For five whole years Ryan Oakes had kept a secret, but he knew it was confession time.
“Today,” he said, gripping the steering wheel, “I’m telling Patti the truth, today.”
Ryan pulled his cream-colored Lincoln Navigator in the driveway of his five thousand square foot Brick Georgian Colonial home in Garden City, Long Island. He put the car into park but kept the motor running.
Ryan tapped the wheel. He had been saved for all of six months now, and someone had forgotten to tell him that salvation came with a Conscience—with a capital C—that prodded him to fess up and tell his wife and son what he had done.
The car sat idle as he vacillated. No, he could not do it. The more he thought about it, the more he was convinced that there were some lies that should remain in the past. God had forgiven him and tossed all of his sins in the sea of forgetfulness. He would hold on to that.
Ryan sighed. He was forgiven, but if only he could forget. He leaned back into the leather seat and hit the back of his head several times against the padded headrest before closing his eyes. Determined, he shook his head and groaned, “No no no,” but that did not erase the guilt gnawing at him. There was no other option. He had to tell the truth. He knew it.
Patricia “Patti” Oakes opened the front door and poked her head out. Ryan’s eyes raked her five-ten slender frame, olive skin, and flowing auburn curls. One look at her sultry smile and pouty mouth and Ryan switched gears. Anxious, he undid the locks and crooked his finger.
She ambled toward him with a seductive sway of her hips. Patricia was a neurosurgeon, which meant she was a heady combination of smart and sexy.
Ryan hid a small smile. He knew what she was thinking, and he liked that idea. He waited for Patricia to open the passenger door and watched as she swung her long legs to hoist herself into the vehicle. As soon as she was settled, he placed his hand on her left leg and inched upward. “I’ve missed you,” he whispered. “As I sat in business meetings all day, I only had one thought. Coming home to see your face.”
“I’ve missed you too.” Her skirt hiked higher. “I didn’t expect to be in surgery all night, and by the time I came in this morning, you’d already left.”
He heard her plaintive voice and knew what she needed. Ryan reached for the seat adjustment and slid his seat backward. In a swift move, he lifted Patricia like a rag doll and positioned her so she straddled his lap. He drew her close to him and sniffed. She smelled like lavender. “I can’t wait,” he said, while his lips and hands proved his point.
“I figured as much,” Patricia groaned.
He was going to have her here and now. Ryan shifted the car in drive and curved his head around her body so that he could see. Then he pressed the garage door opener and pulled into the huge space. He did not care about being discreet, but if Brian, their only son, pulled up and saw them in such a compromising position, he would have their heads.
Ryan and Patricia loved each other almost to the point of obsession. Their consuming passion had made them oblivious to all, including Brian. For most of his formative years, Brian had felt ignored and unloved, which had led to his acting out, truancy, and aberrant behaviors. Ryan and Patricia had not known how Brian felt, and if they had not met Tiffany Knightly before she passed, they would have lost their son.
Tiffany had taken Brian under her wing as a surrogate mother. She fed him and encouraged Brian to quit smoking, get his act together, and improve his grades. Thirsty for love, Brian had clung to her and flourished under her attention.
It was because of Tiffany—and later her daughter, Karlie—their son was now in college and on the right path toward becoming a contributor to society. Brian, Karlie, and her boyfriend, Jamaal, attended New York University.
“I can’t wait, honey,” Patricia moaned. As soon as the garage door closed, she undressed.
Ryan eyed the tempting display and smiled. He was all too willing to comply. After almost twenty-five years together, Ryan still found her desirable and insatiable, and he loved that about her.
“Me, either, honey,” he whispered. He kissed her with passion before tearing his lips away. “Patti, we’re behaving like teenagers when we have a king-sized, four-poster bed inside the house.”
“I don’t need a bed,” she pouted. “I just need you.”
Patricia made a valid point. Throwing caution to the wind, Ryan made love to his wife. Afterward, when they exited the vehicle, they did not make it past the living room. Ravenous, Ryan and Patricia clawed each other with unbridled passion. He knocked over one of the $300 Murray Feiss lamps from an end table. Both ignored it.
Fortunately for them, Brian had not decided to pay them a visit that day. As they lay on the carpet in each other’s arms, Ryan cradled his wife’s head and played with the tendrils of her hair. Her skin glistened from the effects of their passion. Again, his conscience pricked him.
“No, I can’t.” He uttered the words in a low tone of voice, but Patricia heard him. She turned her body toward him and kissed him on the neck. “Can’t what?”
I can’t tell you the truth. Ryan rubbed his nose in her hair. Mmm. He smelled apricots. “I can’t have you again, though I want to.” It wasn’t a complete lie. He wanted Patricia all the time.
“Oh, Ryan, I love you,” she sighed. “How did I luck out with such a good man?” She took his face in her hands and kissed him gently on the lips. “I hear women at work gripe about their husbands, boyfriends, and baby daddies, and I consider myself blessed that I don’t have any worries like that. You’re a rare breed of man, Ryan Oakes, and I love you always.”
Ryan gulped, and his conscience gave him a swift kick in the gut. He closed his eyes because he knew that he did not deserve that trusting look on her face. Not anymore. But, he could not bear to see Patricia’s trust turn into disgust.
What was he going to do?
“Wake up, sleepyhead.” Patricia poked him in the chest.
“Lord, help me,” Ryan prayed. He pried his eyes open.
His wife misunderstood and chuckled. “Yes, He’s going to have to help you because of what I’ve got planned . . .”
Ryan felt her body shift and knew what she intended to do. Tomorrow. He would tell her tomorrow. Never mind that he said that yesterday—and the day before that. He would keep his word this time. Tomorrow would be the day.
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.
Copyright © 2015 Michelle Lindo-Rice
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