His car was at the far end of the car park, and from that point they could almost see the cafe.
Natasha turned to Bo, "I can walk from here. It's fine."
He cocked an eyebrow as he turned to stare at her, "I thought I 'owed you one'."
Shrugging, she bit her lip, suddenly a little anxious. "You apologised."
"Yet you enjoyed teasing me in front of my friends?"
For a moment she blushed, but then placing her hands on her hips she leaned towards him, "thought you didn't have any friends!"
Touché, he thought as he nodded, she knew him well, already.
"I suppose that things change."
"So it's not hell on earth here then? You haven't been exactly happy to date."
He studied her for a long moment, "I haven't....but it's not the worst place in the world."
It was the first time he'd even thought of the place he lived in ages, it had been a means to an end, nothing more. But she was there, and she was making things more bearable. Making him take in his surroundings, making him live a little.
"I can drive you," he changed the subject.
But she shook her head, "it's like two hundred yards, not worth even starting the engine."
As he contemplated that, she added, "You could walk me, though."
"Ah...." he was nervous around Natasha, never knowing how to treat her. But that was an olive branch, so he slid an arm around her shoulders in what he hoped she took as a friendly gesture, then, guided her towards the road.
Natasha was torn between wanting to lean harder into his hard, warm body, and pushing him away. As usual, the man terrified and excited her in equal measure. Up until now, other than the kiss, she'd kept her defences fairly high around him. That had to continue. So she did neither, not relax into him, nor push him away. And as a bonus, he smelled amazing.
It was less than five minutes to walk to her house, and on the doorstep, she turned to him.
"See I could have walked alone."
There was such warmth in his face as he smiled down at her, it was the most relaxed she'd seen him. His hazel eyes were fixed on her as he shook his head, and his lips lowered to her ear as he replied, "no chance. This isn't a bad part of town, but there's no way that I am not seeing you home safely."
Leaning back slightly, far enough that she could keep that equilibrium, she blinked up at him, "who says that you are safer than a stranger?"
As soon as she said the words, she wondered for a moment if she'd said too much, been too harsh, but he threw his head back and laughed, "girl, you are such a tonic!"
She narrowed her gaze, "explain."
He looked up in the sky for a moment and she couldn't imagine what he was thinking, but when his eyes finally dropped back to hers, the warmth had left them, he stared coldly at her.
"Since I was twelve all everyone has ever wanted is a piece of me, you genuinely are the only person who sees me differently."
"What does that mean?"
The shutters were closing, animosity was creeping back into his features, harsh angles, darkness. Shrugging he half turned away, "I've been a cash cow to most. Fighting over restaurant and bar bills with you is indeed a novelty."
He stepped back, and she reached out for him, "we're not very good at this, are we? Unable to have a conversation without upsetting each other." She pulled him back to face her, "too much baggage, and too much we don't want to disclose. Maybe we should call off this night out tomorrow."
That made his eyes flash and he shook his head, "we may argue, but I like that. I like that we push each other. And you're wrong, there may be some parts that are difficult, or awkward. But we do get some bits OK, some bits are right..."
With that he lowered his head, and placed his lips over hers.
Fuck. His body was throbbing like an over exuberant teen, he'd never felt anything like this was anyone else. Her lips were soft, yet overpowered his, she kissed him, as hard as he kissed her, and it was her tongue that invaded his mouth first, and her hands that slid over his shoulders, pulling her close. He may have started the kiss, but she had hijacked it and taken over. And it was amazing.
He let her lead for a while, but when his hands slipped down to her hips, pulled her into him, he couldn't let it remain so one sided. But they were in the street...
So as he tilted his head, plucked at her lips with his, reached up to cup her cheek, plunder her mouth, he backed them into the doorway of the adjacent building, hidden in the dark from the passing cars or pedestrians.
Breathless, it was he who finally lifted his head, looking down at her face, eyes closed, lips swollen, hair unruly from his hands...she looked stunning, ravaged by his mouth and hands, and he'd never wanted to ravage her further, more. But not here, not now. He was a gentleman, and a doorway, on a non date...that wasn't him.
As he withdrew his fingers from her hair, she opened her eyes, "do you want to come in?"
He shook his head, and when she bit her lip, sadness drifting over her face, he leaned close once more, "not cos I don't want to, but because I'm not sure I can control myself...and this isn't the time."
Nodding, and finally smiling, she stepped back, "that's very true."
He hated her bravado, knowing that at that moment, she wanted him as much as he wanted her, giving her time, to think about it all, wasn't necessarily a good thing. She'd back off on their date tomorrow he's be starting from scratch all over again...but doing this right was important. Really important.
Leaning forward once more, he planted a gentle kiss on her lips, "you have no idea what you do to me, Natasha. But this will have to wait...until tomorrow."
She was breathless when he finally dragged himself away from her, stepping back. Reaching for her keys, he opened the door that led to her home and watched her move inside.
"I'll pick you up. Seven o'clock?"
The day flew by, after an early start Wednesday was her early closing day, which meant that Natasha was able to schedule in a quick trip to the hairdresser...and last moment, the beautician for waxing of bits she never normally bothered with. Not that she was planning for Bo to see said bits, but it made her feel special...that's what she told herself.
You all ready for 'the big date'?
She groaned when she spotted the message from Steph. They'd spoken earlier in the day, albeit briefly, and Steph told her that Jax had been a gentleman, dropping her home. But her excitement had made Natasha wonder how long it would be before she dumped the boyfriend she was less than happy with anyway. She, herself, had tried to play down the coming evening, because Bo had already voiced the fact that there was something happening between them. Their last two kisses...well they'd been amazing, and had almost not ended.
Could she resist him if he kissed her again? It wasn't an easy concept, no matter how much she warned herself.
If she told Steph that she was at the beautician's she'd never live it down.
Not that big, stop trying to put me off!!!
Steph's reply was concern, she wanted her to go on this date more than anything. And she was glad to pocket her phone once more.
Nails painted a peachy, neutral colour, toes, matching, skin smooth and soft, and hair trimmed and blow dried in to soft waves. She hadn't felt this good in a long time, and that only made her more nervous.
Fifteen wardrobe changes saw piles of clothes mount up on her bed, until she settled on a sleeveless top, smart shorts and sandals, it was, after all, as warm a day as summer got in this country. She was dabbing some perfume on her throat when the doorbell rang.
Looking at her bed, still piled high with clothes, she smiled, a conscious decision to leave the room a mess, so that she wouldn't be tempted to bring him home. Safety first.
Bo was leaning against the passenger door of his car when she finally made it to ground level, and if she had doubted her choice of outfit, his wide eyes and slow low wolf whistle told her she'd succeeded.
Bo for a long moment was speechless, from her open-toed sandals, to her soft flowing hair, Natasha looked mesmerising, stunning. How had he visited the cafe so many times without even seeing her? How had he got this far without doing more than just kissing her? The memories of those kisses made him instantly hard, and he suddenly had to alter his own combat shorts to hide that fact.
"Fuck, Natasha. You look sensational, took the words out of my mouth. Don't think I've been speechless before."
She blushed, so fucking sweet, then she lifted her eyes, coyly, "you look amazing yourself."
Then she reached out and placed a hand on his chest, running it over his pecs. Then she snatched it away, grimacing. She didn't intend to do it. He let that sink in for a moment, she lost control around him, maybe she felt the same desperation that he did.
Stretching, he slid his fingers through hers, then tugged her back towards him, not letting her escape and lick her wounds. Nose to nose, he smiled at her.
"Don't run away. I like you touching me."
She blushed again, "I was about to apologise."
Shaking his head, he dropped to plant his lips on hers, a soft, gentle but meaningful kiss.
"Where are you taking me?" She asked, when he pulled back, and opened the passenger door.
He tapped a finger to the side of his nose, "it's a surprise, but it comes highly recommended, by Coop's wife."
That made her grin, "Freya? She text me earlier...was that why?"
He waggled his eyebrows, "depends on what she asked you."
"If I wanted to go to hers on Friday to watch your game." As he rounded the car, chuckling, he could see her thought process so obvious on her face. "She wants the gossip!" She offered as he sat beside her.
Turning in the seat, he shook his head, "nope. She's just making you fell included."
"They all think I'm your girlfriend."
He laughed, "they know I don't do girlfriends, but they know that I like you...a lot."
He fought the grimace that those words caused, because he realised how awkward things were now. She didn't want a relationship, she'd said that too. But there was something happening, between them. Something neither of them could hide. And it was the first time that he believed that she was as into 'this' as he was.
"I didn't mean..."
She held up a hand to silence him, "look we both know that this is what it is. You've made it very obvious that you aren't staying here for any longer than you have to."
put like that, he sounded so callous, but it wasn't like that. He had to get back to where he'd been, that was his plan, his ambition.
"I don't mean to sound..." He sighed, "I sound like a prick, and I'm not. I've just got a plan, and that doesn't include staying here."
She nodded, then gave a sad smile, "yet this is where I am always going to be. We seem to be parallel lines. Is there any point going on this date?"
His heart started to pound, and rather than answering too quickly, he started the car engine, "I want to take you out, Natasha. I want to spend time with you, that hasn't changed."
And he did. He knew he was selfish, but he hoped that this didn't become the complication he didn't need in his life.