My heart pounded in my chest, almost painfully. How had we wound up this close, staring at each other so intently when we were just exchanging insults?
"It's not?" I asked, thinking I heard him wrong.
"No, Kimberly, it's not," he said. "Dance with me," he said softly, changing the subject.
"Why?" I asked, afraid I was being punked again.
"Because, I've been thinking of holding you in my arms for days, and I'm done fighting it."
I shivered as goose bumps popped up on my arms. His closeness was affecting my breathing as I puffed out short shallow breaths.
He pulled me into his arms and locked them firmly around me. Our bodies swayed slowly together to the nearby music in the air. I could feel the heat of his body as he pulled me even closer. I nervously moistened my lips with the tip of my tongue. His eyes darkened as he watched me. I tucked my tongue back in my mouth quickly, not wanting him to think I had done it on purpose.
His free hand moved up my arm, past my shoulder, until it cupped my neck. "I just can't seem to get you out of my mind. God knows I want to," he said huskily, moving even closer.
"Why don't you want me in your mind?"
"Because, I wasn't looking for a summer fling with some girl heading off to college."
"Fling?" I questioned, dropping my eyes to his lips. For days I had been fighting the urge to think about how they would feel pressed against mine, and now they were just inches away.
Catching my look, he tightened his hold on me before finally dropping his lips to mine. Delicious heat flared through me followed by a blanket of coolness as the skies opened up above us. I felt the stinging rain pelt my face, but paid it no mind as his lips claimed mine for his own. I snaked my free hand along his stomach until it gripped the side of his shirt, pulling him closer.
"It's raining," he mumbled against my lips.
"I don't care," I said recklessly. There had been such a fine line of hate between us for days that it felt surreal to be wrapped in his arms.
"Neither do I," he said, dropping his lips almost roughly back on mine once again. I moaned softly at how delicious the pressure felt. He used the tip of his tongue to coax my mouth open and I complied without hesitation. Time stood still as we stayed locked in each other's arms.
"Alyssa's gone," a loud disapproving voice said from behind me.
"What?" I asked, turning around to see an unhappy Rick standing directly behind us.
"I said, Alyssa is gone," he repeated, emphasizing his words.
"What do you mean 'gone'?" I demanded as water dripped down my face.
"She ran away. Her cot is empty and she left a note saying she'd rather live in the woods than live with her father," he said, looking panicked for the first time ever.
"Holy crap, what are we going to do?" I asked, scanning the immense forest that surrounded us.
"I'm organizing search parties until the forest rangers can get here."
"Okay, let's go," I said, anxious to start the search.
"Not so fast. You need to change. The cold front has moved in and everyone needs to dress warmer and wear a rain slicker," he said, blatantly pointing out our drenched state. His words seemed to trigger a reaction in me, making me suddenly aware I was standing in a torrential downpour. Shudders ripped through me as my mind and body connected to how chilled I was.
"But we need to find her now," I said as my teeth started to chatter.
"We will, but we need to be prepared before we go off traipsing through the woods all willy-nilly. Meet me in the mess hall in five minutes," he said, shooting us one last disgruntled look before heading off to the other cabins.
I turned to Mason, confused over everything that had transpired in the last few minutes.
He sighed as he watched me shake uncontrollably from the cold. "Go change, we'll sort this mess out after we find Alyssa," he said, dismissing me as he strode off toward his cabin.
Sort the mess out? So, kissing me was a mess? I thought angrily. He was the one that initiated the lip-lock, and now he wanted to categorize it as some mess that needed to be swept under the carpet. I swear, he's mental, I grumbled to myself as I stomped to my cabin.