Nobody’s Baby But Mine
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The March rain pelting the kitchen windows made Rachel think of tears. And there were indeed tears in her eyes as she told JT that their best friends’ marriage was over. The inseparable love birds, Tina and Andy, were the last couple they thought would lose in the marriage roulette. Rachel had also thought that their two young children were another unbreakable bond.
Her husband frowned as he looked up from his poached salmon and asparagus laden plate. “I didn’t even know they were having problems.”
Her temples throbbed. She had been too self-absorbed with her own life and yearning for a baby that she hadn’t noticed any signs or cracks in Tina’s marriage.
Some friend you are, Rachel.
“He was having an affair with a friend of theirs since Justin was born. Tina didn’t suspect a thing…It’s so sad how everything can change so suddenly. Why would a man jeopardize his whole family life like that?”
How fragile life and relationships seemed.
Nervous for all marriages she thanked God for her own strong bond with JT. Despite their issues of unexplained infertility, their marriage was blessed even after seven-and-a-half years.
“I’m sorry to hear this. I’m shocked…but maybe he wasn’t getting what he needed from her—”
“What? Tina’s been a great wife and very patient with him all these years.” She felt her anger rise thinking of Tina’s meddling mother-in-law—so much like her own—and Andy’s fledgling music production business, which had ostensibly kept him away from home for days at a time. “It’s disgusting what he’s done.”
“I agree, but no one knows what really goes on behind closed doors.” He sighed, “But there’s never any excuse to screw up a marriage.”
Rachel shook her head. “No, and especially with Emily and Justin….” How would Tina manage with her five-year-old daughter and almost three-year-old son on her own?
He shook his head. “He’s a fool. I’m disappointed for them all.” He glanced at her, his fork half way to his lips, “Don’t worry, Rachel, I know how much you care for her. All you can do is be there for them.” He then put a salmon morsel in his mouth.
“Communication is the most important thing in any marriage, right?”
She felt JT’s eyes bore into hers as he watched her across the narrow mahogany kitchen table. Putting down his cutlery he reached for her hand nearest to him. She adored that sparkle in his gunmetal-grey eyes and that slow smile.
“We’re not like the rest, to do anything stupid and ruin everything.” With a quirked brow his thumb massaged the top of her hand.
Her heart skittered at JT’s deep knowing expression the way it had when they met at a mutual friend’s wedding in London nine-and-a-half years ago. He seemed to always know how to brighten her moods, make her smile, feel safe and whole.
He kept her grounded, focussing on what mattered most; them: them, together.
Rachel would concentrate on her part-time job with Gareth Robinson-Brown’s real estate agency and not drive herself crazy about why she was still not pregnant after five years of trying. She remembered JT’s wise words after their last specialist appointment a couple of months ago to stay patient and positive and not let anyone stress her out. That was why she had given up running her own team in a Central London agency three years ago.
Neither did she get too involved in her younger sister’s private life. Emotionally supporting the twenty-five year-old Abby without getting sucked into the turmoil of her sister’s love life was proving wise and healthier for both sisters. She pushed aside the uneasiness she had felt seven months ago when she had met Rick, the new boyfriend. Abby had seemed happy with a bright ‘I’m in love’ smile at her trendy restaurant in Islington, but the phone calls had petered out over the last couple of months. Rachel resolved to call and see how she was doing.
In the meantime, she would be truly present for Tina. She took in a breath and slowly exhaled and felt a smile play on her lips. “I know you’d never dare stray, because I’d just have to kill you.” She threw him an arch look.
JT grinned. “I’d never want to be with another woman but you, and you know it. And it can work both ways. I’d strangle any guy who even looks at you in that way.” His eyes darkened, his passionate lips thinning into a resolute line on that handsome rugged face, making her smile broaden. “Like your old boyfriend we bumped into… where was that? The French restaurant soon after we met.”
“Brandon.” Her pulse raced for a few seconds and then settled. “It was our second date.”
“Ah, so you still remember the name of that pretty-boy, no-good gigolo.” The twinkling glint in his eyes was warm and inviting. “You’ll have to make up for that, wench.”
“I truly love you, JT. How did I get so lucky?”
He smiled again. “You’re going in the right direction.” He let go of her hand for the moment it took to push his chair back and come and stand beside her. Holding both her hands he raised her left one to his lips. His touch was always simultaneously calming and arousing. He leaned towards her. “Am I reading those sexy brown eyes right? There’s more than one choice for dessert to make up for…”
She licked the corner of her lower lip while he stared at her mouth as if it was a luscious strawberry, his favourite fruit. Especially when served with melted semi-sweet dark chocolate.
“Devil’s food cake and chocolate dipped strawberries.”
His lips slowly gravitated towards her mouth.
Even after all these years together, Sundays were their full day and night for each other and no one else. Their routine became a variation of sharing a long shower or an indulgent hot soak in the tub before dinner.
Before long they lay in each other’s arms against the soft cushions on the large Persian rug. The large fire in the regal fireplace shed heat and golden light over their naked skin and the plush cream throw. The intermittent crackling of the flames accompanied Nora Jones in the background. The light banter between them changed as JT gently placed Rachel’s empty wine glass on the sofa table beside the plate with the single remaining chocolate-dipped strawberry.
He leaned closer. “I’ll make you forget everything and everyone tonight.” JT murmured low, nuzzling his lips against her ear and migrating to her other sensitive erogenous zones. Almost purring, she lay back welcoming his explorations. Her arms encompassed his broad shoulders. She closed her eyes and counted her lucky stars. Everything would work out, even filling the nursery with their gorgeous, healthy baby. Pushing the thought out by letting the languid feelings of their intimacy flood her mind, she gave herself over completely to the bliss.
“I’ll always adore you.” He groaned, inhaling into her throat. Her pulse and heart beats quickened as he explored her skin and his lips hovered so close to hers. “Don’t ever doubt it.”
“I know. I—I love you, too.” Shivers of anticipation made her voice shake. Then they were kissing, hungry and sated at the same time. As always, his touch and sure kisses covering her tingling skin melted her insides.
Lightly, her shaking fingertips traced a butterfly-light line from his neck to his shoulders. His hard biceps stiffened at her caress. She loved his strong physique. Running impatient fingers through his thick silky hair she directed his head lower and kissed him deeper. She was home, warm and stimulated, marvelling how neither tired of making love with each other despite their pressures. His work and her constant hopes for a baby.
Almost of their own volition, her hands roved down his straining back muscles, as her legs tightened around his taut buttocks and hips to meld even closer into each other.
Everything outside their circle vanished. Well, almost everything.
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