Stories Hub / Novels and Novellas / Love, the Second Time Around

Love, the Second Time Around

by HLD 11/25/14

Sorry for the delay between stories, but . . . well, I'd make a bunch of excuses, but it boils down to me being a slacker.

Anyway, this is my latest chapter in the ongoing tale of one of my favourite characters, Amberle. It picks up after the events of Tapestry, Chapter 1. I had thought to use it to continue the Tapestry series, but I think those stories have a life of their own and I'll continue them at a later date.

In a bit of shameless cross-promotion, if you haven't read Lost Love or the McKayla's Miracle series, I suggest you start there. Characters from some of my other stories make appearances here, too, so I'll leave it to you to find them.

As with many of my stories, this one is long on character and short on sex, so if you're looking for a quick stroke, this is the wrong story for you. Also, as a word of warning, this one is written in the first person from both Amberle and Nichole's points of view, and my intent isn't to cause confusion.

I love to hear from readers, so please leave a comment or send me a note if you are so inclined.

Enjoy!

**********************

Nichole

Looking back, the first time I saw her, I think I knew we were going to fall in love.

It wasn't the heavens opening up with a chorus of angels, or even that moment when you realise that your one true love is looking back at you. It was a simple smile. The sad, simple smile we both share.

I remember the exact moment my first husband, Michael, and I fell in love. We grew up together; literally next door to one another. Our fathers owned a business together and we were raised in one, big loving family. I had just returned from studying abroad in China and ran into Michael at the company picnic.

He was so handsome, and for the first time, I saw him as something other than an older brother in our big extended "family". Our eyes met and from that moment on, we were attached at the hip. We left the picnic and went to dinner, absorbed in our own little blissful world. That night, we went back to his apartment and made love as the moonlight shone through the windows.

Michael was killed in a car accident not even three years later, and when he died in my arms, a part of me died along with him.

Many years and two husbands later, I met Amberle while on a beach trip with a mutual friend.

She was also widowed; her for almost six years, me for just over fifteen.

Neither of us were looking for love, or even companionship.

I remember thinking how pretty she was. Amberle is neither drop-dead gorgeous, nor is she simply plain. She is short and curvy in all the right places, with a full head of wavy, sandy-blond hair. What struck me was that she doesn't know how beautiful she is, and it seems that no matter how many times I tell her, she doesn't believe me. Of course, her late wife was the kind of woman whose beauty would launch a thousand ships, but Amberle is second to none in my book.

And her ass is amazing.

She had never remarried or even dated seriously after her wife died, her heartbreak was so great. There were six of us together for a girls' weekend out, and Amberle and I spent the long weekend sharing a room at a beach house purely by chance.

The two of us talked candidly and openly about our mutual experiences in losing our spouses, and for the first time in my life, I thought that I had finally met someone who knew exactly how I felt. Don't get me wrong; I know people lose their spouses all the time. My mother has outlived my father by half a dozen years, for instance.

But they had a lifetime together. They raised five children, built a successful business and enjoyed retirement as doting grandparents. It wasn't until Dad was in his 80s that the Parkinson's Disease really began to take its toll, and finally took his life.

Amberle and I both had our spouses taken from us; mine in a car accident, hers from cancer. I envy that she and McKayla had a daughter; Michael and I were childless.

I only got three years with the love of my life, but I wouldn't trade those three years for anything, and on some nights, I wished God had taken me along with Michael.

So when Amberle and I started our relationship, we were both on the same page. And I think that's why we were destined to fall in love.

I used to believe in soulmates . . . at least, until mine was gone in an instant. I know Amberle did, too. We both believe the loves of our lives are watching us from Heaven, and we both think that our spouses want us to be happy. But we also both believe that no matter how much we love one another, our love will never be as passionate and as complete as it was with our first loves.

And we're both okay with that.

Since Michael's death, I have been married twice, the first time to someone who deserved better than I could give him at the time, and the second to a man who didn't deserve me. My love for Amberle caught me completely off guard, but once it came to fruition, I couldn't imagine not loving her.

She doesn't need me, either emotionally or financially, just as I don't need her. And that's a good place to be.

In the five months since we "discovered" one another, our relationship progressed quickly. I've gone to see her, she's come to see me, and we've gone away for long, romantic weekends together.

I don't think that that in my wildest dreams that I ever would have thought that I could have fallen in love with a women, but our attraction isn't strictly sexual, but nor is it platonic. It's just that being with Amberle feels so . . . so . . . right.

**********************

She rolled over lazily in the big bed in the room Michael and I once shared. The sun shone through from behind the curtains. I snuggled up to her, our naked bodies pressed together under the soft down comforter.

We cuddle a lot, I think just to feel close to one another.

Even though Amberle is four years older than I am, you couldn't tell by looking. In fact, I didn't think she was a day over thirty-five when we met. But she's forty-four, and in fine shape.

And I mean fine.

Her flight came in late the night before, and I picked her up at the airport using the same car service I frequent when on business. It was going to be our first meeting as a couple in my social circle.

My "coming out" party, so to speak.

I swore my younger sister to secrecy before telling her that I was seeing a woman. My mother didn't know. My son would be coming back from his father's later that afternoon and we would talk to him first, then the rest of my family.

The butterflies in my stomach were working overtime, and I had barely slept, but I knew everything was going to be okay. My family was close, not only with each other, but with Michael's family as well. The business was chugging along with my sister and brother-in-law at the helm. Most of us still live in New York.

At first, I was apprehensive about introducing my new love interest to them, not because she was a woman, but because my track record since Michael's death wasn't the greatest. There were eight kids between our two families, and in reality, we are all one big family. Our parents made sure of that.

Many years ago, Michael's younger brother Rhett came out as gay. There was a collective shrug among us, since we all basically knew it beginning when he was about eleven years old. Even my grandparents, who were as traditional as they came, accepted him for who he was because we were raised that family comes first. So I knew it wouldn't be any problem when I showed up with a beautiful woman on my arm.

The real problem was the shadow cast by my third husband.

Everyone could see it but me.

I don't think he is a bad or malicious person. But he has a problem with gambling and with credit. Even now, I don't believe he started out after my money, but he sure didn't have any problem treating me like his ATM.

Thankfully, I found out about his financial problems before he could do too much damage, and our marriage was annulled after only a few months.

My brothers and sisters tried to warn me, but I didn't listen. I fell for him quickly and got married without doing my due diligence. I worried that my family would think I was jumping into another relationship. Our split was quick and mostly without drama, but my family never really liked or trusted him, and the element of fraud had to be introduced into our marriage for me to see it.

To have two failed marriages after one that seemed to be made in Heaven was disconcerting, but I knew Amberle wasn't after my money. And we were no longer twenty-seven year olds who didn't know any better.

As we lay in bed together, I rehearsed the speech I had prepared to introduce Amberle to son, my mother , my siblings, and even my ex-husband. I went over every contingency in my mind. I won every argument I thought might come up.

And I knew that when it was time to actually say something, I would draw a complete blank.

Yet, as I held Amberle in my arms, I knew it would all be okay.

**********************

Amberle

If my life with McKayla taught me anything, it was that sometimes, you just have to follow your heart.

In the six years after her death, I sublimated all of my energy and focus into raising our daughter. Maureen was—and still is—my joy and my light. There is no one in this world I could ever love more, and that includes McKayla.

I was probably smothering to her, but she is the closest connection I still have with my late wife, and she took it well (mostly). They walk and talk the same way. Our daughter adopted many of her mom's mannerisms. And a part of me never wants to lose that.

But life goes on. Maureen is a sophomore at Duke in the pre-med program. Our daughter is the second smartest person I have ever met. She told me that she's going to cure cancer. And I believe her.

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