chrmdboss (chrmdboss) wrote,
chrmdboss
chrmdboss

Conception...

"Surely the steam must be clouding my judgment," Angela thought to herself as she stepped from the shower. She had just spent the day chasing, chastising, and yes, coddling three five year old boys who, with sarcastic affection, she had nicknamed 'fire, pestilence, and death.' And this... this... is when she decides... His words, long suppressed from years past, now swirled in her mind.

"Hey Ang, ya ever think about havin' another one?" Her voice carried over his own into the present... "Tony, if we were to have another child..." And, voila, Billy came into their lives and home. A boy who was the spitting image of the man she... Still, she wanted...

Sighing inwardly she mused, "I must be crazy." Yet, she saw what she longed for with utmost clarity. A little Anglo-Saxon Italian. And there were two ways she could conceive of getting what she wanted. She could ask him to... or they could... After seven years of misconception on both their parts, the latter would render them complete, bonded together in love. One last glance in the the mirror saw her reflection smiling, almost giddy with anticipation and approval. "Completion is most definitely good, desirable too, she said, drawing out her last words. Bounding down the stairs, she met him in the kitchen for what he dubbed was an 'ice cream social for two.'

"Hiya baby."

Tony's jovial greeting stopped Angela in her tracks. Her eyes widened in disbelief. She continued to stare at him, stunned. He knows!! But how? I only...Are we just that good? As Angela's logic went into overdrive, Tony watched perplexity scribble it's way across those aesthetically Elizabethan features of hers. He knew how to handle this. Back peddling. It worked every time.

"I'm sorry, Ang...I didn't mean to...It's just that... well, we've become so much more 'domestic' lately."

Her enigmatic look vanished as reality set in. It was just him and her seated at their kitchen table sharing a bowl of ice cream. She grinned. He knew each and every one of her smiles, and this one was definitely over exaggerated. She wanted something.

"Whatever it is---no," he said with mock sternness.

Here it comes he said to himself, watching her lips curve into that adorable pout.

"I'm kiddin' Ang...You can take the Jeep; it's the family car, remember? Perfect for carpools. He couldn't resist throwing that in.

"Tony, that's not what I..."

"That means I can take the Jag, right?" he interjected; his brown eyes twinkling.

"Isn't Lois picking you up?" she asked, trying to disguise the jealousy now pronounced in her voice.

"Not if I take the Jag."

"We both have a set of keys don't we?"

"Yeah."

"Feel free to use them", she said, scooping another spoonful of Butter Brickle from the bowl they shared; a look of satisfaction on her face. If it meant keeping the distance between him and Ms. Delaware, Angela would do just about anything.

"So, this conversation we've been havin' isn't about the Jeep?"

"No."

"And if you hadn't acted like a kid being given a new toy just a minute ago, you'd know that."

"Ang?"

"Yes?"

"Just tell me; what do you want?"

"Okayyy...I want you to donate something."

"Oh yeah, that's right, for the PTA fundraiser..."

"No."

"I want you to donate something---to me."

"Like what?" His eyebrow raised, piqued with interest.

"Tony, I want..."

Just say it, Angela; she told herself. She was literally on the cusp of mental exasperation. This wouldn't be so hard if she didn't love him with all she had. If she didn't wish with her whole heart that they could conceive of this in another way. His way. Their way. If only he'd...

Her voice, a mixture of highs and lows, threaded with both want and need, spoke of accorded desire.

"I want you."

He stared at her, dumbfounded.

Who knew their daily musings would turn into this?

She continued shakily, "Not you per say, of course, I want your..."

His hand went limp. The cacophonous clatter as spoon met bowl rang in his ears; her last word unsaid. He, however, was as dynamic as she was methodical; and so, he knew.

As she watched the blood drain from his face, a blush crept into her cheeks.

"Oh, Angela, No!"

Her eyes widened. "You know!"

"Ya think?" His tone went from curious to caustic in mere seconds. He now knew how the cliched cat felt.

"But I didn't..."

"You didn't have to."

"We are that good."

"No kiddin'"

"And I'm thinkin' we'd be a lot better if you weren't tryin' to rob me." He sputtered, gesturing wildly between them.

"Tony..."

"Don't 'Tony' me, Angela...I got somethin' to say and I'm gonna say it!" His adamancy frustrated him, she frustrated him. And yet, his frustration seemed to have eluded her.

"I'm tryin' to wrap my head around this, Ang...I really am...I just can't...I mean, how can you wanna have a child, my child, and not want all of me? It isn't me, it isn't us, it isn't Italian!"

"Us?" Her voice shook with emotion.

"Yes, Angela, a little bit of me, and a little bit of you." "Tell me, Angela, somewhere within in that methodical mind of yours did ya ever think, just even consider, that I might wanna share this with you? You know, be a little more be a little more personally involved. I mean, not for nothin' but I happen to love 'personal involvement.' We are talkin' about our kid here..."

"I didn't think you'd want...I mean, you've never mentioned..."

"Well, gee, Angela, call me crazy, but I didn't think I'd have to ask ya for it! And if I had, given the roles we've found ourselves in over the last seven years, don't ya think that could be considered harassment on some level? I told you I'd never be caught sleepin' with my employer. Have you forgotten that's who you are? My best friend, the somewhat impervious blonde who now drops a bombshell that she wants not me, but my... my... is also my boss." The repercussions that had run through his mind as he first knocked at her bedroom door all those years years ago burst forth, sputtering and uncontrolled, like rapid-fire.

"Yet you seem to be saying that you want..." Angela logically pointed out, a smile hinting at the corners of her mouth.

"We have an adopted son, Ang," he said, practically pleading his case. "Not that that's a reason to...Geez, I don't even know what I'm sayin' anymore."

"I didn't think you loved me enough," she said, unable to meet his eyes. "You did, after all, indiscreetly leave me..." She trailed off, knowing she was treading dangerous ground.

"You told me to go to the motel."

"To study." She clarified. "The thought that you'd to pull an all-nighter with a woman you barely knew never entered my mind.

Pain pricked at her; logic and method, her analgesic of choice, couldn't heal her barely mended heart.

"You've never asked me to stay." He entreated; his hands clenched in tight fists.

"Maybe you don't love me enough."

"You may keep my house, but I am most certainly not your keeper." Her brown eyes flashed; buried betrayal burning anew.

"I know." "You are my partner, though---in everything."

They sat in silence, scathed by suppression.

Raising his eyes to hers, he asked, "Do you love me enough to make love with me, Angela?"

"Yes," she said quietly as tears welled in her eyes.

"Aww, Ang, come here," he said, pulling her onto his lap.

"So, I guess we're havin' a baby," he murmured into her hair.

His arms wound around her abdomen and rested there as though the child they would conceive had already come into being.

They sat in quiet contentment, his chin resting on the crown of her head.

She startled slightly as he gingerly nudged her off his lap.

"Where are you going?"

"I'm puttin' away the ice cream."

Feeling her gentle touch on his shoulder from behind, he tilted his head to look at her; as he did, her lips lightly brushed against his.

"Thank you." She said softly.

Her damp locks graced his neck as he tasted the buttery almond flavor still lingering on her lips; unadulterated love shone in her eyes, culminating his appetent need for her.

He kissed her with fervor, pressing her up against the fridge. Her intake of breath was sharp; meeting her eyes, he pulled back, enjoying the subtle changes in expression as the slightest arch of her eyebrow and curve of her lips intimated their newfound intimacy.

As his hands toyed with the tie of her robe, he saw a hint of reticence in her eyes.

"Ang? Are you ok with this? Am I makin' you uncomfortable?"

She took two steps back, overcome with emotion.

"Angela, please, say somethin'!" He implored.

Her eyes darkening, she stepped forward, sending a silent invitation that told him if he wished to consummate what they'd begun, he'd best follow...

The swinging door swung in her wake.

Climbing the stairs two at a time, Tony couldn't help but wonder if they'd gotten their signals crossed.

"Nah," he reassured himself; "That's just seven years of denial resurfacing yet again. "Micelli, you think too much;" he chided, ironically recalling the times he'd told Angela that same thing.

He chuckled. When had he become his wife? His wife. He liked the sound of that.

Continuing his ascent, he thought of the many transitions his relationship with Angela had seen. From boss to employee, from employee to friend, from friend to...

"Make love with me, Angela." How his simple beseech begot her equally simple reply.

"Yes."

Lovers.

He loved her. He loved that much his seven year relationship with her rested on non-verbal cues. A moment. A look. A touch. How what she didn't say spoke volumes. He understood. His denial had fostered ignorance. He was acutely aware of that now.

There was no denying what she wanted.

"Angela..." His voice echoed down the hallway from the landing.

Silence.

"Ang, baby, where are ya?"

"Jilting me in my own house isn't the least bit funny, Angela." As much as he hated to admit it, he was amused by the game of cat and mouse she was playing.

When no padded footsteps or airy laughter could he heard, panic engulfed him. The same panic he felt when she left on another man's arm; the panic that rendered him immobile, irresolute, and alone.

He remembered watching her dine in a restaurant when someone other than himself was in her company; his eyes steeled in her direction as he said, "For you, I'd...{do anything."} He couldn't see his life without her. The pull of his nightmarish reverie was so strong that he was almost blind to the the blur of pink he saw in his periphery.

Her robe invitingly hung on the knob of his bedroom door.

The wave of panic that had washed over him instantly subsided as he slung the robe over his arm, a smile spread across his face. "This robe is as good as her signature," he said to himself, still grinning as he entered the room.

"What's with the grin?" She asked. Her curious reply coyly rivaled his smile---the smile that never ceased to charm her. He sobered quickly, completely taken with her.

With a simple toss of her head, her long blonde hair naturally fell over her left shoulder; her delicate features subtly heightened in the dim light cast by a small bedside lamp.

She started to rise from the bed.

"Sit." He said. "Just let me look at you."

She obliged, demurely.

He first met her eyes, which were wide and expectant, seeking permission to study all that was before him.

Continuing to appraise her, his eyes started to well as he beheld the soft flannel nightshirt that looked so at home on her body. It had the same allure now as it did then, all those years ago in that ramshackle motel where they'd spent their first night together.

"I wanted to wear something more..." Her voice bordered on being apologetic as she tried to explain something he already understood. "This just seemed so..."

"...Appropriate." He finished.

"You're beautiful, baby." He breathed.

"Just beautiful."

She sat and he stood, completely captivated by their intensity; the innate chemistry they always shared; both unsure of what do next because, normally, this was the point at which the tension usually broke; the moment when either of them would look away. Tonight, though, their connection intensified, ignited by a love yet to be expressed.

"I believe these belong to you," Angela said; her playful toss of their flannel pajama bottoms effectually lightened the mood.

Skilled catcher that he was, he caught them; his eyes never straying from her face.

"Well, I guess I'm gonna go change," he said, an impish grin playing at the corners of his mouth.

"You do that."

His hand on the doorknob, he glanced at her once more. "Ang, I love you."

"I love you too, Tony."

"I'll be here."

"What are ya thinkin' about?" He asked.

She motioned for him to join her on the bed. "Just specifically random thoughts, I guess."

"Ang," he said, kissing the top of her head, "You never stop amazin' me." "Specifically random thoughts, hmmm...? Care to share?" He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively at her. "What's on your mind, baby? Business... the kids... us...His eyes clouded over. You're not havin' second thoughts are ya?"

"No, Tony, of course not." As she placed his hand on his bare chest, he sucked in his breath, feeling his whole body flush at her touch. "That's good, Angela," he said, his voice cracking, "Because I don't think I can---" If Angela had any inkling of the affect she was having on the man who sat by her side, a mere breath away from being friend to becoming lover, she feigned obliviousness as she continued on, innocently enough. Her wide-eyed innocence served to intoxicate him, fueling his desire for her all the more.

"I hope our baby has those eyes," he said to himself; the slightest bit of apprehension beclouding his own as he pondered saying the words 'our baby' aloud. He imagined mouthing the words, only to wake alone. Who was he kiddin'? This whole night had been so... so... surreal. Sure, their banter always had some heaving breathing behind it, but when had it become about babies? When had her every movement beckoned him to his own bed? Yes; he had dreamt about this. Surely this was just... Surely his vision of her would fade.

"Tony, sweetheart, did you hear what I said?" Her warm brown eyes stared at him intently.

"I'm asking you to stay---with me, here, tonight, in what will be the baby's room."

Her words were his undoing.

He crawled slowly toward her; she pursed her lips, about to speak, then pressed them together, deciding that her words would only interrupt the silent foreplay playing out between them. His movements, although focused and deliberate, weren't devoid of his boyish charm, as he couldn't stifle the grin that had formed on his face as she placed a finger to his lips.

Her eyes were dark, serious.

He sobered, so intent in reading her eyes that he missed the ever slight curvature

pronounced on her lips as she said, "I believe we still have something to discuss..."

He gently lowered her finger from his lips and kissed it.

"What's that?" he murmured; his now lips lingered a breath away from hers as the words lolled on her tongue, never allowing their mouths to completely connect.

"Your relocating."

His hands, which had been lazily travelling the length of her body, as she revelled in each intimate caresss
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