“You never made a pass at me.”
“You were scared to death.”
“At first, I was. I didn’t stay scared.”
“Raven, you were sending out “Back off!” signals every waking minute. What did you expect me to do? Paw you like a drunk in a bar? You were trapped. We both knew that if I were a different kind of man, you would be in real trouble. I had to keep my distance to let you feel safe.”
She was silent and thoughtful. The pressure was building inside me. And inside her. I could feel it in her shoulders where she leaned slightly against me.
I took her mug and mine and set them aside. Then I put my arm around her and she slipped up against me without hesitation, leaning her face against my chest. There was a rich, clean smell about her.
She said, “I’m sorry.”
“Today. It was cruel.”
“I don’t know about cruel, but it was damned confusing.”
She reached over and took my hand in both of hers. “Ian,” she said, “sometimes I’m a real bitch. I was mad at you for not making a move on me. Dumb; really dumb. I knew why you hadn’t, but I was still hurt. It shook my confidence and it made me mad. I just wanted to show you what you were missing.”
“I had that much figured out,” I said. My throat felt like broken glass.
“I wanted you to make a pass so I could turn you down. I was that mad at you.”
“I had that part figured out, too. You wanted me on a leash. I don’t break to the leash worth a damn, Raven.” I heard my voice growing hard. “I give. I take what is offered. I share. But I don’t beg. Ever.”
She just shook her head. I could feel the motion against my chest. She asked, “Are you turned on now?”
“Don’t be stupid.”
She traced a line up my jeans from knee to crotch, stopping just short of the target. Her fingernail was like an electric probe. The air was getting thick; I couldn’t get enough of it.
She rolled around to lie on her back with her head in my lap, looking up at me. Her eyes were hollow and unreadable. She said, “What if I turned you off now? What would you do?”
I laid one hand on her breast – then slid it up to close around her throat. Her eyes went wide.
“What would I do? I don’t know. Maybe pick you up and drop you back in the ocean. Maybe I would jump in myself, too. Maybe I would just back off and not say one more word to you, or look at you, or admit you exist, until we reached Europe. I don’t know. Do you want to chance it?”
Now there was real fear in her eyes.
“I don’t know what I would do. But I can tell you exactly what I would not do. I would not rape you. And I would not beg. Not ever!” more tomorrow