The Athenaeum's 2010
Romantic Fiction Contest
- As this is a Xena Uber story these gals look like a couple we all know and love, but the characters here are mine.
- Yes to both. Please DO NOT read if you're under age in the country you reside in.
- Thanks to all the online authors out there for inspiring me to have a go. Thanks to The Athenaeum for being a great site.
- This story is told in a first person narrative and our protagonists take it in turn to tell their side of things. To make this easier to follow I've assigned different fonts for our two narrators. This is my first story and because of that I decided to make it a small one, so I didn't set myself a task that was too big. So I guess this has ended up being a PWP type story, but hopefully an enjoyable one.
- Ella Reid owns a Café in New York City and is intrigued by the cops on a stakeout just outside her shop. One of them in particular catches her eye and she harbours a secret hope that the feelings are mutual.
They've been parking outside my shop every morning for the past week or so, they're cops. I know this because I've seen the bulge of a gun in the back of the guy's pants even though he always wears a jacket over it I can still tell. I have good eyes that way, I notice people. After all, I deal with them all day everyday, it's my business to notice. When they come in here for a bite to eat or something to drink I notice their moods, if they need to talk or want to be left alone or they just need a friendly smile and a decent Latte. I try and read their needs. I see myself as providing a service to the community in the same way as the cops that frequent my shop. My place is a little haven away from peoples everyday lives, a place to come and relax for a few minutes out of their busy work schedules or a place where they can come and communicate with another human being if they haven't got any nearest and dearest, or as the case quite often is, to get away from their nearest and dearest.
Anyway as I was saying, the cops that come in everyday, well in actual fact usually only one of them comes in the other one, the woman, sits in the car and stares in through the window all dark and broody like. Oh she does a damn good job of pretending to be looking everywhere else except into my shop but I know better. As I said I notice these things. She even wears dark shades to hide her gaze, but it's obvious. I think they must be on a stakeout or something; they seem to be watching the taxi depot further down the street. I always said they were up to no good.
Her partner stands about 6ft, he towers over my 5ft 6" frame, he always wears a suit, shirt and tie, very smart but kinda cocky looking. I'd say he was in his late forties he has all his hair still, cut short but it's got silver speckles running down the sides. He also looks in pretty good shape for his age, I guess he'd have to be being a cop an all. He's a bit of a letch really I always feel uncomfortable talking to him. His eyes wander a bit too much for my liking, but I think he's harmless.
Like every other day the guy strolls in and orders the usual. "Morning honey, can I have a hot Tea, English breakfast, a regular Coffee, a Beef Bomb and a Three Cheese to take out please."
I smile like always and start their order. "No problem, coming right up."
"Thanks beautiful" He says turning to look around the shop momentarily, then when he thinks its safe I feel his eyes on me again.
While he waits for his order he stuffs his hands in his pockets and jingles the coins there. Through the mirrors on the walls of the shop I can see the refection of his female partner in the car. I think she's wearing black because her angular face stands out more than ever today. She's very striking even from this distance with her long dark hair and sultry looks. I often wonder why she never comes in and orders herself. My curiosity sometimes runs away with me and I often have to hold my tongue from asking the guy about her. This morning is no exception, so I begin to hum along to the tune I hear playing in the shop, my eyes flitting from fixing the sandwiches to the car outside.
We've been watching this taxi depot now for about two weeks, though it seems longer to me. We had a tip off about a drug running ring coming out of this place so the boss sent us down to check things out. So far we've seen a few dubious looking guys but that's to be expected, it's New York after all. How the hell he expects us to ID anyone is beyond me, these cars run back and forth all day long, nothing suspicious about that for a taxi place.
Like most mornings I sit in the car outside the café where we always get our breakfast and lunch. 'Ell of a Good Bite' the sign says above the door. I assume that 'Ell' is short for Ellen or Ella the name of the establishment's proprietor and she's trying to be clever with the play on words by switching 'Hell' with Ell. To me it doesn't quite work, but what do I know about it? I'm guessing that Ellen or Ella would probably be the small blonde I see in there most days. I think she's the reason we come here every damn day. My partner McKenzie seems to like her, in fact I'm damn sure of it, even though he's married with two kids. I see him watching her while she makes up our order. His beady eyes move over her possessively. It makes me feel a little sick to watch him leer at her that way, some days I feel like smacking him one.
I rub my hand across my face and sigh; my eyes are drawn back to the blonde behind the counter. I can't really blame McKenzie for his improper behaviour because she truly is beautiful, I can see that even from sitting out here. I watch as she washes her hands after bagging the sandwiches. Her hair is layered and reaches to almost the bottom of her neck, it's got that rough jagged cut to it and it sticks out in the sexiest way. She looks quiet small in height but seems to make up for that in stature. Our eyes meet though the window and I thank God that I've got my sunglasses on so she doesn't see me looking her way. I feel a blast of shame hit me and I look away berating myself for being as bad as my partner. But after a moment I can't help myself and I look back. She hands McKenzie the take out and bids him goodbye, he smiles at her and heads towards the door grinning like a fool. I force myself to face forward until he's in the car.
"Man, she's hot." He says handing me my Tea. He places the bag containing our lunch on the dashboard.
I look down at my Tea before commenting. "You're bleeding married McKenzie so don't even think about it." I said this in a teasing tone but I really meant it.
"Hey, I can think and look all I like, that ain't being unfaithful." He snorted taking a slurp of his coffee, steam poured from his nostrils, a tell tale sign the morning were getting colder. He glanced over at me. "What's up Detective? You hot for her ya self?"
I felt some heat rise in my throat at the accusation. I raised a defiant brow but knowing he couldn't see it for my sunglasses I shook my head once. "Nuh huh. How can I be? I've never even met the woman."
He sniggered. "True, but you sit out here everyday and stare in longingly."
"I do not stare in, longingly or otherwise." I pouted.
"If you say so Sax." He grinned at me then faced forward to look at the Taxi place down the street. "Anything?"
"Not in the ten minutes it took you to go in the shop and get lunch, no." I replied glibly.
"Tomorrow you can get breakfast." He stated ignoring my comment still staring ahead.
"What!" I asked unnecessarily.
"So, you can get a good look at Blondie." He turned to face me and winked. I stared at him in disbelief.
"John McKenzie, you have a one track mind ya know that?" I said shaking my head.
"Come on Sax, she is definitely your type."
"Oh is she now? And what makes you the expert in my type huh?" I was getting a bit annoyed now. Having been on the receiving end of more than my fare share of jokes back at the station house, pertaining to my open preference for the fairer sex.
"I know you like em blonde and athletic and she's all that I can tell you."
"Well, you'd know! Coz you've looked hard enough." I shot back.
"Well aren't we a little touché Detective Brown!" He said with an annoying mock intonation trying to mimic my English accent and doing a very bad job of it.
"No, I just think you should treat women with a little more respect that's all." My attention was drawn to a blue Sedan that had just pulled in two doors down from our taxi firm. "Hey, I've seen that Sedan here before."
McKenzie looked ahead. "Yeah it's familiar to me too and it ain't no cab." He jotted down the licence plate number. "I'll get a check done."
While McKenzie ran a check I watched a slim man exit the car and head down the street then disappear around the corner, our conversation about the blonde forgotten for the moment.
The next morning at 7:15 I headed down the stairs from my apartment above the Café to open up and noticed the familiar car was parked outside again. The sun had only just come up and the light was only just slipping through the buildings to illuminate the street in that special crisp autumn glow, the kind that blinds you when you're driving. As I flipped the sign on the door from 'Closed' to 'Open' I casually glanced through the side windows of the car at the figures inside it; trying not to be too obvious in my curiosity; it was the same two cops again. Occasionally when I looked out it would be a different two but the creepy man and the mysterious woman were the pair here most often.
I unlocked the door and turned to go about my daily business, preparing the shop for customers. This time of year was always busy as a lot of my customers were students at the university. Ten minutes or so passed when I heard the door open. It was Mary my employee and friend arriving for work.
"Morning Ella." She called out to me as she hung her coat in the back.
"Morning." I called back still preoccupied with my tasks.
"Burr there's a chill to the air this morning." She said to no one in particular.
Mary entered the shop having changed her coat for her apron." I see we've still got good cop bad cop camped outside."
I smiled at her description, although I wasn't sure who was good cop and who was bad cop. "Yeah, but I don't mind as long as they keep buying their snacks here."
Mary laughed. "Yeah, they can go tell all their buddy's down at the station house as well."
I giggled. "Now that's a fine idea. Next time they come in I'll mention it." I said only half meaning it.
The door opened again and I heard the familiar New York pitch of our bread delivery guy. "Mornin' ladies, and what a fine morning it is." He said putting the trays of fresh produce on a worktop behind the counter.
"Morning Tony." We said in unison.
"Got the cawfee on yet?" He asked with a little boy look rubbing his hands together.
"Sure thing Tony." I said already preparing his usual choice. "Take a seat I'll bring it over."
"You're a diamond Ella." He said going to his regular spot near the old reconditioned Jukebox in the corner.
"Yeah, yeah I know." I said turning to prepare his coffee. I placed a fresh bagel on a plate and put it on the tray. I heard him punch the buttons on the old Jukebox and the motor started, selecting the disk and placing it on the turntable. The needle crackled to life through the speakers and soon the room was filled with The Flirtations 'Nothing But A Heartache'. Nice.
I turned around to commend him on his selection. "Nice choice."
"Thanks." An unfamiliar female voice answered.
My eyes widened involuntary at the tall woman with long black hair casually walking towards me, the tips of her fingers tucked in the front pockets of her fitted black trousers. She had a slate grey shirt on under a black tailored jacket and I could just make out a gun holster at the top of her right hip. It was the cop from the car. My mind went blank for a second and I gaped at her vacantly. "Oh s..sorry I thought you were..." My eye's skittered over to Tony who was preoccupied with his morning paper and then back. "...Tony."
She stopped in front of the counter. "I figured that." She said coolly and removed her sunglasses. Her voice was exactly how I'd imagined it would be like. Deep in tone, smoky in texture and Jesus that accent was to die for. Her eyes however were nothing like what I was expecting.
The word Blue just doesn't cut it, even the sound of the word is flat and dull, very inadequate to describe these babies and now they were very firmly on me. She raised a dark brow in question and I snapped out of my haze. "Hum...what can I get you?" I cringed inside at the sound of my own inadequate voice.
"A Tea and a Coffee to go please."
"English Breakfast?" I asked already knowing the answer.
She smiled and I felt my stomach flip. "Is there any other?" She stated matter of fact.
I knew it wasn't really a question but I sought the opportunity to talk to her so I did what I do best, and babbled. "Well technically there is, I have a range of herbal, fruit or iced or...." She raised her brow again. "But you wouldn't be interested in those would you?." I smiled sweetly at her.
She stared at me and for a moment, her gaze very briefly dropped to my lips until her eyes darted away quickly to the waiting car outside. "Nope." She said hurriedly covering her eyes with the dark glasses once again.
I suddenly sensed a change in her demeanour, like she was trying to hide something. The cool confident woman pulled down her shutters so nobody could see the real her. Shame, because I was very intrigued by the real her.
Inside the Café was a cross between an old Antique shop and a second hand book store. The tables and chairs were mismatched, there were a few old leather sofas dotted about, placed either side of low coffee tables. Varying pictures donned the walls, mostly musicians from what I could tell; I spied Patti Smith, The Rolling Stones and John & Yoko. Two tall book shelves full of used paperbacks graced the far end of one wall and a 70's style Jukebox stood at the opposite end, I had been pleasantly surprised to find some of my favourite tunes on there. The whole place had a nice feel about it, not pretentious or stuck up, kinda bohemian. I knew it was somewhere where I could spend some time.
I didn't know anything about the blonde woman except that she owns the place, so how the hell could she be my type? I asked myself this just after I caught myself staring at her lips. God! was she ever my type I groaned internally. Beautiful peachy skin over defined muscle tone. Very much my type. I could see that she was in shape right away from the fitted tee she was wearing. I had to pull my mind out of the gutter as it tried to fill in the gaps of her other body parts that I couldn't see. The sooner I left the shop the better. Get my head back on the case and off the cute blonde shopkeeper, that's what I needed to do.
Her voice penetrated my musings. "Hum would you like anything else?" She asked rubbing the back of her neck.
My eyes watched her hand massage her skin and I forced myself to answer. I wanted to answer 'yes please'. But replied "No thanks" instead. She told me the price and I paid her promptly, I was extra careful not to brush my fingers against her skin when she handed me my change. It's funny really when you think about it; you go about your daily life not even thinking about touching other people, looking at them in a certain way. But as soon as those damn pheromones perk up and take notice all your senses are heightened and you do your best to avoid the touches and the looks because you're so damn sure that your attraction is written right across your face for the whole world to see.
She popped a couple of sachets into a paper bag then placed the takeout cups in after them, then handed the bag over the counter. "Have a nice day." She said smiling shyly.
I half smiled and grabbed the bag. "Thanks." I said and strode out of the shop and back to the car. Once inside I handed the bag to McKenzie. He was smirking at me as expected.
"Well?" He asked as he took the bag from me.
"You know what." He removed his coffee.
"No I don't" I said trying to stay calm.
"Hot or what?" He sighed.
I looked out the side window at a man walking down the street carrying a briefcase and kicking the leaves along the sidewalk as he went. "It should be, I only just bought it." I said smoothly knowing full well what he really meant.
He blew out an exaggerated breath. "Jesus you're hard work. The Blonde?"
"She's nice." I answered still looking elsewhere.
"Nice?" He laughed. "Now I know you got the hots for her Sax, when you can't look me in the eye when you say 'She's nice'. I know you really mean HOT."
I'd had enough now so I glared at him. "Just drop it and give me my Tea will ya!"
He giggled putting his hand back in the bag and pulling out my drink. "Ohhh what have we got here?" He asked suddenly.
"Tea I suspect." I drawled sarcastically, taking the cup from him.
"No smart ass! These little gems." He pulled out two luxury chocolates covered in red foil wrapping. "My, my we don't get chocolates when I get the drinks" He said in an exaggerated voice with a smug smirk on his face. "Why Detective Brown, I think she likes you."
I felt my face flush. "Piss off McKenzie." I turned my gaze back to the street and gulped down some of my hot Tea. I'd always had an asbestos mouth; friends said I could probably drink water straight from a just boiled kettle.
"That's it Romeo, you're on Café duty from now on." He said with glee like he had a new pet project.
I scoffed. "What? You'd sacrifice your regular fix of eye candy for little foil wrapped chocolates?"
"Hey! I'm a married man, remember?" He countered looking very pleased with himself.
I don't know why I popped the chocolates in her order. Well that's a lie really because I did it because I want her to like me. Like two measly little chocolates are gonna sway her mind. How pathetic was that? I asked myself afterwards. I doubted she would be coming back in anyway, I assumed her creepy partner would be back again for their lunch.
I was wrong.
Around 11:30 just before we start to get really busy with lunch orders I was taking a cappuccino and a slice of carrot cake to Parker one of our regulars. I saw the door open from the corner of my eye, but didn't let the dark visage interfere with my journey. "There you go Parker."
"Thank you Ella" He said as I placed his order on the table.
"You're welcome." When I turned around the cops back was to me, and she was mulling over my Jukebox, sunglasses perched on top of her head. I made my way back to the counter and made myself busy, all the while keeping one eye on my enigmatic visitor. My ears eventually pricked up at the sounds of 'Merlena Shaws' California Soul'. Another fine choice but I commended silently this time.
The dark head turned as if to seek my opinion, as if she knew I was watching her make the selection. I nodded and smiled my approval and she walked to the counter.
"Back so soon?" I asked nervously, but extremely pleased she was.
"It's lunch time." She said impassively with a faint shrug of one shoulder.
"So it is. What can I get you?" I asked trying to remain calm, but finding it strangely difficult in the presence of this stranger.
"A Beef Bomb and a Long Line Tuna please."
"Coming right up." I smiled. "Tea and a coffee? English Breakfast right?"
"Sure." She replied with a knowing smile obviously remembering our conversation from earlier. I smiled back, pleased with out silent communication, even if it was only about Tea. Damn I needed to get a life.
I began to prepare her order and as usual I kept one sneaky eye on her tall form as I worked. She was easily as tall as her partner, but boy was she easier on the eye. She rested her hip against my counter, her arms were folded across her chest and her eyes were on the door. I took my time making up her order, all the while trying to muster the courage to start a conversation.
"So.." I cringed at my choice of opener. Her dark head turned and she glanced around as if to check I was speaking to her.
I felt her eyes on me as I waited for my order and I knew she was on the verge of speaking to me from the way she fumbled with her utensils When she finally opened her mouth I made a show of pretending not to know she had spoken directly to me. The reason for me doing this was a mystery.
"How long have you been in New York?" Her voice sounded unsure and I felt for her. Was I that unapproachable? I asked myself.
"Too long." I mumbled under my breath not really wanting her to hear that. She squinted and I quickly amended my answer. "Two years."
Her blonde head nodded. "You sound like you don't like it here."
She looked saddened by that idea and I found myself wanting to make things better. "Not dislike exactly, it's just different from home that's all." A vision of the vivid green rolling hills made me smile and I felt homesick for the open spaces and the smell of freshly cut grass. Even though I lived and worked in a city my heart was in the countryside where I was born and brought up.
"And where's home? England I presume."
"Yeah, how'd you guess?" I replied sardonically, thinking it was damn obvious. It wasn't my intention to sound rude but it always came out that way when I found someone attractive. I put it down to an unconscious self preservation thing that I had no control over.
She gamely continued even after my curt response. "So what brings ya here?"
"Business. I'm kind of on loan from the UK for a while." She must have known we were coppers, I mean who else hangs around in cars all day trying to look inconspicuous.
"Oh yeah, like a job swap kinda thing?" She asked bagging our order.
My eyes wandered to her hands as they popped things into the bag. "Yeah something like that." I noted she wasn't wearing a wedding ring. Which I quickly reminded myself that that meant absolutely nothing and why was I even looking.
"Sounds like a good idea." She said smiling. "Must be a nice change."
"Yeah well, it wasn't my idea." Man I sound like a miserable fucker sometimes.
"From your music choice it sounds like you're wishing you were elsewhere, ya know subconsciously wishing you were in California or....." She was rambling now, which was kinda sweet actually. ".....I guess California would be lovely this time of year. Pleasantly warm."
"Maybe." Was my contribution to the conversation.
She glanced at me shyly and popped a couple of the foil wrapped chocolates in the order bag. "There you go."
I handed her the bills. "Keep the change." I said flashing her a weak smile and headed towards the door, all the while I was kicking myself for having the charm of a weasel.
"Thanks." I said racking my brains to come up with something else to say in an attempt to keep the dark English woman in my shop a little longer. But to no avail, she was gone in a flash and I was left staring at my closed door. Damn.
"Was that the other cop?" I heard Mary ask from behind me. She made me jump.
"Huh. Oh yeah." I replied obviously distracted.
"She has an accent." Mary added unnecessarily.
I turned to face her, now out of my stupor. "She's English."
"Ahh, thought so, not that I was eves dropping mind you." She grinned at me and I raised an eyebrow.
"No ma'am, not you." I grinned back.
"Nice looking too." Mary added as she bustled out from behind the counter with a cappuccino in her hand headed towards a customer.
My eye's travelled back to the car parked outside my shop. "You can say that again." I whispered under my breath.
"I'm telling ya Sax she likes you." McKenzie mumbled around the piece of chocolate he'd just shovelled into his mouth.
I ignored his comment and concentrated on my Tuna sandwich.
"I don't know why you're so uptight about these things" he continued. "I'd be in there like a shot before some other schmuck gets her."
I swallowed the tuna before speaking. "We're supposed to be working, not out on the pull."
"I'm only saying ask her out, not ravish her in the shop Sax!" He sighed heavily.
I looked up sharply in disbelief. "Oh yeah, it's as easy as that." I spat. "I just stroll up to another woman, a virtual stranger I might add and ask her out! I don't even know if she's gay or not. It's just not that straight forward McKenzie. No pun intended."
He laughed then. "We're in the middle of fucking Greenwich Village Saxon, you don't get much gayer than this." He looked around gesturing with his hand to the streets adorned in Rainbow paraphernalia.
"I know that, but it's just..." I paused not able to find the words or the inclination to explain to him something he's never going to understand. "..it's just not that easy." I left the sentence hanging not wanting to add what I had in my head, that it just wasn't that easy for me.
"Besides, it doesn't mean she's gay just because she has a Café in the village, or that I even find her attractive just because I'm gay for that matter."
He smirked at that. "Who you trying to kid Detective?"
I glanced down the street, resisting the urge to look in the shop window at our subject matter. "I'm just trying to avoid any complications, that's all. I think I have enough of those in my life don't ya think? Besides she might not even be single."
"Well that ain't gonna get you out of getting our lunch while we're on this detail." He sniggered enjoying watching my rising frustration.
"I thought as much." I sighed and went back to my lunch. "She makes great Tuna sandwiches for an unattractive married straight girl!" I finally mumbled around a large bite.
McKenzie laughed and the tension faded. "You just keep telling yourself that."
It was nearly closing time and the shop was almost empty, Mary had left an hour ago and I was on my knees behind the counter re stocking the shelves with mugs and plates ready for the next morning. As I stacked my last plate I heard someone clear their throat. In my haste to get to my feet I knocked the broom I'd leant against the counter. I watched it slide in slow motion along the edge of the counter until it reached the end where it came in to contact with a glass jar of cookies. The broom handle whacked the glass lid straight off the top of the jar. My eyes screwed closed and my hands instinctively went to cover my ears from the impending smash.
When the smash never came I peeked open one eyelid to find said lid in safe hands. Brilliant blue eyes twinkled at me and the lid was carefully placed back on the jar. "You wanna be careful with that thing." Those eyes shifted to the broom now lying on the floor. "It could be a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands." An elegant eyebrow lifted mischievously and that's all it took to ignite the flame that was my humiliation.
My hands went from my ears to the heat of my face. Why did I have to be such a klutz in front of this particular customer was beyond me? I quickly pulled myself together and faced her. "Thank you for catching that, you saved me another ten minutes of cleaning up, not to mention a new cookie jar." I gave her my best smile and to my surprise I got one back. Now we were making progress.
I picked up the broom and leant it against a table out of the way. When I turned back to face her the sight of her flushed face and embarrassed grin cheered me up no end. After hours of sitting in that stuffy squad car with McKenzie it hit me like a blast of fresh air.
"No problem, anytime." I smiled back and this time it came easily to me. For a moment we stood there just smiling at each other until it became slightly awkward.
She wiped her hands down her thighs. "Hum....wh what can I get you?" She asked. "Tea? It's on the house. After all you're my cookie jar saviour." She laughed a little nervously. I found it endearing. So much for all that crap I spouted to McKenzie about me not finding her attractive.
"Thanks. Could you do me a pot?" I was off duty and had intended on getting a take out for the way home but I found myself wanting to stay a while.
She looked surprised but answered quickly. "Coming right up. Take a seat, I'll bring it over."
I nodded once and headed over to the old Jukebox, I'd liked what I'd seen on there the last time I'd looked at it. It was one of those big rectangle shaped ones from the 70's with big buttons, a glass top and a high back. The little cards under the glass were hand written with the Artist and song title and their code. As I perused the choices I could hear the pot being filled with hot water and I could feel her watching me. I made my selection, several as I planned to sit for a bit. The café only had one other person in it and they were seated in the window so I could take my pick. I choose a seat in the corner facing the door, always the copper with my back to the wall. When the sound of Martha Reeves & The Vandellas- No Where to Run filled the room, she looked my way again, this time I held her gaze for a beat. I think she might like my taste in music, which would be a first. But then again it was her Jukebox, after all she'd be stupid to put records in there she didn't like.
As I sat waiting for my Tea my mind wandered to the case. It was going nowhere fast. No real leads to speak of, just incessant boredom sitting in the car watching for hours on end. I was sure the boss had me doing this shitter of a detail as penance for my sins. My eyes roamed back to the Blonde, well things weren't all that bad I thought as my gaze caressed the sway of her hips as she approached me with a tray in her hands.
"Here you go." She smiled as she placed the teapot and cup on the table.
I thanked her and sat back in my chair to give her room; my eyes roamed her hands as they worked. I instantly liked their shape, their movement and her short but nicely manicured nails. I felt a flash of heat flare in stomach. I realised in that moment that I wanted to touch them and be touched by them. This was getting out of my control.
She was looking at me differently now, I wasn't sure what the significance was but it was definitively different. As I placed the tea cup and pot on her table it was plainly obvious by the loud tinkle of the cup on the saucer that my hands were shaking, not from fear of her, but from sheer nervous energy I seemed to exude around her. The tinkling was made more noticeable as the song that was playing ended and silence fell across my shop. That silence was punctuated by the sound of my own heart beating rapidly in my ears.
Ironically I was rescued by the next record clunking into place and Jackie Wilson - I get the sweetest feeling replaced the pounding in my ears, but I could still feel the muscle beating vibrantly against my chest.
"So, you like soul music then?" I asked finding some courage from somewhere, her eyes shot up to meet mine.
"Yeah." She cleared her throat. "Well it's called 'Northern Soul' where I come from."
I was puzzled by her answer but here was my opening, I was determined to get a conversation out of her yet. "Northern Soul?" I asked hoping she would elaborate. I was in luck; her eyes seemed to soften just a tad as she studied me. I knew I'd hit the jackpot subject.
"Yeah, it's sort of a movement back in England. My parents used to play it when I was a kid." She lifted the lid on the tea pot and gave the hot amber liquid a stir with the teaspoon.
I wasn't any the wiser by her answer, which was great because that meant I could spend more time talking with her. I sat on the chair opposite her and lent the tray on the floor against the chairs legs. She didn't look offended that I'd just invited myself to her table so I continued. "So, what exactly is 'Northern Soul'?"
To my surprise she sat hesitantly across from me, I small smile graced my lips at the thought of conversing with this woman, and on a subject close to my heart. "Well, it originates from rare American Soul music, artists or tracks that were bypassed by Motown and never had any success in the U.S." She seemed interested and I felt myself warming to the subject so I continued. "Those records started to get played in the clubs back in the late 60's in the North of England. The name came from DJ's and record shop owners in the South of England. They referred to it as 'Northern Soul' just so they could distinguish the type of music people were listening to in the clubs up North."
"So it's music like you've selected on my Jukebox?"
"Yeah, pretty much, it has that certain beat, sound to it. People used to drive from miles around to dance to it at those clubs. Everybody danced in a very distinctive way, doing back drops and spins. Great to watch."
"Oh wow, I didn't realise there was a whole movement for this stuff. When I got the Jukebox it was empty, I managed to get hold of some vinyl from flee markets but I still had plenty of room for more. It makes sense now, my Dad had a friend from England and he gave me the records to help me fill it." She giggled remembering. "He said he wanted them to go to a good home. I'd never heard any of the songs and I thought he'd palmed me off with a load of unwanted trash, but as I played them in the Cafe they really grew on me and now I love them."
That was music to my ears, no pun intended but all my previous relationships had never warmed to my love of Northern Soul. It amazed me that I had to cross the Atlantic to find someone who did. After that thought had registered in my brain, I was astounded and terrified that I was thinking of this woman in that way.
It was dark outside and the shop was empty now save for the two of us. We'd sat and talked for about an hour while she finished her tea, granted it was mostly about music, but she seemed quite relaxed, I think the background music she'd selected had helped with that. Our time together had given me the opportunity to examine her more closely and I was floored by her natural beauty. Her dark hair contrasted with her light eyes and her slightly crooked smile that made one side of her mouth hitch up when she grinned, made my insides ache. I'd watched her walk to the Jukebox to select more music and I couldn't stop my eyes falling to her backside, then the way she cocked her hip as she pushed the buttons on the machine. I liked her, I liked her a lot, but what was I gonna do about it? Suddenly her voice broke me from my reverie.
"I better get going." She said looking out the window and then around the shop as if just realising that it was after closing time. She stood and so did I. "Sorry I kept you hanging around?"
"No, no." I stammered a little. "It was really nice talking with you." I gestured to the pots on our table. "I'll clean these up in the morning, I live above the shop." To my ears my voice sounded hopeful; did I just invite her up? Maybe I did.
We looked at each other for a moment. She looked like she wanted to say something but didn't. Then she was at the door. "Bye." She said and she was gone.
Damn "See you." I replied to the closed door.
The next morning McKenzie and I had relieved the nightshift and were once again sitting outside 'Ell of a Good Bite' watching the Taxi depot down the street. I'd seen the Blonde open up about thirty minutes ago but neither of us had been in for our morning usual. I'd not told McKenzie of the conversation I'd had with her the previous evening, and I had no intention of doing so.
"What's wrong with you this morning?" He asked sounding irritated.
I looked over at him. "Huh?"
"You've been clicking that damn pen on and off for the past half hour, what's up with ya?"
I hadn't realised I was even doing it. "Oh! Sorry." I stopped abruptly and slipped the pen back into my breast pocket. I rubbed my face with my hands wanting to do something with them but not knowing what.
He sighed. "Go get the drinks will ya, that'll stop you from fidgeting."
As I exited the car I heard him shout after me. "And get some Blonde ass while you're at it." I slammed the door shut and jogged into the Café. Dickhead.
I did my usual and headed straight to the Jukebox. I stood perusing the choice jingling the coins in my hand when I felt her presence behind me.
"Hello again." She said over my shoulder. I turned from her reflection in the glass case to face her fully. With one hand resting on the case the other went to my rear trouser pocket where it found more coins to jingle.
"Hi." I managed a smile right off; I was definitely warming to this woman.
She suddenly held her hand out to me. "I'm sorry but I totally forgot to introduce myself yesterday." She smiled shyly. "I'm Ella Reid, I own the Café."
I pushed off the Jukebox to take her hand in mine. "Det.." I stalled briefly. "Saxon Brown." Though her grip was firm her eyes were soft and I swam in them for a moment.
"Nice to meet you.... Saxon." She turned to the Jukebox. "Have you decided yet?" She shifted her gaze back to me, a question appearing in her eyes and I wondered if her words held a double meaning.
I returned her gaze and answered both her meanings. "I like to take my time over these things."
She nodded smiling, understanding. "Fair enough. Would you mind if I selected one? Just something to listen to while you makeup your mind?"
"Sure, go ahead." I stepped aside to allow her access. I watched as she ran her index finger down the glass until she came to what she was looking for. She slipped a coin in and pressed the letter and numbers of her choice. "There, all yours... Detective."
She smirked at my raised eyebrow. "Shall I get you and your partner your usual?" All I could do was nod and muster a small "Yeah, thanks."
I watched her make her way over to the counter. The Jukebox had pulled her choice and placed it on the turntable, I heard the crackle of the needle, then the words of Frank Wilson's - Do I love you (indeed I do) echoed loudly in my ears. I knew them well. She turned to look at me over her shoulder with a shy question in her eyes before disappearing into the back.
Here I am on bended knees
I lay my heart down at your feet
Now do I love you
All you have to do is ask
I'll give until there's nothing left
do I love you
As long as there is life in me
Our happiness is guaranteed
I'll fill your heart with ecstasy, forever darling
Do I love you?
Do I love you?
Do I love you?
Indeed I do Indeed I do
As the song continued I turned back to the Jukebox not really seeing the names there. If I was in any doubt about her before, I was in no doubt now. She'd shown me her hand and laid her cards on the table for me to see. Which scared me; I didn't want the complication never mind the heartache, hers or mine. My time in New York was nearly up I was due to go back to England in the not too distant future. What was the sense in starting something I couldn't finish? But boy did I ever want to start something!
I was in the back of the shop out of sight; I had my back pressed up against the wall next to the entrance that led back out front. My heart was pounding big time and could feel the sweat that had sprung up between my breasts. I could not have made myself any clearer to her bar from grabbing her and pressing my lips against hers. I had shocked myself with my baldness I wasn't usually so obvious. But I couldn't shop thinking about her, wanting to be with her and yet I hardly knew her, didn't know her! But I just felt drawn to her, I couldn't help myself.
I pulled myself together and went back out front to get her order ready. I glanced over towards the Jukebox, she was just standing there staring at it, I doubted actually seeing it. Then the door opened disturbing her thoughts and a man entered dressed in a business suite. She looked up and followed him to the counter.
I popped extra chocolates into her bag and she handed me the bills silently, aware of the customer who stood beside her checking out the overhead menu boards. Her fingers bushed mine briefly as we made the exchange.
As she turned to walk away I couldn't hold the words in and I called after her. "See you later....?" It was a deliberate question, not a parting gesture. She turned to face me, her eyes bluer than I'd ever seen them.
She nodded once. "Yeah, see you later."
That was the last I saw of her. Her partner had come in for their lunch order later that day, I could see her in the back seat of their car speaking to a middle aged man with curly dark hair. The next day some other cops were parked outside, then the following day there wasn't anybody parked outside at all, but I'd heard police sirens mid morning, which wasn't unusual but it made me think of her, not that I'd stopped thinking of her.
I should've been sleeping, but I wasn't, yet I was exhausted. I was leaning against my Brooklyn apartment window frame looking out at the breaking dawn sky. If I just leaned to the right a little and stood on my tiptoes I would be able to see across the East River to the Manhattan Skyline, but I couldn't be arsed. It had rained overnight and the ground was still wet. I watched a jogger run along the sidewalk and nearly slip on the wet leaves. I loved autumn, the fresh mornings but still enough sun to be warm through the day. The golden yellows and blood reds of the leaves, but my favourite was the light. At this time of year the light is so rich and there's so much depth to it, it makes everything look so vibrant and beautiful. A photographers dream.
But on this fine autumn morning I had a blinding headache from the lack of sleep and all the fucking paperwork I'd been doing for the past week. Not to mention the constant images of Ella I had storming through my brain. I'd not been back to the Café since the case came to a head last week. I'd not had the time and to be honest I think I'd been avoiding it, avoiding her.
I needed to focus but I was struggling. There was still work to be done on the case and that was taking up all of my time. Plus I'd had a call from my Governor back in England, things had calmed down over there and it was looking positive for my return.
A tune and some words danced through my head and I thought of her again. Picturing her in my minds eye made me ache. I rested my head against the window frame and closed my eyes to visualise her more clearly. Imagining, running my fingers over her skin and through her hair. I needed to shake myself free of this, these feelings I was having. Were they even real? I didn't know. All I knew was I couldn't be having them if I were to return home, they definitely couldn't come with me. I had to find out if they were real and would they keep me here if they were or could I walk away from them? I had a lot to do and I lot to think about.
It was early and Mary had just arrived. I watched her as she put bagels behind the glass display counter. My chin was held up by the palm of my hand, elbow braced against the table top I was sitting at, a cleaning cloth sat on the surface motionless. She glanced over to me and stopped her work. A worry line creased her forehead. "You okay sweetie? You've been a bit quiet lately."
I stood quickly, dragging myself from my stupor. "Yeah, I'm fine. I was just thinking." I grabbed the cloth and quickly wiped the surface of the table.
She looked at me with suspicious brown eyes obviously not believing a word I'd said. "Well if I ever get that look while I'm 'just thinking' slap me coz I think I may have dropped off with my eyes open." She resumed her work, but her eyes kept moving back to me.
I smiled weakly appreciating her concern but not really wanting to elaborate on my thoughts so I made my excuses. "I didn't sleep much last night and I'm just a bit zoned out today that's all."
I made my way over to the Jukebox ignoring her stares. I took the cloth I held in my hand and began to clean the glass front with it.
Mary came up behind me and put a hand on my shoulder. "Why don't you have a day off Ella? You need a break from this place, go out and enjoy yourself. I can manage."
My hand stilled and I sighed. "Yeah maybe." I said turning to face her.
"There's no maybe about it girl. Steven will do some extra hours. Go'wan get before I whack ya with my broom." She grinned, her kind eyes twinkling.
Steven was a friend of Mary's younger brother; they were students at the University. He worked a few hours a day for us at our busiest times. "Well I suppose I did want to see that Annie Leibovitz exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum." I loved her photography, I had some of her prints up in the Cafe and I hadn't had a break from the place in months.
"I'll call Steve." Mary squeezed my shoulder, then turned and headed out the back.
I leaned my hip against the Jukebox looking down at the fingerprints still smudging the glass. I briefly wondered if any of them belonged to a certain English Detective.
We'd had a tip-off come in that morning and the boss sent us back down to the Taxi depot to recover some evidence before it could go walkabout. We'd passed the Café on the way in and I tried my damnedest not to look in through the windows as we drove past. I could feel McKenzie's eyes on me the whole time.
Inside my guts were churning, I felt drawn to the place. I could feel it pulling me in. I pulled up against the curb and cut the engine. McKenzie followed me into the Taxi place without a word spoken between us.
After spending almost an hour in there we emerged with what we'd been looking for. I threw McKenzie the car keys and he jumped in the driver's seat. I opened the passenger door but didn't get in. He looked over at me when I leaned in to speak to him. "Listen I'll meet you back at the Station. I've just got to go somewhere."
He looked at me puzzled then I swear I almost saw the bulb light up in his eyes. "Well it's about god damn time." He said grinning at me like a mad man.
I shook my head. "Hey don't get ahead of yourself mate, I've just got a couple of things to sort out that's all."
He raised his eyebrows and gave me a pointed look. "If you say so Sax." He looked over his shoulder down the street towards the Café. "Well, while you're sorting 'things' out I'll make a start on going through the evidence we've just so effectively acquired." He looked back to me and grinned as he started the car. "Take your time Romeo and bring me back one of those Beef Bombs."
I shut the door and watched him pull out into the traffic. Once he was out of sight I walked down the street in the direction of the Café. I checked my watch; it was 10:43 am. Plenty of time before the lunch time rush started.
I entered the Café and I immediately scanned the place for her, it was pretty busy already and I couldn't see her right off. I walked over to the Jukebox giving myself a few moments to clam my nerves. I scanned the artists and titles, selecting one I popped in the coins. I scanned the room again seeing the other woman I'd seen serving in here before, she was collecting cups from tables and placing them onto a tray. I walked up to the counter where a young sandy haired man was serving two student type looking girls. I waited my turn feeling my throat drying up with every second that passed.
"What can I get ya." The young man asked. His eyes moved down to my belt and I realised that I'd left my badge clipped to it. When his eyes met mine again I smiled trying to quash the worried look I saw in them.
"Don't worry I'm not here on business, I'm just looking for Ella, is she here?"
He looked relieved. "No, she's out. She's taking the day off today."
Just my bloody luck I thought. "Do you know when she's due back?" I asked not really feeling the confidence I always seemed to exude externally.
He shrugged and shook his head. "No, sorry. Can I take a message?"
Fuck it. "No. Thanks anyway." Forgetting all about McKenzie's sandwich request I turned to leave feeling deflated. I hated it when I planned something and things beyond my control buggered it up. It made me not want to pursue it anymore and that's what I was feeling right then. Like I could just forget all about it and shrug it off, shrug her off.
"Hey, can I at least tell her who called?" He called after me.
"Nah, don't worry about it." I left the shop pissed off with myself for getting all worked up for nothing. What the fuck was I doing? I asked myself. As I made my way back to the Station I vowed to get my head screwed back on and focus on the case and not get side tracked again.
I was feeling much more like myself after seeing Annie's photographs, they'd taken me away from my thoughts for a few hours and I revelled in a fantasy world of my own creation imagining I'd been the one who'd taken those pictures, the one behind the lens. What the sounds and smells might have been, the atmosphere and the aftermath of the shots. The thought behind them and the people in them.
When I stepped through the door of the Café I was greeted by a smiling Mary who linked her arm through mine. Squeezing me she said. "Now you look much better. Did you have a nice day?"
I gave her a big smile as she walked me over to an empty sofa where we plopped down next to each other. "Yes thanks, it was great. The exhibition was really good. You should go and see it." I began to remove my jacket. "She takes some really amazing shots; I wish I was that good."
Mary smiled at my enthusiasm. "You take great photographs, and not just rock stars like hers, you take great photos of all sorts of subjects."
"There weren't just rock stars, there were actors, politicians, plus her personal family photos.....she'd even done the Queen of England."
I saw something flicker in Mary's eyes and she raised her hand to her head like she'd just remembered something. "Taking about the Queen of England, she came in today."
Huh? What the hell? I looked at her puzzled, my brows furrowed. "What? The Queen... of England.... was here?" I asked incredulously.
She giggled. "Noooo! Silly! You know?" She raised her hand above her head to emphasise height. "Tall, dark and British. She came in earlier."
I was still trying to catch up, but I harboured a kernel of hope who she might be talking about.
"Your English cop lady." She elaborated finally.
I blushed. I couldn't help it. "She isn't my anything." I replied as casually as I could.
Mary had the decency not to say anything to that. I cast grateful eyes upon her. "Did she pop in for lunch?" I didn't dare hope she'd come in just to see me.
Her smile was regretful. "I'm not sure honey, I just saw her briefly as she was leaving. Steven served her."
Steven had left for the day, not that I would've asked him outright. "It's a shame I missed her, I always like the music she puts on." I was trying to kid myself and Mary that I wasn't absolutely gutted that I hadn't been here when she'd come in. I think Mary saw right through my ruse.
"Yeah it would've been nice to say 'Hi' again huh?" She patted my knee. "Maybe she'll come by again?"
I smiled wistfully deciding it was futile trying to hide my hope. "Yeah, maybe."
"Well." Mary pushed herself up out of the Sofa and straightened her apron. "She'd be a damn fool if she didn't." She said as she walked away and began clearing things away ready for closing up. I sat for another minute or two daydreaming about a remote possibility.
To my sorrow more days came and went without any sign of her or her partner or any other cops for that matter.
The case was closed; we'd successfully nailed the perpetrators to the wall. I'd had a couple of days to gather my wits and I'd spent some of that time coming down from all the excitement. I'd also taken a few steps back to examine the situation I'd found myself in and consider my options, both professionally and personally. I usually did this self assessment while walking the streets of Manhattan.
As I walked the streets on such an occasion, the sun cast long dark shadows across the ground from the skyscrapers above my head; some streets were completely void of any sunlight at all and temperature had taken a plunge from the sunny warmth of earlier. Stupidly I'd gone out without a jacket and I was starting to feel the chill in the air. It was a clear indication that it was getting late in the afternoon. I'd been walking aimlessly for at least a couple of hour's not really paying attention to the time or where I was heading. I slid one hand into the back pocket of my jeans to feel the contents one more time. I felt the folded piece of paper but didn't remove it. It was a printed email which contained the details of my flight back to England. It had arrived the day before and I had been staring at it on and off since I'd printed it out.
I looked around me for the first time in ages and noted the street was crowed with shoppers and the vendors goods looked like tourist tack. I glanced around some more noting I was on Canal Street. I checked my watch for the time, it was getting late so I took a deep shaky breath and picked up my pace heading west towards Sixth Avenue, which would eventually take me north to the Village.
I'd locked the Café up for the night and I was just finishing up the cleaning when there was a knock on the door. I couldn't quite make out the figure on the other side of the glass, it was dark out and the lights reflected the inside of my shop back at me. I opened the door and almost didn't recognise the woman leaning against my doorframe with her hands in her back pockets. It was her, she was dressed in dark form fitting jeans that flared just over her desert boots and a tailored black button down shirt, the sleeves rolled up just past her elbows. Her hair looked windswept and her cheeks were flushed. She was a sight for sore eyes.
"Hi there." She said with a hopeful smile sounding slightly breathless.
"Good evening Detective Brown." I smiled warmly at her.
She narrowed her eyes slightly but smiled back. "I'm off duty, please... call me Saxon."
I nodded. "Okay."
We stood silently looking at each other, until she said. "I was in the neighbourhood and was hoping to...well to get here before you closed for the evening." She shrugged regretfully. "Guess I didn't quite make opening hours huh?" She seemed a little nervous, not her usual cool self.
"Not quite, did you want some Tea?" I asked hoping it wasn't only Tea she wanted.
"Yes..." She glanced over my shoulder at the empty Café. "...well yes and no." She seemed to rethink her plan and took a steep back. "But don't worry, you're closed now, I'll come back another time. Sorry.." She started to move away until I stopped her by putting a hand on her arm, she felt slightly chilled to the touch. Someone had to take charge and it wasn't going to be her.
Her eyes dropped to my hand lightly gripping her arm, and then they met mine and I released her quickly feeling myself flush. "Don't be silly, come on in." I beckoned her in with a brief wave of the same hand. "Besides you look cold." I stepped back pulling the door open to let her pass before closing it and locking up again.
She stepped past me rubbing her hands together. "Thanks, I forgot my jacket."
She stood in the middle of the shop looking uncomfortable. So I did my best to make her relax. "G'wan sit down while I get your drink." I went to the counter to see about her Tea. "So.... Saxon, how've you been? We've not seen you around much lately."
"No, the case blew wide open." She visibly relaxed and perched on the arm of one of the two old chesterfield sofas I have in the Café. One foot planted on the floor the other swinging freely. "It's been bloody chaos for the last two weeks." She ran her fingers through her dark hair. "We've been doing all-nighters to get it wrapped up."
I was relived to hear where she'd been, not that I thought she was avoiding me but I'd wondered. "Wow, that must've been exhausting." I glanced around and realised that I'd shut all the machines off. I debated on inviting her upstairs to my apartment for Tea.
"Yeah, it was." She rubbed her face with one hand. "I'm still knackered now."
"So the case is closed then?" I asked. It had suddenly occurred to me that she might be leaving soon.
"Yeah, all done and dusted." She looked at me like she was thinking the same thing I was.
I made a decision there and then, I wasn't sure if it was the right one but I told myself I'd think about that one later. "The machines have been switched off, so there's no hot water down here." She watched me silently. "So we can go upstairs to have Tea if you like, I have a kettle up there, it would be quicker than starting these up, so.." I finished nervously realising I was fast approaching rambling status again.
"Okay." Was all she said as she stood up.
"Right then." I wiped my palms on the back of my jeans. "It's this way."
The apartment door opened into a small hallway/foyer with four doors attached to it. Two were closed but the other two were open and I could see what looked like a sitting room and a bedroom. She led me towards the sitting room which had nice wooden flooring with a large green and cream rug and two tan leather sofas in it. The room morphed into a kitchen with a dining table as the room divider, done out in sage greens and antique white to match the sitting room.
"Nice place." I said as I took in her home.
"Small place." She countered.
I laughed. "Yeah I guess by American standards it is. You forget I'm a Brit and anything you'd call small is normal size for us and anything you'd call huge we'd call bloody ridiculous."
She laughed as she headed into the kitchen. "Yeah, I guess it's just what you get used to."
She filled the kettle and stitched it on, I walked to the kitchen and leant my back against a counter I hoped wasn't in her way.
"So tell me how you get a name like Saxon." She looked at me sideways making my stomach flip.
I cleared my throat and crossed my arms over my chest to keep from pulling her to me. "Well, my parents were both teachers, my Dad taught Geography and my Mum taught History and they conspired between them to make my teenage years a living hell by naming their only daughter Saxon. It means 'One with Sword' or 'Of the Sword People' or some other such Sword wielding thing."
She turned and rested one hand against the same counter I was leaning against. If I were to reach out with my right arm I would be close enough to place my hand around the back of her head and draw her towards me.
Her other hand went to her hip. "I guessed it would mean something Anglo-Saxony like that." She smiled.
"Yeah well I get to wield guns instead of swords." I said regretfully only just noticing the hazel fleck in her green eyes.
Her face turned thoughtful. "You came to say goodbye didn't you?"
I swallowed and my heart rate tripled. "I wouldn't phrase it like that."
"How would you phrase it?"
Her gaze was too intense; I had to look away for a second to gather some courage. I turned to face her fully my body a mirror image of hers, portraying confidence on the outside but anything but on the inside. "What if I came to see if there was something to make me stay?"
She looked like a scared rabbit for a brief moment, glad I wasn't the only one. Just then, as if on cue the kettle pinged, the sound of the boiling water broke the tension. She grinned and put her hand against her chest in a teasing fashion. "What? You don't have Tea in England, and you want to stay here and drink all mine!" She may have been joking but I could see her nervousness was still there by the way her hand trembled slightly.
I smiled, relieved she hadn't freaked out yet and relieved she cared enough to be nervous. I played along. "Nooo, we have Tea by the bleedin' bucket load."
The sound of the boiled water settled around us and a silence fell across the room, the two of us just smiling at one another. I wasn't gonna let this moment pass, it was now or never. I took a small step closer, my hands moving up to slide against either side of her face and neck, my fingertips just brushing the edges of her hair. She reverted back to the scared rabbit mode but didn't pull away. My voice was barely a whisper when I leaned in and breathed the words against her lips. "But England definitely doesn't have you."
My gaze moved from her lips to her eyes, I searched them for a reason to stop, but there wasn't any so I closed the gap between us. Her eyes fluttered shut, as did mine. I tentatively tasted her, slowly at first teasing at her lips. They were full and moist against mine and when I felt her respond I think I swayed, almost losing my balance.
I felt her hands settle on my waist, I could feel the warmth of them through my shirt. One of my hands went to the back of her head so I could draw her nearer to me. Our lips were sliding against one another now with intent. Her lips parted and I felt her hot breath hit my face in a short burst before she was back with me our tongues searching, gliding, pulsing against the other. I was dizzy with desire and my hands began to trail down her neck and shoulders, moving around her back to pull her body even closer. I moved one hand to the small of her back, reaching just under her t-shirt to touch silky warm skin. The other moved further down over her jeans to cup her arse, causing her to gasp in my mouth as it brought our hips together. I felt her hands move into my hair and we kissed harder, deeper until taking a breath was vital. I rested my forehead against hers, our breath mingling.
"Jesus." She panted.
"My thoughts exactly." I whispered catching my breath. I had both hands on the small of her back under her t-shirt, my fingers moved lightly across her skin eliciting goose bumps along their journey.
She pulled her head back a fraction to look into my eyes, her pupils were huge. "No more thinking." She breathed before crushing her lips against mine again. An urgency about it, she sucked my lower lip into her mouth and I felt my hands on the hem of her t-shirt, grasping it and tugging it up her torso until it registered in her brain for her to pull away to raise her arms. I tossed the shirt to the floor, immediately pushing her against the counter as our mouths met again. My leg pressed against her to settle between her thighs. My hands went to her bare stomach, caressing their way up to cup her breasts. I rubbed my thumbs over her nipples through the material of her bra. Her back arched and I moved my mouth to her neck, sucking and licking at her skin, her breath hot in my ear. Her hands reached between us to the buttons on my shirt. One by one she undid them and I left her breast to help shed it to the floor. Her hands went straight to the clasp on my Bra and undid it, I pulled it free and tossed it aside doing the same to hers. We were naked from the waist up our hands greedily caressing and teasing each other, while our mouths locked onto each other once again.
I could feel one hand in my hair; the other was gently caressing my breast, her thumb circling my hardened nipple, driving me crazy. I found the top button on her jeans and popped it open, then the next button and the next until they were all open. I couldn't wait any longer and slipped my hand under the waistband of her jeans and around the back and under her underwear to cup her bare arse. I squeezed it gently, feeling her thumb press firmly against my nipple, around and around, like our tongues, like my caress of her arse all in rhythm, her hips started to move matching that pace. My hand squeezed and moved around to her hip, the other on the small of her back. Lips were crushing and bruising. Our breasts sliding against each other, the contact exquisite. I was on fire.
My hand glided over her hip to the edge of her curls. She pushed against me and I slid my fingers down and through her rich thick desire. I was slow, rubbing down her length, around and back through making her squirm and gasp into my mouth. I spread her with my fingers, slick and smooth as I teased her, her hips rocking back and forth in a slow grind. When I entered her, her mouth left mine to gasp for air and I swear I heard my name in that breath. I kissed her neck and glided in and out of her. One hand went to my shoulder to hold on as her legs began to quiver. Her other hand came to rest gently on my cheek and I kissed the inside of her wrist. Then her head flung back and her eyes fluttered closed. She was so beautiful when she came.
I breathed hard into her neck as she held me up with one arm. My legs were like jelly and my heart rate resembled a team of runaway horses. Her hand was still in my underwear lightly stoking me as the last of the aftershocks left me.
The words she whispered in my ear brought me back to myself. "God, you're so beautiful."
We looked at each other and I was speechless to what had just happened, but I knew I wanted to touch her the way she'd touched me. I leaned in to kiss her, she tasted so sweet, but I couldn't stand there much longer without collapsing. "Can we continue this in my bedroom?" I kissed her again, not waiting for her answer.
She gently pulled her hand free from my underwear and stepped back to reach down to unlace her boots. She kicked them free and removed her socks. She looked so damned incredibly sexy standing there in just her jeans and nothing else. I followed her lead and kicked off my flip flops. I took her hand in mine, barefoot and on shaky legs I led her to my bedroom.
Without a word spoken between us we removed the rest of our clothing, which only amounted to jeans and underwear. My eyes danced over her body, long, lean and toned but curvaceous in all the right places. She was absolutely stunning "You're the beautiful one." I said my eyes raking over her again.
Her eyes were on me, all over me filled with want. I approached her slowly and with the backs of my knuckles I let my hand leisurely slide from her neck down the valley between her breasts, down to her navel where I turned it over and spread my fingers out over her belly. I kissed her neck, her chest and stepped around her to kiss the top of her arm, her shoulder blades. My hands sliding around her torso as I went. Her breathing was getting heaver the more kisses and caresses I bestowed upon her. I moved her long dark hair to one side to kiss and lick her back, the nape of her neck and behind her ear. I pressed my breasts against her back enjoying the feeing of my nipples grazing her skin and my hips against her backside. I let my hand reach around over one hip not stopping until I reached the trimmed patch of dark hair at the juncture of her thighs. I caressed her breast with my other hand, teasing and pinching her nipple.
Her head lolled back giving me more access to kiss her neck. Both her hands went to cover both of mine. She widened her stance and guided my hand down between her legs to the place she needed me the most. Together we set a rhythm with firm gentle stokes through the liquid desire I found there. Her breath was coming out in short gasps now and she pressed my hand harder over her breast and then reached around over her head to slide her fingers through the hair on the back of my head. Her hips started to move, grinding in small circles against my hand. Without breaking the sensuous contact I came around her front and gently nudged her backwards towards my bed. Pushing her down onto it I climbed on top of her. Her hands cupped my backside as she spread her legs to let me in. I continued to stroke her as I sucked a hard nipple into my mouth, flicking it with my tongue. Her voice drifted to me between her pants for air.
That was the first time I remember her calling me by my name, if I hadn't been extremely busy at that moment I would've laughed at the absurdity of it.
I kissed my way down over her ribs dipping my tongue into her belly button, swirling it around making her hips rise off the bed. I brought both my hands to rest on her hips as I kissed the tops of her thighs then her inner thighs to the beauty within. One of her hands went to the back of my head to guide me on my way. With the other she reached for one of mine where she entwined our fingers together. I glided over her slick flesh time and time again, swirling and flicking her intimately. Brushing with the flat of my tongue then teasing with the very tip of it. She was moving in time with me, not sure who was setting the pace, not caring either way, but it was getting faster and faster until her body jerked up eyes screwed shut, her heals digging into the bed and her hand gripping mine as she came hard in my mouth. I stayed with her until she'd ridden the last spasm out and the sound of her final gasp hit my ears.
She pulled me up to kiss me long and slow and I basked in every moment.
As I laid there I could hear rain hitting the window outside. I was on my back, my head rested against a pillow. Her blonde head was on my chest and her body nestled up against mine, her arm slung across my stomach. I circled her back with my right arm and my fingertips were making idle patterns against her skin. I felt comfortable and totally relaxed with her in my arms.
As if suddenly noticing something she raised her upper body up on one elbow. I watched curiously as she gently traced the small scar I have on my right breast with her index finger; I could sense her mind tripping over the questions in her head. After a moment I felt her ribs expand and without looking up at me she spoke.
"Will you stay?" Very slowly she raised shy questioning eyes to meet mine.
I gazed back, looking deeper than I had ever looked before. I don't think she was just asking me to stay the night, but I couldn't say for sure. I reached up with the hand that was laid against her back and bushed a blonde strand from her eyes. My answer was simple and it came from my heart.
"Yes. Yes I will stay."