Where We Left Off
I decided to break this up into two parts because there was just too much going on in this chapter. I hope you still like it and I am posting the final, final chapter which part two of this chapter in a little while. There might be a lot of errors because I really rushed it.
Throughout the night, Lucas keeps Alaine glued to his side. The many interludes of silence that fall between their conversations, he steals as an opportunity to kiss her.
He fights to stay awake when his eyelids become heavy just to avoid missing a second of what it feels like to have her beside him. Even after she succumbs at some point going lax in his arms and her breathing evens out, he forces the pull of sleep away.
A faint burst of yellow in the distance has already begun lightening the colour of the sky from black to a dull gray. It feels like the morning came too soon. The sense of loss he’d worked all night to nullify intensifies making his stomach turn. If there was any way to accomplish such a feat, he would hold back the sunrise. He’d willingly cast the world into an unending night just to remain like this.
In a sense, that’s exactly what he’d tried to do. Delay the inevitable. It was so stupid – illogical – to think that staying up all night would afford them more time.
Choosing to focus on her instead of the flight he has to board in another few hours, Lucas shifts up onto his elbow to study Alaine’s resting features.
Her beauty always takes him surprise as if he’s seeing her again for the first time.
Leaning down, he presses a soft kiss over her cheekbone and awaits some kind of reaction. A little twitch makes a wrinkle on her nose. That’s all he gets. If he hadn’t been watching her so closely, he might have missed it.
With a smile, he does it again. This time, however, he lets his kiss linger there a little longer.
The touch of her skin against his lips quiets the memory of his grandmother’s sobs when he called her last night and pushes thoughts of whether Claudia made it through those crucial hours of surgery to the back of his subconscious.
Deliberately, he avoids getting out of bed to check up on her status. This morning he’s going to be selfish. He will allow himself to enter a distorted reality where everything is perfect with this perfect girl.
His perfect girl.
The uncertainty hanging between them prevented him from making love to her last night. He didn’t think it was fair to take from her when he was about to leave. This morning, the dawn brings clarity with it. Today doesn’t have to be the end for them. He doesn’t want it to be.
Doing his best not to disturb her, Lucas drags the sheet down Alaine’s body all the way to her hips and watches her face as he does to ensure she is still asleep.
Because of the sudden absence of warmth from the coverlet, her nipples pebble beneath the t-shirt he’d dressed her in last night. He’d intended to kiss her lips first but her distended tips are too inviting to ignore. Besides, it should far more interesting this way.
As carefully as he can, he eases the shirt up to expose her to his view and flicks tongue over one of her tight buds.
The sudden burst of sensation shoots down to Alaine’s core pulling a little sigh past her lips.
Lucas does it again and again to elicit the same reaction from her and smiles at the accomplishment. The soft sound amplifies into a lazy moan when he closes his hot mouth over her and sucks hard.
Still smiling against her skin, he mumbles, “good morning, beautiful,” as her fingers weave through his hair.
Using her hold, she directs his attention her other breast making him chuckle.
He looks up at her then and asks, “feels good?”
Every whimper she surrenders for him, every shift of her body that lets him know he is doing the right thing fuels his need to claim her again. He kisses a honeyed trail from the valley between her breasts, down her abdomen in a straight line making Alaine writhe beneath him. His fingers ease beneath the waistband of her underwear and a kiss punctuates every millimeter of skin that becomes exposed as he slips the soft silk off her body.
Without a prompt from him, she widens her legs and waits with anticipation for the first sweet touch that she knows is coming. Her back bows off the bed when he gives her exactly what she wants by dipping his tongue into the river she’s already wept for him.
Not wanting to miss a moment of it, Alaine stays up on her elbows to watch him giving her pleasure. He attacks her with relish until she breaks into a series of uncontrollable shudders and sobs some incoherent chant that makes him laugh.
After bringing her down from her climax, he kisses his way back up her body and settles between her thighs.
“I’ve fantasized about this,” Lucas admits.
Framing his face with her hands to keep their gazes on each other, Alaine asks, “about what?”
Entering her slowly, he explains with a soft groan, “kissing you awake. Making love to you at dawn.”
“I’m glad I am able to fulfill some of your fantasies,” Alaine replies with a gasp when he slips past her entrance.
“I’ve never had another,” Lucas confesses. “You are my only fantasy.”
He takes her with a languid rhythm to prolong their time together. Every touch from her hand and every sound that leaves her throat and every point of contact between their bodies holds him in a trance.
He’s never wanted to take his time so much.
“Look at me,” he commands when Alaine’s heavy eyelids begin to flutter close. “I want to see you,” he begs.
Together they chase the summit and it’s a pity he has to pull out of her body. One day he won’t have to, he tells himself.
He stills his movements to keep from following the urge to come inside her.
“Take what you want from me, baby,” he encourages.
Watching her is intense and he hopes she reads the silent message in his eyes.
This is not the end for us, he wants to assure her.
His attempt to roll them over so she is on top are thwarted when she locks her thighs lock around his hips. He recognizes it as a sign that she is close even before she begins those little delicious quivers that suck him toward and over his own threshold.
Her hands catch him at the waist with her fingernails digging into his flesh. She fuses their lips together while working her hips up and down over him until her second release begins to rock her body and threaten to trigger his own out of him.
Lucas holds his breath and clenches his jaws. As incredible as it feels, at the last second, he tears himself away and requires no additional help from his hand to find completion.
He pulls her into a deep, searching kiss then drops his face to her neck while they regain control over their breathing.
When he tries to roll himself off her, she holds him there with her arms around him and whispers, “stay.”
“I’m heavy,” Lucas slurs from his double dose of fatigue brought on by lack of sleep and a lot of sex.
“Just for a little bit,” she petitions. “You feel really good.”
“Okay,” he agrees.
With the weakness already overtaking his body, Lucas holds up as much of his weight as he can with the last ounce of his strength to remain in her gentle embrace.
“That was a very enlightening shower,” Alaine says with a blush.
Laughing, Lucas begins to towel her dry while they stand in his bathroom.
“There’s still so much more for me to teach you,” he cajoles. “Did you like it?” he asks as he turns her around to face the mirror. He pins her against the sink with her back to his front in the exact way he’d had her pressed against the glass shower just a few moments ago.
“Hmm?” Alaine teases as he brushes her wet hair aside to line her shoulder with kisses.
“I know you did,” he growls against her ear. He gives her earlobe a little bite and says, “I can still feel you coming around me.”
“You’re a crude man,” she notes as the pink hue in a skin picks up a brighter shade. Turning around, she wraps her arms behind his neck and tells him, “I like it.”
“And I like...” Lucas begins to say but trails off with a little laugh. That laughs grows into a rueful sigh. He seeks comfort in the crook of her neck and breathes in the scent of his body wash on her skin.
“I need to get ready to leave, Ali,” he reminds her with his lips brushing the sensitive spot over her pulse.
Yet neither one of them makes an attempt to move.
“I know,” Alaine says after a while. “I guess I should get into my walk of shame clothes again,” she tries to joke.
“No walk of shame this time,” he informs her. “I have something for you.”
Finally finding the strength to pull away from her, he walks to his closet and returns to his bedroom after a few seconds wearing jeans that fit loosely over his hips. Alaine notes his physique more than she pays attention to the small stack of folded clothes he is carrying and the brand new pair of shoes perched on top.
He hands them to her and her eyes snap away from his bare chest.
Tears she didn’t know was forming slip from the corners of her eyes. After Lucas’ confessions about his childhood, she thought she’d be tapped out. But as she looks at him in disbelief, they fall again as helplessly as they did last night.
“That’s really thoughtful,” she sniffles. “Thank you. When did you get these?” she asks.
“I realized you weren’t comfortable on Saturday,” he explains. “And...” he starts to say but the words he wants to express become tangled with his doubts and fears.
Instead of fumbling his way through telling Alaine that he likes her in a way that neither one of them anticipated, he leans down to kiss her lips.
“No tears, sweet girl,” he tells her as he wipes her wet cheeks with his thumbs. “After you left yesterday, I went back to your favourite store,” he admits.
“Thank you, Lucas,” she whispers.
“It’s nothing,” he replies. “I’m going to my office for a bit. You can join me. I should have already contacted my assistant,” he says running a frustrated hand through his hair. “I really need to...”
“Of course,” Alaine interrupts. “I understand.”
As he walks away, her eyes follow him. “That’s one sexy back,” she tosses out there when he gets to the door.
Lucas turns around to look at her and laughs.
“I wasn’t aware a back could be described as such,” he says thoughtfully.
She smiles at him but as soon as he leaves that smile fades and an emptiness settles inside her.
Thinking that putting some distance between them might somehow lessen the pain when the time comes to say goodbye, she ignores his invitation to join him in his office.
After dressing in the clothes he bought for her, she decides to satisfy her complaining stomach. She rummages through his kitchen supplies and tries so hard to not think about him sitting alone in his office.
Lucas has a difficult life and as if what he is already carrying isn’t enough, life decided to add more burden for good measure.
The part of her that wants to be there for him – the part that dictates that she make use of every second they have left – beats persistently against her heart until she can't resist it anymore. She fixes a plate for him and with a deep breath to ease the growing tightness in her chest, heads off to find him.
Movement at the door draws Lucas' attention away from his computer screen and he smiles when he sees Alaine standing there with a tray in her hand.
She enters when he nods and moves to set his breakfast down on one side of the desk. As she turns to move away, Lucas reaches out to grasp her hand.
“Hey. Stay,” he whispers.
“You’re busy,” Alaine whispers back. “I don’t want...”
“Ms. Ingram,” Lucas addresses his assistant on the other side of the video call. “I’ll have to call you back when I’m in the air,” he explains before disconnecting.
“You didn’t have to do that,” Alaine protests. “You’ve already spent so much time...”
“Stop talking,” he interrupts as he rises from his chair to fit his body against hers. “Start kissing,” he commands.
Before his mouth touches hers, Alaine sighs in anticipation of how good she knows it’s going to feel. She’s going to miss this --him. While it is impossible to ignore the abject misery the situation fills her with, she’s purposed within herself to milk whatever she can out of the last hour or so they have together.
Lucas' lips on hers provide a good distraction from her distress as she goes up on tiptoe to sink herself into his kiss.
“Wait,” Lucas says breathlessly when they come up for air. “I did something,” he explains without relinquishing his hold on her waist. “Don’t get mad,” he requests. “Or go all ’Ali′ on me.”
With a quizzical scowl on her face, she asks, “what did you do?”
“I had some money transferred to your account,” he informs her.
“Lucas,” she scolds. “I told you, I don’t want your money.”
Fearing that she will pull away from him, he slides his arms around her and explains quickly, “I know and you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to. Think of it as an emergency fund. I’m not going to be here for a while, Ali,” he confesses. “I don’t know for how long and I want to know that you’re okay. That in case of anything...”
“I’ve been surviving just fine without your money,” she snaps. “Take it back. I don’t want you to think that I am with you because of money. That’s not what this is.”
“I never said that’s why you’re here,” Lucas responds with an exasperated sigh. “But you don’t have a steady job, Alaine. Be reasonable.”
The information about the photographs are on the tip of his tongue and he wants to tell her all about them. He wants to tell her to be careful. He wants to ask her to check into a hotel and leave her job. But what right has he to demand any of those things from a woman he’s known for two weeks? And knowing Alaine, she likely won’t even listen to him.
He opens his mouth to let everything spill free but she begins to struggle against his hold. Instead of saying what he wants to, he chooses to calm her down by smoothing the crease between her eyebrows.
“I didn’t tell you because of this,” he says as he watches her scowl recede. “For some reason, you are determined to accept no help from me, Alaine. But things that are beyond our control happen all the time. It helps to have a way to deal with it. I just want to help.”
“You’re helping me plenty,” she tells him. “You’ve given me more than you know and I haven’t given you anything in return. You’ve bought me a bed...”
“An uncomfortable bed,” he interrupts and she chuckles.
“You bought me a phone. You’ve bought me clothes. Three times,” she specifies. “And I haven’t given you anything.”
“Baby, stop, okay?” he implores. “That’s what this is about?” he queries. “You’ve given me plenty,” he tells her. “What you’ve given me, no amount of money can buy. I just want you to know, even if I’m gone, I’m here for you.”
His words are a welcomed invasion in her heart. The knot that has been coiling in her stomach since he said the words, ′I have to leave’ begins to uncoil and is replaced by a soothing warmth. Giving in to the feeling, she ruffles his damp here and says, “I think your nuts.”
“Over you,” Lucas replies, being deliberately cheesy.
She laughs again and in the contentment of such a simple moment of understanding, they both forget what comes next.
Still stunned by his generosity and thoughtfulness, Alaine shakes her head.
“How much did you transfer?” she asks.
Expecting more opposition when she hears the amount, Lucas sighs but answers, “twenty-five thousand dollars.”
Alaine gapes at him. “That is an obscene and unnecessary amount of money, Lucas,” she says.
“Well, I was going to make it fifty but I thought that was just showboating,” he jokes. “The money is nothing, Alaine,” he assures her. “It’s to put me at ease. You use it if you need to.”
“I’m not touching it,” she informs him.
“You’re a confounding woman,” he accuses. Ready to resign the topic he asks, “now what did you make me for breakfast?”
Per his request, Alaine remains in the office while he goes back to sit behind his desk. She reclines in the long leather sofa and can’t help but note that even if it smells like leather somewhere beneath that is a hint of Lucas’ cologne.
She angles her head to look at him and wonders just how much of his time is spent here. The schedule he’d given her proves he barely has a moment to himself. It’s not hard to imagine he passes many hours cooped up in here whenever he is home.
Yet, he’d made time for her. It's another errant thought that adds to her hope.
Fed up with the silence leading her imagination astray with ideas of Lucas returning to be with her, she asks, “what time are you leaving?”
“Soon,” he informs her, where what he really wants to say is please come with me.
The words are skirting around the edge of his mind fighting for release but he bites them back.
To bring Alaine to Italy means numerous encounters with Kurt and he doesn’t want to subject her to that. He also doesn’t want to be disappointed when she turns him down.
“I need to be out of here in an hour,” he estimates. “I can maybe push for an hour and a half.”
“Have you packed yet?” she questions.
“No,” he admits. “I hate packing," he muses. "When I travel, it always pertains to business, so I’ve only ever needed a few things.”
“What about vacations?” Alaine queries. “I thought you’d have a personal assistant."
“I’ve never taken a vacation,” he answers thoughtfully. “I like to work. It keeps my mind occupied and vacations I figure won’t. And I don’t need anyone meddling in my personal affairs,” he adds.
“I can help you pack,” she volunteers.
“Okay,” he quickly agrees. “Once I am done with this really good breakfast, we can pack. Where’d you learn to cook?” he asks.
“When you’re twelve and left by yourself more often than not, you learn to get nifty,” she tells him. “It probably helps that I work at a restaurant.”
When Lucas says nothing in response, she shifts her gaze to him again and finds him watching her with an expression that says he wants to know more about her. However, he doesn’t ask.
He would prefer it a lot more if she volunteered the information. Additionally, he would hate to open a potential can of worms just to abandon her right after.
Shaking off the questions in his mind, he says, “you’ve made my bed, tried to do my laundry, cooked me this wonderful breakfast. I think you’re trying to steal Jackie’s job.”
Relieved about the light conversation and the fact that he doesn’t probe for any more than she revealed about her past, she replies, “I’m trying to be memorable.”
Lucas scowls at her. His sudden silence draws her attention again. The intense way he watches her increases her heart rate to a pounding rhythm. Without another word, he scoots back his chair and comes around the desk with his eyes entrancing her.
Unable to draw away from his stare as he prowls toward her, Alaine eases up against the backrest of the sofa and waits to see what he will do.
He sits down beside her, takes her hand in his and says, “you are unforgettable, Alaine. I’ve thought about you for three years, ” he confesses. “I’ve thought about your hair and your eyes, your lips and your smile. I’ve thought about what your voice sounds like and how your body will feel beneath my hands. I’ve thought about the woman behind the serious, cold demeanor,” he adds with a little smile. “I’ve thought about making her burn,” he whispers as he bows his head to trail his lips up her neck.
“You did?” she asks in a small voice.
Lucas nods. “Thoughts of you plagued me,” he admits in her ear. “You, walking into my office two weeks ago, was a miracle that stopped my heart,” he says. “It is impossible to forget you and when I get back we are picking up right where we left off,” he finally says. “Do you hear me?”
Wondering whether he really means it or if this is just a thing men do, she tries to read the answer in his eyes.
“Do you hear me?” Lucas repeats.
“I hear you, Lucas,” she answers.
With the intention of making love to her again, here in his office – another memory to carry with him – he kisses her deeply.
Wrapping one arm around her waist, he lifts her easily to straddle his legs and gives his hands free rein to explore her body.
They're pressed for time and he wants to prepare her for the way he's about to use her body. Tangling his fingers into the soft strands of her hair, Lucas tugs lightly to bring her attention to his face.
“I can’t be slow, baby,” he says with urgency. “Undo my pants,” he orders.
She obeys quickly as he goes back to kissing her. Once his hard length is lying free between them, he reaches under her skirt to test her readiness and shifts her underwear to the side.
Lucas lifts her into place over him and brings her all the way down onto him with one thrust.
“Jesus,” he hisses as she tosses her head back, her heavy mane of hair a dark curtain about her.
Clamping both of his hands on her hips, he begins to guide her movements, saying, “like this.”
A persistent ringing on his desk infiltrates the fog of lust and longing.
Lucas swears softly and looks at Alaine. He wants more than anything to stay where he is and fulfill the desire still clouding her green and gold eyes.
“I have to get it,” he tells her kissing her hands. “Don’t go.”
Deliberately slow, so they can both enjoy the friction, he lifts her off him and fixes his clothes before walking back to his desk to pick up the phone.