View From Heaven

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 11 (v.1) - Chapter 10

Submitted: March 24, 2008

Reads: 168

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Submitted: March 24, 2008

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Chapter 10

“Cosmopolitan straight up? Here you go, ma’am.”

Cecily had lived the adult life for quite some time now, but she couldn’t recall the last time she had felt quite this grown up and it was a splendid feeling.

It was Friday evening and she and Jamie were sitting over pricy cocktails in the bar of a swish Chicago restaurant reminiscing about the past and dreaming about the future.

The two had planned to meet right after she got off work since it was right around the block from Maggiali’s, but Cecily couldn’t bear the thought of showing up in her frumpy work attire, countless trips into the steamy kitchen having teased her hair into a catastrophe suggesting she’d stuck her finger into an electric socket. Instead, she opted to rush home, shower, and change into something a little more presentable. She had chosen a deep purple colored sweater—sophisticated, while accentuating a couple of the more important features—a knee length black satin skirt with a layer of black lace underneath, and some ridiculously adorable strap-y black stilettos to close the deal.

She spent a frenzied thirty minutes in the bathroom curling and spraying her locks into perfection, and applying a generous layer or two of makeup to her face, half of her brain demanding that she primp until she was completely irresistible to the man she was about to appear before, while the other half was busy trying to comprehend what the hell all the fuss was about. She had enough of her head stuck in reality to know that this was simply a friendship rekindled, not a new romantic conquest.

However, one look at her friend was about all it took to completely reverse all of the adult reasoning she had just performed. He had dashed straight from the office to their rendezvous, but his appearance had suffered little for it. Stress over his marital situation must have driven him to spending long hours at the gym because every muscle was revealed under his simple black dress pants and royal blue button up shirt. A tiring day of work had sent his sleeves up to his elbows and loosened his black tie so it rested limply against his toned chest. The beginnings of a five o’ clock shadow had crept onto his face presenting a dark and rugged look. Friend or not, the man was looking quite delicious.

Taking generous sips of a gin and tonic on the rocks, Jamie was just finishing a story about an incident in the financial advisement department.

“…So thanks to this idiot, Morrison’s, inability to punch the right buttons on the calculator, the company is now going to have to fight the government to recover ten million dollars in excise taxes from second quarter spending. Unbelievable!”

He chuckled and shook his head incredulously as he took another drink. Completely clueless about one word he had just uttered, Cecily tried to mask her ignorance with a bout of over-the-top laughter, but she knew she hadn’t fooled Jamie when he smiled slyly and gave her a sideways glance.

“You have no idea what I just said, do you?”

Cecily quickly surrendered

“Please don’t be insulted. I’ve got an eleventh grade math education and can barely balance my checkbook. I work with words, not numbers. You’ll have to excuse my stupidity.”

Jamie just grinned and gave his drink a couple swirls in its high ball glass.

“Nah, it’s more about my inability to tell a story that is remotely interesting to anyone else. I talk too much lately. I should save it for my therapist, right? Anyways, it’s your turn to tell me a story.”

Cecily smoothed the wrinkles in her skirt mindlessly and glanced at the pink liquid in front of her, willing herself not to take a drink. She knew that alcohol always made conversations like this more comfortable, but she had learned better of late. Tonight was not going to turn into Landon, the sequel.

“Well, not too much interesting happens where I work. Um, yesterday this new guy, Kurt, spilled drinks on two different customers…”

“No,” Jamie quickly interrupted. “Not stories about work, stories about you.”

Cecily frowned.

“You’re such a different person than the girl I last saw six years ago. There’s got to be a reason. I mean a reason other than time alone. I want to know what or who is responsible. If it doesn’t cause you too much pain to answer.”

She was taken aback by his candor, at the way his eyes were looking so intensely into hers. Had she really changed all that much? She had grown up, but everyone did that at one time or another.

“W-well…this-this is about it,” she replied holding her arms up awkwardly, unsure of what else she could say.

Following the awkward lull in the conversation, Jamie now looked a bit sheepish as if he had just remembered himself.

“Sorry, I must sound like freaking…Dr. Phil or something,” he mumbled, a little color making its way into his cheeks. It was so adorable Cecily felt the urge to giggle out loud.
“You just have no idea how nice it is to come from being all alone to walking among true friends again. I can’t bear the thought that I’m talking to you now, that we’re hitting things off again, but I really have no idea what you’ve been all about. What makes you tick these days?”

He sighed deeply and ran a hand over the top of his closely shaved head.

“I mean, my life is all about numbers and”-he signaled his clothes-“designer suits, and, well, it was about Jenna up until now. But what about you? I’m sure there’s at least one sickeningly handsome man in your life at the moment, yeah?”

Cecily groaned inwardly. Why did he have to bring that up?

“Well, no. Actually there isn’t. Actually…there hasn’t been for quite some time. Maybe that’s what my life’s been all about: the lack of men.” She laughed half-heartedly.

Jamie raised his eyebrows in genuine surprise.

“Really. Now I find that very hard to believe.” It was Cecily’s turn to blush.

“Well, then, I guess I’ll just have to fish for my answers. Let’s see, still a faithful church goer?”

The question was rather tongue-in-cheek. He was well aware that her enthusiasm in her faith, and the church in particular had fizzled out some time ago. He had more than an inkling as to why this was so.

“Well, no. Not very much as of late. However I still have the claim to Chicago’s most devoted, out-and-out ‘ChrEaster’. How about you? Thinking about joining the ministry any time soon?”

“Hah!” Jamie exclaimed, throwing his head back. “Well no, not exactly. But I think I definitely trump you there.”

“Oh, yeah?”

He surveyed the bar for a moment with a crooked grin before facing Cecily again.

“Yes, well…you see, Jenna was…is...Jewish.”

Cecily slowly raised an eyebrow.

“She threatened me all the time that she wouldn’t marry me until I became a Jew as well. Her family was real hard core—orthodox—and she said they would kill her first before allowing a gentile into the family. I was pretty sure that she was joking; in fact I knew that she would disown her family first before letting me go. She was just that kind of girl.”

Another pull at his drink.

“But, I was madly in love with her and I wanted to prove it.” An uncomfortable cough. “Sooo…I converted.”

Cecily nearly choked on her own drink.

“You…you what? You converted to Judaism? You’re joking.”

He winced and turned a cheek slightly to her in a manner which confirmed the truth of his story and seemed to say “Ok, now just give it to me”.

She laughed incredulously.

“You’re…Jewish. Your parents must have both had coronaries! My mother is going to flip when she hears this. Jamie Hayworth is a Jew!”

Jamie held up both his hands in defense.

“Ok, well now, the marriage has come to an end and my heart was never really in it in the first place. It was purely for Jenna’s sake. She had me under quite the spell. I guess technically I am a Jew, but let’s just say I’m not practicing.”

Cecily gasped dramatically and slapped a hand onto her chest.

“Not practicing? Jamie, how dare you! After your people have suffered for thousands of years!”

The older man gave her a playful nudge with his knee and a decent minute of uncontrollable laughter ensued between them. It tickled her that Jamie had gone to such extreme lengths to transform (or attempt to transform) into something he was so clearly not. But, there was one thing he definitely was: a person who would go to unheard of lengths just to make someone feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It had always been something dangerously attractive to Cecily even as a young girl.

The hilarity subsided and Jamie was enough over his embarrassment to look her in the eyes again.

“Well, look, we’re right back onto the subject of me. Now let’s get back to you.” His face sobered a bit and without a moment’s hesitation he spit out, “Ben isn’t doing so well, is he?”

At any other time, or maybe from any other person, bringing the issue back into the forefront of her thoughts would have been a complete bummer. But somehow, the way he stared at her with genuine concern and a seeming need to protect her, Cecily felt the urge to simply open up and spill it all.

She cleared her throat audibly and suddenly became interested in a large table of men and women talking loudly and laughing even louder across the way.

“I haven’t seen him in five weeks. That was in his miserable little apartment which he can’t even afford because he can’t acquire or keep a job. He had succeeded in getting plastered all by himself on alcohol he couldn’t have possibly purchased with his own money. He’s…sick. Addicted, you know.”

For some reason she could not bring herself to breathe the world “alcoholic”. That label was reserved for miserable, washed up middle-aged men. Not a twenty-something with his entire life still in front of him.

Jamie looked extremely disturbed by this news. He had never been nearly as close to the younger man as he was with his sister, but he was an extension of the Manning family nevertheless, so he certainly cared.

“I attempted to paint a picture for him how pathetic his life was. He let me know how much he valued my opinion. I basically decided I was washed of him.” She took several moments to finish the last of the liquid in her glass before speaking again. Jamie waited in silence. “Believe me, no matter how bad of a person he is or what he has done wrong, it hasn’t been easy trying to stop caring about my brother. Especially because I know there is so much more to him. But, I’ve had to face lately that he is an adult now and I’ve got my own life to lead.” She kicked mindlessly at her bar stool with her heels a few times. “That still doesn’t make it easy.”

For once, Jamie did not reply but only continued looking at her tenderly. She actually appreciated his silence, because she knew there was no decipherable answer to this predicament—at least nothing which could be arrived at in the near future. This was the first time she had voiced her qualms on the matter and hadn’t been met with some petty statement of comfort telling her everything was going to be all right, because it wasn’t. She had his sympathy, understanding, and support and that’s all she needed.

The silence was broken when a man next to Jamie, who had obviously had one too many, stumbled into his back almost knocking him off his seat. Jamie shot the man a half disgusted-half amused look over his shoulder then turned back to Cecily.

“Looks like happy hour might be getting a little too happy.” He finished the last of his clear drink in two gulps. “Want to get out of here?”

“Well,” Cecily breathed as they weaved their way through the growing crowd and squeezed onto the street, standing momentarily in the warm glow of the restaurant lights. “The night is still young. Would you like to run over to the north side to visit my mom? It would absolutely make her year seeing you again.”

“Ahh, you’ve grown some comfortable with me, you’re bringing me home to mom already, huh?”

Cecily’s ears burned as she tucked her hair behind her ear bashfully.

“Hah. Yes. That’s it.”

“I would love to,” he replied scratching the back of his neck. “But didn’t you hear on the news? The Brown Line is completely shut down, and who wants to take the bus this time of night?”

Cecily hummed in agreement.

“I tell ya what. Do you work Sunday?”

“Um, only until one,” she replied.

“Sunday, then?” Jamie wrinkled his forehead appearing almost desperate for her consent. “Besides, I’m already determined to show you my new place. I’ve got everything moved in now, but I don’t have a clue when it comes to decorating. I need a woman’s instinct.”

He flashed her an ear-to-grin which, had she not already been convinced to adhere to his plans, would have done wonders in persuading her.

“Jamie’s apartment it is.”

Cecily could easily hypothesize, judging by its location, and the size of his paychecks, that his home was going to be more than a humble little shanty. However, she wasn’t prepared for her breath to be taken away. When he opened the door to number 219 and flipped on the lights, she found herself in the palace of all bachelor pads and it was hardly even furnished yet.

The main room was a good forty feet square with three huge Palladian windows and a giant kitchen complete with an island. Everything about the place seemed brand new—from the polished wood floors to the pristine white walls. A small crystal chandelier even hung from the ceiling in the dining room area over an elegant oak table and chairs.

At the far end a small double staircase led up to a master bedroom, a large bathroom decked out in marble and porcelain, and a generous sized second bedroom on the opposite end.

“Why two bedrooms?” she inquired after more than one exclamation of disbelief at the magnitude of his living space. “I would tend to think that disqualifies its bachelor pad status.”

“Ahh, the idea of another one bedroom apartment depressed me,” he answered shoving his hands into his pockets. “Wishful thinking, I guess; like maybe some day in the future there will be someone to fill it.” He laughed quietly at his own sentiments after several moments. “No, this definitely isn’t a bachelor pad, is it?”

“Whatever it is, it’s beautiful.”

“Well, not quite yet. It has potential. That’s where I need some help.” Jamie turned to survey the very empty room for a moment.

“The landlord requested that I not paint the walls. For the rent I’m paying him I think I should be able to decide the color of the damn building if I want to, but whatever. One less thing to worry about, right?” He chuckled. “All I need are a few ridiculously expensive paintings from artists I’ve never heard of to cover them now.”

Cecily sniffed loudly.

“Yes, but even then you’ve got to match some sort of color scheme. You don’t want to just throw any old thing up on them.”

Jamie slapped one hand on his forehead and tossed the other in the air.

“Ya see! What would I do without you? But that’s the thing. I don’t really have anything to go off of. From my weak understanding, usually people pick a piece of furniture, a sculpture, something to base the rest of the room off of. All I’ve got is that hunk-a-junk.” He nodded towards a worn blue love sofa practically bowing down to the grand 52 inch plasma T.V. hanging on the East wall.

As the wheels began to turn in Cecily’s head, she mindlessly shrugged off her coat, tied up her hair and began pacing the floor examining the space barefooted. She was no Martha Stewart, but she was undoubtedly right-brained and liked to think she had an eye for creativity and style.

“Well, you have more to consider than you think,” she declared tapping her chin with her forefinger, curling her toes thoughtfully.

“Oh?” Jamie said with raised eyebrows joining her in the middle of the apartment.

“Yep, look at all the wood in this place—the floors, the table, the kitchen cabinets. It’s all got a very dark stain to it. That means you’re probably going to want to go with a warm color.”

“I see.”

“Deep reds, greens, blues. Hey, your couch may survive in here after all.” She spun towards the bare windows flaunting a glimpse of the Chicago night life.

“As for your window treatments I, personally, would go with something subtle yet elegant. Not bed sheets, but not velvet curtains either. Cream colored or tope. Something along that line. But keep it nice and light, let the sunlight get in during the day.”

“Uh-huh. That sounds nice.” The strange, sleepy tone of Jamie’s voice drew her attention quickly away from the musings of her inner interior decorator and it was then that she realized that he had not given one ounce of attention to what she naively thought was the matter at hand. It was suddenly apparent that his eyes had been sizing her up the whole time instead, and he was not looking at her in the usual respectful, receptive way he did when they were sharing conversation over drinks. There was a much more selfish gleam in those brown orbs, and they were traveling quickly up and down her body.

“Um, y-yeah,” she swallowed trying to look anywhere but at him. Her head was tingling strangely now. “So as for your expensive paintings…” He was moving closer to her now. She could both hear his deep, even breaths, and feel the hot air tickling at her neck. “Your paintings—you might not want to do anything…crazy.” Even closer now. “I think with a l-little help…you could make this place really, um, beautiful.”

“Beautiful,” he echoed huskily.

One of his large but gentle hands made its way onto her back and crept slowly up her spine to her shoulder. She shivered in response, but could do nothing else. She was frozen under his touch.

His lips made their way onto her neck, first brushing across it, and then pressing more firmly into the skin on the nape. Her heart beat was racing and her breath came a little less easily now. This was a dream, it had to be. In fact, she could recall one just like this which involved both parties. This was just a hell of a lot more lifelike than that one had been.

Jamie’s left hand made its way onto her other shoulder then slid down her arm and onto her waist balling up the cloth of her skirt into his fist to access the skin of her thigh.

“J-Jamie,” she whispered breathlessly feeling herself quickly losing control. “You shouldn’t be doing this. You’re just divorced. Jenna…”

“This has nothing to do with Jenna,” he whispered, bringing his hands up to her stomach and tugging at the buttons on her sweater. “This is about you.”

She simply watched as her top slowly came undone button by button, yet she continued to rationalize. Neither of them were drunk, she wasn’t forcing him into this. There had to be some misunderstanding.

“But, Jamie, t-this…this is me, Cecily.”

His warm hands worked their way up her tummy and cupped her breasts.

“I’m well aware of it.”

His strong body was pressed up against hers now and she could feel every last inch of him melting into her. In a moment she was going to be powerless to stop his advances.

“Wait, Jamie,” she somehow managed, spinning around to face him. His eyes were on fire now and his chest heaved with anticipation for her. What was this beautiful man doing lusting wildly after her, Cecily Manning?

“Jamie…”

“What?” he could barely voice, pulling back an inch or two, but clearly ready to pounce again as soon she quit babbling.

“Jamie, you…you don’t see me like this.”

“Excuse me?”

Her umpteenth interjection of mindless banter finally succeeded in ceasing Jamie’s conquest. He retreated a step, holding her at arm’s length. A considerable amount of the wildness had lifted from his eyes, but his chest still rose and fell heavily.

“You don’t think I’m sexy. You don’t look at me in this way, you never have. I’m practically a…a child to you.”

He gazed quizzically at her for a moment then broke into silent laughter.

“Cecily,” he practically purred reaching for her fingers and drawing her back against him. She followed, not unwillingly.

“Up until I walked into your restaurant, maybe the image of you I had was still that little Sissy Manning who I used to build forts with and play in the mud and bossed around because she was so much younger than me.” He closed his eyes and kissed her tenderly on the tip of her nose. “After not seeing you for so long, maybe that’s the one lasting memory I had.”

“But when I looked up from my menu this week and I saw Cecily Manning, I saw a gorgeous,” he kissed her on one eye, “intelligent,” then the other eye, “caring woman,” then finally on the lips, “and this very scene has been playing out in my mind ever since.”

So this wasn’t a dream. Jamie Hayworth found her irresistibly sexy. He lusted after her. Cecily bit her lip and giggled helplessly. Jamie took this as his cue to resume the determined work he had begun and she did not stop him. His eyes never left hers as he slowly removed her top completely and let it crumple onto the floor oblivious to the amount of time that was spent picking it out that same evening. Locked in that mesmerizing stare, Cecily was beginning to believe that he could do most anything to her at the moment as long as it was just the two of them. Still, something nagged at the back of her mind even now as he led her silently into the warm and dark confines of his bedroom. How was it possible that she could even still be thinking?

“This flower print definitely has to go,” she heard herself mumbling as they collapsed on top of a rather ugly pink and red comforter on his queen sized bed. He did not answer but began kissing her neck quite vigorously now while clumsily attempting to undo his own belt. Oh just shut up, Cecily. You can’t even keep quiet with Jamie Hayworth on top of you.

As if in response to this thought, he let the full pressure of his body rest against her hips and for the first time she let out a moan of pleasure. She reached her hands out for him, tugging on his already half unbuttoned shirt and willing him closer to her though it was probably impossible. Piece by piece of clothing, the exposed skin of their naked bodies met one another, heightening the excitement and doing little to satiate the desire they both felt.

In this time, in the final moments of expectation and yearning, Jamie removed his eyes from hers only to press his lips against another patch of flesh on her shoulders or chest. The longer he looked at her, the more she felt her faltering thoughts dissipate. With the last of the reasoning she could conjure, completely frenzied by her hunger to consume every last inch of Jamie, she understood why there was no room left for apprehension and unease tonight.

This, whatever it was or would be, was not a fantasy she would wake from soon. It was not a sequel to her last horror film starring another man. This, this beautiful thing which had been alien just minutes ago, but now seemed so fated, so destined, was real. This was reality.


© Copyright 2018 Megan Maydell. All rights reserved.

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