Authors: C. L. Scholey
Most often Telor's lovemaking was sweet and sensual, which was fine to a certain extent. Rain loved how his hands danced across her body during those times. He would press his mouth to hers and drink like she was the sweetest of wines. Her creamy caramel skin looked so right against his pale flesh. On those occasions he was perfect.
Only after her wild dancing in the storms would Telor try to match her pace. At those times Rain needed raw unbridled strength when she felt so…wounded. And he did try, but it wasn't enough to match and conquer her inner turmoil. Rain loved him for that, for trying so hard, but she couldn't help feeling the need for more on those rare nights. There was just something about a storm which triggered a need for an almost violent release. Telor didn't have a violent bone in his body.
"Grams, I'm not even twenty-three. I have lots of time before I need or want to get married," Rain said.
"Only yesterday you were twenty-three months, it seems," Grams said, and from her faraway look Rain knew the woman was reminiscing again.
"I know, time goes by very fast. But I want to dance, Grams."
"You love Telor?"
"You know it."
In some ways Telor was her hero. He had learned early her love of the dance was a bit of a mystery. No one in Rain's family had taken ballet. As a child it was a wild, haphazard release until her grams channeled it with classes. Rain felt compelled to dance in the fury of storms, but on the other hand she was deathly afraid of fire. Secretly Rain wondered if Telor had become a firefighter to battle her demons. He was just that kind of guy.
Grams settled her old, withered hand onto Rain's. Her grip was surprisingly strong. Intense, seasoned eyes compelled Rain to lean forward.
"You got a gift, child," Grams said. "You don't just dance a story, you become it. Just don't go ahead with blinders on. There's more to life than dancing."
"If I don't dance, I'll die," Rain said simply.
Grams sat back in her seat, sizing her up. "You have too much passion, child. You're a lot like your mother, God rest her soul."
"I wish she were with us," Rain muttered.
Grams saddened. "So do I, child, so do I."
Rain gently squeezed Grams' hand. "Thank you for being such a good mother all these years."
"You're welcome," Grams said. "Now grab your gear. I can see Telor comin' up the front porch. And just look at that boy's sweet smile. I can tell he's thinkin' about you, child."
Rain grinned and leaped to her feet. The front door was flung open and there stood Telor with his fist raised to knock. His brilliant blue eyes absorbed her from sneakers to head. In some ways he owned her with that look. She belonged in his eyes. Ever since she could remember, when she looked at him, she was reflected back in his clear blue stare. Telor glanced over her shoulder.
"Good morning, Grams," he said politely.
"Mornin'. Now skedaddle, you two, before you're late for work, Telor." Grams picked up Rain's duffle bag and handed it to her. "Remember what I said, child."
Rain grabbed two apples from a fruit basket on the counter. "I will, Grams. I love you. See you tonight." She gave Grams' warm, withered cheek a quick peck.
Grams came to stand in the door frame as Rain bounded down the five steps from her porch. When she reached the car Rain turned back and saw Grams with her face to the sky. Huge, dark clouds were rolling in.
"Storm's a-comin'," Grams said. She pulled the long white open sweater she was wearing tighter around her slight shoulders and huddled into the folds.
"If it's bad, I'll stay with Sandra and Trace in their apartment tonight," Rain called back. "I'll let you know. I've got my cell phone on me."
Grams just nodded and went back inside. Rain climbed into the passenger side of Telor's beat-up pickup. She handed him one of the apples. Telor took a lusty bite.
"You all right?" he asked around a mouthful of food.
Rain didn't want to talk about last night. It led to the inevitable of him wanting to know if he'd finally succeeded in taming her desire when all he did was tease it. How do you tell a man who strives to be a tiger he's more like an alley cat? A whole lot of piss and vinegar, but with the kitty fangs.
Rain cast him a glance and smiled. "Are you working late?"
Telor sighed heavily. "Already changing the subject."
"I love you, Telor."
Telor took a fast glance in her direction then kept his eyes on the road. Rain saw his shoulders slump. He wasn't lacking when it came to sex. His powerful body was steel covered in satin. His cock was huge and matched his size perfectly. When she called him God's gift to women, she meant it. It wasn't his fault she needed something more. Hell, she wasn't even certain what
"Normally when a woman declares her love, the proper thing a man should do is at least say it back…if not, I'll get a puppy," Rain said saucily and stuck her tongue out at him.
That made him smile. "I will love you until my time on earth is at an end and still I fear it will not be enough," Telor began dutifully. "Your beauty blinds me. The heavens hide in shame from your stunning incomparability. Angels are awed by the depth of your compelling splendor. If I were to die gazing upon your dazzling face, I would die a happy man."
"Don't know where to find a puppy, huh?"
Telor swatted her pant leg. The quiet between them that followed was companionable and respectful. They let the subject of the night before drop. Soon the dusty roads of the little town were far behind and Rain could see the high-rises. As Grams had predicted, a storm was brewing and the first dollops of rain hit the windshield.
The studio where Rain practiced was a bustle of activity as cars pulled in, dropped off the dancers, then sped away to join the crowded city traffic. As the truck stopped, the spatter of rain picked up. Rain jumped out of the truck and slammed the door as Telor rolled down the window. She leaned forward, and Telor scooted over to kiss her.
"I'll pick you up at seven," Telor said. "Dinner?"
"Can I choose where?" Rain felt the back of her shirt being pelted.
"Seven it is, and I'm thinking sushi," Rain said and winked as she cast a glance upward as the skies suddenly opened up.
"Blah," Telor grumbled and made a comical face.
"Man cannot live on burgers and fries alone," Rain said primly.
"Well, some of us sure can try. Now get inside before you're soaked,
," Telor said with a chuckle as he drove off.
Smiling, Rain practically bounced into the studio. She shook off her dripping hands and fingers, flinging water as she went along. She was dancing before she entered the change room. Immediately the air around her shifted and felt charged with energy. Dancing was like being in another world. Rain could be anything, become anyone in the dance. Passion and perfection weren't just things: they were everything.
Rain flung open the change room door with a flurry, bounded in and crashed headlong into a man coming out. Rain felt like she'd hit a solid brick wall. Large hands clasped around her, keeping her from falling. Rain looked up, a bit stunned, and her gaze settled onto the most intense dark brown eyes she had ever seen.
"Well, who do we have here?"
Rain felt her knees go weak from the sound of his voice. The man was a shade taller than Telor. Raven-dark hair touched the tips of his shoulders and glistened from moisture. His chest was broad and bare.
"I'm Rain," she stammered.
His face split with a smile. "I've always wanted to catch a raindrop. You're the prettiest of them all."
Rain could feel her face flame. What was wrong with her? Some gorgeous hunk batted his eyes and Rain turned into a puddle! She practically muscled her way from his arms. Sizing him up, she could see he had been caught unawares outside. His pants, shoes, and no doubt socks were drenched.
"The men's change room is down two doors," Rain said.
"So I was told," he said wryly. "My name is Jaron."
Rain took the outstretched hand offered. She felt herself shudder when she touched him. Her gaze intensified. There was something…something in his compelling eyes that urged her to look harder. For a moment she thought she recognized him, until the feeling past.
"Have we met?" she asked, filled with confusion.
"It's possible," he said. "I meet a lot of people in my line of work. Hey, listen, I'd love to stay and chat, but I need to get out of these wet clothes. You should too."
Jaron gave her a quick smile and strode away. Rain stood there dripping, watching him. He didn't move like a dancer; then again he hadn't elaborated on what his line of work was. His walk resembled that of a stalker, a deadly predator in motion, and she suppressed a shudder. When he glanced back over his shoulder at her, Rain felt frozen to the spot. Those intense dark eyes pierced her soul, keeping her immobile.
Rain was certain they had met. It wasn't just a feeling. Her emotions came at her as though they were spiraling back in time. It was hard to breathe. Her chest hurt. She was trapped. Something bad was happening…something horrible. The memory was on the edge of her mind, screaming for release, howling louder to remain repressed. Rain warred within herself.
Jaron narrowed his brows. Rain's heart hurt. She felt caught in a hunter's snare. Finally Jaron turned and the spell was broken. Rain almost slumped to the floor. She had the urge to run from him—or run to him.
"I'm sorry, Rain. I need to jump on this opportunity," Telor said.
Rain stood just inside the studio doors as flashes of lightning emblazoned the darkened sky before her. With irritation she glared at her cell phone. She had misplaced her purse and after a long look finally found it in the same spot she was certain she had left it to begin with. Somehow her phone had been turned off and she was unable to track her purse by using Sandra's cell phone. Telor had called just as she turned her phone back on.
"Are you already on your way to the class?" she asked. She had the phone tight against her ear and a finger shoved into her other ear to drown out the sounds of the storm.
"I left a half hour ago. I tried to call you again but got the voicemail. I've left at least a dozen messages. I thought you'd made other arrangements since I didn't hear back from you. You told your grandmother if it was bad you'd be staying in the city with your girlfriends. The course I'm headed to is important. It's for auto extrication, basically how to stabilize a vehicle and extricate victims."
"I thought you knew all that." Rain frowned. There hadn't been any messages on her phone, but Telor wouldn't lie to her.
"I do, but there are always new tools and refresher updates I need to keep on top of. The training is a bonus. It could help save a life."
"Well, then of course you shouldn't miss it," Rain said. "I can get a ride to Sandra and Trace's place and spend the night."
"Rain, I'm sorry. If you really need me, I…"
Thunder crashed and Rain lost her signal. She swore aloud as the phone crackled. She hung up and pushed Telor's number. Nothing.
Sticking her phone out, she pranced about somewhat haphazardly, trying to regain the signal.
I bet I look like a damned fool!
Can you hear me
Sandra and Trace had already left, thinking she was getting a ride from Telor. Telor was long gone, thinking she was getting a ride from Sandra. Now she'd have to grab a cab in this mess.
Peering through the window, Rain could barely see anything on the road through the downpour and she grumbled. She opened the glass door a bit and was hit with a blast of wind. Her phone beeped—low battery. Rain tried her cell phone to call Grams, but it was dead. She'd just have to call from Sandra and Trace's apartment.
Taking a deep breath, Rain dashed from the door and went to the street. She was soaked in seconds. Before she could even hail a cab one pulled up in front of her. Rain sighed in relief and opened the door and slid inside. She swiped at her eyes. She felt her hair drip moisture down her back from the sagging bun it was wound in. Damn, she bet she looked a mess.
"It's raining, it's pouring," a voice began to singsong and Rain froze. She turned to look at Jaron smiling widely beside her. "Need a lift?" he asked.
It was on the tip of Rain's tongue to say no, she'd grab another, when thunder boomed again and she winced. Staring into the bleak sky Rain realized another cab might be hard to come by. What could be the harm? Sandra and Trace's apartment wasn't too far. She could suffer his company for a little while.
"I suppose we can share cab fare," she muttered.
"Sure, where're you headed?" he asked.
"Hill Crest High-Rise," she replied and told him the street address. Jaron relayed the information to the cabby.
Rain eased back against the seat and prepared herself for the wild ride that was about to commence. She wasn't disappointed. Through horn blasts, swearing, fist shaking, the one-finger salute, and waves of puddles splashing innocent by-standers unfortunate enough to be standing too close to the curb, they wove their way through traffic. Rain clutched the door handle.