Sunday, October 22
She hesitated. And then what?
He sensed her apprehension and withdrew his hand, letting the choker fall lightly against her throat and trying to ignore the fire he’d felt when he touched her. “What if I promise I’ll be good?”
Now that’s a promise. “Well,” she said softly. “Maybe just one drink. I could show you the view from my window.” Show you the view? How cliché.
“Sounds perfect.” He stepped back so she could turn to open the door. He was amazed at how intoxicated he felt—and not from the wine. It was her; of that much he was certain. The way she smiled, laughed, smelled … the confident way she held herself. And the fact that she was obviously trying to fight the electricity between them. He was enjoying the challenge—and he wasn’t sure how far he’d let it go before he stopped himself.
Jordan tossed the key card on the nightstand. “One slight problem with that whole nightcap idea … unless we want to raid the mini bar for tiny bottles of vodka.”
“Well that’s one problem I can solve,” he said, picking up the phone and hitting the number for room service. Less than 10 minutes later, they had two snifters of the hotel’s finest cognac, along with some bottled water and ice. He opened the entertainment armoire and turned on the Bose radio, hitting scan a few times. When he stopped, David Gray was singing “Sail Away.” He adjusted the volume and closed the doors to the armoire.
“Shall we,” Jordan said, motioning to the ornate loveseat by the window. He nodded, joining her. They clinked their glasses then sipped the golden liquid, feeling the smoothness as it flowed down their throats. She reached down to unzip her boots, pulling them off and crossing her legs beneath her. She vacillated between being totally comfortable with him and being incredibly uncomfortable with the sexual tension that was ever-present. The warmth of the cognac seemed to help balance the scales, however.
He leaned his head against the back of the loveseat, savoring the moment. He stretched his legs out in front of him and brought his hand to rest on her leg just above the knee. He was pleased when she didn’t pull away from him. He felt her eyes upon him and decided to wait a moment before meeting her gaze. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to happen or what he hoped to see in her eyes.
“So,” he began, without turning his head. “I don’t know about you, but I have really enjoyed myself this evening.” He turned to look at her then. “Thank you.”
She looked puzzled. “I think I should be the one thanking you—for dinner, for taking care of the hotel reservations… for getting me out of that airport,” she took another sip of the cognac, running her tongue lightly across her lips. “I don’t even want to think how miserable this night could have been.” She smiled then. “You really did rescue me tonight.”
His smile was soft and his eyes steady. “I’m glad. But in a way, you rescued me, too. I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve spent bored to tears in hotel rooms away from home. Pretty soon they all start to look alike and you long for the opportunity to connect with someone for intelligent conversation, if nothing else.”
“You don’t take advantage of that time to write?”
“Sure, sometimes. But I still need inspiration,” the smile broadened. “Room service club sandwiches and hotel porn only go so far.”
She laughed, appreciating the levity of the moment. The fingers on her leg played lightly to the music. They sat that way silently for a few moments. She looked out the window, watching the lights along Lake Shore Drive reflected in Lake Michigan. “I told you I had a great view,” she said, turning back to smile at him.
“So do I,” he replied, his eyes not moving from her. Her breath caught in her throat and her lips parted silently, as the voice of Damien Rice filled the room.
And so it is
Just like you said it would be
Life goes easy on me
Most of the time
And so it is
The shorter story
No love, no glory
No hero in her skies
I can't take my eyes off of you
I can't take my eyes off of you…
She willed herself to look away and set her drink down. Standing up, she moved to the window, watching the traffic navigate the snowy roads below. Her mind was swimming with emotion. She felt him come up behind her, close but not touching. “Jordan,” he said, simply.
“I can’t believe it’s still snowing,” she spoke casually, trying to appear nonchalant.
“Jordan,” he repeated quietly. Then she felt his hands on her hips, turning her to face him. “Look at me.”
She raised her eyes to his, unable to speak. Suddenly she wanted nothing more than to kiss him, to taste his lips and luxuriate in feel of his skin against hers.
He felt her trembling and gently slid his hands up beneath the hem of her shirt, circling them around her waist and pulling her closer. She gasped at the feel of his touch on her bare skin. She tipped her head back slightly as he brought his mouth to her throat, his breath warm on her neck as he moved slowly up to speak seductively in her ear. “Did it ever occur to you that maybe there is a reason we were on that flight together? That maybe I need you tonight as much as you need me?”
His words echoed in her mind. Maybe I need you. She was almost drunk at the thought. But was she really prepared to become just another of Lord knows how many others before her? Not to mention the aspect of his life she wasn’t letting herself think about…
As if sensing her thoughts, he brought a hand to her face, his fingers pushing her hair back but remaining tangled within. “I already told you I don’t do things like this anymore. I’m as surprised by this as you are.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” she laughed shakily, suppressing the desire to pull him closer. “It’s just …”
“Just what?” The hand still at her waist slowly teased along her stomach, the back of his fingers lightly grazing her skin. “What are you afraid of?”
That once I get a taste of you it won’t be enough, for one thing. “I’m afraid of doing something tonight that we both may regret in the morning.”
He stepped back, and she almost cried out as he withdrew his touch. He looked down, taking her hand in his. He stood that way for a moment, not speaking.
Still reeling from the feel of him, she found herself wishing the glass of cognac were within reach. Part of her was dying to tell him to ignore what she’d just said…and dying to rip that shirt right off his body. She felt as if she truly had a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, and they were about to kick each other’s ass.
“Jon…I… it’s not that…” she struggled for words, not sure what she wanted to say. “It’s… I… Oh, fuck me.” she muttered in frustration.
He laughed softly then, looking at her. “Apparently that’s not an option.”
She joined him in laughter, almost crying from the mix of dismay and desire. He pulled her close again, kissing her temple.
“Listen,” his voice was husky but resigned. “I don’t want you having any doubts about anything. I want everything about tonight to be a great memory for you. Because I know it will be for me.” He ran his fingers lightly across the fullness of her lips and electricity shot from his fingertips directly to the throbbing in his jeans. “In fact, it already is.”
Instinctively her tongue touched her lips where his fingers had just been. She watched wordlessly as he brought her hand to his own lips and then lowered it slowly.
“You know, it’s not too late to run yourself that nice hot bath. I am pretty sure there are even candles in there,” he squeezed her hand. “And I’ll say goodnight.” And jump in a nice cold shower myself.
She opened her mouth to speak and he shook his head. “Shh. Let me save a little dignity. This way I’m choosing to leave; you’re not kicking me out.”
She walked with him to the door. Turning the handle, he paused before pulling the door open. He leaned in closely to kiss her goodnight, averting his mouth so his kiss fell on her cheek. She was shocked at the profound emptiness she felt when he did so.
“I’ll see you in the morning,” he said, his voice almost a whisper. “Sweet dreams baby.”
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