Moonshadows Ch. 03bytwilight_song©
Author's note: Once again, there's been a lengthy absence in between this chapter and the one previous, and for that I apologize. In addition to that, I've had the same sort of phenomenon with the changing writing styles (not to mention having to rework some of the plot!), so I hope that's not too distracting. Thank you all so much for your patience; your input and continued interest are what keep me coming back. Best wishes to all!
Rafe and I saw quite a lot of one another over the next month.
In between my work and his, we made time to go out to dinner, lunch, and the movies again. We walked through the park and downtown, went to a concert, and even made a visit to a museum one afternoon. Each time, at the end of the date, he would take me in his arms and kiss me. A teasing, coaxing sort of kiss, full of promise and power. And each time my body would melt into his and I'd reel at the edge of letting him initiate me into so much more.
Always, though, something would come up that stayed my decision. Most of the time it was me. Despite everything, I still had the deep-seated suspicion that if I let him —let myself— take things too quickly, he would lose interest and the fantasy would be over. Even while I felt guilty about my own low estimation of my self worth, I thought it was still better than losing his good opinion of me by putting out too quickly. I knew it couldn't last forever, but...
Sometimes, though, he was the one who made the decision for me. His hands would move from my hips, my lower back, my neck, to rest softly on my shoulders where he would hold me in place with a touch that was gentle, but still firm. My eyes would open dreamily as I felt his lips part from mine and I'd see him wearing a tight smile. Affection battled with a curious tension in his face and he would very calmly wish me goodnight, tell me to give him a call when I was able. Then he'd be gone, and I'd find my way back to my bed and touch my pussy with the special urgency that seemed to stem from thinking of him.
I guess it kind of goes without saying that I got pretty well-practiced at the whole masturbation thing. I also made an awkward visit to the local Planned Parenthood, and equipped myself with some birth control pills. You know. Just in case.
It was about three months after we'd first met that we decided to go to another concert, this one outdoors and with quite a turnout. It was actually at the fairgrounds, though for the rest of the year, the space was rented out by the city for various events, most of them concerts or races. This particular show was located in the giant field that, during fair time, was occupied by a forest of tents selling a whole range of merchandise, from the tacky and commonplace to the more rare and quality wares sold by local artists and craftsmen. Now, a giant stage dominated one end of the field, with a fence around the front to keep any rowdy moshers from disrupting the performers, and giant screens overhead to show a more detailed view of the show. All the rest of the space was open and curved up to a small hill, so that you could spread out a blanket and sit once you were out of the foremost three hundred feet of chaos, and still see the action on stage.
That's what Rafe and I had done. We'd set up far enough back that we were in no danger of being trampled, even taking into account things getting wilder as the concert progressed, and he had picked up some sandwiches and beer as well to keep our calories up over the course of the night. I didn't drink, not so much because I was underage, but because I just didn't really like it, so he'd brought me a coke and some water for hydration. His consideration made me blush and beam with pleasure.
The sun had set by the time the first band finished their set. Floodlights placed around the field at semi-regular intervals gave off a low hum as they bathed the area in their bleached glow, and people milled about, chatting with each other while they waited for the roadies to finish changing out the instruments on stage so that the next band could start.
I sat snuggled up next to Rafe, his arm around me and his chest warm against my shoulder and side. He took a swig of his beverage and looked down at me, giving me one of his glorious smiles.
"How ya doin', babe?"
I beamed up at him. "I'm good. You?"
"Mm." Still smiling, he leaned down and gave me a slow kiss. "I'm good too."
My heart gave a little flutter, and I licked my lips. Damn, but he was a good kisser. Suddenly, I wrinkled my nose. "You taste like that," I said, pointing at the beer in his hand and nudging his ribs playfully with my shoulder.
He chuckled; I could feel the rumble from where our bodies touched. "Good thing you're not allowed to drink it, then."
I rolled my eyes. "Indeed, oh, Ancient One."
"Hey, you joke, but I've got four years of experience on ya. That gives me something."
"Yeah, like onset arthritis."
He gave a short laugh and squeezed me closer to his side. His yellow eyes took on a wicked gleam as he set down his beer bottle and shifted on the blanket to face me more directly. "Being a smartass tonight, are we?"
My heart sped up and I felt myself flushing from his intent stare, but I replied breathily, "I prefer the term 'sassy.'"
He grinned. "Whatever it is, I like it." He placed both hands on the blanket on either side of my hips and leaned close, breathing in deeply. Just before his lips met mine, he froze.
I looked at him, puzzled. He had his face turned slightly away from me, and his eyes scanned the crowd around us. His black brows were furrowed slightly in a frown.
He glanced at me for a moment, then sat up, searching around himself in earnest now. "Hang on a sec, baby." His eyes focused on something behind me and I saw his jaw tighten. Concerned, I twisted around and tried to follow his gaze to see what was troubling him, but there were too many people to tell. I turned back to see him rising to his feet, his face serious.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
I started to stand too, but he made a "don't get up" kind of gesture with his hand and said, "Nothing. Don't worry about it. I'm just going to go use the bathroom before the next set starts. I'll be back."
And with that, he strode off, leaving me a little worried and entirely bewildered. I told myself that it really was nothing, like he said, but I'd never seen him act so weird before and it was... disconcerting. I followed him with my eyes, as best as I could in the aimlessly shuffling crowd, and I thought I saw a group of about four large guys amble over to intercept him, but it was too far away to be sure.
Well, I'd just have to ask him about it when he got back.
I pulled my knees up to my chest while I waited, wrapping my arms around them and huddling into myself. It was easy to forget how cold it could get out here at night with Rafe sitting close beside me. Tucked up against him, content and safe, it was like he was my own portable furnace. I rested my chin on my knees and smiled softly.
"Good evening," a cool, male voice intoned smoothly.
I sat up, startled, and glanced to the speaker. My eyes traveled up long legs, and a lean torso to a pale face crowned with inky black hair. While not conventionally handsome, his angular features and eerily dark eyes nevertheless had a sort of magnetic draw to them. He was immaculately put-together, from his simple yet quality clothes —dark, to fit in with the rest of the concert-goers— to his trimmed hair to his neatly shaven jaw. Still, I got the idea that had he not spoken, I wouldn't have given him a second glance. Now, though... Now, there was something strangely compelling about him that I couldn't quite put my finger on.
"Um, hello." I replied timidly.
"Would you mind if I joined you? It seems a shame that a young lady so lovely as yourself should find herself wanting for company on a night like this." Through the overblown, antiquated language, his tone was soft, subtle, and completely impossible to ignore. I wouldn't have put the descriptor "sexy" at the top of my list from looking at him, but in his refined voice were layers of sensuality that sent a shiver down my back. I blushed, part out of habit, part due to the situation, and fumbled for a way to respond.
"That is," he continued, his eyes lingering meaningfully over the half-empty beer bottle and the second, empty sandwich wrapper, "If you're not already spoken for."
I let out an internal sigh of relief; there was my out. "Thanks," I replied, "But my boyfriend should be back from the bathroom soon."
His lips curved in a polite smile, and he nodded his head gracefully. He seemed neither disappointed, nor surprised.
"Perhaps some other time, then."
Don't plan on it, I thought, but all I said aloud was, "Mm." For some reason, he kind of creeped me out. Not in the this-guy's-on-drugs-and-might-get-violent sort of way, but more like I imagined a prey animal might feel when faced with a snake. I wished Rafe would come back.
"Well," he said, inclining his head to me, "Enjoy the rest of the show. It's been a pleasure meeting you, Miss...?" He trailed off and raised an eyebrow questioningly.
"Selene Dalton." I finished for him without hesitation. I gaped. Wait, what the hell was I doing? Why did I just say that? I was trying to get rid of this guy, not tell him more about me!
He smiled again, in a smooth, satisfied sort of way that sent another shiver through me, and not because of the temperature. "Cassian Grey," he replied in kind. "And, as I said, it's been a pleasure. Have a good night, Miss Dalton."
He nodded to me once more, and then walked away. As he passed out of sight, lost among the throngs of people, I let out a relieved breath I didn't know I had been holding. My face felt flushed and I realized my hands were shaking. I looked down at them in surprise, then clenched and relaxed them in determined attempt to make myself calm down. What was wrong with me?
I waited tensely for a few more minutes, as the next set started in a roar of guitars and audience applause until, finally, I spotted Rafe making his way back. It took an exertion of will to keep from jumping up and running over to him, but I didn't want to cause a scene, or alarm him, which I'm sure such behavior would do. So I sat still and waited until he lowered himself to the ground beside me.
"Long line at the bathroom?" I asked over the music.
He glanced at me as he arranged himself more comfortably on the blanket, raising an eyebrow as if to ask where the question was coming from.
"You know," I pressed, "Why it took you so long."
Rafe hesitated a moment, as if assessing, before he calmly took another sip of his beer and said, "Actually, I ran into some of my friends on the way there, so that kept me a little longer than I'd thought."
"Oh. I see." I looked away. It was funny. I'd never really heard him talk about any of his friends before. I mean, I'd always just assumed that he had them —someone so handsome and sociable as Rafe was bound to— but up until now, I realized I'd never actually heard him make mention of any. The realization made me feel suddenly distant from him, and I didn't like it. Did I really know so little about him?
"Selene." His deep voice cut through the music and called me back from my thoughts. I became aware that I was frowning.
"Yeah." I didn't look at him, instead watching the guitarist on the stage rock back and forth to the beat as he picked out a fast-paced solo.
From the corner of my eye, I saw Rafe draw breath to say something else, then pause. A frown darkening his face, he set down the beer bottle again and leaned towards me, taking my elbow in his hand and turning me to face him.
"I don't buy that. Something's up." When I only shrugged, his eyes narrowed. "Was someone bothering you?"
I blinked in surprise. "How...?" I bit off the rest of the question and shook my head. Regardless of how he'd figured this one out, I didn't want to add more energy to the situation by getting Rafe all worked up about it too. That Cassian guy, or whoever he was, was gone and I just needed to chill out and get over whatever it was I was hung up on.
"I'm fine, Rafe." I said, shrugging again, this time dismissively. "There was a guy who talked to me for a few minutes, but he left before you got back, and you're here now, and... I just missed you, I guess. How silly is that? I mean, you were only at the bathroom, and not even really gone all that long, and..." I realized I was babbling and made myself stop.
He was still frowning, but his voice was gentle when he asked, "Well, you wanna get out of here? If you're not comfortable, we can bail, and that's fine."
"Oh," I started, dismayed, "I wouldn't want to make you miss..." I stopped again as I looked at him, and reassessed. "Actually, yeah. Yeah. That'd be great."
A wave of relief swept over me when he nodded. "Okay," he said, and leaned in to give me a quick kiss. I didn't want it to end, didn't want to leave the safe warmth of his proximity, but we needed to gather our stuff together so that we could get going.
It was a quick process to pick up the trash and bottles and fold the blanket so that we could make our way among the people-strewn grass. While holding the folded blanket in one hand, he placed his other at the small of my back in that way that I liked, and carefully guided me out of the concert field. We dumped the trash in some bins along the way and turned to the parking lot.
I kept close to him as we walked, and I noticed his special yellow eyes scanning around us with calm assurance. As the bass from the concert rumbled the air, I edged my way closer to him until he moved his hand from my back, to wrap his arm around me and hold me close. His long legs slowed to match mine more evenly.
I only relaxed, however, when we were sitting in his car, a blue 1970 Plymouth Duster. Before starting the engine, Rafe leaned over again and kissed me once more, slowly this time, and with that edge of sweet promise that set my heart to racing and made my pussy tingle.
"Where to, babe?" He asked as he ended the kiss, his breath warm on my face. It didn't help me gather my thoughts either when he moved his lips to that sensitive spot right at the edge of my jaw.
"Mm..." I managed to answer.
He pulled away then, grinning. "Yeah?"
I sighed at him wistfully, but worked at getting my brain together and did some quick decision-making. I knew I wasn't ready to call things for the night with him just dropping me off at home. However, Cara was out of town this weekend to visit her parents, and if I invited him up to the apartment, no one would be there to supervise should things get more involved between us. Still, we could always watch a movie or something, and I could keep him near me for at least a little while longer.
"Can we go back to my place?" I asked, a little shy.
His eyebrows rose slightly in surprise at my request before he looked at me more appraisingly. "Sure," he said slowly, then smiled a small smile that made my body flush with heat. "What exactly did you have in mind to do when we get there?"
My face reddened and I stammered out quickly, "Oh, um, I was thinking we could do, er, I mean watch a movie or something. I know Cara rented a few recently and she told me I was free to watch them if I wanted to and—"
Rafe's rich, low laugh interrupted my embarrassed babbling. "Okay, babe. A movie it is." Still chuckling, he turned the ignition and the car rumbled to life.
We drove out of the fairgrounds in silence, embarrassed and slightly nervous on my part, amused for his, as far as I could tell. I turned my face to look at the passing lights in the darkened scenery, willing the burning in my cheeks to cool off. The gentle touch of his hand on mine made me look down at his large fingers curling possessively around mine and I smiled, finally feeling my self-consciousness start to dissipate. He always knew just what to do to put me at ease.
Neither of us felt the need to say anything for the rest of the ride, nor when he parked the car on the curb outside of my apartment. We walked together in happy silence to my door, and went inside. While he picked out the movie we were going to watch, I made the two of us some hot chocolate. It only took a few minutes before I brought the hot beverages into the living room and snuggled up next to him on the couch.
"Where's Cara?" Rafe asked as he took the mug I offered.
My cheeks flushed again slightly, but I was proud to note that my voice was collected enough when I answered, "She's visiting her family for a few days. I told you, remember?"
"That was this weekend?" His tone was calm too, but I thought I felt him tense for a second.
"Yeah." I leaned to the side to be able to see his face better. "Is something wrong?"
He grinned and gave me a squeeze. "Naw. I guess I just must be getting senile along with my arthritis. 'Cause I'm so old, right?"
I laughed and rolled my eyes. "Ah. Right. Well, gonna start the movie, or what?"
His face went expressionless. "What movie?"
"Huh? Um, Rafe, you know. The one in the..." My frown turned to an amused groan as realization hit me: he was continuing the joke. "You beast." I poked him in the chest. "Just start the damn movie."
"Yes, ma'am," he replied, laughing.
It was an entertaining action flick, and infinitely better than anything I'd seen in theaters, for the simple fact that I got to cuddle with Rafe while watching it. Not to mention that since there were no other audience members to worry about annoying, Rafe and I were able to interject teasing commentary on the events and characters that sent us both into hearty chuckles. By the time the ending credits rolled, our hot chocolate was gone and my face felt pleasantly tired from smiling for so long.
As Rafe moved his arm from around my shoulders and leaned forward to grab the remote, I tucked my legs under me and raised my arms way into the air in a delicious stretch.
"Mmm," I hummed as I moved limbs and muscles that had been in much the same position for about an hour and a half.
Rafe turned his head to watch me and I saw his topaz eyes catch the light from the TV before he turned it off. "Mm hmm," he agreed in a low tone that sent my stomach fluttering.
I lowered my arms again and returned his stare, feeling curiously short of breath. My heart beat loudly in my ears and I felt myself flushing, but not from embarrassment this time. His mouth twitched in a quick smile before he moved in to press his lips to mine. He brought his hand up to the back of my head, holding me to him and rubbing his thumb along my temple. As his tongue found its way into my mouth, I moaned softly.
With my eyes closed and our kiss unbroken, I heard him shifting then felt his other hand lay flat against the middle of my back. In response, I brought my arms up around his neck, and pressed my torso against his, twining my fingers in his dark hair. As I pulled lightly on the silky fibers, I opened my mouth wider and, in a rush of courage, started to explore the inside of his mouth with my tongue. I could tell that he liked it by how his breath caught and his hands pulled my body closer to him.
Emboldened by his reaction, I kissed him harder, breaking the seal of our lips only long enough to draw a quick breath or two before going back for more. Our tongues jabbed and twisted playfully with each other and as we pulled apart for another gasp of air, I gently caught his bottom lip between my teeth. I heard a growling rumble from deep in his chest before he pulled me to him again, hard this time, and kissed me forcefully. I felt my heartbeat skip and speed up in heady excitement when I noticed a particular, long hardness poking at my thigh from where it pressed against his lap.