Susan sees who she's up against.
And now that she was no longer leading a double life, he would no longer be a part of hers.
That he would be around was immaterial, to her way of thinking. She had been his companion, both sexual and social, but she could not see him taking her anywhere now, not without the promise of an after she could no longer give him. She believed him when he said he wouldn't sleep with her again except for all the right reasons, and as she couldn't think of any reason that would be right for him, she held out no hope of further intimacy.
She realized with a start, as the sun crept higher and warmed her face, that that was what she craved, and what he gave. Matt made any space they occupied together feel intimate, no matter what they were doing. And the longer she sat in the morning sunshine, the more she remembered of what they had done together. She wasn't surprised to recall that lovemaking -- yes, she had to admit that it had been more than animal rutting -- had been only one part of what had become a very faceted relationship. She turned her sight inward, away from the pinks and lavenders of the dawn, to the diamond that had been unearthed, cherished and burnished by the caring and concern that Matt had shown her.
She had never, even for a second, thought that he was being more than a kind man. She hadn't even dared to use the word 'friend', yet everything he had done with, to, and for her these past four years had shouted it. The impromptu picnics in front of the fire in their suite, when he had called and she had been down. The strolls by the river, swinging hand in hand like children, laughing at his silly jokes, smiling in peaceful contentment at the placidness of time spent with him. The crisply elegant dinner parties he had taken her to, where his business associates had all treated her like spun gold, and she had basked in their warmth, all the while praying they never found out what she really was to him.
She closed her eyes, the better to recall the ways in which Matt had changed her without her knowing. Even their coming together in bed had been a revelation for her. He was a highly sexual man, and his needs were primal. She had never left their suite feeling unsatisfied, as she had with the others. He had been attentive, from foreplay to afterglow, never rushing her, always waiting, as if he knew the reward for his restraint would be the earth-shattering orgasms that invariably had him roaring out his release into the pillows, or into the curve of her neck, or in the valley between her lush breasts.
She had always marveled at that -- how he was so uninhibited in his responses to her, when she had no idea what it was she was doing that made him so. He had taught her how to please him, and how to accept the many ways that he always pleased her. He was generous in his praise, even when she had felt, in those early days, that she was a bumbling idiot, and he was a too-patient master teacher.
Could she have been that wrong all these years, that blind, not to see that he had been weaving a web of intimacy around them? And if she had been blind to that, what else had she been missing? Her eyes flew open at the sharp cry of a morning bird taking to the air. She shaded her eyes against the sunlight, but the bird was flying into the sun, it seemed, and she could not see it.
It was time for her to break free, she knew, and this first step, this decision to call a halt to a lifestyle she had never truly wanted -- how had he known that? -- was merely the first step. If she were honest with herself, she did need to face Matt, to face the confrontation which had begun earlier, which she had run away from like a child afraid of the dark. She was not a child, and he was the light to help her find her way back to the woman she wanted to be. She didn't know how that would happen, but she resigned herself to it as she stood and went in to begin her day.
By mid-afternoon she had closed the bank account where she had kept the money f