He’s giving me a chance to walk away, if I want to, if I have to. That he doesn’t want me to is clear, in his eyes and in his body’s reaction to me. He hasn’t completely let go, just relaxed his hold on me. His eyes still holding mine, as fiercely as his body held me a moment ago, mercurial and intense, in the dark. Asking me to stay.
Maybe it’s just been too damned long for me. Too long without a man looking at me like that. Too long without a man taking that kind of interest in me. And there’s no doubt he’s interested, has been for a few days now. His kissing me might have finally woken me up to the fact of just how interested he was, but it was his gentleness with me that really did it. I’m not used to gentle. I’ve never had anyone just curl up with me, and hold me while I slept, just so I could sleep.
So I don’t pull away, I fight that small terrified part of me that would have me run from the contact, and I settle back into him, kissing him back. Not an urgent kiss, this time. A deep, passionate kiss, that makes the engine room disappear. Makes everything disappear but just the two of us.
I had thought for a second she was going to leave. Off balance and unsure, in more ways than one. What I was asking of her was probably scarier for her than any dogfight in an asteroid belt, or a knife fight with mercs. Probably more vulnerable than she’s ever had to be, and it’s scaring the hell out of her. The kiss had left her breathing hard, but it wasn’t just the kiss. She’s afraid. Afraid I’m going to hurt her in a way every beating she’s ever took never even got close to doing.
I don’t like to think about how much her fear bothers me. She’s not timid, or flighty, like a lot of women when they’re afraid. Just watches. Her intelligent eyes pinning mine, asking silently if I’m going to hurt her, asking if I’m just playing with her. Maybe with some other woman I would. Jane is not a woman you play with. She wouldn’t get over it. She’d take it personally. And then make it personal, if I hurt her.
A moment of stillness, before she leans back into me, to kiss me back, her decision made. She doesn’t do things by half measures. A flick of tongue over my lip, before a deep, searing kiss that makes it hard to breath. Her body pressed to mine, her nervousness gone. The entire essence of her, in that kiss. The scent of sweat and machine oil and arousal, thick in the air. The hard, unforgiving lines of her body pressed into mine.
Running my hand inside her shirt, over the scars on her back, feeling her tense, for a moment, as my hand slides over them. A quick intake of breath, a hesitation, until she realized I wasn’t pulling away from her. Trace my hand over her scars, my fingertips running over each one, as our kiss deepened. Taking a breath, pulling back to readjust, settling back again. My hand in her hair, moving down to trace the scar down her jaw.
The very softness that Jane lacked, that caused other men to not give her a second look, was the very thing that could have her look at me, exactly for what I was, and not run screaming. Jane would never cry over things that other women would cry about. She would never look at me any differently because of what I’ve done or where I’ve been, or what I’ve had to do just to survive some of it. I would never have to lie about who or what I was.
A kiss that deep can’t last, it was never meant to. Even then, it’s not broken suddenly. The breaking to breathe just coming more often, the kisses becoming less deep, more gentle. Until, like the first, it’s just a brush of lips. Lowering my head to his shoulder eventually, as our hearts slow. His hand still on my back, under my shirt, unaccustomed to the intimacy of a man touching my scars, when most make a point of just trying not to see them.
Leaning in, nuzzling my neck, his voice is barely more than a whisper, a low subaudible rumble, lips brushing my ear.
“I want to see you later, Jane, after you’re done with this engine.” Kiss her hard again, before I go.
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