Her Secret Life. Gwynne Forster
“Oh, yes. My parents were wonderful people. They loved each other deeply, and they adored my sister and me. And we could feel it. We weren’t wealthy, but we didn’t want for anything, and our home was rich in love and in the little day-to-day kindnesses and thoughtfulness that made a happy home life.”
He spoke softly, soothingly, and she realized that she loved his voice. “Where is your father now?” he asked.
“He’s in a private clinic in Riverdale. He needs an operation, but he hasn’t consented to it. If he doesn’t, I don’t know what I’ll do. He’s been a wonderful father, and I’d do anything for him.”
“How old are you, Jackie?”
Only a confident man would ask a woman that question with no preliminaries and no sugar-coating. “I’m thirty-three. I don’t know anything about you, except that Allegory invited you to join. You can’t imagine what a buzz that created at the club. It had never happened before. By the way, since you’re sitting here in my home, I assume you are not married.”
He sat forward and looked directly into her eyes as if he wanted her to know that he spoke the truth. “No, I definitely am not and have never been.” He draped his right ankle across his knee and leaned back. “The invitation to join the club is about the only thing that came easily for me. I worked like a dog for everything else. I was born in Durham, North Carolina, grew up there and finished high school there in the top ten percentile of U.S. high school graduates that year. That got me a scholarship to MIT, and after I graduated, I went to work in Silicone Valley developing computer hardware and software. The boom became a big bust, and I thought I’d have to sell shoelaces, but after about four months, I got a job with Pearson Triangle, an Internet facilitator. Being out of a job for four months was a great teacher, and I made it a point to become financially savvy. Pretty soon, the field became overcrowded, so I sold my shares in Pearson and bought a hotel in Honolulu. I made it stand out by targeting honeymooners, offering live classical jazz nightly and screening the latest movies right inside the hotel. I subsequently built similar ones in Nairobi and in Washington, D.C. where every patron gets a free tour of historic Washington.”
“What’s the name of the one in Washington?”
He told her and added, “My next hotel will be on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard.”
“And your success has moved you to help change the lives of African American children where you live.”
“I live in Brooklyn Heights, but I built Harlem Clubs, Inc., for children five to eighteen years old, and I volunteer there for a few hours most days and every Saturday that I’m in New York. I want to do everything I can to eliminate crime among our children.”
Now Jackie leaned forward, for what she heard told her that they dreamed the same dream and worked toward the same goal. If only she could tell him about herself, who she really was and why Jackie Parks even existed. But she couldn’t risk it. He was a man who played by the rules, and she didn’t know whether his loyalty would be with her or with the club. She went into the kitchen and brought him a glass of cranberry juice.
He accepted the juice and drank a few swallows. “This environment really becomes you. You have created such a peaceful, gentle setting.”
Suddenly, she wished he would ask what she did during the day, for she wouldn’t be able to lie to him. She longed to reveal herself to him, to meet him on equal terms.
He looked at his watch and seemed shocked. “Would you believe it’s a quarter to one in the morning? I had no idea, Jackie, and I apologize for staying so late.”
She followed him to the door. “Don’t,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed every minute that you’ve been here.” When his eyes blazed with the fire of a man looking at the woman he wants, chills shot through her, and she got a feeling that she stood at a precipice.
He stepped closer and gazed down at her. “Don’t tell me that or anything else unless you’re sure you mean it. Do you?”
She couldn’t make herself speak, so she nodded. His hand stroked her left arm, and the fire of it shot straight to her loins. She knew better than to lower her gaze, for he already had the upper hand.
“You and your job at the club don’t match,” he said as he stared into her eyes, “but one of these days you’ll explain it to me. I don’t give up easily, Jackie. You’ve been in my blood, and now, you’re in my head as well. What am I to you?”
She sucked in her breath and, without thinking, covered his hand on her arm with hers. Her gaze dropped to his lips and, at last his fingers pressed into her flesh as he wrapped her in his arms.
“Open up to me. Let me feel myself inside of you,” he said, groaning as if in pain. His breath, warm and sweet, washed over her face, and she felt herself trembling in his arms as his hot mouth singed hers, and his tongue pressed for entry. She opened her mouth, took him in, and desire gripped her as he claimed her with his stroking, dueling tongue and pressed her body to his. She sucked his tongue into her mouth. More. Deeper. She needed, wanted all of him. She thought she’d go crazy if he didn’t get all the way into her. Heat permeated her vagina, and when her nipples tightened against his chest, he held her closer and groan after groan poured out of him. She rubbed from side to side against his chest to ease the pain in her nipples. Oh, how she wanted to feel his mouth on them. Her head told her to stop it, but her body begged for the feel of him deep inside of her. Crazy for more of him, after years of emptiness and deprivation, her hips betrayed her, and when she realized that she had undulated against him, she forced herself to step away.
“I didn’t mean for it to go that far,” she whispered.
“Say my name, Jackie. I’ve never heard you say my name.”
She looked into his eyes and breathed the word. “Warren. Oh, Warren.”
He brought her back to him and folded her in his arms with a gentle caress. “I wish we could go even further…but at least, I know that you care for me.”
“You don’t understand,” she whispered. “You brought something out of me that I didn’t know was there, and I…I don’t know whether I’m happy about it.”
“There are things about you that I don’t understand, but your reaction to me tonight is not one of them. We’re attracted to each other, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You’re concerned because you would have preferred to control your feelings, but your passionate response has made me want you that much more.” He released her and took out a pad and pen. “What’s your phone number? I’ll call you in the morning around nine. Okay?”
She gave him her number, and he wrote it down. “Get home safely.”
A wide grin roamed over his face. “Don’t think for a minute that I’m leaving here without another kiss. You’ve got a lot to make up for.”
She opened her arms, but his kiss was quick. “You are one sweet woman. Good night.”
As Warren loped down the stairs, somehow he didn’t notice the distance. He stopped at the eleventh floor not because he was tired, but because he was so overcome with excitement that he felt light-headed. Jackie’s response to him had exceeded his wildest fantasies about her. He’d been at the point of erection—something he used to be able to control—when she stepped away from him and called a halt to the sweetest and most honest loving be could remember.
He leaned against the wall and breathed deeply. What would she do if she decided to make love with him? What would she be like? Shudders raced through him when he thought of the way she moved against him. “Get yourself together, man,” he said aloud. “You’ve got a long way to go with the mysterious Jackie Parks. You need to take it slowly.”
Nevertheless, when he awoke Thanksgiving morning, he could hardly wait until eight o’clock, which he considered a reasonable hour to telephone a person. He’d said he would call her at nine, but an hour didn’t make a big difference, did it?