Updated: Oct 12, 2019
Tales of Distraction - Recommended for readers over 18 and readers who have already read the entire trilogy. Before the epilogue...
I’ve missed her. Every single inch of her. It feels like years since I last held her in my arms. It makes one wonder how I even lasted all of those years we were separated for.
Sure, we’ve been facetiming and texting constantly, me more than her because she’s been busier than I have, but it’s been so hard.
I don’t know if she’s at our new place or not yet; I haven’t had a moment to check on her. All I know is she sent me a text at seven this morning telling me she would be leaving soon and it’s a seven-hour drive, so if she left immediately afterwards she should be there now.
I sound ridiculous. I’m just so excited.
I smooth my hair back as I approach my reflection in the glass exit door of the school where I work. Yeah, I’m still handsome. She’ll still fancy me.
When I open the door, I pull out my phone, brushing past the many students and only waving slightly when they call my name.
No missed calls or texts. She’s still driving then.
I let my thoughts wander to what I’m going to do to her body when I finally get her home and quickly duck into my car because the worst thing I could do is showcase my straining erection to the school grounds. It’s full of teenagers that would never let it die.
As I’m starting up the car, my phone rings. In my haste to answer I bounce it from hand to hand, juggling it as I attempt to grasp it before gravity defeats me.
“Son.” I have never been so disappointed to hear from my dad.
“Is it important? I need the line free…”
“No, I just need to know how to fix the tap in the kitchen. It’s dripping.”
“You need new taps.”
“I’m not buying a new tap. I like this tap.”
I pinch the bridge of my nose. “Dad, it’s just a tap.”
His tone gets haughty and I know I’m not getting through to him. “If you’re not going to help me, I’ll call Eloise.”
“Dad, don’t call Elle; she’s driving.”
“She isn’t here yet? She texted me an hour ago telling me she’s in Doncaster.”
I blink twice at that and let my head fall back. “She texted you?”
“And not me?”
“I’m a nicer person.”
I laugh genuinely and take a note of how good it feels. Laughter comes more often these days, unlike before, during my separation with Elle and after the unfortunate death of my mother. I miss her dreadfully.
“I’m going,” I clip, still smiling. “We’ll be with you the day after tomorrow.”
“Bye…” I press the little red circle on the glass screen and shake my head with amusement, putting the car in gear so I can make my way home.
I’m currently sharing a cheap two-bedroom flat with an old friend and colleague, who agreed to put me up for a share of the rent and utilities until Eloise and I can find something a bit more permanent. There has been absolutely nothing locally and I’m starting to wonder if Boston is the right fit for us. It’s out of the way of everybody we love and, with the baby coming in just a few months, we’re going to need all of the help we can get.
I don’t want to leave my job and I definitely don’t want to move back to Lily Hill. There’s nothing for us there.
But then… what is there for us here?
We really haven’t had the time to discuss it. Elle has been too stressed about her studies with Hamish, naturally, and I’ve been too stressed about the fact she isn’t here and we only had five minutes with each other before she was away again for four months.
I don’t even know if she has a bump. She says she hasn’t yet, but she rarely shows me her body on facetime.
She’s almost twenty-one weeks…
It’s going so slowly, but I bet that now she’s back it’ll speed up some.
I still can’t wrap my head around the fact I’m going to be a dad. It was never something that appealed to me until Eloise returned. I don’t remember a time I ever felt happier than the moment she told me she didn’t go through with the termination.
There isn’t anywhere I’d rather be than by her side raising our child. I’m so lucky I knocked her up when I did because I don’t think I’d be waiting for her to return to me if I hadn’t.
Thank you otherworld forces, if you exist.
Thinking about knocking her up has my dick hard again. This is torture.
As my phone charges in the small but cute bachelor style living room, I do the few dishes in the sink and unpack my belongings. I should let Isaac know I’m home, but I want it to be a surprise.
The flat is standard; warm, nicely but sparsely decorated, and it smells of him and the other guy who lives here, Louis. Louis, who was nice enough to let me in, help me with my things and make me a drink. Louis, who sang Isaac’s praises and promised to make himself scarce for the night despite the fact I told him he didn’t have to. He’s such a nice guy with such nice brown eyes.
I hear the door rattle and a key twist in the lock before it creaks open. My heart begins to race, my palms sweating, and I suddenly wish I’d showered to get the journey off my skin.
After a pause, the door is closing behind him and there he is.
The sun seems to suddenly shine through the cracks in the blinds, illuminating his handsome features. How I ever landed a man so stunningly handsome is beyond me.
We stare at each other briefly, his chest heaving as though he’s run all the way here, mine still because I’m breathless, before he drops his heavy briefcase on the ground and stomps towards me.
I wrap my arms around his neck and meet his lips with mine.
He lifts me with his arms around my back and kisses me so deeply I can feel it in my soul.
“I’ve missed you. God how I’ve missed you,” he tells me, walking me backwards towards his bedroom, his forehead on mine, his eyes holding my own.
We kiss again, hands grasping at our outer layer of clothing as we tear it from each other’s bodies, but it’s not until we’re in his room that he stops and steps back to look at me.
His midnight blue eyes take me in, scanning me from head to toe with dilated pupils. Then his hands reach out and cup the round bump I’ve been keeping safely tucked away under thick winter jackets and jumpers.
“You said you weren’t showing.” He looks sad, likely thinking I’ve lied.
“I wasn’t, honest. This happened like maybe three days ago and it doubled in size overnight.” I grab his hands when he reaches for the edge of my t-shirt. “Don’t.”
“Don’t?” He asks, looking confused and awed.
“It’s weird,” I admit shyly, stepping away. “I don’t like the way I look right now.”
He blinks once, then twice, before clearing his throat. “Are you serious?”
I shrug and sidestep away from him, if only to look at myself in the mirror and cringe.
My boobs haven’t grown much but my belly is now at their level in a way it genuinely wasn’t a week ago. I have a stretchmark branching up from my right hip which is angry and red. When I saw it, I cried.
I’ve never been body shy but right now I’ve never felt so hideous.
“You look,” he wraps his arms around me from behind and rests his large hands on my stomach, on top of my clothes, “absolutely,” his lips touch my jaw, “gorgeous.”
“I’m sorry… I thought I’d feel better about it when I came home but… it’s just weird.” I turn in his arms so I don’t have to see the look of hurt in his eyes. “We were apart for so long and then again, it kind of feels like we’re strangers. You know?”
He nods, his chin rubbing against my temple. “I understand.” Then he adds bitterly, “and you were with Silas for quite some time.”
I exhale slowly. “What did we say?”
“No,” he quickly rebuts. “I didn’t mean it like that… just you know… you were. Of course this is going to be weird. I mean, we spent maybe a few days with each other at the most before separating, again. So, I get it. I understand.” I go to speak but he quickly adds, “just know I love you. Okay? I love you. I never stopped and we are going to make it work this time.”
I nod because I agree. “We are.”
At my words his eyes soften and he smiles so sweetly I want to do nothing but kiss him again. That is until he reaches for my top once more and sighs when I step away.
“Babe…” He chuckles nervously. “It’s me. Your husband slash ex-husband. I worship every part of you, even the extra bits.” When his hand reaches for my shirt again, I almost let him but then a sick, twisting feeling has me stepping back.
“I’m tired and I need to shower.” It isn’t a lie because I really do.
“No, Isaac, it’s not you, it’s me. I’m just having a weird moment.”
He frowns gently and strokes the back of his knuckles down my cheek. “Do I make you uncomfortable? Do you need privacy?”
God I feel like such a raging bitch. I hate myself right now.
“Would that be okay?”
Before his look of surprise can affect me, I push my lips onto his and he hums softly, making my womb clench with need. I want to do things with him but just the thought of him seeing me like this makes me feel sick. It’s not right, I know, but it is what it is. I can’t help the way I feel.
Suddenly I’ve never felt so body conscious.
“I’ll be in the other room,” he whispers solemnly, drifting his hand over my bump one more time. “But get used to me looking, Elle, because that’s my kid in there and I’m not missing another moment.”
“I know,” I insist, frowning at him. “I get that. But like I said… this is… I just need a few minutes.”
“Okay. Are you hungry? Perhaps I can make myself busy while you shower?”
I nod, grin and reply, “I’m always hungry.”
Soft lips touch the end of my nose. I love it when he does that. Then he’s gone, leaving me to gather myself.
I can’t get over the look of panic on her face when I tried to touch her. I can’t get over how distant she’s being now she’s here, though I don’t know what I was expecting.
I thought she’d fall into my arms and we’d make love for hours. So did my dick, because he’s still not sleeping. Every time she shifts beside me on the couch, every time she replies to whatever it is I’m saying, he twitches. He knows she’s in the area and doesn’t understand why he isn’t getting the attention he thinks he deserves.
The rest of me is being a little bit more understanding. She’s been travelling for hours, she’s twenty-one weeks pregnant and she’s had a really hectic few months.
I don’t blame her at all for being a little bit distant. It just doesn’t feel right. I don’t like it.
She cuddles into my side in fluffy onesie pyjamas so I can’t even accidentally catch a glimpse of her stomach, which is extremely disappointing. Though she does look really fucking cute.
My finger traces the spotty pattern of the onesie and she sighs with contentment.
I kiss her forehead and then nudge it with my nose.
“Shall we go to bed?” I ask softly.
I don’t want to sleep yet but I’m hoping if we’re in the dark and under the covers, she’ll be a little more forgiving of my wandering hands.
“Sure,” she mumbles, sounding tired.
I stand, switch off the TV, take her hand and lead her into her bedroom where she yawns and stretches onto her tip toes.
Her stomach shape can be seen beyond the fluffy fabric while like this. I love it. She is absolutely stunning.
“Your hair is so much longer, at least two inches.” I reach for the strands that delicately brush the top of her shoulders.
“When pregnant your hair grows so fast, but it also means you lose more,” she states with excited eyes as she climbs onto the bed and I join her so I’m sitting on the end, whereas she shuffles to the middle and faces me with her legs crossed.
Now I’m getting somewhere.
“Oh and nails too, except they don’t fall out.”
“Are your boobs super sensitive?” I ask, acting cavalier, hoping she lets me test that theory.
Her expressive eyes widen as she nods. “Oh my gosh, for like the first couple of months they were so achy. They aren’t so bad now, but when you touch them they tingle.”
“Tingle?” I tap the left one through the soft, spotty fabric. “In a good or a bad way?”
She bites her lip and I know immediately she’s aroused. “I like to play with them when I’m… you know. Something I never really did before.”
Oh lord… how the hell am I supposed to not react to that? The thought of her in bed, sprawled out, her hand on her breast and the other between her thighs.
“Please let me fuck you,” I say before I can stop myself. The words just fell out of my mouth, I swear.
“I’m kind of tired,” she lies, looking away, and I bury the hurt I feel at her rejection because she needs more time. She doesn’t need a dickhead man pushing her for something she’s not ready to give.
“Okay.” I stand, yank on the corner of the blanket and wait for her to climb inside before I take the spot beside her, switching off the bedside light.
She doesn’t immediately snuggle into my side. She seems to deliberate for a moment, then I feel her hand on my sternum and stop breathing. I’m worried I’ll startle her, like a frightened rabbit caught in my sights.
It shouldn’t be like this.
Before I can stop myself, I let out a sad sigh. It just happened but I feel her tense and know the damage is done.
“Elle…” I try as she rolls away from me.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. My stomach is tingling painfully.
She doesn’t reply so I leave her to her moment of silence and wait until I’m sure she’s asleep before tucking my body around hers. For this blissful moment I pretend everything is okay. It really will be okay. I just had my hopes set too high.
Tomorrow is a new day.
I wake a little rougher than normal. I don’t know why until I roll over in the empty bed, find my phone and gasp when I realise it’s almost one in the afternoon. I’ve been asleep for fourteen hours. That’s ridiculous!
“Isaac?” I call as I climb out of bed. My stomach growls with hunger.
Why didn’t he wake me?
I exit the bedroom, still in my fluffy onesie, and skip into the bathroom to empty my bursting bladder. After washing my hands, brushing my teeth and taming my hair in the mirror, I head back out in search of my errant boyfriend, husband, person, man.
When I scour the place but find it empty, I frown and pad into the kitchen for something to eat. That’s where I find a note on the counter addressed to me.
‘If you wake up while I’m gone, I’ve just nipped out to buy Dad a new tap. I won’t be long.
I love you.
Just as I place it back on the side, the front door opens and in he walks, hands empty.
“Morning, sleepy.” He moves to me and kisses me, making me grateful that I just brushed my teeth. “How are you both this afternoon?”
“Grumpy. I feel so rough.”
He kisses me again and lifts me, by my thighs, onto the counter so that I’m sitting on top of his note. “Anything I can do to help with that?”
“Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.”
When he frowns, I almost sigh because I know what’s coming. “Is that allowed?”
Frustration laces my tone as I reply, “Yes, Isaac. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have it.”
“Okay,” he says, his tone high as he steps back with his hands raised. “I’m sorry. I just won’t say anything at all in the future.”
“Don’t start. I’ve literally been back less than twenty-four hours.”
“I’m not starting.” His tone is still snippy and I don’t appreciate it. “I was being serious. I have my orders. Don’t touch you, don’t look at you and definitely don’t ask questions pertaining to the safety of my child.”
Here we go. “I’ll make my own coffee.”
“You do that,” he mutters as he leaves the room and I feel the overwhelming urge to cry. I’m being stroppy and irrational but my hormones are a mess and my body is gross and I don’t know how to act around him anymore.
I thought I’d miss him so much that we’d move past everything, but I’m still so nervous around him. That puts me on edge.
I click the button on the kettle and grip the side as I gather myself. The sound of it boiling and bubbling helps me a little but not much. I need to let go of this bitterness I’m feeling. I didn’t feel it when I was talking to him from a distance, so why now?
“Isaac?” I call softly, stepping into the room and looking at him where he’s sitting on the sofa, leg crossed over his knee, newspaper balancing over them.
He looks up at me, over the glasses that suit him so handsomely. I can see the stress I’m inflicting around his eyes and immediately hate myself. This isn’t what I wanted. This isn’t right.
“I have low blood pressure, so when I stand, I get dizzy. The doctor suggested a coffee in the morning.”
“It’s fine, Elle. Do as you please.”
He just snapped the olive branch I extended and now I’m pissed off again. “When are we going to your Dad’s?”
The stress lines around his eyes and mouth soften. “Tomorrow?”
I nod. “That’ll be nice.”
He pats his lap for me to join him after folding up his paper. “Come here.”
I do as I’m told and slide onto the arm of the sofa, that is until he yanks me onto his lap, turns me and lays me flat on my back on the couch.
I’m in the middle of asking him what he’s doing when he kisses me, softer than yesterday but somehow more determined.
I return it, happy to taste him again after so long. I didn’t think I’d make it four months without him, yet now that I’m here, I almost want to be back in Scotland, in my grotty little flat, with the friends I made.
Away from what possible heartbreak my life here will bring.
On that thought I try to pull away, but he rolls on top of me and deepens the kiss.
I feel his swollen groin press against my thigh as he carefully situates his body along mine.
“Isaac,” I whisper, mid kiss so it sounds muffled.
“No,” he replies, nipping my lip.
“Isaac.” I press at his chest. “I need to get dressed and have coffee.”
“Sex first,” he murmurs, grinning while kissing me again. “Coffee later.”
“Stop saying my name like you’re chastising a child, Elle,” he snaps, holding his weight off me with one arm.
“Then get off me when I tell you to.”
“Fucking hell,” he whisper hisses. Blowing a heavy breath through pursed lips, he shoots off me and stares as I sit up. “Why are you being so difficult?”
“Why are you being so pushy? I don’t want sex… okay?”
“You’ve never not wanted sex.”
I blink at him. “You haven’t known me for five years, Isaac.” His entire body becomes tight. “I left when I was nineteen, remember? Now I’m twenty-four and almost heavily pregnant. I’m tired… I’m sad… I’ve left an entire new life behind that I enjoyed. And I’m living with my husband who fucked me over so badly I didn’t leave my bedroom for nearly three months.”
“And I had thought we were past the latter part of that blow out, Elle? Or do I need to grovel some more?”
“God, you’re such a dick,” I snarl, stomping past him towards the bedroom, but he grabs my arm as I go. Despite my thrashing, he keeps a tight hold of it and doesn’t let me go. “Isaac…”
“Stop saying my name like that,” he shouts, startling me. “Are you going to hold that over my head forever? Or just until you get the courage to leave me and take our child with you?”
His words slice deep in my soul and stomach. I feel winded that he’d think I’d ever do such a thing, though then I feel winded because I hate myself for thinking exactly that.
“You’re not denying it,” he mutters and I see his face pale.
My heart staggers in my chest, struggling to find its usual rhythm as the pain in his eyes transfers to me. “That’s not what I want.”
“Isn’t it?” He looks so heartbroken. “I told you, months ago, that you’d want to leave me when you returned.”
“I know,” I say softly, placing a hand on his chest. “I know you did, but you were wrong. I don’t want to leave you. I do want to be here. I just… I don’t want to have sex right now. I don’t feel sexy right now.”
“Because of your hormones? Or because of me?”
“I don’t know.” My eyes burn and I know he sees the tears there. “We’ve been apart for so long…”
“I’m not bothered about the sex, Eloise,” he snaps, looking angry now. “I can wait for sex. It’s the reason behind the lack of sex that bothers me. Is it me you don’t want intimacy with, or is it just a symptom of pregnancy?” When I don’t immediately reply, he rips a hand through his hair. “Right… well, that answers that.”
“I just need time,” I explain softly, reaching for his face with my free hand. I’m surprised when he leans into my palm and kisses it.
“Take as much time as you need, Elle. I’m not going anywhere.” He touches my stomach again. “I love you. I’ll never let you go again.”
We surrender to another embrace, absorbing each other’s heat, unwilling to let go for the longest time.
“Why don’t I go and make you that coffee?” Sweet Isaac is back. He brushes his lips against mine. “You do whatever it is you need to do and then we’ll get dressed. I want to take you somewhere.”
“It’s a surprise.”
Now I’m a little bit excited, I can’t deny.
She looks a lot happier after we take a stroll through the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I knew it would cheer her up and I love that I’m able to hold her hand and see her smile. She’s here. She’s actually here and who cares if our first day wasn’t as romantic and easy as I had hoped. She’s here.
She could be anywhere else but she’s here with me, which means we must want the same things.
“How do you think your dad will react tomorrow?” She asks as we sit in the corner of a cold café, huddled over hot chocolate and coffee. She opted for the hot chocolate and now I’m wishing I had too. It looks delicious.
I dip my finger into the cream on top and suck it into my mouth, wincing when she hits me on the back of the hand with a spoon.