He leaned in to murmur into her ear, “I’ve wanted to do this all evening,” and when she looked up at him to ask what it was he wanted to do, he captured her mouth again, pressing in at once, his arms drawing her closer to him.
Lightheaded, Cathleen closed her eyes and clung to his shoulders, letting herself be kissed, kissing back just as fiercely. She, too, had wanted this all evening, and it took her a few seconds before she realized they were standing in the middle of a hallway, where anyone might see them.
Pulling away was more difficult to do every time she had to.
“Not here,” she said quietly, her voice shaking a little.
Alex’s eyes were blazing, dark brown gleaming with the same fire she had felt in his kiss, and tingles coursed down Cathleen’s spine.
“Which one is your room?” he asked, his voice gravelly.
Her mind blank, Cathleen had to check her magnetic key to remember. They were just four doors away. Alex’s hand remained on her hip the entire time, his thumb stroking gently over the fabric of her dress, and as benign as the touch was, goosebumps erupted over her entire body.
She struggled to open the door, first inserting the key card upside down, then leaving it too long in the slot when Alex nibbled on that sensitive spot just beneath her ear and she froze in his arms for a second. He pulled back, just barely, when indistinct voices traveled down the hallway, and Cathleen hurried to finally open the door with visions in her mind of someone from the wedding party walking in on them like this.
Thankfully, it wasn’t anyone they knew, but the couple still gave them fleeting looks as they passed by them, Cathleen barely inside and Alex still on the threshold. It was clear that they knew they had interrupted something. Cathleen thought she saw a glimmer of disapproval in the woman’s eyes.
It struck her—it always did, sooner or later, but it was usually later rather than sooner—that she shouldn’t do this. It wasn’t even about what was proper anymore, or so she tried to convince herself. They were there for Ethan, and the last thing she wanted was to embarrass her son on his wedding day.
“I’m sorry,” she said, holding the edge of the door in a tight hand and blocking the way so Alex couldn’t come in. “I should go to bed. We both should. It’s a big day tomorrow.”
Alex’s crestfallen expression broke her heart and she tried hard not to let it affect her.
“Cathleen—” he started, but she laid two trembling fingers over his lips to stop him.
“No,” she whispered. “Whatever it is you’re going to say, don’t. I can’t. I shouldn’t. Ethan—”
“Ethan is a grown up,” Alex interrupted her, his voice gentle but firm. He had pulled her hand away from his mouth and laced his fingers with hers. “He’d understand. If you just told him, I know he would. He’d be happy for you. For both of us.”
The argument was appealing, and Cathleen wished she could have allowed herself to be convinced. However, she wasn’t so sure that Ethan would be as understanding as Alex believed. Instead, she kept picturing a look of betrayal on his features when he’d find out, and she couldn’t bear it. He was the only person who counted in her life. Or at least he had been until she had met Alex. She couldn’t betray him like this.
“I’m sorry,” she said again, her voice even quieter now. “I can’t. Please.”
He nodded once, defeated. Dropping his gaze, he stepped back, just far enough that she could close the door. But as she started letting it close, he stopped it with his hand and looked at her again.
“I love you,” he murmured.
Her heart jumped in her chest, suddenly beating more furiously than it had at his kisses or touching. It was hardly the first time she had heard him say the words. In the past few months, he had said them dozens of times if not more, and she had never doubted their truth. She had never doubted her own feelings either. And every time she heard him say it, every ounce of strength she had managed to gather disappeared again, along with all the reasons why she ought not to continue this relationship.
Her resistance broken, she took his hand in hers, squeezed it tightly and pulled him inside. The door closed behind him with a light snick.
… continued in Sixth Vision of Destiny – Cathleen