I could lie here forever with this man, I thought, snuggled securely against him. As if reading my mind, Jon sighed deeply.
“I’m so glad we don’t have to get up. I just want to be lazy today. How about you?” he said sleepily.
Through my haze of contentment, I became dimly aware of a nagging feeling that I did have something to do.
“What day is this?” I queried, having somewhat lost track of time and feeling a bit disoriented as he gently stroked my cheek.
“It’s Saturday, babe, nothing to do today until the next show tonight.”
I struggled to think and clear my head. Saturday. I knew there was another show tonight, but that wasn’t what was nagging at me. The conference. Oh, yeah. My “other” life. I must have spoken out loud.
“Conference? What conference?” he echoed me.
“The other reason for my being here. I’m here for a Trauma Conference at the hotel. It’s, it’s a big deal, actually. And I’m supposed to present too. Oh, shit, what time is it?”
He stirred then, and grabbed his watch lying on the nightstand.
“It’s eight-fifteen. When do you have to be there? I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking. Are you going to be late? I was thinking we had the whole day. Tell me about this” he said, looking alarmed.
My mind was racing now, thinking I should already be there.
“The thing starts at nine. I should be there. I don’t go on until eleven, but Colin is on at nine-thirty and I was supposed to meet him for breakfast” I groaned.
Jon was awake now, looking at me intently as I lay there running it over in my mind.
“Colin? Who’s Colin?” he said, his eyes watching me like a hawk for any clue that there may be someone else in my life.
I laughed then, seeing his sudden jealousy and finding it just a bit satisfying.
“Colin is my co-presenter.” I said, deciding to explain and realizing I knew far more about Jon than he knew about me.
“We’re doing a national conference on Trauma Treatment that I actually organized. Colin is my guru, the most well-renowned expert in the country on treating trauma survivors and my mentor. He runs programs in three states for it and is the most brilliant clinician I’ve ever met. He’s also become my friend over the years.”
Jon’s eyebrows rose as I expressed my admiration and respect for Colin, my other “hero”, and I could sense the jealousy fading as his expression became one of curiosity.
“Just what exactly do you do?” he asked then. He genuinely seemed interested, so I continued.
“I’m a psychotherapist and my field of expertise, or rather specialty-Colin is the expert-is working with traumatic abuse survivors. Jon, I’ve got to get up.”
He was poised on his elbow, looking at me with surprise.
“Shit. I’m sorry; it’s my own fault. I got so distracted, I forgot about the bloody conference. I’ve been working on this thing for nine months and in twenty-four hours with you I completely forgot about it! You should consider that quite a compliment!”
But Jon wasn’t smiling at that moment, he looked distressed. He was looking worriedly at his watch.
“Shit, I had no idea. It’s almost quarter to, we better get moving.”
I was surprised to see his genuine concern for my predicament. And I was curious that he’d said ‘we’ better get moving.
“Let me borrow your cell phone. I’ve got to call Colin and tell him I’ll be there” I said, jumping out of bed as Jon sprang up behind me.
“I’ll get it. I’ll get us some coffee while you get in the shower.”
He returned in a flash with the phone while I dug through my purse for the number. I dialed and Colin answered on the first ring.
“Where are you? It’s almost nine” Colin answered, sounding worried.
“I know. It’s okay. I’ll be there before eleven. I got, errr, tied up. Just go ahead and get down there, I’ll be there as soon as I can” I stalled, feeling too embarrassed to explain. Jon was grinning at me now.
“Tied up? Sounds like a plan for later” he teased.
“You’re so bad” I replied, shaking my head as I headed for the shower.
I heard him ordering coffee and breakfast as I turned on the water, my heart pounding, as I ran over the schedule in my head. The water hit me in the face as I stepped into the shower and I felt full of excitement, and the familiar surge of adrenalin I get before a big presentation. I closed my eyes and lathered my hair, thinking I really had to hurry when I felt Jon’s arms slip around my waist.
“Can I help?” I heard in my ear.
I turned to face him, my eyes begging him not to make me any later than I already was, while my body struggled against wanting to melt into him. His hands brushed the soapy strands from my eyes and he stepped back, looking at me.
“No, seriously, I mean. What do you need?” he asked.
I actually felt relieved he took the decision away as I didn’t trust myself to resist him.
“I need clothes. I need my suit from my room. I can’t show up in jeans.”
“Okay. You finish up getting ready and I’ll get your stuff and bring it up. What room are you in?” he asked, soaping up quickly before rinsing off.
“I don’t know. It’s on the card in my purse. Are you sure you don’t mind?” I asked, feeling really grateful for the help.
“Not a problem” he nodded to me.
He was already ahead of me, stepping out of the shower and drying off. I finished rinsing and stepped out as he was pulling on his jeans. He tossed me a towel and started heading out, pulling a t-shirt over his head.
“My suit is hanging up in the closet. And grab the leather bag by the desk, it’s got all my stuff for the presentation in it” I called after him, glad that I had gotten everything organized when I’d first arrived.
“I’ll be right back” I heard him call back as he dashed out the door.
I stood there in front of the mirror, catching my breath, as my thoughts ran amuck. I grabbed the comb and began untangling the mess of snarls left from the night’s escapades. As the steamy fog cleared and I could see my reflection, I noticed the bruise on my shoulder, silently cursing myself for having been so wanton last night. Okay, no one will notice. It’s a suit.
I heard a knock on the door. I wrapped the towel tighter and ran to the door. The startled bellboy stood there gaping at me. I motioned him in and ran back to the bathroom as he wheeled in the cart. I didn’t have time to explain. I busied myself then, drying my hair, brushing my teeth with the “guest” toothbrush and putting on my make-up. I heard another loud knock. Now what, I wondered. I opened the door again, and it was Jon.
“I forgot my key. Is this the right stuff?” he asked as he bustled in with my suit and my bag and laid it on the couch.
“Yep. How can I thank you?” I said as I slipped behind him and hugged him.
“I’m sure I’ll think of something, but right now you’d better get dressed before I get any more ideas” he said as he turned towards me and smacked my ass with a grin.
I gave him a quick kiss and grabbed the suit and ran to the bedroom to get dressed. I pulled on the navy jacket and buttoned it, realizing I had no bra. I stepped into the knee length skirt and called out to Jon. He appeared at the door of the bedroom, looking at me appreciatively.
“Holy shit. You look amazing” he said while munching a mouthful of something. I laughed. His appetite for food was matched only by his more carnal appetites.
“Did you forget the bra and panties on purpose, love?” I grinned.
He stopped chewing then and just looked at me helplessly.
“I guess I did” he smiled back.
“What time is it now?” I asked and he looked at his watch.
“Almost ten o’clock, but you look ready, darlin’. Come eat something.”
I was hungry, but too nervous to think about food.
“I need to go over my material, but coffee I can do” I answered as we walked into the suite and I poured a cup of it and sat down to dig in my bag.
I sat there sipping my cup as I reviewed my materials, mentally checking that I had everything I needed. Thank the God and Goddess I had done this presentation so many times I could do it in my sleep. I was ready. Suddenly I realized I didn’t know what to do next. I had been with Jon for nearly twenty-four hours and we had never really been apart. I didn’t know what to say. I looked at him sitting on the couch, sipping his coffee, and watching me expectantly.
“I have to go” I said weakly.
“I know” he said, still watching me.
My feet felt like they were bolted to the floor. I couldn’t bring myself to say good-bye. I didn’t even know how. He was waiting for me to make the next move. Colin would be on stage, watching the crowd for me, waiting for me too. And there I sat, stalling. Jon lit a cigarette, taking a long drag of it and passing it to me as he lit another one for himself. I still didn’t move. He broke the silence first.
“So, Babe, what now?” he asked as I stared at the floor.
“You’d probably be bored to tears” I said, offering an excuse for him to say good-bye, “but my presentation only goes until noon. Do you want to come along? We could have lunch and you could meet Colin. I…”
I couldn’t look at him. What if he said no? What if reality had suddenly hit him and he lost interest now that I was no longer just a diversion? What if….he cut me off as I stammered.
“I thought you’d never ask. Of course I want to come. I want to see you up there doing your thing and be in the audience for a change. I don’t know nearly as much about you as you seem to know about me. But I want to.”
I looked up now, and met his eyes. The smile on his face was genuine. He meant it. He was serious. I swallowed hard, biting back the feelings that were flooding me. Now was not the time to cry. I stood up and walked over to where he had risen from the couch and melted into his embrace. He buried his face in my hair and hugged me tightly. He stepped back, taking my chin in his hand and tilted my face towards him.
“Ready?” he asked.
“Ready” I replied, meaning it this time, as we walked toward the door of the suite.
With Jon at my side, I felt ready to take on the world, but the waiting audience of therapists and doctors would have to do for now.