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Are there words for this experience with Alaine? Magic, maybe, Lucas thinks. That’s all he can come up with. Every other experience he’s ever had, solicited or not, pales in comparison to what he just had with Alaine.
He can’t stop touching her either. Neither can he draw his eyes away from her soft afterglow. She’s positively radiant in the wake of his loving. He’s never seen anything like it – like her.
It was good for both of them if the way she sang his name when she came is any indication. So there's a disparity between the tears still falling from her eyes and the passion they just shared. It's confusing.
He considers letting her go and walking to the bathroom to give her a moment to compose herself. The last time he’d done that – left her after they’d been intimate – it hadn’t gone well.
So dismissing the idea, he takes another slow kiss from her instead.
“Amazing,” he breathes against her lips.
Finally, she gives him a timid smile while she reddens all the way to the roots of her hair. Lucas relinquishes himself to the boneless, weightlessness that's overtaken his body and relaxes against the pillows. He smiles to himself.
Contentment, that’s what he feels. Not disdain, not self-loathing, not regret, not hopelessness – simply contentment and a sense of rightness. Alaine feels right like she belongs exactly where she is in his arms and in his bed.
They lie there quietly, recovering and reflecting.
What's she supposed to do now? Alaine wonders. What does Lucas expect? Will he want her to leave? What if he doesn’t? What does this mean for their arrangement... for her?
There are so many more questions she probably should have asked before she got naked. Unfortunately, sense evades her when Lucas is involved. Either way, no matter what happens she won't sully this wonderful thing by feeling regret. What he's given her is special, no matter the consequences. He'd made it so good. Every touch from his hand and flick of his tongue and kiss from his lips had been calculated to ensure her satisfaction. She'd never considered anybody else but him anyway and maybe after that, she never will.
"Tell me what you're thinking," Lucas commands softly.
“I am wondering what you’re thinking,” she responds shyly.
“I’m thinking, magical,” he tells her. “Simply magical. You are a goddess,” he adds. Looking down at her, he repeats, “a goddess.”
A smile curves her lips.
Unable to resist, Lucas kisses her again, slowly and deeply. He puts all his heart into it. He loves kissing her. He loves the way she responds. When he pulls back he studies Alaine as if seeing her for the first time.
The intensity in his eyes draws her breath up short. Her heart wants to take control, to leap into what she sees there, while her mind struggles to find something less mesmeric – less meaningful –to latch on to other than his saccharine words and equally sweet actions in the aftermath of such a beautiful experience.
“And now, I'm wondering why you are still dressed and I am completely naked and in my shoes,” she notes.
Chuckling, Lucas fits his trousers back over his hips and moves down her bed, kissing her body as he goes. His belt hangs loosely around his waist, clanging softly against her skin as he nips his way down her legs. Taking one of her feet in his hands, he removes her heels then massages gently. He places a kiss on her instep then does the same to the other.
Alaine looks at him incredulously. This just confirms what she already knows. If Lucas keeps acting this way, like he might have already fallen for her too, it's going to be impossible to keep her heart out of it. The little ticker in her chest is already having difficulty drawing a clear line between what actually exists between them and what she's hoping for. It constricts and leaps, clinging to his every display of affection.
“I intend to be naked plenty with you, goddess,” Lucas informs her as he moves back up the bed.
The sweat cooling on their bodies leads to a chill, so he pulls up the covers over their bodies, more for Alaine than himself.
“That was truly unbelievably remarkable," Lucas praises. "You are a goddess," he repeats.
The pink hue refuses to leave her skin. Hearing him refer to her as a goddess makes Alaine's pride in her own ability to unravel someone like Lucas Bright swell.
“I’m serious,” he tells her. “I’ve had sex before but that's all it's ever been. With you it was...different," he says after a moment of consideration. "It’s never been this good. Ever," he explains. "And you are just so beautiful. You literally take my breath away every damn time.”
Still trying to downplay the depth of emotion in his eyes and voice, Alaine responds, "you're not so bad to look at either," while reminding herself that despite everything that's happened tonight, Lucas doesn't do relationships.
He scowls at her.
Her levity towards his open confession is also confusing. Unwilling to mar their first time together, he ignores the heaviness settling into his chest and asks, "so, how would you rate your first time?"
“Mmmm," Alaine hums thoughtfully. "I don’t know," she answers. "I’d have to do it again to judge.”
Lucas quirks one eyebrow up at her and chuckles. "Greedy," he jokes. “That can certainly be arranged," he tells her. "But I think you may be sore after that?” he questions.
Her lack of response and blush are all the answer he needs. She is so he has to satisfy with the little taste of her that whet his appetite. At least for now.
“And maybe do it again with somebody else,” Alaine teases him.
"Hey," Lucas cautions with a playful swat to her behind. "No one else, Alaine. Those are the rules."
“It was a joke," she says. But the confirmation coming from him that despite very recent turn of events their status as an arrangement remains unchanged dampens her mood.
Breaking away from his stare, she asks, "for you too, right?"
“I’m a man of my word, Alaine," Lucas assures her. "I promise I will be faithful to you," he says. “To us." Then he corrects, "I mean to our arrangement."
Sighing heavily, Lucas squeezes his eyes shut and tells her, "I'll honour it, always."
“What about our arrangement?” Alaine asks.
Idly and to distract herself for the nervousness fluttering in her stomach, she busies herself with absently tracing the definition of his muscled chest wall and abdomen. “According to you, we’re not supposed to be doing this. What does this mean?”
“If you keep this up," Lucas warns, his voice suddenly husky as she moves her focus below his navel. "I won’t be responsible for my actions.”
After his unveiled threat she tries to tug her hand away, but he draws it back to rest on his stomach.
"I don't want you to stop," Lucas says. "And honestly, I don’t know what it means Alaine. Do you want it to mean something?" he asks, hopefully.
Tongue-tied, Alaine says nothing. Her mouth opens. The word yes dangles off her lips but it refuses to be voiced. She's afraid. What if she says yes? What if she lays it all out there and he rejects her.
"Baby," Lucas says to the panic he sees in her eyes. "I haven’t examined it, okay?" he assures her. "Neither of us have. But I know that I want you. Maybe I shouldn’t and it’s selfish, but I don’t want you to worry. Whatever happens, this is on me.”
Feeling slighted by his words, Alaine asks, "what does that mean? this is on you? What does that mean?"
“Please, let’s just not...let’s not fight, okay?" Lucas requests. "Let’s just snuggle?” he suggests and grins like an idiot as he pulls her tighter against him. “I’ve never brought another woman here, Ali,” he explains when she remains silent. “I’ve never slept with a woman here. Not in my bed. Not anywhere in this apartment. I don’t know what it means but I want you to know that.”
Struck by the realization she gasps, “Oh God!”
“What?” Lucas asks when she continues to watch him with those wide tip-tilted eyes.
“I just had unprotected sex with you,” Alaine gasps.
“I’m clean,” he assures her quickly. “And I didn’t come inside you. So you won’t get pregnant.”
The bluntness of his explanation makes Alaine blush again. She can't imagine how he's so comfortable talking about these things.
“My sister put a box of condoms in my bag,” she confesses sheepishly.
Lucas laughs at her.
“You think you're ready to take me again?" he questions. "Don’t worry, I intend to repeat this before the night is over, babe,” he announces though he can no longer fight the heaviness pulling his eyelids down. "The night is young," he tells her. "Thank God Angus walked out on dinner."
Alaine huffs at his last statement. The heavy comment about her being his first in his apartment still has her reeling. She wants to question him about it. She wants to learn more about his ways and the cavalier manner he treats the topic of sex. However, her body is sore and languid from his use. Maybe once she's rested, she can broach the topic.
In the meanwhile, she confesses, "I feel so lethargic."
"Me too," Lucas admits which is a mild way of saying he feels like his bones have been replaced with Jell-O. She weakened him and it was sweet and he really wants to do it again. "Let's sleep then, baby," he suggests lazily.
That is something he’s also never done. He's never remained for the morning after. What was the point? But Alaine is different and he enjoys her presence. It’s soothing. He wants her here. He doesn’t want to fight it. Not anymore.
He tucks her against him more securely and the silence in the room has him drifting off.
“If you must know," she says. "It was life-altering. I think I felt the earth move. It was beautiful. Phenomenal.”
Lucas smiles and drags himself up to place a kiss on her forehead. “For me too, babe,” he slurs.
“And I want to do it again,” she informs him.
“Hmm," Lucas hums sleepily. "Oh, we will," he promises.
Kurt grabs me by my hair. He enjoys doing that. He enjoys hurting me. What did I do this time? Maybe because I turn ten today. I honestly do not know, but he yanks and I fall to the floor in a painful heap.
I won’t cry. Not this time, I tell myself.
I can smell the alcohol on him so I know, even if today is my birthday, I will not be spared. This morning is going to be a terrible one.
I brace for it as best as my new ten-year-old body can. My scalp burns. I feel my hair being pulled out as he drags me across the floor. I scream for her. I scream for Claudia but she doesn’t come. She never comes. So I scream for my daddy.
Claudia says he doesn’t love us anymore. He doesn’t love me. I don’t want to believe her. But it has to be true. Why would he let this happen to me if he loves me? Claudia says he loves his new family now. No! He loves me. He has to. If he doesn’t then I have no one.
Save me, Alaine. No, not Alaine. Daddy. Save me, daddy.
I raise my hands above my head to hold Kurt's arm, trying to pull myself free. Mindlessly, I dig my nails into his skin. I just want the pain to stop.
The bottle in his other hand comes down hard on my left arm. I scream. The tears come now and I give up, absorbing the blows as they fall.
I crawl my way up the stairs now that he is done with me. Almost everything hurts. I cry some more. I have school today but with the welts and bruises, I know I will not be going.
I like school because when I am there he can’t hurt me and my teacher likes me. She’s nice and thinks I’m smart. She’s pretty and I like her too.
I finally creep into my room but I can’t lie down. I want to but not yet. I pull myself off the floor, take my craft scissors from the bin and stand before my mirror. I’m left-handed. He hurt my left arm. He hit me with that big bottle and then twisted my wrist. It’s black and blue and swelling. But I don’t care. He will never pull my hair again.
I put my fingers through the holes of the scissors and cry with the effort it takes to lift my arm. I still don’t care. Slowly, painfully, I cut off the curly black chunks and watch them fall at my feet.
I can lie down now. I curl up in the middle of my bed watching the door, praying that he doesn't come back. I want to sleep but I so am afraid that he will.
Tears continue to stream from my eyes even if I hate that they do.
Save me, daddy. Not daddy. Alaine. Save me, Alaine.
Initially, Alaine is confused as she wakes to the low sounds of distress coming from Lucas. Her surroundings are strange and disorienting. For a moment she cannot account for the dull throbbing between her legs. Until she looks down at the whimpering, fidgety person lying beside her.
The memories of the night and her current position, lying naked with her body pressed to Lucas' side, her head nestled against his shoulder with her legs and arms clinging to him like vines, render her paralyzed.
Her eyes widen in the dark room and she considers extricating herself from him. One look at his troubled features and his pitiful soft cries foil her plans of escape.
Beneath her hand, his heartbeat is frantic. A sheen of sweat coats his skin, despite the cool air of the A/C blowing in the room. He groans as if in pain. Whatever is chasing him in his dreams pulls a mournful wail from his chest. The sound breaks Alaine's heart.
What is he dreaming?
Recalling his reaction the last time she'd tried to free him from the torment of his nightmares, she decides not to wake him. Instead she tries to soothe him in sleep like she does Isabella when she is troubled by her dreams.
He’s a grown man, she chastises herself. Still, with gentle strokes through his hair, she croons, “shhh,” before placing a kiss against his forehead. “I’m right here, baby. You’re safe,” she assures him. From what? She doesn't know.
Soft gray eyes, dazed and unfocused with sleep, open slowly to meet hers. Lucas gives her a little smile and says, "you came," before sinking again into slumber.
It almost seems he doesn’t believe she is here, that she might be an extension of his dream.
Alaine continues to watch him until his breathing evens out. Once he's resettled, she slips, naked out of his bed and goes in search of something to wear.
Later, Lucas opens his eyes to see that it is near midnight. 11:57. Needing to feel Alaine's soft skin in his hands and hear her sounds of pleasure echo around his bedroom to replace the lingering torment of his bad dream, he reaches out for her. His smile falters and he sits up suddenly when his fingers turn up empty.
Had he dreamed her? That's impossible. She’s here. Somewhere.
He looks around in the faint light spilling into the room from the hall. He’s certain he closed the door before he carried her to the bed. Another smile breaks on his lips.
Since the light in the bathroom is off, he knows that she can't be in there. Lucas rolls out of bed. The soft jingle from his belt hanging loosely from the waistband of his dinner pants is another reminder of what happened between them. He made love to Alaine. It was exquisite and the memory of her tight fit around him stirs his blood viciously. He wants her again.
He pads out of his bedroom and down the stairs. She's not in the living room either. Neither the kitchen and neither the guest bedroom. Perplexed, Lucas walks out of the guest room and stands in the hall with his hands scratching his head as he tries to make sense of Alaine's disappearance.
Did she run out on him in the middle of the night? That’s impossible since she would need his electronic key and passcode.
His quick check around the apartment leads him back to his room. There he notices the glass sliding door leading to the terrace is just a smidgen ajar. He steps up to the door and comes up short when he sees her standing there wearing nothing but his shirt. Caught by the gentle breeze, her hair sways around her.
Goddess indeed, Lucas thinks as his heart begins to pound a hectic rhythm.
Unable to resist the magnetic pull she has on him, he steps shirtless out into the cold, walks up behind her and encircles her waist with his arms. He pulls her back against him and leans down to place a kiss on her shoulder.
“What are you doing out here?” he asks, his voice an intimate whisper against the base of her neck, summoning a little sigh from her. "It's cold out."
“I’m looking at Manhattan,” she breathes as his lips continue teasing her.
“Is everything okay?” he mumbles against her skin.
“Mhmm,” Alaine replies. That's all she can manage to get out as a shiver that's not associated with the midnight chill skirts through her body.
“You’re not lying to me, are you?" Lucas asks her even if he fears her answer. "Are you having regrets?” he questions and waits with bated breath for her answer.
“No, I’m not,” she answers honestly, mimicking his soft tone. She wraps her arms over his and says, “I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep.”
“You should have woken me up, baby," Lucas tells her. "I would have taken care of that.”
“Hmm,” she chuckles. “You had a bad dream. When you fell back asleep, you looked peaceful. I did not want to wake you.”
"Oh,” he says simply.
He runs his lips deliciously along her neck, hoping to distract her from questioning about his night terrors.
Too bad it doesn't work.
“What was it?” she asks.
“I don’t recall,” he responds already hating himself for the first lie he's told her.
“Are you lying to me?” she asks pointedly. “You have a lot of those? Nightmares?” she continues when he says nothing.
“Some. Why are you out here? You’re freezing,” he notes as his hand glides down over the cold skin of her thighs
She shrugs. “What are your nightmares about?” Alaine presses.
"Let's not dampen the evening," Lucas requests. "Tell me what's on your mind, Alaine," he says.
"I have a lot on my mind, Lucas," she admits. "But that doesn't mean anything is wrong. Right now, I'm perfect," she says and turns around to face him.
Linking her arms around his waist, she leans back to look up at him. He watches her tenderly, feeling more than he is used to. Overwhelmed by all these new emotions and by her, Lucas stays silent for a few moments more.
“Share one thing with me then,” he suggests after a little while.
“Will you share something with me?” Alaine asks.
Again he gives her silence. Then he agrees. “Okay," he says. "What’s one thing that’s on your mind?”
“I like being with you,” she confesses. "I probably like it more than I should."
Her confession makes him happy and it shows in his wide smile. "That's good," he says. "But I thought you would go with something deeply personal."
“Like what?” she questions.
“Your old injury," Lucas states. "I’m curious about it.”
Now it’s her turn to watch him silently. “As you said," Alaine says. "I don’t want to ruin this perfect night. What’s your one thing?”
“I want you all over again,” he leans down to whisper in her ear, while a hand travels under his shirt and the other curls over her breast, massaging the soft flesh gently. “Do you want me?” he asks when she sags against him.
His hand drifts between her legs, teasing her into arousal.
Alaine gasps in response as liquid heat pools low. She leans into him, up on tiptoes to claim his lips, while her body melts into his touch. He lifts her suddenly taking her back to his bed, and settles his weight over her.
“Are you sore?” Lucas asks.
“A little,” Alaine responds when he doesn't make a move to sate the ache he already has building inside her.
“I can make you feel better," he assures her.