Crossroads: Book 1

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Chapter 29

Elena


I place a hand over my chest. “My turn? Fine, you have two as well.”

He nods his head. “I’ve seen some photos of a woman with you and your dad...is it your mom?”

Without realizing it, I start picking at my nails. “Yeah.”

“How come I never hear you talk about her?” he asks.

Now it’s my turn to take a deep breath before I tell him, “She passed away when I was thirteen...” I glance down at my poor ripped nail; I have got to stop doing this to myself.

“I’m sorry to hear that...what happened?” he inquires.

I shake my head. “Nope – you only get two,” I smile. He drops his head in defeat but doesn’t push it.

After finishing the meal he made, darkness starts to sweep over the field, and we move ourselves and our conversations to the back of his truck. He pulls the tailgate down, then jumps up to take out a couple of thick blankets and pillows from a tote - he places them out on the truck bed.

It is so adorable. Who knew he would be a romantic?

Helping me up, he lifts me onto the tailgate in one swift motion, holding me under my arms.

He motions towards the floor of the truck. “We don’t have to lay down if you don’t want to, I just thought it’d be nice while watching the meteor shower.”

I beam at him. “That sounds just fine.” He smiles at me then lays down first. Nervously, I lay down beside him, trying not to touch him; I’m not sure he wants that. I can feel the heat wave off his skin as he’s less than an inch away from me. The silence stretches between us as we take in the night sky.

“You don’t see stars like this in the city.” My voice comes out soft, trying to take my concentration off from how close we are within the small capacity in the bed of this truck. I am completely blown away by how many stars are peppering the black sheet above us - while the shooting stars sweep across the night just to fall into oblivion. “It’s breathtaking.”

“It is.” His voice comes out a little strained, so I turn my head to see that his bright emerald eyes are already on me. I may not have been able to tell that he’s looking at me if he never turned on the small lantern by our feet when he climbed in first. He’s been watching me. I can hear my heart thumping in my chest -it’s louder than the crickets and the frogs; I wonder if he can hear it.

There are no words between us- lying here, drinking each other in. I have never been so thirsty. His breathing is deep; mine is shallow. My mouth feels like it grew cotton when I try to lick my lips. My hands are trembling as they rest at my sides. His hands are still as they are interlocked across his chest.

The moment I feared would happen again has happened. As he lets out a heavy exhale, he turns his head towards the sky, brings a hand to his face, closes his eyes, and pinches the bridge of his nose with his fingers.

Strike three.

Letting out a sigh of my own, I decide to take the matter in my own hands. I know the wine isn’t a contributor because I only had one small cup of it; I sit up and reach for his face, but he stops me.

“Elena. What are you doing?” He sounds a little dismayed.

It takes a moment for me to find my words. Though my hand is frozen under his on the side of his face while his other palm is at the base of my neck, I somehow find them. “I...I want to kiss you.” I’m sure the lantern’s low glow isn’t forgiving as I can feel the heat rise to my cheeks. I have never been this bold before. It’s like he wrenches it out of me.

“Kitten, we can’t.” My heart drops. Faster than a chipmunk running from a cat, I remove myself from him, feeling so embarrassed. I sit on the edge of the tailgate letting my feet dangle.

Like I hoped he would, he meets me there. Instead of sitting next to me, he stands beside me with his feet on the ground. Mike is facing me with his left hand dangerously close to my thigh, but I try not to think about that.

“I’m sorry, sweetheart, it’s just not a good idea.” He’s indignant.

I try to stop the tears pricking at the corners of my eyes. “Do you not like me? Do you not want to? Is there someone else?” I ask. Is it Ashley? As I stare at the ground beneath me, I don’t think I can handle the truth. He wanted to go on this date, but he doesn’t want me like that. It’s confusing.

There’s a growl from deep in his chest. “Darlin’, I do like you, and I do want to kiss you. Elena, if you had any idea of the things I want to do – ”

“Then, why don’t you?” I cut him off rather harshly; I’m practically begging at this point.

Since I didn’t hear from him right away, I take a chance to look at him. He’s having an internal battle with himself; it’s written all over his face. Why is this so difficult for him? He can sleep with women he just meets, but he can’t even kiss the one he’s known for nearly two months? Is that what the problem is?

Wait. My dad. That was the other question, the question I’ve been purposely avoiding...

“What did my dad talk to you about?” I ask, ready to storm off to my father if he told Mike what I think he did.

He looks away from me and drops his head.

“Oh my gosh,” I cry out. “It’s because of him? What did he say?”

Sucking in a breath, he states calmly, “I’m not supposed to touch you, I’m not supposed to kiss you, or have any...relations with you.” He rolls his eyes.

“What?!” I’m not so calm. “Mike, why did you agree to it? Do you know how ridiculous this is?” I am so mad; my ears are even hot.

He shoves himself away from the tailgate and runs a hand through his hair. “It’s complicated,” he yells.

“Then explain it to me!” I say, equally loud.

He rakes a hand through his hair and drags it down his face. “Fuck it.”

He strides over to me and places his hands behind my knees to move my legs apart as he steps in between them. He then pulls me flush against him by my legs - I forget how to breathe. He isn’t gentle about any of it, and I don’t mind at all.

My hands find their place on his defined chest from the welcoming surprise. My heart is hammering against my chest like birds rattling a cage, while my breathing is near hyperventilation. I can feel the thrumming of his own heart beneath my palms.

Gently he reaches to cup my face with one hand, while the other wraps around me, holding me close. “You sure you want this?” he asks, his voice raspy. We are a breath apart with his warm hands on my body - his pine and spice scents are fogging my thoughts; the only thing in this moment that matters to me is him.

There’s nothing that I want more right now.

I nod my head as he studies my mouth; the word ‘yes’ barely makes it out before his lips press against mine.

***************
What did y’all think of their date? How do you think their first kiss went?? XD

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