Falling into you, p.2
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       Falling into You, p.2

         Part #1 of Falling series by Jasinda Wilder
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I sucked in a breath. I hadn’t called him to cancel. “Shit, no, he doesn’t. ”

  Kyle’s lip quirked up in a grin. “You’d better call him, then, huh? He’ll be wondering where you are, I imagine. ”

  I glanced at my iPod. 6:54 p. m. “Can I use your phone?”

  He scrolled through his contacts, yanked the earbuds free, and handed it to me. I hit ‘send’ and pressed it to my ear, the rubber case still damp and warm from Kyle’s grip.

  “Hey, Kyle, my man! Whassup!” Jason’s exuberant voice came through the phone.

  I sucked in hesitant breath. “Actually, Jason, this is Nell. I’m calling from Kyle’s phone…I—I forgot mine. ”

  “Forgot yours? Where are you? I’m pulling up to your driveway right now. ” His friendly, excited voice took on a confused tone.

  “Listen, I’m sorry, but I can’t go out with you. ”

  A long silence. “Oh, I gotcha. ” His voice drooped, and I could picture his features falling. “Everything okay? I mean, —”

  Page 4


  “I just—I may have said yes too quickly, Jason. I’m sorry. I don’t think…I don’t think it’d work. ”

  “So, this isn’t a rain check, is it. ” His words implied a question, but his tone was a statement, flat, tense.

  “No. I’m so sorry. ”

  “It’s fine, I guess. ” He laughed, a forced bark. “Shit, no. It’s not. This is kinda shady, Nell. I was all excited. ”

  “I’m so, so sorry, Jason. I just realized, after really thinking about things…I mean, I’m flattered, and I was excited that you asked me, but—”

  “This is about Kyle, isn’t it? You’re with him, on his phone, so of course this about him. ”

  “Jason, that’s not—I mean, yeah I’m with him right now, but—”

  “It’s fine. I get it. I think we all knew this was coming, so I shouldn’t be surprised. I just wish you’d told me sooner. ”

  “I’m sorry, Jason. I don’t know what else to say. ”

  “Nothing to say. It’s all good. I’ll just…whatever. See you in chemistry on Monday. ”

  He was about to hang up, and a flash of inspiration jolted through me. “Jason, wait. ”

  “What. ” His voice was dead, flat.

  “I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but…Becca has had a crush on you since seventh grade. I guarantee she’ll go out with you. ”

  “Becca?” I could hear him considering the idea. “Wouldn’t that be weird? I mean, what would I say? She’d think she was my second choice, or something. I mean, I guess that’s true, but not like that, you know?”

  I thought about it. “Just tell her the truth. I backed out on you, last minute. You already have reservations, and I thought she might like to go with you instead of me. ”

  “Think it’ll work? Really?” His voice took on a new life, excited once more. “She is pretty hot. ”

  “It’ll work. Just call her. ” I rattled off her number, and he repeated it.

  “Thanks…I think. But, Nell? Next time you’re gonna break a guy’s heart, give him a bit more notice, would you?”

  “Don’t be ridiculous, Jason. I didn’t break your heart. We hadn’t even gone out yet. But I am sorry for standing you up like this. ”

  “No worries. Besides, maybe something will work out with Becca and me. She’s almost as hot as you. Wait, shit, that didn’t come out right. Don’t tell Becca I said that. You guys are equally hot, I was just—”

  I couldn’t help laughing. “Jason? Shut up. Call Becca. ”

  I hit end, handing Kyle his phone back. He stared at the phone. “That was pretty slick, Nell. I gotta hand it to you. ” He glanced at me quizzically. “Does Becca really have a crush on him?”

  I laughed again. “Hell yes. She’s been mad in love with Jason Dorsey since…well, I told him seventh grade, but it’s been longer than that. Way longer. Like…since fourth grade. Forever. Another reason why I should never have said yes to him, I was just…I was excited, Kyle. Getting asked out by cute boys is a big deal, and you and Jason are the two cutest guys in the whole school. ”

  Kyle grinned at me, rakish and mischievous. “You think I’m cute?”

  Oh god. Oh god. This was trouble. I couldn’t meet his eyes. The grass was suddenly really, really interesting.

  “You know you’re hot, Kyle Calloway, so quit fishing for compliments. ” I tried the flirty, joking tack, hoping to distract him from the fact that I was blushing hot red from forehead to cle**age.

  It didn’t work. “You’re eight shades of red, Nell. ” His voice was all too close. His breath was hot on my neck.

  What was going on? What was he doing?

  I looked up and Kyle’s eyes were centimeters from mine. He was lying on his side, and his fingers were reaching for me. I couldn’t breathe, suddenly. He was brushing my hair behind my ear, and I couldn’t focus on anything but his sculpted body and his fiery eyes and his hand in my hair and his mouth, his lips, so close, his tongue tip running over his lower lip. Suddenly Kyle was someone else, someone different. Not the little boy I’d grown up with, but a young man with his features, his eyes, his strong jawline, but an intense, grown up, almost hungry gaze.

  I didn’t know this Kyle, but I liked him. I wanted to know him.

  Electricity surged through me, startling my eyes shut, shock dragging a gasp through my lips as Kyle pressed his mouth to mine. Wet heat and soft power thrilled through me, surprise giving way slowly to wonder, to delight.

  Kyle was kissing me. Oh god, oh god…ohmigod. I liked it, so much. My first kiss.

  I was breathless, unable to move for the incredible feeling of lips touching lips. Foreign but perfect, questing and hesitant. He pulled away, leaving me even more breathless and mourning the loss of the kiss.

  “Nell? I—you…?” He seemed unsure of himself, of the kiss.

  I smiled at him, our faces still so close I felt my lips curving against his. My hand drifted from my lap to his arm, then to his face, my fingers splaying around his ear, my palm against his cheek. He let out a sigh of relief, and this time the kiss was mutual. I pressed in, moving my lips against his, breathless in wonder again, or still.

  A thousand questions that had cropped up in my mind when watching movies showing people kissing were answered. What did you do with your noses? What nose? All I knew was his mouth against mine, slightly tilted. Hands? They seemed to know where to go on their own. To his face, to his nape, to his arms. I could breathe even as we kissed, obviously. I’d wondered if I had to hold my breath, when I was younger. Now, I was delighted to understand that I could kiss Kyle forever, I’d never have to break for breath. I didn’t want to.

  I wasn’t sure how much time passed while we kissed there in the grass on the hill. I didn’t care. Nothing mattered but the delirious joy of Kyle, of my first kiss, of making out with my best friend, the only guy I’d ever really cared about.

  This wasn’t just perfectly natural, it was the only thing I could imagine happening, and I couldn’t figure out how it hadn’t happened before now.

  Then, suddenly, I was lying down in the grass, blades crushed and tickling my bare back beneath the strap of my sports bra. Kyle was above me, weight partially on me, partially supported by his arm. His palm planted into the grass next to my face, and I curled my hand around his arm, the other on his nape, making sure he didn’t pull away, didn’t stop kissing me.

  Page 5


  Suddenly, I understood so many things.

  I understood the danger in a kiss. The heat and the power and the lightning. I felt something hard pressing against my hip, and I knew what it was in a flash of heat. The kiss broke, and Kyle shifted away, pulling his hips back. His gaze flickered over my body, and I blushed, both from his attention and from the knowledge of what I’d felt.

  He blushed, and I realized I’d been gazing at him, at his body, his sculpted
abs and further down, to where a bulge gave away what we were both aware of.

  “Shit—” Kyle said, and rolled away, covering his face, clearly embarrassed. “Nell, I’m sorry, I don’t know what happened—”

  I giggled. “Kyle, I’m pretty sure we both know that’s bullshit. I know what happened, and so do you. We kissed. We made out. And you got…excited. ”

  He pulled the the waistband of his running shorts away from his body briefly, adjusting himself. “Yeah, but…it’s just embarrassing. ”

  I rolled to my stomach and leaned over him, as he had me. “Kyle, it’s fine. We’re not kids. I’m…I know—I mean, yeah, it was a little odd for second, but—”

  “This changes things between us, doesn’t it?” Kyle asked, interrupting me.

  I cut short, stunned silent by his abrupt question. “I guess it does, yeah,” I said.

  “Are we still friends?”

  I panicked. “I—yes? I mean, I hope so. I don’t know what happened, why we kissed like that, why you got so jealous and why I couldn’t go out with Jason. I mean, I know…but I don’t understand why now. You know? Kissing you, it felt…right. And you’re still you. I’m still me. We’re still us, Kyle and Nell. But…just more, I guess. ”

  Kyle sighed in relief. “I was afraid…I mean—I didn’t mean to kiss you. It just kind of happened. It was amazing, and I didn’t want to stop. ” His gaze finally met mine, his fingers toying with a lock of my hair. “I want to kiss you again, right now. But…I’m afraid I’d never stop. ”

  “Who said I wanted you to stop? I kissed you back, Kyle. I don’t know what this means for us, what this makes us. I mean, are we boyfriend-girlfriend now? I don’t know. What will our parents say? Everyone has always thought that’s what we are anyway, right?”

  Kyle’s tongue ran over his bottom lip, and I knew he was thinking about kissing me. I beat him to it. I leaned down, my hair draping over our faces and blocking out the world, everything except the kiss. Kyle’s hand skated up my arm, rested awkwardly on my shoulder, and then down my back. He hesitated, and I did too. The kiss broke but our lips barely parted. Our eyes met, and I could see him wondering, thinking, wanting but unsure. I moved slightly, but enough so more of my weight was on him, my hands resting on his chest. I’d seen this position in a movie before, and now I understood it. It was intimate. Comfortable, but…suggestive.

  I felt worldly. Adult. Grown-up. Full of desires I didn’t quite understand and didn’t know what to do with. I felt the hardness between us, and Kyle’s hesitant gaze told me he was as achingly aware of it as I was. What was I supposed to do? Move away? In the movies, this is where the kiss would naturally and easily move to other things. In True Blood, this is where Eric would skillfully get Sookie’s clothes off, and then the scene would change and he would be above her, all male muscle and long lines and motion, and they would be making love…fucking…and they’d both know exactly what they were doing.

  I wasn’t so sure about all that. Seeing him without his shirt on was suddenly enough to have me blushing. Feeling the skin of his chest beneath my hands, his palms on my flesh beneath the strap of my sports bra had me tingling. But…the rest?

  I wasn’t ready.

  Kyle must have sensed my turmoil, or felt the sudden hammering of my heart. He pulled away and sat up, forcing me to do the same.

  “We should slow down, Nell. ”

  “Yeah…yeah. ” I shot to my feet and picked up my shirt from the grass.

  It was sopping wet, so I didn’t put it back on. I felt my muscles pulling, my back twinging. I stretched, arching backward, my arms above my head with my palms facing the sky. As I eased out of the stretch, I felt Kyle’s eyes on me. On me in a guy way. Seeing me, really looking. I blushed.

  “What?” I asked, even though I knew.

  “Nothing. ” Kyle’s eyes darted away, and I couldn’t help my own gaze from raking over his sweat-gleaming muscles, the still-apparent telltale bulge in his shorts, which only made me blush harder.

  I remembered the one time Jill and I had watched a p**n o on the internet she’d found—simply out of curiosity and the rush of knowing we shouldn’t watch it. All I could think of was how the men had looked, huge and veiny and hairy and…shudder. It hadn’t been fun, or hot, or attractive. The women hadn’t looked real. It had been ugly and shocking and kind of scary. We’d turned it off not even halfway through and vowed to never talk about it again. We’d turned on a Jersey Shore repeat and tried to pretend we both didn’t have those awful images burned into our brains.

  And now, of course, six months after Jill’s and my failed experiment with p**n , all I could think as I tried to force my eyes away from Kyle’s crotch, was whether he’d look like them, if I’d be turned on by how he looked naked, if he and I were to do it together.

  “We should head back,” Kyle said. “We’ve been gone a long time. ”

  The sun was setting as we struck out across the field back toward the main road. I jogged down the steep hill ahead of Kyle, and again I felt his eyes on me, and this time I knew he was staring at my butt. I ignored my blushing embarrassment and twisted to look at him over my shoulder, trying to look coy and sultry. I swayed my hips at him as I slowed at the bottom of the hill.

  “You were staring at me, Kyle,” I said in a low voice when Kyle approached.

  “No I wasn’t. ” He was fighting a grin, but his cheeks were pink, giving away his lie.

  “Yes you were. You were staring at my ass. ”

  “I—” He ducked his head and rubbed the back of his neck, then looked back up at me, grinning lopsidedly. “You know what, yeah, fine. I was. Okay? I was staring at your ass. Is that a problem for you?”

  I shrugged. “I didn’t say I had a problem with it. ” I wasn’t about to admit that I liked it.

  Page 6


  We walked side by side in silence after that, a little awkward, a little hesitant. Kyle broke the silence, finally.

  “You know, I’ve been trying not to look at you like that for-fricking-ever. Every time we ran together, I had to run in front of you, so I didn’t stare at your ass. Or watch your boobs bounce. Even when you wear that bra, your boobs bounce a lot, and it’s really fricking distracting. ”

  “Kyle!” I nearly fainted, I blushed so hard, and I couldn’t stop giggling, suddenly.

  “What? I’m just telling you the truth. You’re my best friend, and it felt wrong to be looking at you like any other girl. I mean, I try not to ogle girls anyway ‘cause that’s rude or whatever, but you’re different. But…goddamn, Nell. It’s so hard to not look at you. You’re hot. ”

  I stopped walking and turned to face him, abruptly. “You think I’m hot?”

  He threw my words from earlier back at him. “You know you’re hot, Nell Hawthorne, so quit fishing for compliments. ” His grin faded into an intense gaze, serious and rife with emotion. “But…hot isn’t the right word. I mean, every guy in school thinks you’re hot—except Thomas Avery ‘cause he’s g*y. But I think you’re beautiful. You’re lovely. ”

  I shifted uncomfortably under the intense scrutiny and prickling heat in his eyes. “Thanks?”

  He thinks I’m…lovely? The idea that Kyle thought I was not just hot, but lovely, sent pangs of something like fear through me, an intense pressure in my heart.

  We walked home, and at some point his hand ended up tangled in mine, fingers threaded as if they’d always been there. We arrived at his driveway first, and his mom was at the end of the driveway flipping through the mail, her cell phone stuck between her ear and shoulder, probably talking to my mom.

  She saw us stroll through the motorized, wrought iron gate, hand in hand. Her eyebrows shot up to her hairline and she trailed off mid-sentence, mouth open in a shocked ‘O’. I knew my hair was a ragged, sweaty mess, my shirt was off and so was Kyle’s…and suddenly my lips tingled with the memory of his kiss, and I wondered if she cou
ld tell we’d been kissing, if she thought we had been—

  “Rachel? I’ll have to call you back. Our children just walked in…holding hands. Yes. I know. Already. ” Olivia Calloway hung up and turned to us. “So. You two were gone awhile. ”

  She glanced down at our joined hands. We looked at each other, exchanged a long, meaningful glance. I squeezed his hand, indicating I wasn’t going to let go. I wasn’t ashamed of this, or trying to hide anything.

  Kyle nodded at me subtly, then turned to his mom. “Well, we went for a run, then stopped up by Keller’s Ridge to talk. ”

  Mrs. Calloway narrowed her eyes at us, taking in our state of undress and the tangled mess of my hair. “To talk, hmmm? And this?” She gestured at our hands.

  Kyle lifted his chin. “We’re together now. ”

  We hadn’t exactly decided that, per se, since we’d started kissing without actually agreeing to anything official. But I wasn’t about to say any of that, not here, not now. And we were together, even if we hadn’t made it “official. ”

  “I see,” Mrs. Calloway said. “You’re together, now. Are you sure that’s a good idea? You’re both so young. ”

  Kyle frowned at his mom. “Seriously? Colt had a girlfriend at sixteen and I don’t remember you guys saying shit to him about it. ”

  “Watch your language, young man,” she said, her voice hard. “And for the record, we did say something to him. The same thing I’m saying to you now. Just because you didn’t hear the conversation doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. You were, what, eleven? Your father and I would not have had that conversation with your brother in front of you, Kyle. ”

  Kyle sighed. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. But—”

  “Just be careful, okay?” Mrs. Calloway cut in over her son.

  “Mom, no, we weren’t—I mean we haven’t—”

  “I’m not having that talk with you, Kyle. Especially not in front of Nell. All I’m going to say is, now and going forward, whatever you do or don’t do…be careful. ” She turned away, tucking the mail under her arm, then stopped and glanced back at us. “And I mean that in an emotional sense, not just physical. You two have been best friends your whole life. Crossing the line into more…that’s a line you can’t uncross. ” Something in her tone of voice and the way she stared into middle distance had me wondering if she knew what she was saying from personal experience.

  “We know that, Mom. That’s what we were talking about, actually. ”

  “Well…good. ” She vanished into the house, nose already buried in her phone.

  I stood with Kyle in his driveway. “That wasn’t so bad. ”

  “No, but that was Mom. She’ll call Dad, and he’ll call me, and we’ll have ‘the talk. ’”

  I contorted my face into an expression of commiseration. “Yeah, I’ve probably got that talk waiting for me at home right now. ”

  He laughed. “Didn’t we already have this talk with them when we were kids?”

  “No, that was different, I’m pretty sure. Then, they were explaining what’s what and what goes where and why. This is…” I trailed off, unsure how to finish the statement.

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