HAYDEN POV EXCERPTS
Wedding of the Year: Hotel Scene – Hayden's POV
I slid the key cards off of the hotel desk and turned to Evika. “Ready?” I asked her. I noted the obvious disappointment in her expression and it took all I had in me not to show how much it amused me.
“I can get mine.” She started to grab her suitcase, not looking at me when she answered. “It's no big deal.”
I moved quicker than usual to grip the handle before she could and pulled it away from her, unable to stop my grin. “I got it, Pony-girl. You can push the elevator buttons.” I wagged my eyebrows just to test her mood even more since I'd already sensed her irritation. She always gave me such good bait to work with...and I was a sucker for it.
She relented and clutched that purse of hers, huffing as she walked over to the elevator. As soon as she turned her back, I tugged the rolling luggage hoping the sound of wheels on the hard, glossy floor would cover my short-breathed laugh. I watched her smack the “up” button and fold her arms while tapping her foot impatiently.
Okay, I'm not an idiot; I knew she was pissed off. When it came to Evika's “tells,” it wasn't hard to figure out the obvious ones. What got me this time was the reason for it. As soon as the subject of “hotel room with two beds” was spoken at the front desk, her peppy and talkative self cut to underwhelmed and silent. Don't get me wrong, one bed would have been fine with me. We'd lay together before; even slept next to each other. But this was different. This was a hotel stay. A wedding weekend. An extremely romantic one for a lot of couples that were staying here in the first place. What kind of guy am I to assume that it would be okay with her to get one damn bed under these circumstances? Wasn't two beds a bit more tasteful than the latter? More gentlemanly?
“Something wrong, Evika?” I inquired. That tapping foot came to a halt.
There was a bit of a delay in her response. “Nothing's wrong,” she finally answered. “I'm just nervous about seeing everyone again. That's all.”
The doors opened, and we entered. I studied her as she hit the button for the fourth floor with a little more grace this time. “I see.” I smirked, turning my head down at the elevator floor. It was still hilarious to me that she hadn't realized she'd been so obvious. The ride up to our floor was nothing but the quiet, instrumental music inside the elevator car....and the looming dead silence from the both of us.
So, I have to be honest here. Of course I'd contemplated one bed. I'll admit to that. But with the upswing of anger in her lately, I wasn't sure how Evika was going to react. Who knows how the hell she would have felt about my reserving a room with just one bed? I'm sure she would have been just as easily pissed off about that too; angry with me for assuming it was okay for us to be in the same bed together for this kind of weekend. Hell, I didn't even know how I felt about that. Truly. What would my intentions have looked like to her?
Since that Halloween night when she'd tried to kiss me, I felt I'd partially ruined my chance in ever redeeming myself. I knew I'd hurt her pride. Badly. Evika's pride is one of the hardest things to repair. We'd never talked about that night. It was almost as if it was just shoved under the rug for the time being until one of us brought it up again. And I knew her too well; no way was she going to bring it up to get it resolved. God, she was so stubborn. Normally I would have cut straight to the issue and made it our first topic of discussion the very next day, that attempted kiss. But the problem was, I wanted that kiss just as bad as she did. I'd wanted to embrace her long before that day had come and it drove me crazy that she thought I didn't want to. I just wanted it to be perfect and I wanted it to be special for her as well as myself; not some impromptu act on her drunken behalf – something which I knew she'd regret doing.
As soon as we'd gotten to the room, Evika's tune changed – obviously a bit more chipper. “Wow, this place is immaculate.” I saw her eying the bathroom. Maybe it was her attempt at making up for her lobby and elevator behavior. A desperate attempt to make me forget.
I plopped our suitcases on the floor by the desk at the far end of the room and hung our bagged wedding attire up in the closet. She immediately scoped the rest of room and found the television after we got settled in.
“Talk Soup will be on pretty soon,” she said up-beatedly. I'm gonna hit the shower really quick.”
“Take your time, Pony-girl. We're not going anywhere.”
She smiled and bounced off to the bathroom with her bag.
I knew I wouldn't have long to assess the situation when she officially closed the bathroom door. I stood in the corner of the room, looking at the two beds. Neither of which was claimed yet. One would be hers. One would be mine. It was simple math. Very obvious. That was the plan. I decided to take the bed closest to the window, only because the other one was closest to the bathroom. Call me thoughtful.
I changed into my night gear and made myself comfortable on my bed just in time before she'd exited the bathroom, sporting a t-shirt and flannel pants, just like me. She crawled under her covers after hitting the lamp and turning up the volume on the television. Talk Soup would start soon.
Her eyes kept averting from the TV to my side of the room. I laughed silently at how undeniably obvious she was being. It was as if something was on the tip of her tongue, on her mind. A ploy. She started squirming, as if frustrated in some way.
“Hayden?” a whiny voice came from the other bed.
“Yeah?” I breathed a laugh.
“Can you pleeeeeease rub my shoulders? Please? Please?”
I cocked an eyebrow at this request and looked over. She was still staring at the TV, which told me she had something else on her mind and didn't want me to see it in her eyes: She wasn't over this whole two-bed thing. A shoulder rub was the best she could come up with. I wasn't surprised. The last I'd expect her to do was actually crawl over into the bed with me. That would actually mean she'd be inadvertently admitting what she was pissed about in the first place. That wasn't her style at all.
I took the bait, but decided I'd return some of my own. “Okay....but you'll owe me,” I answered in delay.
“Owe you?” she finally looked over at me. “Why?”
I jumped out of my bed and walked over to hers. “Because I give something way better than
just a shoulder rub.” Her surprised look at me made me laugh loudly. “Just lay down and enjoy it while you get it.”
She lay tummy-first on the bed, facing the TV while I climbed atop her bottom end, careful not to put my total weight on her fragile body. I slid up her pink shirt just past her shoulder blades; which is where I'd planned on stopping when it came to exposing her skin, but as my eyes scanned the beautiful skin of her back, I found myself running my fingers along the waist-line of her pants, pulling them down a bit further than I'd meant to, finally stopping a few inches below her lower back dimples.
She gasped. “Omigod, Hayden!”
I decided to go with it. There was no turning back now. “Hey, I warned you. And need I remind you? You were the one whining over here. Just relax.” That last part was really meant for me.
I placed my hands at the starting point – her lower back – and began thumbing circles up and outward, pressing into her soft, warm skin. My eyes roamed the contours of her hips, curving inward then up to her ribs. I found myself strategizing the patterns I would use to touch every, single piece of skin I'd seen before me. She was silent for quite a while. Maybe it was out of awe. Something new was always around the corner for her when it came to me, I have to admit.
My hands roamed upward as I kept my thumbs pressed along her spine. I massaged my way up to her shoulders and upper arms for a few minutes, then drifted to the sides of her torso, absentmindedly grazing the side of her breasts with the very tips of my fingers. It was then that I'd felt I'd gone too far.
“Hayden,” her voice was soft. I'd paused briefly and brought my hands quickly to the center of her back, hoping she hadn't noticed where they'd roamed. “Are you doing that thing you do?”
With great relief, I laughed at her question. “Nope. It's all natural right now.” This was true. “Why do you ask?” Please. I knew.
“Really, really good?” I boasted. If only she'd known I'd guarded a masseuse long before she was born. This was a harmless secret of mine to keep.
She took a deep breath, relaxing even more before answering me. “That's an understatement.”
I smiled at her comment, relishing in the fact that I knew she'd liked the touch of my skin to hers; just the simple contact. I also took great pride in the fact that I wasn't using my “drug” on her. I didn't have to for this.
It must have been a good half hour before I'd realized she'd fallen asleep. A deep sleep. Even in knowing this, I still couldn't get myself to stop caressing her skin. I didn't want to. Once I knew she was sleeping, I almost felt alone….which left me alone with my thoughts. Dangerous ones. The glow of the television light illuminating her body right under mine, my fingers tingling at the sensation as they touched her. Craving her.
I fell weak to my body's impulsive movements as they led me to leaning down to kiss the skin of her back. I felt the warmth of her skin touch my lips upon each soft kiss I laid along the trail of her spine. Impure thoughts flooded my mind as a few unknown sensations swarmed through the nerves of my body. In a panic and in fear that I may not stop, I slowly pulled her shirt back down and carefully lay next to her, moving her hair away from her face to expose her simple beauty.
What was it about this hotel? This place? This weekend? This room? These sensations inside of me were always there, but never this prominent, never this hard to tame. It was starting to become unmanageable for me. The power of their presence this time was extremely overwhelming and made me realize the tension that lingered between Evika and I. Something had to be done and I was a fool to have waited this long. I'd always loved her and she needed to know this.
I muted the television, allowing myself to hear only her breathing. I traced her lips with my thumb, imagining my own pressed against them, calculating exactly how I'd redeem myself from that almost-first-kiss moment with her…redeem it with a moment that I'd planned to make unforgettable for us both. A moment I'd longed for since she came into existence.
I carefully tucked her into her bed and lay in it with her for only a few minutes, just long enough to watch her start to dream again and long enough to whisper to her sleeping ear; “I'll not let another day go by before my lips are pressed to yours for the first time. I promise you this.”
I kissed her forehead, turned off the television and proceeded to my own hotel bed. I lay there awake for quite some time, with only my thoughts once again, realizing tomorrow was about to change things between us forever....and I embraced it, yearned for it. It was only the beginning.