Olivia almost tripped down the carpeted basement stairs as she hurried down to throw her clothes and Michael’s into the dryer. The sound of someone clearing her throat made her jump all the way to the roof. She clamped a hand to her mouth to muffle her yelp.
“Jesus! You scared me!”
“Nervous, are we?” Emilia eyed her with interest.
“Nervous? No. I….well…..I….”
“You what? Left Michael with no clothes and he is now lying naked in your bed waiting for you? Hey, can I go take a peek?”
“No! I mean, yes I have Michael’s clothes but he is wearing my robe. He is half naked wearing my robe, actually. Oh God, that sounds even worse.”
“And sexy too.”
“Emilia, what am I doing?”
“At the moment looking utterly mortified. Olivia, just relax. Don’t think, for once. Forget about me, about Noah, about everyone and focus on yourself. What do you want? What are you feeling?”
“I don’t know, that’s the problem. I am not used to this.”
Emilia rose from the couch and hovered over to where her friend was standing in front of the tumble dryer.
“You want my advice?”
“Just seize the moment. Follow your heart. Take it from someone who should’ve used her own advice on herself. Life is short Olivia. Worry later and enjoy now. You might surprise yourself.”
Then, for the first time, Emilia disappeared right in front of her.
“Thanks.” She whispered to the empty room and jumped again when the tumble dryer’s buzzer went off a few minutes later.
With Emilia’s voice still ringing in her ears, Olivia made her way back upstairs carrying Michael’s dry clothes.
Good thing for her love for oversized clothes, including her bathroom robe. Still, it was impossible to escape the mental image of the body that was now covered by her piece of clothing. The big robe made Olivia feel secure, delicate and very feminine all at the same time. Maybe not the smartest of ideas, considering that’s exactly how she’d felt in Michael’s arms the other day.
But there was nothing feminine about the way Michael had looked. If only it had made him look even more manly, his tall frame hugged tightly by the fluffy and soft peach colored fabric, revealing a muscular chest, one she’d greedily explored the other day.
Shaking away these mental images of his body, Olivia peered into her upstairs bathroom in search of Michael. It was then that she noticed the door to her room slightly open. More than offended he had taken such liberty to roam around her personal space, she was suddenly filled with dread. Leave it to her to have a messy bedroom the day this smart, attractive guy who’d come to her rescue decided to take a peek.
Michael Hurst’s eyes scanned the room before him. He’d certainly expected a touch of femininity but he was surprised to come across a room with a strong sense of practicality. Like her entire house, each piece of furniture, aside from fulfilling the task of decorating each space, didn’t occupy unnecessary space.
True, the two antique night tables in mahogany wood on each side of her bed, could not have been chosen by a man. However, they were big enough to make room for the many books lying on top of each one, an alarm clock on the right side and two reading lamps on each side. Or the chandelier he’d noticed hanging from the ceiling above her dinning room table. It gave the dinning room an air of elegance yet Michael could bet anything it took nothing more than a pass of a wet cloth to clean it.
Part of him had wondered if Olivia would be the type of woman to freak out at the tiniest hint of clutter. Still, judging from the few pieces of clothing lying on top of her bed and a few t-shirts and some jewelry scattered on the dresser right next to her room’s door, she seemed to function quite well amid her own disorder.
The walls were painted a soft creamy white, while the bed covers where a deep blue and the carpeting a tone darker than the walls. Aside from the clothes on the dresser, Michael noticed a couple of framed pictures. In one he recognized Olivia’s mom, with Olivia next to her, both resting one hand on a man’s shoulder, who he assumed was her dad, even though he didn’t meet him at Tracy’s wedding. Both father and daughter had the same hair coloring.
The other picture showed a much younger Olivia grinning like a fool while clinging to Tracy’s neck, as she stuck her tongue out to the camera. He knew it was low but Michael felt a surge of relief as he didn’t spot any pictures with her supposed boyfriend. Not that it meant that she didn’t keep them anywhere else, just at least not in her room.
He felt her gaze on his back. Slowly, Michael turned around and felt something tighten around his heart as he noticed the way the light from the hallway cast an angelic glow behind her. Despite the fact her face was shadowed, Michael was certain Olivia was blushing.
“Sorry, couldn’t help it. I like your room.”
Olivia’s eyes immediately did a quick scan of her scattered clothes and blushed a deeper red as she knew a couple of her holiday panties were hidden underneath the sweaters resting on her bed. At least, she had had the good sense to hide then from plain view.
“Uhm…thanks, I guess. Here,” she extended her hand to give him back his dry clothes.
She knew the most logical thing to do would be to step outside and let him change. But just imagining a naked Michael in her room sent her hormones into haywire and her heartbeat into a frenzy gallop. This time the butterflies in her stomach were flying without control and instead of feeling wary, she couldn’t stop herself from enjoying the feeling. The truth was she didn’t want to leave the room nor be anywhere but here with him.
Michael felt her hesitation and decided to act before it was too late. In two long strides he was standing mere inches away from her. Part of him reminded him of the last time they’d been together like this, and how bad it had ended. Yeet, he stretched both his hands and brushed the side of her arms bringing her body close enough to feel it against his. Without taking his eyes off her, Michael bent his head and brushed his lips against hers.
Olivia froze and Michael felt her entire body tense under his hands. Maybe the smart thing to do was to just take his clothes, change and get the hell out of here. Jerry was right. He should step away while part of him remained intact, unscarred. The only problem was Olivia had managed to touch his very soul with that way she had of being fierce and stubborn all enclosed within an air of shyness, as she stared at him from under her eyelashes. With the way her nostrils flared and her entire face flushed in anger whenever she was annoyed at him, or the way her cheeks flushed when her guard was down and she couldn’t hold down her body’s reaction to him. With the way a simple tree lighted her expression and made her act like a kid rather than a twenty-eight year old woman. With her quick and clever mind, her rich and velvety laugh, and the rest of her which he had dreamt of exploring ever since he’d had her under him that day on the couch.
Michael just couldn’t help it. If he was meant to crash and burn, it would be worth it and all because of the woman currently standing before him, with her breathing coming out evenly through her half open mouth and whose eyes were pulling him to the depths of her.
Gone were the warning bells that had made her see sense that evening two weeks ago outside her doorstep when he’d first kissed her. All she felt now was what Emilia had advised her to do, to follow her heart and seize the moment. Forget about everyone else and just focus on the now. And in this case on the man whose lips she wanted on hers again.
Almost as if listening to her thoughts, Michael touched her lips again with his, this time lingering until Olivia’s lips parted and she gave herself into the kiss.
With the last of her self-resolve she pushed back and whispered.
“This is so wrong.”
“But I just can’t convince myself of it.”
He felt something warm spread inside him when those big brown all telling eyes sparkled with anticipation. It was all the encouragement Michael needed to gather her in his arms and take possession of those enticing and sweet tasting lips that met his with the same need.
She thought she would cry of joy. Despite her guilt, she had done nothing but yearn for another moment like this with him. Even if she’d told him off at the Newseum, the truth was what she’d just said to him. No matter how desperately she’d tried to, Olivia couldn’t convince herself that this was wrong. And that it would undoubtedly end up hurting them both.
Olivia broke the contact just to let Michael slide the baggy sweatshirt over her head and drop it carelessly on the floor. His lips curved into a knowing smile as he saw the sports top she wore underneath. Knowing her, she had it not for its actual purpose, to workout, but because either it was as comfortable as the robe she’d lent him or because it had been the first thing she’d found to change into before.
He’d seen her skin glow with the pale and silvery light from the moon that night in her living room, but now, she seemed to sparkle with some inner light igniting from within. God, she was without a doubt, the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen in his life.
It felt like a long time before Olivia let out the breath she’d been holding as Michael’s eyes had begun roaming up and down her half covered upper body. Even with the protection of her top, she felt every nerve ending explode with desire, as if his eyes could see through the fabric. Without any warning, he picked her up and gently carried her to the bed. She felt the soft and cool surface of the mattress beneath her while Michael used both hands to anchor himself above her while a million words passed between their locked stares.
There was no denying the same need was there. But unlike after Tracy’s wedding, Olivia sensed the air around them was charged with far more than raw need. To her the only word that came to mind to describe it was magic. It was what was making sparks shoot off from their bodies whenever he caressed her smooth skin or she traced her lips along his jawline.
Like an unspoken agreement, this time both wanted to take their time to touch, to explore, to discover, to taste, because somewhere in the corner of their minds, they knew this could be their one and only chance to be like this with one another.
Right before Michael’s hand proceeded to remove the rest of her clothes, he gave them both the opportunity to stop this insanity from taking place.
“Olivia, are you sure?”
The passion coursing through his veins had turned the soft honey of his eyes into smooth golden liquid. Olivia was mesmerized by it and a little wary with the many other feelings she was afraid to explain but that she also saw swimming inside them. Inexplicably though, they also pulled her closer to him.
It was like staring into a mirror. She was witnessing the same havoc of emotions which was taking place, too, inside her heart. Olivia was certain one of these emotions was confusion. Especially at the unexpectedness of this whole situation.
Olivia waited for the voice of reason to break her free from her romantic trance. Seconds ticked by, with only their loud breathing echoing off the walls of her room. This was the time to make a choice and it was the moment to back away. Michael knew this and was giving her that chance, he was giving them that chance.
Her response was to bring his mouth crashing down on hers. She felt both their bodies shudder as there was no stopping now what had been set into motion since that very first day when they’d met at some aisle at the grocery store.
It took Michael a couple of minutes before he undressed Olivia. He reached back to untie her hair and buried his fingers in it as it fell around her flushed face. Taking her shaking hands in his, Michael guided her down to untie the robe’s belt. In between stolen kisses along her neck and shoulders and her anxious hands eager to touch every part of bare flesh, Michael pulled the covers from the bed over their naked bodies.
If Olivia thought taking it slow would mean she’d had more time to savor each moment, she’d been dead wrong. It was tormenting. His mouth trailed down, playing with the ring on her belly and going further down but pulling away just as she was about to go wild with pleasure. She let out a moan that rang with pleasure but frustration at the same time. His fingers were performing the same taunting task of arousing her and then moving to another spot just before she cried out in passion.
Almost involuntarily, she clenched her teeth tight as all she could think of screaming was for him to hurry. She needed him to hurry.
Michael wanted to do just that. Hell, he knew he was on the brink of his own self control but he needed to savor this moment. To carve deep in his mind her face, every contour of that marvelous body of hers. To record every sound she made whenever he touched her.
How could this have happened to him? There was no one for him but her. Even if he was forced to walk away in the end, Michael felt with a bittersweet certainty, that he would never long for another woman as he did for the one currently torturing him with her own careful exploration of his body.
“Promise me you’ll never forget this moment.”
“You really have stolen my heart Olivia.”
This brought tears to her eyes. The same ones he kissed away. Then, he remembered an important detail.
“I didn’t bring any….”
“Top drawer, left side.”
He didn’t take a moment to question the real reason behind her being prepared. All he could think of was she was a rational, sensible woman. One who would be prepared despite her acting like a kid the second her Christmas tree had been all set up with a thousand multicolored lights covering every inch of green.
Slowly, Michael placed himself above her and his body joined hers in the most basic and natural way a man and a woman could join both their bodies and their souls. They began a dance so old as time yet so new to both of them he stopped for a second before she urged him to carry on.
They began to move together, slowly at first until their pace became urgent and desperate for that release that both of them craved like crazy. Then, like a blinding light she felt it building up from the pit of her stomach and course through her entire body until it illuminated her entire world. Olivia arched up to him as that wild, untamed flow of pleasure took her over the edge.
Her own cry of passion took Michael over the edge, too, and soon he felt his own release trailing his body until he exploded inside her. Right before collapsing with her into the coziness of the bed, Michael uttered her name and saw her clouded gaze clear with a flicker that comes only when two people make love for the very first time.
Michael was where he belonged. And he prayed she could feel the same, too. Everything went black and both of them sunk into a satisfied and blissful sleep curled next to each other. Michael’s arm tightly around her stomach while Olivia’s heart beat content inside her chest.