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Chapter 4 – Michonne
"What took you so long?" I ask, raising my arms above my head and lengthening my legs in a lethargic attempt to enjoy the stretch of my worn out limbs, and the cool graze of the sheets over my heated body.
"A little problem."
"I think we overshot my ability to keep quiet and not wake the boys. Well Carl anyway." Leaning over me, he places a water bottle on the nightstand within my reach, and gives me a wink and a fleetingly quick peck of his plush lips to my own, accompanied by a brush of his bristly beard and mustache.
"Hm." I utter, then turn my head to admire his well-toned, muscled body sauntering back to the other side of the bed. His boxers are hanging low across his hips, flirting dangerously close to exposing the full expanse of his dark pubic hair hinted at by a dusting that begins on the wide planes of his chest, and down his abs, forming a happy trail towards one of my favorite parts of him. One of many it seems.
"Good plan though."
"It was a great plan." I agree, hoping the subtle whisper of my voice doesn't betray my growing fondness for his body, or that my anxiety is fostering a secret internal freak-out trying to figure all of the scenarios for how him getting busted downstairs must have played out, and what Carl might tell Andre. Seemingly unbothered by what occurred, and what it might set in motion, Rick removes his boxers and eases back into the bed, and under the covers, pushing his warm body into mine. With his chest flush against my back, he throws his arm and leg over me, effectively cocooning me in his hold. Immediately his actions relax my brain's frantic racing, and I settle in after a few kisses to my neck, his beard again lightly tickling my sensitive skin. Shivering at the sensation, I have to admit that I unexpectedly love the arousing feel of it skimming over my various body parts, having always assumed it would be an itchy experience. The reality is quite the contrary, and I huddle back into him, nestling my ass cozily into the dip of his groin.
Mike would never grow a beard, noting that it was not a professional look, and preferred to remain clean shaven at all times. Even Aaron seems to prefer keeping his own scruff at bay, despite how handsome Eric and I have expressed that it is on him.
"We might want to figure out what we are going to officially tell them about us though. Carl will be fine, but you might need to talk to Andre."
"A suspicion I have that he thinks you and your ex might have a shot at getting back together."
"Not in this lifetime we don't. But, yeah you're right. I had a little chat with him the other night about that. Maybe his dad should talk to him as well. I don't know what else I could say to convince him that it's not going to happen."
"Maybe he should. It might help, a man to man thing, ya know. If you don't mind me asking, what is it that makes him think it's possible? Was your divorce amicable?"
"I guess it's because Mike and I…we were good until we weren't. Does that make sense?"
Wiggling from the restriction of his hug, I maneuver my body around so that I am facing him, and can see his face as I attempt to explain in as few words as possible, the most difficult time of my life to this man, who is by all accounts still a stranger. As I turn, our heads sharing the same pillow, I'm struck by how reminiscent this is of the way Mike and I used to be in bed together, in the time before things began to irreparably fall apart. After making love, we would just rest together, sharing whatever silly or serious thing that came to our minds. And we would laugh, and smile, touch, kiss some more, often falling back into each other's arms for more love making, even though the evidence from our last round was still sticky on my thighs.
The memory of those happy times flashes, and a sharp pang of loss and sadness is followed by the warm glow of the remembrance of how good things were with us. How much I loved Mike. Love him still. It's so jarring that I forget to school my tongue and I easily confess to the truth.
"I still love him."
"You still love your ex-husband?" Rick asks, his voice elevated with alarm. No longer languid and loose, he raises his head from the pillow, his thick greying eyebrows lifted high on his forehead.
"I do. Andre knows that. It would be impossible for him not to. People discount kids all the time because of their age, but they watch, listen, they understand what's going on. They may not have the context or life experience to really figure out the entirety of a situation, but they get it. Andre has such good intuition about people. I know he can tell that if his father didn't want out of our marriage, we would still be together, because I never stopped loving him. It doesn't burn as bright, fierce, or desperate as it once did, but yeah. Andre also knows that his father has caused me a great deal of pain because of that, and he wants me to be happy, and to protect me at the same time. I think that's why he gave you my phone number. He's fighting with a lot of warring emotions, and I don't fault him for that. It's a huge emotional burden for a young man. But, I want him to have the space and the freedom to come to his own conclusions on this. It's only been a year, so I don't push him. I've barely pushed myself. Don't you still love your ex? I know you weren't in love with her, but you must still have love between you."
"No. No, I don't. She gave me Carl, I love her for that. But that's it. I'm not exactly sure why your marriage ended, but mine was over before I found my wife with another man."
"Oh. As far as I know there was no one else between Mike and I. He just gave up on us. In his mind we were supposed to be this big family, with tons of kids, just like his folks. And I think when we couldn't be the family his parents and siblings expected, he gave up. I didn't, not willfully. Mike pushed me aside to go find what he felt like he was missing. He stopped loving me, not the other way around."
"You continue to surprise me, Michonne. Again, I don't know exactly how to respond to that. Seems to be a pattern between us doesn't it?" He chuckles, seemingly relaxing a little as he rests his head on his upturned palm, his elbow pitching into the pillow. Uncertainty is still obvious in the sharp angles of his furrowed brow, and the dark flash of his blue eyes, like a sparkling sapphire, and I know my answer doesn't entirely sit well with him. He's wrestling with my confession, how it pushes against my obvious physical and budding emotional attraction, attachment, to him.
My admission regarding my continued love for Mike is the truth though, as ridiculous as it sounds, and me vocalizing it to Rick comes from the part of me that wants to save this beautiful man from the discontent he is certain to find in my arms. Just like Mike.
"I get that your feelings for your ex didn't just die because his did, but if he doesn't appreciate what he had, why even bother giving him the energy of your love? You're too amazing for that kind of a waste. It's enough." He scoffs, fresh agitation in his words as he drops his head heavily on to our shared pillow, a dismissive wave of his hand slicing through the air across his throat. And in this moment, as he defends me from my ex's dismissal and my own unresolved feelings, I feel myself descending further under his commanding spell. With his piercing eyes challenging and pinning me in their stare, daring me to disagree, I lick my dry lips, and take a deep breath, stilling myself against the dizzying effects of him. Of Rick.
Needing to respond to this emboldened connection between us, the authoritative certainty of his words, the seductive beauty of his face, I swallow down the lump forming in my throat. What did Whoopi say to Demi Moore in Ghost? Girl, you in trouble? That's me. Rick Grimes is getting me into a lot of trouble, and despite the fact that I am keenly aware of this, and how detrimental this attraction could be for my limping self-confidence, and his wide open emotions, my body is already growing warm again. For him.
Needing him to understand and to re-focus my desires away from how alive and desirable this man makes me feel, I try to get back on track with our conversation, though I find myself still squirming under his gaze. "It all feels so complicated in my head, Rick, I know it's even worse for Andre. He and his dad are very close. But he knows, and he saw the tears, heard me cry. It has been rough for both of us." I utter, my voice straining and falling over the last sentence as frustrated tears begin welling in my eyes, now threatening to spill across my cheeks. "I would stop loving that man today if I could just turn it off. It's not as easy as you make it sound."
"Hey, come here. I'm sorry." He unnecessarily apologizes, and reaches his long fingers over to me, wiping away the slightest hint of wetness from the rims of my eyes. "I'm sorry that your marriage didn't work. Only because it does hurt, believe me I know. And it tears you up inside, makes you question yourself all the time. It's like a thief that invades your quiet peace and steals your joy, while tossing and tumbling everything around, leaving you a jumbled mess. I appreciate you being honest with me. That's all I ask."
"I will. I don't want to hurt you at all, Rick. I won't." I declare, and that's also the truth. I could never forgive myself for causing this sweetheart of a man even the littlest bit of pain. It may seem that my decision for us to remain friends is destined to do just that, but I know the truth. Mike and I started this same way, a kismet type of meeting that blossomed into a natural friendship, and waltzed into explosive sex and marriage. But look where we are now. Isn't the very definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome?
"I'll always be honest with you too. I promise that you don't have to be afraid of me, or of being with me. If you aren't ready for something serious right now, then I will try to be patient. We can take this as slow as you need. Just as long as you know, I'm ready. I'm not going anywhere."
"You might want to rethink that, Rick."
"Nah. I'm good right where I'm at. Can't you feel how special this can be…me and you, reordering things, our lives, together?"
"Things always start out that way don't they, Rick? Didn't your own marriage start that way? I doubt it started with a discussion about divorce."
"You're right, it didn't. It started with two very young people, still in high school. One of whom didn't really know what he was getting in a wife, and one who really wanted something completely different, but was too ready to get married to just say so. But why would I let what happened in the past stop me from trying to be happy now?"
I didn't have an answer for that question, so I didn't give him one. I didn't even try. Instead, I took the brief moment of silence between us to think about what he's saying. Maybe he's right, but I can't shake the feeling that I've been here before.
Rick must have realized that I was conflicted with how to answer him, so he made an attempt to lighten the mood. "Anyway, change of subject, what was your friend Aaron talking about you and King County? Some guy?"
"Oh, just a case I recently took that's all." I hesitate a bit, and I hope that Rick doesn't pick up on the shake in my voice as I do so. He caught me off guard by asking me about what Aaron said. At this time, I really can't talk to him about it, and honestly it's the basis for why I'm even more reluctant to attempt to pursue something real with Rick. Based off of my initial assessment of Glenn Rhee's case, I may have to depose Rick, and Shane for that matter. While neither of them were in their current positions when the events of the case took place, they may both be good witnesses that can help me gather information prior to taking this case further. I may not work cases on the regular anymore, but I do know that it might present a conflict of interest to be in a relationship with one or two of the deponents.
I have been reminding myself of this all day, ever since I got some additional background information on the King County DA's office, and the Sheriff's office from my investigator, Paul Rovia. The old DA, Gregory Jessup, was a spineless asshole who chose not to pursue criminal charges against the officer that assaulted Glenn, Spencer Monroe. Instead he noted that despite that footage from the cruiser's camera, there was not enough to move forward. Which, according to some records that Paul dug up, but that were buried by the previous Sheriff, Philip Blake, who recently passed away, is fairly common.
In this small sleepy farming town, set aside and away from the cosmopolitan hustle and bustle of Atlanta, things are not at all what they seem, and they haven't been for a long time. That's why Rick and Shane are so important for Glenn's case. Shane is important because he was the assistant DA under Jessup, and Rick because he is fondly known as the best deputy King County has ever known. Even the mayor, Spencer Monroe's mother, Deanna Monroe, who seems to pride herself on transparency, as odd as this sordid web all seems, has had only positive feedback on Rick. What were the words she used? Trustworthy. Moral. Protective of those he cares for. Always willing to do the right thing. If I'm going to get justice for my client, I think I need Rick and Shane on my side to help me unravel the lies, and get to the secrets that protected Spencer from justice.
It's a moral quandary, and all of this together means I never should have invited Rick to stay for pizza and movies. What I should have done was politely let him know that we could be friends, without the benefits, and left it at that. I didn't do that though. Nope. I saw my handsome, blue eyed, sheriff standing tall and erect on his long bowed legs, clad in a snug pair of Wranglers, and I folded. How could I not? With one leg jutted out a little in front of the other, and his hands shoved down into the pockets of his brown suede coat, chestnut curls brushed back from his face, he was the epitome of sexy. Burnished by the cool, blustery winds whipping through the air outside, his face was flushed a crimson hue across his forehead and nose, and with his eyes on me, sizing me up, setting me on fire the same way mine were doing to him, I could not resist him. And god help me, it triggered a memory of him kissing me, holding me, fucking me. Scandalous memories that would not allow me to let him walk away. I couldn't then, and I can't imagine mustering the willpower to do so now.
"What's the case about? If it's involving someone in KC I'm sure I know about it, or I know them."
"Attorney client privilege, Sheriff. I can't really share with you."
The manner in which Rick's eyes are still focused on me, always on me, giving me his full attention, indicates that he does in fact see. But also, underneath that acknowledgement is something else. As much work as we both put in to feed on each other, and satisfy the lurking urge to simply be together, he should be worn out. Exhausted. But I only see his intent glare brimming with heat and an earnest promise of forever. My heart can't handle the enticing tug of what's found there, and instead force my eyes to the curling and tugging of his lips up at the corner, the threat of a full on smile always there. The only other movements he makes are to scratch at the salt and pepper beard gracing his face, framing his soft pink lips. Inching closer to him, I crush my breasts against his chest, and my fingers take on a life of their own. The pads begin rubbing through the thick hair, nails gently scratching at his chiseled cheeks and chin.
Like my kitty Teeny does when she's curled in my lap, and I've stroked her just the way she likes, Rick drops his eyelids, drawing my attention to the dramatically long sweep of his lashes, and starts to hum. It's a satisfied rumble from the deepest register of his chest. It's guttural and erotic. It's sexy and arousing, and though he lifts his arm to offer up more of himself and pull me in closer, as if there were any room to do so, he abstains. Leaving the choice up to me as to whether or not we should forge ahead.
My heart and soul could find peaceful respite with this man. But for how long? What about when he realizes that I'm not the woman who can fulfill all of the optimistic hopes that lie unfulfilled in his hopeful heart? Would he turn away from me, leaving me to pick up the pieces on my own? I doubt it, but how can I risk even forcing him to confront such a decision? It would change him forever, and that's not fair.
I'm conflicted. This man is the living breathing example of eternity. He's a keeper. Rick is every shiny, happy, thing I ever wanted. It's only been a week, I know this. But for some reason, I can see him. The flashes of brilliant golds and yellows, emanating from his being, signifying the lionhearted truth of his protective nature, his vitality and vigor. Streaking through are the deep pinks of romance, riding along with the strong willpower and aggression of dark red. All of it just confirms my initial feeling about him, the ones that prompted me to throw caution to the wind a week ago, and follow him home.
Rick Grimes is the kind of man who would march to his own death before he hurt you. Who would charge in, heart first, to give you the world. His firm assertive words promise me this, and his aggressive command of my body confirms it. It makes me want to risk everything and follow him into the fire of the passion between us, and pray that we don't get burned. But… I remember Mike. I remember this new case, and instead of plummeting into the hearth of Rick's low rumbling hums of satisfaction, I breathe out a reluctant sigh, and withdraw and roll away.
With my back now to him, I offer into the charged air between us. "We should get some sleep. Andre wakes at 6 am every morning to meditate and do yoga with me, and then I'm sure everyone will want breakfast."
"Ok. You gonna keep running from me, and sleep over there hugging the edge of the bed all night? Or you gonna come back over here?" Rick asks, then as though he has had an epiphany of some sort he snaps his finger. "Oh wait…you like when I chase don't you, Michonne?"
"I don't know what you mean. This is the side I always sleep on, Rick." I lightly laugh, hoping that my answer assuages his rather astute observation.
"Yeah ok." He drags out in that sexy southern rasp of his, an amused tone clearly in his disbelieving voice. And before I know it his large hands are curling around my waist, almost enclosing me completely in his dominating grasp. I'm returned to his arms again, wrapped in the secure cinch of his hold, one arm lazily thrown across my breasts, his hand resting protectively just above my heart. Just like when we spent the night together at his house on New Year's Eve, his leg is thrown over mine, and his long foot strums across my own in a paced rhythm that lulls me off to the edge of sleep. But before I'm on a journey through my dreams, exploring the pleasantries of a lifetime with this man, a singular thought crosses my mind, already tiring of the mental gymnastics required to fight off his charms.
What did Whoopi say to Demi in 'Ghost'? Girl, you in trouble.
"Thanks for letting me use the shower. That rain showerhead thing is real nice."
"And the clothes. I assume they are your ex-husband's?"
"Do I want to know why you still have them?" Rick asks, leaning his hip against the kitchen counter as he fiddles with the Keurig in a futile attempt to make himself a cup of coffee.
Reaching over to help him out, I turn the coffee maker on, and wait for it to heat up, then proceed to demonstrate how to make coffee. Once his cup is ready, I look to him and provide him with a brief answer to his question. "Mike left them here the last time he visited Andre."
"He stays here when he visits? Is that a good idea, Michonne?"
"It is what it is, Rick." Turning away from him, back towards the stove, I continue to flip pancakes and fry turkey bacon. "Are you hungry?"
"Yeah, I appreciate you allowing me to stay the night, and feeding me. You've definitely worked up my appetite."
"Of course." I utter, a warm blush rising in my cheeks at his innuendo regarding his appetite.
"And other things."
"What other things might you be thinking of, Sheriff?" I question on a tease, his words providing even more of a reminder of the fun he and I had last night, and once this morning.
"Do you need a reminder? I'm happy to provide it."
Standing close behind me, the scent of the mango soap and coconut shampoo from my shower, is wafting off of his body in heated waves. As he leans into me, he places an almost chaste kiss to my cheek. But, as seems to be the norm for Rick and I, the soft peck turns more amorous when he turns me to face him and lifts my face to his. Rick begins to taste my lips, beginning on a series of slow and easy kisses, and furthering with his tongue spearing between my lips, and into my mouth. A gruff groan raises from his throat as his arm snakes around my waist, holding me tightly to his chest, hidden behind a snug fitting white t-shirt that Mike left behind.
My left hand begins a slow crawl up and over his pecs, when we are summarily interrupted by the sound of Andre and Carl barreling down the stairs and into the kitchen. Rick is reluctant to move away, but I quickly dash away from him like a scared rabbit. Throwing open the refrigerator I stand in the light of it's cool air, attempting to put a damper on my kiss swollen lips and throbbing core. Rick's doing it again, keeping me under his spell with his possessive kisses.
"Hey, Ma. Breakfast smells good." Andre compliments, finding me still standing in the open door of the refrigerator, not really looking for anything, but groaning as I look down and take notice of the transparent set of my hard nipples against my tank top.
"Is it time to eat, Ms. Anthony?" Carl asks, taking a seat at the kitchen island, an eager smile on his face.
"Yep, it is." I finally find the strength to retreat from the safety of the refrigerator door hiding me and the evidence of my reaction to Rick's kiss. Seemingly saved by the bell, I can hear my cell phone in my office down the hall ringing. "Let me go grab that. You guys go ahead and get started on breakfast. I'll be right back."
Hustling away from the eyes of the boys, and Rick, who has taken it upon himself to set the table and move the food over, I hurry down the hall. Finally, away from the perceptive snoop of my son's gaze, and Rick's fiery blues, I plop down into my office chair and slide my finger across the screen of my phone.
"Hi, Michonne, it's me Shane."
A small grimace covers my face, as I have almost completely forgotten about him, and our date tonight. Talk about bad timing.
"Hello, how are you?"
"I'm alright. Just wanted to confirm our date this evening, and give you the address to the reception hall for my friend's wedding. We're still on right?"
"Good! I'm really looking forward to getting to know you better, Michonne. You know, I've been thinking a lot about you since we met at your folks' house, and I think this thing with us could really work out."
"Sure, why not? We have a lot in common. We're both smart, good sense of humor. You're beautiful, and I ain't too bad my damn self. So, what do you think, Munchkin?"
"I told you not to call me that!"
"Right, but I do a lot of shit I'm not supposed to do. You might like that though…"
"I see that you like being a bad boy, huh?"
"I can show you better than I can tell you, Munchkin. And something tells me you will definitely like that. Listen, I gotta run, I'll see you at 5. Wear something sexy for me."
Hanging up the phone I can't help but smile at Shane's playful banter. It's not as intense as what Rick has to offer, and the carefree bark of his laughter is always unexpected and delightful. Not that Rick's isn't, but I always feel like I'm in it so deep with Rick. Shane on the other hand is like a new toy, an impish and light-hearted distraction. Before I get a chance to think about it too much, my stomach growls and I'm reminded that I have not eaten breakfast yet, and I better hurry before it's all gone. Walking back down the hall towards the kitchen, I catch the tail end of a conversation that quickly sets me on edge, and snatches away the smile my chat with Shane left on my lips.
"Your mother is an amazing cook. Those were the best banana pancakes I've ever had. She cook like this all the time?"
"She makes them every weekend, but it's usually just us. And yeah, everything she cooks is delicious."
"Well you're a lucky kid then, my mother was not as good of a cook."
"I am lucky to have her. She's an excellent mother, and she's a great woman. You're lucky that you have the pleasure to know her."
"I agree with you, Andre. Your mother is a special woman. I'm honored that she has given me the time of day. I hope you're ok with that."
"Can I be honest with you, Mr. Grimes?"
"I prefer it, Andre. And call me, Rick."
"Rick... Uh, Carl told me that you like my mother…a lot. While he's upstairs taking a shower, and my mom is taking her phone call I just wanted to let you know it's cool… Rick. She deserves to have a nice guy like you want to be friends with her. My dad put her through a tough time, and even though I would really like for them to be back together that's selfish. And…and…he doesn't deserve her. But, I get a good sense about you. That's why I gave you her phone number. You didn't seem intimidated by my Uncle Aaron being here either. I was curious to see how you would react to them being so close. My dad hated it."
"Is that right?"
"Yeah. He didn't understand why they were like that. But, when my dad left, My Uncle Aaron and me, we kept my mother together, we protect her. I think you're a good dude, Rick. I won't get in the way of you and my mom. It's cool."
"I sense a but coming here?"
"But, I will warn you-"
"Not to hurt her?"
"Well yeah, definitely not that. But also my dad, my Uncle Aaron...totally not the guys for you to be worried about."
"What does that mean?"
"It's not really my place to say, but I can tell you that you aren't the only man who sees how special my moms is. I got my money on you though, she likes you. She told me."
"Hey…may the best man win." Andre offers in parting, then passes me on his way heading away from the kitchen and up the stairs. "Oh, hey Mom. We left you some pancakes."
"I feel like I'm out with a movie star or something. You should have warned me, I'm an old man, my heart might not be able to take all of…. this." Stepping back, and using his hands to gesture up and down my form, Shane is obviously pleased with my dress choice. "Did the paparazzi follow you here, superstar?" Shane asks, an awed tone in his voice as he leans in and places a kiss on my neck. Not my cheek. My neck. The sweetness of it catches me off guard, and all I can do is jump a little, squeal at the wet softness of his lips, and…smile. It's a happy, delighted smile. But also one laced with a little guilt as I swivel my head around the reception hall, checking to see if anyone has taken notice of Shane's impromptu display of affection.
I remind myself underneath the heat of his hand around my waist, and his firm chest leaning into me…This man does not belong to me, and I do not belong to him. It's a friends with benefits mantra that Aaron and I worked out when I finally confessed some of the Rick stuff to him after he called me ten times this afternoon. When Rick left after lunch, taking Carl back with him, and dropping Andre at my parents' house, I called Aaron back, finally taking a moment to answer all of his missed calls. Apparently he has figured me out, kind of.
"So, you and Carl's father huh? You into country sheriffs now, Michonne?"
"Don't huh me. You must be forgetting that I know you better than any man on this planet, sweetheart. You are basically my common law my wife. Probably. Maybe not…but, pretty damn close. So, spill the beans before I drag myself back out into this blizzard to get the truth out of you!"
"What? Aaron you can be so damn dramatic sometimes. It's not snowing. There was some freezing rain last night, and now it's almost sixty degrees outside. How the hell does that equal a blizzard?"
"Listen, you better spill the damn beans, Michonne. Don't make me start counting."
"Aaron, can we not please?"
"Nope. 1, 2, 3…"
"Ok, damn! I hate when you start channeling Claire Huxtable!"
"Yes! Now get to it. What's going on? I could see he was giving you the serious eyefuck last night, and you little hussy, you were giving it right back. Sticking your chest out, not even wearing a bra. You knew that man was coming over. I put it all together last night while I was telling Eric about it."
"So you mean Eric put it together for you, and you're taking the credit?"
"We are married, so we are one. His conclusions are mine. Now spill!"
"You are so pushy. Geez. I met him on New Year's Eve, at that party my parents' neighbors threw. Those are his parents. And, really that's all. Andre and Carl became fast friends, so he brought him for a sleepover. The weather was bad, I let him stay over. End of story."
"No it's not. Why was he giving you the eyefuck of the gods then? Hm? No one stares at someone like that unless they have seen them naked or they want to. So, did you have sex with the sheriff, Michonne? And don't lie, I can tell when you lie."
"It's none of your business. And listen, I need to get dressed for this date with Shane."
"Oh shit. I forgot about the parental hookup. You're still gonna go out with the DA, even after probably hooking up with the sheriff? What's with you and King County?"
"I said I would. Plus, it's kinda fun, you know. Having options."
"Agreed. It's the main reason I keep you and Eric around. When my husband is getting on my nerves I just come be with my wife. It's the best threesome I've ever been apart of."
"Ew! Don't say it like that. You make it sound so dirty!"
"Whatever. You know you're the non-sexual female love of my life. Anyway, while you are trying to play the dating game, and juggle these men, you just remember that you don't belong to them, and they don't belong to you. You are an independent woman, and you can enjoy their company on your own terms. Right?"
"No, say it like you mean it!"
"Right. Good girl, call me when you get back from your date with the DA. This is getting good! You have gone from famine to feast, and I'm loving every bit of it. Good for you!"
"Hush. I'm sure you've been on plenty of dates with women in dresses before, Shane." I gush, feeling the warm glow of a blush coloring my dark skin. And if I'm being honest, I do look good. I'm wearing a knee length dress, burgundy wine colored, with a blousy vintage like top. It's sleeveless to show off my toned arms, has a v shaped neckline, giving a little boost to my C cup cleavage, and a flirty flower on the shoulder to give it a feminine touch to balance the sexy vampishness of the tight fitted skirt. In a pair of matching six-inch peep toe heels, and my dreads falling in large curls around my face, with a matching burgundy lip to boot, I think the look is everything I needed it to be for this first date, at a wedding of all places. Lady like, sexy, festive.
"None of them have ever looked as gorgeous as you do right now. Not one." He asserts, and lifts my hand to his lips to place a round of kisses to my knuckles.
"No, I'm serious. I joke a lot, but you're exquisite, Michonne. Thank you for coming to this reception with me. I would have hated to do this alone."
"You look very handsome yourself. And thanks for inviting me. I love weddings. Even when I don't know who's getting married." I joke, poking a little fun at me being here among all of these strangers. Shane included.
"Thank you. I wanted to impress you. I got the feeling you weren't too excited about my Alabama hoodie the night we met. Had to step my game up."
"Hated the hoodie, but I liked what I saw nonetheless. You simply can't account for good taste in college football teams sometimes. I didn't hold it against you. Tell me a little about the folks whose wedding I'm crashing." I ask as he maintains his hold of my hand and leads me towards the inner doors that will take us into the actual reception.
"You're not a crasher, you're my plus one. Abe is a buddy of mine, known him for years. We were deputies together for awhile, until I left for law school, and went to work in the DA's office. His wife Sasha was a fire fighter in Miami. That's where she's from. They met six months ago while he and a friend were on vacation down there, and they ran off and got married in Jamaica a few days after that. This is just the reception for us poor schmucks who didn't follow their last minute command to fly out to witness the nuptials."
"Sounds romantic. I love the idea of a destination wedding. A little spontaneous, impromptu, but the heart wants what it wants."
"I guess. I can't imagine wanting to give your life to someone else so quickly. Not completely my style, but Abe gives her whatever she wants, and he wanted her. Right then and there. When I get married, I want my queen to have the very best of everything too, so I get it. But since I probably won't ever get married I guess I don't have to worry about that."
"Why do you say that? That you probably won't ever get married." I ask, as Shane touches the small of my back to direct me to find the table we are assigned to.
"You want the honest answer, or the first date answer?"
"I just don't think monogamy is realistic. You're divorced, you should know what I'm talking about."
"I'm not divorced because of another woman, Shane. At least not that I know of."
"You never know. I think that we should be allowed to enjoy the company of who we're with, and when, or if that enjoyment runs out, then it should be ok to move on. No drama. But if it lasts, then it lasts. No drama either way."
"Wow. I guess I should have expected that. Men." I shake my head, a little disappointed at his opinion, but also relieved that spending time with him is probably not as serious as it is to spend time with Rick.
"What? You said you wanted honest. Listen, if you know where a person is coming from, who they really are and what they are capable of, then you're never disappointed. I would never want to disappoint the woman in my life. That's why I try to be honest. If you wanted to see another guy instead of me, I can't stop you. I wouldn't like it, mind you, but if I can't satisfy you on my own then that just means I need to step my game up so another guy doesn't have the chance. A little healthy competition never hurt anyone."
"You say that now."
"True. I've never had a woman like you who would make me rethink that. You might be right. I look forward to finding out." Locating our table, he pulls my chair out for me. As I take a seat, and Shane stands behind to push my chair in, his fingers dance a soft, whisper like sweep up my arms, leaving behind a subtle shiver and a trail of goosebumps.
"Would you like a drink?"
"Red wine, right? Malbec?"
"Everything about you. I'll be right back." He promises on a wink, then turns to head towards the bar.
Watching Shane walk away, I allow my eyes to take a lingering sweep of his wide back, and firm thighs without his unnerving gaze on me. There's something in the truthful smoothness of his words, the focused depth of his dark eyes, the confident strut of his walk. The bulk and heft of his thick build. It's a wolfish, predatory hunger. A yearning greed that he is used to easily sating. And even behind the expensive coal grey, shark skin, Tom Ford three-piece suit that hangs so effortlessly on his muscled frame, there is a hint of the seductive hunter waiting to be unleashed. Shane Walsh is definitely a man who is accustomed to getting what he wants, and I don't know how to manage the desire to feast that's banked there. It's unvarnished and transparent, but also temporary. He wants me to see it, to respond to it. For a woman who was permanently tied to a man for years, then spent the last year with nothing but her trusty vibrator for orgasms, and her gay best friend for snuggles, it's definitely a heady experience to be on the receiving end of it and try to decipher the meaning of it all.
Crossing my legs at the blitz of a plethora of nuanced feelings and stimulus washing over me, I wince from the slight hint of tension in my well used muscles, and I'm quickly reminded of another. The man who has completely turned me inside out. Rick. I get the sense that he is every bit the hunter that Shane is, but his aggressiveness is limited, focused. Like a true star, I often find myself as the leading lady in his gaze, captured in perpetuity in the enticing blink of his blues. It's as though in the sharply fixated squint of his eyes, he's trying to memorize every inch of me. Trying to impress the same permanence upon me in the reverent, yet assertive touch of his hands, his arms. The aggressive command of my body, prodding and stretching me to reach higher, to snatch the gifted pleasure he so willingly offers.
Lost in thoughts of my sexy sheriff, it's as though my mind has conjured his voice, his presence, as I look up to find him heading directly towards me. His bowed legs, and lean form in a dark blue suit and tie, and polished black wingtips, my sheriff seems to have come out of nowhere to deliver himself to me.
"Michonne? What are you doing here?" He asks, obviously delighted to see me. Reaching his hand out to me, he lifts me from my chair, and wraps his arms around my waist.
"Uh, I'm a guest?"
"Bride I assume? You and Abe didn't seem familiar with each other at the party the other night."
"Uh… I'm the guest of a guest."
"Really? Who?" Leaning back to look into my face, on a tilt of his head, he's searching for an answer that I don't think he really wants.
"A friend that was introduced to me by my parents."
"Is that right? Who is this friend? Another special friend? Like me?"
"No, not exactly?" Unsure of how to proceed, and feeling the tight cinch of his anxious hands around my waist at the questions he's posed, I try to lead our awkward encounter in a different direction. "You look very handsome. You clean up well, Sheriff." I pat my hands over his hard chest, honestly appreciating the crisp white shirt, and the dark blue of his suit, and the way it makes his eyes pop.
"Thank you. As usual, you are the most stunning woman in the room. I saw you as soon as I walked in." Roving his hands around my waist, gravitating dangerously close to my ass, I grab a hold of his arms and hold them to his sides in an attempt to maintain a little distance between us.
"Thanks. You and the groom are friends?"
"Yeah." He drawls, the word dying on his lips as it peters out into deafening silence. "You didn't mention to me that you had a date tonight. You could have."
Blowing out a breath, I search my brain for the right words, but they don't come. Instead we are interrupted by the chirping voice of a woman that I immediately recognize as the blonde from his parents' New Year's Eve party. No longer in the owl emblazoned sweater dress and boots, she's now in a form fitting, sleeveless sheath dress, in a rosy blush color that highlights the pinkish undertones of her pearly skin.
"I thought I saw you walk in. What a small world, right?" Buzzing with an excited energy that is initially confounding to me, given that Rick keeps trying to reclaim my waist with his wandering hands, she seems completely oblivious to the situation she has walked right in to.
"Hey, Jessie. Well, King County is pretty small. Abe and I went to high school together, and he's a deputy on my staff."
"Oh, how nice! And this is?" she asks, pointing towards me, but her infatuated stare is still on Rick, and I have to admit, I don't like it. Not one bit. It's that same unreasonable jealousy that I felt watching them together across the room at the party before. But now? Now that I know what this man can do, has done to me, It's even stronger. More virulent. A poisonous toxicant that's threatening to turn me a murderous green with envy.
"This is Michonne. She's a friend. A special friend. Right, Michonne?" Rick smirks, his eyes still squinting, focused, questioning, teasing.
"Yes." I utter, looking away from the heat of his stare, and the chipper bounce of Jessie's wide eyes from Rick to me and back to Rick, settling on the object of her affection.
"Nice! So, Rick, where are you sitting? Is this your table? I'm over there at the singles table if you want to join me."
"Sure. Why not. I will see you around, Michonne. Have fun on your date." He releases his strong hold on me and backs away. On a parting nod, he gives me his back. Instantly the blonde, Jessie, is on him, grabbing at his arm, and latching herself to his side. No. I don't like this one bit, and I'm instantly questioning what in the world I was thinking to even imagine that I could have a friends with benefits relationship with Rick. It's a bad idea. A terrible one. I'm not built this way, and even with Aaron's mantra floating in the backdrop of my mind, the hair on the back of my neck is standing on end at the sight of him retreating to a table on the other end of the reception hall. In a corner that is not as well lit as the rest of the room, with only the sepia flicker of the candle from their table to give them light, I can only make out the outline of Rick's back to me, and Jessie's creamy shoulders on display next to him. Right next to him. Too close to him.
In the midst of fighting every urge to march over there and sit on his lap, or lay a kiss on him, marking him as mine, Shane's form enters my line of sight, blocking Rick from me.
"They didn't have your Malbec, but I hope this red cabernet will suffice."
"Wine. You wanted wine."
"Yes, yeah. Thank you."
"You're welcome. I saw a guy over here. The King County sheriff. Rick Grimes. You know him?" Shane asks, lifting his thick dark brows in question.
"Yes. Sort of. Yes." I nod, swallowing the lumpy boulder that has taken residence in my throat. "Do you know him?" I ask back, knowing that he must given my investigator's research.
"Yeah, I do. Went to high school together. We were partners, deputies, for awhile, until I left for law school. Just like Abe. Kind of fell out of touch with him after I took the DA's job a few months back though. How do you know him? I mean, you looked…familiar with each other."
"His parents live next door to mine."
"Oh yeah. I noticed that the other night."
"Mmhm." Absentmindedly I answer him, but my I'm scattered, I'm all over the place. Gulping at my wine, appreciating the bitter dryness of it easing down my throat, cooling my temper, I instantly catch the sight of Rick and Jessie on the dance floor. Pressed obscenely close to him, her arms resting on his shoulders, I can feel the creep of raging jealousy again. I don't like this at all, and I decide that I'm not going to let him get to me. "Would you like to dance?"
"Absolutely." Wiggling his fingers towards me, I grab a hold of his offered hand, and set down my wine on the table. Following him onto the dance floor, a loud voice that I assume is Abe's, comes over the speaker system announcing that the next song is a dedication to his bride. Recognizing the soothing guitar of Elvis Presley's 'Can't Help Falling in Love', I allow Shane to steady me in his arms.
"Wise men say only fools rush in
But I can't help falling in love with you
Shall I stay?
Would it be a sin
If I can't help falling in love with you?"
"It's a silly song right? But I could see it." Shane offers, commanding a rhythmic sway of our bodies back and forth, with mine pressed tightly to his.
"What's that, Shane, what can you see?"
Looking down his slightly crooked nose at me, he doesn't immediately answer, instead he begins a low hum of the lyrics to the song, his own voice a decent match to Elvis's smooth mix of a tenor and a baritone.
"I like it though. How hopeful it is." He finally responds, halting his hum. Moving on with the song, he abandons the hum, and begins to instead sing the words softly into my ear.
"Like a river flows surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be
Take my hand, take my whole life too
For I can't help falling in love with you…"
Clearing my throat, I'm a little thrown by the beauty of the lyrics and his voice, so clear and breathy against my ear. On a jumble of the minty freshness of his breath, and the woody accord of cedar and patchouli in his cologne, I'm falling deeper into his embrace. He's creating a little world for us, building a wall around our area on the dance floor, and I'm nearly lost in his arms.
"It's a pretty song. Very sweet of Abe to dedicate it to his wife."
"He's a lucky man to have found someone so special. It's rare. Women like you are rare, Michonne. I'm very glad that you are here with me. You've been on my mind all week." Brushing his fingers in a feather lite sweep over my cheek, my lips, and down my throat, a rush of tingles and butterflies flurry in my belly.
Finding myself at a loss for words, a familiar occurrence over the last week or so, I release a long breath, blowing into his hard chest, needing the comforting assurance that Shane is currently offering. Turning my head to rest the furious firing of my brain's neurons, considering the quandary presented in my life in such a short period of time, an answer seems to just casually present itself. Rick.
Even though he's still dancing with Jessie, her holding tighter to him than the loose hold he has on her, he's looking at me. And Shane. The dichotomy of fire and ice found in his eyes simultaneously warms me to him, while chilling me with the cool daggers his blues are shooting towards Shane. Jumping from the sight of Shane's hands resting atop the swell of my ass, to my face, it's as though he's asking a silent question, wondering what the hell I'm doing here with Shane.
No longer able to withstand the unanswerable question in his eyes, I pull away from Shane, excusing myself to head to the restroom.
Not even certain of the direction, I push through the first door I come to, and find myself alone in an empty hall. Welcomed by the dark and the quiet, I lean up against the wall, needing a moment alone to think. But I can't get even that as Rick bursts through the same doors I just came through. Only need three long strides to reach me, he's immediately in my space, crowding me.
His face in mine, our lips simply a breath away, he asks in a tortured voice, gravely and gruff, it rumbles over his vocal cords. "What's going on here? Hm? With him."
"I told you how I feel. That I can't-" Releasing an exasperated breath he begins a wild pace back and forth in front of me, thrusting his hands back through his neatly coifed hair, disturbing his curls. "I won't, Michonne. I won't share you with him, or with anyone. And I won't play this game."
"I don't need your permission to do anything, Rick. I wouldn't need to ask you to share me with him. I can decide who I want to share myself with all on my own. Right now I choose Shane."
"What did you say to me?"
"Shouldn't you be back out there with Jessie? I'm sure little miss sunshine will be looking for you any minute." I snark, riling myself up again at the thought of them dancing together, their limbs entangled as they move in sync with the romantic lyrics.
"What are you trying to do to me?" Rubbing his hand in a frustrated swipe down his face, he leans into me again, his hands pressed to the wall above my head, holding the trembling fury in him steady. "Not this guy, Michonne. I know this guy. He's not the one for you."
"I'm not looking for the guy for me, Rick. I told you, I'm not capable of being that woman anymore. I spent so many years trying to keep my husband, trying to be what he wanted, what he needed. To give him this big family. And guess what, Rick? When I couldn't deliver, he left! Years! I gave that motherfucker years. And you want me to take a chance on you? I don't even know you, and I don't have any more years left in me to waste. I have to take care of myself now. I'm sorry. You want a perfect little life? Go back in there with Jessie, and I'll get back to my date with Shane." I shrug, my chest heaving with the effort it took to vomit out all of those dangerous, hurtful feelings. To spew them, and leave them, a dingy mess at his feet.
"I see you, Michonne." He points his finger accusingly at me, as his lips twist into a satisfied smile.
"What the fuck does that mean, Rick? You say that all the time!"
"If I push too hard, you want to pull away even harder. But let's talk truth for a minute, ok?" Standing up straight now, no longer invading my space, he crosses his arms across the width of his chest. "You already belong to me. And you know it. You're like your cat Teeny. You want me to rub and pet you, to give you what you need, to scratch that little naughty, kinky itch. Because you like it. You know I'm the man to give it to you just like you like it. A little rough?" On a little laugh he throws up his hands, then massages his hand through the soft blades of his beard and across his cheeks. Softening his eyes, bringing them down from the stormy and tumultuous grey and blue, to the heated blaze of sapphire I'm more familiar with. Oh god. He tilts his lead, then drops his hands back into his pockets. "So you flirt with me, you slink around in your little outfits, you fuck me like your life depends on it. And I let you, because I like it too. The chase. The way your pussy curves to my dick. How sweet and soft you are underneath that false toughness. I like it too, Michonne. I like you. And this can be something…something permanent and real. Stop running."
"I don't know what you're talking about." Shaking my head, I attempt to dismiss the blaring truth of his words. It's too much. The honesty in his assessment is difficult to come to terms with, and it sends my body launching from the safety of its lean against the wall, and ready to find an escape. A respite from him, the truth. How could he know?
What did Whoopi say to Demi Moore in Ghost? Girl, you in trouble.
"I've already won this game, Michonne. You know it and I know it. You belong to me."
Advancing on me, with one hand flat to my abdomen, he gently backs me up to the wall again, then pins me with the strength of his body. Catching my hands behind my back in the strong hold of one of his, his hard length is pressing into my belly.
"I don't belong to you, and you don't belong to me." I profess, weakly trying to assert my friends with benefits mantra, even as I can feel my body melting, betraying me and reacting to the tight cinch of his secure hold on my hands, and his stiff erection against me, keeping me in place.
"But I do. And so do you." He counters, his sexy plush lips, so soft and pink, pulled into his mouth as he searches my face, waiting for me to confess the truth. "You might think running around with Shane is going to give you what you need, will satisfy you, but I promise you… you can't give away what belongs to me. I won't let you."
"I'm not going to allow myself to be hurt again, Rick. I can't…"
"I would never hurt you, baby. I just want to make you feel good. Take care of you. I already realize that, and I told you that. I'm already in here. And here." He points to my head, then my heart. "And here." He declares, resting his whole hand, fingers splayed, over my pelvis. "Matter of fact, you're wet for me right now, Michonne. I know you are. That's what I do to you. You already see what you do to me. How you command me."
"No, I'm not."
Sucking down a deep breath, I already know that he's right. My body has been humming, and vibrating from the dynamic energy building and bursting between us since he found me a few moments ago. But I can't let him win. I can't, so I allow my silence to speak for me, and I break the fixture of our eyes on each other. Sweeping my gaze from side to side, checking the hall for other people, I shake my head, needling the beast that I know is pacing inside of him at my unresponsiveness to his challenge.
"Prove me wrong. Check."
Rolling my eyes, and licking at my lips, now dry from the soft, excited pants easing over them, I can't stop myself from following his commands. I simply can't. And that in of itself should worry me, but it doesn't. It excites the part of me that desires the way he pursues me. That adores the skillful finesse he employs to command my body's response to him. It's all in the bruise of his lips roughly on mine. The pummel of his hips against my ass as he branded me with his coarse, yet satisfying lovemaking. The gratifying squeeze of his large hand on my neck. Just enough to tease and titillate, never to hurt. The punishing sting of the slap of his hand across my ass, accompanied by the rewarding massage of it into my skin. And right now, with the compelling restraint of my hands pulled snugly behind my back, causing my breasts to jut forward, an appealing offering for his beast.
Dragging my right hand from his grip, and lifting the skirt of my dress up my thighs, I reveal the lacy black garters holding up my sheer black stockings, waiting for a response from Rick. And he doesn't disappoint. The fiery torture that animates his features, and lowers his beautiful lips into a jealous frown, delivers a tiny thrill up my spine. Good.
"You wore that for him?" he grinds out, his hold on my left hand, still secure behind my back, growing tighter with the release of each word.
A wave of naughty delight ripples through me at the rigid stiffness of his hold on my hand. "I wore it for me." I declare, a haughty taunt in the raise of my chin.
Driven by the defiance in my response, on a little lick and bite of cheek, Rick refocuses and directs me again, mumbling his repeated command into my cheek. "Check."
Inching my fingers into the sparse lace of my thong, I find the seat already wet. Grazing the pads across the sensitive lips of my pussy, I expectantly find the hair there slick with my arousal. Closing my eyes to his knowing smirk, I realize that Rick is aware of what he already knew to be a fact. I belong to him.
"Come here, baby." Grabbing a hold of my hand from my panties, he removes it slowly, then drops to his knees. Lifting my left thigh high, and hooking it over his shoulder, he brushes my thong aside then proceeds to swipe his tongue in slow languid strokes through the petals of my womanhood.
"Shhh… You don't want your date to hear you do you?"
"Oh, oh, oh…"
"Second thought, maybe we do." He growls, nipping and biting softly at my clit, causing a zinging burst of pleasure to nearly drop me to my knees, as I teeter on one leg and try to control my vocal outbursts.
"Mmmm…Michonne, baby, you taste so damn good."
Again, I have no words. I simply don't need them as I relax and allow this man to control and command my pleasure, to grace me with the gift of his mouth, and the fiery orgasm that is stomping through my core. It's exquisite, his mastery of my body. The way his tongue tangles and twists over my lips and clit, teasing with sharp piercing probes of my dripping canal with his stiffened tongue.
With a handful of his thick chestnut locks, drizzled through with a few strands of silver, tight in my hand, I'm quietly begging and pleading for a release. A dazzling end to the climax that's needling me, driving me to thrust my pussy onto his face, and to wantonly cry out for more as though we are the only people left in the world. My moans are careless, and give no thought to the fact that we are in a service hallway at his friend's wedding reception. How easily we could be caught. But there it is…the thrill, the danger, the delight at being found with this sexy man on his knees before me, focused only on my pleasure. On me.
"God, you are so fucking wet!" Rick exclaims, then uses his left hand to rub in a succession of quick swipes and taps against my clit. The quiet of the abandoned hallway is no match for the wet smacks of his hand, and the satisfied wail that travels up through my diaphragm, announcing my climax to Rick's eager ears. "Yeah… look at you." He mumbles, stealing a few last minute kisses and sucks of my throbbing clit between his greedy lips.
Removing my thigh from his shoulder, and smoothly steadying me on my feet, Rick raises, wiping his hand over his beard and lips, slicking it down with my cum. Once again standing tall and erect over me, he angles his lips towards mine and places a soft, mild kiss on me, leaving behind the heady scent of my own arousal, sticky and sweet.
"Let's go home."
"Rick, I can't just leave. I'm on a… a date." The words are bitter, distasteful to even allow them safe passage from my lips, making me feel every bit the treacherous traitor.
"Do you want to go back out there together so you can tell him goodbye?"
"What? No! Look at you. He would know immediately."
"I don't have a problem with that."
"It would be rude. I – I'm on a date." I roll my eyes in frustration, not even certain why I'm attempting to hold my ground on this. I just know I don't want to hurt Shane. Not like this. But, my body needs to be with Rick. I need to be with him. Pushing my skirt back down over my thighs and legs, I attempt to get myself back together. To look more like the woman who was just on the dance floor, and less like the woman who just got tongue fucked in a back hallway.
"Not anymore you're not." He shakes his head, not even trying to hear the tiny bit of logic in my conflicted, yet weak protest. "Let's go home."
What did Whoopi say to Demi Moore in Ghost? Girl, you in trouble? That's me. Rick Grimes is getting me into a lot of trouble…