Just as Margo stood to leave another crack of thunder shook the house and a bolt of lightening illuminated the street giving it the appearance of high Noon for a second. She sat back down and stared at her tea cup.
"Please don't make me leave," she said softly.
"I would not send my worst enemy or even you out in this weather. The decision to leave or stay is strictly yours," he responded.
Margo stared at the fire with a single tear streaming down her cheek.
"I thought that your inviting me inside and everything meant that you had forgiven me."
"You thought wrong."
"I cannot believe you are still angry at me after all this time."
"Why shouldn't I be? You dropped me just as things were starting to click between us. Unless I was mistaken about that?"
"No, there was no mistake."
"Then to add insult to injury you dropped me for a good friend of mine, a friend that I had introduced you to. The same friend that you told me was not all that good looking or interesting."
Margo hung her head slightly at this reminder. She recalled her meeting Chaz right before he went overseas to work and her telling Ian that she didn't find him all that attractive or interesting.
"So while you two set up housekeeping and warmed his bed at night I was alone. I had nothing but my hate and alcohol to keep me company. You even had the audacity to send me a wedding invitation."
"I invited all of our friends. We thought you'd be happy for us."
"You thought wrong. So tell me how long was it before he hurt you?"
Margo refused to answer.
"So you are going to forgive and forget?"
"If I was ready to forgive and forget I would have headed home and not to my parents," she said defensively.
"Hiding at your parents for a few days will not solve anything."
"I am going to file for divorce, I have had enough."
"I'll believe that when it happens."
"So when it does happen is there a chance for us?" she asked.
"As what, a rebound affair? They never last," he responded.
"You wouldn't even try?"
"No way. Being burnt once was enough for me. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to fire up the generator and then get you a blanket and a pillow. I have to turn in as I have an early day tomorrow."
"You're not going to invite me to share your bed? There was a time when you looked forward to that."
"Yes there was, but that was a long time ago and besides you're married now," he commented as he grabbed his flashlight and headed to the basement.
A minute later the few lights that were on when the power went out came on back on. Ian reappeared and looked at Margo. She appeared lonely, frightened and miserable sitting there on the couch with the flames illuminating her pretty face, he fought the urge to comfort her.
"I restarted the dryer for you so your clothes will be dry in the morning."
"Thank you. I don't suppose you have an extra toothbrush?"
"There is a new one on the top shelf of the medicine cabinet."
She thanked him again and bid him a good night.
He laid there under the covers cursing as memories of her interrupted his sleep. After what seemed like hours he heard her call his name. When he raised his head he saw her silhouette in the doorway of his room.
She had doffed the borrowed sweats and had gone to the basement and grabbed one of his dress shirts off the line. Due to his height and build the shirt looked like a mini-dress on her and he forced himself to look away as the light behind her showed a perfect toned body under his shirt. He felt the stir of attraction in his heart.
"Please, let me sleep in here. I feel totally alone out there," she said.
Cursing himself for his weakness Ian folded back the covers and top sheet to allow Margo to slide under them. Her body was warm and her bare legs felt like silk against his.
"You know if you forced yourself on me as punishment, I wouldn't stop you," she stated softly.
"As I said before, you're married. That means you are off limits," he responded but with less conviction than before.
"What side do you still sleep on?" she asked changing the subject.
She then turned and pressed her back was against him. She reached over her body and grabbed his left arm and placed it across her shoulders, she was sound asleep in a matter of minutes. Ian was surprised that despite his aggravation he dropped off to sleep in a matter of minutes.
Ian awoke once during the middle of the night and discovered that Margo had shifted in her sleep and was now facing him with her head buried in his chest. This time he gave into his weakness and placed his arm across her again and pulled her body closer.
He gazed on her beautiful face for a moment and then planted a soft kiss on her forehead before he dropped off to sleep again.
The smell of fresh brewed coffee woke him and the clock on his nightstand told him that it was almost 8:00 AM. He had not slept that deep in months and dismissed the notion that it was due to Margo's presence.
He made a brief stop in the bathroom before he headed to the kitchen where he found Margo fully dressed and made up.
"Good morning. How did you sleep?" she asked as he entered the room and took a seat at the table.
"Me too. It was the best sleep I had in years," she responded.
Ian fixed her with a look of disbelief as he stirred his coffee.
"I didn't expect you to believe me, but it's the truth. I felt safe with you," she responded.
As they drank their coffee Ian struggled with the feelings of wanting her. But he had spent so much time hating her that he was now unable to vocalize these new feelings. Finally Margo stood to leave and he still held his tongue.
"I want to thank you for everything," she said.
"It was nothing," he responded as he stood up.
This time he allowed her to hug him and she seemed reluctant to break it. A few minutes later Ian heard the powerful Corvette engine roar to life and he watched her back out the driveway. He cursed her for awakening long suppressed emotions in him.
One hour later she pulled into her parents driveway, they were overjoyed that she was safe. Over breakfast she revealed the whole truth about her marriage to Chaz. Her parents became outraged at the marks he left of their daughters wrists and the way he had been treating her.
Her father was a powerful union official who personally knew a dozen lawyers and judges by name. He vowed that the divorce proceedings would commence without delay. Her mom took her to her old room and once away from her father she broke down to tears again.
Her mom wrapped her daughter in her arms to comfort her.
"Where did you spend the night?" Mom asked.
"He actually let you in?" Mom asked in surprise.
"It was a struggle on his part as he really hates me," Margo admitted.
"Do you blame him? You kicked him to the curb and married that loser," her mom stated.
Margo looked at her mom with surprise.
"You didn't like him?"
"Honey, no one really liked him. You just refused to listen to anyone."
It was a short and messy divorce. The police had to accompany her to her old residence to remove the things she was allowed to take. His lawyer showed up and everything carried out was checked against an approved list.
It was about two months later before Margo appeared at the old hangout. There was much hugging, kissing and crying from the other girls as she related the story of her marriage and divorce. The men held their tongues as she spoke lest they issue the standard comment of, "You were warned."
It was about a half an hour after she arrived that Ian pulled up on his Harley. He spotted her sitting with his friends the moment he walked in the door. Margo stood up in order to allow him to slide into the booth, but an amazing thing happened.
He dropped his helmet and took her in his arms and hugged her tight as he kissed her face and lips. Her arms circled his waist and she returned the hugs and kisses.
"Am I forgiven?"
"Not today. Maybe someday."
Margo accepted it.