Thanks to everyone reading, and adding this story to their favourites list. Hope you're all enjoying it.
Thanks, as always, to Hubby for the edit.
As we drove back to Seth's I couldn't take my eyes off him. It made me lightheaded thinking about all he'd done for me; all he was still willing to do. My heart swelled until it felt like it was going to burst out of my chest.
We got back to Seth's, and he headed straight through to the kitchen to make us a drink. He brewed us both coffee, and handed one to me, then we headed through to the living room. He placed his mug down on the table, and as I settled on the armchair I'd sat on earlier, he picked up his jacket and shoes, then opened the curtains. As the light filtered into the room, I looked around.
The sofa and seats were all black leather, and the walls were decorated in simple white, with large black and white pictures breaking up the starkness. All the other furniture was new, and made from shiny metal. A huge flat screen TV dominated the wall opposite the windows, and along the side opposite me was an impressive sound system, CDs neatly shelved around it, and a guitar tucked in the corner.
Seth disappeared momentarily, I assumed to put his jacket and shoes away, then returned and dropped down in the seat opposite me, so the room and coffee table separated us.
"This is a great place," I said, still gazing around the room. The view from the window showed the canal stretching out.
"Thanks. I rented it when I got the new job and moved up here from London."
"You moved from London?" I asked, taking a sip of my drink.
"Yeah, I'd been staying with a mate in the capital before that."
I continued gazing around the room, quietly drinking my coffee. After a few moments, I felt Seth's eyes on me. I turned to face him, and saw him smiling softly.
Unable to stop myself, I put my mug down, stood and crossed the room to him.
Seth put down his mug, and stared up at me. "I know I keep saying this, but thank you. Not only did you rescue me, take me to the police station and went through the hell of giving them a statement, but now you're helping me get home. I don't know what I can do to ever repay you."
"You don't need to repay me, Jade. I didn't do this to get some sort of reward. I did it because it's the right thing to do, and because I care about you."
I looked down into his face, gazing into his dark eyes. A small smile played on his lips, the hint of dimples showing in his cheeks. My heart fluttered.
I leaned forward and brushed my lips across his.
His body went stiff, and I instantly pulled away.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have-" My words were lost as he stood up and crushed his lips against mine.
His hands slipped into my hair, and I felt my body sag against his chest. My heart pounded, and heat blazed through me. Layer by layer, everything else faded away.
He kissed me until we were breathless, his hands clinging to my body. Eventually, we were forced to stop. His lips trailed across mine, over my neck, to my collar bone.
I opened my eyes and offered a small smile.
Seth's own lips quirked up into a smile of his own. "Hey," he said softly.
"Hey." I rested my forehead against his.
His hands dropped down from my face, and he laced his fingers through mine. He sat back down on the seat, pulling me with him so that I was curled in his lap. My head rested against his chest, and he raised one of his hands to stroke my hair.
"So, that happened," he said, and for the first time since knowing him, his voice sounded nervous.
I laughed and brushed the pad of my thumb across his hand. "Yeah, that happened."
We lapsed into silence again as my racing heart finally slowed to a normal level, and for the first time since entering the club the evening before, I felt calm.
I stifled a yawn, which startled Seth and he stopped stroking my hair. "You should get some rest. I'll call the locksmith, and take you home."
I looked up into his eyes. "I don't want to go home and be in that flat by myself after everything that's happened. Can I stay?"
"Please?" My bottom lip quivered.
Without another word, he scooped me up in his arms, and carried me to his bedroom. He laid me down in bed, then climbed in next to me, wrapping me in his arms, then covering us both with the duvet.
I breathed in the scent of him, closed my eyes, and drifted off to sleep.
When I woke up sometime later, it took me a few moments to realise where I was. I sat up and noticed the sunlight was filtering through the curtains. As I became fully awake I remembered the feeling of Seth's lips on mine, and turned to see him lying in bed next to me, his eyes fluttering as he dreamed.
I reached out a hand and gently stroked it through his hair, hardly believing I was actually here, in his bed.
His eyes opened, and after a moment he focused on me, then smiled. "Hey."
"Hey," I said back, my hand slipping from his hair as I wriggled down the bed and lay my head on the pillow so our faces were just inches apart.
"How are you feeling?"
"Okay, I think. At least my head isn't spinning anymore."
He reached up and brushed a strand of hair behind my ear. "That's good. Do you want some food or anything?"
"No, I still don't think I can stomach anything. I'd kill to get out of these clothes though."
"Do you want to take a shower or something? I can lend you something to change into, if it would help you feel better."
I laughed at the idea, and shook my head. "What would you even have that would fit me?"
Seth laughed too. "Good point."
We lay in bed a little while longer, Seth's hands slipping down from my cheeks to wrap around me and pull our bodies closer together. A huge part of me wanted to stay like this forever, cocooned in warmth and safety, but I knew I had to deal with the world eventually.
But first, I intended to enjoy the moment while I could.
I brushed my lips across Seth's, his beard coarse against my skin, my hands moving back up to his hair. The tension faded from my body, and my limbs went limp.
Seth left lingering kisses on my mouth, his lips like butterfly wings across mine as he pulled away, smiling. The dimples in his cheeks were back, and I couldn't help the grin that spread across my lips.
"Ready to go out there and face the world?" he asked.
"After that, I feel like I could face anything."
He laughed and kissed me again quickly, then whipped off the covers. I reluctantly climbed out of bed and followed him into the hallway.
As we reached the living room, Seth's phone started ringing. He pulled it out of his pocket, and then frowned at the screen. "It's your number."
"What?" I took it from him and without thinking, pressed answer, and held it to my ear.
"Seth, it's Kelly. I found Jade's bag in the club last night. Have you seen her? Mike said you'd taken her home because she was drunk."
I burst out laughing, and said, "Kel, it's me. I'm at Seth's."
"Oh my god. What happened? Are you okay?"
I let out a sigh. How much did I want to tell her over the phone? "Yes, I'm okay. I'll tell you everything later. Can you meet me at mine? My keys are in my bag, and I can't get in without them."
"Yeah, sure. I'll head straight over. And you're sure everything is all right? We were so worried when we couldn't find you, and then your bag turned up."
I gazed at Seth, who was waiting patiently by the door.
"I'm sure I'm okay."
"All right. I'll see you soon."
"Yeah, I'll see you soon." I hung up and handed Seth his phone. "Kelly found my bag in the club. She's heading to mine with my stuff. You don't mind if I head home, do you? It's just I'm dying for a shower and to change into clean clothes."
"I get it. It's fine. I'll take you home, and you can freshen up, have some food, and get some rest. I'll see you tomorrow, if you're feeling up to it?"
I smiled. "I'd like that."
Seth drove me home, and when we pulled up outside my flat, Kelly was already there, waiting for me.
I hesitated before getting out of Seth's car. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"You will. We've got work at the same time."
I laughed. "And if I recall correctly, it's your turn to by the coffee."
Seth grinned, his eyes sparkling. I all but swooned in my seat.
"Okay, I'll buy the coffee." He leaned across the seat and brushed his lips against mine. "See you tomorrow."
I kissed him again, unable to tear myself away. "Yeah, see you tomorrow."
I got out of the car, and crossed to Kelly, who was standing by my front door, holding my bag, her eyes almost bulging out of her head.
I waved at Seth as he started his car, and then took my bag from Kelly, and opened my front door.
The second we were through, and into the hallway, she said, "Okay. Explain. Why were you and Seth kissing? What the hell happened last night?"
I entered my living room and flopped down on the sofa. "Give me a minute. I need to shower and eat, then I'll tell you everything."
"You go now." Kelly practically pushed me up. "Have a shower, and I'll cook us some food. Then I want to hear every. Single. Detail."
I laughed and climbed to my feet. "Okay. I'll be back in a few."
I headed upstairs and stripped off, throwing my clothes in the laundry basket. I got into the shower, and relished the feel of the warm water as it rained down on me.
Despite all that had happened, my heart felt light. I'd been incredibly lucky, and I still couldn't quite believe what had happened between me and Seth after we went back to his. I didn't know where we went from here, but we'd already been through so much in less than twenty-four hours, that I thought nothing the world could throw at us could possibly be worse.
When I came downstairs Kelly was in the kitchen cooking us some soup and cheese toasties. I sat down at the breakfast bar, feeling immensely better now I'd showered, and changed into fluffy pyjamas.
"So, what happened?" she asked, placing a bowl of soup in front of me, and a plate with a toastie on beside the bowl.
I looked up at her and said, "One minute. I need this." I bought the bowl to my lips, and despite the fact it was hot enough to burn my tongue, I gulped half of the soup down. Then, I tore into my toastie, and dipped some of it in the remaining soup. "Someone at the club drugged me."
"What? What do you mean 'drugged you'? As in...?"
"Yup. As in, exactly what you're thinking."
"Oh my God, I'm so sorry, Jade. Did they? Have you told anyone?"
"Yeah, Seth took me to the station this morning…"
I told her everything that had happened since waking up in Seth's bed early that morning.
"I remember those guys staring at you. They were so creepy. Do you think I should tell the police?"
"I don't know … maybe we should wait until they've spoken to the nightclub owners, and reviewed the security footage. I mean, if they can't identify them, you saying two creeps were watching me won't mean much. But if they can identify them, then you could be used as a witness too."
"Yeah. I suppose so. I just hope they find them. Imagine what would have happened if Seth hadn't shown up when he did." She shuddered.
"I know. I'm so lucky he found me."
I continued telling her what happened once I got to the police station, quickly glossing over the hospital exam. Even though it had been vital at the time, remembering how vulnerable I'd felt made me uneasy. I then explained how, upon realising I couldn't get into my flat, Seth had suggested we go back to his and call the locksmith from there, and then what had happened between us as we sat in his living room drinking coffee.
"Oh. My. God," Kelly said, when I finished the story with how I hadn't wanted to go home alone, so he'd tucked me into bed, and held me until we'd both fallen asleep. "Wow."
"Yeah, it was pretty wow. I mean … God, I liked him before, and was willing to see what happened at the club, but I never expected this. I never expected to feel like this, so quickly. But while I was going through the worst experience of my life, he was there, taking care of me, letting the police question him and everything, just to make sure I was okay."
"He's a sweetheart."
I grinned and nodded. "He really is."
"So now what?"
"I don't know. I guess we see how things go. I know some people will have a problem-"
Kelly's eyes blazed. "If anyone has a problem with you two being together, they'll have me to answer to. This is no one's business but yours."
"Thank you. Honestly, at this point, I don't give two shits what other people think. This isn't about them. This is about me and Seth working out whatever this is between us. Who knows, maybe it'll grow into something, or maybe it won't. But I'm not going to worry about other people's opinions. I'm just going to focus on me and him."
Famous last words.