Absolution
Author:Amanda Dick

“They’re fine. Don’t worry.”

 

He leaned over to capture her lips with his once more, reminding her that he wasn’t about to give up easily. She closed her eyes and tried to forget everything else, concentrating on his lips on hers as his fingertips stroked her cheek. Her skin felt like it was on fire, everywhere he touched suddenly coming to life as he drew her in deeper. Anxiety disappeared in a heated rush, and the last four years faded into the background.

 

He eased her back onto the bed, caressing her ribcage, sending shivers of pleasure through her. Pulling away long enough to lift his t-shirt off over his head, their eyes locked. She unbuttoned her shirt as he slid his arm beneath her back, lifting her as she shrugged it off and pushed it aside. Hungry for him, she grabbed his face with both hands, pulling him down on her, losing herself in another long, deep kiss.

 

This was all that mattered. Her and Jack, just like it was before, just like it would always be. She knew in her heart now that every moment in the past four years had led up to this – this moment in time, this blending of bodies and minds, this was what she had been waiting for. She was stronger now and so was he. They had weathered the storm. This was their reward for trusting that fate would bring them together again.

 

He rolled over onto his back suddenly and she panted slightly, light-headed. He toed off his shoes and unbuttoned his jeans, tugging at them, arching his back and kicking his legs to get rid of them. He rolled onto his side and reached for her jeans, unzipping them slowly, his eyes flitting back to hers. She grabbed the bedcovers and rolled to one side, then the other, as he inched them down her hips and over her thighs. She raised herself up onto her elbows and watched, her heart racing. He winked, smiling as he peeled her jeans away, easing them down over her knees and then her calves, forgetting in his haste that she still had her shoes on. She couldn’t help smiling as he frowned, momentarily stymied.

 

“I got this,” he said with a satisfied smile a moment later, climbing down onto the floor at the foot of her bed.

 

He divested her of her shoes before dragging her jeans down and depositing them on the floor.

 

She felt the bubble burst in a rush of reality as she stared down at her legs, still enclosed in braces.

 

Definitely not sexy.

 

She silently cursed them for destroying the fantasy. He sat down on the bed beside her, reaching over to lay his hand on her ribs as she dared to look at him, wondering what he was thinking, afraid to ask.

 

He stroked her skin, his touch so feathery soft that it electrified her nerve endings and completely obliterated any self-conscious thoughts she had. She almost whimpered with pleasure, closing her eyes again, leaning her head back, her hair tickling her shoulders. His hand moved slowly downward and she raised her head again, opening her eyes as his touch faded. The sensation turned to pressure alone, the warmth gone. A moment later, she watched his hand move towards her underwear but she felt nothing.

 

“You can’t feel that, can you.”

 

It wasn’t a question.

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

“Don’t be sorry,” he murmured, his hand moving back up, suddenly alive on her skin again. “I’m learning here, too. We need to talk about these things, okay?”

 

She nodded, her heart swelling again at the tenderness in his eyes, the thoughtfulness in his actions.

 

“Can you show me how to take them off?”

 

She searched his face for any sign that the mood had altered, that he might have changed his mind. All she found there was a deep desire, turning his eyes to molten pools of green, dark and dangerous. Her breath caught in her throat. It had been years since she had seen that look, and she hadn’t realised until right this second how much she had missed it.

 

She nodded, her arms suddenly trembling beneath her weight. She pulled herself back towards the pillows behind her, before leaning forward to unfasten the Velcro strap over her right thigh with trembling fingers that refused to co-operate. She was hyper-aware of Jack watching her every move. After a few moments, he reached for the strap over her left thigh, pulling it gently to undo it. She glanced over at him in surprise and he caught her look, doing a double-take.

 

“What? Did I do something wrong?”

 

“No,” she said hesitantly. “Not at all. I just didn’t think...”

 

“I want to be as comfortable with this as you are, and that means I need to know how these work.”