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Old 05-10-2012, 09:55 PM   #1
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New In Town (closed for Led_Astray)

"Really, it's not a problem! I'm just happy to finally have some semblance of plans on a Friday night, so thank you!" Jos laughed as she guided the small car down the exit ramp into the heart of the city. "There was no way I was going to let you wait around for two hours for the next bus to take you back into the city when there was nothing stopping me from taking you myself. A waste of a perfectly nice night!

"Now what exactly do you want for dinner? Something ethnic, something fancy, or just good old greasy bar food? Price is no issue, it's my treat since no one has taken the time to properly welcome you."

The light was red, giving them time to consider what direction they should take. Joslyn turned her head slightly and gave her passenger a teasing grin, "But if you let me decide, you might regret it, I'm just warning you now. I have notoriously bad taste in.... well.... pretty much everything!"

He was a generally quiet man, sort of reserved and soft spoken. He'd just transferred in from one of the UK divisions a week ago, and was still getting settled in, though it was a long process. He was continually interrupted by curious but well meaning colleagues, asking him all sorts of questions about where he came from, and how he was finding things in the US, differences and similarities, the same handful of questions all day long. Were he a higher strung sort of man, he might have been annoyed or irritated, but if he was it never showed.

Which is good, thought Jos dryly, or he'd have jumped out of the car already. She realized that she'd been chattering pretty much non-stop since they had left the office. She blushed slightly, and cleared her throat.

She really didn't have much of a middle ground, her mouth was pretty much on or off. Today seemed to be an on sort of day, which happened a lot when she was trying to make an impression. He was just so serious and quiet. Something about that just made her need to crack his somber expression. She'd made a game all week of trying to make him smile, or better yet to laugh, with her silly banter. Off-the-wall comments and jokes to cube-mates, and a cocked eye to see if he was listening. It was juvenile she knew, but she got a thrill the couple times she'd managed to get a reaction. It was a nice distraction from the daily grind of reports, emails and phone calls.

Jos cleared her throat again, and twirled a finger in the stray lock of blonde hair that always seemed to escape from her ponytail, "So, any preference?"
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:55 AM   #2
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The traffic light (street light, he guessed she would call it) still being red, Sean was able to look over at his colleague and meet her eyes with his quiet green gaze.

"Um, well, I've always liked sea food. Or italian?" he said hesitantly, his voice deep and verr English. "Whichever you prefer, really."

He smiled slightly, just his lips moving, not showing his teeth, not a full blown grin but getting there. He was still feeling nervous, it had been a long time since he had been in the company of an attractive woman and Joslyn was certainly that - plus she had a never ending supply of cheerful excitement about her - Sean had never met a better candidate for the word 'vivacious'.

In five years of happy marriage he had not so much looked at another woman, and when his wife had died a year ago he had been devastated. It had taken 12 month and a complete move to another country to soften the memories and let him start feeling mentally and emotionally competent again. He was lucky to have been workign for such an understanding company, that had let him take so much leave, and then given him a few months of low profile work, before finally granting him the option of moving to one of their USA offcices.

The change had done him so much good, he felt ready to face the world again. But ready to date? Even such an impromptu meal together as this, not really a date at all, but still time spent in the company of a friendly woman who seemed pleased to be spending time with him... it was taking some getting used to.

He realised that Joslyn was still - unusually - quiet, and felt the need to fill the empty air with more words.

"And thank you again... you been so kind this week. Everybody has."
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:39 PM   #3
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She waved a hand, abruptly dismissing his words of gratitude and, she flipped on her turn signal. “I know as well as anyone that people around here have got a reputation for being nice, but not exactly warm. It’s a Midwestern thing I guess. You’ll make lots of face-time friends at work who then won’t let you any closer, and you’ll spend all your outside of work time alone with nothing to do.” She smirked, knowing how brusque she must sound. “I ran into it a lot when I first got here, and now I’m guilty of it myself. Too comfortable with the friends I have, missing out on opportunities to make valuable new ones. I guess you could say you’re a self-improvement project for me.”

She turned her head in the pretense of looking for traffic, watching his face and hoping he would not be insulted at her honesty.

“Italian or seafood hmm? How do you feel about a combination of the two? I know the perfect place, it’s sort of southern Italian. The guy who owns it does amazing things with lobster. I think he’s actually from Italy. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but trust me...” Jos rattled on as she turned on to a darker side street, thankful for the lull in traffic between rush hour and the start of the bar and club scene.

The car rolled to a stop at the curb. Joslyn threw her sunglasses on the dash, grabbed her bag, and climbed out, smoothing her long broomstick skirt over the backs of her legs as she stepped into the street, glancing each direction. Before Sean had even shut his car door, Jos was beckoning him into the building with an excited wave, speaking quietly, “Quick now, this is sort of my secret!” As he entered he read the words “Receiving Entrance” in large dirty letters on the door front. She simply winked in answer to his questioning expression, and half pushed him in, her slender fingers pressed against his lower back as she followed him in and closed the door behind them.

Sean opened his mouth as if he was going to say something, but Jos put both hands on his shoulders and pushed him gently back to the wall, her eyes twinkling. She shook her head and put one finger playfully to his lips, mouthing the words “Trust me,” before taking off down the long hall. The clatter and noise of the kitchen could be heard up ahead, and as they got closer, Sean watched her slow. She hunched her shoulders as she peered around a corner, and with a leap, she disappeared from his view.

There was a crash and a yell, and by the time Sean rushed around the corner, he saw all 5’3 inches of his new friend sliding back to the ground, off of the back of the largest human being he’d seen since arriving in this country.

“Damnit, Chiacchere!” bellowed the man in a thick accent as he spun around, several large empty pans still rolling at his feet. “You’re going to give an old man a heart attack! And now I suppose you expect me to have the strength to feed you too!”

Jos poked the man’s large belly and laughed up at him, “Oh, come on now. I wasn’t even that quiet, and if you weren’t so busy yelling at every poor prep cook in your kitchen and trying to melt him into yesterday’s gelato you might have heard me!” She stood up on her tiptoes, kissed him on the cheek and said sweetly, “And no, I don’t expect you to feed me, I expect you to feed us!” She beckoned to Sean.

The huge man chuckled when Sean didn’t move. “I won’t bite you Topolino, it’s this one you should be afraid of. But since she dragged you all the way here, I won’t turn you away.” He held out a huge meaty hand, “You can call me Papa Giorgio, everyone else does. Now, Chiacchere! Please get out of my kitchen and let me clean up this mess, or no one's going to eat!”

Joslyn grabbed Sean’s wrist out of the handshake, pulled him through the swinging double doors of the bright kitchen and into the dim dining area of the restaurant. She sat down at a tiny table in the corner, just outside the doors, and motioned for her stunned companion to take the seat opposite her. She wore a smug and mischevious grin.

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Old 05-12-2012, 05:39 AM   #4
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Sean was, frankly, overwhelmed. He'd been expecting a quiet dinner, maybe, not an exited dash through the private areas of a busy returaunt followed by the noisy ambush of the proprietor.

He shook the mans hand firmly, noting that even though his own hands were quite large and strong they all but vanished in the resturaunt owners grip. "Ah, um, pleased to meet you, Papa Georgio..."

Before Sean could ask what the huge Italian-American meant by needing to be afraid of Joslyn, she had grabbed him by the hand and whisked him away. Too stunned to resist he allowed her to lead him to a seat.

He lowered himself into the chair, flexing his broad shoulders, buyign time to gather his thoughts by running a hand over his clippered dark-brown hair as he gazed at his attractive dining companion, his pupils wide with a narrow band of pale green iris around them.

"Ok...." he said slowly. "What was all that about? That was not quite what I was expecting..."
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Old 05-12-2012, 07:06 PM   #5
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Joslyn threw her head back and laughed, a full ringing loud laugh, but when she returned her eyes to Sean's face she did look a little bashful. "I'm sorry! I probably should have clued you in before that little scene, but I always feel like a child in this place somehow. Papa Georgio is a great man, and has been sort of like a father to me the last few years. I worked here part time for a little while when I was getting on my feet, and we helped each other out a lot..." Her voice trailed off, and her eyes unfocused as she stopped seeing the room around her.

She sighed softly and came back to Earth. "You said seafood, yes? The Zuppe de Pesce is really really nice, and so is the Lobster Houdini. And what I said about prices goes double here, because I'm not even paying, I'll guarantee it."

She left her menu on the table in front of her as she studied him, hands crossed on it. She kept a constant dialogue as Sean skimmed the menu, leaned forward and low to the table, speaking in such a warm and earnest tone it was almost as if everything she said was some intimate secret.

She paused and looked away, blushing softly in the light of the flickering candle at the table's center. "I'm so sorry, you must think that I'm terribly self-centered. I have a lot of questions for you, but you've been fielding them all week and so I guess I thought you deserved a break."

A waiter passed by with a smile and dropped a drink in front of her, clear liquid with the rose hue of grenadine through the bottom of the glass, and a small dish of cherries. "Thanks, Tom... Sean, did you want something to drink? Oh wait wait, let me guess! A.... g&t? Or a Guiness? What else do you guys drink over there...." her eyes were narrowed in a jovial smirk.
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:53 AM   #6
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Smiling, now, a warm genuine smile, Sean looked over at his "date" before replying.

"Well, Tea, of course!" and he chuckled. "Actually, I really don't like tea, and in truth I'm not a huge fan of spirits. And since I have yet to find an american beer worth drinking, a glass of white wine will be fine. Nothing special, just the house white will be fine. And the Zuppe de Pesce sounds excellent."

He leaned forward in his chair, putting his large hands flat on the table, and met Joslyn's eyes. "You've been very kind to me this week, Joslyn. So ask away."
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:25 PM   #7
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"Kind? Nonesense, I'm just trying to seduce you." She winked at him, broadly. "No really, though. I mean, I've heard the questions you've been answering all week, and have pretty much been able to memorize your answers, but none of them tells me very much about you. I probably know more than I need to now know about chips versus french fries and cookies versus biscuits, but what about you? I mean, before I can get in your pants I should probably know if someone has already staked a claim to what's inside."

She couldn't help but love the expression on his face when she made such outrageous and outwardly teasing statements. She was sure he knew she was just trying to get a reaction, and he played along so nicely. It had been a long time since she was this intent on trying to impress someone, trying to make him laugh, and between the successes of her efforts and the vodka Collins she was actually beginning to feel a little giddy.

She leaned in even closer and lowered her voice, and began to rattle off questions. "Do you have family? Kids? Someone coming to join you here? What do you do for fun? What do you do when you're alone? What do you want to be doing? Are you happy? The questions are endless, and as much as I talk, I like questions even more and could probably go on all night. Or at least until you're sick of answering..." She waited for him to choose a question to answer, or else to change the conversation entirely.
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:33 PM   #8
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Joslyn could immediately tell she had made a mistake.

The warmth of Sean's smile evapourated, and his eyes looked down a the table. His body language changed in an instant to open and friendly to quiet and withdrawn. She could almost feel the temperature of the room physically drop.

His voice became distant, as he responded tonelessly.

"Do I have family? No. My wife died a year ago... What do I do when I am alone? Try not to cry, mostly. Am I happy? Not for a long time..." He looked up, and Joslyn could see heartbreak in his eyes.

He stood, suddenly. "I'm sorry. I should go." But his attempt to escape was curtailed by the realisation that he had no idea of the way out, nor any way of getting home.
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:46 PM   #9
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The sudden change in his demeanor, the look in his eyes made her chest tighten and ache. His tone, even as flat as he made it, was like a woolen blanket, heavy and rough over what it concealed.

She rose nearly at the same time he did, and moved close to him. She grabbed his arms, probably harder than needed, in an attempt to keep him from making any further moves to leave. She ducked her head in an effort to get him to meet her eyes, and her voice was quiet, and all traces of mirth had left, replaced by an earnestness that would have been impossible to fake.

"Sean, please. I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to pry. I can't imagine what that must have been like. Please sit? I mean... I can take you home if you need, but I'm serious that I'm a good listener if you want to talk, if you need to." He tried to look away again, but she moved back into his line of sight. "I also make a very good distraction. Please?"

Just then Tom arrived with a glass of wine and another drink for Jos.

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Old 05-14-2012, 01:34 AM   #10
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Sean smiled, weakly. "Its not your fault, Joslyn. You didn't know, and I do enjoy your company. I'll stay, but you'll have to be patient with me, OK? Everybody tells me that a year is enough, that I should move on... but I still think about her every day..."

He took the glass of wine from the waiter and sat back down, sipping it gently.

"That's one of the reasons I transferred from the UK... getting away from all the concerned "friends" and relatives that were trying to push me into things I wasn't ready for..."

He sighed.

"I should have known better, perhaps. You can't run away from yourself."
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:13 PM   #11
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"You can't run away from yourself."

The words, though softly spoken, hung in the air.

Joslyn flinched inwardly at them, but smiled anyway, a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes.

She stretched out her hand towards his. Her fingertips just brushed his, curled around the base of the glass. His stared at it, but she knew he didn't see it.

"Hey. We all run, sometimes. I don't think we can help it. I'm not going to say it's easier than staying, it's not easy. Running is as exhausting as any of the other options. You just do what you need to do at the time, right? Sean, really, I can drive you home if you want. I'd never make you do something you don't want to do."

She studied his face as she spoke. For a moment Sean thought her eyes looked an unnatural shade of amber, probably a trick of the light, a reflection of her hair, which tumbled looser around her face now as the evening wore on.

She withdrew her hand, and sat back, taking another long drink from her glass. Jos grabbed two of the cherries from the small white dish Tom had brought, using her teeth to pull them from the stems.

It figures
, she thought, that I would immediately stick my nose where it doesn't belong and turn what could have been a lovely evening into something sharp and hurtful. Damnit Jos. Perhaps it was unsurprising, perhaps it was this underlying hurt that drew her to him in the first place. She'd always been a fixer, and having come from the family she did there was a chance that she didn't even have a choice. That reminder made her stomach clench painfully.

She toyed with one of the cherry stems and pushed the bowl forward with her other hand, eyebrows raised. "Peace offering?" One side of her mouth quirked up, hopeful.
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:34 PM   #12
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Looking at the bowl being pushed over the table, Sean could not help but look up and smile at his lovely dinner companion.

A weak smile, perhaps, but a genuine one. He took a cherry from the bowl.

"Joslyn... thank you. I'll stay, I'm genuinely enjoying your company... and your sentiments... you are an attractive woman and, well..."

He looked down at the table.

"You just hit a nerve.... but I'm having fun, ok? I haven't been out for dinner in a year, and before that, only with my wife for years before that, I'm just rusty when it comes to sparkling dinner conversation."

He reached down and took Joslyn's hand, and held it in two of his, looking into her eyes.

"You have made me smile this week more than I have in a year. The least I can do is have dinner with you, and try to answer some of your questions... just not about family, Ok?"
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Old 05-15-2012, 12:34 AM   #13
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Joslyn squeezed his fingers, and nodded. Her expression had softened as he spoke, from one of concern to one of friendly encouragement. "You have a deal, my dear. I will try to be more careful in my headlong interrogations for the rest of the night."

Just then the kitchen doors burst open and Papa Georgio himself appeared flanked by Tom, who brought two bowls of delicious looking seafood soup. The enormous man paused, his eyes flickered between his two seated guests. Their hands were still clasped across the center of the table.

Jos pulled her hand hastily away, and shot Georgio a warning look. She knew him well enough to know where his assumptions would take him, and she didn't need that added complication at this very moment. Instead he just chuckled, a very deep and rumbling sound and asked, "More cherries, Ciliegia? I'm not so sure they blend well with the pesce, but it's your dinner not mine."

When he spoke to Sean, his voice still carried a hint of humor, but it was softened and careful. "Topolino, I would suggest another glass of wine if you're planning to be around her much longer. It takes the edge off of her." His tone made Jos wonder how much of their conversation had been heard through the kitchen door.

Jos shooed him away so they could eat, and the meal continued in relative peace. She fell back into her light and teasing banter, trying her best to keep to topics that she knew she could joke about, trying to draw smiles and chuckles from him, each one feeding into the warmth stirring within her, which she was trying hard to ignore.
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Old 05-15-2012, 05:00 PM   #14
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The touch of Joslyn's hand, and the genuine friendliness she was sharing, warmed Sean's heart and he began to relax. He was disappointed at how quickly she snatched her hand away when Papa Georgio appeared, but caught the look she gave her and his answering amusement.

And when the big restaurateur offered some friendly advice of his own, Sean found himsef warming to the man (although still wondering what "Topolino actually meant). He took Papa Georgio's advice at face value and during the course of the evening drank a couple more glasses of the surprisingly good house white, gaining a pleasent mellow buzz.

The soup was indeed as nice as Joslyn had claimed, and the rest of the meal was of equally good quality. And when Sean and Jos both ordered the Tiramasu for desert, Papa Georgios eyes sparkled.

He returned quickly, bearing a just one plate, upon which sat a single, large serving of the traditional italian desert. The strong smell of coffee and liquor rose from it as the big jovial man handed the two friends a spoon each.

"It's late!" he exclaimed with a grin. "I only have time to wash one plate!" and ignoring Joslyn's protestations he retreated back to the kitchens.
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:28 AM   #15
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Though she was as full as she could be (a common occurance when Georgio cooked for her) she couldn't resist the lure of the tiramisu. She never could. She laughed as Sean playfully blocked her fork from taking more if the dessert with his own. One more mouthful and she leaned back, sighing heavily, contentedly.

"My god," she groaned as she stretched, "What have we done? I'm going to sleep the whole weekend away now, I'm sure of it." Sean nodded in agreement as he ate one last bite.

She opened her mouth again to say something, to tease him again, and stopped. Her eyes flickered again, the same brilliant color as the firelight, and her stomach twisted. Hard. In the back of her mind, she heard the familiar rumble of Papa Georgio, calm but urgent. "They're coming, Ciliegia mia. You should take your little mouse and go out the way you came."

She nodded quickly, understanding. Sean's head tilted in confusion at her sudden change in demeanor, but she knew there was no way to explain. Not right now anyway.

"Sean? I... it's gotten a little stuffy in here, and I could use a walk, couldn't you?" Her face grew even darker a moment later as she saw a shadow move across the front of the restaurant, all thoughts of a quick exit through the kitchen vanished. She reached out and grabbed Sean's hand. There was a flash of extreme heat, and then blackness.

***

Jos leaned against him as she walked unsteadily down the sidewalk, arm wrapped firmly in his, laughing. Sean thought she sounded a little drunk, they both were. He stopped and frowned. They were only a block from his apartment. But.... he couldn't recall leaving the restaurant, and there was no way they walked that distance. Or at least... he didn't think there was. How much DID he have to drink?

She watched his expression carefully, trying to keep her tone light. "So, that's your building up there, right? I hope so, I'm not sure how much further I can walk until I sober up a little. Tom must have been a little too generous at the bar tonight." She forced a giggle and slid her arm around Sean's waist to get him moving again. She hoped that she could distract him from thinking too hard about what just happened...
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Old 05-16-2012, 02:55 PM   #16
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"Ahh... Jos? I think I may have drunk too much... did I do anything stupid?"

Conflicting emotions thrashed across the surface of Sean's mind, as he tried to make sense of the evening. An attractive woman takes him out, he has fun for the first time... and now, what? An alcohol induced blackout?

It would not be the first time... he had hit the bottle pretty hard after Beth had died... but he didn't feel the pounding in his head nor the twisting in his guts that had accompanied his last such session, and he had been much more sensible in recent months.

The feel of Joslyns arm around his waist brought him back to the present, and he smiled... and then was flooded with panic and doubt, and flushed red.

"Uhm... did I invite you up already? I guess I have to, you are in no position to drive, now... Ahh... I really hope I didn't say anything crude... I mean, I can sleep on the settee if, uh..."
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:36 PM   #17
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Joslyn giggled, a real one this time, and squeezed him reassuringly. "You're an absolute gentleman Sean. And I'm sure I can relax on the 'settee' (as soon as I figure out what it is), and I'll be out of your hair in no time." She felt bad about the confusion she could see spinning in his eyes, but it couldn't be helped. He would have been a hell of a lot more confused had she been found and taken away before his eyes. She just hoped she could make it up to him.

She was not as drunk as she played, but the sudden exertion of their escape had taken a bit of strength from her. It had been a long while since she'd had to do that alone, much less to bring someone along with her. It was a good thing she had not had to move them too far...

Sean walked into the building ahead on her, she hung back a moment, looking warily to both sides before following him in.

The fire in her eyes burned bright again. One last time, she heard the low voice in her head, now as if through a long tunnel, echoing and quiet. "Lay low tonight, don't go home, leave this place in the morning. I can't stay, amorina." And Georgio was gone.
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Old 05-19-2012, 03:19 AM   #18
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Sean led Joslyn to the elevator, pressing the button with his free hand, his other wrapped around her shoulders. As they waited for the car to arrive, he looked into her eyes, and his breath caught in his throat.

"You are beautiful..." he whispered. He might have kissed her, but with a loud *bing* the moment was interrupted by the arrival of the elevator, and, reddening slightly, he led her inside.

I'm moving too fast... I barely know her... but she seems as keen as I am... but its too soon...

Conflicting emotions ran though his mind, he settled for pulling her close to him, her head tucked into his chest so she couldn't see the confusion on his face, kissing the top of her head gently, conscious of how good it felt to hold another human being close after so long...
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Old 05-20-2012, 02:08 AM   #19
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Things were happening so quickly. This was not how Jos had envisioned her evening going, and yet, with her arms wrapped around Sean as the elevator began to rise, she wasn't sure she could think of a better place to be.

When the elevator doors opened again it took her a moment to will herself to pull away from the warmth of Sean's body far enough to turn and walk with him out into the hall. They reached his door, and he fumbled with his keys. She could feel tension in his back through his shirt as she smoothed her hand over it.

She set her bag beside the door as he ushered her into his apartment and turned back to him again, sliding her arms snugly around his waist, resting her head against his chest, listening to his heart beat. She had every reason to be afraid right now, and after Georgio's parting message she felt very much alone. But as Sean returned her embrace she felt a little safer, and that warning voice was pushed to the back of her brain, at least for the time being.

After one more tight squeeze she tipped her head back. There was a lot flashing through those bright eyes as he looked down at her. Real affection, but there was still the vivid ache of pain. She wanted so badly to ease that pain away from him, to deftly remove it, free him from it. Soft golden tendrils in her mind itched to reach out to him, but she pulled back.

She leaned up and placed a chaste and tentative kiss at the corner of his mouth. Jos whispered, "Thank you, Sean, for inviting me up. It was thoughtless of me to have put you in such a position, but I appreciate it. I promise to try not to overstay my welcome though, if it helps?"

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Old 05-20-2012, 04:00 AM   #20
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The kiss, chaste though it was, sent feelings of desire flooding through Sean's body. It had been so long since he had been in such a situation, the will-we-won't-we excitement of the first date, and Joslyn had made her intentions pretty clear, earlier, even if she had been only half-serious.

His body tensed, he so wanted to return that kiss with passion, but he knew that if he did he would be committed to following that passion all the way, to wherever it led. And that, he still did not feel ready for. To overlay his memories of making love to his wife with those of a woman he had known for barely a week... it was too much, too soon. Although his body ached for Joslyn's touch, he was not emotionally ready... not yet...

Instead, he playfully kissed her forehead.

"You don't owe me an apology... you have given me a lovely evening, taken care of me when I was insensible... the least I can do, now, is give you a bed for the night..."
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Old 05-20-2012, 05:09 PM   #21
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"Insensible? Not sure I can picture you filling that description even with several bottles of wine in you." She giggled softly at the thought, and leaned to kiss him again, this time on the cheek.* She saw his hesitation and released him.

"I don't suppose I could trouble you for a glass of water? I foolishly was too intent on our conversation at dinner to even think about it, and I'm afraid I'll be paying for the oversight in the morning if I don't drink something now."

She moved into the main room and perched herself on the edge of the sofa, and looked around with interest. There was little in the way of personal effects, she imagined much of it was still packed away in the boxed she spied against the far wall. A single photo frame laid on its face was on the table near her, and she quietly turned it up for a moment while she could still hear her host running water in the kitchen. She knew what she would find before she even looked, but she was too curious to stop herself.

A couple smiled happily back at her. Sean, not too much different than he looked now, except a lot less worn, half sat on some sort of vintage looking motorcycle. A beautiful woman, no doubt his wife, and the root of the enormous smile he wore, stood beside him. One of her arms was draped over his shoulders and her head leaned on him as they posed.

Jos laid the frame carefully back down with a wistful sigh. In the years since she'd settled here she had yet to find anyone with whom she had any connection. Now, just in this last week, though she could not explain why, she felt a strong need, a draw to this man she barely knew. His restraint was understandable, she felt the undercurrent of his mourning as if it were her own, even without reaching out to find it.

She wanted badly to heal that wound in him. She probably could, she reasoned, without him even knowing what had happened. A simple matter of weaving those delicate strands in his mind together, connecting those raw ends. Back home there were those who wouldn't give it a second thought. But there was something so honest about his pain, and to interfere in that way seemed like it would be a violation of his memories of her. And of the trust Jos hoped she was earning.

And yet...

She blushed as she he held out a glass, and wondered how long he'd been standing there while she was lost in thought. "I'm sorry, must have... sort of gotten lost. Blame the vodka I guess. Will you stay up and talk a while? Please? Unless, you're tired, I'll understand. It's probably been a more eventful evening than you're used to..." She motioned to the seat beside her, desperately hoping he wouldn't leave her alone. Not yet.
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:59 PM   #22
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Without conscious thought, Sean sank down onto the couch next to Joslyn, putting an arm around her shoulder automatically. Then her realised what he had done and was about to pull away, but she had snuggled up against him so naturally that he relaxed - it felt so very nice to be in body-contact with a warm human body, after so long alone.

Sighing contentedly, he suddenly stiffened. The photo of him and Elizabeth next to his old silver Bonny had been moved. It brought memories flooding back.

The day had been wet, but now the sun was shining. "Come on, take me for a ride!" laughed Beth, as they mounted the bike. The blazing sun had dried up the roads, they had ridden for miles, sharing the joy of an open road and a roaring bike, and Sean had forgotten the earlier rain...

They hit a curve at speed, leaning into it hard, elated at the feeling of g-forces pulling their bodies onto the bike as their knees just barely missed the road surface, not thinking about the fact that the shade of the trees might have prevented the sun from drying up the road...

Inwardly Sean cringed desperately, knowing what would happen next but unable to stop the relentless replaying of this dark memory.
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:09 PM   #23
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His arm around her should was so strong and reassuring, she'd immediately rested her head on the front of his shoulder. Almost as soon as she'd begun to relax against him though she felt him stiffen. She frowned, and her eyes flashed, and she found herself Seeing through his eyes.

She was confused, she'd never been able to See the past of anyone else here before. She Watched through his eyes as they sped down roads, leaves tumbling through the air in their wake. She felt the sudden churning in him, as he remembered what this memory brought with it.

She desperately pulled herself from his visions, but still felt his heart racing, felt the terror all over again from inside him. She turned beside him and cupped her hand against his face, her thumb brushing across his cheek, speaking his name softly but urgently, trying to wake him as one would a sleepwalker. "Sean... Sean...."

She held his face close to hers, their foreheads almost touched as she watched his eyes come back into focus and felt his heart slow. She took a long breath, holding his gaze for a moment to make sure he was completely back, completely present. A single tear dropped from her own still amber eyes as the full weight of what she'd seen, and what she'd almost seen, registered.

She brought her other hand to his face and kissed his lips gently. "Sean, I'm so sorry...."

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Old 05-23-2012, 07:25 PM   #24
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The bike screamed around the corner like a banshee, hit the damp patch of road and...

"Sean... Sean...."

A soft voice broke into the memory, dissolving the terror with its liquid tones. Sean opened his eyes, finding himeself looking into Joslyn's glowing orbs, bathing his face in a pale amber light. He gasped in disbelief, knowing that this was no trick of the light, no illusion, and watched as a single tear fell, feeling it land on his cheek.

The kiss was tender, forgiving. "Sean... I'm so sorry..." and with those words, Sean knew that she understood, somehow knew the guilt he felt, understood his loss and his pain. He could not say how he knew, but at last... he had found somebody who could see into his soul and share his burden...

He did not know who she was, or what she was, but he did not care... he wrapped his arms around her and returned the kiss passionately, signalling his need for a caring touch, and his desire for more.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:52 PM   #25
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Sean deepened the kiss, and Jos instinctively slid her hands behind his head, pulling him closer to her. She closed her eyes and knew the glow had faded from them, but something inside her told her that she would have to address that mistake, and sooner rather than later. For now, though, it could wait.

She stroked her fingers over the back of his neck and pressed against him. Sean loosed a sound something between a sigh and a moan and leaned back, pulling her with him, over him. She straddled one of his legs, her hands were on either side of his head resting on the arm of the sofa. She opened her eyes, and pulled away from the kiss, her eyes, faded back to their natural green, flickered across his face, for a moment, searching for any hint of hesitation in him.

He smiled a small and wistful smile, and brushed a strand of her hair back over her ear. The care in that small gesture made her breath catch, and she lowered her head. She felt suddenly bashful under his stare.

She looked up at him through her lashes, and whispered with a hint of her former teasing, "I did warn you that I was just trying to seduce you..."
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