Capture, p.24
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       Capture, p.24

         Part #1 of Seaside Pictures series by Rachel Van Dyken


  He was kissing me.

  And he wasn't acting.

  There were no whales.

  Just me and Lincoln and the buzzing sensation of his mouth as it explored mine. My response should have been different.

  Pulling away would have been wise.

  Laughing it off, probably wiser.

  But I kissed him back.

  Because Lincoln Greene didn't look at me like a puzzle that needed to be solved in order for us to be friends. He didn't try to fix the pieces. He simply accepted them for what they were. Screwed up.

  It was as if he saw the fear, hurt, anger — the ugly — and accepted me anyway.

  His kiss deepened as he reached around my body; his hands tugged the seal shirt off. Cold air bit my back as it made its way to the floor.

  Smooth lips slid past the corner of my mouth when his hands found my waist and lifted me. Our mouths broke contact, and I grasped his biceps with my hands, steadying myself as he lifted me into the air and carried me to the bed.

  The soft down comforter kissed my back as he lowered me onto the bed then stood over me, his chest heaving with exertion, his gaze pensive, as if he was waging a war within himself.

  Wild grey eyes stared me down as he slowly started stripping. I couldn't help my swift intake of breath when he stepped out of his jeans. I gulped, and suddenly I did feel young, so young, too young to be with someone so beautiful, so mature, so experienced.

  This wasn't the quarterback of the football team.

  This was a man — all man.

  He leaned over me, placing his hands on either side of me. The mattress dipped under his weight, as his mouth met mine in another deep kiss that left me dizzy. Sensations I'd never experienced before pulsed through my body. I felt Lincoln everywhere — even in my toes.

  "You're beautiful." His mouth left mine, and his cheek rubbed down my neck as his lips continued their exploration. His skin was rough from needing to shave, sending chills down my body with every brush of his cheek, every caress of his tongue. I squeezed my eyes shut and clenched the comforter with my fingers.

  And then, I couldn't help it anymore.

  I wanted to touch him.

  My hands reached out, needing to grab onto him, wanting to explore him like he was exploring me. The minute my fingers grazed his chest, then wrapped around his neck, I knew there was no going back. My body was on fire for him.

  And unless there was an actual fire.

  And we had to evacuate the building.

  I was staying.

  "You taste so good…" His lips fused with mine as his tongue reached past my lips, coming into contact with mine. The kiss was liquid smooth. "I've never tasted anything like you…" He lifted me again, this time higher on the bed.

  He broke our kiss only long enough to tug my jeans away from my body and toss them in the corner.

  With a seductive smirk, he started kissing up my leg, starting at my ankle. I arched as his tongue made its way toward my knee, and then he froze.

  I wiggled and looked down. "What's wrong?"

  Face pale, he stumbled backward, looked up at me, then looked down at my leg.

  "What?" I frowned. "Linc, what's wrong?"

  "You have a tattoo."

  I rolled my eyes. "That's why you stopped? Pris let me get a calf tattoo after my parents died. It was the one thing she let me do to honor them, even though it took weeks of begging." I'd wanted a set of angel wings, kind of like the tattoo Demetri and Alec had, though mine was larger, taking up a good quarter of my calf. It was black and white with red dates sprawled along the tips of the wings.

  "It just…" Lincoln shook his head and then placed his hands on his hips. "… it's surprising, that's all."

  I reached for him.

  But he stepped away, out of my reach, both physically, and as his eyes shuttered closed, I realized, emotionally too.

  "So that's it?" My words sounded heavy as they floated into the air, into the universe, waiting for him to say something that would ground the words, that would make them seem less bleak.

  "Sorry." Lincoln flashed a wary grin. "Maybe this isn't smart, you know? I mean…"

  "If you say I'm seventeen one more time, I'm going to push you off the balcony." My body shook with pent-up rage, and then when I glanced down, a wave of embarrassment washed over me. I was nearly naked. In his bed. And now he was turning me down? Couldn't he have at least turned me down when my clothes were still on? Quickly, I grabbed the comforter and wrapped it around my body. "You should go."


  "Sleep on the couch or the other bedroom. I'm tired."

  "Damn it, Dani. Just let me explain."

  "Fine." I flopped onto my side, the comforter still covering me in all the necessary places. "You have two minutes."

  He gulped, his eyes trailing down the silhouette of my body.

  "Ninety seconds."

  "Fine," he snapped. "I don't want you like this."

  All I heard was "I don't want you." The this wasn't important. The this didn't matter. It was just the end word that made the sentence seem less horrifying. The don't was bad enough, the want, even worse, but like this? That was a pity ending to the sentence. And I'd had enough pity to last me an eternity.

  "Wow, Linc." I couldn't keep the sarcasm out of my voice. But at least it masked the hurt. "Didn't know you were so specific with who and what you slept with."

  It was a low blow.

  Especially since I knew he wasn't the type to take that type of insult without getting angry.

  And angry? Was an understatement.

  "Bullshit!" he yelled. "Really? That's what you have to say when I'm trying to be the bigger person here? Damn it, you really are immature if you think that's the reason I'm walking away right now."

  "Funny, because you don't seem to be moving." I needed him to leave; I was desperate for it. I didn't want him to see me cry. Emotion welled in my throat, threatening to choke me. It was almost worse than when the words got caught, and, for once in my life I was upset over the fact that I could talk; my words had made things worse. Usually it was my silence. Ironic. And I hated it.

  His muscles flexed as he clenched his fists and whispered in a hoarse voice, "Watch me."

  He left.

  Slamming the door behind him.

  The sobs broke free seconds later as I cried against the strange pillow in the strange condo I should have never been in in the first place.

  I didn't belong in his world.

  So maybe it was good that this had happened. Because there would never be a place for me. I would have been a one-night stand, right?

  So why did it hurt so much?

  And why did it feel like the minute he left, he took a part of my heart with him?

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