Ch. 30 Just Talk

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***Russell

"Beth," he said, hesitating, "I'm not sure what you just threw at me, but I probably deserved it."

"You're not Brian."

"No, I'm not."

"What are you doing here? Did you forget something, come by for something for work?" Because if that's why you came, you can get your butt back in your car and drive off.

"Those pictures you gave me; I have to tell you—"

Beth shivered and shook her head, freezing and confused. "We can talk about them at the office."

"Are you cold?" Russell asked. He moved closer and made a gesture to take her in his arms, but stopped when she hunched her shoulders and frowned at him.

"It doesn't matter. Just tell me what's wrong with the pictures," she said.

"Nothing's wrong. Quite the opposite. The problem is me. You see, all the pictures you took of me are of someone else—"

"I get it, Russell. I'm not dumb. You are sorry we aren't together here in Denver, but it was just a vacation thing."

"I am sorry, but it was not a vacation thing."

"No, it was a mistake. Brian said it, you said it, and I'm starting to believe it," she said. Her effort at a snappy reply was belied by a tear rolling down her cheek. Russell watched its course. "Why are you doing this? Why did you come here?"

Knowing he shouldn't, he reached out to trace the tear's path with his thumb. "I have made mistakes, but making love to you was not one of them."

She took his hand with her cold one. Only a few inches separated them, but the distance was several inches too many. He pressed his lips hard to hers, relishing the feel as she tilted upwards to meet him and moved into his arms. For a moment, nothing but her lips and the sweet, warm scent of her body existed.

He forgot to breathe.

She broke away, gasping for air. He kissed along her jaw bone to her ear and inhaled the delicious smell of her hair.

"So you came because you want to start a Denver thing?" she asked.

"You deserve more than a thing."

They took several steps backwards, arms locked around each other into Beth's foyer, and lips seeking any available skin. He noticed she was wearing the plumeria necklace and he licked the triangle of skin above it.

"I know, which is why we shouldn't do this," she said. Pushing the door closed, she backed him into it and tugged his shirt free of his pants.

"We need to talk, you're right." He sucked in his breath at the sensation of her freezing hands running over his stomach, up his chest and then around to his back. He took the bottom of her skirt in his hands, hiking it up to touch the bare skin of her buttocks and thighs."We need to talk about this Denver thing."

She bit his bottom lip. He crushed her to him, ready to take her then and there against the wall. Moaning softly, Beth mumbled something.

"What?" he asked.

"I'm listening, if you're ready to talk."

"I need you now," he said.

"No, we need to stop and talk first," she said, unbuttoning his pants.

Outside, a car pulled into the drive. Beth and Russell froze to listen. After a few seconds, a door opened and shut.

"Brian!" Beth said. She jumped away, straightening her clothes and smoothing her hair. "Papers!"

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