A seal upon your heart, p.30
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       A Seal Upon Your Heart, p.30

           Pepper Pace
 

  Dhakiya stared at her. “Martier, what’s wrong, inkumi?”

  Martier swallowed. “I’m not going to be getting married.” Something felt so hollow and definite at putting those words out there in the universe.

  Dhakiya draped the dress over a rack and placed her hands on the younger girl’s shoulders. “Did something happen? You and Tim didn’t break up did you?”

  “No, it’s just that Tim doesn’t want to get married.”

  Dhakiya didn’t respond for a moment and then she went, hmph. “Well he can’t have the milk without the cow.” She said a few choice words in her native tongue and then flashed Martier a firm look. “You are going to have to lay down the law, sis!”

  Martier watched her intently. “A friend of mine said that if you have to tell a man what you need and then he gives it to you it doesn’t mean as much. I don’t want to tell Tim that I want to be married, I want Tim to tell me that he wants to be married to me.” Her throat began to ache as the emotion rose in her. “It’s like…I feel stuck. I love Tim and he’s all I want and I think that I’m all he wants. Can that be enough?”

  “Hell no. Because you’re a Christian, sister. You told me that you gave yourself to Tim because he was already your husband in your mind. You haven’t fulfilled that contract. And you want to have children—”

  “Tim…” Martier’s voice cracked, “doesn’t really want to have kids, either.”

  “Well hells bells! You need to dump this old white man!” Dhakiya said loudly and several women looked at them in surprise. Martier’s face grew warm.

  “That’s not fair-”

  “I knew that he was going to pull this! I knew it!! Let’s get out of here.” She headed for the door.

  “Well what about the dress?”

  “Forget the dress!” Dhakiya bit out angrily.

  Martier followed her friend out of the store with a sigh. She was on the verge of tears but fought them back. They climbed into Dhakiya’s car and her friend started the engine. “Tim is using you,” she said simply.

  Martier rejected that and shook her head. “He loves me, I don’t doubt that.”

  “I’m not saying he doesn’t love you.” Dhakiya pulled out of the parking lot and began driving. “But he has to know that you want more than to just keep his bed warm!”

  “Oh Dhakiya! You don’t know enough about it to be so judgmental! So he doesn’t want to get married. He wouldn’t be the first man that doesn’t want to walk down the aisle.”

  “Okay, but is it marriage he’s rejecting or commitment?” Dhakiya spared her a look. “Because isn’t that all marriage is?” Martier silently stared out of the window. Dhakiya’s voice softened. “I’m not trying to hurt you.”

  “I know.” Martier whispered as tears pricked her eyes.

  “Has he asked you to move in with him?” Martier didn’t answer. “Have you ever even slept in the big house with him? Does he talk about a future with you? Does he know that you want babies?”

  Martier looked at her. “Stop. Okay? Please, just stop.” She looked out the window again and the two friends drove in silence.

  ~***~

  Tim watched Martier with worry. When he’d come over this morning he saw that her eyes were red but she denied that she’d been crying. So much had happened in the last week; the return of her lost memories and subsequent refusal to speak to a therapist and then Claudette’s move to Alabama. Just last week they had embarked on a new phase of their relationship and it had been beautiful. But now it seemed that there was a wall between them that he didn’t know how to get around and it pained him. He wanted to find a way to help her cope or to at least talk to him about her feelings. Instead she kept them trapped inside.

  He knew that it was well past time for him to tell her about what he’d learned about her father but he feared that hearing more bad news might just push her deeper into her funk. But it wasn’t his place to keep it from her so after dinner he brought out the file that he had collected on her father and placed it in her hands.

  “What’s this?” She was preparing to put in a movie but stopped to open the manila folder.

  “Martier I did some research on your family and I thought you might want to see what I found. I had gathered this information in hopes that it would help piece together some of your memories.”

  Her head whipped around at him. “You researched my family?” She put the file on the table after snapping it closed.

  “It’s about the trial mostly.” He didn’t want her to think that it was a folder of horrible images; there were no pictures in it—not that the details of her father’s imprisonment wouldn’t be horrific enough. “I did this before you got your memories back and I’m sorry that I didn’t give this to you sooner.”

  Her mouth parted and then she looked away. “They died. I remembered and there is no more that needs to be discussed.” She made to walk away but Tim took her hand.

  “I know that you’re hurting honey, but I wish that you would please open up to me-”

  She looked at him again. “Did my father kill people?”

  Tim paused. “Yes.”

  She blew out a shaky breath. “Then my father did a horrible thing and then he got his just rewards, didn’t he?”

  “Martier-”

  She shook her head and slipped her hand from his and went into the kitchen.

  Tim followed her and watched as she retrieved a bottled water from the refrigerator.

  “Martier…you can’t keep this bottled up inside.”

  She drank silently.

  “You won’t talk to a therapist, you won’t talk to me about it-” he continued.

  She gave him a reproachful look that was so uncharacteristic of her that he could only pause.

  Her voice was a soft whisper. “My brother tried to save me. He picked me up and ran with one arm holding me. I hung onto him very tightly and his legs moved so fast. I saw the boys spilling out of our house. Some of them were big but a lot of them were friends with Yook; my brother. He played soccer with them. One boy even worked at the grocery store…”

  She met Tim’s eyes. “It was confusion for me; why they were swarming out of our house, why they were angry with us and chasing me and my brother, why they were pulling up their pants as if they had just gone to the bathroom and how my brother seemed to know instantly that they were going to come after us. They held machetes and knives and chased us and I remembered looking into the face of my brother’s friends as they closed in on us, being more terrified than I’d ever been in my life. I could see that it was me that slowed him down. My brother was a very fast runner—one of the fastest in our neighborhood. He shouldn’t…he should not have picked me up. He should not have tried to save me. He should have saved himself.”

  Tim’s eyes stung at her words and his stomach plummeted.

  She stared out the kitchen window into the night. “I saw the machete as it came at us and landed into his back. He was 12 years old but in my mind I see someone much older; a very grand figure that never let the boys bully me. He always took my hand when we went to market, and moved always with so much confidence through the thick crowds so that I didn’t get lost in the shuffle.

  “When he stumbled to the ground he never let me go. Well those boys let me go. They just turned away when they saw that Yook was…” Martier reached up and touched her forehead.

  “I didn’t know what to do. I lay under my brother but he wouldn’t move and so eventually I crawled from under him. I went back to the house. I didn’t understand then but now I know why my mother’s panties were off and why her blouse was ripped open. I now know why those boys had come running out of our house with pants half off. I just tried to put her clothes back on; hers, as well as my sister’s…”

  When Martier looked at Tim again he was as white as a sheet. She shook her head. “No. I don’t agree with you, Tim. It didn’t help me one bit to talk about that.”

  Tim stayed the night with Martier, just holding her in
his arms. And when she had fallen asleep he went outside and sat down on the porch stairs of the cottage and sobbed. He swore that he would never ever ask her to talk about that horrible time of her life again and if she wanted to forget, he would do everything in his power to help her do so.

  ~***~

  Two months later Dhakiya walked down the aisle in the dress purchased by her best friend. Martier stood by her side as her Maid of Honor and gazed out into the seats where Tim was watching her with pride. Martier averted her eyes and took in a shaky breath and then tried to be happy for her friend, but in the back of her mind was a thought that it would never be her standing with Tim before God and all of their friends and family.

  “That was a beautiful wedding.” Tim said as they drove home.

  “It was, but I’m very happy that it’s over.”

  Tim reached over and grasped her hand. “Tired, baby?”

  “Very.” She leaned over and placed her head on his shoulder and stifled a yawn. Two days of rehearsals, last minute adjustments to everything from the decorations to the flowers that the bridesmaids were to carry not to mention a spa visit, hairdressers, and of course soothing her friend’s nerves.

  Tim dropped Martier off at her house and then went to his own home to change out of his suit. When he returned to the little cottage Martier had turned the radio on to top 40. She hadn’t listened to her African music in ages and he rather missed it but understood why she didn’t want the reminder.

  He rubbed her shoulders as they sat on the couch and she snuggled in his arms. “Do you want to have dinner later?”

  “Ugh, I don’t think I’ll ever eat again.”

  “I concur that was some buffet that your friend had.” He’d never eaten East African food before and found many of the dishes to his liking. Dhakiya had catered from a local East African restaurant and Tim decided that they would have to definitely frequent the place regularly.

  “You have a birthday coming up. I didn’t want to just spring this on you but I’d like to take you to Hawaii.”

  She sat up and regarded him with a smile. “Hawaii?” She squealed and gave him a hug.

  “I’d love to see you on a beach with the sun on your skin. And I could probably stand to tan a bit.”

  Martier kissed him and scowled. “Stop! You are beautiful Timothy Alan Singleton.” She settled back into his arms. “Are you sure that you want to do go to Hawaii with Christmas being just a week later?”

  “Well maybe we can extend your birthday trip through Christmas?”

  Her brow furrowed. “Miss Christmas here? No I can’t do that. I want to do something nice for the little ones at St. Bartholoma.” She had set aside money to buy every child there a nice gift. But more importantly she wanted to give the sister’s something nice. Everyone should have a gift at Christmas and the sister’s didn’t always get remembered when the money was lean.

  He squeezed her shoulder and kissed her temple. She was such a good person that she still thought about the orphanage and the nuns. How had he lucked upon two women in his life that were so carrying and selfless? And what had caused them to love him? He had no idea but was just pleased that they did.

  “Then it’s settled, we’ll celebrate your birthday in Hawaii right after Christmas and bring in the new year on the beach of Waikiki.”

  She grinned and lightly bit her lip and then came up on her knees and straddled Tim’s body. She ran her hands up his body beneath his shirt, loving the feel of his big chest and toned torso. He always made fun of himself due to his age but in her opinion Tim was every bit as gorgeous as any many half his age.

  He gripped her hips and settled her on his lap and as they kissed he began to rise and harden beneath her bottom. His hands moved over her thighs and he cupped her ass, kneading and squeezing her ample flesh. Damn, she had the best ass ever.

  She rolled her hips over him, grinding her pelvis into his erection and his heart strained in his chest when the pleasure began to mount.

  “Martier,” he sighed and then he pulled open her blouse and pushed up her bra, releasing her breasts. His eyes were glued to the beautiful sight of thick dark nipples topping dark brown flesh. She was fucking perfect. He covered a succulent nipple with his mouth, drawing on it until she moaned and increased the rolling of her hips.

  Tim lapped and sucked in pleasure as the flesh thickened in his mouth and then he lightly pinched the other nipple.

  Martier cried out and pushed her core against the hardness beneath her, rubbing and soothing her own ache. When she could take no more, she reached between them and opened the front of his pants.

  Tim helped by lifting his hips off the couch and pushing down his pants until his aching cock sprang free. Tim sought her other nipple and heard her mew in pleasure. He felt her fingers closing around his shaft and reflexively he sucked her tit even harder.

  “Ah Tim, yes!” He felt her guide the tip of his cock against her wet, shaved lips, teasing the tender flesh of her clit until her hips rocked in a rhythm that was new but very familiar to her. She allowed his hard flesh to sink into her tight opening. Roughly she yanked his head back, her hands buried in his thick hair.

  Her mouth sought his and they were kissing wildly as she sank down on his hard shaft. Tim sucked in a sharp breath; breathing her in as he did and feeling that the connection they were creating had made them one person. He thrust upward smoothly and she twirled her hips responsively creating an unimaginable friction.

  Tim loved it when it was wild like this; clothes pushed aside and Martier lost in the feel of pleasure while he both watched and enjoyed her.

  She suddenly threw her head back and tensed. The next moment her body was quaking and she was calling out something repetitively while his own orgasm began to explode around him. He cried out loudly, her words lost in the sound of his cries. He gripped her, his arms going around her small waist as he pumped long and hard into her velvety opening. Each spurt of his ejaculation caused his toes to curl as his semen flooded her.

  After a moment she collapsed on him breathing heavily. Languidly he stroked her back until she lifted her head from his shoulder to look at him. Her hair was a beautiful mess and her dark eyes were half hooded but furrowed in confusion.

  “What?” he asked while running his fingers through the unruly curls.

  “You didn’t pull out.”

  His hands halted. “What?”

  “I was telling you to pull out.” Her eyes watched him. “My period is due in just a few days…”

  Chapter 37

  Tim was swamped; criminal activity seemed to increase right around Christmas so ‘Tis the Season. Martier came in without disturbing him and refilled his coffee and then at noon she placed bottled tea and a pastrami sandwich on his desk.

  “Thanks Corrine. I haven’t been able to lift my head above water…” His head jerked up and he looked at Martier who had paused by the door. He was horrified at what he’d just done. He’d called her Corrine.

  “Oh, sweetheart, I’m so sorry! I didn’t-”

  “Tim it’s fine. I’m not angry.” She walked out of the office and looked over her shoulder at him before closing the door.

  He buried his head in his hands. “Fuck!” He growled. What was I thinking?! He signed off his computer and grabbed his jacket and then went out into the reception area. Martier was just unwrapping her sandwich and peeked up at him.

  “Hey, do you want to eat lunch together?” He asked.

  Her mouth moved upward into a slight smile. “You’re busy. You should eat and work so that we can get out of here at a decent hour.”

  “No, lets go down to the canteen and eat.”

  “The canteen? Why would a partner eat in the canteen when he can eat in his office?”

  “Corrine and I used to do it all the time. Come on.”

  She gathered up her sandwich and he returned to his office and got his. They walked together down the corridor and several people greeted them. They made a striking presence.
She was nearly as tall as him in heels and a wool matching skirt and jacket ensemble. He was in a suit that did little to conceal his strong build.

  They took a seat near the glass block wall as it gave them some privacy. Lois winked at her and she waved at her and Diana. Several people stopped to tell Martier hello and to acknowledge Tim and he gave his woman a smile.

  “You’ve become pretty popular.”

  She shrugged and shook her head. “It’s just hard to miss a six foot tall African woman. Most everyone else here is white and tiny.”

  They both chuckled at her accurate observation.

  “Sorry that I’ve been so preoccupied. I just want everything in order by Christmas,” he said after biting into his sandwich.

 

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