Heartweed: Chapter 20

This is the beta version of my novel. If you are a new reader – welcome. You can read from the start here.

New sections are released every Tuesday and Friday. Please let me know your opinion in the comments section. Thank you for reading.

Warning – this chapter contains mild sexual content.

Chapter 20

Sam’s room, with its single bed, was the only empty one. Artie strode in. She snapped on the desk lamp. She turned to see Rob lingering in the doorway, his posture a mixture of eager and reluctant.
“Are you sure about this?”
She nodded and held out her left hand towards him. Her right brought the bottle of blue to her lips. As a magic potion the alcohol was failing her. It dulled everything but the grief and had brought the things she wanted to forget into sharper focus, which the real world blurred away.
“I mean, you’ve had a lot to drink.” Rob hadn’t left the doorway. Artie laughed and put the empty down on Sam’s desk.
“So have you.”
Rob shrugged. “I just don’t want you to do anything you’ll despise me for tomorrow.”
He wasn’t going to start this. And she didn’t really know how to. Artie felt a wave of irritation followed by one of embarrassment. Maybe he didn’t want her. Maybe he was just watching out for her, on Sam’s or James’s orders.
Then he stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. Artie let out the breath she had been holding. She reached behind him and twisted the lock closed, pressing her body against his. He did want her. She could feel his erection digging into her stomach through the layers of their clothing. It seemed disconcertingly large and thick. Artie felt a flutter of panic in the pit of her stomach. Was that normal? Was that good? Would it hurt?
With the door closed Artie felt like she was in an oven. Her skin felt hot, like her blood was simmering beneath its surface. Their alcohol-fumed breath created a close cocoon of hot, sticky air around them. Artie swayed against Rob; he put firm arms around her to steady her and the flutter of panic in her stomach sweetened into anticipation. She put her hand on his face nad pulled his mouth down to hers.
Artie had kissed boys before. A boy. On holiday. She had been drunk then, but then again she was drunk now. The kiss felt clumsy and she felt like she was just pretending to know what to do. Maybe Rob would call the whole thing off. But he didn’t seem to mind. His reluctance had vanished and he was working hard to push as much of their bodies together as he could. He pushed his lips and tongue into hers. His hands slipped between her shirt and jeans and ran up he bare back.
Artie didn’t know what she was supposed to do with her own hands. Right now they were tangled in his hair, closed to his neck. She tightened them, pulling at his hair, and Rob grunted into her lips. His hands clamped on her hips. She gasped with surprise as lifted her up. Their kiss broke. Without thinking about it she wrapped her legs around his waist.
Rob carried her to the window and sat her on the edge of the high sill. She put her hands down to steady herself. His face was millimetres from hers, his breath heavy and rapid, his trousers straining. He put his hand in his pocket and brought out a foil square – a condom.
“You sure you want to?”
Artie swallowed and wetted her lips. She looked up into his eyes. He had such nice eyes, like syrup. Eyes she could drown in, could drown her sorrows in. She nodded. Something still held him back. She reached for the waistband of his trousers. The skin beneath it was so hot it scorched her. She snapped the top button open and this snapped his hesitation. He kissed her again with bruising strength. His crotch ground into hers and she reacted by tightening her legs around his waist. This left her hands no room to continue undoing his fly. Artie tried to crush the glimmer of relief at that fact and lose herself in Rob’s kiss, in the physical sensations.
Rob fumbled her shirt open. His hands were on her body, pushing up under her bra, kneading and rubbing into her flesh.. His lips broke away from hers and moved down her throat. She tipped her head back and away to the side to make room for his damp kisses.
At the side of her vision she could see the dark space outside of the window. She looked away and quickly looked back. There was someone out there. The light spilling from the kitchen window into the garden illuminated only his feet, but Artie knew that whoever it was was watching them.
Rob was working his way back to her lips. She turned to meet the kiss and was almost swallowed by it. Let them bloody well watch, Artie thought with a giddy release. She reached up and pushed her shirt off her shoulders; after a half second of hesitation she unfastened her bra and dropped it to the floor.
Rob stepped back, his hands on her waist. Her skin prickled as his eyes roved over her. The memory of the ‘no tits’ comment rushed to the front of her mind and she felt colour rushing to her cheeks. Rob’s face was in shadow and hard to read.
“You’re amazing,” he said, and pulled his t-shirt over his head. Artie let her eyes and then her fingers trail down his chest. It was lightly muscled; the patch of hair in its centre, soft.
Rob’s burning hot hands moved to her waistband and started to unfasten her jeans. His mouth dropped to one of her breasts. In his eagerness he pushed Artie back into the window. She shivered; the cold glass on the skin of her back working against the heat of Rob’s lips and tongue on her nipple in a way that drove all thoughts from her mind. Artie heard herself moan.
A rough chill swept through Artie that had nothing to do with the cold glass at her back. The icy blade of someone’s attention stabbed into the back of her skull. The watcher in the garden? Somehow she could feel his eyes slicing into her.
Artie stiffened, causing Rob to stop his fumblings at her zipper. A swollen, sick feeling rolled around her stomach. She turned away from Rob to stare out into the garden again. The figure was still there. It stepped forwards into the light and Artie saw the face that she had expected to see. March. His black shark-eyes fixed on her. His face twisted in amusement.
The sick feeling grew until it filled her up and raced up her throat. Artie gagged. She shoved Rob back away from her. Ignoring his bewildered concern, she slid from the sill to the floor.  She snatched up her shirt from the floor and bolted towards the bathroom, the shirt clutched to her bare chest.

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