A/N: I want to take this chance to express how flabbergasted, grateful, amazed, etc. I am at all the reviews and subscriptions I've gotten. I know that this story is cliché, and I'm not nearly as good a writer as a lot of the authors on here are, so your appreciation makes me really happy inside. Hopefully this chapter will make you happy back.
Roger allowed her to fall asleep; he didn't think she should have come into school so soon after her injury, but he was proud of her: both for braving the pain as well as displaying the scars. He didn't think she had it in her, as self conscious as she was, but as always, she was able to surprise him. He didn't think he'd ever get to the very bottom of her, and it excited him. No matter how high his opinion became, she did something even braver, and his admiration grew, until he wasn't sure he'd be able to hide the full extent of it anymore.
He could tell that she liked him, and maybe was a little enamored, but he was used to that from girls; just because he ignored and detested most of it didn't mean he couldn't recognize it. But she was too unpredictable, and too fragile, to even ask. And it was so easy to be with her now; he lacked the experience to know whether all relationships turned as stagnant and infuriating as with Emily. Being allowed to see her, like this, now, was enough. For the time being.
He had loved watching her fall asleep; her eyes closed slowly, blinking every now and then as she struggled to stay conscious, until they lowered into final rest, her delicate lashes matching their shadows on her cheek. Her cheeks lost a touch of their rosy hue as she forgot the world and its dangers, and the secrets she felt she must keep hidden. Her fingers had begun twitching around his every so often as her system adjusted to sleep, and a spark of electricity jolted through him with every tap. Her shoulders lowered, her spine curved, and her body tilted towards his as her muscles released their hold on her bones. If he looked closely, he could see her breath stirring the fibers on the pillow. He leaned closer, and he could feel it.
Released from the binds of propriety, he let his eyes wander down her body. The soft hollow at the base of her neck was delicately framed by her clavicle, but not sunken in like he saw on the skinnier girls. Indeed, Jo was slim, but he had come to notice that she was not skinny at all. Now, in sleep, when she didn't feel the need to exude an air of perfection to the world, her shirt was pulling against her stomach, but not unattractively. Down from her shoulders, which were framed by her long, wavy chocolate brown hair, her frame sloped outwards along her breasts and then dipped in deeply to her waist, and was expanded again by her round hips. Although she rarely wore clothing that extenuated her figure, her jeans were tight across her pelvis, and he could see the bony knobs at the tips of the hipbone peeking out above her jeans. The bones created a small gap between the line of her pants and her skin, and shadows reigned underneath-
Roger closed his eyes and buried his face in his hands. This was not good. This was not good. He had been saying that to himself ever since he first saw her reading in the library, in the house of Roy's friend. Her hair had been, as it was now, loose around her shoulders, spilling over her bare collar bones and sweetly hiding the small amount of cleavage she sometimes showed. The soft, yellow light had played off of her pink tinged skin, and the hints of green in her eyes had sparkled madly. In retrospect, he knew that he knew then that he could not continue as he had been. He had never before cared so much what a single person thought of him. Life before had been divided into two groups: his family, and them, the collective other that would either support him or cast him from its society. He had chosen to be accepted.
But she didn't. She said it was not a choice, but a lack of courage that led her to lead the life she led. But he believed everything was a choice, except for what was left up to God. And whatever God decreed were virtues, of which cowardice was not. He knew a gaping flaw lay in his logic, but he didn't care. If it explained her, he would take it.
He uncovered his eyes and lay down slowly beside her, careful not to jostle the bed and disturb her. He froze as her eyelashes fluttered wildly for a moment, before stilling as her eyeballs rolled back and forth, lost in dreamland. Her lips slipped open, the skin separating with a silent pop, and a low moan rolled out of her throat. It stirred in him, rolling around inside his stomach, and he closed his eyes, trying to get a hold on himself. Again. Becoming aroused by her sleep talk was not good.
He would have continued to lie like that, ignoring her for both their goods, but another noise escaped her lips: a whimper. He opened his eyes and watched her closely, and there again, a tiny undulation in her throat, conveying fright and cold and aloneness. Carefully, he slid closer while pulling the sheets over both of them, and placed a hand lightly on her waist. She rose and fell with her breath, and the swell of her chest brushed against his upper arm every time she inhaled.
Slowly, he brought his hand up, up, up, along her ribs and carefully around her arm, between the shoulder and her curved front. He reached the bared skin at her neck, and softly, softly, he ran his fingertips along one of the muscles that formed a V leading down towards the depths. He stopped just above her collarbone, and could feel the buzz of blood rushing through her veins. An inch more movement, and he was above her pulse, and the thump thump beat in steady time. He leaned forward and placed the tip of his nose against her pulse point, and he could feel the rhythm spread like ripples across his skin. She whimpered again and shuffled closer to him, and suddenly her body heat was pressed tight to his chest; she pushed against him with every breath.
Hardly daring to breath himself, he pulled his neck back while keeping his body in place, to look at her. Her face was turned up, towards him. As he had done the night she came to him, bleeding and broken, he skimmed across her skin with his lips and finger tips, up, up, up her long cheek bones to her eyebrows, across their level surface to her nose, where he continued down and across her cheek, then back to her chin and up to her lips. Here, as he had before, he hesitated, eyes closed, feeling her warm breath wash his face in honey. Carefully, carefully, he pressed down on her bottom lip with his thumb, and it came apart from the top easily, so he could see the moist wetness of the inside of her mouth.
Using the un-calloused area of his thumb below the pad, he swept across her lips, and as she moved them in response to the pressure they stuck to his skin. Another moan pooled gently against his face. He moved his thumb up her cheek, over the bumps and imperfections, and softly, so softly, he brushed his lips across hers. If he had not known his body was doing it, he might not have realized they were touching, he touched so light. Then she breathed out, from her parted lips to his, and he himself couldn't prevent a small moan, closer to a whimper. In that moment he dared, and pressed his mouth more firmly against hers, feeling their lips meld as their moist breaths mingled. He could taste her insides on his tongue.
Slowly, slowly, he pulled away, frightened. He rolled away from her and onto his back, his hands lying prone at his sides. He shut his eyes against the pitiful moan she breathed out, and the movement of her body as she tried to fulfill the most basic human need for contact. Even as she brushed against his arm, he didn't move. He couldn't move. He lay frozen.
This was not fucking good.
Ok, I know that this is creepy and Edward Cullen-worthy, but I think it's cute, goddamnit! Notice that he only thought of Emily once, and not in a guilty way. This either says he's a bastard who only thinks of his own feeling, or Jo has gotten under his skin in magical ways. Or some other crazy rationalization. You can decide.
The title of the chapter is borrowed from the lyrics of Brandi Carlile's song "Dreams." I thought it was totally innocent until I read that it is actually about sex dreams, which makes the epic drums near the end make more sense than if it was about forgetting to put clothes on in the morning. Anyway, I felt it fit. You should check her out.
And finally, I must implore you once again to read Morine's "The Girl Under the Waterfall," as well as the rest of her and RentBoheme's work. They are seriously incredible writers, and I'm not just saying that because they're my friends. They go to artsy schools and I go to a math/science school, so they are better than me by default.
Thanks for reading!!!