He turned to face her, and they were both quiet for a moment, but there was no silence. She could hear her heart beating in her ears, nervousness creeping in as she considered everything she wanted.
From the outside, he seemed at ease but inside, he could feel the anxiety even through his fingertips… knowing the night was not nearly over and anticipating what might be next, torn between waiting on her and making a move.
He had felt it throughout the day that things were shifting into a higher gear. What she had said on the beach pushed him, what she had said in the pool stoked the fire even more. She had said so much, but he still wanted to hear more. He remembered what she had said in Europe, about how she would tell him when she was ready and that he would know. There was no question that she wanted the same things he did; he just wasn't sure when or if that time had arrived. “... I always trust you…"
The living room was dark, but the lights were still on in the kitchen, partially illuminating the scene between them. The cool air in the house touched her skin, and she clenched the towel tighter around her body.
"What would you have said?" He asked suddenly, moving his hand over the top of his head.
"When you knocked on my door that night."
The butterflies returned, and she felt them fluttering inside. "I told you… I was going to tell you how I felt."
"But… what would you have said?" The way the emphasis landed on different words, and the way his voice strained at the end told her he needed to hear whatever it was.
Remembering that night, laying there restless in the dark, the urge to tell him everything… it was all crystal clear again. The intensity of the desire she felt to be near him escalated; he was too far away, there were still things she hadn't experienced with him. She still wanted him just as badly… worse. "It probably would have been a jumbled mess..."
He stepped closer to her, and her breath became shallow.
"I just knew I wanted to tell you… something real. I think you've heard anything I would have managed to say by now."
His palm landed on her cheek, and she blushed under his touch, and she relaxed a bit, knowing he just wanted to hear it again. "I guess… I would have said…or tried to say, I'm in ridiculous love with you. And it feels like a really big deal." She paused, "… that I want to go all in with you."
He smirked at her, "I love hearing you say that. All in."
"That's what you are to me. A commitment. I know you are worth the hard parts..." She whispered.
Commitment. That felt right.
Commitment. Not obligation.
"I want that," She said, "with you. We can have that even if we aren't together all the time."
"Yes," he breathed, pressing his forehead into hers, sliding his other hand around her waist. "That's what I want. With you. All in."
She nodded into his palm.
He started kissing her, and she felt that dull, hazy feeling throughout her body again. Her towel fell to the floor, and they left it there as her arms were put to better use holding on to him.
Slowly, he guided her through the living room and the foyer and up the stairs, making an effort not to break their kiss. She let him take the lead and followed him through the house.
He backed her against the wall at the top of the stairs, and began to slip the straps of her bathing suit off her shoulders, kissing her deeply as he did so.
Though there was hardly any, there was too much space between them. Though he had his mouth on hers, he still wasn't close enough.
She hummed happily in response to his lips on her shoulders, tilting her head back against the wall, feeling less and less in control as he cast his spell over her. Trust him. Fall into it.
With urgency, he started moving again, guiding her further down the hall, through the dark of his room and to his bed where she fell against his sheets.
The warmth coming off of him and the softness of his bed relaxed her as his body covered hers. Her hand held the back of his neck loosely.
His mouth moved to her shoulders, and he resumed working her out of her bathing suit, releasing her arms from the straps and tugging it gently over her chest.
The heat from his mouth was all over… her neck, her collarbone.
"Nick." she murmured as his hand slid over her breast, his mouth on the other. "I love you."
His only response was in the continuation of what he was doing. She was relishing it - giggling softly, curving her body into his, gripping his shoulder.
Every thought in her head was of him, of them, of random things she didn't even know… dizzy with overwhelming bliss she couldn't define. It wasn't one thing, it was everything.
"You are so beautiful," he said as he finished separating her from her bathing suit, and her arm fell back against the bed.
Soon, he was covering her again, pressing his skin against hers, making her moan softly.
His hand slid up the back of her neck, and his fingers pushed through her hair, sending a tingle up her spine. She pulled him in closer to her and reached for the waistband of his swim shorts.
"Why?" She asked quickly. "No."
He captured her mouth in his again while helping her push the shorts off.
Her mind went blank. There was nothing, only feeling, only bursts of warmth and color… nothing else. Complete emptiness for a noticeable moment and then, the single realization that she had everything she was waiting for and no hesitations. Exactly what I wanted, exactly … even better. Everything.
The thought stood alone, prominent and confident, clear, and unmistakable. More, everything, now.
A rush of adrenaline coursed through her body, and she pressed her hand into his chest. "Nick." She whispered against his mouth, "I want more."
Though she had said that to him several times, he knew it could only mean one thing right now. He pulled back ever so slightly to look at her. There was something new in her expression he wanted to study.
The serious look on his face put every nerve ending on even higher alert.
"I don't want to wait anymore." Her voice was nothing more than a whimper. It hurt to speak. It hurt to say those words, to release them from the deep place they had lived forever. It hurt even though nothing was holding them back, even though it was the easiest thing to know to say. She didn't have a choice; she had to tell him. She needed him to know. She had to have him. "Go deeper with me."
His heart was pounding against his chest. It was the most wonderful and terrifying thing he had ever heard. Through the nervousness, he smiled at her. He knew.
"Coll..." "...Can you even ask someone to go deeper…"
"I waited…" there was audible aching in her voice as she dragged a single finger across his hip. "But I don't want to wait anymore. I waited for you."
He didn't say anything, but she knew what he was thinking. "I‘m sure. It's what I want." She explained quietly, "I want you to have everything. I want to have everything with you."
After weeks of wanting her so badly, he was still surprised by it and unprepared for how he felt right now. Safe, capable… the click of the missing piece, the feeling she had told him about.
"God, Colleen…" he breathed, "You're perfect." He managed to articulate, "You're so perfect, and I'm so in love with you."
He brushed some hair out of her face gently and kissed her cheek.
"Nick. I trust you."
He looked along the slope of her nose, her cheek's curve, and back to her eyes. "You're so pretty."
Blushing, she smirked at him. "So are you."
He hung his head. For everything she had said, he felt like his words weren't enough.
"I love you for everything - not this. Not just this…"
"I would wait longer."
"I know you would. I don't want to." Holding his face in her hands, she looked at him carefully. "I don't need to. I'm sure… about you."
The excitement he felt was muddled for a moment by the anxiety of responsibility. He dropped his head into the curve of her neck as her hands roamed across his bare back. She loved feeling the way his muscles tensed as his body moved above hers.
Her response gave him a boost of confidence, and he focused on her again.
The tips of his hair grazed her bare stomach as he kissed down her body to her thighs and back up slowly. He teased her, trailing kisses around and so very close to the place he knew she wanted to feel the warmth of his mouth the most.
"Please, Nick." She whispered, and he listened. His hands moved over her thighs and pushed them further away from each other, and she offered no resistance as he moved in closer to her. Instinctively, her hands went to his hair, tugging gently.
Her mind wandered as her body reacted to what he was doing.
She thought about the soft green grass on the campus lawn and the tie-dye shirts.
The bench in Spain.
Spinning on the sidewalk that night on Notting Hill.
The blue stage suit.
Pulling on the door outside the venue to no avail.
Her arms felt weak, but she couldn't move them away from him.
She thought about him in her bed and her in his and how he held her hand that afternoon in town. Her thigh grazed the side of his face.
She thought about him at her door in Germany. He flicked his tongue, and she bit her lip into her mouth.
She thought about being fourteen with him and 34 with him. She twitched as he activated a hundred feelings inside of her.
"Tell me what to do." He mumbled against her skin.
Everything. “You already know.”
He seemed unsure, and she didn't know why.
"Everything." She said as he kissed the inside of her thigh, eyeing her in the process.
He didn't budge.
She looked at him curiously… Nervous? Not possible.
"Are you ...nervous?"
He moved back up her body to face her again, "Are you?"
"A little bit." She admitted. "You've done this so many times and… I..." she trailed off, noticing his eyes shift.
"No." He said, "I've never done this."
"I've never been with someone I'm in love with."
It shattered every remaining ounce of worry, and the fear dissipated completely. She was fully exposed to him, but she was safe; he was with her physically and mentally… emotionally, in every way. Everything.
Her smile widened, but she was speechless. "I want you to be … okay." His lips were feathery on her cheek.
"I'm so much better than okay." She said as she wrapped her hand around him, making him groan in approval.
He kissed her deeply, enjoying the feeling of her hand wrapped around him, tugging gently. His breathing became shallow, and he pulled away from her abruptly and crossed the room in the dark.
Moving quickly, he opened a drawer, pulled out what he needed, and returned the bed. She watched as he went through the motions quickly and adjusted their bodies, so he was poised to give her what they both wanted.
Every inch of her skin yearned to touch his and she slinked further beneath him to get closer.
He looked up at her behind a curtain of messy, out of place hair.
She smiled seductively at him as her arms rested on his shoulders and her foot slid along his leg.
"It's okay," she whispered.
Nervously, he pushed into her slowly. He felt her tense up for a moment and then relax, letting her body flow around his. She felt a wave of pressure move through her, and a small, unrecognizable sound escaped her mouth.
Finally, she felt close enough to him.
Immediately he knew something was different. It was different, he was in love with her, and he knew that made it different, but it felt different… He felt it at all. He felt her, not just what her body was doing to his. He felt the way she was relying on him for security when her hand grasped his shoulder and the way she wanted to give more of herself to him as her leg slid along his. He felt the warmth of her skin against his and the safety it provided. He felt the anticipation and nervousness of wanting to take care of her and the comfort of her words; the confidence it gave him. She trusted him enough for everything and believed he was good enough for it. He felt it. Relief.
He felt her skin meshing with his own… her body responding to his from the inside out ... he hadn't ever noticed it before. It felt right.
He moved slowly and steadily, letting her get comfortable.
Unfamiliar feelings flooded her body, and she was overwhelmed by them. His mouth covered her breast and her body tilted in his direction.
"Are you okay?"
He pushed deeper.
She hummed in agreement, he continued.
To take in as much of her as he could, he moved carefully across the next several minutes, losing track of time. He kissed the inside of her wrist and the tips of her fingers. She was on fire and giggling and excited and tranquil all at the same time.
"Does it feel good?"
At that moment, The question almost didn't make sense. She nodded, unable to articulate anything.
Good…? Not even close to the right word…
She couldn't fathom a way it could feel anything other than amazing. To have him with her, alone and naked in the dark, his hands all over her… knowing he wanted the same things she did, feeling the wave of pressure moving through her body that meant he was finally close enough… so much better than good.
The skin on her torso shivered slightly as he moved his tongue across her chest, savoring the softness of her curves and the small moans and hums she was responding with.
She couldn't think or see straight; when she closed her eyes, all she had were colors… deep teal greens, bright golden yellows…
"Closer," she said, "I want you closer."
He sighed, "you feel incredible."
She smirked, grasping his forearm tighter, and he pushed deeper, triggering a new set of reactions. Her eyes closed, her body curled away from the bed, her hand covered her face.
There were shades of blue that reminded her of him... that would always remind her of him.
He cupped as much of her breast as he could in his palm. He said something but the words didn't process, everything was blurry, and she felt everything inside of her rushing toward him, and finally, truly, completely felt close enough to him.
She raked her hand up his back, and he pushed his hips into hers, rocking quickly before falling against her, pressing his forehand into her shoulder, feeling her hand on the back of his neck. He closed his eyes and relaxed into her and realized that while he was her first in a lot of ways, she was his in ways that were also significant.
Neither of them moved, and there was stillness and only the sound of breathing for several moments before he lifted his body off of hers slightly. She moved her finger slowly across his bare collarbone.
"How do you feel?"
There were a thousand possible responses, but the one that seemed most urgent was the one that came out, "Safe."