I'm at that wonderful point in my WIP--the last stretch---closing in on those elusive words, a chapter or two away from the holy of holies of phrases....THE END.
Since I've been feverishly dedicating all my free time to getting this project completed, I've not had ample room in my brian to blog. Even my spare THOUGHTS are devoted to this manuscript.
So, in my excitement for this upcoming 'event', I wanted to introduce my main characters to you, give you a glimpse into the story.
Without further ado, please welcome----from my soon-to-be-finsihed novel, HONOR C----Honor and Raimundo...(Yes, Hispanic, what did you think?)
Psst....and they are not edited....
But it was in a bathroom in his home with Honor propping up my drunk, limp, oh-so-sick body to hug the toilet bowl. I thought I’d lost all the contents in my stomach long ago on the emergency lane of Interstate 10.
What had I been thinking, drinking so much?
“What was I thinking, Raimundo, by not stopping you?”
Honor’s voice—along with the touch of a cool, damp washcloth to my forehead—coaxed me gently from the swirling center of the green fog in my head.
My fingers clung to the cool porcelain and my words echoed into the deep bowl. “It didn’t…feel…like so much until I…I….” Straining once more to hurl. “Until I stood up.”
My body, pressed against his, shook with his hushed laughter.
“I think I’m okay now.” Struggling with his help, I shifted into a sitting position.
“This is the guest room and you can sleep here and—”
“No. Really. I’m fine.” I pushed away from him and, bracing on the edge of the toilet, I tried to stand. I must have left my legs back on the interstate, though. “Damn.” I slumped back onto the floor.
“Ah, no, muchacho. I don’t think so.” Honor stood and—in one swift, easy move—pulled me to my feet, holding me in the crook of his arm like a rag doll.
I’d only been on my feet a few seconds before the nausea rolled back to my stomach, full force. Because his hold was so tight, I couldn’t shove away in time to bend over the commode.
If I lived to be a hundred, I’d never forget Honor’s unaffected reaction to my puking all over him. He merely brushed off my babbling apology with a soft smile, closed the toilet lid and eased me onto it. “See, amigo, what did I tell you?”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry….”
“Shhh.” Moving to a clean spot on the plush mat, he knelt before me and his fingers began working to unbutton my shirt. He shook his head, lending a sympathetic grin to the mess which was Raimundo Munoz. “And your beautiful new clothes, too.”
My clothes, my new fancy clothes. “Oh, god.”
He paused unbuttoning to cup my cheek in his palm. “We’ll get them cleaned.”
I just nodded. Even though weak, sick and seeing him as if through a cheap pair of green sunglass lenses, I knew the pleasure of Honor’s touch to my face. I recognized it as the tenderness my body wanted.
“I’m sorry.” I seemed to have no other words in the drunken edition of my mental dictionary.
He ignored me, tugging the shirt off my shoulders and along my arms then laying it on the floor. “Grab me around the neck, Raimundo, so I can help you stand and get your pants off.”
Fortunately, my soused brain was too numb to be fazed or aroused by the fact Honor was undressing me. In my own pickled universe, I only noticed his soiled silk tee shirt which had been so beautiful only a few hours ago.
“I’m so sorry. Your clothes. Your clothes,” I slobbered the words onto his neck.
In a sober stratosphere, I’d have been turned on with the fumbling of his big warm hands at the waistband of my trousers—their gentle touch working the damp fabric down my thighs.
“Step out of them, Raimundo.”
The nausea had faded but after standing a while, everything seemed so light, a sea of fluffy clouds floating through my head. Was I giggling?
Once he’d completely removed my clothes, he maneuvered my boneless body to sit on the side of the bathtub. With one arm holding me upright, he reached to turn on the faucet and held his hand under the water until it heated and steam formed around us.
Here I was. Naked. Pressed against Honor Castillo, just as I’d dreamed so often. But shit-face plastered. This part had not been in my fantasies.
The hot water, once I was immersed in it, stimulated me and I took the washcloth from Honor’s hands and proceeded to bathe myself.
“Can you manage by yourself?” He rose from his post on the side of the tub.
“Yes.” I nodded. “The water’s helping. I don’t feel as…as….” As fucked up?
“I’ll wait outside in the bedroom, then, just in case. You might not be as steady as you think when you try to stand again.”
“Thank you. I…I think I’ll be okay.”
“Nevertheless.” He winked. Tapping his finger on a louvered closet door, he added, “There’s a robe in here.” A gentle laugh. “A little big, but…oh, well, I have nothing in your size.”
“Thank you.” I called out just as he started for the door, “And I really am sorry.”
“Don’t be, Raimundo.” Once more he winked and left the room, closing the door.
After bathing, my legs still wobbled when I stood. The thick fog lingered in my head but I managed to dry off and slide into the humongous terry robe. Collecting my discarded clothes, I folded them as neatly as possible and stacked them on top of a laundry hamper. Hopefully I could wash them in the morning.
I stepped into the bedroom and found him half-sitting, half-reclining, on a love seat before a small fireplace in the corner. His head was propped on his fist and he snored lightly.
As much as I hated waking him—he seemed so peaceful—I figured he’d want to get out of his own filthy clothes.
“Mr. Castillo.” I touched his shoulder.
He stirred and pushed to an upright position. Rubbing his eyes, he yawned. “How do you feel, Raimundo? Much better, eh?”
“Yes. Much better.” I shrugged. “Still pretty numb, but not sick.”
A tired laugh rumbled through his frame and he fell back on the cushions, raking his fingers through his already-ruffled hair. “Ah, just wait until morning, Raimundo. You’ll think tonight was a tea party compared to your hangover.”
I shuffled my bare feet on the cool, silky fibers of the carpet. “You’d better get cleaned up yourself.” In spite of its boozed-up state, my imagination crept to a picture of Honor in the shower—big, magnificent…naked.
“Si, si, si.” Sighing, he scooted to the edge of the cushions, stood and stretched his arms above his head with another deep yawn. “I’ll find you something to sleep in, Raimundo, as soon as—”
“Please.” My hands shot up. “You’ve…you’ve done enough, Mr. Castillo. Really, I—”
“Raimundo.” He held up a finger. “It’s Honor.”
“Call me Honor. Please.”
“All right.” I heaved a shaky breath. Did he realize how easy it would be for my feelings to be painted into every syllable of his name if I said it out loud? “Honor.”
There he stood, weary but smiling—clothes rumpled and stained with the ruins of my night. I’d wondered earlier if I loved him. At this moment, gazing at him and warming like happy toast under his heat, I knew. I did love him. How or why, I had no clue. I only knew I did.
“Well, I will get cleaned up, if you’re sure you—”
“I’m fine.” Drawing a circle with my toe on the carpet, I shrugged. “Still drunk as a skunk, but….”
He nodded and that odd, now-familiar but still unreadable smile feathered across his lips. Hesitation. “Okay, then.”
As he passed me, heading to the door, I caught a whiff of my own vomit on him. Oh, damn.
When the door shut behind him, I shuffled to the bed. How huge it was, how inviting with its khaki-colored bedcovers and bank of overstuffed pillows. I climbed onto the firm mattress without even slipping under the comforter and tightened the gigantic robe abound my body.
My eyelids fought to stay open and I lay, burrowed in the pillows, studying the bedroom. No paintings on the walls, only large tapestries woven in rich, earth tone colors.
I’d been too sick when I’d been brought through the house earlier to recall its furnishings. Was this room a sample of Honor’s taste? Crisp, clean, natural and—as always—classic. Masculine. Inviting.
I reached to turn off the bedside lamp and allowed the last thing before I drifted to sleep to be the pleasure of knowing somewhere in the house, under the very roof with me, Honor was showering. Naked.
During the night it hit me again. A green, roiling tide of nausea so strong it jerked me awake and sent me stumbling to the bathroom. This time, for some reason, the bout was more violent and I gasped and struggled to breath between each dry heave. I’d never felt so sick. I thought I was dying.
The bathroom door crashed open and, through a dizzying haze, I heard Honor’s voice behind me. “Raimundo! Are you all right?”
He rushed to the sink, grabbed a fresh washcloth and held it under running water. In seconds, he was on his knees beside me, holding my hair back in one hand and swabbing the cool cloth on my forehead with his free hand.
“This is my goddamn fault,” he growled. “I knew you didn’t drink You told me the night I met you that you didn’t drink. I should have stopped you, but—”
“No!” Pulling away from the commode, I tried to shove his hands away. “I’m a grown…man….” I fought to wriggle free of his grasp but didn’t have the energy. “I thought I could…handle it.” I thought I could drink my way out the disappointment of seeing the lovey-dovey crap between you and Jorge.
He let me recline against him, my back melded into his big body, and his fingers gingerly brushed the hair from my face. “Do you think you can go back to bed, Raimundo?”
I just moaned and shook my head. Not yes. Not no. Just let me stay against your body. How long we remained like that, huddled on the bathroom floor, I didn’t know. I might have even fallen asleep.
At some point, I became aware of his arms around me, picking me up. I might as well have been a sack of sugar, he lifted me so effortlessly.
I didn’t even try to wake. Whatever was happening felt too good, too right, and I didn’t want to open my eyes and realize it was a dream. My body nestled into his where it seemed to belong and I whimpered when he bent to place me on the bed.
He moved to straighten but I wrapped my arms about his neck, pulling him nearer. His body, so close, smelled of the freshness of a shower. Clean, touchable, irresistible.
“Don’t leave me alone.” My fingers twined at his nape in a death grip.
I didn’t know—so lost in a sleepy all-white world of clouds and glittering mist—if I wanted to be fucked or just to be held, loved, touched. What goddamn hell it was to know you wanted something so bad you could die from it, and to know who you wanted it from, but not to know what the hell it was.
“I’ll stay here until you fall asleep.” With my arms still locked around his neck, he eased his large frame onto the bed beside me.
I arched into his body.
He slid an arm under me, drawing me closer, and circled his other arm around my waist. “Now sleep, bebe.” A funny tone in his voice, as though begging me to be too sick, too tired, to respond to the warm, stiff dick pressing against my body.
Proof positive rested between his powerful thighs, in his labored breathing. He wanted me. Maybe it was only for the moment, nothing more, but it was enough for me. He was hard for me.
Delirious with the fever of hunger for him mixed with alcohol, I buried my face in the softness between his chest and shoulder and mumbled, “I’m so sorry.”
“Shhh.” A shiver tripped through his body into mine and he cupped the back of my head, pressing me harder against him. He might have been able to hide any desire in his face by avoiding my eyes, but the need in his groin had grown stronger. “I told you. Nothing to be sorry about.”
“I won’t lose my job over…getting drunk tonight?”
A slight laugh, shaky. “Ah, Raimundo, if I fired everyone who got drunk, I’d have no employees at all.”
“Honor….” I breathed the word against the downy soft cotton of his shirt.
His name fit so well in my heart, on my tongue.
“Si?” He rested his chin on the top of my head.
“I really don’t drink.” I wriggled nearer but it seemed I’d never be close enough.
Lulled by the strong rise and fall of his chest, the steady thrum of his heartbeat, an unexpected yawn escaped me.
“I believe you.” His large hand touched the side of my face, his thumb tracing my temple. He laughed. “I believe you.”
I fought sleep. I didn’t want to sleep, knowing he’d leave my side. But my body and mind sank helplessly into a blissful nothingness, almost a coma, where I could hear him and feel him but couldn’t open my own eyes or speak.
Later—it seemed as though hours later—he stirred and the mattress jiggled slightly with his shifting weight.
Instinctively, afraid he was leaving, I protested by curling closer to his body. I opened my mouth to beg him to stay, to let him know somehow I wasn’t asleep. You promised to stay until I fell asleep. I’m not asleep, I’m not!
Deep, deep, deep, I rode a sleepy tide back into my white oblivion and struggled to be conscious of his presence. Was he still there?
A soft warm palm rested with a touch soft as butterfly wings against my cheek and, somewhere far inside myself, I smiled.
Honor’s voice wafted to my ears on a whisper, one he surely thought I wasn’t awake to hear. “Ah, Raimundo Munoz.” A sigh. “What was I thinking, hiring a man when I knew, I goddamn knew I would end up wanting him so bad it would hurt?”
Silence. Was he really there? Wake the fuck up. Wake up.
The voice—deep but so hushed I wanted to cry with the strain of trying to hear it from my bottomless pit of slumber—spoke again after a delicate chuckle. “You are the tiniest little thing. How huge and clumsy I am next to you. And you are so…so….” Reverent fingers brushed my lips. “Perfect.”
Like one trapped beneath a frozen pond with no escape hole, I clawed on an impenetrable barrier keeping me from rising to the surface of my dream.
Kiss me! Please kiss me! Could he hear me?
The pressure of lips—ever so light like a wisp of sweet breath—touched my forehead.
By the sudden rush of cool air beside me I knew he’d risen. Wrapping my body into a tighter ball to replace his heat, I finally mumbled words that did penetrate my sleepy barrier. “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
My proclamation was met by the soft click of the light being turned off and the bedroom door closing. He hadn’t heard me.