Structural Damage – Chapter 8

Her eyes fluttered open, and Sabrina Burnham had no idea where she was, it took her a moment to get her bearings and realize she wasn’t even on a bed. No, she was naked and enveloped in the arms of a man, and she was on top of him. She tried to move and realized they were still connected, he was still inside her! As she moved, she realized he was actually semi-erect, and this could make uncoupling kind of interesting. It took a few minutes for her to carefully maneuver enough to get out of his arms and be able to see his face; she was then able to see she was entangled with Chris. Now the night was coming back to her. She remembered him telling her she would have to beg for mercy; she never did, but they had evidently passed out right after a vigorous round of sex. They were together, in every sense of the word, and on the floor.

She did her best to wiggle free and move off of him without starting the next round of sexual play. It was a little harder than it sounded; they were both sweaty and a little messy, which made their skin want to stick to one another. She wasn’t entirely uncomfortable lying there on top of him, but she felt that since she was awake that it best that she move off of him. He did move a little once she was off of him, turning to his side and tangling in the bedsheet some. She just watched him, staring at his sleeping figure and taking in every part of him; he was a sight to behold.

She rolled to her side, her back to him and snuggled against him, allowing herself to drift back to sleep. Instinctively, his arm wrapped around her, as if he was holding her in place and keeping her close.

~ ~ ~

The alarm from his cell phone began to chime, and it woke him immediately. Chris realized he was entangled in the bedsheet with Sabrina, on the floor, next to his hotel bed. At some point during the night, she had rolled off of hm, and he had slid out of her. She had not gone far, though, she was curled up next to him, not that he was complaining. Her hair was cascading over her cheek, and he still thought she looked like an angel. He could stare at her all day if time allowed. But his alarm was a progressive alarm, and it would start to get louder any moment, after all, he had a tendency to actually sleep through them. This meant, if he didn’t want to wake his angel, he needed to get up and find his phone. He had one minor problem, though, his legs didn’t want to cooperate. It was at this moment that he began to think that maybe, just maybe, he was a little over-enthusiastic last night.

He was finally able to move, he noticed his pants were on the floor at the far end of the dresser. Not far from where he was, but when you were in the state he was in, far enough. He was able to get out from under the cover and without disturbing Sabrina. The realization hit him that not only was he sore, he was sticky and still had on the condom from last night’s festivities; he was messy but not complaining. He just knew it would be best not to make any sudden movements. He was able to get to a position where he could crawl to the end of the dresser and grab his pants, and ultimately, his phone before the next alarm sounded. The clock showed it was 8:22 am.

His plane would depart from O’Hare at 3:40 pm but the hotel checkout time was noon. Since he was awake and moving, he might as well get to the bathroom and clean up. He could get his shower while Sabrina slept, he didn’t want to wake her until he absolutely had to. He made it to his feet and moved slowly toward the bathroom; he quietly shut the door before clicking on the light. He had to laugh, he was so concerned about the light bothering Sabrina or waking her up when he forgot that the windows to the hotel room were wide open. He was so worried about turning the alarm off that he didn’t even realize he was walking around exposed to an open window. He disposed of his condom, started the shower and gingerly stepped under the steaming hot water. He braced himself against the wall and let the hot water rain down on him; it felt so good on his sore muscles, and he didn’t really want to move. His mind began to wander back to the events of the previous night – the way Sabrina looked at the reception, the way it felt to dance with her, and the way she felt when he was moving inside of her. He was starting to get hard, and he was going to need to turn the shower to cold water in a minute.

~ ~ ~
Sabrina heard the faint chime of what sounded like an alarm; she opened her eyes but did not move. She could feel Chris trying to gingerly move his body from hers and to get untangled from the bedsheet. He was trying so hard to be quiet and to make small movements and not wake her, she didn’t want to move and startle him. She turned her head and watched him move toward his pants and retrieve his phone and then head towards the bathroom. Once he was out of the room, she sat up and tried to locate her own phone. She noticed her purse was on the top of the dresser, so she knew she had to head in that direction. She pulled herself up off the floor, using the bed for leverage, and took tiny steps to the dresser with the bedsheet wrapped around her body. She opened her purse, retrieving her phone, and sat on the edge of the bed, dialing Audrey’s number.

“Good Morning, did you have a good time at the wedding?” Audrey’s voice was annoyingly chipper.

Sabrina responded with her voice barely audible, “I need your help, I need clothes so I can leave the hotel. Can you please help me out?”

“I’m sorry, I can barely hear you,” Audrey heard her just fine, but she was going to make Sabrina suffer and repeat herself.

“I need you to bring me clothes,” again her voice barely above a whisper, “I can’t walk out of here in the dress from last night.”

“Sabrina, are you alright? I can barely hear you, but it sounds to me like you are asking for clothes because you are in Chris’ hotel room, and you don’t want to do the walk of shame in your dress from last night. Audrey couldn’t hold back, she was starting to giggle as she said the words.

“Bitch! You can hear me just fine! I’m whispering because he’s in the bathroom and I don’t want him to hear me on the phone,” just then she heard the sound of the shower, she figured it would be safe to speak up just a little since the water would block out her voice. “He just started the shower, do you think you could hurry?”

“You don’t think he’d noticed me popping in with clothes for you?”

“If you hurry up about it, I can probably get the bag from you while he’s still in the shower.”

“Yeah, not going to happen, you have to remember that I need to go to your place to pick stuff up and then come back to the hotel. He isn’t going to take a thirty-minute shower,” she paused for a moment and decided to offer a suggestion, “Unless you want to join him and keep him occupied.”

“What? No, because that defeats the purpose of me letting you in while he’s in the shower! Damn it, Audrey, can you save the ‘I told you so’ for later?”

“So you’ll acknowledge that I was right? Okay, I’ll be over, what’s the room number?”

Sabrina gave her the information and then hung up. While she waited for Audrey to show up, she moved around the room to pick up her dress, garter, nylons, panties, and shoes. She put them all in a neat pile on top of the dresser. She then went around and picked up his shirt, pants, and boxers and piled them up for him. Sabrina sat back down on the king-sized bed and let her mind go back to the events of last night. She had truly let herself go with him; the structured and proper businesswoman, the closed off and emotionally distant woman who never let men get to her, that woman was nowhere to be found last night. For some reason, she had lost all inhibitions with Chris and allowed herself to cut loose; she was vocal about what she wanted and what she liked. She was now wrestling with her identity because that side of Sabrina was different, and she had to admit, she liked her. As she reveled in the afterglow of last night, she heard a faint knock at the door, Audrey was there.

She shuffled across the room and opened the door just enough to reach out to get the bag, “Thanks,” she said as she reached out for it, but Audrey did not offer it to her.

“No, you need to let me in,” Audrey was not going to let her get away with this so easily.

“Fuck, Audrey just give me the bag, and you can give me shit about it later.”

“Oh no, I want to enjoy this now. Let me in or you don’t get the bag.”

Just then the bathroom door opened, and Chris appeared, a towel wrapped around his waist, leaning against the door jamb with this arms crossed, “Is there a problem?”

Sabrina jumped at the sound of his voice, she was definitely not anticipating him opening the door. “Um, no, Audrey just stopped by to bring me a bag of clothes so I could, um take a shower and freshen up this morning.”

Chris moved so he could see out the door, “Hey, morning Audrey, why don’t you come in a minute?”

“Oh, I don’t want to interrupt anything,” she said as if she was really concerned with that.

Sabrina rolled her eyes, Chris couldn’t see her do it but Audrey could. She stood back, opened the door and let Audrey walk in. Sabrina grabbed the bag from Audrey’s hand as she walked past and shut the door behind her. Chris watched this exchange with amusement, he figured something was going on between these two, but he had no idea what. He was sure he would get the details later.

As Sabrina started to turn to walk back into the room, he reached for her arm to stop her, “Morning, beautiful,” the words were barely out of his mouth before he put his lips to hers. She melted into him, dropping her bag and wrapping her arms around him. He broke from the kiss, staring into her eyes and smiling, “Would you be willing to go get some clothes for me? Boxers, socks, and jeans are in the dresser, but my shirts are in the closet.”

She gave him another kiss, “Sure, I’ll be right back. Will you put that in the bathroom under the counter? I’m gonna take a shower when you are finished.”

He smiled, picked up the bag and put in the bathroom as she moved to go get his clothes. Sabrina noticed that Audrey was watching her every move with rapt attention, although she said nothing. Sabrina got his things and delivered them back to the bathroom, taking the opportunity to steal another kiss before pulling the bathroom door closed and walking back into the room to face Audrey.

“Well, you two certainly seem cozy,” Audrey could not help herself.

“You got here awfully quick with the bag. How exactly did you manage that?” Sabrina did not hide her anger.

Audrey started to laugh, “I’ll admit it, I packed a bag for you last night after you left. I knew you would end up in his room, the sexual tension between you two has been off the chart.”

“So, there it is, the ‘I told you so’ that you have been dying to get out.”

As Audrey was preparing to respond, the bathroom door opened, and Chris walked out. For once, it was Audrey’s breath that caught when she saw him; his hair was still damp and mussed.

He noticed that the two ladies quit talking the minute they saw him; he had heard their escalating voices when he had opened the door. “Ladies, please, don’t stop arguing on my account,” he quipped.

“We’re not arguing,” Sabrina replied, giving a death stare to Audrey, “Just having a healthy debate over logistics.”

“Oh, I see,” Chris strode across the room and moved up behind her, placing an arm around her waist and resting his chin on her shoulder. “The bathroom is all yours, I guess you might want to get out of this sheet.”

“Um…yeah…thanks,” she fumbled and seemed to be a tad uncomfortable all of a sudden with his touch, “Excuse me.” She turned and began to walk toward the bathroom and seemed unaware that he was following her. As she crossed the threshold of the bathroom, she felt the sheet pull away from her body. She let out a shriek and turned to see Chris grinning as he pulled the bathroom door closed.

He was laughing as he walked back toward Audrey, balling the sheet up and tossing it into the middle of the bed. “So, why exactly were you having a heated discussion about logistics?” He asked curiously.

“You seem awfully comfortable with her, Chris. I take it that you two had a very good time last night?” Audrey motioned around the room as evidence of her statement.

“You’re dodging my question, Audrey. What’s the issue between the two of you?”

“It’s nothing. I mean not only are you comfortable with her, but she’s also really comfortable with you. I don’t think I’ve seen her this relaxed in…well, I don’t know how long.”

“You’re lying…it’s something…what aren’t you telling me?”

“Fine, she hates it when I’m right, and I remind her that I’m right.”

“So you said, ‘I told you so?’ Oh, that would piss me off too.”

“Well, she deserves it from time to time; she needs to be knocked down a peg or two,” Audrey let out a laugh so her comment didn’t seem so full of venom. “Anyway, you two had a good time, right? The room says you had a good time, anyway.”

“It was wonderful, so wonderful that I’m half tempted to call and cancel my flight and stay in Chicago for a few days. The problem is, I don’t know if she would want me to. I have no idea how to read her.”

“Whoa! Do I hear you right? Seriously, you have feelings here, Chris? Are these, like real feelings or is this just afterglow of some incredible sex feelings?”

“I’m not kissing and telling, Audrey,” he said as he ran his fingers through his hair and walked toward the windows to gaze over the river, “I’m not some teenager all giddy after having sex for the first time. I just know she seems a little nervous about being with me,” he turned back to face her, “She made a comment about not liking my kind of attention.”

“What was that supposed to mean?

“She said she didn’t like that I’m photographed all the time. I guess she is referring to the paparazzi? I’m not sure what she meant unless she doesn’t like to be photographed.”

“Ok, that is ridiculous, do you know how often her picture is taken? She is constantly in the newspaper or in magazines.”

Chris said nothing more, he dropped his head and turned to look back out the window. Now the thought came creeping back into his mind that Sabrina might be embarrassed to be seen with him. Why else would she make a comment about pictures being taken if she is regularly photographed anyway? “Yeah, I guess that’s not it then.”

Audrey could sense that something else was bothering him, but she wasn’t going to push it. Instead, she decided to change the subject, “So, did you two dance?”

“Yeah, we danced. I had no idea she used to do it competitively; wow, she is wicked talented,” Chris turned back to look at her, “We danced this sensual dance but I’m telling you the music selection and the movements, well it made it feel like it meant something.”

“I think you’re reading too much into it, I’m sure it was just a dance.”

“No, I’m telling you, there was more to it. I could see it in her eyes and feel it in her touch; there was more to it. We had a connection, physical and chemical, it was real, Audrey.”

“Wasn’t it just foreplay? I mean you had sexual energy that manifested itself and this time you acted on it and ended up here in the bedroom, that’s all.”

“NO! You weren’t there, it was more than that. Why won’t you believe me when I tell you this?”

“Wow, you are pretty adamant about this, aren’t you? You honestly think that the two of you have a connection, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I do,” he put his hands in his pockets and walked over to the oversized chair sitting in the corner and sat down. “I believe that something happened between us last night, and I sincerely hope I am not the only one who felt it. The only thing is, I’m just not sure what it is that I felt.”

“You need to ask her; you do realize that the two of you need to talk about this, right?”

“Yeah, I’ll…um…,” he leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, “I’ll speak to her, yes.”

“Good, but just prepare yourself now to be disappointed because Sabrina Burnham does not do chemical and physical connections.”

Chris lowered his arms in frustration and disgust, “You know, Audrey, if you’re just gonna rain on my parade, you can leave now.”

“Hey I’m just trying to keep you grounded,” he gave her a pouty look, like a child who didn’t like that his parents had said no to the idea of a new puppy. “Don’t give me that look, your head is in the clouds, and you need a dose of reality. I just want to make sure you know the score going in.”

“Sure, but could you sugar coat it next time? Or better yet, let me enjoy it for a bit before popping my damn balloon?”

It was during this time that Sabrina exited the bathroom and noticed their intense conversation, “Don’t quit arguing on my account, I can give you guys some privacy if you need it.”

Chris quickly stood up, “No, you’re fine, we’re just having our own spirited conversation.”

Audrey watched Chris and then turned to look at Sabrina. As much as she didn’t want to believe what Chris had said earlier, it was clearly evident that there was something between the two of them other than being bedmates the night before. She knew that Sabrina wouldn’t want to talk about it with him being within earshot, but she wanted to get her friend to tell her what her real feelings were about the Chris situation. Audrey had to get out of the room, she was starting to suffocate, and there was no way she could tell either one of them why.

“Guys, look, I’m going to leave you two alone, I’m sure you’ve got things to talk about,” Audrey started for the door and kept her head down, “I’ll see you tomorrow, Sabrina and I’ll talk to you later, Chris.” She walked out the door and closed it quietly behind her.

Sabrina had turned to watch Audrey leave, and she could sense that something wasn’t settling right, “Chris, what were you two arguing about?” She turned to face him, her concern evident.

“We disagreed over you,” he figured he would be honest with her since he was about to leave and this was potentially the end of his time with Sabrina. He took the few steps toward her, enveloping her in his arms and gazing into her eyes, “I don’t want to get into that right now, though. I only have a little time left before I have to check out of this room and head to the airport. I prefer that we not fight and end, what I think to be a glorious night, on a bad note.”

“What time is check out?”

“Noon, and right now it is already after 10, and I still need to pack. Because honestly, with Audrey gone, I would love nothing more than to shimmy you out of your clothes,” he bent down and began kissing her neck as she tilted it to the side to give him all the access needed.

“Um…Chris…I hate to interrupt what you’re doing…but,” she was having a hard time maintaining her composure with his soft lips on her skin, “Um…what if you came back to my place?”

He immediately stopped what he was doing and looked into her eyes, “You mean until my flight leaves? Um, yeah, that could give us some time,” his eyebrows shot up as the possibilities because it would provide them with a few hours.

“Is there something you have to rush home for? Could you potentially reschedule your flight and stay in town for a few more days?”

Chris was suddenly worried that Sabrina had overheard the conversation with Audrey and wonders if she is making this suggestion because she wants to or because she is trying to make a point. He wanted to ask but was almost afraid to know the answer. He decided to go ahead and ask because he would rather know than to have it nag at him for the next few days, “Why are you asking me to stay? Did you hear the conversation I had with Audrey?”

“I didn’t hear your conversation, I swear. I’m asking you to stay because I don’t think I’m ready to let you leave,” she placed her hands on his chest and looked up into his beautiful blue eyes, “I’m not sure how it is that you just seem to understand me. You’re distinctly different from the men I’ve been with before; you scare me and thrill me at the same time if that makes any sense at all.”

“I don’t want to scare you, that isn’t my intention.”

“It scares me to have feelings that I’ve never had and don’t know how to control. The only thing I do know for certain, I want to hide away in my place with you and not get out of bed.”

This brought a smile to his face, “You actually mean that don’t you?”

“Yeah, I do,” she was beginning to blush, again something that did not happen often but seemed to be a regular occurrence in his presence. “I hated calling Audrey this morning, but I have a reputation to uphold, and I couldn’t be seen leaving the hotel with you today wearing the dress I came in wearing last night,” she started to laugh as she finished her sentence.

“Ah, yes, we couldn’t let the great Sabrina Burnham have a walk of shame, now could we?” He leaned over to kiss her, the sexual tension beginning to build between them again. He was teasing her, and she was letting him, the banter was just something else that was becoming comfortable for her.

Sabrina allowed herself to be peeled away from his embrace so that he could call and reschedule his flight. Chris had to be in LA for a meeting on Wednesday so he was going to have to leave on Tuesday to get home. This would provide at least an additional day of play for the two of them. The new flight would leave at 10:30 on Tuesday morning, which meant Sabrina could wake up with him on Tuesday and when he left for the airport, she could go to the office.

While he made the flight changes, she packed his bag and gathered his things from the bathroom. She would have his things laundered when they got to her place; he wouldn’t need his clothes anyway as far as she was concerned. He watched with delight as she fluttered around the hotel room; he wondered if she had done this for anyone else and then forced that out of his mind. He didn’t want to consider any of the ‘boy toys’ she might have had in the past or the men she had brought to their knees; right now he wanted to consider the possibility that he might be the only one.

Once the flight changes were complete, he completed his checkout using the system on the TV; he didn’t want to stand at the desk downstairs and bring attention to himself or to Sabrina. The process took all of five minutes, they could leave the hotel room keys on the dresser and his receipt would be emailed to him. He helped Sabrina get the final things in the bag and zipped it up. She grabbed her phone, dialed a number and walked toward the window, he couldn’t hear what she was saying, but when she hung up, she was smiling.

“There will be a car waiting for us when we get downstairs. You want to do one more walk through to make sure you have everything?”

Once they were sure that nothing was left behind, Chris and Sabrina exited the hotel room and walked to the elevator. As they entered the car, Sabrina slid her arm around his waist and snuggled against him. She was no longer concerned with the display of affection, no instead she actually craved it. He didn’t object to her touch; in fact, he pulled her as tight as he could and kissed her head. They didn’t need to speak words, their actions were saying it all.

The elevator chimed to indicate they had reached the lobby, Chris anticipated that she would release her hold on him so that they were not on public display. To his surprise, she did not; she did move to hold his hand versus keeping her arm around him, though. He was amazed at how commanding she was walking through the lobby with her head up, as if she owned the place. No one was paying them any attention, but Sabrina had a confidence about her that turned him on, there was no denying that.

They exited the hotel and, as she had promised, there was a car waiting for them. The driver was waiting near the back passenger door, ready to open it and greet them. With only a nod, he opened the door and reached to accept their bags. Once they were safely in the back, he closed the door, put their bags in the trunk and began the drive to Sabrina’s home.

“Ms. Burnham,” the driver said as they pulled from the curb, “The elevator in the parking garage to the Penthouse level is being serviced today. There was an issue last evening for Mr. Cassiday I’m afraid. I’ve been advised you will have to use the main lobby; security wanted me to convey their apologies for any inconvenience.”

“Thank you, Randall. I hope that the issue for Mr. Cassiday was nothing serious?”

“No, ma’am it was not, he suffered a minor delay; he was stuck in between floors for approximately five minutes or so.”

“Ok, thank you,” Sabrina looked over at Chris and gave him a half-hearted smile, “Well, at least I can introduce you to security so if they see you in the building or on my floor, they aren’t wondering why you are there.”

As they pulled up in front of the building, Chris saw the sign and had to chuckle, “So, you actually live in the Aqua building? Wow, this building is haunting me, you realize that, right?”

“No, not haunting you, it just proved to be your destiny,” Sabrina stepped out of the car and onto the curb where Randall was waiting with their bags. She picked up her bag, and Chris retrieved his as they walked toward the doors of the building. Since the building housed a hotel, a doorman greeted them and held open the door. Sabrina walked directly to the security desk where the guard on duty stood up immediately, “Gregory, this is my friend Chris, and he will be staying with me for a few days. I want you to put him on the registry so that you don’t question his purpose in the building.”

“Yes ma’am, Mr. Chris, can I have your last name please?”

“Sure, it’s Evans and do you need me to sign in or anything?”

“No sir, Mr. Evans, we will just have it on file that you are a guest of Ms. Burnham, and you have building privileges,” Gregory made notes in the book and made sure that the camera behind the desk had snapped his picture. “Ma’am, please have a pleasant evening and let us know should you need anything.”

Sabrina smiled and began walking toward the single elevator secluded in the far corner of the lobby, it required a key to access the call button. She noticed the confused look on her companion’s face, “This elevator is for the residential floors, and we restrict the access so that no one from the hotel or office space accidently wanders onto those floors.”

Chris nodded his head, agreeing that the concept made sense. When they stepped into the elevator, he was shocked when he noticed that she hit the button for the 80th floor. He had not anticipated that she lived on such a high level, but then again, if you build skyscrapers and shape the city wouldn’t you want to see all of your work? The elevator moved swiftly, and it didn’t take long to get to her floor. He had fully expected that she was the only occupant on the floor, but she wasn’t. Instead, she appeared to be one of 4 residents on the floor, each condo taking up a corner of the building.

He was stunned when she opened the door, and he walked inside. To say that the view was stunning would be a severe understatement. The condo inhabited two floors and walking straight ahead he had an entire wall of windows in front of him that provided a view of the river, the Hancock Building, and what appeared to the be North Side of the Lakefront. There was a balcony, but this high up, he was terrified to go out and take in the view in the open air.

The entire space was open, void of unnecessary walls and her interior design was every bit as breathtaking as what he had witnessed of her building design. “My God, Sabrina, this place is amazing. I may never want to leave.”

She walked up behind him, wrapping her arms up under his and resting her head in the middle of his back, “The invitation is open for you to stay, and never leave.”

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