Adelie does her darn best to get Nate back on his feet.
Nate had waited all day long to hear Adelie’s footsteps on the porch. He put his book away as she slipped out of her boots in the hallway and the clinks of the coat hangers told him she’d gotten out of her coat. Then his door opened, and her head poked through. A smile appeared as their eyes met.
“Hey. How’s my favourite patient?” She stepped into the room and closed the door, then sat down on the bed next to him.
“Bored to death.”
“Awwww,” Adelie grinned and bowed down to kiss him. Her hair fell over her shoulder, it smelled of fresh cold air. Tiny water droplets sat in it, glinting like diamonds in the light of his lamp.
“Your hair’s wet,” he murmured.
“It’s snowing again. How’s your head?”
“First day without any headaches. I still get dizzy when I get up too fast.” He moved to give her some room and she settled into his arms. She wore one of her super soft white angora sweaters and slim wool pants – it really must be cold outside. “Doc said I can go back to school on Monday, but no flying. Or rugby.”
“That’s great news. I miss our lunch breaks. And you’ll be flying soon enough, Tiger.” She breathed a kiss on his cheek.
“I could get used to you sleeping here every night, though.”
Adelie giggled. “Sure. Even Eddy joked why I don’t move in already.”
Nate buried his face in her hair again. “He just wants someone to talk cars over breakfast.”
“You just want to get laid every night…” Her fingers curled into his hair. He poked his into her waist.
“As if you wouldn’t…”
She laughed and shoved him playfully. “To be honest, I wouldn’t mind a break.”
He snaked his arm around her. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Going all growly and sexy won’t help, Mister. You’re not exactly a small size, and I begin to feel quite raw down there.”
This snapped him out of the haze that always clouded his brain when he was close to her gorgeous body. “What? Seriously?”
“A little. It’s okay.”
He hooked a finger into the waistband of her pants. “Let me kiss it and make it better.”
Giggles. A tug on his t-shirt. “You can hold me.”
A demand he gladly fulfilled. Adelie burrowed into him like a small critter seeking shelter and he wondered if she had had a rough day.
“Did Payne give you a hard time?” He brushed soothing kisses on top of her head, feeling her body in his arms slowly unwind. She shook her head and sighed.
“No. It was just was a long and exhausting week.”
He rubbed her back. “C’mere. Relax.”
They fell silent. Soon, Adelie’s breathing became deep and regular, and her body slack. Her head rested on its rightful place on his shoulder, her hand on his stomach and one leg was hooked around his. He remembered how he told Jake how great it was to have her fall asleep in his arms. It still was. Calm and peace seeped from her to him, filled him, recharged him in a way nothing else could. He fitted his hand over hers on his belly, and she made a tiny contented sound. His heart somersaulted with joy.
“I like it when you hold me,” she murmured sleepily.
“I’ve known since Bunker Hill. That moment, when you just couldn’t keep it together anymore. But you let me hold you. Guess I fell for you then and there.”
Her fingers laced through his. “I can’t exactly pinpoint the day I fell for you. But I knew that I liked you a lot more than I thought after you broke Pat’s nose.”
More minutes of silence. He played with the silky strands of her ponytail, and she drew circles on his chest. Snowflakes fell outside the window, white swirls against the winter darkness. He heard how Eddy and Snoot came in from a long and cold day in the workshop, Eddy stomping his boots on the porch to knock off the snow. It must accumulate by now. Maybe they could go on a walk through a transformed winter wonderland tomorrow. Adelie had nodded off again. No matter how enticing her body was to him, he should be a gentleman and grant her a full night of sleep. She had spent every night since his accident with him, but they hadn’t slept a lot. And unlike him, she wasn’t on sick leave and had to attend classes and flight training. Remorse swept through him that he had ignored it and on top of it made her feel chafed. His fingertips found her neck under her hair, and he gently massaged it. Happy purrs were his reward. He tapped her shoulder.
“Hey your majesty, are you planning to move any time soon?”
A grumbled groan. “Not a majesty, not moving.”
“Aren’t you hungry?”
He rolled to his side, forcing her to slide off him. Her gaze was unguarded admiration and happiness. She reached up and pushed her fingers through his hair. “You’re so comfy.”
“You’re a little sleepyhead.”
She also was just the right amount of dishevelled and cute. His plan about getting food got abandoned in favour of staying with her. Brown eyes contemplated him lovingly as she traced his features with her fingertips. He moved to touch his lips to hers. Adelie tilted her head, and her arms wound around his neck. Her warm breath blanketed his skin as their lips met. Lots of tiny, affectionate kisses. Some lingering, some not. He loved the way they fit together, he loved how her hands caressed his neck and how she arched ever so slightly against him. Yielding lips. The powdery scent of her skin. The taste of cherry lipstick. Her hand slipped under his shirt, stroking his bare back.
“I thought you want a break?” He whispered, nibbling at her neck.
“Does this mean I can’t touch you?”
He chuckled. “You can touch me anywhere you like.”
Their eyes met, but there was no defiance in her gaze. Only affection, companionship, desire. There was one word, to sum up all of this. It stood between them, making the air sizzle with anticipation.
“Tiger…” Her voice was raspy. She cupped his jaw and brought their lips together. He’d never kissed a woman like this before. A long, slow burn, devouring not in its intensity, but in its tenderness. A wordless affirmation.
At last, they needed to separate. He rested his head against her forehead, pressing the back of his nose into her velvety cheek. Three words raced through his mind, but he didn’t dare to say them. Adelie saved him once more by whispering: “I’m glad we decided there’s safety in numbers. Otherwise, I’d be running now…”
This inevitably broke the spell and the panic. He kissed her nose tip gently. “Ssh. No need to rush anything. Except maybe your way to bed. Things will look less overwhelming in the morning when you’re awake and well rested.”