She woke up bewildered the following morning, stretching her tired limbs, feeling a slight ache in her legs, her stomach muscles sore. She couldn't quite believe what had happened last night, replaying every moment in her head. She buried her head in her pillow, inhaling the scent of him on her pillow, wide smile spreading across her face. She shivered at the memory of his touch, disconcerted by the memory of her own response. She flushed deeply at the thought, mortification seeping in, mixing with her other emotions. She felt elated, lightheaded, delirious, and now also ashamed. She worried that she had made a false step, overreacted somehow, let him go too far or not far enough. She didn't trust that what had felt natural to her last night had been as it was supposed to be. She forced herself out of bed, shuffling down the hall to the bathroom. Lost in her thoughts, she stepped out of the shower, catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror, gasping at her own reflection. Her lips were pink and swollen, faint traces of a love bite by her collarbone, and on her left hip were five small, round bruises, perfect imprints of Jackson's fingers. She covered herself quickly, a low fire building in the pit of her stomach.
She caught his eyes in assembly, gazing into them across a sea of people, small smile on his lips as she faintly blushed from the memories of last night. She tore herself away as she realised Hannah had been trying to catch her attention.
"So what do you think, should I do it?" Hannah finished, leaving April utterly clueless as to what her friend had been trying to tell her.
"Hm?" she asked distractedly.
"What's up with you today?" Hannah said, eyes narrowing.
"Oh, just a bit tired, that's all," she said, somewhat truthfully, stifling a yawn.
"So do you think I should say yes?" Hannah changed the subject, slight annoyance in her voice.
"Say yes?" She still had no idea what was going on.
"April!" Hannah whined, exasperated. "Should I go out with him?"
"Go out with who?"
She racked her brain, trying to remember names that might have come up I the last five minutes, trying to remember names that might have come up in the last five months.
"Rich! Have you been listening to me at all?"
Her mouth dropped, the last name she had expected to hear come out of her friends mouth.
"No, I don't think you should go out with Rich!" she spluttered, incredulous. "He's an asshole, of course you shouldn't go out with him!"
"Jackson's an asshole too and you still go out with him!" Hannah spat her words back in April's face, anger glistening in her eyes.
"God, ever since you got back with him you're so lost up his ass you can't even see it!"
"He's not..." she began, but was interrupted by the headmaster entering and subsequently silencing the room. She spent the next fifteen minutes fuming at Hannah, thinking up perfect reasons why Rich was an asshole and Jackson wasn't, but as soon as assembly was over Hannah quickly got up and left without saying another word to her.
When Hannah purposefully avoided her both at lunch and dinner, she knew they were having a full on fight. It drove her to the brink of insanity, knowing her best friend was angry with her, even more so because she was the one who was supposed to be mad. Why couldn't she just be happy for her? Why couldn't she see that Jackson was good for her? The timing was terrible, April had been desperate to talk to Hannah about what had happened last night, and now she couldn't, further adding to her frustration.
By the time she was alone with Jackson that night, she couldn't shake her anger, annoyed at everyone and everything. He tried to soothe her, but it only made her more irritable.
"Ok, I give up," he sighed, raising his hands to her. "I can't seem to do anything right. Are you annoyed that I came to your room last night?"
"What? No!" She tried to reassure him, unfolding her arms and wrapping them around his neck instead. "No, that was great."
"Ok, then stop making it seem like I did something bad, ok?" His head dropped, eyes blinking, looking away from her.
"Hey, you were perfect, ok?" she insisted, trying to catch his gaze.
"I don't know why I'm the one trying to convince you here, I'm the amateur here, remember?"
She tried to make light of the situation, but his face only grew more tense, frown deepening.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Now he was the one annoyed.
"I-i only meant..." she stumbled, scrambling for words to appease him. "I guess you've done that before, and I haven't."
"Not really," he muttered. "I'm not some manwhore you know, I'm not like a sex expert or anything."
"You mean you haven't...?" she faltered, taken aback by his uncharacteristic insecurity.
"No, I have," he said, still avoiding her eyes. "Once or twice. It wasn't...great."
"Nikki?" she managed, hoping it wouldn't be. He nodded. Her heart sank, as did her hands.
"It's different with you, ok?" he started, grabbing her hands. "I don't really know what I'm supposed to do, but when I'm with you it just sort of happens, you know? Like my hands know what to do even if I don't."
He finally lifted his head, returning her gaze. She felt a familiar twitch between her legs, soft gasp escaping her lips. He pulled her closer, wrapping his arms around her waist, positioning her between his legs. His face closed in on hers, not quite reaching her, just hovering above her, breathing into her.
"I can't stop thinking about you," he whispered, face still inches away from hers.
"I can't stop thinking about what I want to do to you," he continued, eyes flickering down to her lips.
"Or where I want to touch you," he breathed, closing his eyes as if he was in pain.
When he opened his eyes again, they were full. Full of emotion, intent and want. In that moment she lost touch with the world around her, engulfed in that infinite hunger she was faced with, that all-encompassing desire. Her heart was racing, her mouth aching for his, giving herself to him before he had even touched her.
The second time he came to her room was a few days later. She was still surprised even if it had been a foregone conclusion. Despite how comfortable she was in his presence, despite her physical craving for him, she was nervous. Her breath hitched as he climbed into bed next to her, her heart racing as he kicked off his shoes, her throat constricting as he turned to face her. He stroked her hair, saying nothing for a while.
"Do you want to do this?" he whispered, wet eyes blinking in the darkness.
She nodded, not ready to form the words.
She nodded again, lifting her hand to his cheek, stroking his soft skin.
"Do you?" she finally managed, voice hushed.
He nodded at her, holding her gaze steady in his eyes. He made no motion to move for what seemed an eternity, all the while she was holding her breath, scared that her breathing would ruin the moment. He finally moved, closing in on her, kissing her softly. His hands gently cupped the side of her face, fingers twisting into her hair, tongue gently parting her lips. She pulled herself into him, aligning her body with his, the naked skin of her legs meeting the rough fabric of his jeans. She wanted to feel his skin against hers, yanking at the hem of his shirt impatiently. He broke their kiss briefly to help her slip the shirt over his head before returning to her. She let her hands roam over his chest and his arms, hard muscle moving under her touch, skin warm and impossibly soft. She broke away from him so she could look at him, never having seen his naked torso before. She took all of him in, running a finger down his sternum, eliciting a faint shudder from him. He dove into her again, this time with more urgency, grabbing her hip and tilting her downwards, shifting so he hovered above her. She quickly pulled her t-shirt over her head, momentarily bashful as she was exposed to him. She pulled her arms across her chest without thinking, but didn't protest as he removed them again, one by one.
"You're so fucking beautiful," he whispered, eyes wide, staring down at her bare chest, dimly lit by the street lights outside her window. This time she heard him perfectly.
She tilted her head back as he went for her throat, nibbling, licking, kissing. She dug her fingers into the bare skin on his back as each kiss sent chills down her spine, making her skin break out in goosebumps. He moved down to her breasts, hot hands pinning her down to the mattress. Her breath grew ragged as he reached her nipples, grazing them with his teeth. He moved further still, lips against bare skin, kissing unkissed places. She bit down on her lip as he reached the edge of her panties, tracing the thin fabric with his lips. She forgot what she had been nervous about entirely.
He stopped suddenly, her body involuntary arching, reaching for him, as he discarded his jeans on the floor. As he leant over her to meet her mouth again, she could feel his hardness between them, digging into her. He gasped as her hands grew bold, slipping her fingers inside the waistband of his boxers. She traced the soft skin under the elastic before sliding her hand all the way inside, gently placing her hand around him. He stilled in her mouth while she explored, hesitsantly at first. She was surprised at how smooth it felt, how fragile it seemed in her hand, despite the hardness. He sucked in his breath as she tightened her grip, pulling away from her.
"Don't," he warned. "Not yet."
She released him, watching him pull his boxers down before hooking his thumbs into the elastic of her underwear and slipping them down her legs. He disappeared for a moment, rustling of foil giving him away. He came back, tracing kisses up her thighs, the rough stubble of his hair scraping against her skin. She broke into a cold sweat as he moved up her the length of her body, his eyes closing briefly as he saw her reaction to him. He rested between her legs, hovering over her, locking her in his gaze.
"You sure you want to do this?" he whispered softly, eyes intently searching hers.
"I want this," she answered, voice trembling.
He kissed her slowly, sweetly, breath hot against her lips. She felt his hand search for her, shivers gripping every part of her spine. He entered her slowly, releasing her mouth so he could capture her eyes instead. She clamped down on her lip, eyes slamming shut as a sharp pain rippled through her body, tears forming in the corners of her eyes. She had to clasp her hand over her mouth to silence a high-pitched gasp, causing him to stiffen above her. She could feel him shift so his weight was off her, barely touching her.
"Are you ok?" he asked, voice small, filled with concern.
She didn't respond immediately, taking a deep breath and opening her eyes to look at him again. She relaxed into him, adjusting to the foreign sensation of fullness inside her, feeling herself stretch around him.
"Better," she finally replied, running her hands over his back, pulling him back to her.
He hesitated, frown forming on his face. She drew him in, kissing him deeply, moving her legs wider apart, convincing him. He slowly began to move into her again, letting her adjust to him as he went deeper. Each time he met her the pain was a little duller, until she wasn't quite sure if it was unpleasant any more.
His breath was shallow and loud, occasionally stifling growls from deep inside. She heard her own breath come out as high-pitched sobs as he continued to dive into her. Her body instinctively began to meet his, receiving him, tilting up towards him, and then she couldn't keep her eyes open anymore. She came undone as his mouth found her neck, tightening her legs around him, her body arching away from him. She felt him shudder and relax on top of her, exhaling her name into her neck. He stroked her hair, kissing her forehead softly as he pulled away from her.
"You glad we did that?" he whispered after a while, uncertainly.
"Yeah," she breathed.
He pulled her tightly towards his chest, kissing the top of her head. She could hear his heart beat loudly under his warm skin, strong hands stroking her sensitive skin, his body hard and soft at the same time. I made his heart beat like this, she smiled to herself. The feeling of her naked skin against his was almost better than what had happened before. She let her mind wander, stroking his chest absentmindedly, letting her breathing calm down to a natural rhythm.
"You ok?" he asked after a while.
"Yeah..." she said, voice hoarser than she liked. "Bit emotional I guess."
"Well, I'm not a virgin anymore," she stated, letting her thoughts flow to her lips without passing by her brain. "I can't take that back. It's kind of a big deal."
"Um...do you want to take it back?" he asked, panic seeping into his hushed voice.
"No...that's not what I meant," she tried, not sure if she had convinced him. "It was perfect, ok? You were perfect."
She quickly tilted her head towards him, showing him she meant it, covering his mouth with hers.
"You better go," she said reluctantly, not ready to shatter the moment.
"Yeah," he agreed, slipping out of the narrow bed and into his clothes. He kissed her softly on the lips before heading towards the door.
"I love you," she whispered urgently, as the door opened without a sound. "Please don't get caught!"
He smiled widely before sliding out of the door, disappearing into the dark.
The next morning she ran straight to Hannah's dorm, waiting for her to emerge on her way to breakfast.
"I need to tell you something."
At first Hannah eyed her with hostility, but quickly melted when she saw how serious April was, forgetting their fight instantly.