The first sign of weakness was her gratitude. Charlie never imagined that she’d come to feel such a thing for a man who’d done so much to her family, a man who had played a part in the death of her father and her brother. She still blamed him on occasion, especially during those times when she felt she was allowing him to take too many liberties with her.
Her gratitude was unspoken, never did she utter those two words to him. It was just a feeling of gratefulness for everything he did, for all the times he went out of his way to help her with measly chores, the way he always seemed to know when something was wrong with her, even for that last sip of whiskey he’d offer her after a long day of fighting. It wasn’t long before Charlie came to the realization that she only had one constant in her life. Him. He’d always been there for her, every time she needed him.
It must have been pride and arrogance that kept her from saying or displaying much more than just a reaffirming nod to his favors. But she felt that telling him how thankful she was would mean he had won and she had lost. After some time, Charlie didn’t even know what she meant by that or why she felt that way. All she knew was that she constantly found herself becoming immersed in his charm, laughing at his stupid jokes and developing a relationship that many would consider risky.
It was during that time that she had him on a roller coaster ride of uncertainty. Her mood swings ranged from sweet to indifferent and sometimes to just plain rude. Bass however, was understanding. Perhaps he knew why she’d been behaving with him that way and he sensed Charlie’s inner turmoil and persistent need to stay true to herself. In her mind, admitting that Bass meant anything to her also meant she was losing a part of herself. Getting too close seemed out of the question. It was like she had an invisible chain that yanked her back just enough to not let her fall into the abyss that was Bass Monroe.
He waited, waited until the day Charlie no longer felt she had to hide herself from him. She was good at self-discipline and deprecation but he was a patient man. He’d figured out what he wanted long ago, she was the one who had some catching up to do.
The cold winds of November arrived, marking six months of evolving desire and attraction. Charlie’s faltering had become routine—a smile, a bite of the lip, the longing stares when she thought he wasn’t looking. He’d extended plenty of invitations but anything sounding even remotely romantic was shot down immediately.
It continued like that for some time.
Except for one night, when they were sitting atop the roof of the farmhouse after everyone inside had already fallen asleep. Charlie couldn’t remember how she’d gotten there but she had let herself be persuaded. Bass had once again succeeded in breaking through the wall she’d put up. Little did he know, that had been the last remaining layer of her invisible shield.
Warm breath swirled in the night air, the twinkling light of a million stars spread across the dark sky, and only the gleam of the waxing moon illuminated over them. Charlie put her hands behind her head and leaned back against the hard surface of the roof. Bass watched her in silence at first, becoming engrossed by her beauty, taking in every inch of her body, his eyes trailing over tempting curves. He loved the way her shirt rode up her navel, exposing the milky skin of her firm stomach. He was so entranced that he didn’t notice she’d been paying attention to him too.
He cleared his throat, looking into the distance and seeing nothing but a pitch black wall where the fields had been.
“Do you ever get sick of fighting?” She sounded defeated, like she’d just surrendered waving a white flag at her enemy.
Bass looked at her perplexed. “Considering we haven’t fought much in the last four months, that question’s a bit of a outdated don’t you think?” He had an eyebrow raised, his eyes an opaque blue that still managed to pierce right through her.
Charlie felt a flutter in her heart, one that would be considered abnormal had she not known the cause. She opened her mouth as if to say something but no sound came out, instead she gave him a half smile and went back to admiring the night sky.
His eyes remained trained on her, eyebrows slightly furrowed, mouth pressed into a line in a pensive manner. Leaning forward to hug his knees, he pushed for an answer. “Come on Charlie, I know you.” She looked at him then, feeling like her stomach was doing flips. “You want to tell me what you meant by that?” He smiled, obliterating any kind of barrier she was thinking of putting up.
Charlie’s heart was racing. “I don’t know if I can,” she said hesitantly.
He smiled wide this time, his eyes crinkling at the corners. She hated when he did that because every time he did, her body reverberated in unexplained ways and her heart skipped beat after beat, like she was getting shocked by a live wire.
Bass looked at her with wonder, inadvertently licking his lips as he waited for her to divulge the truth. Charlie covered her eyes with both hands, “I can’t do this.” She said, pushing herself up to a seated position.
His hand rested over hers, sending a very pleasing shiver up her arm. “I’m not gonna let you leave until you tell me.” The low hush of his voice was magnetic.
She huffed, “Do you enjoy this? Seeing me struggle with this?” Her questions didn’t faze him in the very least. “You already know, don’t you?” Bass nodded, his expression relaxed and his eyes searching hers for reaffirmation. “I’m–” Charlie began, her voice trembling like she was admitting to a terrible deed. “It’s always been you, Bass. You’ve been the one who’s protected me and defended me, sometimes even from my own family. You’ve always backed me up, and I have to admit that you’re a hell of a fighting partner.”
Bass was silent, his own heart starting to speed up at the thought of other admissions that might come to light.
“But I’ve always kept myself from telling you how much I appreciate what you do for me.” She gulped, “Because I’ve always thought of it as somehow betraying those I’ve already lost and because I’m afraid of what you’ll think if I admit that I am thankful for everything you’ve done.”
He inched closer to her, feeling an increasing need to take her in his arms. “And what exactly are you afraid I’ll think?”
Bass was so close she could smell his scent. It was like adding fuel to an already raging fire. “That me being indebted to you means you have some kind of claim over me.” Charlie’s center was pulsing. Her own words were betraying her. She realized that wanting him for herself was no different than what she’d just admitted to fretting.
He laughed. “Don’t be an idiot, Charlie. For one, you are not indebted to me in any way. And two,” Bass paused, his lips getting dangerously close to hers. “I would never stake claim on you. I prefer you make that decision willingly.”
Charlie felt short of breath, her mind foggy, intoxicated by his words. She cocked her head lightly to the side, cautiously pressing her mouth into his lips. Her kisses were tentative, like a feline exploring new territory for the first time. Bass let her do as she pleased, allowing her to take her time, until she was ready to go further.
She kissed him atop that moonlit roof, her needs becoming more feral with each nip and touch. She reclined back again, Bass’s mouth moving over her jawline and his hand traveling up her leg until it settled on her rib cage. She intertwined one leg between his and wrapped the other one over his thigh, moving in a way that would give her center some gratification.
Charlie couldn’t resist. She skillfully slid her hand over his stomach, reaching lower below his belt until she had him cupped over his jeans. They were both breathing heavy, bodies heated and hearts accelerated. She could feel him growing beneath her hand, the thought of him naked and hard for her only increased the dampness and the ache between her legs.
Her body was abuzz, the feel of his lips trailing over her neck and over her chest never being satisfying enough. Charlie knew she wanted so much more.
“Do you want to go inside?” Her question had an additional undertone.
Bass needed to feel her, to be inside her, to show her how much he meant to him. “I want nothing more.” He replied.
They walked through the dark hallway of the home as quietly as they could, their wandering hands unable to stay restrained as they made their way to his room. Bass cracked the door open, pecking her lips as a way to assure her that his intentions were good. “You ready?”
Charlie smiled, “Yes. I want nothing more.” She echoed his words.
Bass led her inside, taking a hold of her face with both hands and kissing her with the most devoted passion he’d ever shown anyone. When they parted, Charlie took the liberty of slipping off his jacket, eager to undress him herself.
He took great pleasure in the way she peeled off his clothes, the gentle touch of her fingertips as she pulled off his shirt made him shiver.
“I’ve thought about this, the way you would feel under my fingertips,” she touched his hard chest, “The taste of your skin on my tongue,” she kissed him, teasingly licking a nipple as her hands busied themselves with his belt.
Bass kicked off his boots, stepping on the toes of his socks and taking them off as well. Charlie smiled, biting her lip the moment his pants and underwear came off. He was magnificently gifted and impossibly hard. Her hand wrapped around his length, the look of delight on his face making her center burn with desire.
“I think it’s your turn now,” he said between paused breaths.
Charlie took off her jacket and shoes, letting him take care of the rest. She stretched her hands above her head as her shirt left her body. Bass kissed her, snapping off her bra and marveling at her breasts before going in for a taste. She tried muffling her moans but his heated mouth felt too good and the way he sucked and licked her pebbled nipples was close to orgasmic.
He fell to his knees, slowly pulling down her remaining clothes. Charlie stepped out of her jeans and moved them aside with her foot. Bass looked up at her, like he was worshiping at the altar of a goddess. Grasping her ass with his hands, he kissed her mound in a teasing manner before gently licking her slit. Charlie whimpered. He delved his tongue between her folds, sucking lightly at her point of pleasure and licking a few more times before coming back to his feet.
Charlie had been close to the edge, her body temperature had risen and her cheeks had become flushed. She took his hand, pulling him to the bed as she sat on it and backed herself up towards the headboard. Bass joined her, spreading her open like a blooming flower. He settled between her legs, his cock eager to enter her. They kissed, tongues engaging in a fiery spar as his tip slowly made its way through her opening.
Her body writhed when he filled her up completely. Their bodies moved in sync, lips pressed against warm skin, hands forming invisible trails on their naked bodies. Bass made sure she knew that everything he’d done had not been with that end in mind.
He’d done it because he loved her.
The minutes passed, gratified moans and words of appreciation leaving each other’s lips. When Charlie had reached her climax for the third time, she failed to keep quiet, but the carefree feeling that Bass instilled in her left her without worry.
He pumped into her, positioning her in ways that gave her unimaginable pleasure. Their bodies had perspired, she was slightly sticky and hot as he held on to her hips. Raising her leg higher up, Charlie reached her final climax. And a few seconds later, Bass was also at the point of completion.
Charlie rested flat on her stomach, studying the lines of his face and finally breathing calmly. “Thank you,” she said followed by a smile.
Bass returned the gesture, “For what, the sex?”
She laughed, “No. Thank you for being patient with me.”
He kissed her then, “The only thing you have to be thankful for is my ability to recover so quickly.” Crashing his lips into hers, he rolled her over and climbed on top of her.
Charlie squirmed, “You’re just the gift that keeps on giving, aren’t you?”
Bass nodded, “Are you ready to receive?”
“I’d be more than happy.” Charlie said, pulling him in for another kiss.