First of all I would like to give credit to my Rock Star editor Flip McHooter, man your help is immeasurable. Thanks a million and look forward to working with you more in the future. I bet you folks will find this chapter a bit easier to ingest since it would contain less errors compared to my previous chapters. You have Flip to thank for that.

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Copyright ©2013 Black Arrow



Blue Jeans



One would think that my off days would be carefree and easy going. Not likely with the misfits I have as friends. Tonight for example, Ziggy is hosting the ultimate, most exciting, grotesque Star Wars movie experience known to man. I lead an existence that most people would not conceive as even remotely possible, only existing within the confines of movie scripts and the minds of deranged reporters. Pardon me if don't revel in soaking up some sci-fi blockbuster overkill. Conspiracies exist, nuclear weaponry, nano technology, and spies-aliens not so much.

My profession has left me maybe a tad bit jaded. Not so much content in the make-believe barrel left here. It's either black or white with me. I have never been one for the intermediaries... grey areas-that's where idealistic nut jobs go to die.

Today Ziggy was being particularly annoying since this was his week. His activity of choice. My friends had this stupid system where we alternate who gets to pick our group activity. Whether you're interested or not, you'd participate because they humored you on your indulgence.

Naturally Damon and Mason had the same interests so it would either be a typical high school house party with all the debauchery of under aged drinking and the sexual acts of depraved rabbits on heat, or a sadly unconvincing and even more comical action movie, then lastly sporting game of sorts.

When I say sports it's only ever two baseball, football, baseball and some more football. That in their narrow minded view constituted the encompassing word sport.

Needless to say, I would always try to get out of these little adventures. They really could miss me on these exploits; I wouldn't hold it against them. It wasn't any better when it was Jenny's week. We'd end up watching some mind-numbing vomit inducing rom-com. Or an ancient film in a foreign language.

So you could only imagine my chagrin at looming presence of these escapades. The diversity of illnesses I would catch conveniently before these outings was ironically pushing the sci-fi boundaries I admonished earlier. Since I had exhausted all my really good excuses for missions, I was often caught out and dragged along against my will.

"I have the sound system all hooked up and even have themed snacks!!... themed snacks dude, how awesome is that"

"Oh yes. You have to come dressed in character, adds to the feel" he carried on without waiting for a response.

I stopped taking notes at that precise moment since I couldn't hear what the teacher was saying anyway.

"What?" I asked, wishing I'd heard wrong.

"You know, like a costume party but better, only Star Wars theme," he said with a sadly animated expression.

Every nerve end in my body was cringing at the prospect. What did I ever do to deserve this? Oh right, I just killed several hundreds of people and committed acts of treason and war between nations occasionally. That's all.

"Do you think you could get your sister to come? I've got diet coke this time," he forged on without taking a single breath of air.

See Ziggy has had a crush on Victoria since he and I first became friends. He invited himself over to my house-unannounced and wanted to hang out. Apparently that's what friends do. The second he saw her tanning in the back yard he claims he fell in love instantaneously. If it wasn't so sad it would actually be funny.

Looking Ziggy over ,he doesn't wear glasses like the stereotype but he sure acts too odd to be considered anything but a nerd. He has a slight frame standing at 5ft5 and cropped copper hair. He's most standout characteristic is...well...he won't/ can't shut the hell up.

Funny thing is, as annoying as he is; it's very hard not to grow protective of him because of what a genuine person he is. He's one of those people you could count on to have you covered without even asking. He's got this awkward unintentional knack for making people laugh. Not at all when he's actively trying to but actually just by being himself.

"Please invite her" he carried on. Now why would I do that to poor Tori when even I didn't want to go?

"I think I have a shot this year, I mean, she broke up with Scott right?" he didn't wait for an answer.

"And I just had the craziest growth spurt over the summer, like a good 2-3 inches".

Not really. It was all in his head and he wore sneakers that had platforms.

"I'm best friends with her brother. My chances have seriously improved don't you think?" he finished and fixed me with his honey colored eyes.

"Did you take your ADD medication?" I asked seriously questioning his rapid fire temperament today. This was the longest last period of my life. It was hot, I was tired and Ziggy was being, well super Ziggy.

"Yeah of course I did, why'd you ask that?" like it was the most ridiculous question ever. It's not such a stretch really.

"No reason," I said and carried on taking my history notes.

Ziggy continued talking but I knew very well that he didn't need my input to hold a conversation. I just tuned out his rambling until it was a distant static noise. That was until the final bell rang and I resigned myself to my fate of a Star Wars marathon on a Friday night.

Walking down the hallway towards the school doors I could hear the excitement of the other students as they prepared for an awesome weekend ahead. For once I caught myself wishing we were actually going out to a party instead. That would at least keep me occupied with the charming sight of my class mates making fools of themselves.

You know the saying, be careful what you wish for. Once out in the late summer air with everyone dispersing in their separate directions I spotted a sight that would call my attention on any given day.

However far he had gone to plan this to a t, I would never know and wouldn't inquire lest I wanted to ruin the illusion. Leaning against a monster of German craftsmanship, clad in blue jeans and a V-neck white t-shirt was Ryan, grinning right at me.

My mind stopped blank of any thought I had running there prior to his entry. This guy couldn't be real. He stood with the confidence of an old Hollywood actor. To say I was completely spellbound by his presence would be the understatement of the year.

"Dude, Hunter, are you gonna invite Tori or not?" at this point Ziggy was jerking my shoulder. Suddenly and abruptly bringing me back to the present.

"Sorry, what?" I asked slightly rattled and completely off kilter.

"Dude have you been listening to me?" he said looking a little annoyed.

"Uh, sure Zig. Listen man, I'll talk to you later," I said in a daze after removing his hand from my shoulder and making my way towards the wet dream staring right at me.


He was the exact kind of guy mom warned Tori against, too bad she didn't think to give me that talk. The way the afternoon light played off he's angular face, reflecting off his white shirt gave him an almost angelic look but everything else in this scene contradicted that image completely. The best way I could attempt to describe Ryan using modern culture as a reference would be...really difficult. I can only liken his simple calm swagger to that of the sensual James Dean.

My heart threatened to jump out my shirt just because of the raw look of him. It should not be possible by sheer laws of physics for any one man to wield this vast amount of sex appeal. He motioned me over with a small nod of his head. Now, this usually wouldn't work with me. It was crass and derogatory, I would most likely flip you the finger if I even acknowledged your presence. But this catalogue model in front of me...right now, I'd follow him anywhere.

"This is yours?" I asked pointing at the bike once I had reached his position.

"This is yours," he said thrusting a helmet into my hands.

I gave a brief chuckle at his forwardness. "Quite presumptuous to think I'll leave with you," I said.

"Tell me you've got somewhere else you'd rather be," he said with a cocky grin.

That alone made me remember my `space' plans for this evening. I'd rather do anything else. The universe heard my distress call. But I'm not so sure if this is the blessing I'd been looking for or just a Trojan horse.

I had been ducking and diving our imminent date for a reason. I didn't know how to act in a situation like this. Now he caught me completely by surprise and had me walking into the lion's den with no protection. I didn't like the prospect of the unknown but I somewhat liked the element of danger coming with it. His mysterious nature had me captivated, even if for just the afternoon it would suffice.

He watched the reaction on my face intently, wondering if I'd jump on his bike with him.

"Where to? "I asked, already decided that I'd take my chances.

He let go of a long yes at my compliance with his plans. Just the question was indicative of my consent and he knew it.

"It's a surprise," he replied and before I could change my mind we were off.

To say having my arms wrapped around Ryan's frame didn't do things to me would be a lie. He had a sturdy, hard body that I find myself leaning into more than necessary, just because I loved the way he felt.

I did contemplate for a second that I may be leading myself into trouble. Leaving with him was not a good idea. I was made aware of my attraction to Ryan on the night of the auction already, but him showing up on a motorcycle was just too much. The final nail in my coffin so to speak. I found power bikes alone as a personal fetish, pair that up with a man who could handle the roaring beast between his legs and you'd have me salivating.

The ride down the highway was exhilarating. I believe he purposefully dipped lower on turns because he could feel my excitement.

"You're not scared?" he asked me over the rumble of the bike.

"Of course not, I love this," I shouted back.

The only thing that would be better than riding behind Ryan on a motorbike- would be riding a motorbike with Ryan behind me instead. I had always held a fascination for these beasts of the road. The freedom they represented, power and speeding down a road was thrilling. Not being subjected to societal rules on road etiquette symbolized a rebelliousness that I was yet to understand was alive within me.

He stopped in the parking lot of a park that I was not familiar with. Relatively secluded, except for the occasional joggers and dog owners who found this paradise outside of our busy towns bustle. It's a lot less crowded compared to the Valhalla Park near my house. It had a large stream on the far left that gifts the area with its green foliage. Under the warm mid-afternoon sun the area glistened and looked welcoming.

"I didn't know you were such a dare devil," he said referring to my enthusiasm of being on his bike once we were walking down a curvy path along the park.

I just shrugged and looked around the place. It had a tranquil vibe to it and I found that I was glad he brought me here than a busy bistro where I'd feel claustrophobic.

As we approach the stream I saw a kid watching a small basket on a picnic table. It was made of worn wood and under one of the largest trees in this Eden. Ryan gave the kid $10 and then he ran off. He'd clearly put a lot of thought into this outing.

"You know, this could have backfired had I refused to come," I said with a small smile.

"I know," replies nonchalantly. He was too wrapped up in the present to consider what could have been.

He packed out the basket that was filled with sandwiches, fruit and an assortment of other treats. This further establishes my deduction that this was a well thought out process. Here I thought he was randomly chancing my company. He pulled out a plastic package containing a sandwich.

"I don't eat meat," I said when he offered me a sandwich with ham in it. It was a choice I had made when I first rejoined my training. When I came of age and had my active status employed. Animal meat resembled human flesh far too closely for my liking. It was a given that I couldn't quit being a trained killer so meat had to go.

"Oh damn, I should have asked" he said berating himself.

"It's okay. I just ate not too long ago any way, but I will have that granola bar" I said grabbing the one item I had my eyes set on from the beginning.

He got over his slight setback pretty quickly and joined me on the table as opposed to the benches flanking it. We sat facing the running water maybe 10 feet away from us.

We fell into a steady, comfortable silence just taking in our surroundings. It became clear to me that I should stop guessing about anything Ryan related. He was just so alien and unpredictable. I think it was his spontaneity that stumps me the most. Like today it could have really gone sour had I rejected his offer but he set this up anyway. I found that trait beguiling, he was not afraid to bet big.

"So how was your week?" he asked breaking my thoughts.

I looked over at him past my hair. "You really want to talk shop?" I countered with my own question.

"You're right, I don't, but I figured you eventually warmed up to me the other night so why mess with a winning formula."

I laughed at that. I sometimes forgot how hard I was to read. He made me sound like some complex physics equation.

"Ya know, Tori might not like you so much once she finds out about my kidnapping" I said staring out in to the running water.

"Kidnapping huh? Well... the way I see it, you came willingly," he said with a grin playing on his lips.

"Meh, I chose the better of two evils, wouldn't call that much of a choice," I said referring to my movie plans with the gang. He paused a while after that just gazing into my eyes, I wondered for a moment what it is that he was seeing in there.

"I guess if I'm the kidnapper and you the kidnappee. I get to do whatever it is I want with you," he said with that mischievous twinkle he often got.

"I guess," in a hushed raspy voice is all I could say. The chemistry between us had these rising moments when it would become thick and almost tangible, like it was constricting your larynx, deviating any necessary oxygen to your brain. This was one of those moments.

We spent the rest of the afternoon talking about nothing in particular. Most of the time just reveling in being in each other's space and not having to say anything. That seems to be our thing together, the pleasant silence that spoke for itself. That has got to be one of the standout characteristics I liked about being with Ryan. No pressure, no expectations to act in a certain way. Our dynamic was addictive to me, couldn't quite word out what it was completely. He was that wild stallion a brave or stupid cowboy would ride out into the valley, free and fast. Unconventional but comfortable.

At some point, I don't know when we ended up interlocking hands. He looked down at me as if asking if it was alright with his eyes. I just met his gaze for a while then looked away. He really does have the most striking grey eyes. I worried that if I stared too long that he'd see too far in, too deep into my being. As scary as that was, it was doubly as exciting.

I think this was what living feels like, being able to touch the skin of another, hearing your heart beat in your ears. Taking deep breaths of air needed to calm the butterflies you have floating in your stomach.

He suggested we take as stroll around the park a bit, get some sight-seeing down. The place wasn't too large but what it had in beauty made up for its lack in sheer size.

Just when we rounded the bend back to our table the sprinklers went off. I jumped out of the way of the stream of water like it was boiling lava. Ryan laughed at my reaction so I fixed him with a cold stare.

"Come on, that was just water," he said reaching around me. He was planning on pushing me into its firing line. He had no idea the kind of fight he'd have on his hands if he did. I didn't want to get my hair wet. That simple.

So as he pushed me towards the water I dug my heels into the ground pivoted around and pushed him away from me. What we both didn't realize is that we were really close to the stream and so the ground beneath us was soft and slippery. We both come to this conclusion at the exact same time. It looked like he was going to take a dunk into the water below. But before I could react he grabbed my arm and pulled me down with him.

The water was ice cold for such a warm day. The stream wasn't deep enough to submerge us completely so sitting there on my ass it ran up to my belt line.

I couldn't believe what just happened. I think the disbelief had precedence over any other thought that ran through my mind at the time

Ryan looked at me with the same disbelief I imagine was mirrored on my face and after a few seconds he bursted out laughing. This wasn't funny, forget my hair being wet-now my entire body is. Luckily we'd left our phones on the table where it's safe and dry.

I splashed him with water.

"This isn't funny," I said indignantly.

He carried on laughing as if this just made his life, between fits of laughter he replied "It is a little bit."

I tried to get up and as I turned my back on him to get out- he snakes his arms around my waist and falls back into the water taking me down with him.

If I was in disbelief I was outright furious. How old is this guy? Five?

The quick surge of anger I felt boiling was completely killed by the expression on his face and the fact that he had mud all over his hair and face since he absorbed the brunt of the fall into the sediment.

"You're an absolute idiot," I said with a straight face.

"I know" he replied barely disguising the smile that was forming.

That had me. This time I let out a laugh first and he joined in. We carried on sitting in that running water taking turns to stop and look at the other and laugh some more because of how funny the other looks. His laugh was infectious and I found even if I had tried staying mad, it would have melted away as soon as he showed off those pearly whites of his.

Getting out was just as comical, the sediment just shifted under your weight. I was so used to being fluid in my movements and this awkward dance I was doing just to stay upright was evidently amusing to Ryan. It felt liberating to stalk out of my stoic demeanor for a while-I think I was long past the point to salvage that façade in any case.

We eventually got out by using each other as leverage. We walked like idiots because our clothes were cold against our skin so you were vying for minimum contact. Soaking wet and our clothes clinging- I couldn't help but notice his white shirt had gone completely translucent. His body was beautiful underneath. No hulking muscle but lean tight skin lay beneath. He had a faint impression of a six pack, not quite there yet but showed that he exercised. I couldn't help my eyes from lingering on his exposed body.

Once on solid land we remained in each other's embrace, to generate some heat back into our bodies. I think he caught my mind-fucking his body earlier. He ran his hand over my hair not in forced intimacy but like he was in wonder- like I was some weird sea creature he had just discovered. He looked at me sheepishly when he finally came out of whatever trance it was that he was under.

"I don't live too far from here, we could go to my place to dry up," he said.

"Best idea you've all day" I replied with no foul intent. He sees that and smiles back at me.

We managed not to slide off his bike on our way over to his home. True to his word, Ryan lived a short 5 minutes away from the park. We drove up a large driveway with a double garage all in a red brick style. His home seemed like some architects dream as opposed to a family's main residence.

We moved in relative silence as we made it up to the house since it was sort of elevated from the ground. Up a couple cobbled stairs leading up to the glass and steel front entrance.

Only inside the modern home with steel finishes and hardwoods did it occur to me that we might run into he's family members. I was not ready for that kind of step yet. Heck, I wasn't ready for any sort of step. What would he introduce me as? He's friend, an acquaintance, conquest? I think the panic showed on my face a bit because he chose then to rescue my mental suicide.

"No one's here, it's just us. Wait here. I'll go get us some towels." The home was large; his parents had clearly done well for themselves. What I noticed from a quick once over is that there weren't any family pictures around, proving my first observation all the more true. Just an older man accepting awards, he could be in his late 40s maybe-I'm assuming that must be his father.

He walked down the hall to a door right under the stair case and produced two thick white towels.

"Here ya go, I'll show you the bathroom so you can get out of those," he said.

Somehow that statement seemed to have a weight I doubt he intended. I coughed and looked away from him because the scene just became a little awkward.

"I just meant-, " he began.

"I know what you meant, "I cut in so he didn't have to finish that.

I followed him up the steel and glass stairs lined with expensive looking artwork. He lives in a very contemporary household, it appeared to be built for show more than to be lived in. I was pretty certain they entertained guests often- maybe all the personal mementos stay in a specific room? As we reached the second story landing he started speaking again.

"The bathroom is that one. Just leave your clothes outside the door and I'll come get them after I start up the machine," he said with a small smile.

"What's behind this door?" I asked referring to the one closest to me since it was the only one with a white door. The rest were of a really dark wood, almost back in the grey-blue hall way.

"That's my studio, dad lets me use the guestroom," he says in a strange tone. He didn't sound very fond of his dad. I didn't pry, I had never been the type to so I just nodded my head and made my way to the bathroom.

"You might as well take a shower, I'll bring up some clothes you can wear until yours dry out" he said.

"Sure" I said as I stepped into the bathroom.

I changed out of my clothes and placed them outside the door. By the time I finished my shower he had already picked up my wet pile of clothing including my underwear which I was not too happy about. Just felt kind of bare. But I couldn't keep them on, they were drenched.

He left me a t-shirt and some shorts which I was surprised actually fit me quite well. I walk down the hall intending to go downstairs and find him until I reached that mystery door. I still had a towel in my hands trying to dry my hair as good as possible before I left it up to Mother Nature to do the rest.

The room just called to me in a way I could not explain. I am not the nosy type so I didn't know what it could have been. So without further thought or debate over the matter I placed my hand on the door knob and entered. I knew immediately that I had over stepped and invaded his privacy once I looked around the space.

The place is definitely flowing with his essence. The wooden floor boards felt cold against my bare feet. The room had a single blue couch on the far end by the windows. The center of the room was covered by what I guess used to be white linens but with all the paint fall out had changed color from over use.

He didn't just take pictures it seems, but paints too and some of these portraits were really candid. Like looking into the eyes of another human. I didn't know where to look at first. There was so much character in that one room that the entire house lacked. I felt like I had just walked into his soul-not just his work room. This is where he lived. I could feel him on the walls, the brushes, the air- he was everywhere and everything in this room. It left me smiling despite myself.

There was more evidence of his hours of stay in this room, such as discarded take-away boxes and soda cans in the little bin in the corner. The conveniently empty ash tray by the windowsill. The light smell of lingering cannabis in the air, well masked by the stronger odors of paint and aerosol.

He had an inclination for black and white photographs. There were very few colored ones he had up. He likes taking landscape portraits of buildings from odd angles that you would battle recognizing the building because of how beautiful he made an ordinary thing look.

My attention was soon caught by his paintings again. I began to observe a pattern in his paintings, if you can call it that-more like a likening. They were very avant-guard and looked to be done in haste almost haphazardly. But deeper inspection let me see that was not the case and not what was bothering me at all. They really were magnificent and stirred up emotions within you-that was what caught me. As if each had a life of its own. They spoke but what they said was lost on me.

At first glance I thought that most of his pieces were incomplete. I pegged that as him being the easy breezy type that lacked focus to complete a task. After spending the afternoon with him, getting to know him it just did not add up, he was much too passionate to abandon his work.

One particular piece lured me in and I battled to tear my eyes away from it so I stopped trying. It was of a woman's face, she had a faraway look in her eyes and her hair was being carried away by the wind. Slash water colors. It didn't have too much going on with it other than just being hues of blue and shades of black filling the canvas. He had a simplistic approach to his art, he did not bombard with gimmicks and glitter. She had this harrowing presence over me, far too real to be random.

In my far away daze led away by my own mind's reasoning, I could still hear him walk up behind me in the distance. Too enraptured to musk or make excuses for my presence in what must be his most private space. I just kept staring into her eyes, they were daunting.

They drew me in for whatever inexplicable reason. They looked so familiar, as if we had met before. This cannot be true of course, for one, I did not forget a face and two, looking at the collection around me, I didn't believe he painted by being constrained by the rules of reality.

He stayed quiet behind me. He just walked close enough that I could feel the heat radiating off of his slender form. His scent invaded my senses, working as a rescue rope I could cling onto-to pull myself away and out from her tormenting gaze.

"Why aren't any of these finished?" I asked still skimming my eyes over the rest of the canvas making sure to avoid her eyes.

I could actually here him smile from behind as he stalked around me like some wild cat. He finally stopped his long movements, which were not all that long really- just felt that way I guess because I wanted the answer urgently to make sense of this all.

He stopped by my side, somewhat resting some of his weight on me. My breath hitched for a second at the contact, against my natural responses I found myself leaning back into him.

"They are," he whispered in my ear. His breath causing a warm gust of air to dance under my ear and at the nape of my neck.

"I don't follow," I stated flatly. Not really looking for one of his riddled answers, if this is one of those.

"That's the essence of the piece. I want you to create your own back story for each piece, not a set beginning and end confined by the surface of the canvas. That's superficial and I wouldn't bother if it would turn out to be that shallow. Or what the `man's perspective' of what art is or isn't. I want people to look into it and tell me what they see. It's whatever you make it...So what do you see?" he asked sounding genuinely interested.

I didn't know he was the philosophical kind. That was not a bad thing but probing into my psyche-that was. The questioning somehow turned out to be a double edged blade. A give and take deal. The tables have turned and I found that I was not particularly happy with that. Like he said, the answer would not be superficial. It would be person specific...I liked superficial better.

"I'm no Koons," I said evading.

He adjusted his stance next to me and wrapped his long arms around my body. Leaning his face against the top of my head he breathed in. He inhaled what must be a lung full, taking in my scent, like I did his earlier without noticing.

"You don't have to be, just tell me what you feel," he was being insistent that I reply. Not aggressively, but stubbornly like a boulder that would not budge.

"I,I-" the words got caught in my throat and I had to slow down and compose myself. It's not normal how this one individual could affect my cool. I could never be distant with him. He would find a way to breach the gap, pull me back into his light.

He ran his hands through the hair at the base of my neck. Then he rested his chin on my shoulder, I can feel the stubble on his jaw sending tingles racing down my spine. The descent made to maintain maximum contact with me. He takes whatever opportunity presented itself to touch me. I liked that opportunistic nature of his for some reason. But right now it was distracting.

"She looks scared," I surmised. That was the closest I could get to the feeling the image portrayed to me.

"Scared? That's a new one, what's she scared of?" he whispered hoarsely in my ear.

His asking made me aware of another reality, he wasn't questioning as part of some elaborate inquisition to get me to give up KGB secrets. He just wanted to understand me, get a feel of how I perceived and interpreted the world around me. Starting with his art...

"The unknown," then I began to feel like we were not talking about the painting anymore. Everything always held a double meaning with Ryan. Why would this be any different? He had an uncanny way of discerning thoughts and gestures. Somehow I could follow his thinking; we were like-minded at times.

He traced feather light kisses down my neck starting from just below my jaw to the crook of my neck. Time for words was apparently over. I reluctantly released a moan that had been waiting to escape me since the moment he stood so close to me from the beginning. The chemistry between us was palpable, such a lethal attraction -who was I to resist?

Relinquishing control of my responses I gave in to the sensations he was causing. Finally on autopilot and no longer able to sabotage my own progress with over thinking, I turned to face him.

He bares an intense -blazing look in his eyes. Orbs of liquid blue fire all directed at me. I've seen lust play out on so many men's faces before... staring at me, right through me. Not this time round.

I felt like Ryan saw me and yearned to explore me like new found land. Like Columbus on foreign soil, so eager to claim me as his own. He had a searching look in his eyes. He followed up by leaning in and planting a gentle kiss. Like a light summer rain leaves your skin tingling- warm and vibrant along your planes, he had me floating into his magnetic aura.

He was clearly the flame and I the moth. I was no longer fighting. Even if I wanted to, I stood no chance. Out matched a thousand to one, my body, mind and soul had all chosen a side.

I cupped the sides of his face with both my hands and in turn he pulled me even closer into his hard frame. I returned his kiss with a hot passion of my own. It soon escalated to a tango of arms tongues and lips. Harsh, labored breathing was the soundtrack of this feature film. It was inconceivable for one being to taste this damn good.

When we finally pulled away I was completely floored. I had no idea that kissing another could leave such an amazing impression. Like driving a new Maserati down a highway, adrenalin pulsing in your chest, blood pounding in your ears.

I didn't know what it was about it but I craved more of it, more of him. It was no single trait; it was a multitude of aspects and mannerisms that made him so appealing to me. I didn't want this feeling to end.

Before Ryan, kissing was a mechanical act. Reading the other person's responses to further win over their control. It was a mere skill; I knew how to apply the well-studied technique. But this was not about winning anything. Running my tongue along the seam of his mouth, kissing Ryan was a feeling-not just a physical act.

Flushed and growing obscenely aroused, he pulled away first. After one or two involuntary thrusts into me, I feel he was exercising some serious restraint here. I couldn't help but admire him for that. He could have let the scene progress and unfold. He'd get what he clearly wanted but then where would it leave the infant, developing romance between us? He didn't want that being tainted by lust. Surprisingly, neither did I, sex was not the solution here.

Pale in the face, with the only color present being in his bright pink, slightly swollen lips. He graces me with a few quick pecks on my lips, nose the forehead. Our breathing starts its gradual descent after reaching a startling crescendo just a few breaths ago.

"You hungry?" he asked still sound very winded.

"Dunno," I mumble keeping my lids shut. I had been completely swept up by his touch I'm not sure I wanted to disentangle our bodies ever again.

He laughed at that. I looked up into his amused expression.

"You have the most beautiful eyes, you know that?" he said as he absentmindedly ran his fingers along the side of my face.

I didn't know how to react to this. I've never had to internalize peoples musing over my looks before because I usually didn't care what they thought of me. It's always just been on the surface level. But with Ryan I do, I discovered that I want him to like me. So I broke eye contact with him.

"Sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable," he said gently.

"No, it's not you," I replied and genuinely meant it. That's my problem and my own to work through.

After composing ourselves and collecting our scattered thoughts sprawled out across that room we finally made our way down to his kitchen for a late afternoon snack. The rest of our stay together was easy living. We hung around his house just fooling around and stealing occasional kisses here and there.

Ryan's presence came with no pressure. No hidden clause or fine print. I guess that's how I established I could let my guard down around him. This was the first time I was allowing some else in. Outside of my family and Mason, I'd never seen the need to bond with another until now and I liked it.


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