Neither one looked up right away, even though Violet was certain that they both knew she was watching them. And something about the way they purposely avoided looking at her made her acutely aware of the fact that she was the subject of their private conversation.
She knew her father must be telling Jay about that morning in the woods. She hated that they were talking about her, ignoring her.
Jay glanced up at Violet, and there was something about the expression on his face that made her pause. He gave her a look that told her, without saying a single word, that he wasn’t at all happy about what she’d done, and that he had plenty to say to her once he got her alone.
And there was something else.
It happened just as he was turning his head back toward her father: Violet could have sworn—and she would have bet money on it—that she saw Jay smile. Just a little one…almost unnoticeable, maybe completely imperceptible to anyone but her. She was sure that her dad had missed it entirely, as he continued his discussion without taking a breath.
And that single, nearly undetectable smile melted her.
She watched the two of them as they talked like that for several more moments. She wondered just how much of what had happened her dad was actually sharing with Jay and what he was leaving unsaid.
It wasn’t a secret that Jay knew about Violet’s “ability,” but Violet couldn’t recall a time, not one single, solitary instance, when her parents had spoken about it in front of him. There had always been an implicit agreement that it was to be kept tucked away in silence…in the same way that all really good family secrets are. It was the skeleton in their closet.
She was surprised when she saw her dad hold his hand out formally to Jay. It was more like a gesture between two businessmen than one she would have expected between her father and her best friend.
But without hesitation, Jay took it and they shook hands. And then her dad looked at her and he nodded. It was as if he was telling her that everything had been worked out, even though Violet had no idea what that meant. He then quietly disappeared out the back door, heading toward her mom’s studio, where Violet assumed that her mother was busy working out her frustrations on her art.
Suddenly self-conscious about being left alone together, Violet decided to deflect the attention away from them by asking Jay to explain what he and her father had been talking about so seriously. She walked into the kitchen feeling nervous and unsure of herself. “What was that all ab—”
But before she could even finish her sentence, Jay had taken two long, ground-eating strides and gathered her up into his arms as his mouth covered hers possessively.
The kiss was hungry and passionate, and Violet was swept up immediately, wanting more…demanding more. He eased her down, just enough so that she was standing on her tiptoes, as she pressed herself against him, straining to get closer as her hands wound around his waist and pulled the back of his shirt toward her. She felt dizzy, in a good way—in the best way—and she let herself go with it, enjoying every moment, every enticing stroke of his tongue against hers. His hands moved restlessly, around her shoulders and down her back, then tracing their way back up to the nape of her neck, where his fingers tangled teasingly into her hair to draw her closer.
He pulled back, only slightly, moving his lips gently across hers, and she could hear his breath coming in ragged gasps. She knew that she was breathing just as hard and unsteadily as he was, and she could feel an unnamed frustration like she’d never felt before churning angrily within her.
“What were you going to say?” he asked, and she could feel him smiling his crooked smile right up against her inflamed lips.
She had no idea what he was talking about. He might as well have been speaking some obscure foreign language at that moment.
He didn’t wait for her to regain herself and answer his question. Instead he took pity and stopped teasing her, squelching the irritation she’d felt when his mouth had left hers. She surrendered to the onslaught of his deep, fervent kisses and vaguely hoped that he was as undone as she was. She never wanted this feeling to end.
She was only dimly aware that they were moving, that he was maneuvering her through her own home, as he stroked, and touched, and explored her with his firmly gentle hands. It wasn’t until he was easing her down that she realized they were in her bedroom, and that he was lowering her onto her bed.
She felt the mattress shift heavily beneath their weight as she clung to him, and she gave only a fleeting thought to the fact that her parents were home…somewhere downstairs…before the delicious caresses of his tongue made her lose all coherent thought again.
His hands were as restless as hers, and Violet had no idea how long they were lying there like that, on her bed, their hands searching each other with frenzied passion. She felt as though she couldn’t get close enough to him…as though these were the only moments they would ever have together, and they needed to take advantage of that precious time.
But then their kisses became something infinitely deeper…they took on a languid, unhurried quality, as they began to learn the feel and taste of each other. She ran her fingertips along the coarse hairs of his arms and reveled in the feel of lean, sinewy muscles beneath the thin layer of his T-shirt. She liked the way the two of them fit together, perfectly, like individual halves of a whole.
For a moment their mouths parted, and Jay looked down at her. Violet’s lips curled in a half smile as she gazed at him; his hair was wildly disheveled, and she studied him. She craved the touch of his swollen lips against hers, and her desire flared hotly. When the building frustration was too much to take, she closed the distance between them, letting her lips drift lazily over his as she breathed into his open mouth, teasing him. He grabbed her tightly again, dragging her close, his breathing reckless as he possessed her mouth with fierce pleasure.