Carnival Lights: Chapter Fourteen
A beat of shocked silence rang through the small apartment. Perched on the edge of her couch, Christina waited—but when a another long second passed, followed by yet another, she felt the beginnings of rejection settle over her skin.
Jason, still sitting on the chair beside her, his body leaning forward, hadn’t managed a single utterance of sound. Indeed, his lips seemed to be stuck, formed around the word “What?” Only his eyes, which had grown steadily wider, showed any form of reaction to her words.
With a dejected movement, Christina felt her shoulders droop as shame filtered slowly through her person. Apparently, no man wanted her. Moving briskly with the weight of humiliation hanging over her neck, Christina slapped her hands against her knees and with that, got to her feet.
“Or maybe not,” she considered at last, but she couldn’t make herself look at Jason when she said this. The best she could do was an empty gesture in his general direction. “Try not to overthink it okay, Jas? It was only an idea. Clearly a stupid idea,” she admitted harshly, walking toward her kitchen.
She didn’t need anything in there, didn’t in fact, know what she’d do once she made to the small kitchenette, all she knew was it was the only room in which she wouldn’t have to stare into his knowing eyes.
Her stride never wavered, not even when she flapped a hand toward the bottle of whiskey still on the floor. “Hell, let’s blame it on the alcoh—aah!”
With a gasp of surprise, Christina felt two hands grip the backs of her arms, and then she was being spun around, and before she had time to get in a proper breath, she felt her body being pushed backward, forced up against the wall separating her living room from the kitchen. Her chest heaved at the abruptness of it all, her frantic eyes clashing with Jason’s stormy glare.
His body was pressed up tight to hers. She could feel his own quick breaths. That, for some reason, calmed her a little.
“Shut up, Christina,” he said, his voice gruff with the words, his voice erratic. His eyes traveled over her face, his gaze stopping curiously over her parted lips. “Give me a damn minute to catch my bearings.”
“You need a minute to decide if you want to kiss a woman?”
His eyes narrowed. “You have a way of confusing me.”
She licked her lips, her body tingling at the intensity in his eyes, at the feel of his body enveloping hers. It had been so long since she’d allowed a man this close. “Then, by all means, tell me what you want.”
“Hell—” With little more than that rough word hanging in the air between them, Jason’s head dipped, his lips crashing into hers. It wasn’t a light kiss. It didn’t linger over her lips, playing teasingly there.
No, it was almost desperate in its heatedness. No sooner had his mouth touched hers than Christina felt his tongue skimming against the seam of her lips. With little more urging than that, she obliged him. Moaning at the insistent pressure, at the feeling of his lips twisting, biting, sucking against hers, Christina sank further into the wall behind her.
His hands were at her waist now, guiding her hips more firmly into the curve of his lower body. Christina’s legs trembled at the contact, her tongue pushing against his, tangling with it as her fingers slowly trailed up and down his chest.
Lifting her lips just slightly from his, her breath falling hotly against the side of his neck, she reached for his ear. “Is this what you want?” And with little more provocation, her hands were already reaching for the top button of her blouse. With a flick, she popped the first one free, and then the second, her body arching under his heady appraisal.
The sound of mingled breathing filled the room as she let her fingers slide down the front of her shirt. “No strings, no expectations,” she promised him, peeking up through the fringe of her eyelashes. She popped the third button free. “Just a little fun—”
Jason’s mouth was on hers again before she finished speaking, only now his hands were thrusting themselves through her hair at the base of her neck. His teeth nibbled against her lower lip as her hands dipped ever lower, until her shirt hung open at her sides.
With a rock of her hips, she guided one of his hands down to the lacy cup of her exposed bra. When the heat of his palm enveloped the sensitive skin, she felt her neck drop back, boneless. The guttural sound of her whimper echoed across the room, swarming them, surrounding them. When his thumb ran across the silkily material there, her legs buckled.
“God, you’re beautiful,” he breathed into her neck, his lips trailing downward.
She pressed her body more fully into the weight of his hand. “Convenient too,” she reminded him breathlessly.
“What?” Lifting his head just slightly, Jason gazed down at her, his eyebrows crashing together uncertainly. His hand lifted just slightly from its contact with her body.
But Christina only shook her head, her arms drawing him close again. Her lips licked against the lobe of his right ear. She laughed with a husky sort of purr. “You don’t even need to tell me you love me.” She bit down softly on his cartilage.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Shaking off her advances, Jason took a step backward. His eyes were alert suddenly. Guarded again.
Christina smiled playfully. “No talking. No feelings. Just sex.” Twirling a finger over a button on his shirt, she smiled. “You use me. And I use you right back. No one gets hurt.”
“Jesus.” With a rough jerk, Jason brought a hand through his hair. “No.” His shook his head once. “What the hell, Christina!”
“Well there’s no reason to look so scandalized,” she drawled.
With a snap, his eyes were back on her face. He winced at the expression his saw there. “No reason to make it sound cheap either.”
“It is cheap,” she answered easily enough. But there was something in the way he was looking at her that caused Christina to catch the folds of her shirt, wrapping them back around her body anyway. She laughed. “You’re going to tell me I’m wrong?”
“I don’t even know—” He took a deep breath, his hands gesturing wildly, his eyes flickering uneasily. “Is that what you think of me? Of yourself?”
Christina’s eyes widened, her neck jerking back on the force of those words. Her fingers tightened their hold instinctively on the edges of the blouse draped scantily across her upper
Jason sighed, his hand flying through the hair at the top of his head. “I don’t underst—”
“Get out.” Stung to the point of breathlessness, Christina only just managed to fling out the words. When Jason didn’t immediately move, she felt lungs expanded painfully. “Get out. Get fucking out—”
Jason stilled. “Christina?”
“Now, Jason. Right fucking now.”
He held up his hands. She watched as belated remorse entered his eyes. “Whoa. Wait. I’m sorry. Christina, I didn’t mean to—”
“LEAVE!” She screamed, her words slurring with her humiliation. Blotchy tears filled her vision. Clutching the edges of her shirt with one hand, she pointed toward the door with the other. Her eyes blazed across the space of the room separating them. “I mean it. Go.”
With one last futile look, he finally turned and did as she requested.