"And are those all the reasons you have for being afraid to pick up where we left off eleven years ago?"
You don't love me, dammit, she thought. "Those are all the important ones," she said dishonestly.
Weak with relief, Matt quietly said, "I think we can overcome those hurdles right here. I meant what I said about children. I also meant what I said about your career. That takes care of two out of your three concerns. The situation about other women," he continued, "is only slightly more complex. If I'd have known that this day was going to come for us, I'd have lived my life very differently while I waited for it. Unfortunately, I can't change the past. I can, however, tell you that my past isn't nearly as lurid or indiscriminate as what you've been led to believe. And I can promise you," he added with a tender smile at her upturned face, "that you are enough for me—in every way."
Helplessly affected by the husky timbre of his voice, the sensuality in his beautiful eyes, and the incredibly touching things he was saying, Meredith watched him slowly strip off his sport jacket and toss it over the back of the sofa, but the import of his action didn't register because she was absorbed in what he was saying. "As far as your being frigid is concerned, that is absurd. The memory of what it was like to be in bed with you haunted me for years. And if you think," he continued gravely, "that you're the only one who's harbored some insecurities about those times we spent in bed, then I've got news for you, darling. There were times I felt inadequate. No matter how often I told myself to slow down, to make love to you for hours and make us both wait for a climax, I couldn't seem to do it because being in bed with you made me crazy with wanting."
Tears of relief and joy burned the backs of Meredith's eyes; he'd meant to give her an expensive sports car for a birthday present, but the gift he was giving her with his words meant a thousand times more. Mesmerized, she heard him say, "When I got your father's telegram, I tortured myself for years, thinking you might have stayed married to me if I could have made our lovemaking better, longer, hotter..." A smile suddenly drifted across his handsome face, and his tone changed to one of amused gravity. "That takes care of the issue of frigidity, I think."
Matt saw the warm flush on her smooth cheeks— evidence that his words had affected her. "That leaves us with only one minor objection of yours about being married to me."
"Your feeling that you're inept and—?"
"Clumsy," she provided, distracted by the way he was lazily stripping off his tie. "And ... and inferior."
"I can see how distressing that might be for you," he agreed with sham gravity. "I suppose we'd better take care of that next" He began unbuttoning the top button of his shirt.
"What are you doing!" she demanded, her eyes widening.
"I'm getting undressed so you can have your way with me."
"Don't unbutton that second button—I mean it, Matt."
"You're right. You should be doing this. Nothing gives a person a greater sense of power and superiority than forcing another person to stand perfectly still while they're being undressed."
"You should know. You've probably done it dozens of times."
"Hundreds. Come here, darling."
"I was joking."
"It wasn't funny."
"I can't help it. When I'm nervous, I make jokes."
She stared at him. "Are you nervous?"
"Terrified," he said half seriously. "This is the greatest gamble of my life. I mean, if everything doesn't go perfectly in this little experiment, I might as well face the fact that we weren't meant for each other, after all."
Meredith's last vestige of resistance crumbled as she looked at him. She loved him: she had always loved him. And she wanted him so badly—almost as badly as she wanted him to love her. "That's not true."
His voice hoarse with tenderness at her words, Matt opened his arms to her. "Come to bed with me, darling. I promise you that you'll never have any doubts about yourself, or me, after this."
Meredith hesitated and then walked straight into his arms.
In the bedroom Matt did exactly four things to make certain his promise was kept: He made her drink some champagne to relax; he told her that any kiss or caress of his that she'd enjoyed, he would find just as exciting. And then he turned his body into a hands-on teaching instrument for a woman whose very voice excited him. Last, he made no effort to hide or control his reactions to anything she did to him. In so doing, Matt managed to turn the next two hours of his life into an agony of almost unendurable passionate torment, a torment which his wife, after overcoming her shyness, was now doing her gloriously effective damnedest to heighten.
"But I'm not completely certain you like this," she whispered, touching her lips to his swollen body.
"Please don't do that," Matt gasped.
"You don't like it?"
"You can see that I do."
"Then why do you want me to stop?"
"Keep doing it, and you'll know why in about one minute."
"Do you like this?" Her tongue flicked against his nipples, and he held his breath to stifle his gasp.
"Yes," he finally managed in a strangled voice. He reached up and grabbed the headboard, gritting his teeth as she mounted him and began to move, determined to let her do it all, have it all. "This is what I get for falling in love with a CEO instead of some nice dumb starlet—" he joked, so dazed with passion, he didn't know what he was saying. "I should have known a CEO would want to be on top—"
It took a moment to realize she had gone perfectly still.
"If you stop now, without letting me have a climax, there's every chance I'll die right here, darling."
"What?" she whispered.
"Please, don't stop, or I'll take over no matter what I promised," he gasped, already lifting his hips to get higher and deeper into her tight, wet warmth.
"You're in love with me?"
He closed his eyes and swallowed, his voice thick with lust and amusement. "What the hell do you think this is all about?" He opened his eyes, and even in the darkened room he could see the tears shimmering in her eyes.
"Don't look at me like that," he pleaded, letting go of the headboard and pulling her down against his chest. "Please, don't cry. I'm sorry I said it," he whispered, kissing her in helpless desperation because he thought she didn't want to hear how he felt, and he'd spoiled their lovemaking. "I didn't mean to say it so soon."