On Forgetting Ch. 06byewebie©
I think it'll take 3 more instalments to wrap up this story. Thanks to everyone reading! I appreciate the comments and feedback. I know some people loved the twist, some people hated it... It was planned from the start, and I'm sorry if it's not what you were looking for. As this is the first story I've posted here, I know I don't have much of a track record to judge against. I just hope you stick it out and see where it goes.
I plan to finish this before I head back to work (which happens to be Jan 5th... Ah! Soon!) so all the chapters should be up shortly after the 5th, if not before then :)
Again, I do appreciate the feedback!
Thanks for reading,
Langdon held her breath as Connor's lips met hers. His kiss was gentle at first, his lips feathered across hers, teasing, tempting, and leaving her wanting nothing more than for him to kiss her like he meant it. She sighed as the kiss ended, shivering at the sensation of his chest brushing against hers. "Don't for a second think," he whispered, his lips tracing a line along her jaw. "That you're getting off that easily."
She gasped as he found a sensitive spot just behind her ear. "I wish I could get off that easily."
Connor froze, his lips resting against her neck. Langdon realised what she had said and a deep blush suffused her face. She could feel the movement of his mouth when he smiled before whispering, "If getting off is what you want, I'm sure I could oblige you." She hesitated. Perhaps it took her a second too long to respond, and Connor groaned, pushing himself up onto his elbows. "Yeah, I know. Too much. Too fast."
Langdon wanted to deny it. She wanted to grab him by the front of his shirt and drag him back, to have him kiss her until she couldn't remember which way was up. She wanted so many things, but she couldn't begin to find the words. She furrowed her brow and tried to come up with something, anything to tell him. Connor spoke first, "I get it, it's ok." He pressed a kiss to her forehead and rolled off to the side, swinging his legs over the side of the bed and sitting up. "Laney," he began.
"No, Connor," she scrambled up to her knees, reaching for him.
He turned and captured her hand as it reached his arm, patting it gently. "I have an idea." His smile was strained, but comforting. "I know this is weird. And apparently I have trouble keeping my hands to myself."
"Connor," she tried to interrupt.
He squeezed her hand and gave a wry smile. "It's not often that you get the opportunity to hit the reset button. And as strange as it is, we've got that. So, how about we take advantage of it?"
She shook her head. "I don't understand."
"I'm suggesting that we start over." Her continued blank look drew a chuckle from him. "Tomorrow, I'm going to take you out on a date."
"Sure." He chucked her under the chin. "I've got a few errands I have to run tomorrow, and when I get back, we'll have a first date. A second, first date."
"So... we're going to start dating?" Langdon asked.
"We're already dating," he corrected. "Well, we're past dating, so we'll just take a step back and start at that again. We can play the 'get to know you' game. What do you say?"
"Are you asking me out?" she asked softly. A blush coloured her cheeks. Self-confidence when it came to work was never a problem. Self-confidence when it came to the opposite sex, she was quite lacking. And while Connor seemed to put most of her insecurities at ease, Langdon couldn't rid herself of all of them.
Connor's mouth pulled up at the side into a sexy, lop-sided grin. "Only if you're saying yes." Langdon nodded a yes that had Connor laughing. "Pick you up at six?"
"Well, I'll have to ask my dad first," she muttered, his humour slightly infectious.
"Then I promise to have you home by curfew."
Langdon rolled her eyes, "No fun."
"Ok, I have a bit of work to get done before tomorrow morning. And you," he tweaked her nose, "need to get your beauty sleep if you want Prof to let you back on the wards." Langdon pouted. Regardless of how tired she was, she didn't like being told what to do. "Don't give me that look, you've been running on empty for awhile now."
"I'll run you on empty," she muttered.
"As much as I'd like to see what that means, you're going to bed." He stood and stooped to kiss her forehead. "Get some sleep. Big day tomorrow."
Langdon couldn't suppress a smile. "Fine."
But it wasn't fine. Try as she might, she couldn't find peaceful sleep. Her body was still tingling from Connor's embrace, and she was craving completion. It left her restless and tossing in the bed, and even when sleep came, it wasn't restful.
She was running. Langdon could feel her lungs burning from the combination of the cold air and the exhaust from traffic, but she kept running. She could hear feet pounding on the pavement behind her and a jolt of fear and adrenaline gave her a burst of speed as she cleared the alleyway. She flew out on to the quay, dodging traffic to reach the bridge. Somehow she knew if she could make it to the other side of the river, it would be ok, but the quay was open and exposed. She knew she could be seen, and she was vulnerable. She put her head down and sprinted for the bridge.
The Millennium Bridge was just ahead and she winced as her heels hit the rough metal grating, losing traction for a moment on the icy surface. This winter was colder in Dublin than any in recent history, and the early sunsets made for complete darkness by half four every afternoon. But the dark gave her anonymity. A loud metallic ping sounded from nearby and she flinched. Her muscles were burning, but she ran harder. It was less than 200 yards to the South side, and she knew she could disappear into Temple Bar.
The usual pedestrian traffic on the streets was lighter due to the cold, but Langdon was still dodging people. The dark outline of broad shoulders loomed in front of her and she skidded to change directions in an attempt to avoid ploughing into the person. And then she was airborne. Her body flipped through the air and she saw sky and river in one breath. She screamed. She flailed her arms in a desperate attempt to catch the bridge. Her fingers clutched at the slick edge of the bridge, her body jerking roughly as she momentarily stopped her descent. Pain shot through her arms and shoulders as her fingers slipped, unable to find purchase in the metal. She screamed again as she fell, the ice rushing toward her. The last thing she heard was Connor yelling her name, "Laney!"
"Laney!" Connor shouted for a second time as her body convulsed sharply in his arms. He shook her until she opened her eyes.
Langdon's fingers reflexively dug into Connor's tee shirt, as her eyes struggled to focus in the dim lighting of their bedroom. "Wha...?"
"Hey," Connor breathed softly, brushing hair back from her forehead. "You were having a nightmare." Connor rested the back of his hand against her forehead then her cheek. "God, Laney, you're ice cold. Stay here."
Langdon shivered as Connor left the bed, the loss of his warmth was palpable. Her heart was still racing and she could feel sweat running down her back, but neither could distract her from the chill that seemed to permeate every inch of her body. She huddled under the blankets and took a few deep breaths to calm herself before Connor returned.
Connor flipped on the lights as he came back into the room, carrying an armful of warmth. He set a steaming mug down on the nightstand and tucked a hot water bottle under her feet. Ignoring her protests, he helped her into a large hooded sweatshirt and pulled a goofy knit hat onto her head. "Oh, come on. This isn't necessary," she complained.
"That would be much more convincing if I couldn't hear your teeth chattering." He slid into the bed behind her and pulled the blankets up around them, pressing the warm mug of hot chocolate into her hands. "Drink that." His arms folded her into the curve of his body and he rested his chin on her shoulder.
"Cocoa?" She laughed.
"Trust me," he whispered against her neck. "I'm a doctor." Langdon closed her eyes and let the heat of the mug soak into her hands, the heat of Connor's body warming her from the outside as his calm presence and comforting murmurs warmed her from the inside. She sipped the hot chocolate and a final shiver chased through her frame. "Better?" he asked softly.
Langdon nodded. "I think so."
"You're still cold," he rubbed his palms up and down her arms.
Langdon giggled. "You're going to make me spill my cocoa."
He reached around and pulled the mug from her hands, returning it to the bedside table. "There, now we don't have to worry about it." He pulled her closer to him, nuzzling the side of her neck. "Want to talk about it?"
She wove her fingers into his and brought his arm across to her shoulder, rubbing her nose against his forearm. He was so warm and he smelled good. She shook her head. "I don't really want to talk about it."
"Ok," he kissed her cheek where it emerged from beneath the woolly hat. "How about we just do this for a while?" Langdon shifted to press her side against Connor's solid chest, snuggling under his chin. Connor chuckled, "Your nose is freezing."
Langdon rubbed her nose on the exposed patch of skin just above the collar of his tee shirt. "You're still going to let me into work tomorrow, right?"
"Can we talk about it tomorrow?" he responded softly. Langdon nodded, grumbling when Connor shifted to turn out the light. He laughed again, "Good." He scooted down in the bed, bringing Langdon with him. "Because I think I'm just going to hold you for the rest of the night." Langdon burrowed in the blankets, murmuring her consent.
Langdon fidgeted with the hem of her dress. Connor had accompanied her to meet with Prof and negotiate her return to work, which was now set for Monday morning. He had dropped her back at the flat with instructions to 'dress fancy' for their date. Now, he was out running his errands at God only knows where, and she was feeling nerves the likes of which she had never experienced. Connor was due back in five minutes and Langdon thought she was going to throw up with the butterflies in her stomach.
Her cell phone rang and she nearly jumped out of her skin. Glancing at the display, it read as a number neither she nor the phone recognised. "Hello?"
"Langdon, it's Paul."
She frowned. What was he doing calling, especially after work on a Friday night? "Hey, Paul. What can I do for you?"
"Oh, well, me and some of the guys are going out for a few drinks and thought you might want to join us?"
"Paul?" The noise in the background on his end was making it hard for Langdon to hear what he was saying.
"Yeah? Um, you know the Glimmer Man? Can you hear me?"
Langdon frowned again. "I've got plans tonight, Paul. Connor's taking me out. Maybe some other time, ok?" She found herself practically shouting the last sentence into the phone.
"Oh, ok." He sounded defeated. Or was it annoyed? "Maybe later."
"Later, Paul," she said then stared at the phone incredulously when the call was disconnected suddenly. Did he hang up on me? Langdon slowly released her fingers from the couch pillow she didn't realise she was clutching in her lap. If he was always this socially awkward, no wonder he creeped her out a little. Her phone rang again. "What?" she answered.
"Hey, babe. You ready to go?"
Langdon couldn't help but smile as Connor's voice carried through the phone. Even his voice was sexy, and she felt suddenly at ease. "Yeah, I've dressed up all fancy just like you asked."
"Well, what are you waiting for? I'm downstairs."
Langdon shot up from the couch and scrambled into her shoes and coat, nearly falling down the stairs in her rush. She flew out the door and nearly collided with Connor where he was waiting on the stoop. He caught her, standing her back on her feet and holding onto her arms for a little longer than necessary. Langdon giggled nervously, gave an apologetic shrug, and tried to straighten her dress and coat.
Connor swallowed over the sudden dryness in his throat, giving into the urge to stare. Laney had curled her hair into loose ringlets that spilled over her shoulders. Where her coat was still unbuttoned, he could make out the folds of a simple, little, black dress-his favourite dress. She looked gorgeous, and he was in big trouble. Maybe the date thing was a bad idea. He shook himself and plastered a brave smile on his face, producing a single long-stem rose from within his coat.
Her eyes went wide and two adorable pink spots suffused her cheeks, "Thank you." "Are you sure you want to do dinner?" he grinned wickedly. "I suddenly have the urge to stay in."
This time she blushed completely and a confusing flutter of fear and anticipation seemed to twist her tongue. The embarrassingly loud rumble of her stomach saved her from the awkward silence.
He chuckled, "Good point. I promised you dinner. And this is a first date. You have to go OUT on a first date." Connor offered his arm, "Your chariot awaits." Langdon smiled and allowed him to lead her to his old, beat-up car.
Dinner was a trial of patience for Connor. Everything Langdon did made his fingers itch to touch her. She had been overtly excited by the restaurant he had chosen. He didn't tell her it was the same place they had come for their six-month anniversary. She had let him order for her when he assured her that he knew what she'd like the most, which he knew only because it was the same thing she always ordered when they came here. As they waited for the food to arrive, Connor gave her free reign of the conversation, opting to watch more than speak. She had this habit of biting her lip every time she was about to giggle. And her lower lip quirked ever so slightly when she was about to say something mischievous. And when she was unsure of what to say, she would cover her mouth with the back of her fingers and blink at him from beneath those dark lashes. And every few minutes he had to shake himself to keep from staring. He wanted to call for the bill and take her home and... well, that line of thought would only land him in a cold shower. He cleared his throat and shifted his tie.
What Connor didn't know, was that Langdon was having a similar problem. Maybe it was the fact that they were talking, really talking, but she could feel her well-developed defences slowly wearing down. She had suffered through a large number of bad boyfriends, some of which Connor knew and quite a few that happened before she came to Ireland. Maybe she had told him about them, but she had trouble trusting men. They tended to make much better friends than anything else; it made them far less likely to disappoint if they were just friends. But she trusted Connor. Through this whole ordeal, he had never once let her down. He worked so hard to make her happy. She never doubted his sincerity.
She studied him while they conversed. He smiled while he was talking and the grin was wide enough that it spread to his eyes and into his voice. His voice alone made her feel tingly, but the intensity in his eyes when he met her gaze warmed her down to toes. She caught him staring and she blushed, his expression changing to one of guileless chagrin, the cat that swallowed the canary. That expression, contrasted with the suit and tie, gave the appearance of a little boy dressed up in his daddy's clothes. His dark brown hair was eternally mussed from his nervous habit of running his hands through it and she had to bite back the urge to play with the renegade lock that continually fell across his forehead. His tie was just the tiniest bit crooked; her fingers itched to straighten it. He laughed and eyes lit up, making him look absolutely adorable, and Langdon found it hard to keep track of what she was saying. Turning the conversation back on him, she asked, "So tell me, Connor, where did we go on our first date?"
"You mean, date date? Or where did we first hook up?" he winked at her guilty blush.
"Date date." She remembered where they first hooked up. She remembered being quite aggressive in making that happen.
He shrugged, "Date is such a flexible term." She blinked and the urge to scold him shone on her face. He chuckled. "When we officially started dating, I suppose the first date was dinner and a movie. I took you to see the new Disney movie and then out for pizza."
She made a face, "And I went for that?"
"Hook, line, and sinker. You are a total sucker for Disney movies." He reached across the table and brushed his fingers along her cheek.
"Disney movies?" she raised a brow, trying to keep the shiver that ran down her spine from showing in her face. Every time he touched her, she felt herself go up in flames.
"Or me," he smiled as she felt her face colour deeply. Connor battled with the idea of kissing her, having just decided that it was a brilliant idea when the food arrived. He almost groaned aloud when he realized that he was going to have to sit and watch her eat, because somehow, she managed to be sexy when she was eating.
"Connor, this is fantastic!" she cooed after sampling her meal.
"Knew you'd like it," he smiled. "But I have a request." Langdon flushed having just taken a larger than necessary bite of food, but nodded for him to ask. "Dessert. We're getting it to go." Langdon giggled in spite of the food in her mouth.
They took their time, enjoying the combination of food, wine, and each other's company. The more time she spent with Connor, the more comfortable Langdon became with the idea of Connor as a boyfriend. Once she managed to start him talking about things that were important, she began to recognise how compatible they were. The idea of Connor holding her while she slept actually left her feeling warm all over. When dinner was over, she blushed, but allowed Connor to help her into her coat before taking his arm as he led her from the restaurant.
Outside, the wind was blowing fiercely, and Langdon drew her coat closed against the chill, a shiver raced through her shoulders nonetheless. Connor wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her into the shelter of his side. He pressed a kiss to her temple. "I'll blast the heat as soon as we get to the car," he whispered. They paused across the street from the car. It was a busy main street and the crosswalk was showing a red hand, gathering a large number of pedestrians. "Hold this a minute?" he handed her the paper bag holding the surprise dessert he had ordered and began rummaging in his pockets for the keys.
"Hey!" an angry cry rang out from the back of the group waiting to cross the street. "Somebody help! He just stole my purse!"
The whole crowd shifted as the larger man barrelled into it running at full speed, and people jostled about, either to avoid the thief or attempt to catch him. Langdon had turned when the woman cried out, and found herself on awkward footing with the slant of the curb. One pedestrian stumbled and Connor was bumped sideways, almost crashing into her. "Hey, buddy, watch it," he warned, steadying himself with the help of Langdon's free hand on his shoulder.
Langdon turned from Connor back to the crowd and caught the flash of a black ski mask just as a gloved hand planted on her upper arm and shoved. She felt her whole body pitch backward into the street. Her shoes lost traction and her arms wind milled. The dessert bag went flying into traffic, and her scream was drowned out by the blaring horn of a rapidly oncoming bus.