“I’ve made it my mission in life to be good at anything that requires me to wear a sparkly costume.” Her laugh turned into a wince. “I just had a flashback to a high school field trip.”
“Oh God. That’s never good.”
“You’re going to end the date if I tell you this.”
Leo’s head fell back on a laugh. “Now I really need to know.”
She visibly braced for the reveal. “The entire freshman class went ice skating. It was an end of the year trip. Parental chaperones and everything. Loud bus rides. I was trying to get Drake Millhouse’s attention. So I…oh lord. I wore a white, sequined skating dress under my street clothes and executed a big costume change in the bathroom when we got to the rink. I really thought a bunch of fourteen-year-olds were going to cheer me on.”
“What did they do instead?” Leo asked.
“They roasted me.” She shook her head. “I can’t even blame them.”
Leo was so glad to be talking about her. She had no problem talking about her past. It was only the present where she seemed to throw up roadblocks. “Were you an overachiever in high school?”
“Yes. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t been. Being second or third best wouldn’t hurt so bad now.” She seemed to catch herself, snapping her mouth shut. Looking thoughtful, she stared out at the giant lawn. “Hey, Leo. Maybe instead of talking to you about my dancing…I could show you?”
Seeing that hopefulness in her eyes? He’d have given her anything she asked for. “I’d love that, Reese.”
Her nod was brisk. “Hold my stuff.”
He watched, stupefied, as she stripped off her purse and coat, piling them into his arms. “You’re going to dance here? Now? It’s freezing.”
“I’m a Wisconsin girl, remember?” She winked at him, taking a position several yards away on the hard grass. “I once performed outside at a used car lot when there was still ice on the ground. True story.”
She struck a pose and Leo knew enough to recognize her lines were what his father would call immaculate. Right there, in the middle of the park, she moved fluidly into motion, a contemporary routine. There had to be music playing inside of her head. And she made him hear it, too, curling her spine downward, hands sweeping toward the ground, slowly rising back up, fingertips reaching and arcing overhead, leaving a pattern in the night sky. She turned slowly, then faster, faster, leaping to land without a sound.
The sight of her dancing in the park, her face at peace, the city sprouting up behind her, was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. She couldn’t be real. And she was good. She was really fucking good. Considering she’d made it to Broadway, that shouldn’t have surprised him. But he’d watched a million dancers throughout his life and never once had he ever been unable to move, his heart lodged up into his throat.
When she finished, back in the same pose in which she’d started, it took Leo several moments before he could speak again, his voice emerging rusty. “Reese…” He shook his head. “You’re not second or third best at anything.”
Her arms dropped to her sides, her chest rising and falling, once, twice—and then she ran to him. He only had a split second to register her lost expression and drop her purse and coat, before she launched herself at him, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck. Leo held her back without hesitation, burying his face in her hair and squeezing, sensing she needed it. Wanting to give her anything she required.
They stayed just like that for long minutes, Reese on tiptoe, Leo rocking her side to side, absorbing her. It took a physical effort not to dig, to ask her to confide in him about whatever caused her to look lost, but he didn’t want to ruin this. If she could share something like that dance with him, he’d have faith that the rest would come in time.
Buttoning Reese back into her coat, he walked her toward the West Side, protectiveness filling his chest to the limit. Kissing her goodnight and walking away was going to be impossible. She belonged in his bed, his shower, his kitchen. His life.
One day at a time.
After another twenty minutes of walking, Reese turned him onto the avenue, stopping in front of a medium-sized high rise. “This is me.”
Resisting the urge to carry her home, Leo gave a firm nod. “Okay.”
She pressed up against him, twisting and untwisting her fingers in the strings on his jacket. “This was the best date I’ve ever been on, Leo.”
Pride swarmed him. “Better than nap date?”
“I’ll rephrase. This was the best traditional date I’ve been on.”
“Give me the chance,” he said, tucking hair behind her ear. “I can top it.”
Reese’s softening eyes were the last things he saw before she lifted up onto her toes and kissed him. It started off slow, like a goodbye kiss, but it didn’t stay that way. It couldn’t when she whimpered at the invasion of tongue, her thighs shifting restlessly against the fronts of his own. His dick turned stiff in approximately one point eight seconds, his hands closing around her hips and tugging, some hungry male part of him needing her to feel it. Acknowledge what she did to him.
Their lips broke apart and he kissed down her throat, dragging his hot open mouth up the side of her neck, his hands slipping around to her ass, clutching it tightly. “Come home with me.” His teeth grazed her ear lobe and she moaned. “Let me fuck you again.”
“I can’t. I…early w-workshop—”
He stamped his mouth back over hers, lust battering his brain, making him forget the plan to take it slow. And their hands collided in the act of getting his jacket unzipped, her coat unbuttoned. Opening the sides of their outerwear so their bodies could get closer, feel more. Press in shamelessly, heat on heat, hard to soft. They met with a joined exhale, a shudder passing through them both. With the sides of their open jacket and coat shielding them from view of the street, Leo’s left hand traveled over the front of her sweater, kneading her tits, thumbing her hard nipples through the thin material.
“Leo,” she whispered against his mouth. “Feels so good.”
His cock strained at those words, his need firing hotter, starved to hear her say them again while he buried himself between her legs. “Do you have roommates?” He backed her toward the building door, flattening her up against it, raking kisses down her exposed throat. “Invite me up, sweetheart. Just long enough to give you an orgasm. You think I don’t know you were wet in the restaurant?” His hand moved from her tits to the waistband of her skirt, fingertips slipping beneath to brush her belly. “Let me deal with it. Hard and fast.”