They slept in the next day at Zara’s apartment, with Matt in Susan’s bed and Nathaniel on the couch. Amy had wrapped her little body all over Zara, her fingers bunched in Zara’s hair.
The sound of the shower running woke Zara.
She yawned and attempted to turn, belatedly realising that Amy was in bed. She ended up sprawled on her back with Amy’s head on her chest.
Opening her eyes, she blinked at the light in the room.
To her side she saw Susan atop Matt, fast asleep with his fingers in her hair, and one hand on her waist. Zara smiled.
Running her hand over Amy’s soft curls, Zara lay back more comfortably, easing the crick in her neck. She could feel the rise and fall of Amy’s body as she slept soundly. Turning her head, Zara placed a soft kiss on her hair, breathing in the sweet smell of Amy. The reaching down so that her fingers held Amy’s arms, Zara lifted her off her and sat up, laying Amy on the bed. The child instantly snuggled into the covers, slipping her thumb into her mouth. Zara made sure she was tucked in properly before she got up, tied her hair with a band and made her way to the bathroom, stopping at the door to glance over at the couch where Nathaniel had spent the night.
It was empty.
The moment she stepped in, she felt a slight tremor run up her spine. She swallowed, acutely aware that just a few feet away from her, hidden just by the flimsy shower curtain, Nathaniel was naked and dripping wet. The tremor was replaced with curiosity and an undercurrent of what Zara knew was need. Berating herself for acting like an infatuated teenager, she kept her eyes trained to the floor and went to the basin. She caught a glimpse of herself and almost groaned. She looked terrible! Her hair was a rat’s nest and her lips were swollen. Was that drool at the corner of her mouth?
She had barely turned the tap on, when the shower curtain was dragged to the side. Zara turned around, feeling filthy even though she technically wasn’t. But then, she forgot all about it when she saw Nathaniel standing not far away from her with damp hair and a towel wrapped around his waist.
Zara paused in the action of trying to settle her hair down. She felt that familiar stirring in the pit of her stomach that warned her about stepping too close to Nathaniel.
“Good morning, sunshine.“, he said with a half smile, his eyes unabashedly moving all over her body and then settling on her face.
“Sunshine?“, Zara croaked, her mouth suddenly feeling parched.
Nathaniel’s smile widened and he stalked upto her, making her wish she hadn’t bothered to come inside in the first place. He began leaning in toward her when she put her hand on his chest and stopped him.
“I look dreadful. I need to brush my teeth first.”
He merely raised his eyebrows and continued till he was closer to her. Then he lifted her palm in his, turned it over and placed a kiss in its centre, keeping his eyes on her the entire time. Zara shivered at his touch and he smirked when he noticed it.
She tried to pull her hand away but he held fast. Then to her surprise and before she could react, he had pulled her by her hand and had placed a quick kiss on her forehead. Then he simply smiled at her and let her go.
“I’ll be waiting for you outside.”
Zara watched the wide expanse of his back as he slowly shut the door behind him, leaving her alone.
She waited for an entire minute before she lifted the palm he had kissed and touched her cheek. The heat of his mouth hadn’t disappeared and it made her insides feel abnormally heavy. Sighing in resignation, Zara turned around and started the water. Hurrying up with her morning routine, she emerged out of the bathroom, feeling infinitely better and well rested.
She saw that Amy was still asleep and so were Matt and Susan. That gave her and Nathaniel some time alone and Zara felt a twinge of excitement uncurl in her belly. She hoped he’d kiss her now.
Reaching the living room, she saw that Nathaniel was in the middle of preparing coffee. When he spotted her, he gave her a grin and motioned her to come near. Unhesitatingly, Zara went to him, breathing in the heavenly aroma emanating from the kitchen.
“Good morning.“, she said softly as she came up next to him and reached for the cups on the shelf near her.
Her fingers were suddenly enclosed in warm palms and Zara found herself turned around, caged in by Nathaniel, as he held her hands in his.
When she raised questioning eyes to his, he didn’t bother to answer her, but he bent his head and placed his lips on hers in a gentle but toe tingling kiss. His thumbs swirled over the back of her hands as he nibbled lightly on her lower lip, making Zara smile and tug at her hands in an effort to get them freed so that she could grab his hair like she wanted to.
Nathaniel didn’t ease his hold, but he stepped toward her. She felt the length of his thighs press up against hers and her torso was only an inch away from being molded to his. Their hands were pressed in between their bodies.
After a long moment, Nathaniel let go of her hands, and took hold of her face in his palms, all the while kissing her.
Zara knew it was the sweetest kiss she had received. She didn’t even lose her breath.
Nathaniel smelt like toothpaste and soap and Zara couldn’t help running her fingers along his front, her hands itching to get the material off him.
When he pulled away, she followed him and then heard a low groan.
Her eyes shot open at the sound even as her lips met his jaw, the light stubble coating it rubbing against the sensitive skin of her mouth. Undeterred, Zara kissed a trail along his jawline till she reached his ear.
“Zara, stop.“, he sounded close to pleading.
She paused in the middle of her exploration and pulled back, looking at him with the hint of a smug smile on her lips.
Yes, she wasn’t the only one affected so badly by their proximity. It was a trial for Nathaniel too.
The thought was extremely satisfying.
“You drive me crazy, you nymph.“, he spoke huskily, trailing a single finger along her cheekbone before bringing it to her lips and pressing it lightly at the centre.
Zara refrained from rolling her eyes but the humor in them was evident. She circled his neck with her arms and leaned into him. He automatically reached out to steady her with his arms at her waist.
“We’ll, if it’s any consolation, you drive me pretty crazy too.“, she teased him, kissing his cheek twice.
Nathaniel pulled her to him, hugging her tight before he set her down.
“I intend to.“, he said seriously before grinning and kissing her again.