Full Circle by Erin – Chapter 5

Republisher’s Note: Danny is on trail for his crimes during the annulment separation and Michelle is standing by him. While they are having to live as man and wife they’ve made a bet about their future over who will climb into who’s bed first.

Full Circle by Erin – Chapter 5

It’s raining when we leave the courthouse.

I thought the storm would keep the reporters at bay, but no, they’re camped outside as usual.

Normally, I stop and smile for their cameras, making some sappy statement about how I just want my husband to be cleared of these ridiculous charges, blah blah blah.

But not tonight.

Tonight, I keep my head down, my hand firmly in Danny’s, as we make our way down the steps to the waiting limo.

Danny is subdued this evening as well. He doesn’t say a word to the reporters, but opens the car door for me, holding an umbrella over both our heads. There’s a distant look in his eyes.

I sigh, mentally, emotionally, and physically drained as I practically collapse onto the plush seat.

Danny sits across from me and rubs his tired eyes.

We sit in silence as the limo pulls out onto the street and begins the journey back to the hotel.

I watch the rain slide down the darkened windows as the lights of the city fly by.

Finally, I look at my husband and say, “Today was rough.”

He laughs bitterly. “Yeah, Michelle, you could say that.”

The prosecution rested today. They tore into Danny, Carmen, the whole Santos family. There was nothing Ben could do and I could see the hard looks on the faces of the jury.

They thought he was guilty.

Which, I thought with a humorless smile, he was.

I begin to take down my hair, which I’d worn in an elegant bun today. Danny doesn’t comment, which is strange. But then, I guess he knows that I’m in no mood for a seduction attempt tonight.

Neither is he.

I settle back against the seat, happy that his eyes are closed so that I can study him without his knowing.

He’s the only man I’ve ever met that I would describe as beautiful. Darkly beautiful though, like a fallen angel.

Yes, that description suits him.

He opens his eyes and I blush and look away.

“What is it, Michelle?” he asks wearily. “Thinking up a new way to entice me?”

I don’t answer.

“Well, forget it,” he says. “I’m too tired to play games tonight.”

“Don’t worry,” I say icily. “So am I.”

I long to curl up against him and listen to the rain as we drive. The dark glass panel separating us from the driver is up and the rain beating against the car makes me feel as though we’re the only two people in the world right now.

Instead, I sit stiffly across from him and stare out the window.

“What are you thinking?” he asks softly. I turn to find him watching me.

I want to lie to him. I want to tell him I was thinking of how happy I’ll be to be rid of him. How much I miss my real family. But I look at him and tell the truth. “I’m worried.”

He raises an eyebrow. “About?”

I hold his eyes for a long moment before saying, “I don’t want you to go to jail, Danny. I’m worried…I’m worried about losing you.”

We just sit there and stare at each other for a good thirty seconds.

The next thing I know, we’re in each other’s arms.

I’m not sure who reached out to whom first.

It doesn’t matter anyway.

My lips find his in a hungry kiss. “Oh, God, Michelle,” he groans. “I don’t want to lose you either.”

He pulls me towards him, so that we’re both on his side of the limo, he sitting, me straddling his lap.

My hands frantically push his coat off his shoulders as he pulls my blouse from the waistband of my skirt.

I kiss his neck, his name a low moan on my lips. “You can’t know how much I want this,” I gasp as his hands practically rip my blouse off.

“Try me,” he replies breathlessly as he presses kisses on my neck, the hollow of my throat, and the upper slopes of my breasts.

I finish unbuttoning his shirt as his hands duel with the zipper on the back of my skirt. He shifts our positions so that now I am laying beneath him on the seat, my blouse off and my skirt around my hips.

Impatiently, I tug at his shirt and his hands leave me only briefly to rid himself of it.

He kisses my mouth again, and as his tongue finds mine I gasp again and pull him closer.

Want sizzles through me as he kisses me in that possessive way that is uniquely Danny. His hands are on my breasts and lightening bolts of pleasure ricochet through me as my nipples harden against his palm.

Just then, an alarm bell begins to sound faintly in my head.

I try to ignore it and press myself higher against him. Now, it’s his turn to gasp.

The alarm bell won’t be denied.

I give a frustrated groan and push at him.

Danny sits up, his eyes glassy with passion, his breathing labored. “What is it?”

I prop myself up on my elbows and try to catch my breath. “Hold on.” I finally manage to say. “What about our bet? Who’s winning here?”

Danny looks at me as though I’m speaking a foreign language. Then, realization blooms on his face and he lowers his face onto his arm with a laugh that sounds suspiciously like a sob.

“You know what?” he says, still laughing. “I really don’t give a damn. Right now, baby, all bets are off.” He lowers himself back down to me but I press a hand against his chest and push him back, sitting up.

“No way. This isn’t going to happen unless you can admit you lost.”

Pride and desire war on Danny’s face. Like a true Santos, pride is the victor.

“I’m not losing. You came to me.”

“Hah!” I sit up completely and try to find my blouse. “You were out of your mind with wanting me. I am clearly the winner.”

Danny finds my blouse under his hip and tosses it to me. “The hell you were.”

“Fine”! I reply, and I know I sound ridiculously prim for someone who is half naked, searching for items of clothing in the backseat of a car. “If you can’t admit that I won the bet, then I guess we won’t be having sex tonight.”

“I guess we won’t,” he says as he puts back on his shirt.

We sit there angrily fastening buttons in silence.

We have just finished making ourselves presentable when the limo halts in front of the hotel.

Danny looks at me and says in a petulant voice, “See? We’re here. We wouldn’t have had time anyway.”

I step out of the car and throw him a haughty look over my shoulder. “Someone thinks very highly of themselves.”

We don’t walk to the elevator and then down the hall to our room.

We stalk.

Danny nearly breaks the key as he shoves it into the lock. When the door swings open, he doesn’t wait for me to slide past like he usually does, but storms inside ahead of me.

Neither of us speak a word as we get ready for bed. I skip the slinky nightgown again tonight and put on his shirt. We get into bed like we did our first night together, jaws clenched, backs turned to each other.

Then, out of the darkness, my husband says, “Michelle?”

“What?”

“Could we just call it a draw?”

“Does that mean I win?”

“No, that means we’re even.”

“Nope.”

“Dammit.”

I bite my lip to keep from laughing. See?, I tell myself. You can do this. It isn’t that bad.

But I’m relieved when, with a muffled curse, Danny gets out of bed, blanket in hands, and goes to lay down on the couch.

I can do this, but it’s a hell of a lot easier when he’s not in bed beside me.

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