When I awoke that wintery Sunday morning, I had a huge smile on my face. This was actually a common occurence these days -- I often dreamed of the day when Dan had finally realized he wanted me. And every single time, the memory made my stomach flutter with happiness. It was still, months after the fact, the most romantic moment of my life. To have someone run half-way across town so he can tell me he loves me...
Sigh. I remembered it so well, it made me ache.
Still, the best part was what happened after that romantic, knock-me-off-my-feet kiss; we'd returned to the hotel, Dan had gotten us a room, and we'd spent the entire night making love and talking and talking and making love and... well, you get the picture. Eventually we had made our return to the real world, and believe it or not, I was still in love. As new as such a serious relationship was to me, time hadn't lessened its appeal. Nor had absence.
Slightly groggy still, I sat up on my bed. If possible, my smile got wider; snow was falling outside my window, making the view look peaceful and beautiful. Just looking at it made me feel cold; I wrapped my blanket tighter around my body, and leaned my head against the stack of pillows on my bed. I sighed in content. Thank god I didn't have to go into the office today.
Stretching, I reached for my bedside-table and checked the time on my cell phone. 11.30. Am. My body was screaming for coffee, which was the only reason I got up, slipped my feet into the warm slippers waiting for me beside my bed, and made my way to the kitchen.
As soon as I had a cup of hot coffee in my hands, I was back in bed, wrapped in warm blankets. Thoroughly comfortable, I picked up a book – a cheesy vampire romance I'd started reading a few days ago – and began reading, sipping my coffee as I did.
At around 12 o'clock, my phone finally rang. I threw the book away unceremoniously and smiled to myself as I picked up the phone.
"Hey, Dan," I said, settling down to lay on the warm, comfy bed once more with my phone pressed to my ear. I kind of hated how breathless and giddy I sounded, after all this time.
"Hey," the voice I loved floated through the phone line, making my heart dance. "How are you?"
"I'm really good," I said. "You?"
"I'm tired," he told me, his voice lowering to almost a whisper. "And I miss you. Like you have no idea how much."
I think I did have an idea, actually. "I miss you, too."
For a while I just listened to him breathe. If I closed my eyes, I could almost pretend he was here with me, and not hundreds of miles away, sitting in a tour bus with a bunch of rowdy rockers and their friends. He'd been on the road for almost two months now; it was getting painful how much I missed him. I could hear other sounds through the phone as well and tried to tell myself that the girly giggles I heard were just...I don't know. Michael?
"So," Dan cleared his throat. "What you doing?"
I shrugged, even though he couldn't see me. "Nothing, just reading. I just woke up."
"Yeah?" he chuckled. "Lucky you. We've been up since six." He sighed. "So, what did you do last night?"
"Work," I said. I'd been taking pictures at a local battle of the bands last night.
"Oh, right," said Dan; I'd told him about it earlier. "Any good bands?"
I grimaced. "Unfortunately, no."
"Well, that's too bad." He didn't sound all that sorry. He was silent for a while. Then, "Any hot guys?"
I smiled to myself. "Oh, tons."
"Ha ha," Dan said sourly. "You kill me."
In reality, all the bands had been bad, and all the guys playing just plain ugly. What was the world coming to? Only this one all-girl rock band had shown any promise, and they hadn't even won the competition. Our article was still going to feature a huge picture of the girl-band and a tiny one of the winners. That would show the chauvinistic judges.
"How was your gig last night?" I asked Dan, in an attempt to change the subject. He wasn't really worried about me and other men – at least any more than I was worried about him and all the groupies. Essentially we trusted each other; a little jealosy was only inevitable.
"It was great," Dan said, sounding excited now. "Even better than Saturday."
That made me happy. "That's great, Dan," I said. "I wish I was there to see you guys play."
"Yeah," he replied, a playful tone in his voice. "I wish you were here, too. But for a different reason."
I laughed softly. "What reason is that?"
"Um..." I could tell he wished he was somewhere more private, instead of a crowded bus. "How about I tell you that when I get home?"
"Okay," I agreed, laughing. "So, how's the new guy?"
Dan sighed, exasperated. "He has a name, honey."
"Whatever," I muttered. It wasn't that I didn't like their new guitar player. I just hadn't formed a close friendship with him, like I had with Micheal and Luke. This was partly because he didn't seem very interested in talking to me, and partly because he was the only one in the band who kept hanging out with groupies. I mean, of course he had every right to do so; I didn't think it made him a bad person or anything. I just didn't like the fact that those groupies, by association, also spent time with my boyfriend.
"Angel is great," Dan said. Oh, right. He also had an idiotic name. I preferred 'new guy'. "You've heard him play, haven't you? He knows his shit."
Well, that was true. "I know," I admitted. "I'm sorry."
"That's okay," Dan said softly.
"What about the others?" I asked. "How's Michael?"
"He's fine," Dan laughed. He seemed distracted all of a sudden, like maybe someone on the bus was harassing him.
"How's his voice?" I asked, in an attempt to hold Dan's attention. Michael had had some trouble with his singing when they'd first started playing without Neil. I knew he was still worried that he wasn't good enough to fill Neil's shoes.
"He's better every time we play," Dan said, still inattentive for some reason. "No man," I heard him say, to someone on the bus, not me. "No!"
Then came Michael's voice, muffled but whiny, "Dan, please! Let me talk to her. Just, like, one minute?"
I was laughing into my pillow now.
"Seriously, Mike," Dan said in exasperation. "Why can't you get your own girlfriend, and stop stealing mine?" I heard in his tone, though, that he had given in. "Holly?" he said, turning his attention back on me. "You still there?"
"Yeah," I said, stifling a giggle.
"Wanna talk to Mike?"
"Sure," I said, trying not to sound too eager about it.
"Hey, Michael." I laughed at his enthusiastic tone. "What's up?"
"Same old, same old," he said. "You?"
"Oh nothing much." I paused to yawn, stretching. My eyes landed on the book I'd carelessly thrown on the floor, in my haste to talk to my boyfriend. "I was just reading the book you told me about. Remember?"
"Oh, yeah. It's great, no?"
"Kinda, um..." I hesitated. I was glad he couldn't see me blush. "...hot?"
Michael laughed loudly. "I know!"
Michael and I had a lot in common; we spent another five minutes talking about the book, about the band and about some guy he'd met last night after their show. Then, however, it was time to go into a more serious matter.
"Mikey?" I asked tentatively. "Can I ask you something?"
I bit my lip, considering my words. I finally decided to start with a simple, "How is he?"
"He's fine," Michael said. When I stayed silent, he added, "Seriously."
"He's fine with you sleeping around?" I asked, skeptical.
Believe it or not, Paul was actually working on the new band's tour. I know that they had thought long and hard about whether or not they should even ask him to take the job. Eventually, though, Michael had decided that if he asked, it would then be Paul's issue; Paul would have to decide if they could work together. And to everyone's surprise, Paul had said yes. I had my own suspicions as to why exactly Paul had agreed to this, but I'd kept them quiet. When you saw them together, it almost seemed like Paul was still pining for Michael.
Michael hesitated, and I knew he had his doubts as well. "He's fine," he finally repeated. "Now drop it, please?"
"Fine," I said. "Just – try not to hurt him too much while you, um, spread your seed."
Michael chuckled. "I'll keep that in mind." There was a pause, and I heard a commotion on the background.
"Oh, yeah. I'm here." Another pause. "Dan wants you back," he sighed. "Listen. Let's have lunch when I'm back in town, okay?"
"Yeah," I said brightly. That would be fun. "Call me?"
"Sure thing, love."
"Hols?" Dan was back on the phone; he sounded more than a little irked.
He sighed. "You know I'm getting sick of sharing you with him."
"What?" I laughed. "Come on, honey." How pathetic was it that my heart still jumped whenever I called him that? "He's your friend, too."
I kind of couldn't believe he was still jealous over Micheal. He was gay, for god's sakes. Dan kept muttering something about how he only had that much time to talk to me and had to share that time with Michael, and how irritating that was and...
"Daniel," I cut across his rant.
"Yeah?" He knew by now that when I called him by his full name, it was time to stop talking.
"What are you wearing?"
There was a silence – then soft laughter. "Um," he whispered, "jeans and a t-shirt. But this really isn't the time for-"
"Wanna know what I'm wearing?" I interrupted, my voice low and playful.
He groaned. "Holly, this is– Everyone can hear me."
I heard someone laughing in the background, and I knew it was Michael. I decided to ignore him. "I'm practically naked here, you know? Well, almost naked. I am wearing panties. Remember the red ones?"
I almost laughed out loud when I gazed down my own body and saw what I was really wearing: an old baggy t-shirt and pajama pants. Sexy, no?
I could imagine Dan squirming in his seat. "Can we please do this when I'm alone and can, you know, participate?"
I grinned. "Am I making you...uncomfortable?"
Oh. Go me.
I finally let the laughter bubble out. "I'm sorry, love."
I heard him sigh. "How sad is it that we have to schedule time for phone sex?"
"Really sad," I agreed, though I wasn't really sad. Quite the opposite. "Only a few days, though, right?"
The tour was just a mini-version, thank goodness. The band was new again, which might seem weird, but was very much the reality of the situation. Without Neil, they weren't Storm anymore, and they needed to basically start all over. I needed to get used to being apart from Dan, however, judging by the way they were re-gaining their fan-base; it wouldn't be long before they were touring the world, gone months at a time. I'd talked to Michelle, Luke's girlfriend, and she'd told me that Storm had once toured for nine months straight. The mere thought of so much time without Dan was painful.
I tried to take it one day at a time, though, and not think about it too much. I didn't want to drive myself crazy. Yet.
"Yes," Dan said. "Three short days and we're home." There was a new edge in his voice, something I couldn't decipher.
"Dan?" I asked."Everything OK?"
"Yeah," he said. The rumbling of the bus had stopped, causing his voice to sound clearer. "But I have to go now. We've stopped. The guys want to get some beers, and I... I'll call you later, okay?"
Disappointed, I sat up on my bed. "Fine," I muttered. If he had to go get beers with the guys, then fine.
"Oh, honey," Dan said, sighing. "Don't be like that. I'll call later."
I almost gasped out loud at that. He'd never sounded like this before. It was... Wait a minute. I suddenly realized that something else about the way his voice sounded through the phone had changed; it echoed a little, like maybe he was inside somewhere. In a hallway, or something.
"Yeah?" He was a little bit out of breath now.
I frowned. "Where--?"
But before I could ask, there was a knock on my door.
"No way," I muttered to myself. Acting automatically, I got up from my bed and walked to the door. Not knowing what to expect, I looked through the peephole -- and let out a small squeal. With incredible speed, the door was open and I was in his arms. "Dan!"
He laughed, hugging me tightly. My feet were off the ground, and I half-expected him to spin me around, like in movies. "Hey honey," he chuckled.
I was very close to tears, so completely surprised and happy to see him. I stepped away from him when he let me down, to take a good look. A part of me wanted to be mad at him; another part wanted to hold him and never let go.
"Why didn't you tell me you were coming back?" I squeaked, smacking him on the shoulder lightly.
"I wanted to surprise you," he chuckled. "Are you surprised?"
I stared at him, taking in his appearance. He wore jeans, like always, and a thick coat on top of a black hooded jacket -- it was winter, after all. As I watched, he stepped inside and closed the door. He peeled off his coat and kicked off his shoes by the door. He looked way hot in the hooded jacket, hanging open to reveal a random band-shirt underneath. His hair was over-grown again, though he'd cut it short before the tour. I didn't mind; I'd always liked it long.
"I'm very surprised," I mumbled, barely audible. I was still busy checking him out, trying to control myself as my instincts screamed at me to just jump his bones.
Then he was settled and standing very close to me, studying me in a way very similar to the way I was studying him. I could smell his cologne, and the faint scent of cigarettes that always lingered in his hair and skin, a smell that was just so him, it made my heart race. His blue eyes were even more beautiful than I'd remembered, and they were holding my gaze.
"Don't I get a kiss?" he asked, voice low and husky. His lips were close to mine now, teasing. I loved how he always dragged this part out, making me yearn for him.
I breathed out softly, and I knew he liked the way my breath hit his lips. "I don't know," I drawled playfully. "I'm kinda mad at you."
His eyes glinted dangerously, flickering across my face and down my body, making me squirm. "You're mad?" he whispered roughly. "You were supposed to be almost naked, remember? Where are the panties?"
I smiled wickedly. I took a small step closer; pressing my body against his. His hands landed on my waist, then moved to my stomach and slipped under my shirt, trailing sparks across bare skin. It had been too long since I'd had him touch me like this; my whole body was ready to burst into flames. And from the way his hips pressed against mine, I knew he felt the same way. Still, he wouldn't kiss me.
"Oh, did I say that?" I asked innocently, looking up into his face. "Sorry to disappoint, honey, but... I'm not wearing panties."
If possible, his eyes became darker. "Yeah?" he asked softly. I shivered as he began to drag his cold fingers downwards, agonizingly slowly. A moan escaped my lips as I felt his hand slide under the waistband of my pajamas, making its way between my legs; I damn near collapsed against his body, but his strong arms held me up.
"So I see," he purred. He looked into my eyes as he continued to he caress me. Momentarily, he dropped the act and became serious, "I love you, you know that?"
"I love you too," I breathed shakily. His hand was kind of a distraction.
He finally kissed me then, softly at first, then oh so hard. I groaned in frustration as he removed his fingers, but then he picked me up in his arms and carried me to bed, where we spent the entire day wrapped up in each other. And in case you were wondering, our sex life -- well, let's just say that it more than made up for all the time we had to spend apart.
So there it is. Thank you so much to everyone who stuck with this story. I am one hundred per cent certain that I would never have finished this if it weren't for all the reviews. So, everyone who read, alerted, faved and reviewed, I'm forever grateful.
Go on and leave one last review, if just to say good-bye?
Georgia: Thanks for reviewing, once again! I hope you still got your essay done, even with all the distraction? At least now you don't have that excuse anymore... Thanks for everything! XO