Yep, he was the world’s biggest asshole, but he needed to know. He had overthought the whole situation the night before, after she again left him at the door, and his mind was unfocused and foggy. She wasn’t running from something, it was definitely somebody. He had made that decision, but the rest lacked clarity.
She reacted to his practice attack as someone who had been in a compromising position before. She didn’t let out a squeal of surprise, she let out a haunting scream of terror, a scream that was etched into his memory permanently. He deserved that for being such an ass, a permanent reminder of what an ass he can be.
Instead of falling into his trap, she was reacting before she even hit the floor, raking her shoes against his shins, kneeing, kicking as if her life depended on it, instead of rehearsing planned defense moves.
Hell, he knew it could have just been from last week, or a few nights ago, but something in his gut just knew that she was not the threat. There was something threatening her. If she wasn’t going to tell him, he was going to have to figure it out himself.
“Deep breaths. You’re ok. I’m sorry” he said soothingly. Her breathing slowed and she reluctantly calmed down. She sat up, leaned against a wall, and just focused on breathing. He wanted give her a hug, soothe her, rub her back, but she didn’t want him anywhere near her.
When she finally made eye contact with him, she was still scared. She was a cornered animal. He had failed at his very first rule to not spook her. “Do you want to talk about it? What part of that scared you the most?”
Instead of answering, she took a deep, forced breath and demanded, “Do it again. Do it again, I can do this” she said as she stood up. “It wasn’t your fault. I’m the one that should be sorry.”
Oh shit. He wasn’t sure he could do it again. He had his answer. He couldn’t be the monster that scared her like that ever again.
When he saw the determination in her eyes, she figured that she needed her own kind of answer. She needed to know she could handle whatever was thrown at her.
“You don’t have to” he tried to convince her, “We can do something else. There are lots of other things I can show you instead.”
“No. I’m not a quitter. I can do this.”
That, he believed.
“OK.” He stood up slowly. “Are you ready?”
“Yep. Come at me, bro” she said with a shaky smirk. She had a way of relieving the heaviness of these situations that he admired. He circled her and came at her much slower this time. He lifted her and gently laid her out on the mat. He got over her, and held her arms gently over her head. Ready to drop them at a moment’s notice.
“Please save my nuts, but do you see how that technique can be just as useful in this position?”
He stayed there for a second. Being this close to him seemed to unite their souls. She looked deeply into his eyes, and he into hers. He loved her baby blues and wanted to kiss the tear stains away from her face. It hurt him that she hurt. Nonsensical. They had barely known each other, but their connection was so strong and built so quickly that he knew it was truly one of a kind.
He released her arms, but instead of retreating, she placed her hands on his thigh as he straddled her, stroking them up and down his thigh. She was such an interweaving masterpiece of commitment, bravery, desire to learn, sexiness, and playfulness. She was constantly coaxing him to give in to his impulses, something that didn’t come easy for him.
“Keep that up and I’m gonna have to kiss you again” he dared, unable to hide the heat in his voice. She held his gaze and continued her exploration, challenging him, this time slipping under his shorts and going just a bit higher with each stroke.
He slowly lowered himself back over her, resting on his elbows, and checking that she was still all right. “Kiss me already” she giggled. When he stayed positioned over her, studying her delicate features, she continued, “Are you going to make me beg so soon?”
He replied with a kiss, this one just as hungry as the night before. He caressed the side of her face with one hand, and propped himself up with the other. Her hands immediately snuck under his shirt and explored his abs, ribs and chest. When she came back down, she let her hands glide over his shorts onto his ass.
The kiss conveyed so much more than physical pleasure. She kissed him tenderly, then with curiosity, then with heat and intensity. Their hands wandered, exploring each others’ bodies with slow, torturous strokes. He buried his hands in her silken hair, traced her smooth skin down to her lightly freckled shoulders, and down her lean arms, taking his time, learning the ways she responded to him, tickled, or moaned.
Then the phone rang.
That fucking phone. Not now!
The caller ID announced it was Boss, and he knew he should answer, but he let it ring.
“Aren’t you going to answer that?” she asked.
“Yep. I’m pretty sure I need a minute before I could put together a coherent sentence, though.” He rolled over and pulled her on top of him and just appreciated the warmth of her body for a minute as she lay there, molded to his body, content to just relax. Much as they had the first night, her hands lazily traced his body, a comforting, connecting act that he cherished.
They laid like that for what seemed like forever until she finally stood and straightened herself. He picked up the phone and hit return call on his phone. As it rang, she waved good bye and headed for the stairs.
He wanted to follow her, but the urgency in Boss’s voice caught his attention.
“Tucker. Good. Listen up. The fingerprints came back as an Anna Marie Buchanon from the east coast. She has had employment listed from 14 different cities in the last two or so years. Her hometown is Junction Hills, North Carolina, but there is no record of her being there any time recently. She left a trail from North Carolina across the south to southern Cali and now back here to rural Missouri. Most jobs are from temp agencies, generally in secretarial or architectural fields.”
“My bud in the PD is working on criminal records and any contact with law enforcement.”
“OK, keep me posted.”
“Oh, and one more thing,” Boss continued. “I went up and took a look around her place while you two were fooling around, and she definitely looks like she’s been on the run for a while, man. Her apartment is as sparse as any I’ve ever seen before. Just the necessities. She’s ready to go at a moment’s notice. Whatever she’s done, it must be bad. She definitely doesn’t want to get caught.”
“Or maybe she’s innocent and someone is after her.”
“Possible, but Tucker, keep your eyes open. You’re no idiot, but she definitely has you wrapped around her little pinky. Be wise.” And with that he cut out.
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