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Chapter Thirteen-The Storm is Over
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  • 1. “...To really love a woman Let her hold you - til ya know how she needs to be touched You've gotta breathe her - really taste her Til you can feel her in your blood N' when you can see your unborn children in her eyes You know you really love a woman...” Bryan Adams
  • 2. Day 06 of the countdown Storm’s Place He was so angry he wanted to do damage to someone…anyone…anything. He could feel himself lose control with each passing minute. The angry glares from across the room were not helping his mood. He felt himself sink into a dark hole…the same hole he sunk into when Emma died. He paced his living room like a caged animal, his whole body taut with pent up anger, frustration and fear. He was petrified of losing Victoria. “She’ll come home. She loves you. She said so herself. Pull yourself together…” He chanted over and over again and hoped for Providence…some divine intervention to bring Victoria back to him. Oh he wished he could go back to the start… when he first met her. He would do so many things differently…
  • 3. Somewhere in Statham Island…. She was driving way above the speed limit but she did not care. She was looking for trouble…from anyone…from anything. She came to a stop in front of a traffic light. It was green and all clear for her to go, but she waited. She heard car honks blaring behind her and saw the other drivers overtake her. Just when the light turned red, she rammed her foot on her accelerator forcefully and sped forward, missing a garbage-collection truck by inches… She let out a manic laugh and threw her head back. Soon her laugh turned to loud sobs as it dawned on her, just how lucky she was… a few more inches or a few miscalculated seconds she would have ended up a mangled wreck underneath the truck.
  • 4. Storm’s Place “Maybe we should call her?” Cassie suggested sadly. She felt safe and warm in Hugo’s arms. Her sister sat on the far end of the couch, seemingly deep in thought (an unusual state for Daniella). “Let’s give her time to cool off,” Hugo said in hushed tones. They were all feeling dizzy from Storm’s incessant pacing. He had not uttered a word since he walked in after Victoria drove off. Everyone in the room could feel his rage and no one wanted to be on its receiving end.
  • 5. “What if she doesn’t come home? Then what? What am I going to do? I can’t get married without her. She’s my best friend!” Kendra wailed on her fiancé’s shoulder. Her nose was red from all the crying and her eyes were swollen. “Shhhhh, it’s okay. She’ll come home. I promise. She’s just angry right now!” Dean consoled her, brushing her hair softly. He, too, was violently angry and if Kendra was not in the room he would have gone haywire on his older brother. This is exactly what he did not want - seeing Kendra so upset and beside herself with worry.
  • 6. “You should get going! The flight’s leaving soon. If you leave now you’ll make it!” Storm said mechanically from his lone position. Everyone felt better now that he was not circling them like a wild animal. He watched apathetically as his brother coddled his overly dramatic fiancée … It was so like his future sister in law to make things about her even when they were not! “What about you?” Dean asked over Kendra’s shoulder. She was still sobbing and wailing uncontrollably. “I’m not leaving without Victoria!” Storm roared with a dangerous glint in his eyes.
  • 7. Somewhere in Statham Island She was crying so hard she could not see the road ahead. So she pulled over and tried to steady her shaking hands. “Damn you Chace! Damn you!” She screamed at the empty silence. She closed her eyes and remembered her bittersweet moment with Storm at the beach a little over an hour ago…She did not want to remember, but she promised him she would, no matter what happened, even when she felt she could not find her way back to him. Suddenly she knew what she had to do…She hoped it was not too late. It all stopped now! No more running and hiding. Every time things went wrong in her life she ran. But not this time…
  • 8. Storm’s place “What are you up to now Storm?” Dean asked suspiciously when the four of them were alone. He knew his brother very well, sometimes better than Storm knew himself.
  • 9. “That does not concern you!” Storm replied coldly. “Come with us…We’ll send for Victoria when we get to Twikki Island,” Drake suggested and regretted it moments later. “Are you out of your mind? I am not leaving Victoria in this state!” Storm growled, a deep angry scowl on his face.
  • 10. “Do what you got to do man!” Hugo said supportively. “Yeah! Just handle your business and when we come back, we want that spitfire of a red head under control,” Drake murmured light heartedly. “We’ll meet up in Twikki Island… Victoria will come home soon and we’ll take the next flight out,” Storm assured them confidently, his mind already working overdrive and making plans of his own.
  • 11. A feeling of relief washed over him when he was finally left alone in his empty house. It was getting dark outside and still no sign of Victoria. He took a shower, had a change of clothing and put both his and Victoria’s overnight bags in the trunk of his Ford Explorer. And he waited.
  • 12. He would not take her to Twikki Island. Instead he would take her to his cabin in Howick Hills. He needed to be alone with her, away from everyone’s influences. It was vital for their relationship’s survival that he create a safe space where both of them could thrash out their issues, fall apart, and then reassemble each other, and his cabin was just the place he had in mind.
  • 13. As the clock ticked on he grew more anxious. But still he waited for his love to come home. He was banking on the fact that she left her hand bag with her house keys at his place. Eventually she would have to come back to get her things and that was when he would pounce on her. Convincing her would be difficult but he had to try. He let her go so many times before when there were still unresolved issues between them. This time he would not. He would fight for their relationship and he just hoped he had enough strength for both of them.
  • 14. The house was bathed in darkness. A sad sinking feeling settled in her tummy. She was too late. They were all gone. They left without her. So much for her friends’ support! “I get cheated on, betrayed, lied to and I end up left behind!” Victoria cursed crossly. She hoped the house was not locked. She could not get to Twikki Island now, but if she could get her house keys, she would go back to her place and wait for everyone to return in two days.
  • 15. She breathed a huge sigh of relief when she tried the front door and it opened easily without the alarm going off. She was about to head for her room and grab her things when she heard a soft groan coming from the couch. “Creeping in the shadows now, Victoria?” Storm drawled sleepily. Apparently he had fallen asleep while waiting for her. His whole body felt stiff from his uncomfortable position.
  • 16. Her heart rate quickened and she was tongue tied. She was not expecting to see him. She really thought he had gone. “Storm, what’s going on? I thought you’d left!” Victoria whispered breathlessly. What she felt for him was crazy. Even when she was so angry with him, he still took her breath away.
  • 17. “Earlier you asked me to stay with you forever, so here I am,” He mumbled, covering the distance between them effortlessly. Victoria struggled to breathe, his masculinity overpowered her senses and she felt a little out of place. “What are you doing back here?” He asked after a while of silence. “I…was…I realized how every time things fall apart in my life I run away and leave loose ends. Not this time,” she blurted and flinched a little when she saw a hurt look in his eyes. So, I am a loose end now! Storm thought sadly.
  • 18. “I was hoping I’d find you here---” Victoria murmured, searching his face for a sign that he was feeling just as scared as she was, but she was met with detached self assurance. “Come with me…let’s not go to Twikki Island. We need to be alone and talk things through. Just give me two days and I’ll prove to you I’m the same man you fell in love with. I made a stupid mistake, but don’t let that one thing change our future,” he implored.
  • 19. “Okay…two days, it is” she agreed, her voice barely audible. Storm’s face broke into a smile; finally the angels were fighting on his side. There was hope after all. “You won’t regret this,” he promised. “I hope so,” she retorted and left the room to go freshen up and get her hand bag.
  • 20. “I’m ready when you are,” Victoria announced fifteen minutes later. He was back in his position on the couch. For what seemed like eternity he gazed up at her and wondered how he could destroy something so perfect, so precious. She was devastatingly beautiful, even without make up. He was grateful to her for giving him a second chance. He knew the next two days were going to be brutal for both of them, but he hoped they would get through it and come out stronger. If they got through the next two days without killing each other, they would be fine!
  • 21. He miscalculated the space between them, and when he rose suddenly from the couch his lips were almost touching hers. Tension rippled between them as Storm stared at the curve of her mouth. A flicker of desire sparkled in their eyes as they both remembered their magical moment at the beach. Victoria stared at his Adam’s apple and sighed softly, anticipating his kiss. He heard her soft sigh and it took a lot in him to not throw her over his shoulder and take her to his bed. He bent his head slightly to kiss her, but she moved away, breaking the spell between them. “I’m not ready to make nice yet!” Victoria snapped stepping away from him.
  • 22. “Thank you!” Storm said unexpectedly, pulling away from his drive way. “For what?” She asked, a little confused by this sudden change in him. She could deal with Storm being an ass, but when he was so attentive, caring, and wonderful she did not know what to do, because she started expecting too much from him only to be disappointed. “For coming with me and giving us another chance,” he replied, still not taking his eyes off her. “Two days Storm. That’s all I agreed to,” she reminded him. She closed her eyes and rested her head. Storm took it as sign that she did not want to talk anymore, so he kept quiet and concentrated on the road. She was completely drained and soon after they left Statham Island, she fell asleep.
  • 23. “No! Julian, please…I’m sorry! Please don’t hurt my baby,” She gasped uncontrollably, struggling to breathe. “This is not happening,” she told herself over and over. The dank musty dungeon smell assaulted her nostrils and she could smell him. Evilness and cruelty seeped through his pores. She felt his cold green eyes piercing her as he came closer. She saw him lift the gun and point it at her. “No...Julian, my baby! Please!”
  • 24. Victoria’s horrified screams pierced the peaceful silence in the car. Storm hit the brake paddle hard and both of them were pushed forward as the car came to a violent stop. “Victoria, wake up. Open your eyes…hey, it’s just a dream…wake up,” Storm soothed her, brushing her hair back. Her forehead felt clammy and she was burning up. He wondered if she was sick or something. Then he remembered earlier how she almost fainted. He thought of taking her to a doctor, but it was very late now and they were in the middle of nowhere. “Tomorrow, if she’s still feeling sick I’ll take her,” Storm vowed silently. She pried her eyes open and burst into uncontrollable tears.
  • 25. “Julian…he,” She stammered, shaking violently. They were outside the car now and he was holding her tightly, trying to stop her shudders. “It’s okay…it’s just a dream. He’s dead. He won’t ever hurt you again,” Storm consoled her. He had thought she was over the Julian saga, but evidently not. He wondered if she had this nightmare often. It was scary seeing her in such a panic. Even in her dream state, she looked petrified and vulnerable, and if it was possible to kill Julian again, he would have.
  • 26. He did not know how his protective embrace turned into a full on kiss. But he poured all his emotions into kissing her. He was not good with words or talking, and the only thing he did very well was show her how much he loved her through his actions, be it kissing her or making love to her. Through kissing her, he told her how much he loved her, he assured her she never had to feel alone or scared again, and he promised her he would make things right between them.
  • 27. Somewhere in Howick Hills It was almost midnight when they arrived at his cabin. Victoria went back to a fitful sleep for the remainder of their trip. Now, he sat in the car watching her sleep and he did not have the heart to wake her up. So he gently lifted her from her seat and carried her inside. The temperature had dropped slightly. He immediately felt the huge difference between here and Statham Island. There was timelessness in Howick Hills and he liked being isolated from the rest of the world. For a long time after Emma died, this was his home. He spent months holed up here with the river behind his cabin for company.
  • 28. He laid her on the bed and put on her PJs for her. She moaned softly in her sleep as she felt his hands. He smiled at the knowledge that even in her sleep she reacted to his touch so warmly. He lay beside her and counted to a hundred with his eyes closed, hoping for sleep. He was restless so he stayed up and listened to her snore. Seeing her petrified earlier when she had that nightmare about Julian disturbed him deeply. She snored and whimpered sadly in her sleep, and he moved closer to her, and wrapped his arms around her.
  • 29. Day 05 She woke up to sunlight streaming through the window. She was confused and startled as she tried to remember where she was. Then the events of the past twenty four hours came back to her…Storm…She looked over at his rumpled side of the bed and a feeling of loss came over as she realized he was not there.
  • 30. Having brushed her teeth and washed her face, on bare feet, she padded to the open plan lounge, kitchen and dining area to find him. She heard the floorboards creak with each movement she made. Instantly she fell in love with this small cabin. It was old, but modernly furnished. It was also cozy, and it made her feel safe. “Storm? Where are you? Storm?” She called out to the empty house.
  • 31. She started to panic a little, but then she saw the solitary red rose on the dining table and the note next to it. She sat down and read the note from him. “I’ve gone to get a few things. Will be back in a little while. In the meantime, hang on to the rose to remind you of my love for you!” Tears pricked the corners of her eyes and she blinked them away. Why…why did he have to be so attentive and sweet? She was still so angry with him, but now he was making it difficult for her to stay mad at him.
  • 32. She was yawning loudly when Storm came through the front door thirty minutes later with a grocery bag in his hands. She covered her mouth self consciously and mumbled an embarrassed, “Sorry,” Her mom always told her it was rude to yawn in front of people. “Hey,” he greeted her softly, closing the door with his foot.
  • 33. “Where have you been?” She snapped rudely. “Didn’t you get my note?” He asked, surprised at the amount of venom in her words. “I did, and the rose too! What are we doing here Storm? What are you playing at?” She hissed angrily. She was back to her angry self again, he noted. Damn, this was going to be harder than he had anticipated.
  • 34. She was looking for a fight and he would not entertain her. He dropped off the grocery bag on the kitchen counter and moved towards the bathroom door. “I’ll run you a bath,” Storm told her, ignoring her scowl. “I can run my own bath you know!” She retorted. She did not understand what was happening to her. One minute she was in love with him and convinced they would get through this, the next, he rubbed her up the wrong way! “Stop your pettiness!” Storm rasped angrily, his self control crumbling a little. “It’s still too early for your bad attitude!” Victoria was left reeling. She seethed inwardly. How dare he call her petty? And bad attitude…what was that about?
  • 35. Maybe he was a little harsh with her. Maybe he should go out there and apologize? “No…she WAS acting petty,” he convinced himself he was not wrong. He felt the water to make sure it was the right temperature. He sprinkled some bath salts and the bubble bath liquid he got from the general store in town. It smelt nice; no wonder women liked this sort of thing, he mused. The lady at the Howick Hills general store assured him he would not go wrong with rose petals and bath salts. The scented candles were supposed to improve a person’s mood and Storm hoped they would do wonders for Victoria.
  • 36. “Ahhh…this is nice!” Victoria sighed almost happily. She dropped her tired body into the hot foamy bathtub. Maybe when she was done here she should go to him and apologize. He was really trying hard to make things okay between them. But a red rose and a bubble bath would not fix the innumerable issues between them, and if he believed that, then he was seriously delusional. But still, this was nice. She could not remember the last time someone gave her a rose, left her a love note, and ran her a bubble bath all in one day!
  • 37. “You’ll beg her for forgiveness and you’ll tell her you love her until she believes you.” Storm went over Hugo's and Drakes’ advice as he mixed ingredients for the omelet he was making for breakfast. He had called his brother and cousins while he was out grocery shopping to let them know he and Victoria were not coming to Twikki Island. Their advice seemed simple enough…how hard could it be to convince someone you love her?
  • 38. For the first time, Victoria noticed the rose petals on the floor around the bathtub and she saw the scented candles. Wow, Storm had really outdone himself. Rose petals and scented candles? She had never taken him for the romantic type. He was always broody and distant. Even when they cohabited for three weeks, he had never done anything remotely romantic for her. His gifts were always practical, like buying her an easel so she could paint, or installing the alarm system at her apartment after Julian almost killed her. He always gave bits and pieces of himself and she had to piece everything together to make a whole, or something resembling a whole. He never gave himself to her completely and most of the time she felt like an outsider looking in, but she loved him anyway, hoping her love was enough for both of them, but in the end, it had proven not to be and she left for Little Creek.
  • 39. He was not the romantic or emotional type. He was always the pragmatic, logical and clinical one at work. His job demanded that of him. He could not afford to get caught up in emotions because then a lot of people who depended on him got hurt. So his coldness, logic and pragmatic ways filtered to his personal relationships; until he met Victoria. She made him feel things he had never felt before and it scared him. “Crap!” He swore furiously when he saw he had burned the omelet. “Oh well, let’s hope she’s too hungry to even taste it’s burnt.”
  • 40. The tension from earlier did not suddenly disappear like they both hoped it would. Feelings of rage, anger, and betrayal came off Victoria in dizzying waves. Remorse, guilt, and sadness emanated from Storm. The dangerous combination of their emotions mixing and infusing with each other created a stifling cloud of tension that silently, unobtrusively enveloped them. “How’s the omelet?” Storm asked, trying to break the ice.
  • 41. “Burnt,” Victoria mumbled. Their gaze caught and held for a long spell, and then with a look of bewilderment on her makeup-less face, she averted her eyes from him. “I was hoping you wouldn’t taste that,” Storm joked, a small dimple appearing briefly on his left cheek. Victoria’s heart somersaulted a little. “It’s hard not taste it…just like it’s hard not to taste your betrayal. It’s left a sour taste in my mouth!” Victoria wailed closing the small window of hope Storm had managed to pry open moments before.
  • 42. It was almost 3 pm now and both of them had done a good job of avoiding each other for the most part of the day after Victoria’s outburst. She stood gazing into the river running behind the cottage. It looked so peaceful and serene and she wished that for herself. She was drained and she just wanted to go back to the beginning.
  • 43. Every story has a beginning, middle and an end. Their beginning was rocky, their middle was disastrous and now their ending was downright tragic. Weren’t there happy endings in the world anymore? When would she get her happy ending? She felt him come up softly behind her long before she heard him. Her back instinctively arched defensively.
  • 44. “Victoria, please talk to me. Don’t shut me out. That’s why we came here, so we could talk,” Storm pleaded sadly, coming closer to her. He saw the sudden change in her body language and wondered why she felt threatened every time he came close to her. “What do you want Storm?” She asked coldly. “You!” he replied simply. He wanted her, no one else.
  • 45. “Funny, you had me but that was not enough was it?” She wailed helplessly. She could feel tears threatening to spill from her eyes and she took a deep breath to push them back. She did not want to cry and appear weak. “Stop it. Stop saying that. You are enough for me. You always were. I was just too stupid to realize it,” he growled furiously. He did not know who he was furious with; Victoria for doubting her own worth or himself for creating that doubt in her.
  • 46. “If I was enough for you, you would not have slept with her. Remember in Belladonna Cove, you told me you’d wait for me; you’d give me all the time in the world? What happened? What changed?” she fired back. “I…I made a mistake and I’m sorry. Please forgive me. It was once and once only. It meant nothing to me,” Storm roared, surprised at the amount of grief he felt in his heart.
  • 47. “You gave a part of yourself to her. How can I forget that? How can I forgive that? I never thought of sleeping with anyone else because it was only you in my heart. How could you?” She screamed at him, a look of horror and disgust on her face. Storm flinched visibly from her and felt like he had been punched in his stomach. He disgusted her? “I’m sorry. I’ll spend the rest of my life making it up to you. Please, just say you’ll forgive me,” he tried again, his voice sounding weaker. He was not so sure now that he could win this battle. “No…I can’t!” Victoria cried, her voice ringing with a finality that shook Storm out of his depressed state.
  • 48. “You can’t or you won’t?” He roared at her. He was getting tired of being the bad guy. “I didn’t cheat on you Victoria. We were not together anymore. You left remember? After I begged you to stay, you still left! I asked you to marry me and you said no. You told me to move on with my life and you’d do the same. I didn’t move on! I waited for you all those months, until that one night, and that was a mistake!” “So it’s my fault now?” She asked incredulously.
  • 49. “If you’d stayed home and handled your business, none of this would have happened,” Storm retorted angrily. He felt both of them moving in different directions and he hated himself for tearing them apart. “I thought you understood. I explained to you why I had to go…I wasn’t good for anyone then. My parents died, our relationship fell apart, and I needed time to figure things out. I thought you understood,” she repeated over and over again. “I understood. But it didn’t lessen the feelings of loss. I felt like you were giving up on us; just like you are right now,” He told her sadly.
  • 50. “Don’t blame me for your indiscretion Storm,” Victoria yelled. “You can stand there and look at me with disgust, but that’s fine. At least I’m not a coward!” He seethed, his blue eyes shooting spurts of rage at her. “What is that supposed to mean?” She asked icily.
  • 51. “It means you are so afraid to open up your heart to someone because you always expect the worst from them. I’ve hurt you in the past and I’m trying to change that. But I can’t if you won’t meet me halfway. We all love you very much and if you have to be angry at anyone, it’s me. But don’t go acting like the whole world owes you because it owes you nothing. People get hurt all the time and they move on. Stop running and start living!” Storm mumbled, feeling weary and beaten.
  • 52. “That’s so rich coming from you!” Victoria fired back. “You are spoilt and self centered! It’s always about you, isn’t it, Victoria? Poor me, I was kidnapped, I lost my baby, my parents died and my on again-off again boyfriend cheated on me...Boo hoo. Grow up! Did you ever think how all this mess has affected me? Did you ever think that I almost died when you wouldn’t wake up from that coma? How it killed me when I found out you lost our baby, the same baby you forgot to tell me about? Did you ever think how your sadness and grief became mine when you lost your parents, because we are one? I am you and you are me!” Storm bellowed.
  • 53. Betrayal is an ugly monster. It has no shape but if it did, it would take on the form of the boogeyman. It has no color but it leaves dark emotions in its trail. It has no smell, but leaves a bitter taste in one’s mouth. It’s always there, lurking in the shadows, waiting in the darkness, hoping for moments of weakness and alienation; when the timing is perfect; when we feel vulnerable, it strikes and poisons everything in its wake. Betrayal, right now, stood between Victoria and Storm. She felt he had betrayed her for sleeping with someone else and lying to her. He felt betrayed when she walked out of his life and gave up on their relationship.
  • 54. “I…I’m…sorry…I didn’t realize,” she replied, but Storm silenced her with his hand. “You know what, Victoria, we’re done here! I was ready to fight for us with everything in me. I thought I had enough love for both us in me…and I do, but I’m just not sure if it’s worth anything right now when you are always so quick to give up on us,” Storm thundered one last time before he turned on his heels and walked away. “Don’t walk away from me. We’re not done here!” She screamed after him. “Where are you going?”
  • 55. “I don’t know and I don’t care, but anywhere away from you is a start!” Storm yelled back, not turning to look at her. “Please don’t go…come back here. Let’s talk about this…” Victoria sobbed loudly. It killed him to hear her sobs, and it took every ounce of his willpower not to go back and take her in his arms.
  • 56. She was sleeping on the couch when he finally came home. Her face was smudged with tears and she kept sighing sadly in her sleep. He knelt in front of her and watched her. She looked so peaceful when she slept, which made it hard to believe what a hell raiser she was when she was awake. He felt bad because of their fight earlier and he decided during his walk that he would take her to Twikki Island that afternoon. There was no point in staying if they could not work things out.
  • 57. “Sweetheart…Wake up. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you cry. I love you so much and I’m scared of losing you,” he whispered, still kneeling in front of her. She was deep in sleep and now seemed like the perfect moment to pour his heart out to her. He knew she would not hear him, but it did not matter. He just wanted to say all the things he could not earlier.
  • 58. He sat down on the couch next to her and started talking. “When Julian took you, and we found out you were pregnant, I would have traded places with you in a heartbeat. It destroyed me to watch him abuse you and I promised myself I would kill him the first chance I got. I didn’t think I loved you then, but now I know I did. I think I loved you from the moment I saw you. But I pushed you away because my feelings scared me and I knew I’m not good at relationships…But you…you make me want to try to be a better person. You make me want to give this relationship thing a chance,” He spoke softly and Victoria sighed in her sleep, as if prodding him to continue.
  • 59. “I’ve realized I’m not good at a lot of things…I’m not good at being on my own. I get into a whole lot of trouble when you are not around and I need you in my life to keep me focused. If I could go back to the very beginning, I would do so many things differently, starting with telling you how much you mean to me…”
  • 60. “Storm…what’s going on?” Victoria suddenly opened her eyes and sat up, stretching and yawning. She was so exhausted. Her tummy felt funny, like it was bloated and swollen. And she just wanted to sleep. Wordlessly, Storm stood up from his position on the couch and closed the windows. It was getting chilly and dark outside, and it looked like a storm was on the way. He went over to the fireplace and started making the fire.
  • 61. “Did I fall asleep?” She asked him, kneading the back of her neck gently. Her body felt stiff. “For a little while,” he replied, staring into the fire. His head was almost touching her knee. He looked so devilishly sexy in that position on the floor, and Victoria had a sudden urge to run her fingers through his hair.
  • 62. He moved from the floor back to his place on the couch, not bothering to cover the distance between them. “You should go pack. I’ll take you to Twikki Island,” he murmured, looking straight ahead. “But…I thought…I don’t want to go,” Victoria cried helplessly and jumped on his lap.
  • 63. “I’m not good on my own either, you know,” She whispered, drowning in his eyes and letting him know she heard everything he said earlier. “So you were listening?” He asked softly. Her close proximity made him feel lightheaded. He smelt her hair and thought of Vanilla and Strawberries.
  • 64. “Yep!” She answered, a small smile forming on her lips. “Why didn’t you say anything?” He inquired, all the while staring at her lips. He just had to bend his head a little and he would put an end to this torture. “Because I like hearing you talk,” she said sweetly.
  • 65. “I don’t want to talk anymore…” He whispered hoarsely. “Me neither,” she whispered back against his lips. He growled softly and he felt tears fall from his eyes. She confused him so much. One minute she wanted him, and the next she did not. Angrily, he pushed her away. “What’s wrong?” she asked, bewildered by his sudden rage.
  • 66. “I can’t do this anymore, Victoria. I can’t keep playing mind games with you. Either we move on and forget about this whole mess with Bree or we both walk away. I can’t have you going hot and cold on me,” He raged at her. “I know…I’m sorry. No more games Storm. I love you, and I want us to start over!” She promised. “No more games?” He asked again for confirmation, all the while pushing her against the cushions on the couch. “No more games,” She reiterated her promise breathlessly, wishing he would stop talking and kiss her.
  • 67. Silently they peeled off each other’s clothes and made love in front of the fireplace. By now, it was raining hard and the wind howled loudly outside, discarding everything in its path. All sound was blocked off, except the sounds of their beating hearts. The world outside was forgotten for the remainder of their evening as they explored and found each other again. She had found her way back to him and they were okay. The worst was over!
  • 68. Day 04 Victoria gulped and hoped she was not loud as she ogled Storm’s chest. She tingled all over at the memory of their love making last night. She yearned to reach out and touch him. He looked up at her and smiled devilishly, as if reading her mind. “Can I help with anything?” She asked, steering her thoughts in a neutral direction. He was making breakfast and she hated feeling useless. He looked ruggedly gorgeous with his disheveled hair and stubble.
  • 69. “You can make coffee if you want,” Storm smiled up at her. He, too, was thinking about last night. He could not remember how many times they made love, but each time it felt better and better, and he was left wanting more. He wondered if his passion for her would ever fade. He hoped it would not. They also talked some last night without screaming at each other. They still had a long way to go, but at least they were both on the same page about what they wanted. They wanted to make their relationship work and they would give it everything they had.
  • 70. “Do you always have breakfast half naked?” She asked, echoing the same words he had uttered to her about eleven months ago at Kendra and Dean’s house when she showed up for breakfast in her bikini. “Do I intimidate you Victoria?” He drawled roguishly.
  • 71. “Not at all…It’s not like you’re showing anything I haven’t seen before,” she lied. Of course he intimidated her. He made her forget about food and think of other things. “I can go get dressed if you want,” he suggested, trailing a path on her body with his eyes. “That’s okay…I love this view way better,” she smiled impishly. Storm stood up to go fetch something in the bedroom.
  • 72. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to give you…ever since you moved in with me when you left the hospital, but it was never the right time,” he told her when he came back and took his seat next to her. “Oh?” She asked, suddenly scared. He put a small black jewelry box on the table and pushed it towards her.
  • 73. “Storm…what’s this?” She asked, her voice rising a little. “It’s an engagement ring, open it!” He answered. “I…what are you saying Storm?” She asked again, unable to process the past five minutes. “I’ve asked you before, without the ring but I’m asking you again…Victoria, will you marry me?”