It had been two weeks since Joanie had returned from Charleston. According to her mother, Joanie’s father was back at home and doing fine. She hadn’t heard a word from her brother Kevin or from Peter however, she had waited almost ten years to really talk to both of them, so she couldn’t be too expectant.
Meanwhile, Jake was showering her with attention. Fresh flowers were sent to her office every other day. Ruth was delighted, since Joanie could only fit so many vases on her desk at one time. Jake, or sometimes his driver, picked Joanie up after work each evening. Knowing how important it was for a perfectionist like Joanie to get her work completed swiftly and to the highest level of quality possible, Jake gave her a lot of space to work freely in his apartment, which was where they now spent most of their time. While she fussed over dress designs and detailed sketches, Jake cooked them meal after delicious meal; seafood pasta with tomato, bocconcini and fresh basil salad, braised pork chops with caramelized onions simmered in vodka, accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus with toasted almonds, or sautéed scallops wrapped in bacon, set atop endive tossed in a light olive oil and lemon dressing. They would eat late dinners so Joanie could finish her work before having a glass of wine, which, once she indulged in, set her into such a relaxed state that no work could be accomplished afterward. But Jake was patient and understanding. He knew that once she called it a night, she was all his.
There were four weeks left until the big design gala. With a back-log of work she had to catch up on at her day job, as well as deciding on the finishing touches on her chosen outfits for the show, Joanie was burning the candle at both ends. She was exhausted. It hardly felt like she had been home to Charleston at all because her life since then was so busy.
Early memories of her terrifying experience with Peter up on the knoll were now beginning to fade as Jake filled her thoughts by day and her body by night. Their lovemaking was otherworldly, much like her fantasies were. He knew where to touch her and how, was tender yet adventurous, and wow, could he kiss. Sometimes, when she was at work, balancing some Excel file or typing a letter to a client, thoughts of the previous evening would slip into her thoughts. Jake’s hand caressing her bare breasts, his soft lips erotically sucking her nipples, and those same eager lips devouring her own wanting ones, kissing and kissing…she had to shake her head to snap out of it before she had an orgasm right there on the spot. At the end of each day she could hardly wait to get back to his apartment and once there, she had to work hard to block him out of her mind as she worked on her design projects, in order to keep from tossing everything aside and giving herself to him completely. He seemed the perfect man, or at least the perfect one for her.
They kept up this routine, one they had fallen into almost too naturally and easily, and time seemed to rush by. Before Joanie knew it, there was only one week until the annual NYC Fashion Gala & Award Night. She could hardly contain her nerves. At work she was hopeless, forgetting meetings and missing deadlines. Luckily Carlyle supported her by lightening her work-load as best he could, and Ruth covered for her whenever she was available. Jake was as encouraging as ever and called her several times a day to tell her how wonderful she was. But still, Joanie fretted over every last detail. Unsatisfied with the first ones she created, two of her dress designs were still unfinished. She lost sleep over whether the stark white stitching to off-set the simple, navy two-piece pantsuit was best, or if the glass beadwork she had decided to have sewn into clusters around the empire waistline of the emerald satin evening gown, was too decadent.
“Darling, it’ll be just fine,” Jake had said, while trying to drag her back to bed later one night. “You worry too much. Remember, you never would have been chosen if your work wasn’t more than superb.”
But it was no use. No matter how Jake attempted to console her, Joanie was not to be convinced. Finally, at four a.m. the Monday before the gala, and after finding Joanie face-down on top of her sketches at the kitchen table, it was decided.
“Listen hon, why don’t you take the rest of the week off work and try to get a handle on things. Carlyle won’t mind. I think at this point it would be easier all around if you weren’t there. It’s just too much for you to manage your day job, your design projects and…” He paused. “Me”.
Joanie became quiet. Besides being worn out, she was torn as to what to do. She didn’t want to take time away from work, which seemed to be a good diversion right now, and she wasn’t a quitter, but she knew Jake was right. Something had to change.
“C’mon, let me take you home. It’ll be the best thing.”
Joanie looked at Jake, tears forming in the corners of her eyes. He put his strong arms around her, pulling her warm body into his, and rocked her back and forth.
“Don’t get me wrong, Joanie. I don’t want you to go. I love having you here, love what we’ve got going on together. But you are so stressed out. I just think lightening your load will really help you out, and that includes me. It’s just one less thing you have to think about right now. You’ve been going like a dervish since you arrived back from Charleston.”
She knew he was right. She hadn’t come up for air since she’d been back.
“Besides,” Jake went on. “The Gala is this Friday. After that, everything will be back to normal. Then we can relax and really spend some quality time together. Maybe we should take a little vacation when this is all over. What do you think?”
Joanie snuggled in closer to Jake, burying her head in his shoulder. It was times like this she couldn’t believe her good fortune.
“Oh, Jake, you’re way too good for me.”
“And you’re not good for me?”
Jake pressed his lips softly against hers, lingering there for a deliciously long time. When he stopped, Joanie reached up and pulled his face back down to hers. A rush of adrenalin raced through her veins as she kissed Jake long and hard, slipping her tongue into his waiting mouth. Before she knew it, Jake was on top of her. He lifted the silk slip she was wearing up to her breasts, and eased into her wetness deeply and rhythmically. The lace trim on the soft satin neckline rubbed against her nipples, making them hard and erect with pleasure. Joanie arched up to meet Jake’s thrusts. He moaned. Before she came, Jake pulled out. Slowly, teasingly, he reached his hand down between her legs. As his fingers groped their way down her thighs to find her juiciness, Jake leaned in and pulled gently on her nipple with his teeth, then twirled his tongue around and around. It was almost unbearable. She spread her legs wide so he could have all of her, and her climax was what he had hoped it would be. She cried-out in ecstasy. Her screams triggered Jake to cum, first inside her, then to complete his orgasm over her taut, heaving belly. Together they fell into a blissful half-sleep until they were finally wakened by the alarm. It was seven a.m..
“Well, some hot sex and a few more hours of sleep never hurt anyone, right?” He bent over and kissed her jaw-line. “C’mon baby, I’ll drive you home.”
Joanie stretched and yawned then looked over at Jake warily, still unsure of this new arrangement.
“It’s okay, sweetie,” Jake said, rubbing Joanie’s rosy cheek with the back of his hand. “It’s only temporary. And if there’s anything you need, you know I’m only a phone call away. You can call me anytime. Otherwise, I’m staying out of your way till I pick you up in the Limo Friday night. And no! I don’t want to hear another word about it, understood? You need this time Joanie.”
Again, Joanie buried her face in Jake’s warm, broad chest and, as he wrapped her in his arms for one last embrace, she cried.
Stay tuned...Chapter 10 will be posted next Tuesday, May 24th...