Author's Note: Hey guys. I know I should probably be finishing up Facing Backwards, but I've had this scene in my hard drive for over a year, so I thought I'd edit it and post it. I hope you enjoy it.

Taking A Chance:

A Short Scene

By

Lindsay Marie

The petite brunette stormed into the hotel room, hands clenched tightly, bright amber eyes burning with fire. She threw her beach bag hard against the carefully placed wicker chair and ignored the stinging ripple of muscles along her back.

The object of her fury slammed the door behind him. "Nicole, wait!" Tylar called. His exasperation was quickly turning into an anger that matched hers. "Look I'm sorry. I was out of hand."

She had never met anyone who was so irritating. For three days, he had been a pain in her ass. Tylar was pigheaded, arrogant, and he never knew the right things to say. His clothes were all over the room, he made weird sounds while brushing his teeth, and all he wanted to eat were chicken nuggets. She had tried to be nice, but he was driving her crazy. She couldn't stand it anymore.

"That's it! I want you out of this room tomorrow," she raged. "I don't care if you have to fucking change hotels."

"Why do I have to leave? You're the one who can't stand to be with me."

"Because…" she stammered, "It would be the nice thing to do."

"I'm no gentleman, Nicole."

He grabbed her arm roughly when she tried to turn from him. This wasn't finished yet. If she was going to belittle him and bitch, then she could at least do it to his face.

His face paled when she screamed. He let go of her arm abruptly. "What?"

"Nothing," she whimpered. "Just leave me alone."

"Fine!" He'd had enough of her bullshit.

Tylar pushed himself into the bathroom and forced his breathing to calm. Nicole Harris had crawled into his skin in more ways than one. She was beautiful yes, but she knew exactly how to push his buttons. Most of the time he didn't know whether to he wanted to kiss or strangle her. He had always been attracted to passion, but she just might have more than he could handle.

He splashed water onto his face hoping it would help quell the rapid beating of his heart. She must be the most infuriating woman he had ever met. She actually wanted him to leave! Rubbing the lavender smelling hand towel over his face and messing his hair into boyish spikes, Tylar decided what he was going to do. He was going to march into that room and inform her that if she couldn't stand to be with him, than she should just go and find her own room. It had originally been his, after all.

He certainly wasn't born with a tree full of money like she was. She could easily get another room. If she wasn't so stubborn all the time, then maybe she could actually see reason. He couldn't afford to change rooms. Working his way through college was hard. There were long working hours in between classes and little time to study. Taking the week off for spring break was something that he'd desperately needed. He thought a week in the sun might do him good. Now, he wasn't so sure.

Gathering the courage to tell her what was on his mind, Tylar walked out of the bathroom determinedly and said, "Look Nicole…" His voice faltered when he saw her. She had removed her oversized t-shirt and wore only her string bikini and khaki shorts. Her beautiful back was bright red. The color drained from his face. He had grabbed her arm so hard. No wonder she had cried out. He had hurt her.

Nicole searched her bag violently for the aloe cream. Ignoring the pain in her back took an effort so great she didn't even notice Tylar standing behind her. When her fingers brushed across the bottle of cream, she sighed with triumph, though her anger refused to give her relief.

"So stupid…" She muttered to herself as she squished the mint smelling cream on her hand. Reaching up towards her back, she winced painfully as she attempted to lather the cream onto her skin.

"Nicole," Tylar sighed. She was just going to make it worse. "Come here."

Turning around at his voice, she scowled. She didn't need his help, nor did she want it. "Leave me alone!"

Furious, Tylar approached her and stole the bottle of cream from her hands. "Don't be an idiot! Lay down on the bed."

"What?"

"You heard me!" He gritted. "Just do it."

"Fine!" She screamed, feeling more like a child than ever.

As carefully as she could, she flopped down onto the bed, dug her head into the pillow and sulked. It shamed her, the way she was acting. She just couldn't help it. He brought out the worst out in her. Her mother would be shocked if she saw her like this. For so long she had been the pristine daughter she was expected to be. She had learned how to be charming and unconfrontational early in her sheltered life. How could she not under her mother's sharp eye? Nothing else was acceptable.

With Tylar, she just couldn't be that person. He had this way of making her feel so small, as if his life had more meaning than hers. It drove her crazy the way he could manipulate her insecurities and doubts. He didn't know that sometimes she looked in the mirror and wondered if there was anything behind her perfectly groomed demeanor. He couldn't have known that she was taking a major she didn't choose at school her parents had decided for her. All of his words burned inside her, and it killed her that he was right.

"You know, if you had listened to me, this wouldn't have happened."

"Shut up," She moaned. It was so good of him to rub it in her face. She tensed instinctively when she felt his fingertips on her skin loosening the knot of her bikini.

"What are you doing?" she practically gulped.

"Do you want me to do this or not?"

"I never asked you to!"

Ignoring her, Tylar sat next to her on the bed. Nicole just dug her head back into the pillow, not trusting herself to speak. She was afraid of the things she might say. She had been cruel to him earlier, she knew, but his comments hurt her more than she would ever admit. That was what happened when you were forced to share a hotel room with the one person in the world you couldn't stand.

Beginning at her shoulders, he rubbed the lotion over her smooth skin. At her whimper he muttered, "Don't be such a baby," though his touch lightened considerably.

Nicole closed her eyes as she felt her burns begin to cool under his touch. She couldn't believe that he was being so gentle with her. She wondered if he was this gentle when he was making love. No, she thought. He would passionate, and that intrigued her more than gentleness ever could.

Tylar rubbed his hands down her back and up, reveling in how soft she felt. He was putting himself through torture. He could hear her calming breaths, and the feel of her body moving under his fingertips made him think of other bedroom activities. The breeze through the window toyed with his sensitizing skin, and he closed his eyes at the erotic pictures moving through his head. She felt perfect under him, just like he thought she would be. Only the warmth from her burns kept his hands gentle.

The more she became comfortable with his touch, the longer he allowed his hands to linger. His thumbs brushed up her spine wickedly slow, and he could hear her breathing catch. The calluses of his skin brushed the softness of hers, soothing and arousing her at the same time. Nicole could never have imagined that he could make her feel like this.

He dipped his fingers low on her back, brushing back a little of her shorts, and she sucked another breath in. Almost in tuned to her body, he did it again, a soft seduction, and watch her reaction with clouded eyes. The next time he dipped them even lower and smiled when he found a hidden treasure. On the low of her back resided a little butterfly. With his finger he rubbed intimately around it.

"What's this?"

"Huh?" She asked in a daze. The room had grown so hot, and her skin burned through the cool aloe. His fingertips heightened the sensation as it rubbed around her lower back, just above….

"Your tattoo."

"Oh, um," She blinked trying to ignore the feel of his fingers on her. "It's just a butterfly."

His fingertips paused as Nicole turned to face him. Her body had changed positions slightly, and his eyes found their way to the curve of her bare breast. Her face flushed when she remembered how bare she really was. He might only be able to see the side of her breast, but it felt like he saw all of her. It had always felt that way with him. She could feel naked in a sweatshirt and jeans when he looked at her.

Conscience of his hungry gaze, she lowered her arms closer to her sides. His piercing eyes moved and collided with hers. They stayed there for a few seconds before he finally looked away to grasp the hotel towel she'd brought in from the beach. He wiped his greasy hands on it, and put the cap back on the lotion.

"I wouldn't have thought you the type to get a tattoo, let alone a butterfly." He said finally, not sure where to progress with this truce they had temporarily conceded to.

"I know. Everyone gets butterflies." A disgruntled tone rang through her voice.

"Why get one, then? I would suggest a drunken night, but I don't think you are the type to do that either. You're too controlled…most of the time." He remembered how fiery her personality had become once he'd started sharing this room with her. It was so opposite from the cold facade he'd always associated her with.

She lifted her head up slightly to look at him, wondering if he was insulting her or just making an observation. The curious gaze on the small of her back made her think the latter. "I guess it symbolizes something for me."

"What's that?"

She let her head drift down to rest on the pillow. "Freedom," she whispered.

He stood up to drop the dirty towel in the bathroom. The word unsettled him more than he thought possible coming from her. It sounded so wistful, so forlorn, like she'd never experienced it.

Coming back into the room, he removed her bag from the wicker chair and sank down into it, bringing a distance between them that could never be considered comfortable. No distance ever was. "Freedom from what?"

"Expectations."

"So, you want to just fly away and leave it all behind? Is that what the tattoo means to you?"

"Something like that."

He nodded quietly. He looked down at his feet, brushing his sandaled foot across the carpet to see the fabric darken in the new position. He heard her sit up, and he brought his attention back to her. She held the bikini in place over her breasts while she watched him.

"What's with all the questions?"

"I'm just trying to understand you a little better, I guess." Without a response from her, he continued, "Is your back feeling any better?"

"The lotion is helping a lot." She paused for a few seconds and cocked her head to the side with perplexity. "You're never going to let me have the hotel room are you?"

Tylar shook his head and admitted, "I can't afford another one. Would you?"

"I don't think I'd be able to find one. It's just too busy this time of the year."

"We'll just have to make do a little longer, then."

"I guess so."

With a slight smile, he wandered over to his suitcase to grab a pair of shorts he could sleep in. He didn't think sleeping in just boxers would be quite appropriate given the circumstances. "I'm going to take a shower. I would wait a while before you put anything on your back. It'd probably best if you slept without a shirt."

She watched him gather his stuff. "Thanks, Tyler. For the lotion, I mean."

He shot her a quick, wider smile, "Your welcome," and shut the bathroom door behind him.

While he showered, she changed carefully out of her suit and into some fresh underwear and pajama shorts. She decided that he was probably right about not wearing a shirt to bed, though she knew she was going to be more than a little uncomfortable sleeping so bare, especially with him near.

Crawling into the sheets of her twin bed, she turned so that she could sleep on her stomach with her back bare above the covers. She thought about the way his hands had roamed her back, so softly and almost reverent at times, and felt her face flush once again. She groaned at her own ridiculous thoughts.

She could barely spend ten minutes with him without finding something to argue about. She shouldn't fantasize about what it would be like to be with him. It just wasn't healthy. She couldn't help but smile, though, when he'd asked about her tattoo and the astute comments he'd made. That smile stayed on her face until long after she'd drifted asleep.