His lips parted slightly as he narrowed the distance between us.

Alex extended his hand in invitation. “May I?”

He’s asking permission?  Confusion, anticipation, and the want to be held, raged within the confines of my chest as I considered his offer.

His gestures were reminiscent of gallantry from days long past, which only lured me deeper into his curious charms.  I reached my trembling fingers to meet his.  The corner of his mouth lifted as he lightly tugged on the red rope Evie tied around my wrist the morning of my dad’s funeral.  I couldn’t remember if Alex knew that I kept the pieces he left around the house.

Heat rose to my cheeks.  “It was on the piano,” I defended.

He shook his head and drew me to him with measured caution.  A shiver rattled from my shoulders to my bare toes an involuntary reaction to the drastic temperature difference of our bodies as they pressed together.  He was unfamiliarly cold; a foreign chill I couldn’t associate to Alex.  And the scent that usually turned every nerve ending in to live wires, was completely absent.  But I shook it off.  It didn’t matter just then.  He was here.  With me.  This devastating creature had me securely wrapped in his arms, and even though it was only for a little while, Alex was mine, and mine alone for that moment.

“Not tonight, then,” he breathed against my ear.  “Not tonight.”

I exhaled a faint sigh of relief, resting my cheek on his stone hard chest and listened for a heartbeat that would never come.

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