Trent made the extra bed and set up a crib for Matt. “I hope you don’t mind going slow. I don’t want to rush right into the extreme end of the love pool before you have had time to adjust.”
She studied him. He wasn’t pushing himself onto her, trying to take from her without her permission. He was definitely not like the other men she had encountered. He was indeed a true gentleman. She would have to thank his mother for raising him to respect women.
She smiled. “Thank you.”
He looked over at her, mystified. “For what?”
She hugged him. “For loving me this much.”
He leaned over and kissed her cheek. “It is the least I can do. I really do love you, Natalia. I just hope I can convince you of that.”
She moved away and sat down on the newly made bed. “It is just that all the other men I have met wanted to use me. They wanted to take without asking, or waiting. They didn’t care about my feelings.
“It is going to take me a little time to let this all soak in. Please do not stop loving me if I do not open completely immediately. I-I just don’t know how to take this all. I love you, Trent. I-I am just not sure when I will be able to fully show you that.”
He smiled understandingly. “Take as much time as you need, Baby. I ain’t going anywhere. I’m just in the next room when you’re good and ready.” He wrapped his arms around her. “I can even wait until we get married, if that is more comfortable for you.”
She shivered in his arms, nestling into his chest. “You won’t have to wait that long.”
He kissed her on the top of the head. “I’m just saying. I am a very patient man. I have waited this long to find you. I can surely wait long enough for you to feel it is time.”
She smiled, comfortable against his muscular body. “And that is why I love you so much, Trent.”
He straightened up. “Well, it is bedtime.” He kissed her on the lips and let her go slowly. “I will see you in the morning. Remember. I am just right next door if you need anything.”
She gave him her best seductive smile, nearly knocking him off his feet emotionally. “I’ll be sure to remember that, Honey.”
He quickly gathered himself and smiled sheepishly. “And I will remember to watch those looks from you. You sure know how to make a man’s heart flutter, Baby.” He winked at her.
She watched him leave. She silently chided herself. She had to be crazy. What was wrong with her?
There was an amazingly handsome man in the next room, and yet she was sleeping alone. She wasn’t ready for sexual intimacy, but she could sure use a man’s embrace. She could use the warmth of an extra body. She didn’t need to sleep with Matty every night.
She shook it off. She would try the ‘alone’ thing for a while. If she couldn’t sleep, she would move on to plan ‘B’. She would swallow her pride and slip into bed with him.
Still, she didn’t want him to think she was desperate. What if he took it all wrong? She shook her head. She was thinking too much. She wasn’t listening to her heart.
Her heart was telling her to go to him. Explain to him the need to be held, while asking to abstain from sex. It was telling her that he would understand. He would be a perfect gentleman.
No. She would go to bed alone tonight. She could not risk him getting mixed messages. Not right now.
Damn this battle between head and heart. She couldn’t bring herself to overcome the fears. Her head was holding her back from what her heart was telling her was right in the next room. Why did she always have this war to fight?
Of course, she knew the answer. Toby had started this battle between the heart and the mind. Her heart had been wrong about him and her mind kept reminding her of that fact. He had taken from her without asking. He had ripped her innocence away from her. Took her dignity and replaced it with shame.
She was afraid it would happen all over again. She didn’t want to let her guard down. She couldn’t afford another source of shame. She couldn’t afford the pain.
She tossed and turned for two hours before she finally gave in to her heart. Getting up, she put her nightgown back on, slipping her bathrobe on over it. Heading out into the hallway, she groped for the door of Trent’s room. But before she twisted the knob, she knocked softly. “Trent?” Her voice was almost a whisper. She worried he couldn’t hear her.
God, she was nervous! She knocked again. He answered. “Yes?”
She opened the door and made her way, awkwardly, to the side of the bed. “I-I can’t sleep. I want to be held, but nothing else. Can you understand that?”
He sat up and moved beside her, putting his hand on hers to calm her. “I understand that you aren’t ready for sex, Baby. I understand why. I am willing to lay with you and hold you to give you comfort. I want you to be comfortable. I want you to be happy.
“I am willing to sacrifice my desire for as long as it takes to give you every reason to trust me. Just to touch you is enough for now, my love. There is no need to rush anything else.”
Oh God, she loved this man! He was every bit the man Toby would never have been! He knew exactly how to treat a woman! What had she done to deserve such a loving man?
He laid back down and she followed him under the covers. He allowed her to situate herself so that they could cuddle, then put his arm around her. It felt good to have a woman in his arms. He knew she was loving this as well, why would he want to spoil it? He smiled as he faded back to sleep. As he did, he could hear her breathing softly and calmly. She had fallen right to sleep. He smiled. He was a lucky man.