An escalating Situation.
This bad boy is almost five thousand words long. Understand guys, I tried to cut it down. I really did but there was no way to do that without ruining the flow. Either way, I hope you find it entertaining enough to read every word and leave a comment. And finally...the next chapter...can you guess?
Whenever you want me.
That’s what Lucas told Alaine yesterday.
Ever since she woke up on this beautiful Friday morning, atop the inflatable bed he bought her that she finally used for the first time last night, her fingers have been itching to pick up the phone to text him. However, there is also the promise she made to herself to exercise control when it comes to Lucas. And darn it, she is going to stick to it. No matter how much she misses him.
She lets out a soft whine.
How is it possible to miss him this much?
After checking the clock again, she determines that enough time has passed since the sun came up that she can risk sending him that text.
Unsure of what else to say and cursing herself for not thinking beyond her greeting, she twiddles her thumbs hovering over the phone screen while trying to come up with something more eloquent than ‘hi’ to say.
Her face splits into a wide smile when she sees those three dots appear in the chat window.
Lucas: Can I see you today?
Obviously, with the way she yearns for his company, she wasn’t going to respond in anything other than the affirmative.
One hour later, after sending Lucas a text with just the word ‘yes’, Alaine waits impatiently at her window. Every second she peeks around the curtain to investigate the street below, looking out for his vehicle.
The last time she does it, it’s the low purr of an engine that draws her attention. The sleek, silver luxury sports car pulls up on the opposite side of the street. Although it’s not Lucas’ usual mode of transportation, and she can’t see anything beyond the tinted windows and glossy exterior, she knows that it has to be him. Who else would drive down McBride Street in Far Rockaway Queens and stop outside her building driving something this fancy?
A frisson of excitement electrifying her body makes her squeal softly with delight. When Lucas steps out the driver’s seat, looking gallant in his brown bomber jacket and aviator sunglasses with his eyes trained on her window, she jumps back, afraid he might have caught on to her stakeout. Heat suffuses her cheeks. They must be glowing red. Hopefully, by the time he makes his way up the stairway and knocks on the door, she would have gotten it under control. Still, her heart soars and her lips curl into an inevitable smile.
She peeks around the curtain again to witness his confident strides across the road. Moving away from her post, she takes a quick look around to ensure that nothing is out of place in the small apartment.
Unable to contain her eagerness, he barely knocks before she yanks the door open. He doesn’t offer her a greeting. She falls into his hungry kisses, right there in the doorway.
With his hands on her hips, Lucas walks her back into the apartment, closes the door with his heel, pins her against a wall and asserts his control over her lips.
More than a minute ticks away, with just this, him kissing her and Alaine enjoying the uninhibited, dominant way he handles her.
He slows his assault to a soft graze and whispers, “I missed you,” against her lips
“I missed you too,” she confesses shyly, dragging her teeth over her bottom lip.
“Jesus, Ali,” Lucas breathes while looking down at her. “I’ve warned you about that.”
He captures her lip between his thumb and index finger, tugging softly.
“I actually came here to tell you something,” he says with a small grimace as he considers the ramifications of his actions since he had not consulted her before doing it.
Alaine’s brow tightens in response and a little disappointment seeps into her. She thought he came because wanted to see her.
“Where and when do you need me?” she asks, expecting that whatever he has to say has something to do with their arrangement.
“Well, I need you right here and right now,” he says suggestively. “But that’s not what I’m talking about either.”
She listens quietly to his hesitant explanation then hisses in disbelief, “you did what?”
“I wanted to do a good deed,” Lucas explains. “I wanted to thank him.”
Feeling her irritation mount, Alaine crosses her arms beneath her bosom. Yet, despite her annoyance, she is curious as to what guided his decision to go behind her back.
“Why?” she questions firmly. “Why did you really do it? You could have endeavoured on any number of philanthropic deeds if that’s what you wanted to do. Why that?”
“Because he saved your life, Alaine,” Lucas answers and the emotional outburst makes her pause. “That’s why,” he adds in a gentler tone as he reaches out to take her hand.
The sincerity in his tone and his touch diffuse the rest of her anger.
“My life, Lucas,” she stresses after a deep breath, her voice just as soft as his. “He saved my life, not yours.”
If she has to be honest, all of her anger is not directed solely at Lucas and his presumptuousness. Most of it is aimed at herself. She hasn’t thanked Angus as yet. It’s a delicate situation. One that just seems impossible to approach.
Her issue with Lucas Bright is the liberty he’s taken inserting himself into her life without a care as to how she will feel about it.
“I have to thank him, ” she continues. “Not you.”
“And you can do that at dinner, tonight,” he reiterates.
Alaine huffs an exasperated breath. “No,” she opposes. ”You can thank him at dinner tonight since I will not be attending.”
“I’m afraid you have to,” he states. “I already told him that you would be there. It’s the only way he would agree. What would I do with him by myself?”
Her little chuckle makes his scowl. “You should have thought about that,” Alaine tells him.
This time it’s Lucas who huffs a frustrated breath. He could tell Alaine that whenever he thinks about that fire – about her being trapped in it – his next thought is, what if Angus had not been there. He could tell her that out of all the things he’s endured in his life, the thought of losing her is one of the scariest things he’s ever experienced.
For now, he doesn’t know what it means or how to express those things. Until a time he does, he’ll just keep those feelings to himself.
He could also tell her that the thought of her alone with Angus frightens him in the worst way. That’s the other reason he’d done it. He knows Angus’ heroics merits her thanks. He also knows that those heroics will not go thankless. Alaine will want to show her appreciation and she should. He just wants to be there when she does it.
Maybe he is being irrational or he is just jealous. Considering Angus jumped into an inferno to rescue Alaine, his hangups concerning her hero should no longer exist. But the guy exudes a superior kind of creepiness.
Besides, Lucas tells himself to defend to his actions. His reservations about the man are not completely unjustified. There was the man he’d seen lurking outside the flower shop. someone started the fire. Someone broke the tail light on his SUV just yesterday and there is also the person who tried to run him down in the park.
So why did he save her life then?
The question pops into his mind again like a jeer and the answer is always the same. No matter which way he thinks about it, in the end, it sums up to his own insecurities. Alaine will recognize the truth. Angus is a better man for her than he is.
“I will buy him something and take him to dinner myself,” Alaine says.
Drawn out of his own head by her declaration as she walks away from him and deeper into the apartment, Lucas answers, “no, you won’t.”
His commanding tone, he can tell, is not well received. Alaine raises an eyebrow and folds her arms in defiance.
“You can’t tell me what to do, Lucas,” she says as she continues to glare at him.
“You’re right I can’t,” he says quickly, switching tactics. “But I would prefer if you wouldn’t,” he says and walks to stand in front of her.
“So let’s be clear,” Alaine says. “You went to personally thank Angus on my behalf, but me, the person he risked his life to save, can’t thank him personally?”
“Okay, let’s be clear,” Lucas counters, assuming a defensive stance of his own.
The movement of his defined muscle catches Alaine’s attention, distracting her from her annoyance.
“Angus wants you, Alaine,” Lucas says his accent now more pronounced and sexy because of his rising irritation.
The sound swirls around creating a fog in her mind as she thinks of the way he’s whispered what he wants in her ear.
Focus Alaine, she scolds herself and returns herself to Lucas and his rebuttal.
“You taking him to dinner will only encourage his advances,” he continues to say. “Is that what you want to do?” he asks. Then he adds smartly, “our deal says no one else,” he reminds her. “Which means you can’t take Angus to dinner. Not without me.”
Her eyes narrow thoughtfully as she considers his argument.
Seeing that he’s gained the advantage, Lucas steps closer to her and says in a soft, soothing tone, “so tonight, you can thank him, with me as your buffer.”
“This is a really bad idea,” Alaine whines like a child. “I don’t want to have dinner with you and Angus. Why would you do this? You don’t even like him,” she states.
“I don’t like Seth either, but I tolerate him,” he reasons and takes the final step that pins her against the kitchen counter. “I don’t have to like him, Alaine,” Lucas continues. “I like that he saved your life,” he adds as he places his hands on her hips.
He bows his head to whisper against her neck, “it’s because of him you are here driving me crazy in more ways than one,” before nipping at the skin over her pulse.
A shuddery moan rattles Alaine’s chest. Her hand shoots up to clasp the hair at the back of his head. As he breathes her in, Lucas’ nostrils flare slightly.
“You smell so good,” he mumbles while grazing her warm skin with his lips.
“So do you,” Alaine replies.
When he seeks her lips again, this time in a languid tangle, Alaine immediately melts against him. Her annoyance forgotten, her arms go around the back of his neck and she pulls herself up on the tips of her toes.
A soft growl rumbles in Lucas’ throat when she sinks her teeth into his bottom lip. Like a thirsty man, he drinks her in, taking everything she gives.
“You want me,” he growls against her mouth. Not Angus.
He deepens the kiss, accepting her probing tongue. Holding on to her small waist, he molds her closer, then skims his hand down over her hip to cup her firm butt and squeeze gently. Alaine makes a sound low in her throat as he fits her against his growing hardness.
Needing to feel her bare skin in his hands, Lucas’ fingers travel under her shirt. They mold to each curve, dipping into her and over. He teases under her breasts and then curves to the shape of her soft mounds beneath her lacey bra. Alaine whimpers into his mouth but she doesn’t break away from their kiss, not even as he massages each tip into hard peaks.
Her hips jerk towards him, the action stoking his desire even more. Mentally, Lucas reminds himself to be patient. He wants to rip away every stitch of her clothing. When she stands bare before him he wants to devour every inch of her supple body. This dance they keep doing around each other will likely kill him if his heart continues this incessant heavy bass drum pounding because of his exercised restraint.
“I want you, Alaine,” he admits against her lips.
Jerking his hands from their perch on her breasts, he drags them down her body to fit beneath her ass and lifts her against him and commands, “wrap your legs around me.”
When she does, he crosses to the living room to the airbed with her clinging to him. Settling her down on the bouncy surface, he follows her down with his body but frowns down at her.
“This isn’t comfortable at all,” Lucas says. “Why didn’t you say so?” he asks.
Alaine looks at him with bewilderment. She has no idea how love making works. Do people normally talk? Should she answer and hold a conversation?
Refocusing his attention back on her, Lucas says, “nevermind, we’ll deal with this later. Tell me, baby, do you want me?” he asks.
She swallows, audibly.
Is this it? Is she really going to do this? Make love to Lucas and give him her virginity in her small apartment?
“Yes,” she answers to his questions and all the other ones rattling around in her mind.
Lucas reclaims her lips with a smile on his face. Yes coming from Alaine’s has to be his new favourite word. He’ll be patient with her since this is her first time but it’s going to be hard when he’s wanted this from the moment he saw her.
Spreading her legs apart with his body, he settles himself there and swallows her soft gasp when he shifts his hip to settle his hardness against her.
For now, he contents himself with drugging her with his kisses and lulling her into bliss with friction against the most sensitive parts of her.
His hand runs down her side, along her thigh to lift her knee with a firm but gentle authority, granting him better access to her.
Alaine barely registers the sound of voices coming up the steps. They are a faint garble like she is under water. Lucas pulls back slightly and she tugs him back towards her.
He chuckles, yielding a final languid kiss before regrettably, he has to remove himself from her body. He is painfully hard and looking down at her face, her eyes glazed over with her passion for him isn’t helpful.
“I think we are about to have company,” he informs her as the sing-song, high-pitched voice of Alaine’s niece penetrates the walls around them. “Your sister has the worst timing,” he adds.
He pulls himself noisily off the bed and drags Alaine up by the hands. He straightens her clothes then brushes a hand through his hair in a failed attempt to put the disarrayed strands back to rights. No matter the effort, one look at Alaine and everyone will know what they were up to. There is nothing he can do about the look in her eyes, her heavy breathing or the red puffiness of her lips.
God those lips. Lucas groans. Had it not been for those cursed dinner plans he chained them with, he would drag her out of the apartment and back to his place like a caveman. They could always do a rain check.
Before he can voice the idea the door opens and her sister greets them with a Cheshire cat type smile.
“Mr. Bright,” she greets with a knowing tone in her voice after just a brief look at them. “Alaine,” she adds, just as suggestively.
The colour scarlet becomes Alaine’s new complexion. It takes all her self-control not to bury her face in Lucas’ chest to hide her mortification.
“I guess I should get going,” Lucas says as he acknowledges Delah with a nod of his head. “Don’t forget dinner,” he tells to Alaine.
He leans down to place a quick kiss on her forehead then heads for the door. As he steps outside he turns back to wink at her and smiles at the murderous glare in her eyes. “Tonight, seven,” he reminds her.
Once the door closes behind him, Delah commands, “You. spill. now.”
“We kissed okay and that’s all,” Alaine tells her.
Her sister squeals.
“But I have kind of grown weary of these kissing tales,” Delah says. “I want to hear some grown up action.”
Ignoring the complaint, Alaine tells her, “we’re going to dinner tonight, so you have to help me get ready.”
“Oh, I will help you get ready alright,” Delah responds. “And tonight, you are not coming home, do you understand me?” she orders. “You are going to put that man out of his misery.”
Alaine is a bundle of nerves when Lucas knocks on her door for the second time today. He looks absolutely delicious in his pin-striped designer suit, though it is indeterminable which way she likes him best – the rebellious curls that hang over his forehead or this slicked-back wet look. Either way, he is hot.
“You look incredible,” Lucas boasts as he takes in the low cut of her cleavage. Taking in her hand, he directs her in a slow spin. He stops deliberately when her back is to him so he can admire the way her tight dress clings to her behind.
“You’re trying to kill me, babe,” he says. “And you’ll probably have me wanting to kill Angus and every other man in New York. Why did you choose to wear this?”
Alaine chuckles, delirious with the way he openly enjoys her figure.
“Maybe I’m hoping that tonight you won’t be so restrained,” she says with a saucy shrug of her shoulder.
The promise she reads in his eyes is unmistakable.
Once they get to the restaurant, for reasons Lucas cannot comprehend, Alaine decides that they should stand outside in the cold night to await their dinner companion, rather than do so inside the restaurant where it’s warm.
She continues to shiver even after Lucas drapes his jacket over her shoulders.
“Come on, Ali. This is ridiculous,” Lucas tells her. “He should have been here by now,” he complains. “Let’s go in, enjoy a fine meal,” he states as he tugs her back into the warmth of his body. “Or,” he leans down to whisper in her ear. “I am happy to abandon dinner altogether so I can take you back to my apartment and abandon all my control.”
At the husky, seductive words delivered against her skin, Alaine sways involuntary. Her rump finds the front of Lucas’ trousers. The images in his mind already have him sensitive.
“God, baby,” he hisses as he palms her hips. “Let’s...”
“There he is,” Alaine interrupts.
Lucas follows the direction of her pointer finger, tightens his fingers on her hips automatically and groans in frustration when he sees Angus walking towards them with his face fixed in an angry scowl, his shoulders hunched and his hands shoved deep in his pockets.
“I thought you said you sent a car for him?” she asks.
“I did,” Lucas answers and frowns as Alaine pulls away from his possessive hold to greet Angus with a bright smile and a hug.
At least the hug is awkward, his mind tells him.
“Angus,” she says brightly. “How did you get here?”
“Subway,” is his brusque response.
“I hired a cab, did you not get it?” Lucas asks.
“Well, you wasted your money,” Angus replies. He straightens to full height, towering over both Lucas and Alaine. “Not everyone can be bought.”
The flatness in his eyes stirs that familiar chill in Lucas, but he is more concerned about the insult directed at Alaine.
She feels the sting acutely and steers a pained glance at Lucas. Coming up beside her, he drapes an arm over her shoulder and pulls her comfortingly into his body.
He could answer the insult with one of his own but would prefer to diffuse Angus’ antagonistic attitude.
“I’m only here for you Alaine,” Angus says once he realizes his accusation hurt her. His whole demeanor softens and Alaine tells herself it’s the fact that he asked her out and she refused him that has him so vicious.
She smiles nervously, shifting her eyes between both men and prays that they make it through the next hour or so without incident.
Her gaze lingers on Lucas a little longer and he gives her a reassuring nod.
Angus moves to open the door to the restaurant. He holds it for Alaine and quickly trails her, leaving Lucas lunging for the handle as it closes on him.
“You look really beautiful, Alaine,” Angus says after they are seated. He pays no attention to the menu placed before him. Nor does he bother with the waiter rattling off the specials for the evening. His eyes are trained on Alaine.
“Thank you,” she replies with a quick glance at Lucas. She issues him a smug smile to the expression of regret on his face.
“Anything to drink sirs? Mademoiselle?” the waiter asks.
Happy for the distraction from the tension sitting in the middle of their table, she asks, “do you have cider? I’ll have a glass of your finest or water if you don’t.”
Because he wants to salvage the night which should be one of celebration, Lucas orders a round of champagne for himself and Angus. Unfortunately, his dinner guest doesn’t share his sentimentality.
“I’ll pass,” Angus says.
After a stint of strained silence, the waiter clears his throat and walks off.
“So Angus,” Lucas says. “As I said, tonight is about celebrating Alaine’s life, which we owe to you,” he reminds him. “I’m very grateful that you saved her. It means everything to me that you did.”
The confession steals the air from Alaine’s lungs and a little more of her heart. Knowing that this is her cue to finally express her own gratitude, she has to tear her eyes away from Lucas’ face to address the man who saved her life.
The look that greets her is a cold, unwelcoming one. Still, she pushes past the way it makes her uncomfortable and says, “yes Angus. I didn’t know it was you who saved my life until some days later when the officers came by,” she explains. “I have been trying to think of a way to thank you. I just couldn’t think of what to give my hero.”
A shy smile turns Angus’ mouth upwards when he hears the word hero. His mood shifts quickly. Reaching across the table he imprisons Alaine’s hand in his and replies, “it was nothing, Alaine.”
“But it was something,” Lucas interjects with his eyes glued on their joint hands. He clears his throat to get Alaine’s attention. When she turns to him, he looks down pointedly at where her hand is still swallowed up by Angus’ much larger one. With his jaws clenched he adds, “you risked your life to save hers.”
Alaine nods in agreement with Lucas’ statement. She tries to pull her hand free from Angus’ grip but he doesn’t let go until she tugs decisively.
“If there is anything I can ever do to repay you,” Lucas continues but is cut off before he can complete the sentence.
“Money can’t buy everything,” Angus growls, his voice ominously low. “But you know what?” he amends, sounding much more cheerful now. “There is something you can do.”
Suddenly seeming to grow another two feet, Angus sits up from his previously slouched position, his demeanor aggressive and foreboding.
“Name it,” Lucas says, looking at him expectantly.
Tipping his head in Alaine’s direction, Angus answers, “you can stay away from her. Stay away from Alaine.”
Stunned by his behaviour, Alaine sputters before she says, “Angus,” in a scolding tone.
“Why would I do that?” Lucas counters, his voice deceptively calm while his body vibrates with possessiveness and anger.
His eyes flick across to Alaine. The paleness of her face and wariness in her eyes make him settle.
“There aren’t any pretty women left in your circuit?” Angus spits, regarding Lucas with unbridled contempt.
“There are,” Lucas remarks calmly while his blood boils and he fights the call to stand and declare, Alaine is mine. “But I want this one,” he continues, claiming his territory with as much diplomacy as he can spare in this situation.
Despite the tension at the table, his gray eyes bare a measure of tenderness when he looks at Alaine and a wisp of a smile plays on his lips.
Even if she had tried, Alaine would not have been able to hide her reaction to him and his words. Her breath hitches, her eyes widen, then she returns his smile.
A crude sound disturbs the quiet setting, crushing the tender moment. Angus glares at both of them.
The animosity at the table quickly becomes palpable and the testosterone levels threaten to choke her. Alaine waves off the waiter who was approaching with their drinks.
“Gentlemen,” she cautions softly. “We are in a public setting. May I suggest we conduct ourselves with some manner of decorum.”
“I’m not sure he comprehends you Alaine,” Lucas jabs. “Use smaller words.”
“Lucas,” Alaine warns, feeling like a puppet being pulled from two different directions.
Angus’ eyes narrow to a slit.
Alaine looks at him and wonders where the gentle spirit she knows had disappeared too. She is more than just surprised by his conduct tonight. She is appalled by it.
Yes, she can admit that Lucas had been a little ambitious -- ridiculous even -- to orchestrate this event. However, they are all adults and the way he’s acting, Angus just seems unhinged.
She wishes there was a way to communicate with Lucas telepathically to plead with him to end this farce.
“So you think you can just join us down here, spread your money around and claim things,” Angus spits ignoring Lucas’ comment undoubtedly aimed at him.
“Angus,” Alaine protests.
The insinuation causes her cheeks to burn hotly. A sharp rebuke is on her tongue, but that’s where it will remain since she doesn’t want to contribute anything to the debacle. No one will likely remember her or Angus if things escalate but Lucas is a very public figure who prefers to stay out of the public’s eyes.
“And you,” Angus says, turning his icy glare to her. “I thought you were better than this,” he states. “I know you are better than this,” he continues, pointing to Lucas.
“Angus,” she pleads. “Please, stop it, both of you,” she encourages.
The two of them are beginning to call attention to their table. Heads turn in their direction and people whisper while staring.
Alaine works her brain to try to find a way to get a handle on the rocketing situation. Thinking that she will have more luck with Lucas since Angus has the personality of a wall of ice at the moment, she turns to him.
“Please, Lucas,” she pleads.
The clench in his jaw visibly relaxes but Angus’ ticks with fury as he watches Lucas. The threat of violence looms large over the table and Alaine fears for Lucas who at six feet is dwarfed by Angus’ height and size.
“I think I’ve lost my appetite,” Angus says dropping the napkin he had been squeezing, onto the table. Giving Alaine one more chance to redeem herself in his eyes, he looks at her and says, “come with me, Alaine.”
Alaine glances from one man to the other. The indecision in her eyes as Angus rises from the table and extends his hand to her makes Lucas sit up in his seat.
“Ali?” he questions.
Ignoring him, she implores, “Angus, please sit down.” When he doesn’t she adds, “I don’t know what you think is going on between Lucas and me but he is my employer and nothing else.”
The bald-faced lie, her audacity after what he witnessed yesterday– grinding against Lucas on the street like a common whore – makes him laugh.
“I hope you and your employer have a lovely dinner,” Angus says before stalking away.