Painful Decision | By: Diane Greenshaw | | Category: Short Story - Love Bookmark and Share

Painful Decision



 Where are my black boots?!" Rhysa shouted exasperated. She had been searching for her lucky boots for the last quarter hour. Her otherwise tidy bedroom now looked liked a garbage disposal site. There were drawers open with clothes hanging out of them. Her peach cotton sheets on the bed were littered with clothes. Not to mention the closet she was currently on her knees in front of, it was a disaster. She would need to devote an entire day to fix her room but she was late. Late for a very important meeting but how could she get to it if she didn't have her boots? She stood up facing defeat ready to choose a pair of black pumps when she remembered that her shoes were in the bathroom behind the door. Why were they there?

"Because I cleaned them last night..... ahhhhhhhh!" she screamed as she pulled them on hurriedly. It was already 8:20 am and her appointment was scheduled for 8:45 am. Her boss would surely put her neck on the block if she missed this client. She had a 20-minute drive and prayed the traffic was light. She grabbed her bag and dashed to the front door.


On her way out, she decided to get a final check of her self. She rather liked her outfit and hoped it would send a professional and competent message to this client. Her white shirt and black calf length skirt highlighted her figure. She was big busted and had been the brunt of jokes from jealous girls all through high school but now the new and confident Rhysa Perkins was no slouch and at 28 years old she knew the importance of having a full chest and the impact it had on the opposite sex. She hoped that her outfit would snugglingly slim her full figure.  She was by no means slim or model thin but her shape was definitely enhanced by her confident walk and self assured dressing.


A glance to her head in the hallway mirror revealed something much worse. Her hair was uncombed.

'What next?"  She thought and of on all days! First, her otherwise trustee alarm clock failed to wake her since it had not been reset after the electrical power outage the afternoon before. She was now paying for going to bed at 2:30 am that same morning fine tuning her presentation for this business meeting. It was her first celebrity assignment since she had been promoted to chief development officer at Duvall &Associates and was directly involved in all the portfolio assignments their company was currently involved in. Her successful snagging of the Lieberman shoe contract had increased the company's competitiveness in this industry.


Rhysa's hair on the other hand far supplied the image she wanted to create. It was like the weather, it did whatever it wanted whenever it felt like it. How was she going to tame her thick auburn mass of curls? She quickly put on some spritz and moisturized it then twirled it and trapped it with a clasp. There let the weather prevail! No sooner had she clasped it than some tendrils started to escape around her ears. She sent up a quick prayer and left.


Outside she rummaged through her bag for her car keys and after 3 more futile attempts gave in to the fact that she was destined to be late for her the appointment. Rhysa loved her car a silver Nissan bluebird. It had been the first thing she had bought when she received her one year bonus from the company. She dug into her purse for her cell phone. She would call the office and say that she was running late. Her phone was of no use. She had forgotten to charge it yesterday... power outage!

Rhysa rushed over to her landlord's home.

Her studio apartment was a heaven sent. It was located in the quiet suburban area of Westchester. Crime was very low and community watches were vigilant since over 70% of the homeowners were retirees. Her own landlord was a vice president of the community watch group.


Brent and Betty Kaddock were 75 and 73 yr old great grandparents respectively who were now enjoying retirement and looking out lovingly for their tenant. They were friends of her grandparents and had so willingly taken over this role since she had moved into her apartment 3 years ago.

"Good morning, beautiful Rhysa."  Brent Kaddock greeted as he opened the door. "Betty, Rhysa is here; we can show her the plans for the trip!" Brent moved into the house anticipating Rhysa to follow.

"Good morning Brent, Betty..." she said as bright as she could muster, "I locked my keys in my apartment and I need to get in since" she checked her watch, "I have an appointment in 5 minutes." No she would not panic she would not panic. She took deep breaths and tried to calm herself.

"O Rhysa dear, what a catastrophe!" Betty said getting her a glass of water." Sit my dear calm down it's going to be alright. Betty was a typical grandma type. She had the full figure, white hair and patient personality. She had been a knock out in her younger years and it seemed she had worn her looks out well.

Rhysa was too frazzled to relax.    DISCUSS SISTERS PARTY

"I need to leave, I am in a hurry," she tried to stress to reinforce the urgency. "Mr. Frenkin will surely fire me for this."

"Oh no dear you are the best executive that company has, it would be suicide to fire you." Brent added a former marketing manager for a large multinational firm. He and his wife had been stationed all over the world and were pleased now to be settled in Westchester.

"Please I need my keys, you don't understand the client I have the appointment with is Chris O'Connor?" she put her head in her hands.

Betty was calmly rubbing her back

"O'Connor?" Brent was shaking his head" O'Connor the cricketer?"

"Yes!" she stood up ready to admit that today was just going to be labelled as the worst day in history in her life.

"Rhysa don't forget we will be leaving on our trip later today... now don't worry my son Giles will look in on you." They handed her a spare set of keys; The Kaddocks were the best.

"Betty....... I will be fine, just enjoy your trip to St. Lucia."


Rhysa walked into the office building at exactly 9:45 am. She was one hour late. She had left the Kaddocks after a cup of tea to calm her nerves which had made her even later and totally defeated its purpose; she wished them well for their trip and took off. Traffic had been backed up because of a damaged pipe and so her otherwise short 20 minute route was now a full highway detour. She paused by the receptionist Joy who knew everything and gave her valuable insight in the going ons of the company....people wise.

""Oh no Rhysa.........the boss has been bellowing your name for the past hour." Joy carefully supplied her face alit with concern. "You had better come up with a good one!"

"Thanks for the heads up!"

Joy looked her over and decided that Rhysa had just been through one ordeal already and undoubtedly walking into another one. "Tell me later girlfriend and remember to put on a bullet proof vest!" she called out as the elevator door closed.


Rhysa wanted to scream, how she could be so late and worse yet everyone knew it. She prepared herself mentally as the elevator took her up to the 15th floor. As the bell dinged to signal that she had arrived, she took a deep breath, closed her eyes and exited.

She bumped into someone as she stepped out of the elevator and stumbled backward and fell. This was not going well. Her files were scattered all over the floor because of some clumsy knucklehead who was not watching where he was going. She quickly picked up her stuff with the aid of her attacker/ rescuer.

"I am so sorry, miss" the voice said, "but you just rushed out so quickly!"

"Me!" she fumed "you had better watch where you are going next time!" she said sternly. "This is an elevator...people come out of these things." She further stressed while looking for her bag. "It is proper etiquette to allow persons to get off before you get on, to avoid situations like these." She continued sternly already annoyed. A helpful hand picked it off the floor and handed it to her. Rhysa's patience flew further out of the window as she pulled it out of the hands of the person who had caused it to fall in the first place.

She quickly dusted herself off. Then she recollected herself before taking note of the person speaking to her. She stood up straight and stared in utter embarrassment. She blushed from the roots of her hair to her pink rose coloured toenails.

"I am truly sorry miss," a now stony voice repeated. "thanks for the advice."

Rhysa stood there in shock as The Chris O'Connor stepped into the elevator and disappeared. Oh no! Her mind was racing, she hoped that no one from the office saw or heard her discussion with Chris O'Connor.


"Ms Perkins!" she froze "My office now!" she slowly turned around still clutching her belongings against her body as some sort of armour. She slowly followed her boss, Mr. Frenkin to his office.  He was tall and lean and walked stiff backed with a determined purpose in front of her. Rhysa felt like a prisoner walking to her execution. The shy smiles she received from her colleagues who seemed to have had witnessed everything were of little comfort. She had barely closed the door behind her before the volcano exploded.

"This must be the most humiliating experience of all my years in this business." As he paced, he glared at her menacingly like a tiger surveying its prey. His words were enunciated carefully and made her feel like she was back in Kindergarten.

"You arrive late, miss an important appointment with Chris O'Connor!"  He sat behind his heavy oak desk with his hands flat on the surface. "make Chris O'Connor no less wait for you and to top it all off, you insult the guy when you do arrive!" Her boss stood up as if to punctuate his point. Rhysa started to tremble because Mr. Frenkin's huge bellowing voice sounded like thunder during a lightning storm. It was sharp and could sneak up on a person even if you were prepared for it.

"Well young lady, what do you have to say for yourself?" he took a deep breath and Rhysa was unsure whether she should speak or just sink into the floor.

"Well?" he repeated this time less patiently.

"Sir, I am so sorry but I locked my keys in my apartment and the traffic was a mess because of a detour----"

He was looking none the bit moved by her babbling.

"Alexander Graham Bell invented phones for a reason" he paused "to communicate especially for situations like this."

"Yes sir but my mobile was dead!" she frantically added

"Dead mmm what an apt description" she gulped 'if you screw this Ms. Perkins you will be dead in this business like your mobile."


Rhysa was speechless, Mr. Frenkin had never spoken to her like this. He was pretty mad but she could not blame him since Chris O'Connor was a hot commodity. His impending business with them would solidly establish the company internationally as one of the best business promoters in the sporting world.

"I demand competence from all my staff including executives. If we don't set up a high bar, how can the juniors learn and progress." He stood up and started to pace after he lit up a cigar. "I had to tell your appointment..... Mr. O'Connor....... in case you forgot, some reason why you were unable to be present at 8:45 am."

"I will make it up to you I swear. I will call him right now and apologize. I will do anything." She added eagerly.

"You bet you will" he picked up some files form his desk "O'Connor has graciously decided to meet you tonight, for dinner since he is only in town for the weekend.'

"Tonight?" she asked

"Yes, he will be available for a business dinner." Rhysa could not have had a worse feeling in her gut. "His agent will call later to give the place and time"

"But sir---"

"No buts. In spite of everything you're the best although I am surely rethinking this stance now."

"Sir I ---"

"That is all Ms. Perkins," he opened the door to usher her out.

"Thanks for the second chance," she mumbled as she stepped out of the office.

"Don't thank me yet. Make that appointment, close the deal and then I will get my thanks Perkins. Have a good day."


Rhysa knew that something else had to go wrong. Tonight was her sister's 21st birthday party. Her sister had come from her work study in France to celebrate this day with the family. The party was super essential. Her parents would be highly disappointed that she put work before family. What was she going to do? If O'Connor even wanted to sit with her after she treated him so harshly by the elevator. She hoped he would want an early dinner although those celebrity types insisted on late dinners either way she was going to have to cut it close. Have dinner and return to her parents' home or vice versa. It was Friday thank goodness, for small mercies!


It was 6 pm and here she was undecided what to wear, the outfit she had chosen for her sister's party would not be appropriate for her dinner with Chris O'Connor. After a hellish day at the office where everyone betted that O'Connor would turn her on her tail in two minutes she did not want to make her fellow staffers happy with their pool.  She had called her parents to tell them that she would be late since she had an unavoidable business appointment; her mother had been utterly emphatic after hearing her daughter's comedy of errors. She was going to have dinner with O'Connor at 7:30 pm and be at her sister's party by 9 pm. Great! She thought O'Connor surely wouldn't want to spend the entire evening with her. He was a busy man.


She rummaged through her closet and stumbled upon a baby blue dress, she had bought on her last trip to Italy. Its halter like neckline was sedate enough yet elegantly emphasized the light chiffon of the material. It was knee length with a diamond pearl hemline. The skirt twirled around her legs and made her feel sexy. She had never gotten an opportunity to wear it and tonight it would be perfect. It was elegant yet it had the party flair. Great she would not have to change before going to her sister's shindig.


Unknown to Rhysa the dress seductively brought out the beauty of her high cheekbones and softly angular face as well as her curvaceous figure. She was lightly powdering her face when the door bell rang at 7:15. It couldn't be the Kaddocks because they were on their way to paradise. She peeped through the hole to see a well dressed man in a chauffeur's uniform.

"Good evening, Ms. Perkins," the young man greeted removing his cap "Mr. O'Connor has sent me to pick you up."

Rhysa couldn't be more stunned. A chauffeur? Well, well, well.

"One moment please." She said as the man stepped away from the door and returned to the street where a long black limousine was parked.


A day full of surprises indeed, O'Connor really travelled in class. Guess the evening would just be spectacular especially after she introduced herself. The ride was very pleasant and as she was escorted to the table in the far side of the restaurant. It was almost secluded form the rest of the place by a huge border of potted ferns and palms.

Chris O'Connor surely used his fame well. She took a deep breath as they approached the table where her client was already seated. As she rounded the palm, she came up to him.  A slight twitch of his left eyebrow revealed he had remembered their earlier encounter.


"Good evening, I am Rhysa Perkins," She started the ball rolling by extending her hand. "Pleased to meet you Mr. O'Connor."


"The pleasure is all mine, Ms. Perkins and please call me Chris." He pulled out her chair and helped her to sit. His mother taught him some manners she thought maybe he was not bad after all.

"You look it for my benefit?" his pedestal crashed to the ground with a loud bang, Rhysa thought as she glared at him returning to his own chair. He looked like a model featured on the pages of GQ. He was dressed in a grey suit with a white undershirt and grey tie. His dark blond hair was sleeked back and his deep piercing blue eyes stared at her above a straight nose. He had a charmingly handsome face, one mothers fell in love with and made girls swoon with lust. Chris O'Connor carried his 6 feet three inch frame very well indeed with firm broad shoulders and a packed chest. He was built like the athlete that he was. The annoying thing is that he was gorgeous and he knew it. He exuded sex appeal and had a legion of girls who developed an interest in the sport of cricket just to watch him play. His charm off the field was also renowned and he was recently named the hottest bachelor in London.


This man was used to having things done his way. Instantly she made up her mind to despise him.  Chris O'Connor would not add her to his bevy of followers no way was she going to be entrapped by this playboy, so let the night begin and end soon so she could get to her sister's party and forget this specimen of male hunkmania before her. Rhysa stilled herself and squared her shoulders ready to begin this business dinner.


"Mr. O'Connor, I must apologize for this morning. It must be a total inconvenience to have dinner with me tonight so let's just finish up the arrangements, so you can get on with your evening." She suggested as she unpacked her files from her carrying case.

"Ms. Perkins, you will excuse me," his tone of voice was anything but soft when he enunciated her name, she looked up at him. He was looking none to happy by her brash approach. His eyes were twinkling and the glint in them made Rhysa feel momentarily scared of what this man had planned for her.


"Mr. O'Connor?" she looked at him questioningly. He put his elbows on the table and leaned forward as he spoke,

'I made time to be here this evening, I am going to have dinner with my lovely companion and when I feel that our business is concluded we will leave....okay?" Rhysa was furious.......the gall of the man to make her feel affronted. He leaned back and waited for her response with that glint in his eyes. What was he planning and why was he acting like this was anything but business.

"Fine."  She agreed pleasantly as she plastered a fake sweet smile on her face.

"You look ravishing this evening." He complimented with a frosty smile on his lips. This was going to be a long night.

"Thank you Mr. O'Connor."

"Please call me Chris." he insisted pouring wine into her glass without consulting her.

"Thank you Chris....Rhysa." she choked out trying to rein in her anger.

"Now you can apologise for this morning." Rhysa almost stood up and left. He was seated there taunting her. Well, she would grin and bear it for now after all she had missed their appointment earlier and insulted his commonsense. She tried to convince herself, although she longed to hit this block head with the wine bottle on the table.


"I do realize that this morning we had an appointment but I was unavoidably late due to personal reasons and I do hope that this does not sully your opinion of Duvall & Associates."

"Personal reasons," he leaned forward again, this time his smile was like saccharin, "I am intrigued, what personal reasons could keep a woman noted for her skill, prowess and adept ability for promptness away from an important appointment?" He was speaking slowly and sensually. His tone invoked a frizzle in her blood. Somehow he had made that sentence undertake a sexual tone. "Did your lover keep you up late last night?" Rhysa choked on her wine. When she recovered the clout was smiling even his eyes were glowing.

"Mr...... Chris, I did say I was sorry, but I would rather not expound upon my reasons."

"So it was a lover......... with such a gorgeous body who could blame him." Her eyes fired lasers at her opponent.

"For your information, I don't have a lover!" she shouted then remembered where she was, looking around to make sure that no one had heard her.

He seemed pleased with her outburst. "Marvellous, then you are single," se had divulged much too much information. This was a business meeting for Jupiter's sake.

"Please can we look at the marketing strategy before midnight comes." she said through pursed teeth.

He signalled to the hovering waiter, "Rick bring us the chateaubriand with a light soup to start." The man walked off towards the kitchen area.

"Hey wait just a minute! How dare you order for me that was rude!" she fumed.

"Rhysa your eyes sparkle when you're angry, just like this morning. It really makes you even more beautiful."

"They will sparkle even more if we don't start on the reason why we are here!" she was angry and at the end of her fuse.

This jerk was trying to infuriate her. She guessed he was avenging himself for her behaviour this morning. The man was bent on testing her.

"Excuse me but the meal you just ordered for me without my prior consultation is not very gentlemanly."

"Well put Rhysa.....I really like the way your name rolls on my tongue. It sounds Italian, is it? Are your parents Italian by chance?"

"It is improper to order like you just did," she smiled through clenched teeth trying to stick to her point. "I would have never believed that the great Chris O'Connor was a chauvinist......." She let her voice trail away leaving the unspoken word floating in the air.

Chris O'Connor looked at her seriously for a few seconds then he burst out laughing. Rhysa's face reddened. How dare he laugh at her? The man was archaic! How could she have so foolishly believed the media reports about him and his gentle tolerating ways? Obviously, he was a toad, a big tall handsome toad but one nonetheless.

"Loosen up Rhysa we are here to eat....." he reached for her hand and time stopped as their hands made contact, Rhysa felt a sizzle in her blood. "...and to enjoy the evening." He continued as she quickly pulled her hand away although it felt like it had been scalded. What was it about him? He was infuriating her one second and the next her hormones were driving her crazy.

"This is a business meeting... I am a professional and I never mix business with my personal life." She said trying to calm her nerves, she hated this guy yet her blood was all hot and her hormones were spinning out of control with anticipation. What was wrong with her tonight? She knew better than to let this toad affect her. She needed a strategy to get through the meal without losing her sensibility in the process.

"Please don't feel offended, but you and I both know that ever since we met there has been this powerful force between us." He held her hands in his and on queue a frisson zipped through her body. She looked up at him, moved by what had just happened. He seemed taken aback as well.

Rhysa automatically excused herself and rushed to the ladies room to get her breath back. She looked at herself in the mirror and fumed not because of his overly sexual tone but that he was absolutely correct. She hated him for knowing her and feeling what was obviously something very alien to her. She had not been on a date in a year. Ever since she set her sights on her current position she had worked her tail off. Men loved to come on to her especially for her figure but she had always been weary of them since her high school.


She had been heart broken by a boy in her senior year of high school; Greg Mathis had been the star midfielder of the school football team. He had dissolved her reserved nature with kisses and attention. She had been swept off her feet, feeling so in love with this handsome athlete who had wanted her. Her naiveté was shattered when one night he had stopped at the gas station to fill up. She had gone to buy soda and overheard him with one of his team mates saying how he was close to seeing her breasts. It seems her growing full bosom had been a bet among not only the football team but the entire senior male class she learned later. Since then she had worn clothes to hide her shape since she did not want any attention drawn to that particular part of her anatomy. She wanted to be respected for her brain and not her body shape. Usually she steered clear of gorgeous men who flirted with her especially athletes. She preferred persons who were more caught up with her mind than her body. Unfortunately, there was one athlete she needed to avoid since his touch was dangerous.


Now Chris O'Connor was lavishing her with words that made her highly suspicious especially since he was a mega player both on the field and off. Rhysa promised that she would not let him get the better of her, she was a professional she had control. He would not break down her defences. She left the ladies room slowly taking deep breaths to regain her composure. On her return, her nemesis was having a telephone conversation. His mind was focused on the person on the other end of cellular phone to his ear. He saw her and ended the conversation.


He was a real handsome man. His brown blonde hair suits his complexion exquisitely. He normally had light curls that danced out of place and made him boyish but tonight his look was dashingly risqué as his sleek black hair made him more gorgeous than ever. His blue eyes were piercingly dark and she was sure that they were darker during the day. She had seen countless pictures of him on television, on billboards and in magazines. Since his inclusion in the national squad his popularity had soared. Not to mention he was the number one cricketer in the world in the one day version of the game and number two in the test aspect. He was an all rounder in both types of the sport. People loved the ease with which he batted and the consistency of his bowling, he had fast become one of the most popular all rounders of the sport.


He had opted to finish his university education before becoming a professional cricketer. He held an MBA in marketing and had attended Cambridge University. He was also heavily involved in his family business and had recently diversified by starting a small merchandising company with his brother. He was an intelligent guy who knew a little too much about everything and that made Rhysa uncomfortable because the way in which he was staring at her now made her feel like a lab rat. He seemed to have a plan and she made up her mind to ensure that it did not succeed because that ever present glint in his eyes told her that his plan was not along the lines of business.


They talked business until their meal arrived. Chris it seemed was unconcerned with the time and had mellowed since her return to the table. He was a great conversationalist and they discussed several issues relating to the environment and the current state of political affairs around the world.

"So Rhysa what would you say to a night out.......with your humble servant?" she could have puked. Who was he kidding? After the way he ribbed her all night he thought she would spend a second more with him than she had too. Ha ha ha! Wildfires would be easier to tame! So that was his plan, get her comfortable and when she as warm enough swoop down another plug in his resume. This vulture had met his match. She smiled sweetly and stated in her business voice,


"Sorry but I have a prior engagement." a glance at her watch showed that it was already 9:30. "Thank you but no.....we have all the data we need to start the promo. We will give you an update by mid week. It was a pleasure having dinner with you Chris but I do have to leave now!" she stressed a bit hurriedly.

He looked like he had no intention of letting her go so tamely and she was wildly thinking of things to do to put him down lightly while not jeopardizing her business with him. The truce seemed ready blow.

He stood up and escorted her out of the restaurant. In spite of his major flawed manners and heavy come ons the evening had not been a total disaster. They had achieved their business objective but Chris was intent on fulfilling a personal one.

"Please, let me take you to your "non existent" lover" he smirked.

That was the straw that broke the camel's back.

"I am not going to my lover and I can take a cab because this business dinner ended five minutes ago!" she dug into her purse to retrieve her mobile but it was yanked away from her.

"I insist." He all but pulled away her phone and shoved her into the waiting limousine.

"Give me back my phone, you bully"

"Only if you promise to behave." he held it in his right hand away from her she would have to climb over him to get it. She was not going to risk any close contact with him so she took calming breaths as she counted to ten.

'Fine' she conceded.

'So, where can I drop you off?"

She wanted to throttle him and choke that sexy smile off his ever so kissable pink lips. Oh no what was she thinking. She quickly turned her eyes away from his face.

"To my parents' home." was supplied quietly.

'Wow?" he seemed to be pondering her words.

"You are going to spend Friday night with your folks?" his voice showed his disbelief.

"Yes," he handed her back her phone and she gave the driver the address. "Do you have a problem with that your majesty?"

"Indeed because I was surely hoping to have spent the rest of the night with you?"

"In your dreams buster." She said pulling herself all the way to the left side of the vehicle he sure knew how to push her anger buttons.


He laughed lightly. "Most women find me attractive."

"Then I belong to the minority."

"From the moment I met you there was chemistry between us Rhysa."

"Oh my Chris O'Connor, what a lame come on line?" She was not going to let him break her. He was much too high profile to have any vested interest in her apart from business. Furthermore he was only doing what most men do when they were in the presence of the opposite sex.....think of their sex drive.

Not soon enough they arrived at her parent's home. It was a stately 1970s family home located in a quiet middle class borough. Her mother was an avid gardener and the entrance of the home was alive with colour from flowers from all areas of the globe. Her parents had been fortunate to have raised two daughters. They were a close knit family. Her parents now retired had married in their mid twenties and raised their children with vigour nestled in them from puberty. She had enjoyed her childhood and although she and her sister Ciane were seven years apart they often acted like twin sisters.

The place was alive! Cars lined up the street. The whole neighbourhood had been invited thanks to her sister's outgoing nature something she had seriously lacked. Her childhood home had been transformed into an elegant party arena.

'Well thanks for the evening. I guess we will meet soon?" She extended her hand. He took it and kissed each of her fingers slowly. His tongue felt rough yet it sent a shiver through her body. She quickly pulled her hand back and rushed out of the door. "Whew!" she breathed as she stood on the sidewalk......... "That is over."

"What is over Rhysa?" the infuriating man was standing besides her smiling.

"Please leave. This is a private family gathering and you are not invited." Just then some local council men walked past her and to her chagrin stopped to greet Chris; she could hear Chris' soft laugh.

'Oh its early still aren't you going to invite me in?"

"Invite you? You must have been felled by a ball on your head lately? Good night!"

She stalked off and rushed up the walkway to her parents' house.

At the door a valet gathered her coat.  "Thank you" she said gazing at the throng of people. She went to her dad's library to secure her attaché case before venturing outside.


The party was being held in the back yard under the clear moonlight sky. Most of the guests were family, school friends of her sister and anyone her father as an ex police chief knew. It was an amazing mixture of people. As she spotted her sister in the crowd, she dashed off towards her. Ciane was blond, slim and tall. She was a model's envy since her size had nothing to do with exercise or a firm diet. Her sister ate any and everything. She looked radiant tonight with a beautiful ankle length red creation of glitter and swirls. Ciane just loved the fashionable life unlike her more reserved older sister. That is why she was studying design in France.

"Happy Birthday, sis!" she said as they embraced. "You look absolutely dazzling!"

"Thanks, so do, you actually invited him!" her sister said looking behind her. "Well aren't you going to introduce me?"

An awful feeling washed through Rhysa as she turned around to find a smiling Chris O'Connor making his way toward her looking like he belonged there. He stepped to her side and said sweetly "Chris O'Connor, sorry for keeping your sister so late, Happy Birthday."

"Thanks and welcome, it is an honour to have you here. My sister seems to be full of surprises lately." she could feel the wheels of her sister's mind turning "Come on let's circulate."

"You go on I'll go look for Mom and Dad first," she needed some time to admonish this soooo infuriating man. Her sister waltzed away but not before whispering "Details, tomorrow!"

"I thought I told you to leave! You just have to be the most stubborn man on the planet."

"Hey your sister told me to stay and she is the birthday girl so I guess you are just stuck with me!"

"Hmmph!" she said spinning away.

"I am impressed though." she eyed him slyly. "Impressed that you put off your sister's party for me. It is only fair that I make it up to you by escorting you at this party."

He took her hand and kissed it.

"Ahem?" she guiltily snatched her hand away and whirled around to see her father staring at them.

"Dad," she hugged him. 'Chris O'Connor, my father Simon Perkins." They shook hands and something odd happened, they seemed to stare at her at the same time with a puzzled look on their faces. Rhysa was unsure what to gather from it but before she could ask her mother appeared and stole her away after brief introductions.

"He seems to be quite a charming young man." Her mother said while ushering her to the bar. "Your father does not like the designs he has on you."

"Mom, you only met him for three seconds. Plus he has no designs on me."

"Parents know these things, honey. Now, be nice and tell your Aunt Hilda to meet me in the kitchen." She glanced to the area where her father and Chris were conversing with her Uncle Pilas no doubt about cricket.

Her mother placed a hand on her arm "He'll be fine." She wasn't worried about Chris; she only wanted him gone so her heart could calm down.


After dutifully making her rounds, Rhysa felt obligated to check on Chris since he had gate crashed her sister's party. He was standing alone near the bar, "Hi" she said to him.

"Hi, yourself beautiful" He touched her hair.

"Will you stop that...anyway I only came over here to see if you were enjoying your gate crashing."

"Oh just love to bait me." They were standing near a hedge at the end of the bar and were pretty secluded from the rest of the guests. "I like your family....they did a good job with you."

'Oh you are passing judgments. It seems you got your wish."

'My wish?"

"Yes, to exact tantamount revenge from me for missing our morning appointment."

"You must admit I would have been easier on you if you had better elevator manners which I must add your parents must have taught you."

She could stand no more of Chris O'Connor no matter who he was. It was soon time to cut the cake and her sister's boyfriend Pierre was eager to do some serious lip locking much to her father's chagrin. Like a magnet Chris drew her eyes to his as her sister had her birthday dance with her father followed by Pierre. He walked toward her across the yard not once releasing her stare. He stopped a few feet in front of her.


"My lady may I have this dance?" like a moth to a flame she acquiesced. Being in his arms was magical. They seemed to be floating. She avoided him after that and cursed her self for being swept away like a silly school girl. At 28 she should have known better. He was a born charmer that's why he was so popular especially with women.


Rhysa helped as much as she could to clean up after most of the guests were gone. She had told Chris to leave hours ago and avoided him like the plague. She had not seen him for about an hour and suspected that he had left. It was almost 3 am and she was bone tired after a hellish day both mentally and physically not to mention emotionally. She placed this squarely on one person's shoulders Chris O'Connor.


She would have willingly spent the night at her parents' home but she needed to wake up in her own bed. She said goodbye to everyone and left. Her mother had graciously offered to let her use her car but she was too tired to drive so her cousin Vince had volunteered to take her home since he lived ten minutes away from her apartment. As she stepped into the living area she was flabbergasted at the sight of Chris with her Uncle Pilas' sons Joachim and Milton chatting in the living room as they put the furniture back into place. She thought he had left hours ago since she had not seen him. He seemed to be relaxed as he helped her family to put stuff in order. She stopped and stared at him angrily. He smirked and shrugged with a glint of mischief in his eyes.


"Hey Rhysie, your young man is an asset to this country's pride in the sport."

"Joah, he is not my young man!" she shouted as she stalked out much to the amazement of her cousin and the delight of the young man in question. She was tired and irritable. She went outside to wait for Vince as he went for his vehicle. However her plans had once again been meddled in when Chris adeptly ushered her into the limousine before she could say "Uncle".

"Vince -"he cut her off.

"-- is not taking you home, I am." She was too tired to argue.

"You know one thing I learnt about you this evening is that you are a first class bully!" How could a perfectly horrid day get any worse she thought? She was deliberately silent on the drive to her apartment. Chris seemed deep in thought when she stole a glance his way along the journey. He had removed his jacket and tie, rolled up his sleeves and opened a few top buttons of his shirt. What was he thinking? She wondered. He was probably cooking up some more mischief stew for her she decided. Happiness was too light an emotion to describe her relief when the limo pulled into her driveway. Finally this day would end and she could fall asleep and dream until Sunday.

"Well thanks again for a pleasant evening Chris, I do hope that you have a peaceful drive to your hotel and a good weekend. " She got out of the car before he could utter any words then raced up the drive way. She stopped at the front door to get her keys and prayed that he had not followed her. She let herself into her home and soon heard the limousine drive away. Whew she sighed as she sagged against her front door. What a day and what a night. All she wanted to do was fall into bed. She took off her shoes and went into the kitchen to drink some water when the door bell rang. Who could be calling at this time of the morning? As a single woman she had taken some self defence classes much to her father's agreement.

She walked slowly to the door and peeped out. She wanted to scream!

What was Chris doing here? She wanted to leave him outside but probably there was a problem with the limo.

"This had better be good O'Connor!" she greeted as she opened the door

'Actually it will be..." he smiled, "but you have to let me in first to find out." She didn't budge. He smiled even more broadly.

"I see you need a little more convincing" she folded her tired arms across her chest.

"Okay, I need to use your phone my mobile is dead" She raised an eyebrow where had she heard that before?

'Why don't you go to your hotel and use their phone' she didn't miss a beat.

"I can't" she leaned against the door jam

"Rhysa please?" begging he was desperate. She realized that the limo was not parked out front; in fact it was no where on the street.

She stepped away and allowed him to enter, "Where is the limo?" he had the gall to look sheepish.

"I sent Luciano home."

"You did what?" she went to get her cordless phone. "It seems you need a cab." she was leafing through the yellow pages refusing to digest Chris' last statement. "Good here is a 24hr service, let's call them."

Chris stood in the same spot, "No." he said softly but firmly.

"No! No! You badge into my home at this hour of the morning and you stand there and say NO!" She flew at him, trying to push him out with her hands against his chest, all the while screaming. "Get out of my house this minute!"

They wrestled and he eventually wrestled her down on the sofa. She was breathless and her chest was heaving from her tirade. They stayed like that for a long while, staring into each other's eyes until Chris finally kissed her. She should have pulled away but his lips were like honey pulling her deeper into the kiss. He gently prodded her lips open as he slid his tongue inside. She moaned and wrapped her hands around him. This was bliss she felt like her body had been made for this. They ravished each other's mouths. His hands were doing a number to her hair. His hands were so soft and gentle as they caressed her face and her neck. He began to kiss her neck and her eyes as she was swept away by emotion. His mouth moved further down as his hands rubbed her nipples. She dug her nails into his back as she felt on fire. His tongue was slowly making a trail along her neck. He nipped the base of her throat with his teeth as she moaned quietly.


He sat up and pulled her with him. He looked into her eyes smouldering with passion and want. His own eyes were glazed as he murmured "I want to make love with you Rhysa?"  it was more of a question. A permission slip to continue what they had already began. She looked into his eyes feeling the need that had been building up all night. Carefully, she unfolded herself from him and felt him shrink away. He cast his eyes away from her as she stood up. In front of him, she placed herself between his legs tenderly placed her right index finger under his chin to raise his face. He looked so filled with desire that she was propelled with a lack of inhibition as she started to dance ever so gently swaying her hips while she deliberately let her legs touch his. He smiled.


She then took out the pins from her hair, and let her hair drop around her shoulders. Then she unclasped her dress from her neck. It slithered to the floor leaving her naked except for a pair of frilly white laced panties with a matching bra. She then pushed his back to lean against the sofa as she straddled him. He took her mouth like a hungry lion. His hands moved over her already hot skin as his hands found her bra and slowly unclasped it; her breasts sprang free into his awaiting hands. They were full ripe and pink.

He left her swollen mouth to trail kisses down her throat until he reached her breast which he licked like smooth vanilla ice cream.

"Your skin is as soft as silk" he huskily moaned.


The touch of his mouth around her nipple made her scream. She wiggled on him.

"Ohhhh" she arched her back and pulled his hair. It felt so soft flowing through her fingers. She dug her fingers through them and pulled her fingers through its softness. His hair smelled of the ocean. It had that wild abandon scent that made her feel the wind at her back and the open sea in front of her. He thoroughly lavished her breasts with his tongue. His lips captured one again and totally devoured it. She was on fire.


'Oh yes Chris"

"Your breasts are exquisite........... a master piece"

No man had ever made her feel so sensuous or so womanly before. When he turned to the other nipple his mouth felt so hot and slick. His tongue was rough on her soft breast but the feel of it made her arch even more. He was making her nipples get so hard and so tight. His lips pulled her nipple and she screamed.

"Ohh...ohhh...ohh, Chris!"


The passion was so intense that Rhysa ripped open his shirt exposing a firm solid chest. She wanted him so much. She glided his shirt and jacket off with her hands while their lips met again. His skin felt firm and his muscles were hard. She rubbed her breasts down his chest and felt him stiffen. This pleased her and she lost control as she run her tongue down the path where her breast had trailed. She seized his left nipple between her teeth as he squeezed her butt and removed her panties. He pushed her away momentarily.

"I need you now!" He whispered hoarsely as he stood up to remove his remaining clothes. Rhysa was not disappointed. He was firm and hard with want. She closed him with her hands.

"Ooh yes mmmm" he laid her back on the sofa as she continued to hold his throbbing shaft. He helped her put on the condom which he retrieved from his pants' pocket as she guided him inside of her burning moist body.

"Hmmmm...mmmm" she felt like she was going to explode. She was wet and he glided into her like this was destiny. They were staring sat each other both feeling the immense emotion their union had caused. The hurricane started to churn inside her as it strengthened into a volatile storm and their rhythm became fast and furious. They moved as one each feeding off the other. The hurricane moved onto a crest where the one storm of passion reached fulfilment at the same time. The two of them had been joined in their climax and now as the passion was ebbing the one storm became two again. Each deeply sated never having felt such a rush of emotion like they had just experienced.


Chris collapsed onto the couch, tired and satisfied. He kissed her softly knowing that he would never stop wanting her. She had been a treasure. Her response to him had been so real so full that he knew he wanted something more with her. He was determined to know more abut this woman he held in his arms. He touched her hair and pushed it off her face. Her eyes were closed, she was truly a stunningly beautiful woman. Her relaxed breathing signalled to him that she was fast asleep. He knew that she had pleased him and the small smile on her face shows that he had returned the same sentiment. He gently lifted her and searched for her room. He placed her naked body under the sheets and was tempted to leave her and go back to his hotel but the temptation to hold her for a minute more was stronger. He slid under the covers and gathered her in his arms. He promised himself that he was going to leave when he knew that she was sleeping soundly.


Rhysa felt glorious. She felt so warm, she was having the most salacious dream.  Kisses were being put all over her chest, she was getting hot all over. The lips suckling her breasts were hot and it felt so good. She was still a bit tired but she was warm and comfortable. This dream was beyond ecstasy. She let herself flow in it as her body rode the wave of pleasure. She orgasmed knowing that this felt so real. Sleep assailed her soon after her replenishment.


Light had come in and she knew it was morning. She snuggled deeper under the covers, her body had a tingling feeling all over. She moved her hands to harden her pillow when it screamed "Ow, that hurts!"

She sat up and reluctantly opened her eyes to find Chris O'Connor rubbing his chest in her bed. She glanced at her own self and realized that she was naked. She quickly remedied the situation by pulling the covers and in so doing revealed a very naked Chris O'Connor. Every detail about their encounter flooded back to her. It had not been a dream but the real thing and by the look of Chris he was in a mood to continue this fantasy.


"Trying to maim me so early Rhysie?" her bed mate said smugly. She was in too much shock to reply as the early morning events unfolded in her awakening brain.

"Good morning' he continued and leaned forward to kiss her, she pulled away.

"No, please no" she had slept with him what was she going to do? She had never done anything so rash in her life before.

She got out of bed pulling the top sheet with her "Chris you need to leave, please go."

He looked so luscious sprawled out on her bed "Not yet." was the bold reply. She rubbed her eyes trying to believe that she was still dreaming.

'Yes we made love and I don't want you to regret it." He was saying as he got off the bed and proceeded to come towards her.

"Regret of course I regret it!' she screamed as she scrambled to find something to wear. "Chris this should have never happened. You're a client. My boss will kill me if he finds out." She found her robe in her closet. "Plus I hate you remember."

"Hate. I would sure love some more hate." She turned to face him. He was standing in all his naked glory looking at her and from the looks of it he was in no physical situation to leave. She gasped audibly at his erection.

"Ewww, this can't be happening, why is it happening to me?" he came to towards her "Just leave me alone, you have caused enough damage already." She sidestepped him and run to the bathroom. She locked the door behind her and shouted "Let's just forget this, please Chris just go" she broke down.

"Open the door Rhysa, we need to discuss this as rational adults; he was trying to force the door open " Open dammit!"

"Go away!"

"Not until you get out here so we can have a civilized conversation"


"Rhysa we were consenting adults who both knew that the night would end up like this. Now open the damn door so we can talk properly!"

"I said no.........why won't you listen to me. You've screwed with my life from the moment we met. I don't ever want to see you again"

"Rhysa" he was pushing against the bathroom door with his body "Rhysa open up!"

She was too angry with her self for allowing herself to be swept away like this. How could she have lost so much control. If this got out she was finished at Duvall & Associates. She didn't know who she hated the most right now Chris for his damn charming nature or herself for succumbing to that charm.

"Rhysa, stop being childish."

"If you break down this door I will never forgive you....... now leave!"

She turned on all the taps at full blast to block out his voice. She lay huddled on the shower floor as cold water run down her body. After a few minutes the door stopped moving and she heard nothing but the echoing sound of water running. At least the water had somewhere to run to. She had none. She would just have to live with herself knowing that she had let lust control her something she had promised herself she would never do all those years ago. When Chris had touched her she was lost, it was like she was entranced, she could not believe she let it go so far. It had been unbelievable she had never thought sex could be so exotic, so true, so pure but it had been and with Chris O' Connor no less.


An hour later she emerged from the bathroom and quickly scoured her place. Chris had indeed left. She bolted her front door and prayed she would have no visitors this morning. She was even pleased that the Kaddock's were out of town because she would have had a whole lot of explaining to do if the weren't. Her mind was a mess, but her apartment wasn't since Chris had fixed the sofa and placed her clothes on her bed. She didn't even want to touch the sofa. The sight of it made her blood simmer all over. No she chided herself one deviation was enough. She would not allow herself to be swept up by the still raw emotion that swirled in her stomach.  She would clean today. Clean to wipe away the memories and to think of her next strategy. How was she ever going to face that man again knowing how they had so completely enjoyed making love? Hey what was she thinking? She had to regain control.


She started with the living area maybe she needed to change her furniture especially that sofa. She had had it for some three years now. She leafed through an online magazine and found a set that would match her living area perfectly. She ordered it and hoped that their same day delivery promise was a surety. She put in her favourite CD of Faith Hill and started to vacuum the rug. It turned out to be another big mistake as the slow love melody of "This kiss" was a haunting reminder. She switched it off and turned her stereo to a pop station, she was jiving to the music until the vacuum cleaner started to sputter. She searched the floor for the obstructions and found three shirt buttons. She was a classic fool. The guy had played her like violin. He had ribbed her all evening, gate crashed her sister's party, lied to get into her apartment and worse of all seduced her tired defences. He was smooth all right, smooth in getting her into his web, what must he think of her now? Knowing him he would not let this rest, men like him believed they could have any woman when they wanted, she had to resist him, he was not going to mess with her again.


By two o'clock in the afternoon, she had straightened her apartment and was making her way to her parents' home to help them clean up after the party.

As she turned her street corner, a car had pulled up into her drive way. She was oblivious to the fact that the sole occupant of the vehicle had pounded for nearly ten minutes on her front and back door. He had finally slipped notes under the door and in her mailbox. The flowers he carried were placed defeatingly in front of her entrance way.  He got back into his car promising to return later.


Her parents had hired a family cleaning crew who had basically spruced up the place very quickly. A lot of cleaning had been done earlier that morning so very little had been left to do. The graces of having a large family had shone off today. She and her sister were seated on the patio lounges sipping pink lemonade.

"I had a blast last night........" her sister commented "it feels really great to be 21. All the privileges and all" they laughed both knowing that her sister had had privileges since she was 16.

" It was a great shindig, mom really pulled off another winner."


"Speaking of winners, what ever happened to that tall hunk with the blue eyes who escorted you last night?" She averted from her sister's peering eyes.

" I wouldn't know." her sister sat erect and suddenly looked very interested in the conversation .

"Hmmm........he was totally into you." Ciane refilled her glass. "He is pretty popular here and he had eyes...only... for" Ciane was jingling the last three words like an errant school girl.

"Ci ci we only met yesterday plus he is a business client." she was lying through her teeth and hoped Ciane would not smell a rat.

"A client? I saw you two dancing." Ciane stood up and tried to imitate an intimate pose with an imaginary partner. She was demonstrating her fox trot while humming a slow tune,

"Ooooo, your eyes are so beautiful Rhysie"

She changed positions to imitate the female " No, your eyes are beautiful, Chris," she put her hands out as if to pull her imaginary partner's head  closer to her face. "Kiss me until we both die!"

Rhysa started to laugh "Is that how you ravaged Pierre last night?"

"Touché!" Ciane returned to her chair. "I haven't seen you so caught up in man like that since..." she paused to count on her fingers. "since..." she continued counting. "ah ha since never?"

"Will you just drop this!" she said standing up.

" Drop it , oh no not when it is Chris O'Connor one of the hottest guys in the country!" her sister pulled her arm and forced her to retake her seat. "All I am saying big sis is live a little....!"

Rhysa was unsure what to actually tell Ciane. Her feelings had been tied up in knots since she woke up this morning in Chris' arms. She had always maintained a firm control on her emotions especially with men. Somehow Chris had broken that barrier last night and she hated herself for letting it happen. How could she face him again after she had opened up? She had been so wild with desire that she could not face him and not remember the great passion she had felt. Their lovemaking had totally fulfilled her for the first time. It seemed that they had just blended so uniquely that she was afraid to let go anymore.

'Hey come back!" her sister was waving her hand in front of her face.

"I am right here just ignoring your senseless chatter." She hoped that Ciane had not read anything from her facial expression. Being an artistic person Ciane was great at reading emotions.

"Oh no! "Ciane jumped up again "Oh goodness!" Ciane put her glass down gently and covered her mouth "Oh goodness!" she repeated this time with a look of utter surprise.

'What is all this commotion Ciane?" her mother asked coming up the patio stairs with her sister Aunt Jaine. Her mother turned to her sister and said "Young uns" they all laughed at the running family joke. Her mother's father had always said that whenever anyone was shouting. He believed that one had to reach his age, whatever it was, to have complete wisdom and full understanding of life which meant no loudness.


"So why were you making such a racket Cici?" the person in question looked at her own sister and said so sweetly.

"I may be a rebel Mother but I am not one in disguise." Rhysa felt cold, her sister had guessed something, and she was itching with it.

"21 only a day and she has the knowledge of life." Her mother responded lightly "Come on girls let's all go into the kitchen to see if the men have left anything for us to eat." They all walked toward the kitchen but before they entered the door Ciane pulled her back slightly and whispered "I am sure he was worth it." Rhysa was shocked and feigned total ignorance.

"Huh?" she pulled away and entered but stopped just inside the door way. "You are warped."

"Me? I am not the one who just had a one night stand!" with that her sister breezed passed her and actually skipped to the island to have some helpings of fruit. Rhysa couldn't follow her since the room was full of relatives and her sister was standing smack dab in the middle of them smiling wickedly at her.

Rhysa did not enjoy her weekend. Her sister made murmurings to her all Saturday and on Sunday was shocked to laughter to see Rhysa's new sofa set. "I guess this was the scene of the crime" was her comment as she flopped on the new beige love seat. Her sister was suddenly so interested in her life that wished she would return to France immediately.

When she had returned home she found his notes and bouquets. This had made her even more uneasy.

She had given the flowers to Mrs. Pole who lived two houses down and was mourning the recent death of her husband of 56 years. The 74 year old widow had been very touched by the gesture and given her a batch of cookies straight from the oven. The Poles had been war veterans and had actually met on a ship while taking up new posts. She had been a nurse and he a sailor. They had always had great conversations of life, war, and people. However today, the conversation made Rhysa feel even more depressed when the widow started to reminisce of the times her husband had brought her flowers when they had been courting. Since they had been at sea most of the time he had planted a small secret garden on the boat. He would give her a rose every time the plant bore.


Rhysa went back to her apartment and decided to plan her strategy "How to ignore a man with who you made a mistake of making love to." She knew when she was done she would have a best seller on her hands. Rhysa had received ten phone calls from Chris on Saturday and she had ignored each one. His messages had the same theme. "We need to talk." "Call me when you get back." "Rhysa I need to see you." She deleted each one and put her recorder off when she left that evening to go out with her sister.


On Sunday Rhysa woke up a bit brighter and prepared to face the world again. Ciane was right she needed to live a little but not with Chris O'Connor. He was too high profile. She needed a man who was more ordinary. She went for her morning jog and returned to her apartment to meet a very annoyed Chris O'Connor waiting for her.

'Hi," she greeted pausing to stretch on the lower step. He walked toward her and she then noticed that he was very upset. He stood there watching her finish her routine with fire in his eyes. She pretended that he was not there, although the desire welling up in her gut made it pretty hard to do. After her second stretch she felt her left arm being captured and her body hauled to her front door.

"Open it." he commanded softly, "Open it now or we are going to have a very private discussion on your front step." The tone of obeisance was firm in his voice, one glance at him made her unlock the door with speed and precision.

"I love to play games Rhysa, it's what I do for a living but this game you're playing is not making me happy." He had just slammed the door shut and she was still reeling from its loud bang when his voice boomed with anger. He was standing menacingly in front of her demanding a response. "Well?" His eyes He looked ready to explode in fact he reminded her of her primary school headmaster when he was reprimanding a student for cheating.

"I am not playing any games Chris." She stated calmly before walking to the kitchen and leaving him steaming in the front room. She would not let him get the better of her. The more resistance she put up the better it would be. He would retreat quietly and soon forget that they had both made a stupid lustful mistake. She recollected herself; she had to be strong if she had to pull this smoothly. She had just opened a bottle of purified water when she felt rather than heard his disgust with her. She came out of the kitchen to find him standing in front of the new sofa set.

"Admiring my furniture?" she interrupted casually. His blue eyes sprung to her face and she felt like she would be burnt to a crisp.

"You are one messed up woman Rhysa." She agreed silently. "How could you do this, go so far as to destroy the evidence?" he gestured to the sofa.

"You're wrong again; I needed to refurbish the place."

"Funny, only the sofa was changed?" he commented matter of fact.

"My new motto: start small to weed out the bad in my life."

"I came here to make amends. You have not responded to any of my calls plus I made 3 trips here yesterday" she raised an eyebrow "yes 3 and you were suspiciously out!"

"I have a right to live my life as I wish," she stated matter of factly "and this means that you must leave I have things to do today.'

She went to the door and opened it "Friday was a mistake Chris one I promise never to make again especially with you."

"Lady you had better close that door because I am not leaving until we straighten things out!' he took off his jacket to reveal a pair of dark denims coordinated with a crisp white polo shirt that hugged his muscles so exquisitely. She closed her eyes. No she was going to be strong.

"We have nothing more to leave please" she added the last word softly.

"Friday was great for both of us and you cannot stand there and tell me that you don't feel the energy between us." She closed the door and leaned against it. Strength Rhysa do not let him break you down even if he is Chris O'Connor.

"Chris you're my client, on Friday I went against all client/ employee privileges." She was feeling light headed by his insistence to refuel their heated lovemaking. "I have a reputation to protect. Okay I concede I lost control but I chalk it up to the hellish day I had." He stood there looking at her, she felt compelled to get reasons to justify her cause. "Okay. Fine we had great sex but get over it!" she shouted stalking past him to open the back door. She needed as much air as she could gather.

"Rhysa, don't do this!" he came after her.

"Do what admit the truth? I know you Chris you're a hot commodity right now." His face was murderous as her soft tone hammered the final nail "I don't want anything more from you, I have had my taste of the great Chris O'Connor. You have done your civic duty to another female member of the population. Happy?"

He rushed to her and held her close "How can you cheapen what we had?

"What we had was one night of passionate sex ok?" he released her like she had the plague and stepped away from her.

 She felt her victory so she continued, "We're strangers. We barely know each other, so it's easy not to continue anything because there was not anything to begin with. I had a hectic day and lost my good sense." His face changed to a blank look of disinterest, which was replaced by an angry look. Rhysa now felt that she had finally won; he was going to back away. Instead he stepped forward and pulled her into his arms.

Rhysa froze, "Lost your good sense huh?' He started to kiss her, it was a brutal assault on her lips as he tried to coax them open. Passion started to stir within her but she had to keep it in check, she forced herself to remain stiff in his arms instead of just melting like she wanted to do. He released her and stepped back. He was really furious now as they stared down each other. Rhysa let the final gauntlet drop as she wiped her hand across her mouth. Chris' face changed, his eyes weren't breathing fire anymore in fact there was no emotion just a blank dark look. His whole persona was withdrawn now. He retrieved his coat and walked to the door.

"Fine you want to play it this way...good. You want us to be just associates," he was looking at her with a look of utter disdain "let's see how long before you realize that you have made a huge mistake."

She counterattacked "Fine see you on Wednesday."

He opened the front door, "I never make the same mistake twice, so make sure you're not tardy Ms. Perkins. Good day." He left with another bang of her front door. She sank onto the floor of the small patio. She then did what she promised she would never do and that was to cry over a man. She cried for an hour then she resolved that this was what she had wanted. He was gone. Their encounters would be only business for the next few months.


Mr. Frenkin was pleased that she had redeemed herself by sealing the O'Connor deal.

He made her start immediately to prep the ad campaign. She poured her heart into it. She was going to make Chris O'Connor the best package ever. He would have no doubts what so ever that she had forgotten their night of passion. She presented a proposal in which he would surely continue to make money even if he got a career ending injury today.


She was prepped up and ready for their 8:00 am appointment. She wore a black suit with a pink under shirt. It made her look very executively with her hair pulled away from her face and scrunched into a tight bun at the base of her neck. Her black traditional pumps sealed the effect. She had woken up at 4:00 that morning after having only three hours sleep and arrived at the office at 7:15. She did not want to arrive late and incur any wrath he might want to lash out at her. She was ready and her two colleagues had worked feverishly to get all the documents in order for the early morning meeting.


Rhysa refused to dwell on the fact that Chris had rescheduled the meeting to Tuesday since he had some other engagement on Wednesday, she highly suspected that he did it deliberately. During their Friday dinner meeting he had asked the approximate time preparing such documents would take and he knew that pushing it a day earlier would surely cause them added stress. The man was a rat. He didn't get his way so he was going to make her life miserable. She didn't care; she was going to show him that it took a lot more than two sleepless nights and the great all rounder Chris O'Connor to keep this girl down.


Rhysa stepped into the conference room and ensured that all papers were in place. She had just called in her associates Lucinda Mays and Greg Nelson when her secretary informed her that Chris and his party were in the building.

'Lucinda you will present the Richten account and Greg the Two Adidas endorsement contracts. She ensured that they had the files in front of them "I will present the housing contracts, ready team."

"Ready!" they chorused each pumping their fists like truck drivers.

The door opened and in walked her secretary leading Chris and two men.

She stood up and walked to greet them.

"Thank you Jules, good morning Mr. O'Connor," she shook his hand, he squeezed a little too tightly and she almost winced.

"Good morning, this is Andrew Bergman, my manager/agent and my lawyer Mr. Shane Hollioake."

"Pleased to meet you," she shook each of the extended hands, "Lucinda Mays and Greg Nelson make up the rest of the presentation party." After the introductions, she gestured everyone to their seats.

"Now Mr. O'Connor, we have prepared a portfolio for you based on your current financial situation and your proposed endorsements and real estate contracts." He was seated opposite her at the 16 seat conference table. They had occupied the half closest to the large glass windows that overlooked the busy downtown business area where Duvall & Associates was located. He was looking at her with such intensity that she hoped that she made no errors. His face showed little sign of recognition and she supposed she should feel free from anxiety but the look he was giving her also reminded her of the calm before the storm.

Greg began the meeting with his presentation which was well received. Both Bergman and Hollioake responded with pertinent questions and queries that were efficiently covered. Chris said nothing. He was either quietly making reference notes on his legal pad or lounging in the chair tapping his pen quietly on the palm of his left hand. Rhysa hoped that this meeting would end swiftly with no heated arguments and by the look of things she had handled things competently. Everyone seemed impressed with her team's efforts, everyone, except the person's money whom was involved.

She took her turn and gave her summation of how they wanted Chris to channel his money into long term investments and contracts that were not depended on the "now factor".

"Ms. Perkins, you seem to have done a fine job with Mr. O'Connor's portfolio." Mr. Hollioake was commenting while Chris was now sitting upright and no longer tapping. He looked pleased and even gave her a wry smile. Wow she couldn't believe it; he was impressed, she smiled back feeling that she had settled things once and for all.

"Chris I will look over the contract when we get back to the office and we will-"

"Sorry to interrupt Shane, but I don't like the housing part of the portfolio." Chris who seemed pleased earlier was now bearing a look of pure defiance and concern. Rhysa was shocked to silence

"But Mr. O'Connor," interjected Greg.

"Mr. Nelson, I was pleased with your presentation as well as Ms. Mays," he paused and looked at her squarely, "However, Ms. Perkins' arrangement was my main worry. I do not plan on owning my current property for the duration outlined. I don't want a condo since I already have a house in the city." He was looking at her with such glee that she wanted to jump onto the table and strangle the arrogance out of him. "I was thinking of acquiring a new property in the countryside." Round one O'Connor, create disorder.

"That maybe a good idea, especially when you need some privacy away from the press." Agreed his manager. Rhysa was seething, now she had to look for more properties. That would be longer process since it was outside of the city. The jerk was a step ahead. She took a deep breath she had to regain her bearings. She would not let him win.

"Is there any area you have in mind Mr. O'Connor?" she asked sweetly trying to look composed. He leaned back in his chair and stroked his chin as if he was thinking seriously. She wanted to pull his chin out of its socket instead.

"Pembroke is pretty popular these days." suggested Mr. Bergman.

"Too popular," Chris said, "I want a place that is pretty much off the radar but attractive in location and near the city."

How about in a crypt? Rhysa wanted to suggest.

"My partner just acquired some property in Gelmshire." Mr. Hollioake recommended. "It was a four acre farm house."

"Gelmshire?" Chris pondered quietly.

"It is near the city and since the coal mines closed down a few years ago it has risen in value." supplied Greg.

 "Good, then we can check out any available sites there." She had been floored. She looked at her nemesis leaning back smugly in his chair. He smiled again, round two O'Connor. Conquer.

"Chris, we need this done before your upcoming tour." Bergman reminded him.

"Ms. Perkins needs to work on this quickly then." he looked at her for a response. Round three O'Connor. Rule!

"Fine Mr. O'Connor, Greg will visit the property this week after we have checked with the estate agents." He smiled again.

"Ms. Perkins I would prefer you to handle this personally since you seem to have the contacts with the agents." She wanted to scream at the infuriating hulk of a man opposite her who was looking so smugly now, she wanted to burst with fury.

"Mr. Nelson is competent, plus he is a member of my team."

"I trust you will do what's right but I would like to get a personal report by Thursday, since I am leaving for a two week training camp on Monday."

She had one day no, two? Gelmshire was two hours by train and approximately three hours away by car. It was a small coal mining community. Many celebrities were buying property there since it was pretty secluded and had wonderful spa treatment facilities in the near by vicinity.

"We will do our best Mr. O'Connor"

"I trust you will." he said hinting that he was unsure that she could. She became infuriated by his tone.

"Fine Mr. O'Connor....... Thursday."

"Great, scour around and give me a personal report on the best locations and housing areas." He wrote down the housing details and handed it to her, "From the look of this place I presume you have great taste in furnishings as well. Good day." Wow she had lost the first battle. She wanted to slump back in her chair but she stood up along with him and escorted him and his team out of the conference room. Rhysa was too pent up with anger to say anything. The lout had tried to make her look incompetent and further more he had given her a very daunting task to complete in a microscopic amount of time.

"Rhysa?" Greg was inquiring "I will start making some calls on the property."

She hazily responded "Yes go on you two, and give me something solid by 3 pm today!"

They adjourned the meeting for 3 in the afternoon at which time they would decide the properties of interest. Tomorrow, if she was still alive and not in jail for murder, she would travel to Gelmshire to conduct a personal viewing of the properties chosen.


It was nearly 7 pm and Rhysa was still seething. She was working late trying to organise house listings they had received earlier. The phone ringing only disturbed her concentration. She did not want to pick up but one maybe Greg had got some more information for her.

"Rhysa Perkins." She answered on the sixth ring.

"It doesn't feel good when the shoe is on the other foot, does it Rhysa!" Chris' voiced resonated through the phone line. Rhysa wanted to punch him out. How dare he try to rattle her like this?

"What do you want Chris?' she asked trying to sound unruffled by him.

'You know what I want Rhysa we both do, are you ready to give in as yet?"

'What, so this Gelmshire house deal is a ruse?' she shouted

"What do you mean.... its business,' he paused, ' I want a house there and I want you to get it for me since you care so much about my future and what is best for me.' Chris drawled sarcastically.

'I thought you would be more professional than this instead you're resorting to childish theatrics just because I rejected you!" she was too angry to relax. She stood up and flung her pen on the desk.

'Oh please Rhysa, lets just call it even, '

'Even, even so its like that huh? Well Chris O'Connor let the games begin, see you at the finish line after I win.' With that she slammed the receiver down. Her chest was heaving. She had to take some deep breaths to calm herself. The guy was unbelievable, he wanted to punish her for rejecting him, she would show him that he would not beat her at this she would not relent her position to have a relationship with him. She had let him seduce her once, never again.

 'Never!' she shouted to her empty office. He was smooth and if he wanted to play that way she would surely be a worthy opponent. She had been ill prepared for his line of attack but she would no longer be blindsided by cheap shots. She had to hit him where it hurts...

Rhysa was more determined than ever to show Chris that she was only going to see him on a professional stance. She was tempted to choose the most expensive one off the bat but this was exactly what he was egging her to do. He wanted her to fail. He was so immature treating her like a leper just because she had dared to reject The Chris O'Connor. Let him will her to failure; this will push her to excel even more.


The next day was no better. After little sleep and an early start she was exhausted by 10 am. Rhysa had booked a train ticket to visit Gelmshire that afternoon. She had selected three properties which would suit that pig head O'Connor. She was going for one night and she hoped that she could get a place by tomorrow. She was about to leave her office when her phone rang. If it was Chris again she would scream.

"Rhysa," it was her mother.

"Mom? How are you? "Rhysa's parents almost never called here at work. Her father had strict policies about it. Therefore Rhysa was worried immediately.

"Rhysa, your father has had a small accident," Rhysa was shocked. Her parents were very dear to her.

" Mom, wha-- what happened?' she stumbled

"Honey it was just a small scrape. "

'Mom you would not call me at work if it was small' she knew her parent.'

"Okay but we are at Cedars"

"I'm coming over!" she quickly added

Cedars? Rhysa thought gathering her coat and bag. Her father was in the hospital? She was very disturbed when she left her office.

"Rhysa," Mr. Frenkin greeted her "Mr. O'Connor has been telling me about yesterday's meeting."

Hazily, Rhysa focused on him, she was dimly aware of Chris standing next to him. What was he doing back here? She refused to acknowledge him.

"Sir" she said wanting to leave and not thinking of any thing else.

"Where are you rushing off to?"  He said looking at her coat and bag.

"Mr. Frenkin I have a family emergency," she said dazed, "I must leave now, I need to go to the hospital. I am so sorry but we will talk about the O'Connor account tomorrow when I get back from Gelmshire."

She dashed to the elevator leaving an astonished Moham Frenkin standing beside a very furious Chris O'Connor. The two men looked at each other puzzlingly. Mr. Frenkin was very apologetic hoping that Rhysa's exit was indeed an emergency. Chris O'Connor was very annoyed. She had not even acknowledged him. She had only barely glanced at her boss and given that pitiful excuse. She had said tomorrow? It was not even midday yet. Chris was indeed curious where was she going? Gelmshire? No she was going off to do something personal? A man? She had claimed that she was single but why the 180 degree turn around last Saturday. Maybe she did have a man? Maybe that's why she wanted to avoid him. Well if she was going to meet her lover on work time he was going to have to take drastic measures. She was supposed to be looking for a house for him not rushing off on a rendezvous. He quickly excused himself from Frenkin's presence hoping to catch her before she left. He needed to put a spoke in her wheel. Her lover would need to know that he was not the only man in her life.


Something in his gut twisted. He did not want her to have a lover, the thought repelled him. Their lovemaking had been too euphoric, too complete. He had never been fulfilled by a woman like he had been with Rhysa. She had totally swept him to new heights and he intended to explore more with her. She was yet to realise it, so she had better not have a lover in her closet. He exited the front doors just in time to see her enter a convertible which was driven by a man.  A man, whom she kissed, before they drove off.

Damn her! How dare she make a fool of him! He felt like a knife had been twisted in his gut. He wanted her so badly.  He had been attracted to her from the moment that they had first bumped into each other. She had had fire in her eyes and he had vowed to find out more about her. He was pleasantly surprised when she turned out to be Rhysa Perkins: the flame haired dynamite. She was sexy and moved with such elegance and confidence. He had died in their heated sexual encounter. He wanted her and felt that they were made for each other. She on the other hand was a devious woman. How dare she use him like a paper towel? He had actually believed she was virtuous but the blond stranger driving her away was proof that she was nothing but a user and he intended to make her pay for taking his heart and throwing it back. His heart? What he was feeling was deep and he felt like his heart was in shambles. He would make her pay, he wanted her but if she had cheated on her lover with him there was going to be hell to pay!

He put his hands in his pocket and pulled out his mobile. He hailed a taxi and plotted his next move as he made his way to another meeting.


He knew that the world saw him as a charming womanizer but any woman he went out with would surely say that he was not. He loved women and the attention they gave him but his parents had raised him right and he was not going about to have one night stands with every girl he met. In his field woman threw themselves at him everywhere. He had developed a strong veneer to smoothly reject their advances. It was had to develop a relationship since he had bloomed into popularity status. Woman only wanted him for his money and the fame they got from being seen with him. Rhysa was different, she had hypnotised him from the onset. They had something and he had felt it instantly. Their dinner had passion and her signals had been so loud he had been entrapped by them. She had even feigned propriety. Now he knew better. He was a fool; a fool for her and he made a vow to teach her a lesson. No one on or off the field made a fool of Chris O'Connor. No one.



Rhysa rushed through the emergency room doors of Cedar Heights Hospital. She looked frantically for a sign of her mother. She asked the clerk at the desk for her father's room and rushed to the identified section at the end of the crowded hallway. Her mother and aunt were at the doorway. She rushed to give her mother a hug

"Mom?" she queried worriedly "Where is he" what happened? What has the doctor said?" her mother held her arms tightly.

"Will you stop fretting for one second so that I can answer you?"

her mother was smiling. Rhysa took a deep breath and fixed her coat standing back and tried to look dignified. Her aunt was also smiling.

'Okay mom ." her mother was very relaxed in fact she looked quite calm. What was going on here?

"Honey, your father had a fall."

"A fall?" she was dumbfounded

"Yes a fall, at first we thought his leg was broken --- wait let me finish." Her mother admonished as she opened her mouth to interrupt. "because he said it was hurting but the doctor has said that no bones are broken."

She breathed a deep sigh of relief holding her hand against her chest dramatically.

"Oh  Mom, how did this happen?"

Her mother and aunt started to chuckle.

" Your ever so young father was strutting his stuff on the golf course. He was showing Gary his special skill when he swung a little too extravagantly. He slipped of course and got a badly bruised ankle for his effort."

Rhysa smiled her father had only a bruised ankle. Thank God for that. She loved her parents so much that she hoped they lived at least 30 more years or at least long enough to see their grand children or least Ciane's since the way she was moving that was unlikely.

" Oh my, I'm sure his ego is a little bruised as well, when can we see him?" she asked feeling much more relaxed knowing that all her dad needed was a few days off his feet.

"Shortly I hope, the nurse is just finishing bandaging his foot." Just then Gary came in. He was her cousin, her Aunt Jaine's first son. He was a professional golfer and had come for a fly by visit. 'Hey what's the news on Uncle Simon ?" he asked strutting his stuff. A nurse passing stopped to give him a smile. He was a notorious charmer so he gave her a dazzling one in return.

"Gary," his mother cautioned

"Is a smile illegal now?" he said putting his hands around his mother's shoulders

"Yes, especially since you caused this whole thing?"

He looked hurt. "Me?" he said holding his heart then moving to hold his mother's hand and gave her a kiss on her forehead. Gary was tall and flattering.

"You scoundrel, Simon was trying to impress you." her mother added

"Thanks for picking me up Gary, I was too frazzled to drive." she intervened

"Sure no problem, Aunt Leana knew that you would be a bit frantic so I just swung by the office to get you.'

Her mother had actually sent Gary before she had called her. How thoughtful of her mother.

Soon the door to her father's room opened and a doctor exited. He gave the chart in his hands to a nurse who had followed him out of the room. His fingers were long and tailored. He had the most beautiful and sculptured pair of hands on a man just like Chris.

He removed his mask and revealed a very sexy mouth with sparkling white teeth. Rhysa was immediately impressed. His mouth reminded her of Chris' so sexy and sexual. He came toward their little group. Why was she seeing Chris in every man around her?

"Hello, I'm Dr. Tyler Collingwood. Mr. Perkins is in stable condition. He is nursing a type two sprained ankle." Her mother sighed

"It will be okay, his foot is in a cast to ensure that any cartilage that was torn will heal properly. His foot will be cast for three weeks. After that time we will access the healing."

"Dr?" Rhysa asked "Were there any other injuries incurred from his fall?"

His piercing blue eyes bore into her like Chris'. He smiled and Rhysa was indeed entranced. What was going on with her? All of a sudden every man she met made her feel horny. Had her drought been so extreme?

"He has a slight concussion, so he is a bit groggy; he will feel slightly sore for a couple of days but he is fine. The x-rays show no broken bones or internal injuries."

She held her mother's hand tightly each one squeezing the other to control their emotions.

"Can we see him now?"

"Of course, go in, he is eagerly waiting, remember he needs a few days of rest and to stay off his ankle as much as possible during the next three weeks."

"Thank you doctor," her mother added before quickly releasing her hand and stepping into the room.

Rhysa had one more question and stood alone with the doctor after everyone had dispersed.

"When will my father be allowed to go home?"

"Tomorrow", he put his pen into his coat pocket... such sexy fingers. " We are keeping him overnight for observation, just routine."

"Thanks Dr. Collingwood." She offered her hand and he took it. His eyes were still boring into her.

"My pleasure." his silky voice drawled it was Chris' voice when they had made love. She pulled away from him and rushed into her father's room.

Her father was propped against the bed looking like a Cheshire cat as her aunt plumped his pillows and her mother was giving him water through a straw. Her dad was indeed going to savour his days of pampering. She went over to him and gave him a huge hug and kiss.

"Hey dad"

"My little pumpkin"

"What in jupiter's name were you trying to do?"





Rhysa was in Gelmshire. It was cold, wet and the winds were gusty. This otherwise gentle community was experiencing a sudden summer storm. The rented car she had was not storm worthy and she had to be moving at 10 miles per hour to ensure that she did not get off the road. The area where she was headed was largely deserted. There were few houses but a lot of lush vegetation and tall forested areas. She guessed this place looked beautiful on a spring morning. It was surely nature's hangout.


She passed a sign and stopped. It was hard to read anything in this downpour. She had to roll down her window to read the sign. Yes she was on the right track. However now she was partially wet from the strong winds that blew the rain into the car and onto her clothes and hair. She drove for a few more feet and entered a wooden area. She hoped this was the place. The house was beautifully hidden from the road by a huge fence which was now laden with vines. The entrance was small and almost secretive. One could easily miss the turn if they were not careful. The drive way was sleek and a bit narrow as she wheeled her way through the very curved road. The rain had lessened a little and she tried to manoeuvre her vehicle close enough to the entrance. She put all her papers into her bag, got out the key to the place and made a dash for the front door. To her chagrin the door was difficult to open. It was a heavy oak door that seemed to have been originally built with the cottage.


After a few crusty turns she finally shoved it open. The place was dark and musty but she immediately fell in love with the huge archway that led into the small yet cosy living area. She walked in slowly admiring the huge glass doors that lined the back of the room. This was a beautiful cottage. It was a small yet private hide away. She loved it hoped that Chris would as well. She went into the larger of the two bedrooms and placed her stuff of the table. The view from the window was immaculate. The low mountain ridge could be seen in the distance and she was sure it had a miraculous sunset. It was great but knowing Chris he would be sure to find a fault. The estate agent had shown her one other house which had been a bit too rustic for her tastes. He wanted to postpone the other viewings for tomorrow but Rhysa knew it would be too much of a rush so she had gotten the key and decided to visit this place on her own. The agent had said that the house had been vacant for about a year but was in good condition since the owner had a caretaker to oversee the place. Rhysa did not regret her choice. This place was beautiful. She was unsure of the remaining property but this one was definitely at the top of the list.

She decided to wait out until the next day. At least she would enjoy one night in this perfect retreat.

The property sat on three acres of lush vegetation. It bordered a huge stream that run around the northern art of the land. It had forest and gentle slopes. Rhysa was eager to see it but that would have to wait for tomorrow after the storm. Inside she walked around the four bedroom building which kept true to the cottage theme. The rooms had been updated although the original furnishings were kept and used in the new decorations. The brass claw tub was a gem in the en suite master bedroom. She could see Chris sprawled on the bed here. It had oak furnishings with wooden rafters that had hanging light fixtures.

The three other rooms on the top floor were all identical although one could be converted to a study/ office. Two rooms shared a bathroom and the last room which overlooked the back yard had its own bathroom. Although it was smaller than the master bedroom downstairs it could be used as one as well. The bottom floor had the master bedroom and a large living area that opened out to a dining area and a modern kitchen. The closed patio off the kitchen had tables and chairs and had potential to be a nice breakfast nook with a long sofa for afternoon reading. Rhysa stopped short. This was Chris' house she would have no interest in visiting him. In fact, she would never se this place again. She smiled, it was beautiful. The wood and stone interiors made the place homely and cosy. She would love to escape here for a weekend.

"It is just not to be Rhysa , just not to be." An idea came to her. She smiled and went to get her travel case from the car. It was a good thing she had not checked into the B&B before she came here. The house was clean and well stocked with basic necessities so she did not have to worry about food.

Rhysa took off her wet clothes and stepped into the bathroom. It was a dream. The sun tiled roof gave the room a special glow which added to the garden style of the tiles running along the walls. The huge brass crusted tub had a 1700s feel to it, in addition the flow of water from the wall into the huge basin felt like a waterfall. Rhysa languished in the lukewarm water as she let her senses be renewed by the sensuous flow of water on her body.  She was happy the she would at least have a calm night as the heating system was working properly. After a refreshing cup of hot cocoa, she settled on the sofa and called the office.

"Hey Lucinda! How are things down there?" there was an audible sigh of relief that came over the line.

" You had us all worried Rhysa ," Lucinda's voice was mellow, "The forecast for the area showed that driving visibility was very poor plus several roads have been closed to heavy flooding in Down's Pass."

"What? I just came from there. It's true that the rain is falling heavily but a closed road. I hope that I will be able to leave tomorrow!"

"Let's pray!" She heard a knock outside and looked.

"Hold on Lucinda ," she saw a low branch from the tree swinging in the wind and since it was so close to the house it had probably hit the glass.

'What's wrong?"

" Oh nothing I heard something outside but it was a branch. So has the Davidson account been updated ... we need his account badly."

" Sure boss lady... he already has the documents in hand, Greg personally delivered them an hour ago."

"Great... well I'm happy with the trip, since it is rainig so heavily I decided to send the night in the cottage. It is absolutely gorgeous and secluded with enough land for expansion. I think Chris O'Connor will find it acceptable."

"Are you sure it's safe?"

"Of course."

"That's great to hear. Mr. O'Connor was here earlier and he seemed mighty piqued about you not being here."

" Why what was the problem?" What Chris up to? She wondered.

"He wanted to know where you were and if you were working on finding suitable accommodation............. He seemed pretty upset about something?"

"Upset...we have until tomorrow."

"Well Mr. O'Connor thought we would have it done by today. He wanted to know if you went alone and how long you were staying there. He left about two hours ago after he found out that you were up in Gelmshire for the night."

"He will just have to wait one more day. Well I'm going to settle in for the night, call you tomorrow."

"Great enjoy, bye."  Why was Chris checking on her? What was he trying to find out? The man was a pain he was just itching to make her life miserable just because she had rejected him. For a grown man he was simply petty and childish.


She was sure that she had heard knocking during her phone conversation but she knew that it was the branch. She looked outside, the rain was pouring down so heavily she could barely see anything plus the rain had swallowed any external sounds. At least she was safe here in this locked cottage. The kitchen was pretty modern with a mid sized refrigerator, a steel stove and dark vanished wooden shelves. The island in the middle separated it from the living area. She had just put some soup in the microwave when she heard a muffled sound. She turned and saw a face pressed against the glass doors leaning out to a back patio. She screamed. She then took a knife from the drawer. The intruder was pounding on the door like he wanted to break it down. She was hesitant and rushed for her cell phone.

"My husband is in the bedroom so just leave." Who could be out in such weather? Only the agent knew that she was here. Who could be outside?

The face against the window looked familiar but she was in no mood to share this place with a stranger in a strange place. She rushed to ensure that all windows and doors were bolted securely. She would have to advise Chris to have a security system installed. She dialled the local police station only to realize that her phone had no signal. The rain must have tied up the communication network. She was not going to panic. If it came to anything, she was going to fight for her life. At least the office knew where she was so they would find her quickly.


The face disappeared from the window. Then suddenly she saw a shadow in the window behind her. The person had moved his constant pounding showed that he was desperate. She rushed to put on her jeans and a shirt. She came back out and realized that everywhere was quiet. Hopefully the man had given up but was still not safe she placed items she could use discriminately around the cottage. If she was going to be attacked she was going to fight.


A few minutes passed and the would be intruder seemed to have either given up and left or was still stalking her outside. The cottage was pretty much concealed from the road. Only a person who knew the place would find it easily or a determined thief. She looked at her watch it was almost 8 pm. She couldn't eat or sleep. This had disturbed her greatly. She wanted to now for sure where the intruder had gone but she was not going to leave the safety of these walls. She cozened herself on the carpet in front of the fireplace it was safe and gave her a good view of the layout. She would know if anyone had entered. Suddenly she saw the face at the glass doors again but this time the figure out side left blood on the glass as his hand slid down. Her attacker seemed to have an injury did he try to enter and got caught. She quietly searched the house on her hands and knees she had left only the kitchen light on which cast an ominous glow around. She checked her phone again, still no signal. She was not going to panic. The blood seemed fresh but the rain which had not abated washed it away quickly. She remained in her spot until her eyes started to flutter.

It was already 8: 35 pm and her attacker had not shown any further need to enter but she was still wary of his presence. The rain started to abate a few minutes later although it was still quite heavy. She heard a pounding sound as her attacker moved against the door. He seemed to have collapsed on the patio. Rhysa was unsure what to do. She hoped it was only one person and not a team or else she was done for. After denying them entry for so long she knew that they would probably torture her immensely. Her attacker pounded weakly on the door. Blood was splattered on the glass. She quickly checked her phone again no signal. What was the point of a cellular if it had no signal?


Her attacker was still on the ground outside. Rhysa finally felt that he was genuinely wounded he had been down for over ten minutes. At last she decided to face her stalker. She slowly unbolted on set of doors further away from the body on the ground. She tried to do it slowly so as to not alert this person. She opened the door a crack and saw the man shivering uncontrollably on the ground. He was moaning lightly and blood was seeping from his beige pants. He must have cut his leg. She approached him cautiously but his eyes were closed. If this was a tactic she fell for it as she walked slowly she tightened her clutch on the knife behind her back. She stole a glance behind her to ensure that no other person was around. She poked him with her foot and he moaned loudly but he didn't open his eyes


She stooped slowly and touched his throat all the while aware that this could be a set up. He was hot feverishly hot. She touched his face he was burning up. His hand came up and gripped her and she screamed as he opened his eyes

"Rhy-s-a" came the weak sound


"Oh my goodness!" she screamed it was Chris bleeding and feverish in the cold rainy night. His eyes looked so deathly she was unsure what to do. He was shaking uncontrollably now so she rushed back inside and opened the door.

She dragged him in trying not to hurt him any more.

He had a huge gash on his left thigh. She rushed looking for a first aid kit and found one in a kitchen cupboard. She needed to keep him from going into shock. So she put some water to boil and searched for some rum. She gave him some water to drink with some painkillers and took a shot of whiskey to calm her own nerves. She had to remove his wet clothes. She tore them off and got some sheets and towels from the linen closet.  She wrapped him up and dried him as best as she could after she tended to his cut, it was deep and would probably leave a hairline scar. It looked like something had cut him. An hour later he had started to breathe regularly but he was still a bit feverish. He also had a bump on his head and was probably suffering from a concussion. She needed to warm him up. She used all the pillows she could find to make him comfortable on the living floor. It was tough and hard but a few sips of hot tea seemed to have stopped the shivers and the sweats. It was nearly 4 o'clock before he settled into a comfortable sleep.

Rhysa was beat. She didn't want to leave his side and hoped beyond hope that he would be okay. She snuggled next to him trying to keep her tired eyes open in case he needed her.

"Rhysa! Rhysa!"  Chris was moving frantically and gripping onto her tightly as he tried to sit up,

"Chris it's ok, I am here, I am here." She said soothingly touching his face and drying his fever.

She tried to calm him down with her voice so she comforted him by pulling him into her arms.

He touched her face gently and looked at her so lovingly she got lost in the moment.

"It's me  Chris you're okay."

"Kiss me Rhysa." He commanded trying to pull her head downwards but she resisted and instead touched his lips with her fingers.

He held her hand and caressed it so lightly she was swept away. He placed her hand on his chest and fell back asleep.

She waited until his breathing had slowed to a comfortable place and checked on his injury. It was already dawn and although the rain had slowed down, it was still falling. Her phone was still off What was he doing here anyway?

Had he followed her? But why? Didn't he trust her judgement? Or was it something else?

Did he want to ensure that she was doing her job if yes then he deserved everything he had received, no he had almost died last night and the sudden thought of that jolted her more than she thought.  Chris was special and whether or not he ever forgave her she realised at that moment that she was very attracted to the sleeping man who lay on the floor in front of her. How he had done it she did know but from the moment they had made contact she knew she was a goner.

She couldn't sleep so she tidied the area and took a quick hot shower. Thanks to internal heating. Chris was still asleep when she returned and so she prepared herself some tea.


She did not know what else to do for him as he laid there. Now it was up to him to fight for recovery. She did not see that she was


Rhysa was exhausted.  Chris had been restless all night but he was now sleeping soundly. His leg was swollen and the cut looked ominous but she hoped that it was not infected. The morning had dawned bright and fresh. The clouds were gone and the rain had dissipated. She grabbed her phone and stepped outside. The cool country air invaded her senses and gave her a rush of warmth. The birds were singing and enjoying this new day. She tried dialling 911 but her phone was dead. Great just great! What was she to do now?  Chris didn't have a phone on him maybe it was in his car. Small spots of Chris' blood lay scattered on the porch and dragging of his feet through the mud was visible.

Rhysa followed the path and it brought her to a damaged fence at the side of the property. She guessed that he had missed the entrance in the heavy downpour. She stepped to the fence and saw a very jagged fence and a lot of brush.  Chris must have tried to jump over and cut himself on the way over. If this was his entryway his car should have been nearby. Rhysa walked to the gate and walked out. Chris car was barely visible at the end of the road. It was parked in a ditch. The passenger side was stuck in a mud ditch from the marks and the position of the car, Chris must have tried in vain to get the vehicle on the road but to no avail.


The car was open and she saw his overnight case on the backseat. The phone was not in plain sight. She dug under the seats but it was not in the car.


"Now what!" she shouted flailing her arms. "Why me? Why here?"

"Ok! It's my fault. I like him and I'm getting stuck with him because I have denied it!.

She was speaking to the air to the trees to whom or what ever wanted to listen

"I like....  Chris, is that it! I like Chris O' Connor ... a lot!" she was now on her knees circling the car.

She was feeling under the back tires no phone!

"Don't tell me he doesn't have one!"

Since there were tools near the stuck tire maybe he had opened the trunk!

She quickly popped the trunk and rushed to the back. The phone lay there.

"Eureka!" she screamed. She looked at it.

It had a signal and seemed operational!

She quickly dialled 911 and explained the situation to them. They promised to be there soon.

She decided to poke around and was soon shocked. Her parents number was the last dialled on Chris' phone. Her mother? Father? What was Chris up to?


She went back to the house to check on Chris while awaiting help. He was still asleep but his fever was coming back. She rushed to get some ice to cool him down. It was tough. He was restless and obstructing her efforts. Soon she heard the ambulance siren and rushed out to usher them in.


"Ma'am, where is the person?" the EMT was offloading his supplies.

'In here!" she supplied.

The EMTs went straight to Chris' leg.

"How did this happen?" They were removing her homemade bandages.

"He cut himself on the fence and he was in the rain. He also has a fever."

They were busy checking his pulse and his pupils.

"Has the fever been there all night?"

"No, it comes and goes." the whole scene was getting Rhysa anxious and nervous.

"Ma'am you did a good job to stabilize him but we need to get him to a hospital now!"


Chris was loaded onto the ambulance. He was asleep and seemed to be okay but his leg was pretty bad. Rhysa held his hand all the way to the hospital and although he was unconscious he seemed to be holding on tightly. He was rushed to the triage where doctors and nurses were working to ensure that he was okay.

Rhysa stood outside anxiously awaiting some news. It was more than an hour later before anyone came to speak to her.


She had called her parents to explain the situation to them as well as the office.

She had located Chris' sister on his cellular and called her. She had seemed shocked but had calmed down after Rhysa had explained the situation to her.


The Doctor came forward after what seemed like a lifetime. He was preoccupied with the charts in his hand.

"Ms. Perkins?" he inquired to her, she nodded " I'm Dr. Monroe"

"Yes? How is Chris?" she asked eagerly.

The doctor shifted to his other foot as though something was bothering him.

"Mr. O'Connor is doing okay for now. We have stabilised him and he seems to be responding to the medication."  Rhysa breathed an audible sigh of relief.

"We need to keep him for the next couple of days and monitor the cut which was not too deep but it is located at a very tender spot on the leg."

"Is it going to affect him playing cricket?"

"That's it!' the doctor said suddenly" I knew he was familiar, he's the Chris O'Connor." the doctor snapped his fingers.

"Well he will have to lay off his leg for at least two weeks but it shouldn't affect his game though. We need him on our side."

"So can I see him?" Dr. Monroe was already lost in his charts.

"Sure... room 312" she left him walking away lost in his work. What service she thought... all anyone cared about was Chris as a player not as a man! Please!


She slowly opened the door to his room. He was sleeping on the hospital bed so serenely. His face was a bit pale but he seemed to be breathing steadily. She approached him slowly and touched the bandage on his leg, the redness was gone but the sterile bandage made the thigh look so scary. She gently touched his face as she pushed back a fallen lock on his forehead. He had the look of a man at peace. He really was a handsome man with full lips and a firm jaw. When he woke up she was sure he would not be too happy to be laid up for a few days in hospital. She pulled up a stool and decided to stay a while until his family got here. She must have drifted into sleep; a gentle caress of her hand awoke her. She jumped up!  Chris was staring at her!

"Chris? You okay? You need anything?" she started blabbering still in shock over being caught asleep.

He smiled, "Water?" he whispered as she poured some from the jug on the side table into a glass. She brought it to him and held it for him to drink.

"Slowly, sip it slowly.' She encouraged as he tried to gulp the entire contents of the glass.

When he was finished she stepped back but he held her wrist.

"Thank you.' They stared at each other for eons none moving until he winced as he tried to shift his leg.

She replaced the glass and went to aid him.

"The doctor said you will need to be here for a few days."

"What no way!" he said pushing himself into a sitting position wincing," I have training in a couple of days."

"Well he said you should stay off your leg for 2 weeks"

"Never, practice resumes this week and I will be there."

"Chris you lost a lot of blood and you caught a fever, you will need to rest your body!"

"You don't understand I need to be match fit to play against Pakistan next month.

"'Exactly, you need to rest and not injure yourself foolishly again!"


"Yes if you had not come here you wouldn't be in this situation?"

"Whose fault is it I lost so much blood? Mine too? You left me outside in the rain!" his blue eyes scotched her; she turned away slightly and walked to the windows overlooking the car park.

"I thought you were a burglar? I was alone in a deserted cottage?"

"My point exactly that's why I came, it was unsafe for you to be there alone." Rhysa stared at him incredulously.

'The only unsafe thing that happened was the Chris O'Connor jumping over a fence and almost bleeding to death." She frustratingly said as she approached his bed. Silence reverberated through the walls of the room as they stared at each other. Rhysa was heaving from her outburst and Chris' eyes reflected the fury he felt for being berated.


"Who was that guy you were with?" Chris asked.

"What guy? What are you talking about?" she was puzzled was he still delusional ?

"The guy you were kissing in the car park!" he announced forcefully.

"I wasn't kissing anyone! Chris you're still weak, get some rest!" she was about to withdraw from the room when he bellowed angrily,

"I demand to know who he is and what he means to you?"

"Chris, I have no idea what you're talking about?" she went to him, he was struggling to sit up, "Will you just rest." she said trying to push him back onto the bed

Held her wrist, " The man you came here to meet, the one with the red sports car."

Rhysa was confused for a minute until it dawned on her that he was talking about her cousin Gary and the time he had brought her to the hospital. Chris had been there watching her? She tried to disentangle from his grip but his hold was strangely strong for a man who was strapped up on a hospital bed.

"Chris.." she said smiling " Is that the reason you followed me here, you thought I was on a tryst with my lover." he tightened his grip and she fell forward, her face was directly above his. His blue eyes were sparkling with rage.

" I am a jealous man Rhysa and I do not like to be cuckolded, by anyone!"

She took her leverage of his ignorance to hone in that she did not want him in her life.

"Gary is very dear to me and he always will be." she spat back. He released her hand, she looked at her wrist it was red.

" Yes, Chris, I have Gary, you were just a diversion!  So get over yourself!"

She stepped back from his bed, he was looking at her maddeningly, if looks could kill.

" I now know that this prudish look is just an act... you're just another common sl-!"

"Oh my goodness...Chris!" came a voice at the door. Rhysa turned and saw a slightly older female version of Chris moving toward the bed. The woman rushed to his side kissed him and started touching him everywhere.

"Chris what have you done? What happened?" she was asking while searching Chris for any sign to answer her questions. She slowly touched his bandaged leg, moving it like a nurse. Rhysa stepped back trying to walk away quietly when she was finally noticed.

"Hi, you must be Rhysa."  Chris' image stretched out a hand to her. She took it slowly.

"Yes" came out the squeaky response.

" I'm Megan,  Chris' sister." That solved the mystery. She didn't sound like the person to whom she had spoken to over the phone. "Chris has told us so much about you."

Puzzled Rhysa looked over at Chris whose face was still flushed with anger. Rhysa smiled what did he think he was doing telling his family about her? He wanted to bully her into a relationship well hello... Gary just became her scapegoat. Rhysa was very tired she wanted to sleep but she couldn't fulfil her wish just yet. A nurse came in all red in the face as she approached Chris. She checked his vitals and left. No, she corrected herself, she sashayed out of the room.

"Still racking them up little brother?" Megan commented laughingly

" So Rhysa what happened?"

" Chris foolishly jumped over the fence of this cottage I am negotiating to buy for him and he injured himself." The person in question lay there spitting fire from his eyes not uttering a single word. "It was raining very heavily and well he fell over, he bled a lot since I had no idea he was coming to appraise the cottage as well. I thought he was an intruder so it was about an hour before I noticed he was hurt."

"Chris what in Jupiter's name possessed you to jump over a fence?" she looked at Rhysa and then at her brother and continued, "As a happily married woman, I think I know the answer to my own question."

Megan was so wrong if she thought that Rhysa had any feeling or her brother, he was a jerk one who she had unwisely slept with but a jerk nonetheless. Rhysa used Megan's presence to excuse herself.  Rhysa called the office and explained the situation. Mr. Perkins was a bit floundered and put out but happy that Rhysa was there. He even demanded that she pamper Chris immensely to restore her good name as if she had caused this. Caused this? Why was everyone pointing the finger at her, Chris was the one acting irrationally.


Rhysa was supremely annoyed. She would not give Chris the satisfaction. She returned later that day to find him being pampered by three nurses who were displeased that she had entered.

"We'll be right outside if you need us Chris." the blonde one cooed.

'Thanks," he whispered kissing the brunette hand.

She shrieked then ran out giggling with her other sandy haired  companions.

"Just pathetic," Rhysa said disgustingly " manipulating hospital staff is wrong! But then again I wouldn't put anything past you."

"Jealous Rhysa?"

"Why should I be? You're just a big flirt and waste of my time."

Chris started to clap and she threw his water at him.

"You bastard!" she said as she tried to clean up her mess. "You made me do this! You and your so infuriating ways."

He held her hands, "Don't blame me because you are jealous."

"I am not jealous." she choked out.

"Of course you are... hmm struck nerve have I?"

Chris was smiling much too pleased with himself.

"You're incorrigible!' she said as she walked away from his bed to the bathroom.

"Oh Rhysa , if you hadn't left me in the cold rain to die, I wouldn't be here."

"What! You followed me, I thought you were an intruder."

"You knew it was me and yet you did nothing, did you want your one  night stand to disappear so lover boy Gary would never find out?" he was on a role, his mouth was curled into a sneer and she could feel the vibes seething off him.

"If your boss only knew how incompetent you were letting our personal differences cloud your business mind."

"Chris, how can you say this after the hell you put me through last night! You want me out... well here it is! I never want to see you again... I quit your management team. Happy!" Rhysa practically flew out of the room, bumping into Megan on her way out. She did not stop but pushed past and stalked off down the corridor.



She stomped out of the hospital and rushed to the car park. She was not going to let Chris get the better of her. She knew that she had to wash him out of her mind. The vindictiveness of that lout. She was through with him, she was so mad she could scream. She rushed to the cottage and packed her things and drove back to town. She was too flustered and tense to go back to her empty apartment, so she drove to her parents' home. Her mother asked few questions but gave her a hug and treated her like she was ten years old again. She explained little but her parents didn't prod her realising that she just needed their comfort. They spent the rest of the weekend there watching old sitcoms with her dad and cooking with her mom. It was relaxing and made her forget for now; Chris O'Connor and the pain he was causing her as well as the havoc he had wreaked on her heart.


She woke up early Monday and told her parents bye as she drove off knowing that the next few hours were not going to be easy. She stepped into the office building aware that Mr. Perkins was not going to be pleased with her. As she stepped out of the elevator he was waiting for her outside his office. It seems her presence had already been announced. He looked at her and she got the message as she followed him into his sanctum.

He sat down tipped back his chair and breathed deeply.

"I received a very long fax from Chris O'Connor this morning. He was very displeased to say the least by your actions. He wants compensation in the form of an apology from you." Rhysa dressed in a pin stripped navy blue suit and a tight low slung ponytail was all ears. She had already prepared herself for the worst.

Mr. Frenkin stood up and walked to the window.

"Rhysa, you're my best executive but what is wrong with you and Chris O' Connor?"

"Mr. Perkins I quit the management team. I don't want to work with a man who is self righteous and manipulative."

"you can't"

"Oh yes I can, give me another case, I want off the team."

"O' Connor specifically wants you to stay." he boss said slowly looking at her quizzically.

"He what!"  the man is a sadist, what game was he playing now.

"Rhysa, he said you showed no remorse for your actions."

Rhysa stood up , this time unable to leash her anger.

"Remorse for what, he came without an invite, he came to the cabin unannounced, he frightened me, ,he injured himself!"

I stayed up all night worried sick about him, unable to get help, yet I have showed no remorse!" she was yelling at her boss.

"Okay! okay enough," Mr. Frenkin stated firmly, Rhysa was led back from her ranting and sat numbly on the chair.  "I will set Maggie to do the communications with him but you will okay the final deals."

"Sir?" she was confused.

"Rhysa compromise with me please, you are the best and I still need you to work on this."

"Fine," she said after long thought.

"Maggie will go over to his home today, since he was discharged yesterday. She will conduct the transactions there and report to you later."

"Fine, is that all sir?"

"Yes Rhysa" her boss said softly.

She walked to the door

"Rhysa,  whatever happened between you and O' Connor I hope it  will not spill into your relationships with other clients."

She turned to look at Mr. Frenkin, he stood there hands in his pockets staring at her like he knew about her personal involvement with Chris.

"It won't sir."  Was all she said as she exited the office.

The rest of the day was uneventful except for her colleagues' sombre tones when they approached her. She didn't need sympathy. She needed protection from Chris O'Connor.

Maggie returned that day with a glowing report on Chris O' Connor and how great he was and grateful that Maggie would be handling his communications now. The lout knew that technically she was still in charge and Maggie was just the liaison. He was probably getting his kicks from knowing that Maggie was reporting back to her. She had sent a card to Chris and a walker showing her empathy. She was going to take the high road let him wallow in his guilt.


The days turned into weeks and before she knew it her life had taken on a pattern. She worked her butt off at work and enrolled in a gym at night, where she worked off her anger and pain.


About five weeks after the incident her mother called;

"Hey mom, what's up?"

" We're fine honey you know your dad and his back, but he wont take the exercise."

"Mom, what's new?"

"Oh honey we're invited to a barbecue this weekend, on Saturday actually."

"Cool," she needed to break her rut.

"Yeah I thought it would be good too, knowing the situation."


"Yes honey with you and Chris." what was her mother talking about?


"Oh honey no need to sound so shocked he told us all about it and we clarified everything, he really is an outstanding young man."

"Mom you talked to Chris, Chris O' Connor?"

"Indeed we had tea with him and his mom yesterday, she is just superb, she came over last week to help me with a crochet pattern ,Chris was there as well.

"Tea ? Crochet? Chris?" she was shocked senseless.

"Yes your dad and I have been over  to his place a few times."

"Over? Mom you and dad?  Why?" what in the blazes was going on, what was Chris trying now and why did she feel that everyone was on his side?

"Honey, Chris wants to end this little spat and I think you should too, its time you two were back together," Chris had told her parents that they were having a spat? "So Saturday you'll pick us up at 4. You know your dad can't drive well at nights. See your Saturday."


"He cares about you and I know you feel the same way so come on give him another chance. Bye Honey."

Rhysa sat at her desk with the receiver, disbelieving the conversation she just had with her mother.


Chris and her parents. What was he up to? What mix up was cleared? The only thing was ... Her parents must have told him who Gary was? Now he knew she had been lying.

She had to tread carefully. He had now entangled her parents in his scheme. She was not going to take this lying down. Rhysa was tempted to call Chris but she left it. She would deal with him face to face and end this once and for all. Why was he pursuing her like this? She wasn't a glamour model or even a beauty queen? She was just an ordinary working girl with who h had mind blowing sex. Was that it? Sex? Well if that was what he wanted from her hen he would starve, he was not going to let him touch her ever again.. One reckless night and look at the mess she was in. the one time she let down her defences and let a man in. She should have not given in to temptation, but Chris, he was special ....and he was totally ruining her life she reminded her self quickly. She had to keep seeing him as the enemy, Chris O'Connor was a mistake one she was going to lock away forever come Saturday. She dressed in a light blue sundress for the occasion and let her newly cut layered hair flow around her shoulders. She wanted Chris to see that she had moved on.  Her mother was not ready when she arrived so she sat with her dad on the sofa as he watched a rerun of "Sanford and Sons".

Her mother had packed two boxes of her famous blueberry muffins. Wow  Chris had made an impression for these muffins were only made for special people. The drive to  Chris' house was a long talkative one. Her father had smartly turned the radio to his favourite frequency as he entered the front seat of the car. Her mother at the back had engaged her in conversation about Chris the entire 35 minute journey.


Chris' house was located in a quiet neighbourhood. It encompassed a large spread of land that was bordered with a huge seven feet tall hedge. The entrance was smartly carved with a huge automatic fence and a large lawn which led to a beautiful stone house. The single storey structure was made of red brick with a small arch entrance and several bay windows which brought character to the house. It was bold yet traditional a lot like Chris' personality.


Chris greeted them at the front door and gave them a hearty welcome as he escorted them through the front room to the back yard where the barbecue was being held. Rhysa tried to look disinterested in his exuberant hug and modest kiss on her cheek. There were several people scattered across the lawn that was attractively landscaped with flowers, trees and walkways. The huge back yard seemed to spread out for miles. To the eastern side there was a large concrete atrium that housed the barbecue pit which was already abuzz with activity. The opposite side encased the kidney shaped swimming pool which had guests lounged on chairs around it. The place was exquisite full of character and imagination. Rhysa could see herself living in a place like this. But would not be. This was just a ruse. She wandered with her parents as Chris led them to a group of people by the gazebo.

"Rhysa," she was jolted out of her reverie by Chris' voice

A lady around her mother's age stood in front of her,

"This is my mother Karen O' Connor " the petite framed lady burst into a smile and framed her face in between her hands..

"It is so great to meet you finally, oh  Chris she is just adorable'

"Isn't she.."  her mother quipped in

"Oh  Rhysa,"  Karen O' Connor sighed finally releasing her.

"It is such a pleasure to have you here finally, you must meet everyone."

Rhysa was shepherded around the garden and introduced to the forty or so people present. She met Chris' uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, sisters and brothers. It seemed to be a large and well knit family. Rhysa was being bombarded with questions about she and  Chris to which she said very little because  Chris, her mother and his mother furnished all the answers.  Chris stuck to her side with his hand lightly around her waist. She kept pulling away but he kept putting his hand right back. After several attempts she had just given in now his touch was like a cooling pad .It was making her warm all over. After what seemed like a marathon of interviews Chris and Rhysa were finally alone by a table of food.

"Your hair is beautiful, it suits you?"

She looked at his leg deliberately,

"Your leg seems to be healing, you're not even limping."

"Yes my recovery seems to be complete I will rejoin the national team on Monday."

"Great, nice to see that you got good care."

She was cold and he knew it.

"Chris just what is going on here?" she looked at him squarely in the eyes and without a pause he responded,

"A barbecue. What else is it?"

"Stop being snide. I mean this... your mother, my parents.. what is this? What are trying to do? Make me feel guilty?"

"I just wanted to show my appreciation to everyone who helped me during my recuperation."

"So why am I here? According to you the last time we spoke I caused this whole injury to you." he had the grace to blush

"Blame the fever, you were my inspiration, you nursed me during that terrible time of the storm." He held her hands.

She turned to the table and took a plate. " Now that you have had time to think and have had space I think we should evaluate us."

"Chris this is just too much, I thought you wanted me out of your life, the last time we spoke --- he interrupted her by placing a finger on her lips.

"The last time we spoke you said you wanted nothing to do with me.. not the other way around."

'You rat, I'm only here for my parents after tonight I'm going to tell them the truth."

"The truth that you and I slept together?" she stumbled

it is the truth so will you let them in on the whole truth that you are denying whatever we have between us

denying? There is nothing

isn't there he stepped forward and tipped her chin, she stood mesmerized by him, the sexual attraction was like a gravitating force between them.

"Why me?" she finally uttered softly

He was smiling like a cat who had spied a goldfish in a bowl.

"You have been very naughty Rhysa, lying to me about Gary."

"I didn't lie, he is special to me!"

"Oh no, you made me think he was your lover, how could you do that to me Rhysa you ripped out my heart."

"Your heart should be ripped out because I want this conspiracy to end.!" she was trying to keep her voice down. Several of Chris' relatives were looking at them occasionally.

" Rhysa if you would just loosen up, I have made my intentions toward you clear from the beginning you're just fighting fate.!"

She whirled around, "You are just insufferable!"

"He is, isn't he" agreed a new voice beside them. They both turned to see a woman.

"Hi I'm Jenny, Chris' older sister" the newcomer was Chris' double but she was holding a baby girl around 9 months old.

"This is Denise, Dee meet Auntie Rhysa."

Denise stretched out her arms to embrace her Rhysa obliged the child and Denise just remained in her arms.

"Ooh she likes you." Rhysa was very uncomfortable, the child was enthralled with her necklace and was busily playing with it, Denise was unconcerned that Rhysa was a stranger to her. Denise was enthralled with her earrings which glittered as they swirled around her neck.

"Ooh I forgot her bag in the car I'll be only a sec."  With that Jenny disappeared into the house.

"We'll continue this later," she said as she held Denise in her arms. "Auntie Rhysa? You need to explain yourself Chris O'Connor!"

Chris was smiling and the look he was giving her made her face burn.

"Your family, must have heard a different version to the real story it seems."  she said over Denise's head.

" Isn't she just fiery Dee?" The lout had deftly trapped her into this situation with his family.

"Fine, Later just you wait!" she promised but his look turned to one of such sexual want that she flounced away angrily. He was forcing her to be in his life after everything she had done. He was still in her life, her mind and unfortunately in her heart.


Denise remained in her arms for the next 30 minutes until she fell asleep. As she laid the little girl on the bed , she felt the pangs of motherhood snag her heart. Denise was so cute and cuddly. She looked so angelic laying there her podgy little hands curled up as she breathed smoothly. Rhysa touched her hair and brushed a strand away from her forehead.

She stepped back and looked up.  Chris was watching her. This jolted her back to the present as she left the room while Chris was setting up the baby monitor.


She waited in the hallway for him.

When he emerged he walked past her and entered a room a few doors away.

She barged in after him and closed the door. She closed her eyes and breathed in deeply. This is it. She opened her eyes only to notice that she was in Chris' bedroom. The unmistakeable, king sized bed and austere furnishings matched Chris and his sensuality.


"So here I am give it to me" he said arms folded across his chest.

" Okay what's the next step?"

"Rhysa I'm sorry for what happened at the hospital, I was just angry over my leg getting injured, it was my fault and you were right I did manipulate the situation."

Rhysa was dumbstruck an apology? From Chris/ Hmmm

"  Good you finally admit it!"

"  Okay yes, forgive me but these past few weeks have been hell for me being apart from you, and knowing how mad you were with me."

" I could only think how I botched this thing we have."

" Thing? We have no thing  Chris!"

"  Oh come on we have  more than a thing we have a fire Rhysa and every time we're near each other its there pulling us together."

"  The only thing is in your head being to full of nonsense."

"  What about now? Don't you feel the pull?" he was approaching her slowly

"No I don't" she responded defiantly but she was backing away from him approach.

She tried to look firm and resolute but the fact that Chris was standing in front of her now was making this frighteningly hard. She was against the wall with no escape.

" Say it isn't so?" he was standing much too close with a look of determined purpose in his eyes.

"Chris," she dared not look up as she stared into his powerful chest. His breathing had deepened and hers had quickened.

" Rhysa" he said her name gently

She looked up and she knew she was gone.

"  Oh  Chris" she whimpered as his lips descended slowly to hers.

She bent her head back and let their lips connect and connect it did.

A bomb exploded inside her as Chris gathered her into his arms; she was floating the uniting was magical she felt like she was floating on a cloud of ecstasy.

The kiss started slowly as they explored each others' mouths and then it deepened. They started to increase the tempo as the explosion heightened. She clung to him as he laid her on the bed. She needed him at this moment, only he could fulfil this craving she had welled up inside her. Their passion was volatile, as they needed to hold on to each other. Rhysa unbuttoned his shirt as she touched his chest, which so hot and sinuous beneath her hands. They removed his shirt from his pants and she let her hands touch his sturdy chest feeling the power of his body. His lips trailed her neck as he fuelled their passion with his tongue. Rhysa was on the edge of losing control. They wanted all of each other as they were transported to that night when they first connected. Their bodies seemed to remember the passion and the need since they fitted so well together.


"Ooh, yeah" she moaned as he captured her breasts in his hands. He pushed open her dress and unclasped her bra .His fingers moulded her nipples. She arched her back as his head bent to suckle her breasts. She pulled his hair and let her hands run through his hair.


"Chris, where is the extra barbecue sauce?'' a voice from the doorway was asking.

Chris and Rhysa sprang apart on the bed. Both their mothers were in the doorway smiling.

"Oops, we're so sorry to interrupt." Karen said apologetically recovering first.

"Indeed dears, we'll find it on our own." her mother added closing the door softly.

Rhysa was flaming red as she lay across the bed with her dress gathered around her waist her breasts exposed, her hair a mess and Chris well he was seated next to her with his shirt undone and his jeans un zipped. What an image they created anyone viewing the scene would not think twice as to what was transpiring between the two of them.

Chris and Rhysa had not spoken and when the door closed they started to react.

"Oh my goodness, this is so embarrassing" she said getting off the bed and fixing her dress.  Chris was already buttoning his shirt.

"We can handle this." he said reassuringly

"Handle what? Our mothers just caught us making out"

"Okay but--"

"But no but" she was exasperated by this " I can't do this" she finally said as she stumbled into the open bathroom and tried to wash her face. Chris followed her in

"Rhysa be realistic these things happen."

No they don't not to me

My don't you feel

What if they had walked in later huh what then

Chris smiled well I know I would be much happier

She threw the towel at him

Trust you to think only of yourself

Myself, ok sorry we would be much happier!"

I can't go back out there and face either of them I just met your mother what will she think

She will think that you are mine


Rhysa we're meant to be and this seals it he as pulling her into his arms she stepped away

"  No, this is too much!"

She tried to fix her hair which was hard because Chris was staring at her through the mirror. He held her shoulders

"We can get through this Rhysa think of the stories we could tell our grand children" he laughed softly.

" What did you just say?"

"I was thinking out loud."

"No you were thinking wrongly."

"I'm leaving." she said emphatically as she stormed out of the bathroom, picked up her shoes and left the bedroom.


"Rhysa wait!" Chris shouted following her while he buttoned his shirt properly.

She went straight to her father and explained to him that she had a headache. He was puzzled but unwilling to leave so early. Fortunately one of Chris' uncles lived a block away from them and volunteered to bring her parents home. She briefly told her mother that she was leaving and made quick goodbyes to the others guest feigning a severe migraine. Her mother regarded her strangely and well Chris' mother was even more sympathetic. Chris was nowhere in sight when she left the yard but he as waiting beside her car.

"Rhysa don't leave yet we need to talk this through!"

"Oh no I can't handle this right now everything is just too much."

" Stop running away from this,  from us ,from me!" he looked so dejected. She turned away.

"Just get out of my way please"

"Rhysa we can---" she cut him off.

"No Chris, we can't, just move out of away I need to leave now!"

She raised her voice knowing that she needed to be alone .

"You make me do things I can't control and I hate myself for letting you have power over me Chris, so for this once just end this... just let me go!"

Chris stepped away and she entered her car. She slammed the door and drove off not glancing back to see a dejected Chris shoulders with his slumped and hands in his pocket like a defeated soldier.


Rhysa drove home blindly as tears flowed down her cheeks. She was crying her heart out. She had wanted Chris no she still wanted him and somewhere in her heart she knew she always would. She loved him. She had let herself fall for Chris O'Connor. What a huge mistake she had made. He had forced himself into her life and he had camped there. She unlocked her door and unplugged her phone then she rushed to the bathroom. She run a hot bath and soaked for over an hour. She needed to clear her head. How could she let this happen. What about Chris how did he feel towards her? She wanted to believe that he cared for her, he wanted her to meet his family but could it be that she was just the one that had slipped away. Gosh no she had slept with him after one date. No this was not happening. Rhysa closed her eyes and dried herself. She needed sometime to think she needed to sort through what she was feeling. No man had ever affected her like this. She had tried so hard to put him out of her mind but after weeks of insomnia and wistfulness she knew that she was hooked. And for Chris O 'Connor no less!


Rhysa was to wound up to eat she sat huddled in the semi darkness on her back porch. The soft classical tunes were lightly playing in the background. Rhysa stayed there for hours just thinking and pondering how she would deal with Chris.


Her doorbell sounded and she ignored it. She was in no mood for visitors, she had unplugged her phone hours ago. She hoped Chris would just leave her alone.

Her doorbell went off again but she hugged herself tighter

"Go away please." she whispered hoping her visitor would just leave. A few minutes later she believed that her visitor had left. She breathed deeply. Suddenly she heard steps coming toward her from the side of the house.

"Who's there?" she screamed hoping that a rapist had not come around. She was off her chair and rushing inside when a voice said


It was Chris he was walking toward her slowly.

"Chris?" what are you doing here?"

He stopped a few feet in front of her and just stared. He looked like a broken man. His face was severe and hard plus his shoulders were dropped like they were this afternoon in his driveway.

"Rhysa we need to talk?"

"Chris how did you get in here there is no gate back there."

"I jumped the wall?" He said sheepishly.

"Again, you could have hurt yourself, your leg?" Her eyes scrambled to his leg.

He laughed "I learnt to be careful after the first time."

She smiled, why was she feeling so protective of him?

She had to control herself because there was no future with him none whatsoever.

"Just leave, we have nothing further to say to each other."

"I disagree we have a lot to say and I think this time that we should be honest with our feelings."

"Chris, don't do this just go, please." She begged refusing to meet his gaze as she summoned every ounce of strength to be strong.

"Rhysa I can't stand this but I love you, these past few weeks have been terribly lonely without you, I need you, I need your smile to hold you and to be with you more that I ever did anyone before." Did he just confess his love to her?

" Chris' she whispered in disbelief her eyes bulging now.

'no let me finish" he walked toward her and held her hands and knelt in front of her

"Rhysa Cyane Perkins, will you marry me?" Rhysa stood there in shock, he was asking her to marry him?

" Chris, I--"

"Don't say no just think about it.. Please'

she looked into his eyes and she could feel the love she had for him connecting. She knew it at that moment that there was no one else for her. Only Chris.


she stooped down and tried to make him stand

"come inside" she said slowly

she led him to the sofa  and pushed him down onto it


She placed a finger over his mouth and proceeded to unbutton his shirt as her lips trailed over his chest. He moaned as she nipped his taut nipples and lavished them with her tongue. She undressed him slowly and as he sat there naked in her eyes. His own eyes smouldering with passion as she undressed her self and then straddled him.

"Let's make new memories." she whispered as her lips descended to his waiting ones.


Continue with love making




The light streaming into the room bathed them as they lay entangled in each other's bodies. Rhysa snuggled closer into the warmth of Chris protecting arms. He kissed her neck as she moaned sated by the night's activities.

She slowly turned to face him as her eyes beheld the love that shone to her.

"I love you and yes I'll marry you." She said against his lips as he devoured her with his tongue and their getting out of bed was postponed for the next hour.

When they finally did get out of bed it was to the shower and that kept them there for a longer period as they lathered each other with the love that they were sharing. Chris had proposed again and Rhysa had accepted with a lathering kiss.


Rhysa decided to prepare a small brunch since their stomachs were both showing signs that it had not been fed in over 24 hours. Neither had eaten at the barbecue.

She was busily poking in the kitchen while Chris fixed the bedroom, he was whistling softly as he did so. Rhysa smiled her heart bursting with love for him. Her doorbell sounded and she rushed to answer it. She wanted to get rid of this guest so she and Chris could spend the day together.

She opened the door to find her parents standing outside.

"Mom , Dad?"

"Honey," her mother pulled her into a hug, "We have been so worried about you, your phone, kept on ringing and ringing."

"Honey we have been calling all morning" her dad volunteered.

Rhysa stood guiltily in her mother's embrace.

'mom I'm okay

but your phone

'I unplugged it I needed some space yesterday.

Oh honey/

Her dad handed her a basket' your mother prepared all your favourites, we're going to have a picnic, come with us.


Her parents walked in and were removing their coats, "we'll wait while you change."

Mom dad  I um.. I"

"Honey go on" her mother cajoled, while a bareback and barefooted Chris was walking into the kitchen.


the place was silent for a while as her mother stood still

the silence was broken by her dad

that explains the phone

Rhysa was beetroot red with embarrassment as Chris greeted her parents

'so nice to see you again young man."

"Mr and Mrs. Perkins good day"  Chris stammered at her side.

"Indeed it is a good day for you" her dad said smirking.

'Mom, Dad, Chris stopped by for us to talk." Rhysa tried to state to cover up the whole scene.

" Good dear so happy you two patched things up," her mother gathered the basket " Honey we must go..." she stated as she was already ushering her dad out of the door.

" we'll call you later!"

"But... Honey -  we?"  her dad tried to insert unsuccessfully as her mother was making her way to the passenger side of the car.

" Its okay dear the kids need space" she waved good bye and sat smugly her face never devoid of a smile. Chris and Rhysa stood in the doorway still shell shocked.

"From the looks of it they have had too much already" her dad glared at Chris who like Rhysa was a speechless human mannequin.

" Bye.. " her mother winked cheerily as she fixed her seat belt.

To add another shocker the Kaddocks appeared,

"Oh Mr. & Mrs. Perkins, so pleased to see you."

Her dad went over to greet them as Mrs. Kaddock came over to the car to her mother. They were oblivious to the two young people in the doorway.

Mr. Kaddock still not aware of Rhysa said "We saw this black car in the driveway all night. So we came over to see if Ciane was home visiting."

Rhysa's dad was all too happy to reply "Oh no it's not Ciane but our very own, Chris O'Connor." All eyes were now on the two of them in the doorway.

" Oh  Chris O' Connor ?" and that began a long tirade by the men who pulled  Chris aside to have a nice chat while the ladies lectured Rhysa on the niceties of being a lady.

Only after Rhysa saw her parents' car pull out of the drive way did she breathe,

" wow"

Chris said

"Twice in 24 hours I can't take more of this,"

Chris pulled her into his arms "You had better learn to get used to it because I am not planning on letting you go."

She snuggled into his embrace " I'm not going to let you do that either but I would have never thought the day would end up like this." They started to laugh as they recollected the day's earlier events.

Well that was it for brunch as they descended to the floor and delayed food for another hour.


Things fell into place after that Chris and Rhysa were inseparable. They did everything together and when Chris had to leave to go on training their parents threw a huge engagement party. It was held at her parents' home. Ciane and Pierre had flown in for the occasion as well as Chris' Scottish relatives. It was a very glamorous affair with many of Chris' team mates in attendance. The newspapers read the following day 'Number one bachelor off the market!'


Mr. Frenkin was astounded at first but when Chris signed a very lucrative deal with the company he was the best boss ever.


Chris and Rhysa got married after the Indian Tour in a very lavish ceremony. The bride and groom had been apart for three months and on their honeymoon in the West Indies they savoured love was more smouldering than ever. They had barely made it to the room and were lounging on the floor of their hotel suite. There they continued the passion that had brought them together in the first place. Rhysa loved her husband and showed just how much by her actions. Much later they lay replete in the bed holding onto each other lovingly.

"We fit just right Mrs O' Connor." commented Chris holding her against his sated body.

"Yes we do...Mr O' Connor." Rhysa whispered as she commenced to show her husband just how right their bodies were for each other.






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