Part 77

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In my nightmare, the dead girl in the toilet had a face and it was hers. My heart broke anew as I felt hers no longer beat, before I realised her eyes were open. "You bastard…"

Fuck, I hate zombies.

I woke up in shock to find that Caitlin had woken in the dark, too. Her breathing beside me was fast, panicked, as if she was choking back tears. I didn't dare touch her. Zombies, corpses, blood – what if she still wants to kill me? She'd said as much before Navid knocked her out.

"Hey, are you all right?" I asked her.

Her words tumbled over each other, trying to tell me her nightmare as I tried to focus on what she was saying, pushing the image of her dead face out of my mind.

"Just a bad dream," I told myself as much as her. "It's all over now." And she's alive here, so close...

I turned on my side to look at her in the faint illumination filtering through the curtains from the street lights outside, to see and believe what I was telling myself. At the same time, she shifted closer to me.

My lips met hers, her body against mine. I both heard and felt her sharp intake of breath. I froze for a moment, but she didn't move away or try to kill me. I should have backed away. Fuck, I should have. But I didn't.

This could be my last chance. Fuck it.

For the second time that night I kissed her, apprehensive at first, then with more feeling as I realised she was kissing me back.

If the last thing I do before she rips my face off is kiss her, then I got a pretty good deal.

But if she's not going to kill me, this is taking advantage of her. She'll remember and she won't forgive me for it, I struggled to tell myself, but even I couldn't hold that thought tonight. Her hands were under my shirt, on the bare skin of my back.

I kissed her lips, her neck, following her singlet strap as it slid off her shoulder and partway down her arm. I brushed my lips along the satin edge, from her shoulder to the swell of her breast. I took a deep breath and let it out, fluttering the thin layer of fabric. I gently cupped her breast in my hand through her top, hesitated, then planted a kiss where satin met skin before letting go of her. I felt her gasp and her rapid heartbeat, her breathing ragged as I waited to see what she'd do next.

She pulled back. Her hands held my face like a huge, hairy hamburger she was hesitant to touch. Her lips sought mine in a less ardent kiss than my last.

Her hands weren't touching me any more. Her lips were the only contact between us now, before that was broken, too. Resigned, I consoled myself with the thought that every kiss we shared now was one more than I had any reason to expect. Even the thought of more than that was a faint hope. Faint but alluring...Oh God, what I'd give for more than just a hope...

"I dreamed I killed someone, Nathan, because I'd prefer to die than let them hurt me again." Her voice was small and sad.

I dreamed you were dead and I won't let anyone hurt you again, I thought. I kissed her mouth, her lips salty with fresh tears. Don't cry, angel. What can I do to make you happy to be alive again? "Just a dream. Let me help take your mind off it."

I was slow to slide my arms around her, hoping to hold her close if nothing else. Of course, I hoped for more, too. Hoped she'd forget everything else and believe it was nothing but a bad dream. Dreamed she'd let me do some of the things I fantasised about, the first time I saw her. Not a hope.

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