Ever After. Chapter 22

From her room, Julia could hear the last of the guests leaving as Esperanza and Joaquin bid them goodbye, their voices floating all the way up to her open window.

Damian hadn’t come back to her, nor had she waited for him as her friends said goodbye and Julia opted to go up to her room instead. However, with her feet bare, she walked in circles around her room unable to sit still or to put on her pajama and go to bed.

A voice inside her said she should go and look for Damian and get this over with. But a more reluctant one screamed a definite No! Torn, Julia went over to sit at one of the chairs while the echoes of the party clung to the bougainvilleas outside her room. She sat there, brooding with her head cradled in her hands for a while. Julia even heard when Esperanza and Joaquin left the house to head to their cottage. The sudden emptiness of the house caused a shiver of anticipation to travel her bare arms and back.

Restless, Julia decided to raid the kitchen to see if there were any leftovers from the party. Making sure she didn’t step over anything that might get her another ride back down to the clinic, she went downstairs and found several plastic containers inside the fridge. Devoid of any energy to heat anything up, she decided to have only a glass of juice.

As she sat at the counter, her mind went over the events of the night, specifically, the dancing and kissing part with Damian. Why hadn’t he come to her afterwards? Or was she supposed to make the next move? He had, after all, taken the first step by asking her to dance and he had been the one to kiss her first. Though he’d promised they were not done yet, Julia pondered going to find him and finish whatever had been so inconveniently interrupted a few hours ago.

She gulped the juice down and washed the glass over by the sink. When she turned around, a black object caught her eye and she immediately recognized Damian’s BlackBerry. There was a red light blinking intermittently. Since Susan had one, she knew he had pending messages and emails.

She was halfway out of the kitchen when she reconsidered and decided to take it up to him. It was the perfect excuse to knock on his door. If he had already moved past the kiss, then she wouldn’t look like a fool. She would give him his phone and go back to her room, pride intact, or at least part of it.

There was light coming from under the door as it cast a single yellow line on the floor. Her hand lifted and knocked on the door two times. There was only silence. Julia tried the doorknob, and found it turned under her hand. She opened the door and poked her head in, scanning the room. The lights were on but there was no sign of him.

Sighing with a mixture of resignation and gratefulness, that she was probably not going to embarrass herself, Julia walked to a similar sitting area like the one in her room and put the phone down on the table. She was so intent in going back to her room, she didn’t hear the door to the bathroom open and Damian come out fresh from a shower, a single white towel wrapped around his waist.

When he cleared his throat behind her, Julia jumped, let out a scream and whirled around, only to stagger backwards at the sight of his tanned upper body and wet hair.

“Julia?”

Oh, shit.

It took all of her inner will to keep her mouth closed. Her eyes felt like they were about to pop out from their sockets like two marbles. Damian took another step towards her and said her name a second time.

“I…..I……I brought your phone over. I left it over there.” Her finger pointed to the table next to the window overlooking the front lawn.

He raised his eyebrows in a quizzical way, as if he didn’t quite believe her.

“I assumed you might need it or someone would need to contact you.” She restrained from saying your son might need you. As petty as it made her feel, she didn’t want to think about the fact that he did have a kid, which she hadn’t met and whom he hadn’t talked about in more depth either.

“My phone? That’s why you’re here in my room, in the middle of the night?”

She swallowed. “Yes, why else would I be here?”

Okay, so she’d chickened out and instead of saying “I came to talk about that kiss I so very much want to repeat without interruptions” she was just looking for a way out.

Damian’s stare narrowed, studying her, then he began to close the distance between them as if Julia had said out loud what she hadn’t had to guts to say now.

His hand took her chin like he had when they’d kissed, forcing her to look nowhere but straight into his piercing eyes.

“Julia, why are you here?”

“I already told you.” She croaked, her senses intoxicated with the soapy and male scent coming from him.

“So that’s it? You were just concerned someone might be trying to reach me on my phone?”

“I……” Oh, what the hell. She might as well come clean, before the fire blazing inside her melted her body. “No. I thought maybe we could, you know, talk about what happened before.” She gulped, then added. “You kind of disappeared after Joaquin came by for you.”

Damian let out a small chuckle as his thumb began to caress her parted lips, as if making a point that he hadn’t forgotten about their interrupted moment from before, either.

“And I went by looking for you before coming up but Esperanza said you’d already gone to bed.”

“I….I was tired.” Damn it, why did she have to stutter every time he came close to her?

His head came down and stopped a breath way from her mouth. He whispered. “Do you really want to talk right now?”

His teasing lips started tasting hers. Julia was incapable of holding back the low moan the left her lips as she felt everything inside her surrender to him. Damian took this as a sign that conversation would be a waste of time right now. His arms circled around her waist, his hands making her crazy as they traveled up and down her bare back.

In between breaths, a sliver of reason seeped through her brain, making her aware of two unavoidable realities. One, that she had never, never done what she knew they were about to do and second, the whirlwind of changes in their relationship. Words had to be involved before their bodies took over the situation.

Julia chose to address the second reality. Unlocking from his hold, Julia took a step back and watched the confusion flash across his face.

“I really think we should talk about this, about what’s happening. I mean, we went from hating each other to knowing people lied to keep us apart. Well, not people, just one person. We can’t just…..” Julia wanted to groan because out loud, her words sounded so lame. She expected Damian to burst out laughing at any second. Instead, he let out a heavy sigh and moved one arm over her head and rested his palm on the door behind her.

“If that’s what you want then I suggest we do it tomorrow, when I can actually think straight. I don’t think I’ll be able to withstand the torture of you in that dress and me not touching you.”

What the hell was she doing? They’d already waited ten years for this, why was she stalling something her body was yelling at her to let happen? To hell with words, they would mean so little compared to what her entire body wanted to show him, despite her not having a clue as to how that was done.

Damian was already pulling open the door behind her but she made her back slam it shut again. She registered the momentary hesitation that blurred his eyes.

“Julia, are you sure? Because I….”

Julia interrupted him by saying. “I thought you didn’t want to talk.”

Damian groaned in triumph before he claimed her body back and said against her seeking mouth. “Damn right you are.”

Julia’s arms went automatically around his neck, the entire length of her body pressing against him;  not even air could pass between them. Damian’s mouth began to move south. When he reached the side of her neck he spoke against her sensitive skin.

“Allow me to take care of this.”

His hands skillfully tugged at the straps of her dress and lifted it off only to have the soft fabric fall and form a pool of black at her feet.

As the night breeze from the open window caressed her flushed skin, Julia’s own rhythm faltered as the very important detail of her inexperience had her doubting what was she supposed to do now.

Damian seemed to come to her rescue as he lowered his hands and tugged at the towel wrapped around his waist. That didn’t stop Julia from gasping. Her cheeks reddened, as she might as well have blurted to Damian that she was still a virgin.

He must’ve not heard her because he circled her body with his strong and long arms, fire sparking from his eyes, before his mouth continued its previous journey down her body. When he reached her shoulders, he lifted his head up and pulled her over to the bed where he lay her gently on the soft surface.

All the while, Julia was being assaulted by a tremor that could only be blamed on her anxiousness and complete lack of knowledge in this particular area.

Julia watched with a dry throat and racing heart, as Damian lowered his body on top of her. This time her hands caressed his back up and down, marveling at the perfection of muscle and strength.  Her body moved under him, silently urging him to do the same with her.

Damian shifted his position and lied next to her, his hands and mouth driving her crazy as he touched and savored her breasts, sending her over the roof. If this tightness in the pit of her stomach that suddenly loosened, sending tiny waves of ecstasy all over her body was what pleasure was all about then, God, had she been missing out on the good stuff.

She was so drunk on what her body was experiencing that when a new ripple of delicious pleasure coursed through her, she didn’t hold back her moan, not at all self-conscious. Damian’s mouth was busy touching her where no one had ever gone before. The amount of sensations being set free made her curl her toes and bite her lower lip before another moan filled the still night around them, this time as she said his name. “Damian.”

“I’m right here.”

Julia needed him. Had always needed him. She wanted him to take what had been meant for him all along. He moved back up and grazed his teeth against her parted lips before plunging deep into her mouth, his tongue tasting a sweetness that nearly drove him mad, while his senses claimed her back in heart, body and soul.

When Damian looked down at her, he said, eyes unwavering. “You’re perfect.”

Julia just lay there, hoping that the emotions that clogged her throat, were plain clear on her eyes.  A few tears escaped from the corner of her eyes and Damian only brushed them away with his lips, as he reassured her. “It’s only us now.”

“I know. I just…….They took so much away from us.”

For a brief moment his eyes darkened, but then he kissed her again and said. “They did. Not anymore.”

With that Damian got up, and Julia pressed her eyelids shut, not wanting to spoil what was about to happen with bitter memories and resentments. He came back a few moments later, and as he positioned himself again over her, Julia knew that this was it. It was going to happen. She was going to make love for the very first time, and though she desired it more than anything, it scared her as well.

Damian parted her legs and as he entered her, Julia stilled as the first spurts of pain made her body tense. Apparently, that was all Damian needed to know the truth. He began to pull away but Julia shook her head energetically and took his face in her hands. With a steady and sure voice that surprised her, she confessed. “It’s you, it was always supposed to be you.”

He didn’t know what to do. A voice inside his head advised he should probably take a step back and let her think this important decision over a little more. Had he known she was still a virgin, he would’ve given her time to decide. If he followed the voice of reason, he knew it would be the hardest thing of his life to back away and not make love to her, as his whole body was demanding he did. As his heart was begging him to do.

It was the naked honesty in her honey-colored widened eyes that ebbed away the last traces of her innocence, giving way to a clear sparkle of desire that helped him make up his mind. Damian moved again inside her, slower. Still, Julia tensed again, expectation dancing inside her eyes.

“It’s okay. I won’t hurt you.”

“I know.”

With as much care as he could manage, Damian began to move slowly inside her, guiding her own inexperienced movements until they both found a pace which after a few minutes, started to increase in speed.

The pain she experienced before was being transformed into pure bliss as their increased pace was a way for her body to take her to the edge, to the ultimate sensation. It was as if her whole body was bracing for it, every muscle tingling in preparation for the explosion that would consume them both.

Damian groaned against her neck and she knew she was about to be thrown into a whirlwind of ecstasy. A series of tiny explosions went on inside her until the final blast left her breathless. The blast sent her soul soaring through the air, and for the first time in ten years, she felt happy, unburdened, free.

As the release shook him to the core, Damian understood in between layers of pleasure settling inside his brain, that this woman he’d just made love to had made him discover he might as well have been a virgin like her. He had been with other women before, but Damian had never been with a woman who held him heart and soul and who’d known him inside and out. Every feeling, every burst of desire felt ten times stronger and left his body shivering and raw.

Seconds later, he felt his strength leave him and he collapsed into her, her hands coming around him, before he shifted their positions and they laid curled next to each other, her slow steady breathing telling him she had already gone into a welcome slumber. He followed within minutes, until the weight of what he’d done woke him up again a few hours later.

Julia didn’t know how many hours or days had passed before she stirred and her eyelids fluttered open. When she moved her fingers over the space next to her, where a warm body had held her close all through the night, she found it empty and cold.

Shaking off the last webs of sleep clouding her brain, she sat up and scanned the room until she found him standing by the window. The silvery moonlight cast a fine, almost unearthly glow on his naked body. His stare was fixed on whatever had caught his attention outside. Almost as if he had eyes on the back of his head, his head turned. What she saw on his face was enough for Julia to draw her knees up to her chest and feel the first traces of doubt awakening inside her heart.

Was he mad? Had she disappointed him? Maybe her inexperience hadn’t been what he’d bargained for. Or maybe he was regretting the whole episode, especially now that he knew she had been just a vulnerable, innocent and naive woman. Or maybe this was the part when she was supposed to say. “Oh well, good night, thanks for taking my virginity away. I’ll see you in a few hours.”

Suddenly embarrassed of her nakedness, Julia did her best to keep her head held up high, as if daring him to speak what was haunting his mind. When Damian continued to stare at her without saying a word, she interpreted it as her cue to leave the room. Turning away from him, she began to ease her way to the edge of the bed and cursed mentally when she couldn’t see her dress in the lightless room.

At last, she spotted a heap of black next to the door and she got up, not sure she could withstand the regret on Damian’s face if she faced him again.

His words made her jump, but she stood where she was as he said. “Where are you going?”

Facing the door in front of her, Julia replied. “I’m going back to my room, what does it look like?” Her nonchalant tone sounded so forced she flinched.

Damian swore and she could hear him walking to where she was. He grabbed her elbow and made her turn around. Salvaging her dignity, she put on a blank mask over her face, which was sure to reveal just what the night had meant to her. She jutted her chin out defiantly and said. “Let me go, Damian.”

“What the hell happened between now and when we were sleeping?”

“You tell me. I wake up and you’re there brooding, sulking, probably wondering why the hell you wasted your time with me.”

“Why would you say that?”

Because I can’t still believe we’re together again.

“Well, what were you thinking then?” She challenged.

“Julia, why didn’t you tell me you were a virgin?”

Ashamed, she fought back the tears and snapped. “Look, I’m sure I was the only twenty-eight year old virgin in the entire planet, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to start apologizing for not living up to your expectations. I’ve had plenty of that, thank you very much. Now, let me go to my room.”

Damian’s sharp intake of breath surprised her, even more what came out of his mouth next. “Is that why you think I’m asking? You think I am about to list the things were you failed to perform with honors?”

“Well, weren’t you?” Her voice shook much to her dismay.

“God, Julia, I thought we had moved past assuming the worst of each other.”

When Julia said nothing in return, Damian placed both hands on her shoulders and said while looking straight into her eyes. “I am honored you chose me to be your first. But this was a big decision, I just feel like I didn’t give you much choice.”

Her anger left her. Julia was moved by his unfeigned concern and wanted to beat herself up for doubting him. Julia rested the palm of her hand on his cheek.

“Oh, Damian, don’t say that.” Her fingers skimmed his cheek before she kissed him softly on the lips.

“I knew it would be you from the moment I set eyes on you. I chose you, only it took us many years to finally be here. I wanted this, I wanted you. I still do.”

Damian took her hand and kissed her knuckles, the tender gesture sending butterflies flying out of control inside her stomach.

“You have no idea how hard I had to fight from keeping images of you wearing nothing but that necklace from my head for the entire night.”

“Really?” Julia asked, astounded. She glanced down at the heart hanging from her neck. Was that why he hadn’t taken his eyes off her right until their dance? The mere idea made Julia want to jump up and down with glee.

“Really.”

When he paused, Julia inquired. “What?”

“Call me old fashioned, but your first time should’ve been more special. I…..had it all planned, before. There would’ve been candles, rose petals, a more seductive ambiance.”

“Well, we could go outside and we could light those torches around the pool or we could skinny dip in the pool, there are candles in there as well.”

Damian relaxed at her playful tone. When her arms came around him, he said. “Probably not a good idea.”

“Yeah, probably not.” She chuckled, then in a more serious tone added. “This was perfect, Damian.  I know now why I waited. It was always supposed to be you.”

The kiss was soft yet it managed to light a fire in the pit of her stomach. When they parted, Julia said. “I’ve heard practice helps you master anything. I’m sure if I practiced a little more, I…you know…….”

He startled her when he lifted her feet off the ground and carried her to the bed. When he laid her gently on the mattress, a nervous laugh escaped her before it was silenced by Damian’s lips. When he was over her, he said. “I couldn’t agree more, in fact, why don’t we start practicing now?”

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