Guys listen, this is short and unedited. I'm only posting because I did not want to miss the deadline. My time to really hammer this chapter out was eaten up by a supermarket run. It was so busy, I spent so much time in there. I hope you guys can read around the errors. Tomorrow I'll refresh it. For now it's for bed.
Lucas steps further into the apartment. His eyes search his immediate surroundings for the pixie who has his heart all excited at the mere thought of seeing her. When he doesn’t see her right away, he calls, “babe, I’m home,” and waits for her to answer.
It fills him with a certain kind of happiness to be able to say that...babe, I’m home.
Before he’d met Alaine, every evening, he would come home to a dark, empty and cold apartment. Tonight, the lights are already turned on, giving off this feeling of warmth and welcome. The knowledge that there is a warm body waiting for him makes the experience that much sweeter.
He’d spent many nights here by himself, reliving the nightmares of his childhood. He’d never needed to summon the memories. They have always been a part of him, living in his mind like that is the place where they belong.
He’d bought this apartment building and transformed the topmost level in the way he’d wanted to. And yet, there had been no tranquility for here for him. Surrounded by all the comfort his bottomless pockets can afford and he could not find any real rest. All it had taken to change that was a girl not much taller than five feet walking into his one day. His thoughts have never really been the same since then. The bad still escape and swarm his emotions sometimes. Most of the time, however, he can override and replace them with thoughts of Alaine.
She’s given him a reason to leave the office early. When he gets home, he has her to soothe his hurt and share his worries. She’s there to listen to his secrets and fears without casting judgement.
If someone had given him the opportunity to hand-pick the person he wants to spend the rest of his life with, he wouldn’t have been able to choose anyone better than Alaine. As a result, he’s thankful for whatever had led her into his life. A life that is now so much better because he has a partner.
Or maybe she’s his soulmate?
After the day he’s had, Lucas is looking forward to her being all of those things.
Her excited squeal precedes her appearance at the top of the stairs. Lucas lifts his head to see her standing there wearing a wide grin and not much else. Her feet and legs are bare except from the pair of spanks covering her hips and a soft, white shirt with blue, floral print sits nicely over her breasts and hugs her trim waist.
Lucas doesn’t really have the time to appreciate her dressed in so little because she races down the floating staircase in his direction. All he really has time to do is brace for impact since it doesn’t look like she has any intention of stopping. Coming in a full speed, the force of her weight causes him to stumble back a step when she charges into him. In the next moment, her legs are wrapped around his hips and her arms around his neck.
To support her body, Lucas drops his laptop case to the floor and places both hands beneath her backside. He grins up at her. For the moment, the melancholy that had been weighting down his spirit lifts. Laughing his enjoyment of her display, he brings his arms up to encircle her waist and squeezes tightly. He inhales the fragrance of her hair then trails his nose down the column of her neck, breathing in the scent of her skin.
Then he pulls back to look up at her.
“What’s this about?” he asks with amusement lighting up his eyes.
“I missed you,” she breathes in reply.
Her admission winds around his heart.
“That much?” he asks softly.
While nodding down at him, her smile returns and she leans in to give him a swift kiss.
Needing more, Lucas thwarts her effort to pull back and extends their kiss a bit longer.
“I missed you too, baby,” he confirms against her lips.
When he finally releases her, she slides off his body but not before Lucas gives her rear end a firm squeeze.
“Are you hungry?” Alaine asks.
Not waiting for his response, she skips her way into the kitchen with her ponytail swinging behind her.
Lucas can’t help but smile at how much she’d missed him. He wants to tell her that they could have this every day if she just agreed to move in with him but he’s in no mood for the argument that will undoubtedly ensue.
“I’m starving, actually,” he says instead.
“Me too,” Alaine admits.
He quirks an eyebrow up at her while following to stand behind the island in the kitchen. “I’m certain that Jackie has already stocked the pantry will all sorts of goodies,” he tells her.
“I know,” she informs him. “But something came up and I got distracted.”
“Oh?” Lucas asks. “What happened?”
To set his mind at ease, Alaine says, “it’s nothing to do with our situation.”
Lucas frowns at her. “You don’t want to tell me?” he questions.
“It’s not that. You’ve just gotten home,” she assures him. “I want you take the load off. I’ll tell you after we’ve eaten. I may need your help with it, actually.”
“You’ve got it,” he tells her.
Intent on whipping up something for dinner, she moves to open the refrigerator. She places both hands on her hips while studying the array of provisions inside but doubts that her limited skills can do any of it any justice.
“We’ll order in,” Lucas states. “We’ve both had a long day. I think that will be easier. What would you like to have?”
“Pizza,” she replies.
Because he’s in no mood to argue that Pizza is nothing more than a snack and not a meal, he pulls his phone out of his pocket and swipes at the screen to wake it up. The video he’d had playing on repeat all afternoon comes alive and the little boy’s voice in the background rends his heart strings again.
“What’s wrong?” Alaine asks.
“I don’t think you want to know,” Lucas responds.
She reaches for his phone anyway. Not two seconds later, she gasps and her eyes snaps to his face.
“Oh my god,” she murmurs.
“I don’t understand how mothers can be cruel to their own children,” Lucas says more to himself than her. “What could this little boy have done to incur this level of wrath from the person who brought him into this world?”
“Where did you get this?” she questions.
The fretful whimpers from the child and the mother’s harsh threats makes Lucas stomach churn anew with anguish.
Ignoring Alaine’s question, he asks in a whisper, “how do I find them, Ali? How do I rescue these children?”
Recognizing that he needs some type of comfort, Alaine comes around the island and pulls him into a hug but she answers honestly.
“I know that you want to save them all, baby, but you can’t. You just have to do your best for the ones you can.”
Lucas tightens his arms around her and says, “she killed him, you know. The mother. She killed that little boy for no reason and didn’t even try to bury him. She left his body to wild animals.”
The cheery atmosphere of a few moments ago is replaced by a somber spirit. Lucas sighs heavily.
"Now, I've ruined our first night back," he says into Alaine's hair. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be," she tells him. "What you're doing is important for so many reasons. You're giving children like this little boy a voice. You're giving them a chance at a better life. We just have to find a way to spread the word faster."
"Thank you, Ali," he chokes out in response.
When dinner finally arrives, in an assortment of containers, it's only then Alaine realizes that Lucas hadn't ordered her pizza. Instead, he accepts an assortment of containers from the delivery man and lugs them over to the kitchen.
"Hey, where's my pizza?" she complains.
"Pizza is not meal," he says, echoing his earlier sentiments.
She could disagree with him, but considering that he's only just started coming out of his funk, Alaine busies herself around the kitchen, opening containers arranging everything tidily onto plates.
Surreptitiously, she keeps her eyes on Lucas to ensure that he doesn't become too mired by his sadness.
He'd taken a shower so his hair his still wet and instead of his suit, he's wearing a t-shirt and pajama bottoms.
"What?" he asks when her lips twitch with a repressed smile.
He takes a seat on one of the stools around the island and leans his chin into his fist.
"Nothing," Alaine replies. "I just...sometimes it's weird seeing you like this. I mean, me make the cover of magazines, you run a company and now you're sitting in front of me wearing pajamas. And picking food off the plate with your hand," she scolds when he does exactly that.
She swats his hand away, earning herself a chuckle from him.
"What did you think? That I sleep in suits?"
"I didn't think," she admits. She shrugs. "It's just weird and ridiculous. Anyway, I should have made you something."
Lucas studies her for bit while assessing her statements. Something about her being half naked in his kitchen feels right to him. She slides his plate across to him then moves to pour a glass of wine to go along with it. That feels right too.
“Is that how this is supposed to work?” he asks.
She shrugs again and responds, “seems right. If I’m home.” Then she does the same thing which she'd scolded him for just a little while ago.
"Hey, where are your manners," Lucas chides and swats her hand away from his dinner. "You're not obligated to cook for me, Ali," he tells her. "I mean considering that I can't cook to save my life, I like the idea but you don't have to. We have Jackie. Or we can eat out at a different restaurant every day, if you so desire."
At the glare of disapproval on her face, he laughs.
After they've had their meal, Lucas works alongside her to clear up the dishes -- albeit awkwardly. Alaine can tell that he's probably never cleaned in his life.
He steals moments to tease and tickle her or sneak in kisses pressed to her cheek or the back of her neck. A time or two, he smacks her behind in the skimpy outfit. So when they're done, before he can summon her, Alaine knows exactly what he wants.
He plants himself into a stool and she climbs up onto his thighs to straddle him. As she expected, Lucas curls his palms to the shape of her butt and gently kneads the fleshy globes.
“You know, we could have this every day if you move in with me." The statement flies out of his mouth before he can even think to reel it back in.
He expects an argument when she pulls back and cocks her head to the side to look at him.
Instead she shocks him.
"If you help me with something, I will."
Without a bit of hesitation, Lucas says, "name it."
From her position in his lap, Alaine recounts her sister's situation. It's hard for Lucas to fully concentrate when she keeps fidgeting in his lap so very close to the part of his body that he has no governance over when it comes to her. He picks up most of the conversation, however, but rather than making promises just to get her to move in, he says, "I'll have my lawyer take a look at it. Are you okay? Is your sister?"
“She's as well as can be expected, I guess,” she replies.
What she doesn't speak about is her own terror. For, if it comes to that, if Delah has to return to Idaho, she won’t be going alone. Alaine knows that she will have to accompany her if only for moral support.
Seeing the worry in her eyes, Lucas palms her cheeks with both hands and kisses her lips tenderly.
"I'll look into this, baby," he whispers to assures her. "I promise."
Because she knows that she can trust his word, Alaine nods.
"I didn't want to burden you with this," she says. "You've got so much on your plate already."
"Hey, that's how this is supposed to work right? I take care of you. You take care of me," he responds.
Lucas kisses her again -- this time with intent. He stands with her still sraddling his body and sets her down on the kitchen counter.
He's tired but he needs the distraction and apparently, so does his girlfriend.
While their lips are sill fused, he brings his hands to her colour and rips all the buttons off her shirt in one swift swoop.
Alaine gasps and pulls back to look at him in horror.
"That was for my interview," she chastises him.
Lucas ignores the comment and dips his fingers into the gap he'd created at the front of the shirt. He drops his head to place light kisses over the swell of her breast then up the column of her neck.
“I’ll buy you ten more,” he mumbles in her ear. "I'll give you whatever you want."
A shiver runs through her body as he strokes the peaks of her breasts to the lace of her bra.
He pauses to pull his t-shirt over his head and every exposed muscle ripples with the movement.
Alaine sinks her teeth into her bottom lip and leans back to admire his physique. Her hands begin to express her appreciation for how well he's cared for his body, trailing down his chest to his abdomen and lower until she fondles his turgid length.
Later, she will remind him about the envelope that came earlier. For now, she's all about giving and receiving pleasure. Her head falls back when he replaces his fingers with his tongue over her nipples and he groans long and low to the way she slips her fingers beyond his waistband, holds his flesh in tight grip and strokes.