin. Slowly he crept around the edge of the clearing, careful not to let her know he was there, his eyes never leaving her. He watched as she dove into the water and swam to the other side and then back again several times. His mouth had gone dry, it was becoming rather difficult for him to breath, and his penis was steadily growing in his shorts and was soon pressing firmly against its denim confines, demanding to be released. Reaching down, he stroked himself through the heavy material, but that only caused his desire to increase instead of diminish. He watched her turn her back to him and dive in again, and without thinking he stood up and walked out of the woods toward the pond, and the woman. He began peeling off his clothes as he made his way closer to shore, as if it were something he did all the time, and by the time he reached the water’s edge, she was emerging on the shore infront of him.

Tess stopped dead in her tracks just before stepping out of the water and onto the grass. A man – a very large man - had appeared seemingly out of nowhere, and was standing before her completely naked, looking down at her. She didn’t know what to do. Sure she wished for a man to come and make love with her out here in the middle of nowhere, but she never thought it would actually come true. Her tongue darted out to moisten her lips as her eyes drifted down to his engorged shaft. His erection left no doubt as to what he wanted from her. Nervously, she gazed back up into his mesmerizing hazel eyes.

Glen reached out and gently slid his fingertips across her face and into her short brown locks, his thumb lightly stroking her cheek, as he searched her deep blue eyes. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for - a sign perhaps that she wanted him as he did her, or fear that this stranger meant to hurt her. He found the former. Never had he seen such lust in a woman’s eyes as he did now, and never had he wanted a woman more. Bending forward, he captured her mouth in a gentle, yet passionate kiss. His free hand slipped around her back and pulled her close, while his tongue pressed against her lips, wordlessly pleading for entry.

She hesitated when he first pulled her close, but soon relaxed and opened her mouth, answering his silent request. His mouth was so hot and moist. What inhibitions she may have had, faded, and she returned his kiss with equal fire, exploring his mouth with absolute hunger. His arms tightened around her in response, crushing her body against his. The feel of his bare skin on hers was bliss, and she moaned her approval into his mouth. Bringing her arms up, she splayed her hands across his massive chest. His muscles rippled beneath her skin and his flat male nipples hardened as her palms glided over them. Pulling away from him, she broke the kiss, and slowly blazed a trail from his mouth down his throat and chest to his nipple, teasing it with her tongue, rolling it between her teeth, while her fingers captured the other one and began imitating the actions of her mouth.

He groaned as she manipulated him with her fingers and mouth, and grabbed handfuls of hair to hold her in place. His body had never been so responsive to this type of stimulus before, and he could feel his erection growing even bigger in response, if that were possible. Unable to restrain himself against her amorous assault, he tightened his grip on her hair and pulled her up, claiming her mouth roughly as his hands slipped from her hair and slithered down her back to her butt. As his hands cupped and gently squeezed her cheeks, his lips began a descent of their own. He nibbled and sucked on the delicate skin of her neck and throat, eliciting a moan of pleasure from her. He felt her hands on his back, caressing the vast expanse of flesh and muscle and leisurely moving downward until they covered his ass. He gradually made his way down her chest to her breasts. Covering one with his hand, he took the other one in his mouth. He bit down gently flicking his tongue across her hardened nipple, and then rolled it between his teeth. Taking his hand from her breast, he let it slide down her stomach and slip between her thighs, covering the bed of curls that lay nestled there.

She gasped as he slipped his finger between her pink folds and opened her to his exploring fingers. Her body involuntarily began moving against his hand as he rubbed her sensitive clitoris, increasing the pressure, scarcely aware that his mouth had returned to her throat. “Oh God…” She moaned as he buried two long fingers deep into her dripping hole. In and out he thrust his fingers into her, curving them so that they rubbed against her slick wall as he did, while his mouth continued the assault on her neck, scraping her tender flesh with his teeth. She didn’t try to suppress the orgasm that was already building. Holding onto him, she dug her nails into his shoulders as her body contracted, spilling her juices over his fingers and into his hand.

Chapter Two

Another moan escaped her lips as he slid his fingers from her. His kisses made her weak with desire. Had she been thinking clearly, she would have pushed him away, humiliated at what she was doing. Instead, she pulled him close and held onto him as he lowered her to the ground, anxious to feel him inside her.

Her body burned beneath him. Her hands, soft as silk, left a fiery trail down his back as he broke the kiss and slid up her body, positioning himself between her open legs. With one hard thrust, he buried himself deep inside her hot, wet passage. His thrusts were hard, each one deeper than the last. His pace was slow and deliberate. Her moans of pleasure quickly turned to whimpers, then to screams as she plummeted over the edge again and again. With each orgasm her walls tightened around him, squeezing him and pulling him in deeper.

Leaning up on his elbows, he looked down and watched as her face contorted in pleasure. A strange feeling came over him as he watched her, a desire to possess her, to have complete control over her. Without thinking, he took her hands, one at a time, pulled them up over her head, and held them down as he began pounding into her mercilessly. A growl came from deep in his chest, drowning out her cries of pain and pleas for release.

Her struggles went ignored beneath his huge form until he felt the sharp pain of her teeth on his nipple. He wasted no time in rendering retribution. Lowering his mouth to her neck, he sank his teeth into her tender flesh, until she screamed out in pain, and then continued his assault on her body. His thrusts grew harder and faster until he felt his own release rapidly approaching. Burying himself deep inside her, he exploded. Her body contracted again, pushing out his sperm while spilling its own juices. With the last bit of energy he had, he pushed himself off of her, fell onto his back, and closed his eyes.

Images of her flashed through his mind as he lay there in the cool grass. She had looked so beautiful coming out of the water. Her eyes were filled with pure unadulterated lust. She had wanted him as much as he did her, and had graciously gave herself to him. She had enjoyed it. He could see it written all over her face, even when he held her down. But then she bit him, and he’d bitten her back, hard, and when she begged him to let her go, he’d gotten rough with her. He could still hear her screams, could still feel her struggling beneath him.

His heart sank as reality sank in. He raped her. He bolted upright and his eyes flew open at the revelation, searching the area in vain for… God, he didn’t even know her name. She was nowhere in sight. He considered for a moment that he could have been dreaming, but his discarded clothes and the teeth marks she’d left told him the truth.

“Glen!”

Hearing his name, Glen quickly got up and retrieved his clothes, slipping into his shorts just as Mark stepped into the clearing.

“Where have you been, man? Vince is convinced that you’ve been attacked by some wild animal.” He couldn’t help but notice the teeth marks around Glen’s nipple. Reaching out he flicked it and chuckled, “Looks like Vince was right.”

Glen glared back at him. “Fuck you, Mark.” He pulled his tee shirt over his head and, without waiting for his friend, headed for the edge of the clearing.

“Hold up.” Mark reached out and put his hand on his shoulder. “What happened?”

Glen pulled his shoulder away and mumbled, “Nothing”.

Mark watched him a moment, worried at his strange behavior. Returning his hand on his shoulder he said, “If you change your mind, you know where to find me.”

“Thanks” Glen gave him grateful smile and the two began their journey back to their cars.

“Shit! That hurts!” Tess said to her reflection as she washed off the blood. She felt bad about leaving the man as he slept, but what was there to say? She had willingly given herself to him and he… What did happen? One minute they were having incredible sex, and the next he was holding her down against her will. Not that she minded. She would have enjoyed it had she not been laying on that rock. She only wanted him to stop long enough to pull the blasted thing out from under her, but instead he bore down harder, pressing the sharp edges into her shoulder hard enough to cut her. She was sure that he didn’t know she was laying on it, but he should have stopped when she asked him to. She didn’t know how to feel – violated, euphoric.

Sighing heavily she took a closer look at the wound. It wasn’t as bad as it felt, and it wasn’t deep enough to need stitches. “A bandage wouldn’t hurt though.”

“Hey, are you okay in there?” Christie, her roommate and best friend, called out from the other side of the door.

“Yeah” She answered applying the antiseptic cream to the gauze. “Could you help me out?”

“Sure” Christie gently pushed the door open. “Oh my God! What happened?” Immediately she assessed the injury before covering it with the prepared bandage.

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Well, you are going to talk about it.” Taking her hand, she pulled Tess into her bedroom, sat her down on the edge of the bed, and sat down next to her. “Tell me everything.”

Tess could see the concern in her green eyes and although she knew Christie was genuinely concerned about her, she knew she wouldn’t give her a moment’s peace until she spilled her guts.

Christie sat speechless as Tess spoke, unable to believe what she was hearing. “First of all, I can’t believe you went skinny dipping!” She grinned in spite of herself. “Then you had sex outside? In public? Are you sure you were hallucinating? The heat can do that, you know.”

Tess held her wrists up infront of her. “Does this look like I was hallucinating?”

Christie took her hands in hers to inspect the bruises that had already formed. Her voice was soft, almost a whisper. “Holy shit. He raped you Tess. I know – you wanted him. But he should have stopped when you told him to, whether he knew you were hurt or not.”

A tear rolled down her cheek. “I know.”

“You need to tell your dad.”

“And have him arrested?”

“Hell yeah! He deserves to rot in jail. The bastard.”

“I’m not telling anyone else, and I’ll deny it if you do.”

Christie’s eyebrows drew together thoughtfully. “Is there something you’re not telling me? You know him, don’t you?”

“I don’t know. He looked so familiar, but I have no idea where I’ve seen his face before. If I’ve seen him before. God Christie, how did I ever let something like this happen?” Standing, she walked to the dresser and pulled out a pair of panties and an oversized tee when the phone rang.

Christie hovered over her while she talked, like an anticipating child. “Was that Brent? What did he say?”

Tess looked at her suspiciously and grinned. “Are you still drooling over my brother?”

Christie’s cheeks turned a deep red. “No. It’s just that… well… he’s um… What’s wrong with me liking your brother?”

“Not a thing.” Her eyes sparkled with humor.

“So…what did he want?”

“You might want to sit down.” Tess kept her expression serious as she guided Christie to the bed. “He won two ring side seats to Raw Monday night, and backstage passes. And he’ll be on duty that night, so he’s giving the tickets to us.”

Christie jumped off the bed and grabbed Tess around the waist, squealing in delight, as she spun her around in circles. “We get to see the Deadman up close and in person! I love your brother!”

Chapter Three

Glen was sitting in his dressing room with Mark listening to Vince’s lecture about his performance at the house show the night before. His mind had been on the woman in the woods instead of the match and he nearly broke Faarooq’s arm because of it. Once Vince finished his sermon and left, Mark turned to Glen. “You want to tell me what’s going on?”

“No.”

“Let me put it another way, you’re going to tell me what happened Friday out there in the woods, or I’m going to beat it out of you.”

Glen really needed to confide in someone and he knew that he could trust Mark. “I don’t know what happened. I was on the nature trail, and after the umpteenth person asked for my autograph, I decided to go off on my own. I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going and ended up getting lost.” He stood up and began pacing the floor as he spoke, “After awhile, I came across the pond where you found me. There was a woman there skinny dipping. I watched her for awhile before I approached her. God, she was beautiful!” His lips curved into a smile as an image of her surfaced.

When he didn’t continue, Mark spoke up. “You approached her and…? What? You slept with her?”

Glen’s smile faded and he ran his fingers back through his hair. “Yeah”

“And your problem is…?”

Glen swallowed past the lump in his throat. “We were having sex - incredible sex - then I... I had this sudden urge to dominate her. She didn’t seem to mind at first, but then she started fighting back, begging me to stop. I just ignored her. Then she bit me.” He motioned toward his left nipple. “I stopped long enough to bite her back. When I was through, I laid down beside her to catch my breath. That’s when I realized what I’d done. I sat up and looked for her, but she was already gone.”

Mark stared at him in disbelief. He opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out. He’d known Glen for years and up until now, he didn’t think it was possible for him to do anything like this. “You raped her.” He could see the hurt and regret in his friend’s eyes. “What are you going to do?”

Glen sat down again and rubbed his face with his hands. “I don’t know.”

“Do you think she went to the cops?” Mark’s voice was low. He didn’t want to bring it up, but it was a very real possibility.

Glen’s head snapped up. “Shit, I hadn’t thought of that.”

They were interrupted by a knock at the door. “Five minutes, Kane!”

He was to start the show by challenging the nWo to a handicap match, and then Ric Flair was to step out and make Bradshaw his partner. Silently he stood and walked to the door. “Thanks” He said before slipping on his mask.

Mark nodded in response and stood to go to his own dressing room.

As he made his way through the back toward the curtain, Glen tried to clear his head and focus on the storyline, so there wouldn’t be any mishaps during the show. As his music started, he stepped through the curtain, made his way to the ring, and climbed in. His heart stopped as he looked out at the fans. There in the front row sat the woman he’d met in the forest, cheering loudly for him. She looked as beautiful as she had that day. Giving himself a mental shake, he began speaking to the nWo.

“Holy shit! He looked right at you!” Christie screamed over the crowd.

Tess smiled slowly, and then started laughing. Her eyes were fixed on the Big Red Machine as he paced back and forth in the ring, but she didn’t hear a word he said. Although the Undertaker had been her favorite superstar since his debut, Kane had played the lead in many of her fantasies, and his unexpected attention was having a greater affect on her than it should have. It wasn’t so much that he had looked at her; it was the way he looked at her. And he kept looking at her, almost as if he knew her. At least that was the impression she got. God only knew what he was really thinking. She half expected for security to come and tell her that Kane had sent them to bring her back, but that was wishful thinking.

The girls began to enjoy the rest of the show, the looks from Kane temporarily forgotten. They screamed as loud as they could when the Undertaker came down to interfere with Hogan’s match. Making his way from the announce table to the ramp, he passed by the girls, looking directly at Tess when he did. Once he was gone, the girls turned to each other eyes wide and mouths hanging open.

“You know what this means…ménage a trios.” Christie said grinning.

Tess’ face and neck turned bright red. “Christie Ann Miller. I should wash your mouth out.”

“Come on, you can’t tell me you’ve never thought about it. Wouldn’t you love to have that sexy hunk of man making love to you while Kane…”

“Okay. So I’ve thought about it.” Tess interrupted. “But not everyone has to know about it.”

An older man sitting behind them leaned forward, resting one arm on each chair, and grinned. “And by the way they were looking at you; I’d say they were thinking the same thing.” He looked Tess up and down then added, “Can’t say that I blame them.”

Tess’ cheeks turned several shades of red causing Christie and the man to laugh aloud. To her relief, the lights dimmed and the Hardy’s music began playing, taking the attention off her.

Mark and Glen watched from the back unnoticed. “I’ll say this for ya; you’ve got great taste in women.”

Glen glared at him. “You seem to have forgotten one very important thing.”

Mark shook his head. “I haven’t forgotten. I saw the way she was looking at you earlier.” Glen gave him a questioning look. “I wanted to make sure you were going to be alright to compete tonight, so I watched you when you went out to make your challenge. I looked to see who you were staring at, and there she was. I didn’t know it was the same woman until you told me.”

“She didn’t seem to recognize me.”

“She probably didn’t.”

Glen sighed. “I wonder what her friend said to make her blush.”

Mark chuckled. “I don’t know, but she would have hidden under her chair if she’d known what I was thinking.” Seeing Glen’s raised eyebrow, put his arm around his shoulder and said, “Why don’t you come along? I don’t mind sharing.”

Glen knew that Mark wasn’t serious, although he wouldn’t put it past him.

“Show time Kane” Bradshaw said walking up behind them. “I don’t care what you two are into, but can’t you at least take it to a hotel?” He laughed as Glen and Mark jumped back, putting plenty of space between them.

The match went smoothly, considering Glen couldn’t keep his eyes off the woman. He and X-Pac fought briefly outside the ring next the guard rail where she and her friend were sitting, allowing him to get a good whiff of her perfume. At long last, the match was over, with him and Bradshaw picking up the victory. Vince gave him a scolding look as he walked past backstage but didn’t say anything, to his surprise. He hurried to his dressing room, anxious to take a shower and get out of there.

“Hey, are you decent?” Mark asked peeking in the door.

“Yeah” Glen pulled his tights down around his waist then opened his bag and pulled out a clean pair of jeans and a tee shirt, while Mark made himself comfortable in a chair.

“You okay?” All the humor was gone from Mark’s voice.

Glen looked over and smiled slightly. “Yeah, I’m fine. I just want to get the hell away from here.”

“I know a bar not far from here. It’s a hole in the wall, but it’s usually pretty quiet.”

Glen thought for a moment. A drink was just what he needed. “Sounds good. I’ll be ready in a few.”

Mark nodded and settled into the chair with a magazine.

“Can you believe how close Kane was?” Christie inhaled deeply. “Mmmm… I can still smell him.”

Tess raised her eyebrows. “You got a thing for body odor?”

“Oh come on, Tess. He smelled great.”

Tess smiled weakly. “Yeah he did.”

Christie watched her for a moment. She had been acting strange ever since Kane and X-Pac fought infront of them. “What’s wrong?”

Tess sighed heavily and looked at the other girl. “It was his scent, Christie. Kane was the man in the forest.”

Christie’s eyes widened. “Are you absolutely sure?”

Tess nodded. “That’s why he looked so familiar. I know what he looks like but since he never takes his mask off on camera, I didn’t recognize him.”

Christie fondled her backstage pass. “You know, we don’t have to use these.”

“Are you nuts?” Tess stuffed her new shirts into her backpack and flung it over her shoulder. “There are a dozen other men back there I’m dying to meet, not to mention the Deadman. I’m not going to let one man stop me from having some fun. Besides, we probably won’t even see him.”

Christie shook her head and followed Tess toward the side of the ramp. “I wouldn’t bet on that. Did you see the way he was looking at you?”

“Yes, but after what happened, I doubt he’s going to stick around and wait for me to identify him.”

“Good point” Christie grinned wickedly as they stepped behind the curtain. “Let’s hope he remembers to wear his mask when you’re in that ménage a trios later.”

Bradshaw’s head snapped up, his gaze falling on the women infront of him. He couldn’t resist. “So you’re the one Kane and Taker were talking about earlier.” Tess blushed deeply while Christie and Bradshaw laughed. Holding out his hand, he introduced himself, as did the girls. “I hate to meet and run, but I’ve got to talk to Vince before he leaves. It was nice meeting both of you.”

“I was nice meeting you too.” Tess replied.

“Listen, if things don’t work out with Deadman, Inc., give me a call.” He added before hurrying off.

“You were right. Coming backstage was a great idea.” Christie was usually the one getting all the attention - not because she was any prettier than Tess, she just had bigger boobs – and she was enjoying watching her friend on the receiving end for a change.

“Oh shut up.” Tess tried to pout, but she couldn’t erase the smile. “Come on. The men are waiting.”

They met many of the superstars, some they liked and some they didn’t. All of them were friendly, taking the time to pose for a photo and signing an autograph book for Brent. They were having so much fun that Tess had forgotten all about Kane. After saying goodbye to Jeff and Matt Hardy, they headed down the nearly deserted hall toward the front of the arena.

“You have to remind me to thank your brother tomorrow.”

Tess saw the perfect opportunity to pay her back for the comment she made earlier. “Well, why don’t I invite his partner over and you can thank them both.”

It was Christie’s turn to blush. “I can’t believe you’d suggest such a thing!”

“Hey, if it’s good for the gander…”

“That was completely different.”

“How was that different?”

“Because me having a three-some with Brent and his partner is more likely to happen than you having one with Taker and Kane.”

“Don’t be so sure about that.”

The girls stopped in their tracks at the sound of the deep, sultry voice of the Undertaker behind them. Without looking at her, Tess told Christie, “I’m going to kill you as soon as I get you alone.”

Mark and Glen chuckled.

Reluctantly, the girls turned around. Tess’ breath caught in her chest as she looked up at Glen. Despite what happened, she still found him very attractive, and her body responded immediately to him.

To break the sudden silence and to lighten the mood, Mark stepped up to Tess and put his arm around her shoulder. “Didn’t I hear something about a three-some with me and Kane?” Christie slapped her hand over her mouth to keep from laughing, but the men didn’t hold back. Once the laughter stopped, Mark invited the girls to have a drink with them. Tess was hesitant at first, but she knew that she and Glen needed to have a talk, so she agreed.

Mark, Glen, Tess, and Christie all sat at a small table in the back of an almost deserted bar. The conversation had somehow gone from the weather to law enforcement. Glen froze when Christie mentioned that Tess’ father and brother were both cops. Noticing his friend’s reaction, Mark took Christie’s hand in his and stood up. “Why don’t we go see what kind of music they’ve got in this place?” Christie smiled nervously, having realized what she said, and followed him to the juke box.

Glen and Tess sat watching each other for a moment before Glen spoke. “About the other day, I uh… I didn’t…” He took a deep, ragged breath. “I should have stopped when you said to. I should never have forced you to do anything you didn’t want to do. For what it’s worth, I’m sorry.”

Tess could see the regret he felt reflecting in his eyes. She had considered letting him swim in his guilt for awhile, simply because he didn’t stop when she told him to, but she had wanted him, and aside from the rock cutting into her, she had enjoyed it. “I guess I should come clean.”

Glen’s eyebrows drew together. “What do you mean?”

Tess sighed. “I didn’t really want you to stop…you know. I was laying on a sharp rock. When you pulled my hands up, you put pressure on my shoulders and it started cutting into me.”

“You didn’t mind being held down?”

“It was actually kind of fun.” Tess blushed lightly as she lowered her gaze.

Glen hooked his fingers under her chin and lifted her face. “You’re really cute when you blush, you know that?” This only made Tess blush more.

“I see you two have kissed and made up.” Mark said as he and Christie sat down.

“We may be doing more than that before the nights over.” Glen grinned, settling back in his chair.

Chapter Four

Hours later, Tess and Glen stepped onto the porch of Tess’ house. Christie had gone home some time earlier, having to get up early for work the next morning, and Mark left right after her, giving Glen and Tess some time alone.

“I had a wonderful time tonight, Glen. Thank you.” Her heartbeat sped up as he stepped up next to her.

“It was my pleasure.” His deep voice was rough with desire. He wanted her. Yet he was a little nervous still about being with her again. Those primal urges he’d felt in the forest were rising, and although he knew she would enjoy whatever came of them, he was afraid of hurting her again. Leaning forward, he pulled her to him and gently pressed his lips to hers. The kiss deepened quickly when he felt her lips part slightly.

A soft moan escaped him as she slid her tongue into his mouth and began an intimate exploration of his hot, moist recesses. His arms tightened around her, lifting her up and crushing her small body between his massive frame and the front door. Keeping one arm around her waist, he pulled the other one free and ran his fingers back through her hair, then down her throat and covered her breast, kneading it firmly through the thin material covering it.

With a moan, she wrapped her legs around his waist, pulling him closer and pressing his erection firmly against her aching center. She felt his hand on her thigh, then under the hem of her dress, gliding up her leg. His mouth found her neck as he tore the satin material away from her womanhood. Wrapping her panties around his knuckles, he threw his fist into the light bulb above their heads, effectively thrusting them into darkness.

The panties fell silently to the porch, along with the broken glass, as his hand slipped back up under her dress to the juncture between her legs. She moaned in pleasure at the feel of his fingers sliding slowly into her moist depths, then in protest as he pulled them out. His mouth returned to hers while he opened the button and zipper on the front of his jeans.

Her juices seeped from her opening, covering his engorged shaft as he slid it back and forth over her, teasing himself as well as her. Breaking the kiss, he looked deep into her eyes, the last of his reservations drowning in their blue depths. Taking her hips in his hands, he lifted her up and impaled her. “Glen…Oh God Glen…” He felt her walls tighten immediately and the rush of warm liquid flow over his penis. His self control was lost at the sound of his name spoken in that velvety voice, and the overwhelming response her body had to his.

Burying her face in his shoulder, she let out a muffled scream as another orgasm racked her body. His grip on her hips tightened and the speed of his thrusts increased as he came closer to his release. Pulling her down onto him, he buried himself one final time and exploded deep inside her.

Their juices spilled unnoticed from her body as they stood trying to catch their breath. After a few moments, he lifted her and gently set her on her feet, then closed the zipper and button on his pants.

There was a momentary silence between them, neither one sure of what to say, then Tess said, “That was a hell of a goodnight kiss.”

Glen’s cheeks flushed as he smiled. “It’s late. I should probably let you get inside.”

“Yeah, probably” She fought the urge to ask him in, knowing he had to leave town the next day.

“Can I see you again?”

Tess smiled up at him. “I’d like that.”

Glen smiled in return. “I’ll call you. Bye Tess.”

“Bye Glen.” She watched him walk to his car and drive away then picked up her torn panties, making a mental note to clean up the broken glass in the morning, and went inside.

“What happened out here?” Christie asked stepping onto the porch. “Or do I want to know?”

Tess chuckled. “Just an innocent little goodnight kiss.”

“I don’t know what he did to you, but when you’re done with him send him my way, would ya? I could use a kiss like that.” Picking up the small plastic bag from the wicker chair, she held it open while Tess emptied the dust pan of the glass. “Seriously Tess, having sex in the forest, on the front porch? This isn’t like you.”

“I know.” Tess stood up, walked back into the house, and sat down on the sofa. “I can’t explain it. I never would have gone skinny dipping if I’d known he was out there. It wouldn’t have even crossed my mind. Then last night...” Resting her head on the back of the sofa, she closed her eyes. “Maybe I shouldn’t see him again.”

Christie’s eyes widened as she took a seat next to her on the couch. “Why the hell not?”

“Gee I don’t know… because I lose all of my self control whenever he’s around? Because I get lost in his kiss every time he takes me in his arms? Because I’m starting to sound like a cheap romance novel?”

Christie threw her head back and laughed.

“It’s not funny.”

“Listen to me. We’ve always teased each other about having threesomes and orgies, and doing it in public. Remember when we convinced Peter Hall that we were lesbians?”

Tess giggled. “That was pretty funny.”

“Yeah it was.” She smiled at the memory. “My point is that we always talk about doing things, taking chances, but we never DO any of it. You didn’t just talk about it this time, you did it! As far as you seeing him again, I think you’d be crazy if you didn’t.”

Tess turned her head and lazily half opened her eyes. “Even if we have no chance of a future together?”

“You two have just as much of a chance as anyone else.”

Tess shook her head. “Relationships that are based on sex never work out.”

Christie nodded in agreement. “Maybe, but it will be one hell of a ride while it lasts.”

“You’ve got that right.” The grandfather clock in the hall began to chime. “Time to go to work.” Tess complained as she stood up.

“If you hate working there so much, why don’t you quit?” Christie asked as they grabbed their purses from the hall closet.

“Because the only thing I hate about my job is the pervert I work for and because I’m up for a promotion as soon as the position opens up. All I have to do is hang in there until the son of a bitch transfers – he’ll be gone, and I’ll have a bigger office and my own secretary.” Tess gave Christie a big cheesy grin with the last comment.

“Let me guess… a male secretary, with long wavy hair, and rippling pectorals.”

Tess laughed. “You know me too well.”

Glen pressed the “end” button on his cell phone with a heavy sigh.

“She’s still not home?” Mark had to suppress the urge to laugh.

“No. I told her I’d call.”

“She does have a life you know – a job, friends, family... You didn’t think she was going to sit by the phone waiting for your call, did you?”

Glen glared at the other man then sighed again. “I guess I am over-reacting a little.”

“A little?” Mark raised an eyebrow.

“Okay, a lot. But I’ve never met anyone like her before. She’s so…perfect. In bed anyway.”

“How would you know? From what I’ve heard, you’ve been everywhere but the bed.”

“Damn it, Mark, you know what I mean.” The phone interrupted their conversation. “Hello? Oh, hi Grace. I’m sorry; I thought you were someone else. Yes another woman. That’s none of your business. Since you filed for divorce. Listen, I’ve got to go. Just sign the damned papers.”

“Are you alright?” Mark knew how miserable Glen’s soon-to-be ex-wife had been making his life as of late, and he was glad that Glen had met Tess, even under the circumstances. He was also a little jealous, although he would never admit it. He neglected to tell Glen about the dream he’d had of the two of them in bed with Tess and Christie. He wanted both women from the time they met, but had held his tongue and would continue to do so. At least until the opportunity presented itself.

“I’m fine.” He settled back into his seat and closed his eyes. Unbeknownst to Mark, Glen had been thinking the same thing. He felt a little guilty about wanting to use the women for sex, but that’s what it came down to. He didn’t love Tess, he loved having sex with her, and it was no trouble imagining Christie and even Mark joining them. With a registered sigh, he rubbed his face to try and clear the images from his head, then picked up his phone and dialed her number again, giving Mark a “don’t go there” look as he did.

Tess nearly tripped over her own feet as she flew across the living room to answer the phone. “Hello?”

“Hi Tess”

Tess cursed silently at the man on the other end. “What can I do for you, Mr. Cromwell?”

“I need you to come back to the office. There are some things I need to go over with you right away.”

“I just walked in the door, can’t it wait until tomorrow?” She had already stayed an extra three hours, and the thought of spending one more minute with that man made her stomach turn.

“No it can’t wait. I’ll see you in half an hour.” With that, he hung up.

Tess slammed the phone into the cradle, cursing loudly, and then snatched the phone up as it rang again. “What?”

“Tess?”

“Glen? Oh God, I’m sorry. I thought you were someone else.”

Glen chuckled. “That’s okay. Just remind me never to piss you off.”

For the first time that day, Tess smiled.

“You want to talk about it?”

“I was just on my way out the door.” Tess grumbled. “Could I call you back?”

“Umm…yeah… Of course you can.” He had the arm of the airplane seat in a death grip at the thoughts arose as to what – or who – was keeping her from talking to him.

Tess sensed what he was thinking, so she added, “I wish I could talk longer, but my boss just called, and I’ve got to go back to the office.”

“This late at night?”

“He said it couldn’t wait. Probably just misplaced his dick again.”

Glen laughed heartily. “Well, we can’t have the man running around without that, now can we?”

Tess giggled. “I’ll call you later.”

“I’m looking forward to it.”

Tess hung up with a smile. She would call him later alright, as soon as she got home that night, if she was still coherent.

Mr. Cromwell was waiting in the lobby when she walked in the front door. ‘Just couldn’t wait upstairs, could you?’

“Good evening, Tess.”

“Good evening.” She held back the urge to slap him when he put his hand on her back and led her to the elevator and as he openly devoured her with his eyes on the ride up.

“I have everything set up in my office; we can get started right away. I took the liberty of ordering us some dinner. I hope you don’t mind.”

He didn’t just order dinner, he had candles burning, music playing softly in the background. The bastard didn’t know when to stop. “That was very generous. Thank you.”

“It was my pleasure.” His eyes traveled over her body as she crossed the room and sat down at the desk opposite him. “And please, call me Jack.”

Tess smiled politely. She had no intention of calling him Jack or anything else. ‘Just one more month’ she told herself while he poured them a glass of wine. “So, what was so important that it couldn't wait?”

Jack placed his hands on her shoulders and began massaging her muscles. “That can wait.” He leaned forward, bringing his mouth closer to her ear. “Why don’t you relax and enjoy yourself.”

She was so tired, the massage, as unwanted as it was, felt good, the thoughts she’d been having of Glen were still fresh in her mind, and for a moment Tess was lost in his touch.

“I can make you feel good, Tess, if you let me.”

The sound of his voice and the feel of his hot breath on her skin brought her back to her senses. She leaned forward in her chair, away from him and out of his hands. “The work, Mr. Cromwell?”

He calmly made his way around the desk and laid a pile of manila folders on the desk infront of her. “I need you to go through these personnel files and make sure everything is in order.”

“Yes sir.” She kept her voice as polite as possible. Standing, she took the folders and walked toward the door.

Just as she opened it, Jack stepped up behind her and pulled the hair away from her neck. “Of course, if you’d rather stay here with me…” His voice was low and seductive, and his lips brushed against her skin as he spoke.

Without a word, she stepped away from him and walked to her office. Tess fell against her office door; eyes closed, hands balled into fists, and took several deep breaths to keep from screaming. Brent would tell her to press sexual harassment charges against him, but she didn’t want to start a war – and it would be a war - when he was only a month away from transferring. With a heavy sigh, she pushed herself off the door and took the stack of folders to her desk, then plopped down in her leather chair and picked up the top folder. “Screw this.” Standing, she dropped the folder on the desk and grabbed her purse. She could replace every file with a Playgirl magazine, and he would never know the difference.

“Finished already?” Mr. Cromwell’s voice stopped her at the elevator.

Tess turned to face him. The look on his face made her want to puke. She’d never stood up to a superior before, but she’d had all she was going to take. “No.”

His lips curved into a sinister grin. “So, you’ve decided to take me up on my offer?”

“No.”

“Then I suggest you go back to your office and start going through those files.”

“I’m not going through those files again. They’re the same as they were the last time I looked through them - three days ago. Everything is in order.”

To her surprise, his smile widened. “Then let’s go back to my office.” Reaching out, he stroked the side of her face with the back of his fingers. “I could make you feel so good, Tess.”

She looked him directly in the eye, and pushed his hand away, then with a stern voice, said, “No.”

His eyes glimmered with anger at her defiance. He stepped closer, closing the space between them, and pressed his large body into hers, pinning her against the wall. “No one refuses me, bitch.”

“I just did.” Placing her hands on his chest, she pushed him away. “I’m not going to have sex with you, and I am not going to do any more medial work as a result of it. It’s called sexual harassment, Mr. Cromwell, and if you pull anything like this again, I’ll press charges. Not only will you have the police up your ass, but I’ll see to it that every news paper in the country runs your story. By the time I’m through with you, you won’t be able to find a job picking up litter on the sidewalk!”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“No? Try me.” Without waiting for a response, she turned and headed for the stairs.

“Mark, can I call you back?” The smile Christie had been wearing faded the moment Tess walked through the door. “Thanks. Bye.” After placing the phone in its cradle, she followed Tess to the kitchen. “Hey. What’s wrong? What happened?”

“It was Jack.”

“Jack?”

“Mr. Cromwell. He called me as soon as I walked in the door and said he had some work to be done that couldn’t wait. When I got there, he had this dinner spread out on his desk, candles, music… the whole nine yards. He started rubbing my shoulders.” Tess’ voice broke and she had to take a deep breath to regain her composure. “He tried to seduce me. When I refused he handed me the personnel files to go through again. I took them back to my office, but I didn’t go through them. Instead, I decided to come home. He stopped me at the elevator. He basically told me to either get back to work or have sex with him.”

“Oh my God! What did he do?”

Tess shook her head. “Nothing. I pushed him away, literally, and told him that if he ever tried that again, I’d end his career.”

Christie saw the tears in Tess’ eyes, and put her arms around her. “You did the right thing.”

Tess relaxed into the embrace. “I know. I’ve never stood up to anyone like that before.”

“I know. And I’m proud of you for it.”

“You know this mean I’ll have hell to pay tomorrow.”

Christie chuckled. “Somehow, I don’t think he has the balls.”

Tess leaned back. “Thanks.”

“Anytime”

“Didn’t I hear you talking to Mark when I came in?”

“Yep! He and Glen invited us to go to King of the Ring. I told him I’d talk to you, but as long as we can get the time off, I didn’t see any reason we couldn’t make it.”

“King of the Ring?” Tess smiled mischievously. “Maybe we’ll get a chance to thank them together.”

Christie’s mouth fell open and her eyes bulged from their sockets. “A four-some? I think Glen’s becoming a bad influence on you.”

“Ah…but you didn’t say no.” She laughed as she watched Christie’s cheeks redden. “I think Mark’s the one influencing you.”

Christie shyly lowered her gaze. “He has put some pretty erotic thoughts in my head.”

Tess opened her mouth then shut it again. “I don’t even want to know.” Then something occurred to her. “Oh shit. I’m going to have to ask ‘Jack’ for the time off.” She said his name with disdain.

“You think he’s going to give you trouble?”

“I think he’s going to want sex in return.”

“You know, he really is a very attractive man…”

“Don’t even go there. I wouldn’t sleep with that sorry son of a bitch if he were the last man on Earth.” Sighing heavily, she sat down in a chair and ran her fingers through her hair. “Maybe I’m over-reacting.”

“I hope you are. You could always wait until after he transfers and ask the new boss.”

Tess nodded. “I could, but the less notice you give, the less likely you are to get the time off.” Burying her face in her hands, she screamed in frustration.

“Feel better?” Christie grinned.

“Yep. I’m going to take a shower and go to bed. I’m going to need all the beauty rest I can get for all that groveling I have to do tomorrow.”

Christie watched her friend ascend the stairs. She had a bad feeling about “Jack”. He wasn’t just making harmless comments, and staring at her anymore, he’d tried to seduce Tess, and she feared what he might try next if she didn’t give in to him, even if it was wrong. She sighed heavily, and then went upstairs to call Mark back. She tried to hide the worry in her voice as she spoke, but he wasn’t fooled and after a little interrogation, got her to tell him everything that Tess had told her.

“Is she alright?” He motioned for Glen to wait a minute.

“Yeah, I think so”

“He didn’t hurt her, did he?” He walked across the room, trying to hush Glen up so he could hear Christie.

“No, he didn’t get the chance. I don’t think he’s going to stop, Mark. He’s the one she has to go to, to get the time off to go to King of the Ring. God only knows what he’ll want in return for that.”

Mark hesitated for a moment before responding. “Glen and I could go ‘talk’ to him.”

“No!” Christie nearly screamed the word. “Tess would kill me if she ever found out that I told you.”

“Alright, but you make sure she knows she can come to either of us if she needs help.”

“You’ll be the first ones she calls. Is Glen still there?”

“He just turned on the shower. Want me to get him?”

Christie smiled and in her most seductive voice answered, “No. I wanted to finish the conversation we started earlier.” Hearing Mark moan, she settled back on the pillows.

Tess took a deep breath to steady her nerves as she made her way down the hall to Mr. Cromwell’s office. She didn’t want to have to face him again, but she really wanted to go to L.A. When she reached the door, she stopped and stared in disbelief, then realized that there was a new secretary sitting at Martha’s desk.

“It suits you.”

Tess swung around toward the voice. “Ms. Tolbert.”

Ms. Tolbert smiled and opened the door for her. “You can move in right away. I’ve taken the liberty of hiring a temp until you can find a suitable replacement.”

Tess walked absently to the desk, which had been emptied of everything except a computer and a phone. “I don’t understand. I thought Mr. Cromwell had another month before he was to transfer.”

Ms. Tolbert smiled again. “I was in the lounge last night looking for some cream for my coffee. I had just closed the door when he approached you at the elevator. I saw everything.”

Tess’ surprise was clearly evident. “I didn’t think anyone else was here.”

Ms. Tolbert chuckled. “What’s that?” She asked referring to the paper in Tess’ hand.

Tess looked at it, having forgotten all about the trip to L.A. “This? Oh, this is a request for some time off next month. It’s the reason I came to see Mr. Cromwell.”

“You must have some big plans to put in your request this early.”

Tess smiled. “My roommate and I were invited to L.A. to attend a pay-per-view next month.”

Ms. Tolbert smiled in return. “Well, you and your friend have a good time.”

“You’re giving me the time off?”

The older woman chuckled. “I don’t see any reason not to. I’ll leave you to get settled in.” She walked to the door then turned to face Tess. “I was quite impressed with the way you handled Jack last night. I’m keeping my eye on you, Ms. Collinsworth. There just might be another promotion in your future.”

Tess could hardly believe what had happened. Not only was that jackass gone, but she had managed to impress one of the vice-presidents without even knowing it. She wasted no time in moving her personal belongings into her new office then called Christie to tell her what had happened.

Chapter Five

The next month couldn’t have gone by any slower. Tess had started talking to Mark as well as Glen, and had formed a friendship with both of them, sort of. Their conversations always ended up being about sex – what she liked, what the men liked, their fantasies, etc… - and Mark even confessed to wanting to sleep with her. She didn’t know why that surprised her. She had seen the looks he’d been giving her in the bar that night, but dismissed it as wishful thinking. Besides, she already held Glen’s interest, as evident by their tryst on the porch and the steamy midnight phone calls. Still, her stomach was in knots at the thought of seeing them again. And Christie’s absence wasn’t helping. She and Brent had gone out soon after going to Raw, and from the look of things the two were getting pretty serious. Both the men had been disappointed to hear she wasn’t coming, but said they understood, then Glen said they would have to change their battle plans since they’d only have one woman to conquer, instead of two. Although he’d said it in jest, the statement had been haunting her all week.

She took a ragged breath as the cab pulled up infront of the hotel, then sat there a moment staring at the doors, until she heard the driver clear his throat. “Oh…here you go.” She said absently as she handed the man some money.

While she checked in, she scanned the lobby for either of the men, but found no trace of them. ‘What did you expect?’ She was hoping for way too much this weekend. They weren’t even there yet, for God’s sake. They were arriving the next day with the rest of the company. So why couldn’t she get the butterflies out of her stomach? Taking a deep breath, she stepped onto the elevator and went up to her room.

The door swung shut silently as she stared in disbelief across the room. Mark was standing next to the window, his arms folded across his impossibly large chest, his body resting against the window frame, a towel wrapped - barely - around his waist. She closed her mouth to keep from drooling and started toward him, carelessly dropping her bag somewhere along the way.

She hesitated a moment, questioning her ethics, but one glance at the flagpole beneath the towel and all those morals flew right out the window. Stepping up to him, she splayed her hands across his back and let them slither up and then down, feeling every muscle dance under her touch, then replaced her hands with her mouth, covering every inch of his massive expanse with open-mouth kisses. His body’s reaction to her flamed the fire that he had ignited and it took all of her will power to stop and say, “You shouldn’t be here.”

“You want me here.” His deep voice was raw with desire.

“What about Glen?” Her lips brushed his skin as she spoke.

“Don’t worry about Glen.”

It wasn’t like she and Glen had any sort of relationship – they had just slept together a couple of times. Moaning slightly in protest, she slowly made her way around to his front. His arms fell as her hands and mouth ventured up his torso. She felt his breath catch when her fingers grazed his nipples on their descent, and nervously replaced them with her mouth, capturing one nipple, then the other, teasing them with the tip of her tongue, sucking them, nipping at them gently with her teeth. Her self doubt had begun to build, as she had never seduced a man before, but she was reassured when she heard a moan rumble from deep in his chest.

His hands cupped her face and pulled her up where he captured her mouth. His mouth was so hot and sweet. His tongue was like velvet gliding into her mouth, exploring every crevasse, feeling her, tasting her. She moaned as his hands slipped to her waist and pulled her close, pressing his erection firmly against her stomach.

Her mouth left his and descended to his throat, where she nibbled and licked at his salty skin, and then slowly, very slowly, she began a trek down his body, stopping briefly to tease his nipples and to trace the outline of the tattoo on his stomach with her tongue, then again when she reached the top of the towel. Nervously, she tugged on the terrycloth and pulled it open as she sank to her knees.

Her eyes widened at the sight of his fully engorged shaft. His length was impressive, and his thickness…. Dear Lord, how was she ever going to swallow that? Bringing her lips to his flesh, she kissed around the base of his sex, his inner thighs, and finally his testicles, sucking on each one until she heard him moan again. She looked up as she made her way up to the head. He was looking down at her, watching her with such lust in his eyes that it was nearly her undoing. Bringing her mouth forward, she licked the tip of his head, moaning slightly as she tasted his sweet salty liquid, and then slowly took him in her mouth. Back and forth she moved, taking as much of him in as she could.

She felt a large hand on her throat, massaging it, and then heard a deep voice whisper, “Relax.” She took a deep breath and relaxed her muscles, allowing him to push himself deep into her throat. The sensation was wholly new to her. She felt his fingers in her hair, clutching handfuls, holding her in place while he thrust in and out of her eager mouth. Faster he moved, harder. Her throat was fast becoming raw under his ministrations, but she hardly noticed. His grip tightened in her hair and with a loud growl, she felt the warmth of his release sliding down the back of her throat. She sucked him as he pulled out, milking him of every last drop.

He gently tugged on her hair, efficiently pulling her to her feet so he could kiss her again, and moaned as he tasted his own sperm on her tongue. “Mmmm…you’re delicious.” He growled, then looked up and smiled. “You should taste her.”

Tess eyes widened at his comment, but before she could react, she was being turned around.

“Don’t mind if I do.” Glen grinned at the shocked expression on her face. “You didn’t think I was going to let Mark have all the fun, now did ya?” Lowering his head he claimed her mouth, stunned slightly to realize that he didn’t find the taste of Mark’s semen revolting.

Tess’ surprise faded and was quickly replaced with desire. She moaned into his familiar mouth as her hands roamed up his bare chest and encircled his neck. His hands were on her back, then her ass, caressing her cheeks, pulling her forward and crushing her against his naked body. She could feel his erection pressed firmly against her stomach, which made her want him all the more.

Mark’s hands were on her hips, moving her against Glen, then between them, working open the front of her pants.

Glen moaned at the feel of her bare legs against his as Mark pulled her pants down, along with her panties, and then lifted her up so that Mark could remove them. He released her enough to allow Mark to unbutton her shirt and cup her breasts, while he slipped his large hand between her legs. “Feel her, Mark. She’s ready for us.” He mumbled against her lips.

Mark’s hand slithered down her stomach and between her legs, slipping his thick fingers over Glen’s hand and between her pink folds. “So wet…” He breathed against the back of her neck, and heard her gasp as he slid two fingers into her slick passage and pulled them nearly all the way out.

“Curve them out toward her stomach.” Glen said before sucking a nipple into his mouth.

He did, and Tess moaned loud at the sensation. At the same time, Glen pressed his finger against her already sensitive clitoris, and began moving it in small circles over it. Her hips began moving against their hands, her moans became louder, and her body trembled as a rush of warm liquid flowed out of her and into their waiting hands. “You didn’t tell me she was so responsive.”

Glen released her breast with a grin. “Must have slipped my mind.”

Mark chuckled. Slowly, he slipped his fingers from her, and glided his hands up to her shoulders to pull her shirt down her arms and toss it aside. Taking a firm hold on her bra, he yanked, tearing the lace easily, and cutting slightly into her flesh, immediately licking the wounds to ease the pain. Taking hold of her shoulders again, he shoved her forcefully to her knees and pushed her face forward toward Glen’s penis. Eagerly she took him into her mouth and again relaxed her throat so she could swallow him.

“That’s it.” Mark growled. Keeping his eyes on Tess, he retreated to the bed and lay down to watch the expedition.

She heard Glen moan as he thrust deep into her throat, which was by now quite painful. He moved fast and hard. Gripping her hair, he roared as he pushed himself down her throat one last time and spilled his seed. Just as she had with Mark, she milked him as he withdrew, drinking down every drop. He tasted so sweet, and so different than Mark.

His fingers slipped from her hair and slithered down to her shoulders, and with a firm grip, he pulled her up and kissed her again.

“Beautiful”

Glen broke the kiss and the two looked over to find Mark watching them and stroking himself. “She is a vision, isn’t she?” Turning Tess toward the bed, he led her over and laid her down next to Mark, who immediately took her in his arms and kissed her fiercely. Glen’s mouth found the back of her neck, nipping lightly at her tender flesh, then blazed a trail down her back as Mark caressed her bottom.

She moaned into Mark’s mouth as Glen’s lips covered the small of her back. They were driving her insane with want. Just as she thought she was about to explode, she felt Glen’s hands on her hips, lifting her up and impaling her on Mark’s engorged shaft. Her moan was one of pain as well as pleasure as Mark filled her up, stretching her more than she thought was possible.

With a gentle push from Mark’s strong hands, she sat up, moving back and forth vigorously. She grinded her hips into his, forcing herself to watch when she normally would have looked away, as his face contorted in pleasure. Looking over, she found Glen sitting next to them, his back against the headboard, his eyes on her.

Reaching over, Glen slid his fingers into her folds, covering her erect clitoris and stroking back and forth over it, causing her to buck wildly in response. Repositioning himself next to them, he reached around her and took hold of her breast, pinching and pulling at her nipple, while Mark grasped her hips forcing her down and pushing himself in deeper.

Tess screamed as an orgasm ripped through her. Her body was on fire. Mark moved below her, bringing his hips up to meet hers while continuing to pull her down, as Glen continued to manipulate her clit and nipples. Another orgasm tore through her and a moment later Mark pulled her down one final time and held her still as he came, his scream mingling with hers.

Glen moved his hands to her back and pushed her forward. As she lay down, Mark took her by the arms and pulled her up so that her breasts hovered over his mouth, then took her nipple between his teeth. His hands moved down to her bottom and he spread her open for Glen to see, and released her breast long enough to say, “Look at her. She’s ready for ya.”

Glen groaned at the sight. His tongue snaked out as he leaned forward to taste her sweetness. His erection became even harder and unable to contain himself any longer, he moved up to straddle Mark behind her.

Her fingers clutched the pillows as he mounted her and she screamed as he shoved himself deep into her aching body. Not giving her time to adjust, he dug his fingers into her hips and began pounding into her relentlessly, as Mark continued to suck on her breasts.

“Yeah…scream for me baby.” Glen growled as he pounded into her.

Feeling her body begin to tremble with yet another orgasm, Mark grabbed her around the waist and pushed her back onto Glen.

Glen roared as he pulled her back and held her there while he spilled his sperm deep inside her. Out of breath and left with no energy, he carefully pulled himself out of Tess and fell onto the bed next to Mark, releasing his hold on her.

As soon as he let her go, Tess collapsed on top of Mark. “Sorry about that.” Her throat was raw from her screams and her voice had become raspy.

Mark smiled affectionately, his big hand tenderly caressing her face. “No problem.”

“Come here.” Glen glided his hand around her waist and pulled her over to face him. “Are you alright? Did we hurt you?”

“No, I’m okay.”

Taking a deep breath, he pulled her close and held her against his chest, then felt Mark lay behind her, his arm draped over her and his hand resting on his chest. He closed his eyes and swallowed the jealousy that was beginning to consume him. The thought of watching Mark and Tess together had turned him on more than he’d wanted to admit, but once he’d actually seen it, his feelings had changed. He’d convinced himself that he didn’t love her, that all he felt for her was lust, and that all she was to him was the “rebound woman” he would sleep with until Ms. Right came along. But the more he thought about her the more he wanted to be with her - forever. Looking down, he found her sound asleep, a smile formed on her succulent lips. Then he saw Mark, his eyes closed, his face buried in her hair. ‘It’s only one night.’ He told himself. That was the agreement. After that, Mark would remain friends with her, nothing more. Exhausted, he closed his eyes and fell asleep.

Chapter Six

As the months passed, Tess and Glen’s relationship stayed the same – purely physical. They met whenever they could and enjoyed the carnal pleasures they offered each other to the fullest. But Tess was hiding a secret. She’d fallen in love with Glen. She knew she didn’t mean anything to him, but try as she may, she couldn’t suppress the feelings he’d brought to life in her, and knowing he didn’t feel the same way, she’d hidden those feelings, revealing them to no one. She had to find contentment in being his lover, knowing that as soon as he met someone else, it would end. She didn’t know what hurt more – never seeing him again, or him being with another woman. Luckily, he didn’t seem to be in any rush to find the next Mrs. Jacobs, at least she thought that was a good thing. The longer they were together, the harder it would be to say goodbye. What she needed to do was go ahead and end the relationship so she could find someone, settle down, and have kids before she could fall any deeper in love with him. She had a better chance of being killed by international spies.

Of course Christie’s forthcoming wedding wasn’t helping any. She’d agreed to be her maid of honor, naturally, but as the big day drew near, she found herself making excuses as to why she couldn’t go to the photographer’s with her, or why she couldn’t help find a good caterer, and she hated herself for it. She loved Christie like a sister but was treating her like the cousin who lived in the basement that no one ever talked about. God only knew how she’d act when she and Brent had children.

“Hey! Are you in there?” Christie waved her hand infront of Tess’ face, a huge grin painted on her lips.

Tess snapped back into the moment and gave her a sarcastic smile. “Yes, I’m in here. I was just thinking.”

“About Glen?” The blonde asked with a knowing smile.

"Yeah.” Tess mumbled in return.

Christie looked at her speculatively for a moment. Tess, although happy for them, had been acting strange ever since she told her that Brent had proposed. “You wanna talk about it?”

“No.”

Letting the subject drop, for the moment, she changed the topic. “So, what do you think?” She waved her hand infront of the dress Tess was wearing. “I think that color looks wonderful on you.”

Tess turned and looked in the mirror. The dress was soft yellow chiffon, ankle length, and slim, fitting her form perfectly. Spaghetti straps held it in place on her shoulders, the back was cut low, down to the top of her hips and the front drooped, showing off just enough cleavage to entice, and a slit ran up the back to her knees to allow room for her to walk. Her heels would be white, she would adorn long white gloves to match, and Christie insisted she wear a sprig of baby’s breath in her hair. The color shined brightly against her tanned skin, giving her dark complexion a healthy sheen. “I don’t know…” She said running her hands slowly, admiringly over her abdomen. “I look like I’m going on a date, not to a wedding.”

Christie laughed. “I knew you’d say that.” Tess didn’t know it yet, but she had invited Glen, since Tess wouldn’t. She had seen the looks pass between the two and there was no doubt in her mind that they loved each other. She was just giving them a little push.

Tess turned an inquisitive eye to her. “So why’d you choose it?”

“Because you look stunning in it.” Walking over to where Tess stood, she turned her to face the mirror. “You have a beautiful body, Tess, and you don’t show it off nearly enough.”

“No? I know a couple of wrestlers who’d disagree with you.”

Christie laughed again. “I’m still jealous of you. To think I came ‘this’ close to having both of them in bed…”

“Well don’t tell Brent. He’d have me committed for even thinking about such a thing.”

“Awe, now we won’t have anything to talk about in Hawaii.” She pouted.

Tess laughed now while turning her attention back to the dress. “I’m still not sure about this.” Her hands cascaded down the front of the dress again. “I’d feel awful about stealing your spotlight.”

“You don’t have to worry about that.” The wedding dress would be sleeveless, tight around her abdomen and flowing out at the hip with a train running behind it.

“Why? You plan on giving us a peek at those silky white undies you’ll be wearing?” Tess teased.

“That’s the last time I take you lingerie shopping.” Christie pouted. Turning to the seamstress, she said, “She’ll take it.”

Still unsure about her friend’s choice, she reluctantly agreed and went to change back into her street clothes.

“So tell me about Glen.” Christie said as they sat down on the park bench.

Tess licked at her ice cream cone to keep it from dripping on her tee shirt, trying to ignore the question.

“Stop trying to ignore me, Tess. I’m not going to shut up about it until you tell me everything.”

Sighing in defeat, she swallowed the bite she’d just taken. “There’s not much to tell. He’s recently divorced, no kids, astounding in bed…”

“That’s not what I mean.” Tess was beating around the bush and she knew it. “How do you feel about him?”

“Well, pretty sore usually.” She chuckled at the stern look Christie gave her, and then her expression became more serious. “Truth?” Christie nodded and she took a deep breath. “I’m in love with him.”

“That’s great!”

“No, it isn’t. Glen is on the rebound from his marriage. He doesn’t want a serious relationship right now. Hell, I don’t think he’d be capable of it if he did.”

“He’s still with you.” Christie offered before taking a bite of her ice cream sandwich.

Tess shook her head and swallowed a bite of the cone. “No. We’re lovers – that’s it.” Seeing the question in Christie’s eyes, she tried to explain. “I’m his rebound woman. You know, the woman he’s sleeping with until he falls in love with someone else. Or until he gets tired of it.”

“And you’re not okay with that.” Christie surmised.

Tess shook her head, her fingers absently fiddling the remainder of the cone. “I was.”

“And now you want something more.”

“Yeah. But he can’t give me anymore, and I don’t want to leave him.”

“So what are you going to do?”

“I don’t know.” Tess replied shaking her head. Glancing at her watch, she noted the time. “We should be going. Brent and Daddy are expecting us.”

Christie nodded in agreement and stood with Tess to leave. With a sly grin, she added, “Astounding, huh?”

“It’s about time you two showed up.” Mike wrapped an arm around each of the girls as he led them into the house. “I was beginning to worry about you. Another five minutes and I would have put out an APB on ya.”

“I’m sorry Daddy.” She gave him a peck on the cheek. “Christie and I stopped in the park for an ice cream.”

“You didn’t spoil your appetites, I hope.”

“And miss out on your world famous ribs? No way!” Tess smiled. “Hey Brent.” She greeted her brother with a hug.

“Hey Sis. Hey Darlin’.” Brent took Christie in his arms and kissed her.

With a heavy heart Tess turned from the scene and walked into the kitchen. She missed Glen terribly. They were meeting tomorrow night in a small town not too far from there. Glen had gotten the weekend off, thanks to a pulled muscle, and had taken the liberty in reserving them a room at a bed-n-breakfast in the country. God, how she longed to see him, and how she dreaded it.

“Are you okay?”

Tess started at the sound of her father’s voice and dropped a head of lettuce. “Yeah, I’m fine.”

Mike bent down and helped her retrieve it. “Something’s bothering you, Honey. What is it?”

“You wouldn’t understand.”

“Ah, man trouble.” Mike replied. “Dump him. You didn’t need that no-good, two-timing SOB anyway.”

Tess couldn’t help but laugh. “He’s not cheating on me.”

“Then what is it?” He took her hand and led her to the table. “Talk to me.”

Tears filled her eyes as she sat down. They had had many a talks at this table. Like the time she and her boyfriend got into a fight – he tore up her journal and she set his car on fire. Or when she came home from school early with her first period and he tried to explain the facts of life. And the night her mother left them. He wasn’t just a good father, he was a good friend.

Wiping away the tear that escaped down her cheek, she opened up and told him all about Glen, omitting the three-some. Some things were better left in the closet.

He sat in silence for a moment before speaking. “First of all, you should have told me about the rape. I don’t give a damn who he is, no man has the right to violate a woman that way.” Seeing her nod her head in agreement he continued. “That said… You have to tell him how you feel. It isn’t fair to you to keep your feelings hidden.”

“I know I should, but it’s so hard.”

“I know it is sweetheart. But think of how hard it will be when he tells you he’s found someone else.”

His words brought new tears to her eyes. She hated it when he was right.

“Come on. That salad isn’t going to make itself.”

Tess wiped her face and joined Mike at the sink. Talking to him always made her feel better. Unfortunately he was right. She was going to have to have a talk with Glen. The phone rang, interrupting whatever Mike was going to say. Taking the lettuce from him she said, “I’ve got this.”

Before Mike had a chance to pick up the phone, Brent peeked in. “It’s for you, Tess.”

Thanks.” Handing the lettuce over to her dad, she went into the living room to pick up the extension.

Chapter Seven

“Good God Glen, you’re torturing me.” Tess whined as Glen’s mouth blazed a trail up her body with agonizing slowness.

His grin stopped the execution long enough for him to say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.” Then he resumed his ministrations.

With a groan of frustration she relaxed into the mattress, closed her eyes, and let herself get lost in the feel of his hot, wet mouth on her skin. His hands slithered down her arms and untangled her fingers from his hair, then pulled her hands up over her head. The act, as pleasurable as it was, reminded her of their first encounter, and what she’d gone there to do. “Glen, Honey, we need to talk.”

“Later. Right now you belong to me.”

Tess’ eyes flew open at the feel of the cold steel on her flesh followed instantly by a metallic click as he handcuffed her wrist to the bed post. “What are you doing?”

“Tying you up.” He replied casually as he handcuffed her free hand to the bed post on the opposite side.

“Glen…”

He pressed his lips to hers, effectively silencing her potential protest. “Do you trust me?”

“Yes.” She moaned the answer into his mouth.

Pushing himself off her, he leaned back so that he was straddling her thighs and looked down at her, a delightfully wicked grin adorning his sensual lips. “Good.” Before she could respond, he leaned over her and pulled a silk scarf out from under the pillow and tied it over her eyes.

Excitement gripped her and held her as she waited blindly for his next move. It seemed like an eternity passed before she felt it, a touch so light that she wasn’t sure he was actually doing anything. Then his finger grazed her nipple as it slithered past on its descent, causing her to shudder in delight. As light as a feather, his fingertips slithered over her quivering flesh toward her heated center.

She heard him moan, low and deep, as his fingers grazed the patch of curls between her thighs. “I wonder if you taste as good as you look.” He wondered out loud.

The bed shifted and collapsed around her shoulders as he moved to lean over her, holding himself aloft on his elbows. The heat from his body seared her flesh as he hovered over her, their bodies almost touching but not quite. Finally she felt his lips on her throat, and then his teeth, his tongue, moving downward excruciatingly slow. She arched her back in order to feel him against her, but he moved, still suspended above her, just out of reach. She groaned in frustration and was rewarded with a throaty chuckle then, “Patience, my dear.”

His lips blazed a trail across her tummy, following the same path his fingertips had made too many moments before. Her entire body was on fire, her nerves alive and aware of his breath on her skin, his mouth pressed ever so lightly against her thighs, his tongue darting out to taste her salty flesh. “Glen, please…” But he moved when she raised her hips, purposefully avoiding what needed his attentions the most. Then he was gone.

Tess heard the small refrigerator, which was in the corner on the opposite side of the room, open and close. Or she thought she did. The clock on the bedside table ticked infuriatingly loud, as if teasing her of his absence. A footstep - or had she imagined it?

She inhaled sharply as something cold and thick drizzled onto her chest and down the length of her torso, on her upper thighs and over her mound. The mattress sunk around her legs again as Glen straddled her.

“Mmm…a chocolate covered cherry.”

Tess couldn’t help but chuckle, but was silenced almost immediately as he lowered his mouth to her throat. He licked eagerly at the chocolate syrup, working his way slowly down her body, cleaning off the sticky treat with an unhurried urgency. His moans of pleasure filled her ears, giving her as much pleasure as his mouth was.

Finally he reached her hips. He worked his way around her curls and proceeded to devour her thighs, driving her to the brink of insanity. She’d never ached like this before. Her need was so strong that she nearly came when his tongue first touched her folds. He took his own sweet time cleaning her there, and then he stopped.

After a moment – the longest damn moment in recorded history – she pleaded, “Don’t stop now.”

“What do you want?”

Tess bit her lower lip. Damn him. She didn’t talk dirty in bed – or anywhere else. “Glen…”

“Say it.” He growled into her ear.

“Glen…”

“Say it.”

His mouth found that place behind her ear. With a moan of pleasure and frustration, she said, “Fuck me, damn it.”

His chuckle invaded her ear and for a moment she didn’t think he was going to respond. Then without warning, his hips plunged forward, burying his member deep inside her wet passage. He moved slowly, pushing himself to the hilt then pulling out.

Her hips met his with each thrust. Her arms pulled in vain against the restraints, wanting to touch him, to feel him. Her lips found his chest briefly before he pulled away. He stopped moving and leaned over to the side of the bed, and then she felt his hands on her wrist and the handcuff loosen and fall. Leaning to the other side, he unlocked the cuff, and finally removed the blindfold. His mouth found hers before her eyes adjusted to the light. Her arms automatically wound around his neck, while her tongue explored his mouth.

Leaning back on his haunches, he took her hips in his hands, and pulled her to him, increasing the force of his thrusts. Faster he moved, harder. She was swollen and raw from the past two days, and she felt as though he was going to tear her into. But pleasure accompanied the pain. His fingers dug into her hips, tightening his hold as an orgasm racked her body.

Once her body calmed to a quiver, he leaned down and wrapped her in his arms as his hips began slowly moving again. Her mouth assaulted his neck and chest, and her hands caressed his back. Her fingernails dug into his back when she came, which sent him spiraling over the edge after her.

Chapter Eight

Tess sat with her head resting against the back of the driver’s seat. Three days with Glen, and she never got the chance to talk him. Not that she didn’t try. Every time she suggested they talk, he would avert her attention elsewhere, usually to some pleasure only he knew how to give. He left before she woke up.

“I’m sorry I didn’t wake you up, but I figured you needed the sleep.” - She could feel the sarcasm in his words -“I’ll call you tomorrow from Denver. Drive safely. G”

At least he left a note. Most men she knew wouldn’t have bothered. Still, she was mad at him for leaving like that. If she didn’t know better, she could have sworn that he knew what she wanted to talk about and was doing his damnedest to avoid it. You’re being ridiculous, she told herself. Even if he did know, why would he avoid it? He didn’t love her. Or did he? “Stop it!” She said to her reflection in the rear view mirror. “He doesn’t love you.” Ouch, that hurt.

Growling in frustration, she leaned back and squeezed her eyes closed. Tears stung her eyes, but instead of fighting them back, she let them fall freely. She was tired of hiding her feelings, tired of telling herself that she could be in a relationship like this. As soon as she walked in the house, she would call him and end it. With her mind made up, Tess wiped her face and blew her nose, then turned out onto the highway.

“Hey! How was your weekend?” Christie called out from the kitchen. She heard a sniffle and footsteps on the stairs, and turned to Brent. “I’m going to talk to her.”

Brent nodded as he stood from the table. Christie had told him about Tess’ plans for the weekend and knowing his sister would need to talk, didn’t mind giving them some space. “I’ve got to get going anyway. If I’m late again, the Chief will have my hide.”

She leaned up to kiss him goodbye. “Be careful.”

“I will.” He replied with a smile.

Christie watched him leave with a smile, then took a deep breath and walked upstairs. She stood in Tess’ open bedroom door and listened quietly. It was an unstated rule that if you didn’t want anyone eves dropping on your phone calls, close the door.

“Hey, it’s me.” Christie could hear the strain in Tess’ voice as she tried to keep it steady.

“Well hello there, Beautiful. I was just about to call you.” After a moment of silence, he went on. “Is everything alright?”

“Um, yeah. I’m just tired, I guess.” She paused for a moment to gather her courage once again. “Actually Glen, we need to talk.”

“Yeah, you mentioned that this weekend.”

“Yeah.” Glancing in the doorway, she smiled weakly at Christie. “I’m not sure how to say this…”

“Listen Babe, I’ve got to run. I have a photo shoot in half an hour and I have no idea where the place is. Can we talk later? Say…Next week? I’ll be in Tampa. We can get together again.”

Tess closed her eyes. “It really can’t wait.”

“I’ll call you later then, after the shoot. Okay?”

“Yeah, okay. I’ll talk to you then.”

“Bye.”

He hung up before she had a chance to respond. She slammed the phone down in its cradle and sat down on the end of the bed.

Christie walked over and sat next to her. Silence reigned for a few minutes and she took the opportunity to examine Tess’ wrists. “Do I even want to ask?”

Tess smiled. “Handcuffs.”

“You think Brent would get too mad if I spent just one night with Glen?”

Tess laughed aloud. “I think he’d admit you to nearest hospital for psychiatric evaluation.”

Christie laughed, and then became serious again. “I take it you didn’t tell him.”

“He didn’t give me a chance.” Turning to her friend she confided, “He’s avoiding me now. He doesn’t have a photo shoot today, he’s supposed to be shooting a commercial for their next pay-per-view, and that isn’t until this afternoon.” She smiled at Christie’s drawn eyebrows. “He gave me his itinerary.”

“You think he knows what you want to talk about?”

“I know he does. Why else would he be avoiding me like this?”

Christie shrugged. “Maybe he’s in love with you and doesn’t want to lose you?”

“He doesn’t love me.” A threatening sob stopped her from elaborating.

Moving closer, she draped her arm around Tess and pulled her close. “Honey, anyone with two eyes can see how you two feel about each other. Just give him some time. He’ll come around.”

“And what if he doesn’t? I can’t go on like this, Christie. I love him, but I can’t keep waiting for something that may never happen. I can’t keep having meaningless sex with a man I love more than…” She stood and walked to the window. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be dumping this on you, especially right before your wedding.”

“Apology not accepted. That’s exactly what you should be doing. We may not agree on this Tess, but I’m on your side, no matter what. And don’t worry about ruining my wedding or honeymoon with your emotional baggage. Your brother is more than capable of taking my mind off things.”

“Eww! Don’t talk about my brother and sex!”

Christie laughed. “Now why don’t you take a shower and freshen up. You look like hell.”

Mark scowled at Glen. “Why’d you lie to her?”

Glen shrugged, but didn’t answer. Pulling a tee shirt out of his bag, he slipped it over his head and found his wallet. “Are you going to sit there all afternoon, or come get something to eat?”

Mark nodded and followed Glen from the hotel room. Once inside the elevator, he turned to his friend. “You’re in love with her, aren’t you?”

“Not that it’s any of your business, but…yes, I am.”

“Then why the lie?”

Glen took a deep breath and leaned against the mirrored wall. “She’s leaving me.”

“What?”

“I could hear it in her voice. She’s trying to find a way to break it off.” His voice softened, almost to a whisper. “I don’t want to lose her.”

“So tell her how you feel.”

“I can’t.”

“Why the hell not?”

Glen ran his fingers through his hair. “I don’t know, man. I’ve tried telling her, but the words won’t come out.” He sucked in a ragged breath and continued. “I keep comparing her to Grace. I know…she’s nothing like that backstabbing bitch, but I can’t help it.”

Mark nodded. “Well, you’d better find a way to tell her, because if you don’t, she’ll find someone to take your place.”

“And just what makes you an expert on what Tess will and will not do?” Glen demanded.

The elevator doors slid open and the two emerged into the lobby. “She’s a 30 year old woman with a biological clock. She probably needs more than just a physical relationship. Even if she is in love with you, she won’t be able to wait forever. And if she’s ready to blow off the kind of sex you two are having, you can be pretty damned sure that’s exactly what’s happening.”

Glen mumbled under his breath as they stepped onto the street. He already knew what Tess needed, he didn’t need Mark to tell him, and he wanted to be the one to give it to her. Just the thought of her with someone else made him want to hit someone. Remembering their three-some with Mark, he glared at the redhead. Why in God’s name had he ever agreed to that? She was his damn it!

“What?” Mark defended against the scowl. Pushing the glass door of the restaurant open, he stepped inside and held it open for Glen.

“Nothing. Let’s just eat and get out of here.” He was being stupid. Mark had held up his end of the agreement. He talked to Tess occasionally, teased her about a rematch, but not once had he tried to go out with her. Glen had to get a grip on his emotions, and fast, before he lost Tess and his friendship with Mark.

Tess groaned as she fumbled in the dark for the phone. She felt the cold plastic on her fingertips, then heard it land with a ding on the carpet. Reaching over the edge of the bed, she groped blindly for the receiver, cursing the jerk who had the nerve to call at this time of night. She yelped as she slid off the mattress, hitting her head on the night stand on the way down. “Hello.”

Glen chuckled at the anger in voice. “Hey.”

“Glen?” Tess looked at the illuminated numbers of the alarm clock. “Jesus Baby, it’s 3 in the morning.”

“I know, but I couldn’t wait to talk to you.”

Tess sat upright. “What did you want to talk about?”

Glen opened his mouth to respond. “I…Well, you see…The truth is I…I…was hoping we could get together this weekend.” He cursed himself silently.

“That couldn’t wait… Never mind. I can’t this weekend - Christie and Brant’s wedding.” She silently thanked Christie for the excuse.

Shit, he’d forgotten about that. He’d promised Christie he wouldn’t say anything about attending the wedding. “That’s right. I didn’t realize it was this Saturday.”

“Yeah. I told her she ought to hold the services on Friday, so she and Brent would have a day to recuperate from the wedding night before their flight Sunday, but she insisted.” Why was she rambling on like this?

Glen smile was evident in his voice. “Or spend the day practicing for the honeymoon.”

“Eww… That’s my brother you’re talking about.”

Glen laughed. “I’m going to run. I’m sorry for waking you up.”

“Oh that’s okay. I was due to fall out of bed again anyway.”

“Without me?”

Tess laughed then covered her mouth to stifle the sound.

“Goodnight Babe.”

“Goodnight.” Tess hung up with a smile. She would probably curse herself in the morning for not having “the talk” with him, but right now she was just too tired.

Chapter Nine

Tess peeked through the double doors into the chapel. White and yellow roses filled the altar, piano, organ, and every window sill. White streamers hung from the first four pews on either side, marking where the families were seated. Dozens of white pillar candles provided illumination. The preacher, a tall thin man with salt-and-pepper hair, stood infront of the altar, Bible in hand ready to unite the young couple. Christie’s mother seated on the end of the first pew was leaning over talking to her father. The groom and ushers, all dressed in black tuxedoes with yellow ties and cummerbunds, were lined up on the left side of the preacher. A tiny, gray-haired woman sat on a worn bench infront of the organ and began playing softly while the guests settled into their seats.

Stepping back into the foyer, she turned to Christie, who was trying hard not to laugh. “What, may I ask, is so funny?”

“You are.” Christie giggled. “You’re more nervous than I am!”

“You know I hate being infront of a lot people.”

“Don’t worry, Hon, no one will give you a second thought once they catch a glimpse of my little girl.” Eric stated proudly.

“Well, almost no one.” Christie mumbled with a grin.

“What is that suppose to mean?” Tess inquired suspiciously.

“Oh look, you’re up!” Christie said with a self satisfied smile painted on her red lips as she pushed Tess toward the doors.

The aisle looked longer than it had a moment ago, and she could swear there were at least twice as many people there.

‘Concentrate on walking.’ She told herself. ‘Step, together. Step, together. This isn’t so hard. Damn, I shouldn’t have looked over there. Why do children have to pick moments like this to display their comedic talents? Step, together. What is she doing here? Probably still chasing Brent. She looks awful in that color. Step, together. I wonder if that guy knows he’s drooling. You’d think those women would have better things to do than to glare at the maid of honor. Step, together. This dress doesn’t help. Why did she insist on this one? Yeah, it looks great on me, but… at her wedding? Step, together. Glen doesn’t seem to mind.’

Realizing who she’d just seen, she did a double take. As she did, the toe of her shoe hit the back of her heel and she stumbled forward, catching her self before she fell, and quickly regained her composer.

‘Well, that explains the dress.’ Brent and Ken were biting back smiles, which made her want to burst out laughing. Her cheeks were burning with embarrassment, and she wished that the floor would open up and swallow her whole. But the feeling didn’t last.

The organist began playing the wedding march, and everyone stood and turned to watch the bride. ‘God, she looks beautiful.’ She was truly happy for the couple. Neither one of them could have picked a better person to grow old with.

Eric placed Christie’s hand in Brent’s then went to sit next to his wife. Tess found it hard to concentrate on what was being said for the memories of her childhood that kept popping up. She’d known Christie since they were in diapers. They went to school together, grew up in the same neighborhood, shared a dorm room in college, and were roommates after that. And Brent… Their father worked hard to support them after their mother walked out, which meant getting a second job. That left the two of them to take care of each other. She didn’t mind though. They formed a tight bond that had only grown stronger over the years.

Christie handed her the bouquet. They had written their own vows, each one asking her to proofread it for them. They looked so happy, so much in love.

“By the powers invested in me by God and the State of Florida, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride.”

The kiss was accompanied with applause and whistles, started by the members of the police force and soon joined by everyone else, including the wedding party. Smiles broke the kiss. Turning to face their family and friends, the preacher announced, “I’m proud to present for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Collinsworth.” Another applause erupted as the couple started down the aisle.

Tess slid her arm into Ken’s bent elbow and stepped forward. She caught a better glimpse of Glen than she did before. He looked gorgeous in his black three-piece suit. His hair combed neatly around his face, his smile was warm, and the hunger in his eyes made her blush - again.

“I take it that was Glen?” Ken whispered as they took their places in the foyer next to the bride and groom.

“Yes.”

“He’s huge.”

“Yeah, but it comes in handy at work.”

“What does he do?”

“He’s a professional wrestler. Kane.”

Glen stepped infront of them and held out his hand to the smaller man, squeezing a little harder than was necessary, then took Tess’ hand and kissed the back of her fingers. “You look scrumptious.” He smiled and moved down the line to congratulate the couple before she had a chance to respond.

“Remind me never to piss him off.” Ken whispered once Glen was outside, causing Tess to laugh aloud.

The bride’s maids filed out after the guests had all gone. Glen was standing at the bottom of the steps to her right waiting for her. She stood next to him, Ken on the other side of her, and took the two small bundles of birdseed Glen handed to her, passing one to Ken.

The chauffer opened the back door of the limousine and the couple dashed down the steps and through the shower of birdseed to the car.

“I assume you won’t be riding with me to the reception?” Ken grinned down at Tess.

“No, I’ll ride with Glen.” She replied.

Ken bent and gave her a peck on the cheek. “I’ll see you there.” Glancing at Glen, he turned and left, rather quickly.

Looking up at Glen she saw why. He looked as if Ken had just shoved his tongue down her throat.

“Who’s that?” He asked, not taking his eyes off the other man.

Tess chuckled. “That’s Ken. He’s Brent’s best friend and partner.”

“He’s a cop too?”

“Yep. I’ll introduce you later.”

“Do you know anyone who isn’t a cop?”

“I know you.” Tess smiled, wrapping her arms around his waist.

Looking down, he smiled and pulled her closer. “You look stunning today.” His voice was edged with…something. She couldn’t quite put her finger on what it was. Lifting his hand to her face, he cupped her cheek and lowered his head, capturing her mouth in a tender kiss.

Mike cleared his throat loudly and probably not the first time, if his crossed arms and tapping foot was any indication.

Glen pulled up, breaking the kiss, his face red with embarrassment.

“Hi Daddy.” Tess released Glen and hugger her father.

Mike returned the hug. “Hi sweetheart.” Tess stepped back and he extended his hand to Glen. “You must be Glen.”

Glen took his outstretched hand and shook it. “Yes sir.” He didn’t miss the hint of disapproval – the one he gave to every young man who was interested in Tess - in the older man’s voice. “It’s nice to finally meet you, Mr. Collinsworth.”

“Nice to meet you, too.” Turning to Tess, he said, “I’ll see you at the hotel.” Then he kissed her cheek and headed to his car.

“I don’t think he likes me.” Glen said boyishly.

Tess took his arm and led him to his car. “He does, he just won’t let you know it.”

Glen opened the passenger side door for Tess, then turned her to face him, pinning her back against the car. His kiss was more passionate this time. His arms held her tightly against his chest, his heart pounded furiously. The world around them slowly began to fade, leaving only the two of them lost in the kiss.

A car horn interrupted them. “We’d better get going.” Glen said breathlessly. Tess could only nod. He helped her into the car, then went around and climbed in the driver’s seat.

Silence reigned as they drove. Glen’s mind was full of the images he’d conjured up during the ceremony. Instead of watching Brent and Christie, he saw himself and Tess. Still, he couldn’t say it. I love you. Three simple little words that would give him everything he ever wanted, and he couldn’t say them.

He glanced over and saw Tess staring out the window. Her eyes were glassy, as if she were about to cry. His heart broke at the sight. What he wouldn’t do to make her smile again.

“Tess?”

Tess looked over and smiled. After a moment she asked, “What?”

Glen took a deep breath. “You wanted to talk…”

“No.” She interrupted, “It can wait until after the reception.”

Glen nodded in agreement. ‘After the reception.’ This was going to be a long day.

Chapter Ten

Glen held the door open for Tess, watching appreciatively as she walked past him into his hotel room. She looked as stressed as she probably felt. The reception wasn't without mishap.

Christie's two nephews decided to play tag around the gift table. The game ended when Chad, the older boy, caught Jeff by the ankle, causing him to fall. On the way down, he grabbed the table cloth, sending gifts flying. Those nearby could hear the crystal shattering as the boxes landed on the floor.

Brent's ex-girlfriend tried more than once to persuade him to go upstairs with her, and right infront of his new bride. Tess intervened on each occasion and finally escorted the woman out, informing hotel security that she was an unwanted guest.

Christie's uncle had had too much to drink and tried to do the limbo with the police chief's wife. Not a good move. The Chief, who'd had more than his share of champagne, broke the man's nose. Each agreed it was time to leave.

Reaching out, Glen placed his hands on Tess' shoulders. "You're tense." He observed. "Why don't you slip out of this dress and lay down. Let me massage your back for you."

Tess groaned inwardly. His offer sounded so enticing, but she knew where it would lead, and she couldn't let that happen this time. "I don't want a massage."

"No?"

"Well, I do, but I can't."

Glen closed his eyes and sighed. "We need to talk."

Tess nodded and stepped forward, away from Glen's touch. "This isn't easy for me to say." She started.

"Then don't do it." Glen closed the distance between them, taking her face in his hands.

Tears welled up in her eyes. "I have to." Glen wiped the tears from her face with his thumbs. "I can't go on like this, Glen. I know you don't love me, that you were using me until you found someone else, and I'm okay with that. But it isn't enough any more. I need love, a commitment. And I don't think you can give that to me."

Glen felt his own tears stinging his eyes. God how he wanted to tell her she was wrong, that he did love her. "Tess, I…" Maybe she was right. If he loved her - truly loved her - he would be able to tell her. Wouldn't he? Speechless, he leaned forward and kissed her. "I'm going to miss you."

Tess' heart ripped into. She'd hoped that she was wrong, that he did love her. She reached up as he leaned forward and accepted his kiss. `Don't do this.' She warned herself. `Just walk away.' Even as the thought formed, she was opening her mouth to him, reveling in the taste of him one last time.

His hands glided up her back to her shoulders then down her arms, pulling the dress down with them. The dress fell silently to the floor. His manhood was now fully engorged, throbbing with the memory of the way she felt and anticipation of what was to come. She made no attempt to stop him as he circled her ribs and covered her breasts with his large hands. The weight of her breasts, the nearly silent moan as he kneaded her with expert hands…he was in heaven. Or was it hell? He had never been good at saying goodbye, and he didn't want to do it now.

Her hands found the front of his shirt. Her fingers worked to get the buttons open, anxious to feel his bare chest again. How was she ever going to live without him? She wouldn't think about that now. Tonight there would be no goodbyes, just that moment, just him.

He helped her discard the shirt, and her hands immediately found the front of his pants. Her body trembled with desire as his erection was revealed to her. She captured his nipple in her mouth, then the other one, teasing him with her teeth and tongue, while her hands explored his body. Wrapping a hand around his length, she began to stroke him, eliciting a moan in response.

Taking her face in his hands, he pulled her up to his and kissed her desperately, then wrapped his arms around her waist, picked her up, and gently lowered her onto the bed. They lay in silence for what seemed like hours, studying each other, memorizing every detail until the image was burned into their memories.

Slowly, his hand slithered down her body to her thigh, urging her to open her legs for him. Her curls were soaked with her juices, and her scent filled his senses. Looking deep into her eyes, he slowly pushed himself inside her. She was so tight… He watched her as he moved - the pleasure he was giving her, the love she felt for him, the pain of leaving him. Lowering his head, he kissed away the tear that had slipped down her cheek. He moved slowly, taking his time with her, enjoying these last hours he would have with her. They made love for the rest of the night, worshipping each other until exhaustion finally claimed them.

Tess lay on her side watching Glen as he slept. She tried so hard not to cry, but she couldn't stop the tears. She didn't want to do this, but she couldn't devote herself to a man who didn't love her. Carefully she climbed out of bed and gathered her things from around the room. She hated leaving like this, but what else was there to say? She would be saving both of them the pain and awkwardness of saying goodbye. At least that's what she told herself.

After dressing, she walked over to Glen. "I love you." She whispered then tenderly kissed his cheek. "Goodbye."

The next two days, Tess spent in bed. She didn't have the energy or the will to get up. Her father came by early that morning to tell her that he was going to Las Angeles to pick up a suspect who'd been extradited back to Florida, and to see if she needed anything. She didn't.

Her boss had given her the week off to move and get the house in order for Brent and Christie. `And to wallow in self pity.' She knew she shouldn't hang on to Glen the way she was, and that she should get over him, but that was easier said than done.

Sighing heavily, she emptied the laundry hampers, took the clothes into the laundry room, and started separating the colors and the whites. The phone rang, but Tess decided to let the answering machine get it. She'd been putting off these chores long enough. If it was important, they would leave a message. After adding the detergent to the machine, she closed the lid and went into her bedroom to finish packing.

"Tess?"

Tess, not hearing anyone knock on the door, dashed into the living room. "Ken."

Ken turned and smiled. "Hey, I wasn't sure if you were home."

"Yeah. I was doing some laundry. What's that?" She asked seeing a large box on the floor next to the door.

"I was just dropping off the last of Brent's things." Seeing Tess' red eyes, he made his way across the room. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine." She replied, not quite sure why he'd ask.

"Have you been crying?"

Tess started to deny it, but she knew better. "A little."

"You want to talk about it? You'll feel better."

Fresh tears sprung into her eyes and pooled there a moment before the first one fell.

Ken pulled her into his arms and held her tight while she cried. Seeing her in this state broke his heart. They'd been friends almost as long as he and Brent had been, and although they had never dated, his feelings for her went deeper than just friendship.

Once she calmed down, she leaned back and gave him a weak smile. "Thanks. I needed that."

Taking her hand, he led her to the couch and sat her down next to him. "Talk to me."

The request made her want to cry again. Instead, she said. "I left him."

"Glen?" She nodded. "Why'd you do that?"

"I need more in a relationship, and he can't give it to me." She wiped her eyes.

"I thought he was in love with you."

"He isn't. I gave him a chance to say it, but all he said was `I'll miss you.'" Stubbornly, she wiped the fresh tears from her cheeks.

"Damn. I'm sorry."

"Thanks."

"Come on." He stood and pulled her to her feet."

"Where are we going?"

"Well, we could either go out and get something to eat, or I could take you into the bedroom and take advantage of you."

"Hmm…" She pretended to consider the options. "I'm not really hungry…"

Ken laughed and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "I know a great seafood place just outside of town."

Mark knocked on the door and waited. When Glen didn't answer, he knocked again, harder.

"Damn it, Mark," Glen said as he yanked the door open. "What are you trying to do? Break down the door?"

"Well, if you'd answer it, I wouldn't have to." He walked past Glen into the house and sat down on the sofa.

"Please, come in. Make yourself at home." Glen mumbled sarcastically as he resumed his place in his chair.

"You feeling any better yet?" Mark asked.

Glen, having faked the flu to get a few days off, answered, "I'm fine."

"How was the wedding?"

"She left me."

"Damn, I'm sorry."

Glen was silent for a moment. "You were right about her. She said she needed love and a commitment."

"And…?"

"I told her I'd miss her." His voice was soft as he spoke.

Mark stared at him in disbelief. "You said what? Have you gone completely insane?"

"Back off, Mark. I already feel like shit, I don't need you rubbing it in."

They were silent for a few minutes. Mark could hardly believe what he'd just heard. He knew Glen was wary of making another commitment, but to let Tess walk away like that… "Are you going to be okay?"

Glen heard the sincerity in his voice and was grateful that he was there, although he would never admit it. "Yeah, I'll be fine."

"Good. Now pack your shit. You're scheduled to be at a house show tomorrow night and our flight leaves in a few hours."

With a groan, Glen stood up and went to his bedroom to pack. Getting back in the ring would be good therapy, as long as Tess didn't show up at any more shows for awhile.

It didn't take him long to pack, and soon he and Mark were on their way to Chicago.

Chapter Eleven

Three years later…

“Miss Collinsworth, Mrs. Collinsworth is here to see you.”

“Send her in.” Tess said smiling. “And hold all calls.”

“Yes ma’am.”

Christie walked in and sat down in the chair opposite Tess. “I still can’t believe you hired him. He’s such a stud.”

“I believe you’re the one who predicted a male secretary with long hair and rippling pectorals.” Tess replied grinning.

Christie laughed. “You have quite the memory, Vice President Collinsworth.” Nodding her head, she appraised the office. “Nice office.”

“Check this out.” Tess said standing. Christie stood up and walked around to the other side of the desk while Tess opened the blinds.

“What a gorgeous view! If I didn’t know better, I’d swear you slept with someone.”

Tess laughed. “So, what do you and Brent have planned for tonight?”

Christie sighed. “Nothing really. Just a nice quiet evening at home with the twins.”

“I thought you’d say that.” Tess grinned. Opening the top drawer of her desk, she pulled out an envelope and held it out to Christie. “Happy Anniversary.”

Taking the envelope, Christie asked, “What’s this?”

“It’s two ring side seats to Raw tonight and reservations for dinner at that little French place on Fifth Ave. afterward.”

Christie’s eyes bulged. “Oh Tess, I can’t accept this. It’s too much.”

“No, it’s not too much. Listen, I know you love your babies, but you and Brent need to spend some time away from them, alone.”

“We probably won’t be able to get a babysitter on such short notice.” She was clearly disappointed.

“I’ll be at your house at 6:00.”

“What about your big meeting tomorrow?” Christie asked. She knew how important it was to Tess’ career and she wasn’t about to let her jeopardize it for her.

“Don’t worry about it.” That answer wasn’t going to suffice. “I’m ready for it. I’ll bring my laptop over and go over any last minute details after I put the kids to bed. Okay?”

Christie studied her for a moment. “Well…okay.” She smiled brightly as she wrapped her arms around Tess. “Thank you so much!”

“You’re welcome.” Tess pulled away from the embrace. “You’d better get going. You have to call Brent, clean the house (although I don’t know why, you’ve got the cleanest house in the city), and go to Victoria’s Secret to buy something sexy to wear for your man tonight.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to keep the tickets and go to Raw?”

Tess raised her eyebrow. “Do you really have to ask?”

“You’re still in love with him, aren’t you?” Christie asked quietly.

This subject hadn’t been brought up since Christie and Brent had gotten back from their honeymoon. “Of course n…” The lie died in her throat. “Yeah, I guess I am.”

“Bastard...”Christie mumbled and put her arm around Tess as they made their way to the door. Opening the door, she turned to face her friend. “I’ll find out which car is his and slash his tires for you.”

Tess ginned wickedly. “Why not just run him down when he leaves the arena?”

“Cant, I’ll be there with a cop.” Christie replied.

Brandon gasped at the suggestion, catching the girls’ attention. The expression on his face sent the women into a fit of laughter.

“We’re not serious, Brandon.”

“I…I knew that.” His face had already turned three shades of red.

The laughter quickly faded and Christie hugged Tess goodbye. “I’ll see you at six.”

“See you then.” Tess smiled as she watched Christie leave. She knew how stressful taking care of the twins could be – on both parents. Okay, so she didn’t buy the tickets. They had been a gift from a client, but she had no intention of using them anyway, so why not put them to good use? The dinner afterward was at one of the most romantic restaurants in the city, which was exactly what the couple needed.

Turning to her secretary, she said, “I’ll be leaving at five today, no matter what.”

“Mr. McDougal called while you were in with Mrs. Collinsworth. He wants to meet with you tonight.”

Tess shook her head. “Can’t do it tonight. Try to schedule something for tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday morning.”

“Yes ma’am. Oh, here’s the mail.” He added handing Tess a stack of mail. On top was the latest issue of WWE magazine. Kane graced the cover.

Sighing heavily, Tess sat down behind her desk and tossed the mail on top of the manila folders that were scattered across the top. God, why did he have to look so good? Reaching out, she traced the outline of his face with her fingertips, remembering too well how his skin felt beneath her hands. She’d stopped watching wrestling for nearly two years after that night, and she hadn’t been to a live show since. She couldn’t even watch Mark without remembering their three-some, which led to more memories of Glen.

She had dated several men, but none of them held a candle to Glen. The only man she hadn’t compared to him was Ken. They had dated for about a year, which was to say, they had sex whenever both of them were available. He eventually met a Miss Right and ended whatever relationship they had. Tess attended their wedding seven months ago. They remained friends however, and Mindy was accepted into their circle with open arms.

“Miss Collinsworth, there’s a gentleman here to see you.” Brandon announced over the intercom.

Tess sighed heavily. No doubt it was Mr. McDougal. He had a reputation of showing up without an appointment if he didn’t get one when he wanted, and always insisted on being announced anonymously. Oh well. It would save her a trip to his office later. “Send him in.” She replied and immediately began straitening her desk, being sure to slip the magazine in her desk drawer.

The door opened and smiling, Tess stood up to greet him. Her smile faded and her mouth hung open as she looked up into Mark’s smiling face. “Mark!” She said stunned as she walked around the desk.

“How are ya doing, Beautiful?” He asked as he pulled her into his arms.

“I’m great.” She answered, returning the hug. “How about yourself?”

“I can’t complain.” His arms tightened slightly.

Tess caught a glimpse of Brandon’s face. It was clear by the expression on his face that knew who Mark was. Pulling herself out of Mark’s arms, she grinned at Brandon as she closed the door.

“You’re giving that boy the wrong impression.” Mark chuckled.

“Yeah, I know.”

Mark raised an eyebrow. “You don’t mind the gossip?”

Tess chuckled. “Just you being here is gossip.” Tess walked to the front of her desk and leaned against it while Mark sat down infront of her. “Would you like something to drink? Coffee, water, soda…?”

“No thanks.”

Tess leaned back and pressed the intercom button. “Brandon, hold all calls. I don’t want to be disturbed.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“You like having him call you ma’am, don’t you.” Mark grinned.

“I revel in it.” She grinned back.

“And I suppose the pecks were a prerequisite.”

Tess laughed. “That was a bonus.” They spent a moment in silence, watching each other and reliving a certain memory, if his thoughts were anything even remotely similar to hers. Tess blushed slightly and turned away. “So…what have you been up to? Besides getting your ass kicked in the ring.”

Mark laughed. “I’m just helping the new guys get over with the fans.”

“Yeah, well you do it too well. You’re too nice. You should tell them all to kiss your ass and reek havoc on everyone, like we all know you can.”

Mark’s laugh grew louder. “Maybe we ought to have you write the scripts.”

“Yeah, but I don’t think naked jello matches are allowed on air.”

Mark watched her a moment longer. “You look more beautiful than I remember.”

Tess blushed furiously. “Thanks. You look good too.”

“Are you busy tonight?” Mark asked.

The question seemed to come out of the blue, leaving speechless for a moment. “I, uh… I’m babysitting. I gave Christie and Brent a night out for their anniversary.”

“They have a kid?”

“Twins.” Tess chuckled at Mark’s expression. “Don’t you have to work tonight?”

Mark shook his head. “They want to give Orton some extra air time, so they’re saying I have a concussion. I thought maybe we could get together while I’m in town.”

“You could come over to Christie’s with me. We could grill some steaks, catch up.”

“Sounds good.” He licked his lips as his eyes made their way down to the front of her blouse. “You sure Christie won’t mind?”

Tess smiled lazily. “I’m sure.” Damn it. She knew what message she was giving out, but she couldn’t bring herself to care. It had been so long since she’d been with a man, and Mark was such a good lover…

“Miss Collinsworth, Ms. Tolbert needs to see you in her office, immediately.”

“I’ll be right there.” Tess answered.

“I’ll see you around six?” Mark asked as he stood to leave.

Tess nodded, turned toward the desk, and wrote the address on a slip of paper. “Six is perfect.” She replied handing him the paper.

Mark put the paper in his pocket as he and Tess walked to the door. As they stepped out of the office, he quickly pulled her into his arms and kissed her.

When the kiss ended, Tess gave him a scolding look. “What was that for?”

Mark grinned wickedly. “They’re going to gossip anyway,” He answered, “We may as well make it worth their while.”

Tess rolled her eyes and pushed him toward the elevator. “Go. I’ll see you tonight.”

“See ya.”

He was grinning when the doors slid shut. Tess could only shake her head. Turning, she saw Ms. Tolbert watching her. ‘Oh shit.’ She thought as she walked toward the other woman. “Ms. Tolbert. I was just on my way to your office.”

“I was going to ask if you knew what the word ‘immediately’ meant, but with a man like that, I’m not sure I’d remember myself.”

Tess blushed slightly. “He’s just a friend.” Why was she defending herself?

“Do you kiss all your friends like that?” Ms. Tolbert asked smiling as they entered her office.

“No! I mean…of course not. He was just…What did you want to see me about?”

“I want to go over your meeting with Guiles tomorrow. Remember, you can’t let him control the meeting…”

Chapter Twelve

“Hey! You’re early.” Brent said as he hugged his sister.

“I know. I wanted to talk to Christie before you left.” She replied smiling at the outfit Christie was wearing. “You look gorgeous!” She said, appraising the other woman, while Brent took his daughter into the nursery to change her.

“Thanks. I think I’m over dressed, but Brent insists I’m not.”

“I think it’s perfect.” Tess replied.

Christie tugged the hem of her dress down again. “What was it you wanted to tell me?”

Tess’ lips curved into a huge smile. “You’ll never guess who came to see me today.”

Christie thought for a moment. “I don’t know… Mike, John, Andy… Roger? He did say he’d call.”

“That was over ten months ago, and even if it was him, he isn’t worth the breath it would take to tell you about it.”

“Then who?”

Tess’ smile reappeared. “Mark.”

Christie looked puzzled for a moment, and then it occurred to her. “Mark…Mark Calaway…as in the Undertaker?”

“The one and only. He’s coming over for dinner, if that’s alright with you.”

“Of course it’s alright! How is he doing?”

“Good. And he looks great.” Tess added.

Brent came into the room carrying his screaming daughter.

“There she is.” Tess said taking the baby from her father. “How’s my favorite niece? Are you giving Daddy a hard time?” The child stopped crying and smiled at her.

“How do you do that?” Brent asked.

“It’s a girl thing.” Tess grinned.

“I bet.” He mumbled, half smiling. “Did I hear you say someone was coming over?”

“Yep. Mark.” Christie answered for her. Looking at Tess she smiled knowingly. “They’re going to do a little catching up, if you know what I mean.”

The doorbell interrupted Tess’ response.

Christie opened the door. “Mark!” She exclaimed as she reached up to give him a hug.

Seeing the look on her husband’s face, he made the hug a brief one. “How have you been?”

“Great!” She turned to Brent and continued. “I’d like you to meet my husband, Brent.” The men shook hands, each mumbling “Nice to meet you.”

“Hi, Mark.” Tess walked up to him, the baby still in her arms.

“Hey.” He leaned over to kiss her cheek. “Who’s this little Princess?” He asked.

“This is Amy. That’s Jake in the playpen.” Tess answered, motioning toward the far side of the room.

“Well, we’d better get going. Traffic’s going to be hell.” Brent said, wrapping Christie’s sweater around her shoulders.

“You have my cell number. They just ate, so they should be fine until nine. Their formula is in the fridge…”

“Christy! I know. Now get out of here, would ya?” Tess smiled. Christy knew that she was more than capable of taking care of the twins, but the mommy in her still worried.

Tess walked the couple to the door. “I swear that woman worries too much.” She stated as she put the girl in the playpen with her brother.

“All moms are that way. My sister-in-law wouldn’t let anyone come anywhere near my nephew for the first six months.”

Tess chuckled. “You hungry?” She asked walking into the kitchen.

“Starving.” Mark replied following her out of the room.

“Good. Let’s see what they have to eat.” Tess opened the refrigerator.

“Don’t tell me they’re vegetarians.” Mark groaned, not seeing any meat.

“Of course not. Hmmm…” She closed the door and opened the freezer. She could almost hear Mark’s sigh of relief as they gazed at the ample selections of beef and pork. Reaching in, she pulled two steaks out and put them in the microwave. “These shouldn’t take too long to defrost.”

Mark watched as she rummaged through the cabinet for the griddle. How Glen could let her walk away from him the way she had was beyond him. He understood why she’d done it, and knowing how stubborn his friend could be, probably made the right decision as far as having a relationship went. He doubted it would be any comfort to her to know that Glen had jumped from one empty relationship to another since she left him, and was more miserable now than he’d ever been before. Well, the miserable part she might enjoy.

“What are you smiling about?” Tess asked.

“Nothing.” He answered, trying to wipe the smile off his face. “I take it you never got married.”

“Nope, still single.” Looking back over her shoulder, she added, “Unless you count being married to my work.”

“Ah, a career girl.” Mark laughed. “Speaking of your career, you seem awfully young to be a VP.”

“I am.” Tess replied proudly. “I was promoted a few months ago. The VP at the time was more interested in golfing than marketing, and I ended up with a double work load. A few weeks ago Ms. Tolbert, our senior vice-president, found out about it, and a week later, I was moving into my new office.”

“Damn. Looks like you were in the right place at the right time.”

“You got that right.” Tess rinsed her hands in the sink, turned around, and ran face first into Mark. “I’m sorry. I didn’t hear…”

Mark leaned over and covered her lips with his, effectively silencing her. He moaned as he slipped his tongue into her warm mouth. She tasted exactly as he remembered. His hands slithered down her back and covered her ass, kneading her cheeks as he tugged her skirt up her legs. She moaned her approval into his mouth, while pulling the buttons on his shirt open. Her hands were soft and warm against his skin.

Having pulled her skirt up to her hips, he slid his hand between her legs. Her panties were soaked with her juices. Slipping beneath the satin, he parted her and began rubbing her clitoris while pushing two of his fingers inside her. God, she was tight. Curving his fingers out toward her stomach, he slid them deep inside her and pulled them almost all the way out. Her hips moved against his hand and her hands clutched his shoulders as her body spilled its juices.

Slowly, he pulled his fingers from her, then, taking her by the hips, he lifted her and laid her down on the table. His hands groped her breasts while his mouth assaulted her neck. As his fingers reached for the top button of her blouse, he hesitated. Tess knew the instant he stopped why he hesitated – his wife. “We can’t do this.” She said, knowing what he was thinking.

“Oh God, Tess, I want to, but…”

“You’re married.”

He smiled weakly and stroked the hair back from her face. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.” She smiled, trying like hell not to show her disappointment. Lightly she traced the tattoo on his throat with her fingertips. “Sara’s a lucky woman.” After a moment of awkward silence, she pushed against his shoulders and in a lighter tone said, “Get up. Those steaks aren’t going to cook themselves.”

He did as she said and helped her up. “You want me to go?”

She smiled warmly. “Of course not.” She pulled the steaks out of the microwave and some spices from the cabinet over the sink. “You still haven’t told me anything about Sara.”

Mark opened his mouth to respond, but Jake interrupted him. “Babies have the worst timing.” Tess grinned as she wiped her hands on the dishtowel. “Would you season the steaks for me while I get him settled down?”

“Sure. What do you want on them?” He asked taking her place by the stove.

“Whatever looks good to you, I’m not picky.”

When Tess came back, Mark had already put the meat on to cook. “Mmm…that smells great.”

“Thanks. I think I may have used too much garlic though.”

“Nah, you can never have too much garlic.” Tess winked. “I like mine rare.”

Tess tossed a salad while Mark cooked the steaks. They talked and laughed over dinner, occasionally interrupted by a crying baby. When they finally finished eating and cleaned up the kitchen, it was time to give the twins their bottles and put them to bed.

Mark watched as Tess held the little boy close to her chest as she fed him. Not wanting to upset Tess or spoil the evening, he had refrained from talking about Glen, but every now and then she would get this look in her eyes, and he would know that she was thinking about him. She had that look in her eye now as she rocked the sleeping infant.

“He still loves you.”

Tess’ head snapped up at the sudden sound of Mark’s voice. “What?” The statement was so unexpected she didn’t think she’d heard him correctly. “He still loves you.” He repeated.

“Yeah, well, he has a funny way of showing it.” She took a deep breath to calm her emotions. She thought she had gotten over him.

“I could call and have him come over after the show.” Mark offered.

“No!” Jake started at the sudden sound, and then settled down again. “I‘m going to put him to bed. I’ll be right back.”

Mark, who was holding Amy, followed her into the nursery and waited for her to lay Jake down so she could take the girl.

Once both babies were settled into their cribs, they went back into the living room. “Are you sure you don’t want to see him?”

No she wasn’t sure. In fact she’d probably hunt him down herself if it would have occurred to her earlier. “I’m sure.”

Mark let the subject drop. It was no use getting them together if they were both too stubborn to meet on their own. “You wanna catch the second half of Raw?”

Tess crinkled her nose. “I’d rather watch a movie.”

Mark nodded and walked over to the DVDs. “What are you in the mood for?”

“Nothing romantic.” Mark laughed. “How about ‘Indiana Jones’?”

“Works for me.” Mark found the movie and went to the DVD player. “Uh…do you know how this thing works?" Tess smiled as she joined him in front of the TV. “I have one, it’s just different than this.” He defended.

Tess’ smile grew. “I didn’t say anything.”

“Yeah, but I know what you were thinking.” He mumbled as she slid the disk into the machine. “Let’s make some popcorn.”

“Are you still hungry?” She asked with raised eyebrows. Seeing his expression, she threw her hands up defensively. “Not saying anything. I’ll be right back.”

A few minutes later, she returned to the living room with a big bowl of popcorn and two cold beers. They settled into the couch and were soon lost in the movie.

Four movies later, Brent and Christie walked in the door. “What are you doing up?” Christie demanded. “You’ve got to get plenty of rest for that meeting in the morning. And you…” She pointed at Mark. “You should know better than to keep her up half the night.”

“Shhh! You’re going to wake up the babies.” Tess whispered.

“How were they? They didn’t give you any trouble did they?”

Tess smiled. “They were perfect angels.” Standing, she pulled Mark to his feet. “We’re going to run.”

Brent leaned over to Mark, lowering his voice just a little. “You know, you could have used the bed in the spare room.”

“Brent!” Both the girls scolded in unison, while Mark laughed.

“I’m leaving.” Tess said her face beet red. Grabbing her briefcase and purse from beside the door, she turned. “Goodnight.”

“Hang on, I’ll walk you out.” Mark said walking to the door. Turning around, he bid Christie and Brent a goodnight, then left. At Tess’ car he leaned over and kissed her cheek. “It was good seeing you again.”

“I’m glad you came over. We should do this again next time you’re in town.”

“I’d like that.” He grinned wickedly. “I’ll tell Glen you said hi.”

“And I’ll tear your throat out.” She gave him her meanest look.

Laughing he kissed her cheek again and opened the car door for her. “Drive safely.”

“I will.” She was smiling as she drove away. Noticing the time, she stepped on the gas. She needed to get home fast so she could get as much sleep as possible.

Chapter Thirteen

Tess walked out of the conference room with her head held high and an enormous smile painted on her lips. Not only had she successfully closed the deal, but she sold the contract for six million more than the company was asking. She couldn’t wait to tell Christie.

As soon as she stepped off the elevator, she saw Ms. Tolbert waiting for her. Ms. Tolbert was supposed to have handled the sell, but the meeting had been pushed back. She was already committed to another appointment, which she couldn’t cancel without losing a very important client, and had asked Tess to take her place. By the look on her face, she’d been a nervous wreck waiting to hear the outcome.

“How did it go?” The older woman asked impatiently.

“He bought it.” Tess’ smile widened as she spoke.

“For what we were asking?”

Tess shook her head. “Six million above our original offer.”

Ms. Tolbert’s mouth fell open. “Are you serious? Oh, we have to have the new contracts drawn up immediately.”

“I already did. He wanted to close the deal today. He insisted we wait while the attorneys drew up the papers.” Tess handed Ms. Tolbert the new contracts.

Ms. Tolbert stared in stunned silence for a moment shaking her head. “Unbelievable.” She looked from the papers to Tess. “Miss Collinsworth, you are simply unbelievable.”

Tess’ smile grew even wider. “So I did okay?”

“Okay? Honey, I haven’t met anyone who’s been able to squeeze a penny out of that tight wad for as long as I’ve known him. Come. I want to know exactly how you did it.” She put her hand on Tess’ shoulder and started to lead her to her office, then stopped. “No, I’ve got a luncheon in half an hour, it’ll have to wait. If you don’t have anything important set up this afternoon, why don’t you take the rest of the day off?”

“Thanks, I think I will.”

“Good. I’ll come by your office first thing in the morning. I want to hear all about Guiles.” She said as she stepped onto the elevator.

Tess was absolutely giddy when she left the office. She hadn’t felt this good since…well since she was promoted to vice-president of marketing. She knew that the other vice-presidents and board members were wary about giving her the position so quickly, but, against their better judgment and with some coaxing from Ms. Tolbert, did it anyway. The deal she made today should diminish any remaining fears they may have had about her abilities.

Her smile faded as she pulled up in Christie’s driveway. “Oh yeah, she took the kids to her mother’s.” She told the empty house. “Oh well, I’ll stop by later.” Pulling away from the house, she turned up the radio and sang along as loud as she could. She should do something fun today, but what? She hadn’t been hiking in awhile. Yeah… She could go home, change clothes, and head to the woods.

By the time she made it home, she was really excited about the hiking trip. She’d been so busy with work that she hadn’t had time to go, or do anything else she enjoyed doing. But it paid off, she told herself. She was the youngest VP in the history of the company, a job she loved, her family and friends… Yep, her life was perfect.

She changed into her favorite jeans, a tee shirt, and hiking boots, packed a big lunch and put it in her backpack, then left. She couldn’t keep her foot off the accelerator. The closer she got to the state forest, the more excited she became.

It seemed like she’d been driving for hours when she finally pulled into the picnic area. There were a few cars there, families enjoying the cool autumn air, children playing hide and seek in the trees. She smiled as she headed into the woods. It wasn’t long before she left the path and headed into the trees. She hadn’t been here in nearly four years, but she remembered the way as if it had been only yesterday. It was too cool to go swimming, but a picnic lunch by the pond would be nice. She smiled as the foliage thickened, scraping at her denim clad legs. ‘The pond should be right about…here.’

She stepped out of the brush and onto the shore. The grass was still thick and green, but the wild flowers had already died. ‘Damned cold front.’ Breathing deeply, she inhaled the fresh air, and let in out.

“Tess?”

Tess started at the sound of her name. She could have sworn she was there alone. Turning in the direction of the voice, she stood stunned looking up at the giant of a man.

“Glen.” She watched him walk toward her as if she were in a dream. She wasn’t sure if wanted to run to him or away from him, laugh or cry, kiss him or beat the shit out of him. “What are you doing here?”

He stopped a couple of feet infront of her. “I…” He was speechless. God, how he wanted to see her again, but her actually showing up…

“I didn’t know anyone was here. I’ll go and let you get back to…whatever you’re doing.” She said then turned away.

He watched, still stunned at her sudden appearance, as she turned to go. She had taken several steps before he realized that she was leaving. “Wait.” He gently grabbed her arm.

She stopped and closed her eyes for a moment. Those feeling were leaning more toward run into his arms with each passing second. ‘Leave.’ She ordered herself. Instead, she turned to face him. “What do you want?”

“You.” The word flew from his mouth before he realized what he was saying. Well, he couldn’t stop now… “I want you, Tess, I always have.”

“Me? You had me, remember? You let me go.” Tess fought hard to hold her tears at bay.

“I know I did.” His voice was almost inaudible. Meeting her gaze, he continued, “And it was the biggest mistake of my life.”

Unable to hold the tears back any longer, she lowered her head and wiped them away with the back of her hand. Glen reached under her chin and lifted her face. “You were my world, Tess. I know I never told you, but I loved you, with everything I had in me. I still do.” Stepping forward, he closed the distance between them and cupped her cheek in his palm.

“Damn you, Glen. Why did you have to be here? Why did you have make me love you so much?” Her voice broke and he immediately took her in his arms. She wanted to pull away, but it felt so right.

Glen felt as though his heart was being ripped into. He’d always seen has as strong never vulnerable, never even imagined it. “I’m so sorry, Baby. I never meant to hurt you.”

Tess nodded against his chest. “I know.” Leaning back, she met his gaze again. “Why did you let me leave?”

He took a deep breath. “I don’t know. I wanted to tell you how I felt, to beg you to stay. The words were on the tip of my tongue, but they just wouldn’t come out.” He slid his thumbs across her face, wiping away her tears. “I love you, Tess.” He kissed her tenderly. “I need you.”

“I don’t want to lose you again.”

“You won’t. I won’t make that mistake again.”

Reaching up, she captured his lips in an earth-shattering kiss.

“So, does this mean you’re taking me back?”

Tess laughed. “Yes, it does.” She kissed him again. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.” He said while lowering her to the ground.

“What are you doing?” She asked, breaking the kiss.

He grinned. “Making up for lost time…”

The End
© TakersLover 2003

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