“Oh, that’s right.” I take a deep breath. “I was just wondering…why you ask me here?” Finn puts the water down and takes a few steps closer to me. For some unknown reason, I take a step back.
“What are you doing?” I ask. He doesn’t say a word. Instead, he takes another step closer to me. Now, my back is all the way against the door of the pantry.
He’s standing as close to me as we stood when we were dancing. I can feel him breathing with my body.
“I like you, Chloe,” he says very slowly and deliberately. I bite my lower lip. He takes his hand and runs his fingers along my neck. I close my eyes. I feel his finger along my lower lip. As if it were possible, he pushes himself even closer to me. When I open my eyes, I see him closing his. His eyelashes are long and delicate, and his face is completely relaxed. Ever so lightly, his lips touch mine. Almost without my consent, my mouth starts to move along with his. His lips are soft and powerful, pushing against mine. At first, he’s gentle. He takes his time. His tongue slowly makes its way and finds mine, but then our dance gains strength. He buries his hands in my hair, cradling my head, maneuvering as he sees fit. It’s as if he takes full possession of me, and I let him. I want him to. It feels good not to be in control for once. For a few moments, the rest of the world ceases to exist. There’s only Finn and me, and as long as our lips remain locked, nothing else matters. But then he pulls away. He looks into my eyes, and I remember that there’s a whole other world out there. Perhaps, what we have is fleeting and delicate and can disappear at any moment.
“I’ve wanted to do that for a long time,” Finn says.
“Yes. Ever since I first saw you.”
I smile. “I doubt that.”
“The first time you saw me, I spilled orange juice all over you and you freaked out. Remember?” His face flushes. Wait, what is that?
“Are you blushing?” I ask. “I was just joking.”
“That was not my finest moment. I’m sorry.” I shrug. “It’s okay. I shouldn’t have brought it up.” For a moment, both of us seem at a loss as to what to do next. This isn’t like in a movie. People in movies start kissing, then fall into bed together. But to get to bed, you have to walk through 3,000 square feet of house, and the transition is a little bit less fluid. I look up at him. His eyes are twinkling again, and he’s smiling his crooked smile at me.
“You’re a good kisser,” I say.
“So are you.” I nod. He leans closer to me again. He was never more than a step away, but now we’re breathing the same air again. This time, I make the move. I want to shut the whole world out again. I reach up to him and run my fingers over his smooth lips. His breathing speeds up, catching me off guard. I thought he’d be such a natural at this (getting girls into bed), but he looks nervous. Is that really him or is it just my imagination? I run my fingers over his lips from one side to another. I pull his lower lip down, feeling the soft, moist flesh on the inside. I look up at him. His eyes meet mine and we each dare each other to look away first. I find a new source of courage, coming like a secret spring from somewhere deep inside of me. Unlike our first kiss, the passion of this moment is like a smoldering coal, glowing in the aftermath of a fire. Hot, but quiet. I run my fingers over the outline of his face. I push back the loose strands of hair that keep falling into his eyes. His hair is soft and welcoming to my touch. I linger around his ear and slowly make my way to his earlobe. Then it hits me. Touch is an amazing sense. The sensation is completely different, depending on how hard I touch. Pressing too hard makes me feel the underlying strength of the thing that I’m pressing against, but touching something slowly and deliberately, produces a whole new sensation. The kind that sends goose bumps up my arms. I must’ve known this all along, but this is the first time I’m consciously experiencing it. I run my fingers along his neck.
I’m sure that he shaved not long ago, but a few stubborn hairs are already making a resurgence.
“You feel nice,” I say. He opens his eyes and meets mine.
“I can’t stand your teasing anymore,” he says and presses his lips onto mine again.
I’m swept away by his passion. I kiss him back, burying my hands in his hair. I feel his fingers running up and down my back. He squeezes my shoulders over and over again. He pushes me against the pantry door again, and it makes a noise as our bodies slam into it over and over. My knees start to buckle. I feel myself going limp and slowly slide down to the floor. He follows me. Suddenly, we’re both on our knees. A moment later, I’m lying on the floor and he’s on top of me. We’re moving as one. We’re dancing to the same silent rhythm. Then, something feels off.
I’m not sure where it comes from, but suddenly, I feel queasy. Perhaps, it’s from the surge of adrenaline that rushes through my body.
“Um, Finn,” I say, pushing him away from me. He sits up.
“I feel sick,” I manage to say. And then I throw up. All over his tile floor.
Charlotte Byrd is the bestselling author of many contemporary romance novels. She lives in Southern California with her husband, son, and a crazy toy Australian Shepherd. She loves books, hot weather and crystal blue waters.