Full Circle by Erin – Chapter 4

Republisher’s Note: While Michelle is trying to help Danny, on trial for his crimes during the annulment separation, they make a bet over who’s going to give in and crawl into bed with who first.

Full Circle by Erin – Chapter 4

“A toast!” Ben proclaims, lifting his glass of champagne.

Carmen lifts her glass with a brittle smile and Danny and I sleepily do the same.

Today was the second day of the trial and, so far, things are going Ben’s way. Now, we are out on the town, celebrating.

Well, Carmen and Ben are celebrating.

Danny and I are almost too exhausted to even eat.

“Trial wearing you out?” Ben asked me when we left the courtroom this morning as I let out another yawn.

“Yeah, I guess so,” I had replied hesitantly.

Ben gave me that lizard-like smile and said, “Must be getting to Danny, too. You both look like you haven’t slept in days.”

I smiled sickly and murmured, “We’ve got a lot on our minds right now.”

That was the truth, but what’s keeping both of us awake every night is being in an almost constant state of arousal.

Our bet is in full swing now.

Danny runs his fingers down my neck whenever he gets a chance. I lean over him at least a dozen times a day. We’ve both won a few battles. Last night, victory was mine when I spent nearly an hour applying rose-scented lotion to every inch of my skin while he was attempting to read over some papers in bed.

Slowly, I lifted up the long violet skirt of my silk nightgown, making sure he got quite a view as I kneaded the lotion into my legs. Once that task was completed, I let my fingers slide over my arms, neck, and shoulders. Then, the coup de grace. Very slowly, I slid the thin straps of my nightgown off my shoulders and down my arms. I could hear his breathing deepen from his place in bed beside me.

Clutching the nightgown to my front, I looked over my shoulder at him, smiled, and said in a lazy voice, “Danny, be an angel and get my back.”

He stared at me blankly for a moment. “Excuse me?”

I laughed a sultry laugh. “The lotion, silly.” I said, handing him to bottle. “I can’t put it on my back myself.”

He looked at the lotion like it was a foreign object. But then, he shook his head and gave a nonchalant shrug. “Sure, why not?”

It took everything I had not to gasp at the feel of his hands on my bare back. Images of our wedding night rose unbidden and I wondered if he was thinking of that time too.

His long fingers gently smoothed the lotion over my shoulders and I could feel his breath on my ear.

When his hands moved lower, kneading my waist, I felt myself melting against him and I sighed as his lips began to travel down my neck. I released the nightgown I was holding with one hand and reached behind me to twine my fingers through his hair and pull him closer.

With a groan, Danny’s hands moved up my back to my shoulders and went to turn me more fully towards him. I had never wanted anything more than I wanted him at that moment. But, somehow, I fought it. I released him and sat up, sliding my gown back onto my arms.

“Thank you.” I said lightly as I rose from the bed. My hands were trembling as I replaced the lotion in the bathroom, but I had done it. I hadn’t given in.

I was going to win this thing, dammit.

When I walked back into the bedroom, Danny has already turned the lights off.

“Going to sleep so soon?” I asked teasingly. “Are you sure there isn’t anything you’d like to ask…no, make that beg me?”

Silence.

Then, “Go to hell.”

I chuckled softly as I slid beneath the sheets. Score one for me.

But as I lay there quaking with unfulfilled lust, I began to think it was an awfully hollow victory.

However, the victory had been Danny’s this morning when he had come out of the shower with only a towel around his waist, his hair still wet and his skin looking warm from the hot water.

I had sat there, my mouth slightly open, my knife paused in mid-air over a croissant as he has moved across the room to pick up the suit he had laid across the bed.

“Something wrong, Michelle?” he had asked, a glint in his eyes.

I hadn’t answered, but risen and gone out on the balcony to get some air.

“Michelle?”

Carmen’s cold voice shook me out of my daydreaming.

“Hmm?”

“I asked if you were feeling well. Both you and Danny look awful.”

“We’re just under a lot of stress, Mama.” Danny says, rescuing me from stuttering out a lame excuse.

Carmen looks doubtful and Ben winks at me as he says, “Your son’s right, Carmen. Plus, they are newlyweds.”

Carmen gives Ben a look that would kill a mortal man, but Ben just shrugs it off.

Neither Danny nor I comment. My vision is beginning to blur and all I can think of is sleep.

The food arrives and it takes all my energy not to collapse face first into my plate. I know I look awful. My eyes are dull and there are dark circles underneath them.

I take consolation in the fact that Danny looks the same.

As Ben rattles on about the trial, the last thing on my mind is planning another attempt to win the bet tonight. Tonight, I’m going to pretend Daniel Santos doesn’t even exist. I’m going to march into that hotel room, forget the sexy negligees and put on a t-shirt. Then, I’m going to crawl into bed, pretend Danny isn’t even there, lay my head down and-Just then, Danny lays his hand on my knee under the table.

I glance up at him and see that, while he still looks tired, his eyes are glittering.

I try to ignore him, but he won’t be easily put off.

Instead, he moves his hand higher, onto my thigh, gently caressing my skin through the silk of my stockings.

I will ignore him.

“So, Ben, ” I say with false cheeriness. “Tell me again what you said to the judge when he called you to the bench.”

“Well,” Ben says, puffing up like a bullfrog at the chance to talk about himself. He drones on and on and I try to focus on my boredom. Anything but the hand that is inching higher and higher up my leg.

“So then I told him I wasn’t the highest paid lawyer in Springfield for nothing…”

Danny’s hand is now under my skirt, his thumb gently moving in the crease where my hip meets my leg. I won’t give him the satisfaction of forcibly removing his hand.

“Now, obviously, a man of my standing in the law…”

His hand is now moving over my inner thigh.

“…can’t be expected to just-”

I let out a little yelp as Danny’s fingers venture upwards.

Ben jumps, Carmen glares, and Danny chokes on suppressed laughter.

“Something wrong, Mrs. Santos?” Ben asks, upset at having his tale interrupted.

“I…I, uh, I just…” My face is flaming and my body is throbbing. “I just can’t believe you…you said that to the judge is all.” I say with a flustered little laugh. “You’re a very…bold man, Mr. Warren.”

Ben is appeased and carries on with his story.

Carmen looks at Danny and I suspiciously, but I pretend to be fascinated with Ben’s story and Danny takes an intense interest in his wineglass.

Throughout the rest of the meal, I plot.

Oh, Danny, you had better watch out, I think as we leave the restaurant and step into the waiting limo.

Danny and I sit with about a yard of space between us opposite Ben and Carmen who are talking about, what else?, the trial.

My mind is turning over all the things I’m going to do to my husband when we get back to the room.

I’m going to pull out all the stops. He won’t know what hit him.

I’m smiling a little smile as we unlock the door and step into our room.

“Coming to bed?” Danny asks, smiling too.

“In a sec.” I reply as I grab a few things out of my suitcase and head into the bathroom.

Once inside, I work like a general planning an attack.

I slip into a short silk nightgown, cherry red.

I dot perfume onto all my pulse points and I artfully tousle my hair.

That done, I rub a shimmering cream onto my face and pinch my cheeks for a natural glow. I dab some lip gloss on and give myself a quick once over.

“Oh, yeah.” I murmur. “This’ll get him.”

I take a deep breath and step out of the bathroom.

My husband is laying across our bed.

Sound asleep.

I stare at him for a moment, shocked, but the a soft smile spreads across my face. He’d managed to remove his coat and shoes, but that’s it. He looks like he fell asleep in the act off taking off his tie.

I cross the room and watch him sleep for a moment. He looks so young in sleep, so safe.

I laugh softly as I remove his tie.

Danny Santos, safe. Who’d have thought that?

I leave him in his shirt and slacks and pull the sheet over him. He doesn’t even flicker an eyelid.

I change out if my seductress get-up and into one of his button down shirts. It hangs nearly to my knees and it’s soft and, most importantly, smells like him, that clean, masculine scent that’s only Danny.

I’m still smiling as I turn out the lights, lay down beside him, and drift off to sleep.

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