C7 Chapter 7
“Hey,” he finally whispered, his voice soft and warm against the morning stillness.
I smiled back nervously and Jules chuckled, reaching forward and brushing back a stray lock of my hair.
“Are you getting shy on me, sleepyhead?” His touch was infinitely gentle.
“Just a little.” I held out my thumb and finger to form a small gap in between. “A teensy bit.”
“Don't be.” He placed his hand over mine. “You're even lovelier first thing in the morning.”
Jules watched intensely at the blush that warmed my cheeks. Part of me wanted to run from the force of his attention, while the other half clung to it with greedy hands. As if sensing my inner turmoil, he held out a coffee like it was a peace offering.
I accepted it and took a sip of much needed caffeine. Americano, exactly as I liked it. I raised an eyebrow at him.
He shrugged with a sheepish grin. “I remembered from the cafe.” He threaded his fingers against mine. The question was evident in his eyes.
His touch was a warm, steady heat that grounded my rampant nerves. And just like that, any thoughts of running away vanished. I smiled up at him. “Let's get going."
We rounded the corner from my apartment, holding hands while clutching coffee cups in the other. Jules promised that I'd be at work on time, but first, he wanted to show me a new route.
“It's along the lake shore, just a little past the main road,” he explained as we walked down city blocks that normally bustled with commuters. It was strange to see the streets so dormant and desolate. The sky was a blanket of blue and purple plumes, caught in the cusp of a clear dawn. We passed glass skyscrapers to break from the city core, where a pebbled road wound along the lake that bordered the downtown stretch. We walked along the shore quietly, savouring a rare moment away from the noise. Jules didn't let go of my hands, but he didn't make conversation either. I appreciated that. Some people were uncomfortable with silence, but I loved it.
After a bit, we wandered out into a small harbour that had fishing poles scattered around. Jules draped his hands over the wooden railing, his gaze fixed on the glowing horizon.
“I jog along the shore most mornings,” he began. “It always fascinates me to see the city come alive. One moment you can hear your own breath, and in the next, it's exploding with cars and people.”
I nodded. “A slice of calm to start the day. I can see why you wanted to come here.”
He turned to me with a slow, sensual smirk. “It was also an excuse to see a pretty girl.”
“Funny, that's also my excuse to see a pretty boy.”
He arched a dark brow. “You think I'm pretty?”
I nudged him with my cup. “Now you're just fishing for compliments.”
He took a step closer and fixed me with those deep eyes. “Maybe I need the encouragement, to know that you like me back.”
Ducking my face from a wave of shyness, I asked hesitantly, “You like me?”
Jules threw his head back laughing before draping both arms around my shoulders. “What am I going to do with you?” He asked in a teasing tone. Pulling me to him, he brushed a kiss on my cheek and whispered, “Yes Katherine, I like you.”
I wanted to respond, but the words felt trapped in my throat. How did he get such confidence to speak his mind? His eyes gleamed like he knew full well what was in my head.
“And I think you like me too.” He flashed those dimples that could win a jury over.
I nodded shyly, watching in fascination at the victory grin that turned his handsome features into breathtaking. His gaze roamed to my lips and darkened as he inched ever closer. The heat in his eyes made me feel braver.
“You still owe me a kiss. Would you let me?” He asked.
“Yes,” I answered, silently adding a please to my reply. His scent was a balmy sea of ocean salt and musky amber, all wrapped up in a warmth that made me feel safe. I lifted on my tiptoes, edging closer to him.
Jules rested his forehead against mine. “Not yet, we have to wait a bit.”
“No, no we don't.” My voice was almost urgent. His teasing smiles and whispers had me all worked up. “What do we have to wait for?”
He looked to the horizon, which was starting to glow like a ribbon of gold. “I'm going to kiss you good and proper, unlike those boys you've been with in the past.” He spat boys like it was a curse word. “And every sunrise after, you'll be reminded of me.”
“You're not an easy person to forget.”
His grin was full of satisfaction. “I know.”
I lifted up to brush my lips against his jaw. “How long are you making us wait?”
“Patience now. Only a couple more minutes before the sunrise.” He pulled me against him so that my head rested on his chest. His heat enveloped me and I burrowed deeper, feeling the steady rhythm of his heartbeat under my cheeks. We stood there for silent moments, wrapped in a bubble that was just the two of us. Golden light slowly crept over the horizon, sparkling off the water and spilling into the harbour. I watched as the first rays teased through Jules' hair, draped over him like an old lover, and gleamed off those fathomless dark eyes. He stood there in the burnished gold, warm as the morning sun.
“You look beautiful like this,” he said, as if reading my thoughts.
“I'd say the same, but you're probably already aware,” I teased.
“Go ahead, my ego can take it.”
“Well then,” I lifted on my tip toes. “The sunlight becomes you, Jules.”
He smirked before pressing his fingers against the back of my neck. Leaning down with lowered lashes, he grazed his lips over mine in a feather light kiss.
I closed my eyes, feeling the warm touch of his lips and the scrape of his stubble against my cheeks. He began with slow caresses and teasing nips, working me into a slow burn until I pushed up against him, eager for more. His tongue traced the seams of my mouth and I moaned in response, causing his grip on my hair to tighten. He took full advantage to deepen the kiss, slipping his tongue between my lips to brush against mine. I met him at first with timid strokes, but Jules would have none of that, using his grip to press deeper until we were a breathless tangle.
When we drew apart slowly, I struggled to find my breath. Jules' hair was tousled from where I had ran my fingers through. Combined with his hooded eyes and swollen lips, he looked downright sinful. His hand still gripped the back of my neck and he made no attempt to let go.
“You look very well kissed,” he said, tracing my cupids bow with a thumb.
“And you look like trouble,” I whispered.
He pressed another hard kiss against my lips. I felt lightheaded from his touch, drunk on his warmth and the golden sunrise. I didn't want the moment to end, but off into the distance, the trains blared to signal the start of the morning rush. Jules sighed as if he too felt the impeding cut-off to our interlude. He untangled his hand from my hair, gently running a finger through the long lengths.
Patting the knots around my head, I remarked, “Go easy on the hair pulling next time; I resemble a bird's nest now.”
He shrugged liked an innocent victim. “Men are simple creatures – we see soft, shiny things and we have to touch them.”
“So long hair is your thing?”
“Yes, especially when it comes packaged with green eyes and pouty lips.”
“I do not pout,” I gasped in mock outrage. “Besides, you're the one with an arsenal of dimples to work your advantage.”
“Are you objecting to the dimples, Katherine?”
“No, but you should yield them wisely. I can't be held responsible for what they make me do.”
Flashing that sinful grin again, he leaned down for another lingering kiss. He trailed warm lips over my ears and whispered, “The next time I pull your hair, you'll be screaming for it.”