Falling into Us Read online
He smiled reassuringly, and showed not one iota of impatience or embarrassment at my stupid stutters and blocks. “It’s fine, Becca. I understand completely. Thanks for sharing that with me. ”
“You showed me yours, so it’s only fair I show you mine. ” I grinned to play up the double entendre.
Jason smirked. “True. They do say that turnabout is fair play. ” His hand rose up my side again, inching closer, daring higher.
“Tit for…tat…” I could barely breathe as he neared my breast. I wanted his hand there again.
He cupped me through my sweater, and I could breathe again. Then, as if physically tearing himself away, he moved his hand and rested it on my thigh, and my pulse slowly returned to normal. “We should probably go,” he whispered.
“Yeah, probably. ”
“I don’t want to, though. ” He buried his face in my hair and sniffed. “You smell good. ”
I laughed. “Thanks? I don’t want to go, either. I like it here. I can see why this is your favorite spot. ”
“You should see it in the daytime, when the sun is out. All the way out there,” he waved toward the front of the truck, where the hill fell away into an open field, “is all flowers. It’s beautiful. ”
“You should bring me here during the day sometime, then. ”
He nodded. “I will. ” He grinned at me, and I was reminded, apropos of nothing but his smile, how beautiful he really was, his face all hard lines and strong curves and perfect angles, and such green, green eyes. “And anyway, this isn’t my favorite spot anymore. ”
I wrinkled my brow in confusion, although I had an idea what he was going to say. “It’s not?”
He shook his head and tightened his grip on me. “This is. You, here, with me. In my arms. ”
I smiled at him, unable to formulate a response other than to burrow closer to him.
After a few more minutes, we reluctantly cleaned up our midnight picnic, and I slid off the back of the truck while Jason bungeed the cooler in place again. I settled in the passenger seat of his truck, cranking the volume up on a fast-paced song with a lot of honky-tonk to it. I bounced in my seat, enjoying the fun, light-hearted music and the feeling of happiness welling up so hot and potent inside me.
Jason drove me home, stopping at the entrance again. “I wish I could just take you home. Walk you to your door and kiss you goodnight. ”
“Maybe someday,” I said. “I don’t like it, either. You know it’s not that I’m embarrassed by you or anything, right? If I didn’t know for a fact Father would ground me for life and actually lock me in my room at night, I’d tell him about us. Introduce you. ”
He shrugged. “I know. Just be careful getting home, okay? I’ll wait until you’re in your room. Text me when you’re safe, okay?”
I opened the truck door, but his hand latched around my wrist and drew me back. He pulled me closer and closer, shoved the console up and out of the way, the Mountain Dew bottle tumbling to the floor. I wrapped my arms around his neck, stuffed my fingers into the stiff, soft spikes of his hair, let myself lead in to the kiss.
When I was breathless and dizzy, I pulled away.
“God, Becca. Kissing you is…it’s seriously the best thing ever. ”
I touched my lips, knowing they were swollen. “It’s dangerous, I think. ”
“What is?” Jason asked.
“You and me kissing. ”
I met his eyes, let him see all my roiling emotions. “Because I never want to stop. I could kiss you until I suffocate. ”
He nodded. “Me, too. ” He let go of my wrist, trailed his fingers along my cheekbone and down my jaw. “You’re beautiful, Becca. So beautiful. ”
I shook my head at him. “You’re ridiculous. But thank you. ”
He frowned at me as I slid to the ground and held the door in preparation to shut it. “Why am I ridiculous?”
I shrugged, uncomfortable with discussing my insecurities. “You just are. It’s sweet of you to compliment me, though. ”
“It’s not a compliment. It’s the truth. ” His gaze shifted a bit, some kind of awareness sneaking into his expression. “Wait. You’re not insecure about yourself, are you?”
I twisted a curl around my finger and focused on not stuttering. “I’m pretty sure every girl on the planet is insecure about something, Jason. Some just hide it better than others. ”
“What could you possibly have to be insecure about?”
I stared at him, boggled. “What could I—? I’m-I’m—I stutter, for one thing, in c-c-case you haven’t n-noticed. It’s embarrassing. I’m the shortest girl in our class, for another. Plus, I’ve got hips a mile wide, and I’m freaking top-heavy to boot. ” I batted at my loose mop of springy curls. “And my hair looks like I sss-stuck a pair of scissors in a power outlet. ”
Jason glared at me as if I’d insulted him instead of myself. He shoved his door open angrily, left it wide with the bell dinging, crossed in front of the headlight, and stalked toward me. I wasn’t afraid of him, per se, but the intense, determined look in his eyes and the purposeful gait of his walk intimidated me. I backed away from him, stumbling as the truck door closed behind me. He pinned me against the truck with his body, and his hands landed on the upper bell of my hips.
“You’re not allowed to talk about yourself like that, Becca. You understand me?” His eyes darkened. “You’re beautiful. You’re sexy. You’re so hot it takes my breath away. I don’t understand how I could have ever seen anyone else before now. Your hips are perfect, and to a guy, ‘top-heavy’ is a good thing, and you are top-heavy in the best possible way. You have an amazing body, Becca. A-maze-ing. And your stutter? It’s just part of who you are to me. It doesn’t bother me. ”
I buried my face against his chest, sure he was just mollifying me. “And my hair?”
He tangled his fingers in my hair, burrowing through the curls as if he was scooping up handfuls of gold coins and letting them run through his fingers. Then he twined his fingers through a hank of curls and tugged my head back, gently but inexorably, so I was forced to look at him.
“I love your hair. ”
He said the “L” word. About my hair, but he said it.
And then he kissed me. My toes curled in my pastel-purple Keds. Jesus God, the boy could kiss.
He let me go after that, and watched me disappear into the trees. I heard the low rumble of his idling engine and saw as I glanced behind me the pale yellow glow of his headlights. I stood at the bottom of the drainpipe, staring at Ben’s window two floors up. There was no way in hell I’d make it up. Getting down was a matter of holding on and letting gravity do its thing. I took a deep breath and focused on the first handhold, nailed through the siding to whatever was beneath it. I grabbed it in both hands and pulled with all my strength. I didn’t even get off the ground.
I pulled, jumped, strained, cursed, and only managed to get myself sweaty. That was when I realized I was still wearing Jason’s hoodie.
My phone buzzed in my purse at that moment. I pulled it out and read Jason’s text: Been a few minutes. You back in your room yet?
I typed my response without thinking about it: No. I climbed down a drainpipe and can’t make it back up. Quit laughing IT’S NOT FUNNY.
I was still waiting for Jason’s text back and trying to figure out how I was going to get in when I heard a stick snap behind me. I whirled to see Jason gliding toward me from between the trees. He came to stand next to me and stared up the drainpipe that was my current nemesis.
“That could be a problem. I think I’d have trouble scaling that. ” He put his hand on the pipe and wiggled it, testing it, nodding as if satisfied by its sturdiness. “I could give you a boost?”
“I don’t know. Then I’d be stuck halfway up. I’m just not strong enough to climb up. ”
“Do you have a house key?” Jason asked.