Tap Dance (Dance Series)
Author:Judy Hornbuckle

chapter Four



It was the light streaming through the sheers on the windows that woke me this time. And when I say this time, I meant that I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before.

The memory of Ram kissing me, of what we had been about to do, even there in the golden morning light, was more than I'd ever had with him before and made me want it again.

Yearned to have again.

I swung my legs over the side of the bed, automatically reaching to hold my hair away from my face. The chemise was at my feet on the floor and was the closest piece of clothing around, so I picked it up and drew it on.

I didn't remember taking it off, but since my dreams had been filled with sensual delights, where I shared pleasure with him, I wasn't a bit surprised that I'd slept naked.

After performing the typical bathroom stuff, I made my way out of the room.

He wasn't in the living room.

He wasn't in the small breakfast nook.

But I found a note in the kitchen.

'Help yourself to anything . To make the tea from last night, put a cup of milk in the small saucepan with one of the teabags from the canister until the milk boils. Pop Tarts are in the pantry. No news of cat. I'll call you later. R'

I smiled.

He remembered.

When we first met, when we were waiting for Caitlin, we discovered a shared love of the little toaster pastry. He had asked me not to tell anyone about it and I had initiated a Pinky Swear to show that his secret was safe with me.

The Pinky Swear.

Geesh. It was something you did when you were like in fifth grade but when I did it with him, it was erotic and sexy. I had relived that moment again and again but I still couldn't tell you why it had turned me on so much in sharing that with him.

I managed to get to work on time, in spite of not having an alarm set. But I was still wearing my clothes from Cait and Jake's party the night before. Which in itself wasn't a bad thing since I had worn one of my wrap dresses that I had paired with boots that have heels up to there.

But no girl likes wearing the same clothes from the day before. Although this wasn't a 'walk of shame' kind of moment, I still didn't like having to wear the same clothes two days in a row.

The office manager at D&J Accounting, Aaron, my boss and an understanding guy, listened when I explained what had gone down the night before at the apartment building. He agreed to let me off early to arrange things even though this was the start of the busiest time of the accounting year for us CPA's -- tax time.

Which explains why I was working on a Sunday. At tax time, we work six days a week and I had taken yesterday off to help Caitlin with their party.

I had called Aunt Estella who was overjoyed to have me stay at her house. A little too overjoyed.

Sigh.

When I left work, I went shopping and bought three days worth of outfits from the skin out, including a couple of pairs of shoes to match. Then there were the toiletries, makeup, etc. My bank account was going to take a hit, but it had to be done since I had no clue when they'd let me back into my apartment.

Paul had called a couple of times but I let it go to voicemail.

I wasn't in the mood for Paul.

By the time I made it to Aunt Estella's, I was lagging. The lack of sleep combined with the adrenaline rushes from the night before had finally caught up with me.

"I'm so glad you're here, Mari! Oh you poor thing, can I get you anything? Coffee, tea, valium?"

"I'm fine, Auntie. I just need to take a shower and go to bed if you don't mind."

"Oh, love, of course I don't mind," she said as she bustled around me.

And when I say bustled, I mean that she literally stepped in a circle around me, wringing her hands when she wasn't tucking my hair behind my ear, smoothing my coat over my shoulders.

Bustling.

Which was driving me crazy.

"Can I bring you up a bowl of soup with maybe a sandwich?" She asked as she watched me walk upstairs, the bags of today's shopping banging against my legs and the wall.

I wanted to remind her that I didn't have a cold but that would be mean.

"No thanks, Auntie."

And, above all else, I couldn't be mean to my Aunt Estella. She was the one that had stepped in and helped when I had to take care of my mom at a much earlier age than anyone should have to do.

I put the new clothes away in the spare room before I slipped off my boots and grabbed a bag of toiletries and my nightgown. While Aunt Estella's bathroom wasn't anywhere near Ram's in terms of looks or appointments, it was the only bathroom upstairs with the prerequisite hot water and clean towels.

As I stood under the firm pressure of hot water, bits and pieces of my dreams, dreams dreamt in Ram's guest bed, floated up in my mind.

His skin was so hot against me.

He touched me with his hot hands. Touched me everywhere.

Looking as he touched.

Brushing the wet hair out of my eyes, I thought about the dreams. I could still hear his voice, the whispers we shared in those moments my mind had conjured.

Touch me, Marianne.

Please, Ram, please!

You are so beautiful, he said as his long fingered hand stroked me from shoulder to knees.

Hold me, Marianne. Hold me to you. Yes!

Oh, Ram. Don't stop. Please don't stop.

God, Pyari, you feel so good.

It was only a dream, I reminded myself firmly turning the shower off.

Just the silly musings of a gal caught up in her crush.

I firmly pushed those thoughts and especially those feelings away and got ready for bed even though it was only six p.m.

"Going to bed, Auntie," I called down the stairs.

"Sleep well, love," I heard her voice call back.

I sure as heck hoped so.

That I would sleep well.

Yeah, that's what I was hoping for.

Sure I was.



*.*.*.*.*

I heard the light tapping but ignored it, snuggling back down into the warm covers.

"Mari? Mari, are you awake?"

I recognized my aunt's loud whisper.

"Yeah, Auntie. What's wrong?" I was groggy and more than a bit put out that I needed to be awake. I was only hoping this wasn't one of my aunt's major emergencies. Like, say, the faucet in the kitchen was dripping 'out of rhythm' or the drapes were moving 'of their own accord' in the living room.

I told you my aunt is wound just a bit too tight.

"The Chief of Police is here to see you." Even I could hear the awe in her voice in spite of my groggy, sleep deprived state.

"Did he say what he wants?"

"No, Mari. Just that he wants you."

Huh?

No way.

I'm positive I was only hearing what I wanted to hear.

"Uhm. Okay, sure. Uhm. Could I borrow a robe?" There was no way I was going downstairs in just the satiny, light blue, spaghetti-strapped nightgown I was wearing even if it had the cutest band of stretchy lace just under the bodice and around the hem.

"Of course," she said and I heard her bustling off to her room.

She came back quickly and I was soon wrapped in her chenille robe that I think my uncle had given her on like their fifth anniversary. Aunt Estella had been married to my father's brother for thirty something years and he had died suddenly, just like my dad, from a massive coronary.

So she wasn't actually a blood relative, which kind of accounted for the fact that she was about six inches taller than me and outweighed me by … well, let's just say quite a bit.

I'm only bringing this up to show how her robe didn't fit me. Like, at all.

After wrapping myself almost twice in the warm chenille, I made my way downstairs holding the robe away from my feet on my way downstairs.

Yep, just like one of the heroines in the bodice ripper books that I enjoy reading.

"Hey, Ram," I said coming into the front room and seeing him stand up at my entrance.

Why would such an old fashioned gesture mean so much?

"MG," he said with a chin lift, but his eyes were scooting up and down. "Sorry to wake you. I could've come by tomorrow if I'd known you were sleeping."

"No worries," I replied, doing the same kind of visual sweep, noting he was still in his uniform and police jacket.

He is so gorgeous.

"Ah, is there some place we can talk?" he asked, pointing his head towards the doorway and I turned to see Aunt Estella standing there. I couldn't very well ask her to leave since it was her house.

"Uhm…" I tried to think but my brain was only working with about three of its six cylinders.

"My truck?" Yeah, that'd work.

"Okay."

I saw him glance down at my bare toes just poking through the trailing edge of the robe.

"I'll have her back straight away, Mrs. Gibson," Ram said as he took a couple of steps towards me. The next thing I knew, I was swept up and he was carrying me.

Ram was carrying me.

And my aunt even opened the heavy front door for him.