If I Fall For You
“I’ve got the key,” Lucas says as he stands over Alaine and presents the rectangular strip of plastic. “And my offer to carry you still stands.”
She looks up from her lounging position in the chair in the hotel lobby and into his handsome face. If her heart continues to respond with this crazy, erratic rhythm every time she sees him, Alaine is sure she will die of heart failure sometime during their arrangement. That gives her roughly about six months to live.
Chuckling at her silliness, she accepts the hand Lucas offers to tug her out of the chair. “I’m fine,” she tells him, while her brain and heart continue to swoon.
“No pain?” he asks with concern. “You’ve been in those shoes for a while.”
She shakes her head to answer the question, her long black hair swaying gently with the movement.
“Alright,” Lucas says, but doesn’t release his hold on her hand as they walk across to the elevator.
It’s late. About one in the morning so it's just the two of them in the car. They’re away from prying eyes so Alaine can’t help but wonder why Lucas hasn’t let go of her hand as of yet even as the elevator begins to climb. That is not to say that she minds.
Tonight has just been really confusing. Or rather, Lucas has been. She’s not sure what to make of this change in their agreement.
If memory serves her correctly, by his own explanation, they should show affection in public. They shouldn't be holding hands in empty elevators. He’s not supposed to allow her to fall asleep with his arms around her in the back seat of his car and far less should they be kissing in his private jet. Yet, they’ve done all of these things.
The need to concentrate on something other than her pinging thoughts drives Alaine to mark their ascent in the circular lights above the door as it registers their progress.
An elevator ride has never been this slow or tense as she realizes that there is no way around what is coming next. This is it. For the first time in her life, Alaine will be spending a night in the company of a man.
It dawns on her that she is completely ignorant of their sleeping arrangements. She may very well faint from the sheer panic that thought provokes.
Trepidation tramples along her spine. Lucas only produced one key when he returned from reception. How is she going to do this? He has kissed her multiple times for the evening. She’d given her consent. What will he expect now? She has no clue how this works.
It seems too late to question why he hadn’t gotten them separate rooms. So, Alaine stands quietly in the corner, churning over the possibilities in her mind and hoping that her fear stays hidden.
Unnervingly, that is not the case. While they danced at dinner, Lucas told her that she is expressive. She hadn’t noticed that until now. Her reflection in the glossy interior of the elevator is telling.
Anxiety is written all over her features. It’s also in the rigid set of her posture. Alaine chastises herself. This her own fault. She should have insisted on rules. Obviously, she hadn’t thought this all the way through.
When she looks across at Lucas, it is with the hope that she finds him as discomposed as she is. If he is, it’s not discernable.
Lucas stares up at the ceiling well aware that his date’s wide eyes are boring through him. By some miracle, tonight he’s mastered the appearance of being self-composed. In his chest, however, a quickening, thumping bass abounds.
He’s tried to avoid looking at Alaine, in hopes that doing so would set her at ease. Unable to avert his eyes any longer, especially with the power of her gaze compelling him, Lucas stares at her through the mirrored walls.
A hot pink stains Alaine’s chest and climbs up her neck to paste itself into her cheeks. She sucks in a hefty amount of air, like she’s drifted into his thoughts. Or maybe she can see on his face that Lucas really wants to back her up against the elevator wall.
He considers being honest and telling her exactly what he feels. Just toss the chips in the air and let them fall where they may. I want you. That’s what he wants to say. Worst case scenario, she turns him down. Best case sees them between the sheets.
The bell in the elevator dings, startling both of them back to reality. They sigh, relieved to be free of the confined space.
Lucas guides Alaine along the corridor to their suite and pauses before the door.
“It’s only one bedroom,” he confesses before she enters.
“I have to sleep you?” Alaine squeaks with her eyes round and wide.
It’s a disappointing reaction and not at all what Lucas was hoping for but he moves quickly to assure her. “No,” he says and closes the door behind them. “It would defeat the purpose if we sleep in separate suites or if I booked a two bedroom,” he explains. “You can have the bed,” he offers.
Alaine responds, “okay,” and walks slowly across the large suite. Like she did when they entered his house earlier, her eyes explore from one corner to the next, studying the exquisite decor.
Lucas walks up behind her, his body so close, he can feel the way she shivers from his nearness. That makes him smile.
“I think it’s okay to get rid of this,” he says as he reaches for the shawl secreting her away from him. He drags it unnecessarily down her arms and allows his fingers to graze along her skin in the process. A fine layer of goosebumps prickles everywhere his fingers touch and Alaine's breath hitches in her throat.
Carelessly, he flings the material in the direction of the large sofa and she watches it flutter into place.
“That. Is a sofa,” Lucas teases. “I don’t want tonight to end,” he admits as he steps around her so they stand face to face. “Are overtired?” he asks.
The ability to use her tongue fails when he steps closer and places both hands on her slim waist. Alaine shakes her head as her bones and muscles; every part of her physique, yield to the light tug the seals their bodies together.
“Dance with me,” he requests.
A soft melody begins to float around the room. The lyrics accompanying the music is an apt reflection for what Alaine feels. If I Fall For You the soloist sings. If the description of what it feels like to fall composed in the words of this song is right, then what she feels is falling.
“I have a feeling you like Ed Sheeran,” Alaine says, hoping the sound of their conversation will cloak her thoughts.
“I find his songs very meaningful,” Lucas answers as they sway together.
“That’s very odd for someone who doesn’t do relationships,” Alaine says.
Lucas shrugs. “That doesn’t mean I cannot appreciate good music.”
“You are a conundrum, Lucas Bright,” she tells him.
He laughs, then starts to sing. His voice lulls her into laying her head over his heart and she takes comfort in the rapid beating. He's just as nervous as she is. Alaine closes her eyes and enjoys the way his arms encompass her.
“You have a nice voice,” she notes. “And a nice laugh.”
“You think so?” he questions.
She nods her response, her cheek rubbing against the soft material of his dress shirt.
It's strange, the way being with Lucas enhances her cognizance of what is happening in and around her. Normally, she is not one who pays attention to finer details. Why would she notice that his shirt is soft? Or the way her breasts feel against his chest. Why would she note each movement of his body -- of her body?
When she is with Lucas, everything seems to unfold like a time-lapse. Each movement, every sound, every emotion, every touch, every changing current in the atmosphere, every little detail is amplified to appreciate the intricacies that in a normal circumstance she would overlook.
If Alaine had to compare this feeling to anything, she would say it's like watching the slow pattern of a blossoming flower captured by a camera over time. It's beautiful and serene and she can't help but be drawn in by it.
An awakening, that's what she would call it. She's developed a sixth sense to her sensuality.
“I asked if you are tired,” Lucas repeats, after a moment of silence. “I think you’re telling a lie,” he says when he feels – more than sees – she shakes her head.
He’s right. Alaine is tired. She hasn’t slept well since her sister sauntered back into her life. But there is a promise somewhere in the night that she doesn’t want to let go of.
Ignoring his observation, she asks, “what happens when the song ends?”
Lucas stops swaying and looks down at her. The sudden stillness causes Alaine to lift her head.
“Nothing that you don’t want to happen, Alaine,” he assures her.
“What if I want something to happen?” she asks, the question shocking both of them. "What if I don't want tonight to end?"
If Lucas thought his heart was thumping hard before, now he is certain, it’s going to beat its way out of his chest. Needing a moment to calm his excitement and his anxiousness and nerves, he shifts his attention away from Alaine to stare out the glass window and the city lights beyond.
“What do you want to happen?” he asks when he feels his composure returned.
“I want to kiss you back,” she whispers.
Lucas remains quiet and motionless. Humiliation burns Alaine’s cheeks.
“I’m sorry,” she says. “Now I’m being inappropriate. I just got caught up in whatever...you know what, just forget I said anything,” she rambles and makes a move to step out of his grasp.
The fingers on her waist tighten in order to stop her. “I will never forget you saying you want to kiss me,” Lucas says. “I’m not worthy of you, Alaine. I’ve lived a sordid life,” he confesses while he looks into her eyes, searching for a sign that she understands. “Do not mistake me for some romantic hero. If that’s what you want, I am not him,” he says regretfully.
Taking her face in his hands he says, "You are sweet and pure. I can feel it. And if I were a better man, I would deny you. But I’m not. Just, please, don’t fall for me,” he almost begs as he takes her hand to lead her to the bedroom. “Whatever happens tonight, it’s with no obligations,” he cautions as he opens the door.
Lucas waits at the threshold for confirmation that she understands the chilling warning before walking across to the bed.
If there was even the slightest possibility that he could be the type of man Alaine deserves, he would jump at the chance. He would swap out the man that he is so that he could be worthy of her affection. But that’s the thing about hopes, dreams, and wishes. They are nothing more than sand in an opened palm, completely at the mercy of whatever wind blows and utterly unreliable.
Taking a seat at the edge of the bed, Lucas pushes the thought of what he could be aside. He's long accepted who he is. He waits for Alaine to join him and watches as she walks with light steps across the room. She stops at a certain distance, just out of his reach. To bridge the gap, Lucas leans toward her, takes her hand in his and tugs her forward.
“You don’t have to do anything,” he says as she stands between his legs.
“I know,” she responds. Reaching out a trembling hand, Alaine lays her palm against his cheek. “But I trust you," she says.
Those four words pierce Lucas' chest like a hot knife. They don't cause a chink in his armor. A chink is easily repairable. It can even be ignored. No. They rend and melt away the cold, dark tomb of resignation he's sealed over his heart through the years.
He closes his eyes against the sensation like he would against the sudden and painful intrusion of blinding light after an age spent in darkness. A lump lodges in his throat.
He can't look at Alaine. Not now that she's laid him bare again. He can't find words either.
To let her know how much the sentiment means to him, Lucas turns his face into the comfort of her hand and places a kiss in the center of her palm.
“Come here,” he says, a hoarse but gentle order forced beyond the tightness in his throat. He seats her on the bed and bends his knees before her.
The sight of him there mesmerizes Alaine. He’s so handsome. So confusing. His actions toward her belie every reprehensible thing he’s said about himself. She wants to tell him so. She wants to know what it is that has distorted his perception of himself. More than that, she wants to soothe the broken man she sees bowed before her.
Silently, Lucas works at the fastenings on her shoes then slips them off her feet.
He wants to run his hand up the length of her leg, inch up her body with gentle nips and sucks and kiss her with the fervor he’s wanted to since their first meeting.
Instead of following those urges, he takes her small foot in his hand and massages gently. "Your feet must sore," he says as he traces the imprints the straps left on her skin. His fingers graze over a small welt, just above her left heel.
Old injury, he thinks and looks at her quizzically. "Scoot over," he requests when, as he expected, she offers no explanation.
Obeying the directive he's given, Alaine shifts to the center of the bed. Lucas follows and settles by her side. Because he doesn't want to jump the gun, he waits for her to make her move. Since she does nothing and he wants her to, he pats the bed encouraging her to lie down.
Nervously, Alaine eases into a stiff horizontal pose and presses her weight onto her elbow. She tucks the hair falling over her face behind her ear and bites down on her lower lip.
"You are the most beautiful woman I've ever laid eyes on," Lucas tells her.
She blushes in response. "Careful, Mr. Bright," Alaine warns. "The way you're acting, I'd say you're the one who's doing the falling," she goads.
He laughs, but the sound is hollow. "I'm in the moment," he says casually to defeat the sensation of his heart clenching to her spoken word.
Feeling emboldened, she asks, "what now?"
Lucas turns on his side to adopt her pose. “That’s entirely up to you,” he tells her. "I'm yours to command."
“I don’t know what to do," Alaine admits. "I mean I live in New York, I’ve seen people kissing and a lot more...”
“Come here,” he tells her again as he lies back and brings her down to anchor her softness to his side.
“I have a confession that might make you feel more at ease," Lucas says.
"What confession?" Alaine asks when he goes silent. She hovers over his face, admiring his beautiful features until she stops at his lips.
The muscles in Lucas' throat work. He swallows and something like wariness fills his eyes. Smiling ruefully, he shakes his head. It's baffling what he is about to confess.
“Tonight was my first kiss too,” he admits hastily. "It's the truth, Alaine," he says tersely to the skepticism on her face.
Regret for having uttered those damnable words swarm Lucas and the warmth that had been in his eyes only a moment ago starts to dissipate.
Not wanting to lose another one of life's few precious moments, Alaine works quickly to try get it back.
“I don’t understand,” she says. As she awaits his response, she traces his sculpted cheekbones with her thumb. She follows the path of her finger with her eyes. When he starts to speak she returns to looking down into the depth of intense, gray stormy with desire.
“I told you I don’t do relationships," Lucas tells her. "I don’t do romance. I have sex with women. I don’t want, nor do I need to kiss them to be satisfied.”
Feeling the all too familiar sense of shame and self-loathing closing over him, Lucas turns his head away from Alaine. Boldly, she places her hand on his cheek and turns him back toward her. That surprises Lucas.
“So why did you kiss me?” she asks.
He huffs and looks deeply into her eyes, searching for a cosmic explanation for his madness. But the answer is simple.
"Because I wanted to," he admits. "I'm no virgin," he tells her plainly. "But I have never kissed another girl or woman before tonight. I've never wanted to."
Lucas prays that that answer is enough. He's revealed more about himself to Alaine in their brief time together than he has to anybody else in his entire lifetime. He prays that she hears the sincerity in his confession too. Maybe she does because she presents him with a gleeful smile.
“I am Lucas Bright’s first kiss,” she muses. “Maybe this is what prom night would have felt like," she says thoughtfully.
Helplessly, Lucas' lips quirk up partway. “Do you still want to kiss me, Alaine?” he asks.
“Yes,” she replies.
“Okay, kiss me," he whispers. "I can tell something about this scares you, so I will keep my hands right here, okay?” he promises and flattens his palms over the soft sheet.
Nodding her head, Alaine brings her mouth within a hair's breadth of his. Lucas' breath shudders in anticipation. He almost closes the distance in his desperation to have her.
“Tell me what to do,” she breathes against his lips.
He suppresses a groan at her whispered, innocent request. He could teach her so much more than that. Tonight, he could make her body sing.
“I am just as inexperienced as you," Lucas tells her. “Fine,” he relents when she continues to torment him with her nearness. “Press your lips against mine," he instructs with breathless urgency.
“Like this?” Alaine asks.
“Mmmm, a little lower,” he urges when she flattens her lips onto his.
The touch might be awkward but it does the job of sending all his blood surging to one particular turgid organ. “Let your upper lip rest at the sim between... just like that,” he confirms when her plumb lips obey his instructions.
In the time he spends coaching her, those featherlike touches of her lips on him are catastrophic. Lucas' voice grows gruff and his hands shake as he sinks and curls them into the bed covers to keep himself grounded. Her innocence is like a drug.
“Take my bottom lip between your lips and suck,” he urges since she's mastered his first set of instructions.
As his lips sink into the warm wetness of her mouth, Lucas cannot stifle the raspy moan that rumbles from his chest. Heaven, that's what it feels like.
“Use your tongue," he instructs. "Run your tongue against my mouth,” he says breathlessly and his eyes sink close as she does it. Oh God. Lucas fights the temptation to respond. To pull her closer to sweep his tongue inside her mouth, strip her bare and make love to her.
“Okay,” she breathes against his mouth. "I think I've got it."
For some reason, he chuckles, but the state of his erection is no laughing matter. He cracks an eye open to peek at her.
“Shhh, you’re distracting me," she scolds. "I’m trying to concentrate.”
“And you’re tickling me," Lucas counters. "It’s not rocket science,” he laughs, a low rumble that quivers Alaine's insides, creating a delicious warmth between her thighs. She sighs uncontrollably because of it.
“Kiss me, Alaine, please," Lucas begs.
His gentle request does her in. She gives him a small smile and watches him while she brings her lips closer to his. It seems to her that he's stopped breathing. That's the last thought she has before commanding his lips.
At first, Alaine's actions are shy and tentative. They are a true testament of her inexperience. That possessive streak, the need to brand her his, whips through Lucas again. He growls low and deep as she presses her tongue against the sim of his lips, seeking entrance and he happily grants it.
For now, he is content to let her explore the shape of his mouth. He promised he wouldn't touch her. As hard as it is not to, Lucas holds true to his word. He should be inducted into the sainthood for this.
Quite unexpectedly, she backs away from him, leaving Lucas wanting.
"What is it, sweet girl?" he asks when he opens his eyes to her frown.
"Kiss me back," she demands.
Lucas smiles, lifts his hand to brush away the unruly curls at her neck. Remembering his promise, he lays the wayward hand back by his side.
Confusion draws her eyebrows together.
"This is your show," he tells her but leaves unspoken that if he does kiss her back he won't be able to stop. Not until she is a quivering mass from her third or fourth orgasm. He wouldn't stop until he's emptied himself inside her.
If she but moves closer, Alaine will learn exactly what her ministrations is doing to his body. His throbbing erection strains painfully against his zipper.
Thankfully, she offers no argument.
After a few more minutes of heavenly torture where Alaine's actions grow more practiced and sensual, Lucas gives up.
"I think that's enough lessons for one night, sweet girl, he says. "We have an early flight. I suggest you get some sleep."
“Did I do something wrong?” she questions.
Lucas eases off the bed and pads to the door. When he reaches it, he turns back to see Alaine lying flat on her back as she runs her hands over her face.
"You didn't do anything wrong, Alaine," he tells her. "That was the sweetest thing I've ever experienced."
She doesn't acknowledge his compliment but maybe that's a good thing. Resisting her is getting harder. If he doesn't leave now, he's not sure he will be able to purge himself of the temptation she presents lying in the middle of a king-sized bed.