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Falling into You, Page 5

Jasinda Wilder

He backed me up against the bed and I crawled backward, feeling the pound of nerves resume as Kyle followed me.

  “Are you—” Kyle started.

  I interrupted him. “Yes. I’m sure. I’m nervous and scared, but I want it more than I’m scared. ” I bit my lip, then admitted, “I’m on birth control. I got it a week ago, just in case. ”

  Kyle’s eyes widened. “You did? Why didn’t you tell me. ”

  I shrugged. “I don’t know. I just…it never felt like the right time. I was embarrassed, I guess. ”

  Kyle slid off the bed and dug his wallet out of his suit coat, withdrew two condoms and set them on the table beside the bed. “I got those. ”

  “Are you sure?” I asked him. He seemed nervous, now.

  “Yeah, I’m sure. Like you said, I’m a little nervous. I mean, I don’t want to hurt you, or do anything wrong. ”

  “You won’t do anything wrong. You won’t hurt me. Just…we’ll go slow, okay?”

  He nodded, then ripped open the condom and rolled it over himself.

  He knelt over me, his hands on either side of my face, knees between mine, eyes locked on me, searching me.

  I pulled him toward me and rested my hands on his back, then leaned up to kiss him. The heat of the kiss erased both of our fears, or eased them, at least. He moved into me, slowly.

  I felt stretched, then a pinch, sharp and quick. I winced, and Kyle froze. His breathing was ragged already, and I could feel tension in his muscles. I was biting my lip hard now, feeling the pricking pain ease and the wonder of foreign fullness take over. I touched his backside, pulled him against me, encouraging him to move.

  It wasn’t long before he stilled, groaning.

  There were no fireworks, no screaming, no wild sweaty thrashing, but it was still amazing.

  Kyle got up, disappeared into the bathroom, and came back. I cradled my head against his chest. Minutes passed in silence. His body felt hard and hot beneath me, and the feeling of being held by him this way, naked skin against naked skin, was almost better than what had gone before.

  I felt a tear trickle down my cheek and drip onto Kyle’s chest. I wasn’t sure where the tear had come from, or what it meant. I blinked, trying to keep back the others that threatened, not wanting Kyle to think I hadn’t enjoyed it.

  “Are you crying?” Kyle asked.

  I nodded, and let the tears spill. “It’s…I’m not upset or anything. Just emotional. ”

  “Emotional how?”

  I shrugged. “It’s hard to explain. I’m not a virgin anymore. We can’t go back, now. Not that I’d want to take it back, because it was a wonderful experience. But…it’s a big deal, you know?”

  “Yeah, I know what you mean. ”

  I tilted my head up to look at him. “I love you, Kyle. ”

  “I love you too. ”

  The second time was incredible. I felt a fire blossom low in my belly, a feeling like I might explode, or implode. I’d brought myself past that point on my own, obviously, but this was different.

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  I wondered what it would be like to be brought to that point with Kyle.

  Chapter 4: A Proposal; A Tree Falls

  August, Two Years Later

  If our parents knew that Kyle and I were having frequent sex, they didn’t say or do anything about it. We were careful of when and where we did it, of course. Kyle’s mom had started going to a scrapbooking club two or three evenings a week, and his dad was in Washington much of the year, so we spent a lot of time in his room. My mom was home more frequently, as was my dad, but they didn’t seem to care how much time I spent with Kyle at his house. Of course, we claimed to be studying, doing homework, or watching movies most of the time. We did do those things, just not as much as we led my parents to believe.

  We’d both turned eighteen the previous week. Our parents had decided, instead of giving us an extravagant party, they’d let us go up to Kyle’s family’s cabin on the lake up north for the weekend. We’d been petitioning for this all summer, and they’d hesitated, telling us they’d think about it. We’d almost given up on the idea when our parents called a meeting with us.

  “You guys are eighteen now, and legally adults,” Kyle’s dad said by way of introduction. “You two have been dating for what, two years now? We know what this trip of yours means, and we get it. We were young once too. ”

  Everyone shifted awkwardly at the implication.

  “Yes, well. ” Kyle’s dad cleared his throat and continued in his stentorian congressman’s voice. “The point is, we’ve decided to allow you to make this trip together. Now. The hard part. I realize this is tricky and uncomfortable for everyone, but it must be said. You’re young adults now, and capable of making your own decisions. We’ve raised you well, raised you to be smart young people capable of making good decisions. I know we’ve spoken about this before to each of you, as parents, but I believe it must be said to you both together as a couple. ”

  “Just say it, Dad,” Kyle sighed.

  “We’ve spoken of being careful. Of using protection. ” Kyle and I exchanged glances but kept silent. “I am a public figure, as is your father, Nell. It is imperative that you take this seriously. I cannot afford scandal at this point in my career. There’s talk of nominating me for the presidential race in two years, and I know I don’t need to remind you how important image is in such a situation. ”

  “Dad, we’re careful,” Kyle said. “I promise. We’re protected. ”

  My parents were staring hard at me, so I felt the need to speak up. “I’m on birth control, okay? I have been since we…you know, started. And we use protection. No unplanned pregnancies here, okay? Can we stop talking about this now, please?”

  “God, that would be great,” Kyle muttered.

  “How long has this been going on?” my dad asked.

  Kyle and I exchanged glances again.

  “I don’t know if that’s important or not, sir,” Kyle said.

  “Of course it’s important,” Dad said, his voice gruff and threatening, fixing Kyle with his sternest CEO-glare. “She’s my daughter. How long?”

  I was glad I wasn’t on the receiving end of that look; it was scary as hell.

  Kyle lifted his chin and squared his shoulders. “I’m sorry, Mr. Hawthorne, but I really feel like that’s between Nell and me. ” Kyle stood up, and I stood with him, and of course everyone else followed suit. Kyle addressed my father once more. “I haven’t discussed my relationship with Nell with any of my friends, and with all due respect, sir, I’m not going to discuss it with you. It’s private. ”

  My father nodded and extended his hand to Kyle, and they shook. “Good answer, son. I don’t like it, because that means it’s probably been going on longer than I care to think about. But I do respect you for keeping your business private. Protecting my baby’s reputation and all that. ”

  Kyle nodded. “I love your daughter, sir. I’d never do anything to hurt her, or embarrass her. Or you guys and my parents. ”

  I threaded my fingers through Kyle’s, proud of him. My dad could be intimidating. I’d gone with Dad to work a few times recently, as I was planning on majoring in business at Syracuse, and I’d seen him use that same hard glare and gruff voice on his employees. Invariably, the unfortunate person on the receiving end had been quaking in their boots and had fairly tripped over themselves to do exactly as my dad asked. Glancing at Mr. Calloway, I could see he was proud of Kyle too for the way he’d handled the situation.

  We discussed our plans briefly, and then Kyle and I were dismissed to pack. When we were alone in my room, Kyle slumped back on my bed, scrubbing his face with his hands.

  “Holy shit, Nell. Your dad is scary. ”

  I knelt astride him, leaning down to kiss him. “I know he is. I’ve seen grown-ass men almost piss themselves when Dad does that. ” I bit his chin lightly. “I’m proud of you, baby. You d
id good. ”

  He cupped my backside and moved me against him. “Do I get a reward?”

  I laughed and moved off of him. “When we get up north. ”

  We packed quickly, putting all of our things in one of Kyle’s extra football gear bags. It felt worldly and adult to be packing together in one bag, my things mixed with his.

  As we packed Kyle’s things into the bag, I noticed him dig something out of his sock drawer and shove it into the hip pocket of his jeans. It was small, whatever it was, and I couldn’t make out the shape. I met Kyle’s eyes inquisitively, but he just shrugged and grinned at me. I didn’t push it. I’d never known Kyle to lie to me or keep anything from me, so I wasn’t worried.

  We got in the car and Kyle drove while I sorted the junk out of my wallet. I pulled out old receipts, ticket stubs from concerts and movies, half a dozen gift Starbucks and Caribou gift cards either empty or with a few cents left. I came across the note Kyle had written me over a year and a half ago. I reread it, smiling to myself. It seemed like such a long time ago, now. I remembered the girl I was, then, and how full of trepidation I’d been. In the year and a few months since, Kyle and I learned each other, discovered a wonderland of pleasure in each other. He’d learned to bring me to that shivering edge and push me beyond. I’d learned the joyful comfort in lying in his arms afterward, and the drowsy drug-like high of making love in the sleepy afternoon on a summer Sunday in the sun, on a picnic blanket high up on our ridge beneath our tree.

  Page 14


  Kyle glanced over at me and grinned when he saw what I was looking at. “Aren’t you gonna get rid of that old thing? It’s embarrassingly sappy, if I remember right. ”

  I clutched the paper to my chest, a look of horror on my face. “I’ll never get rid of it, you callous brute. I love it. It’s cute and wonderful and it makes me smile. ”

  He just shook his head and smiled at me, then turned up The Avett Brothers’, “I and Love and You” and we held hands, listening to the song we’d made love to more times than I could count. We looked at each other and then away, sharing mutual memories of the things we’d done to that song.

  The cabin was several hours away, and of course I ended up falling asleep, not waking up until Kyle’s lips brushed mine and his voice whispered “we’re here,” in my ear.

  Kyle was leaning in my car door, stroking my cheek with the backs of his fingers. I stretched languorously, ending with my arms around Kyle’s neck. “I’m too sleepy to walk. Carry me. ”

  Kyle’s lips pressed kisses along my neck as I stretched, sending me into a paroxysm of giggles, and then he swept me up into his arms and lifted me effortlessly out of the car and up the three steps onto the cabin porch.

  “Keys are in my pocket,” he said.

  I dug in his pocket, pulling his keys out and sorting through them until he indicated the correct one. I unlocked the door quickly, still in Kyle’s arms. He wasn’t showing any signs of strain except for tightening in his lips. He carried me over the threshold and in through living room stopped at the stairs to the second floor.

  “Hold tight, baby,” he said. “We’re going up. ”

  I kicked and tried to slip out of his arms. “You’re crazy. You can’t carry me upstairs!”

  He let me down, but as soon as my feet hit the stairs he leaned into me, pressing me back into the stairs. I landed on my butt and kept going, pulling him down to my mouth. I lost myself in his kisses, then, and forgot about the step gouging into my back, or the fact that my hair was caught under one shoulder against the next stair. Next thing I knew, I was in his arms again and we were moving up the stairs. I heard the strain in his breathing, but he carried me up into the master bedroom and laid me on the bed. He crawled on with me, pushing my shirt over my head, his palms stuttering on my ribs, palming my br**sts. I arched into his touch and fumbled with the button of his jeans.

  We christened the hell out of that bed.

  As we lay in the afterglow, Kyle’s fingers tracing patterns on the expanse of flesh between my br**sts, he turned to meet my gaze, a serious look in his eyes. “Have you decided on college?”

  We’d been discussing it on and off for awhile now. We’d both taken the SAT and ACT and had sent applications off to a dozen colleges and universities each. We’d talked about where we wanted to go, what we wanted to do. What we hadn’t done was talk about whether we were going to go to the same place. Our conversations on the subject had a kind of unstated assumptions that we’d stay together and choose colleges based on somewhere we’d both go.

  I shrugged, not liking the topic. “I was thinking Syracuse. Maybe Boston College. Somewhere on the east coast, I think. I want to major in business. ”

  He didn’t answer for a few moments, which I took to mean he didn’t like my answer. “I got accepted to Stanford. They offered me a huge scholarship. ”


  “Yeah. ”

  That much was obvious. His grades were good, but not scholarship good. He’d been approached by several different universities over the last few months. He expected more as our senior year wound down, though.

  “Stanford is in California. ” My voice was unattractively flat.

  “And Syracuse is in New York. ” His hand stilled on my skin. “I did get an offer from Penn State. ”

  I nodded. “I guess the question is, are we making these decisions together? I mean…what if you decide Stanford is the best place for you, and I really want to go Syracuse?”

  “I don’t know,” Kyle said, not quite sighing. “That’s what I’ve been wondering. The offer Stanford has on the table is really enticing. Penn State is pretty good, but Stanford is…Stanford. ” He shrugged, as if to say there simply wasn’t any comparison.

  Long minutes passed. I wasn’t sure what to say, how to get us past this. Eventually I sat up. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore. I’m hungry. ”

  Kyle sighed, as if the relief of leaving the discussion aside was a weight off his shoulders. We fired up the grill and had a lovely domestic moment grilling burgers and corn on the cob together. There was an unopened case of Budweiser cans in the pantry leftover from a party held here over the summer, and we drank beer together. Neither of us were hard partiers. We would go to our friend’s get-togethers and we’d have a drink or two, but we weren’t the type to get obliterated. I’d only been drunk once, and that had been with Kyle over this past summer. We’d convinced Becca’s cousin Maria to buy us a fifth of Jack, and we’d taken it to the dock while our parents attended some political soiree.

  Being drunk had been fun up until the shots started catching up to me. I ended up puking and passing out on the dock. Kyle carried me to bed and watched me until he was sure I wasn’t going to choke on my own vomit. After that, I decided getting hammered wasn’t my thing. I had friends who seemed to live for the weekend parties, for getting drunk and hooking up.

  I had Kyle, and that was enough.

  After dinner, we built a fire in the firepit out by the lake and went skinny dipping once the sun went down, laughing and chasing each other around the inlet. There was an island about a quarter mile out into the bay, a tiny bump of land with some scrub pines and bushes a thin beach. Kyle and I had been swimming out to that island together since we were kids. This time, we swam out and made love on the sand, laid naked in the warm late summer air watching the stars twinkle and shimmer, talking about nothing and everything.

  Talking about everything, but avoiding the heavy topic of the future and colleges. It was heavy on my heart, because something told me we wouldn’t come to an easy or pleasant decision. Kyle was set on Stanford. I could see it in his eyes, hear it in his voice. I really wanted to be on the east coast, close to the financial center of New York City. The plan was to major in business finance and get a killer internship in New York, then get a job with Dad’s company, but legitimately, working my way up with no strings pulled, no fav
oritism showed.

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  Dad really wanted to just bring me into the boardroom as soon as I had my degree, but I was determined to do it on my own. Kyle was having a similar problem with his parents. His dad wanted Kyle to follow in his footsteps and intern in Washington, pull some strings to get him a lush political gig. Kyle wanted to stay in the athletic world. Play college ball, try to go pro, and barring that, get into coaching. It was a sore spot, but Kyle was like me, and determined to do things his own way.

  I knew I wasn’t willing to ask Kyle to compromise on his school of choice for me. I could get the degree I wanted at a lot of different colleges, and I knew between Mr. Calloway and my dad, I could get strings pulled to get me into any college I wanted.

  I loved Kyle enough to shift my plan. Kyle was locked into accepting the best offers. He had a wealth of them choose from, so I wasn’t worried about that as much.

  I sat by the fire wrapped in a towel, watching Kyle idly strum a guitar, staring into middle distance, knowing I had to decide. Did I follow Kyle for love? Or did I follow my plan for the future?

  Little did I know, that choice would soon be stripped away from me.

  * * *

  Saturday was a lazy day spent on the pontoon boat, drinking beer and eating sandwiches, making love and listening to music on my iPod. We avoided heavy conversation and just enjoyed each other, enjoyed the rippling blue of the lake, the pale expanse of the clear sky, and the lack of expectations on each other.

  Back home, we were both chased by the image of our parents. My dad was considering running for the mayorship of our town. Kyle especially had to be careful of what he did, now. With his father angling for a presidential nomination, every facet of the Calloway family was examined on a regular basis by the media. Kyle and I had to be careful not to be caught in any compromising positions, not to do or say anything to cast doubt on Mr. Calloway.

  Here, up north, no such expectations existed. It was just us.

  Sunday was stormy, so we spent the day inside watching movies. We went for an early dinner to the only nice restaurant within an hour’s drive, a fairly swank Italian place where the Calloways were well known. Kyle was greeted by name and given a table immediately, despite the crowd of waiting vacationers.

  It was another nice but slightly awkward dinner, with the coming conversation weighing on us both. I knew I had to send my official acceptance to Syracuse soon, or have our dads start pulling strings to get me into Stanford with Kyle. Time was running out. We’d put this off for too long, to the chagrin of both of our parents, and now the time had come. It was August, and the universities were starting their academic year in September.

  I opened my mouth to bring it up several times, but Kyle always seemed to head me off, as if he knew what I was about to say. We drove home in a tense silence. Kyle had his hand in the pocket of his Dockers while he drove, and he kept glancing at me, a deep, inscrutable expression on his face. We pulled up to the cabin and sat for a moment, watching fat drops of rain splatter on the windshield, listening to the wind howling outside. The huge pine trees surrounding the cabin were bending and swaying in the winds, which were approaching gale force, it seemed to me. I watched with my heart hammering as one tree in particular seemed to bending almost double in the gusts, and I found myself tensing for the moment when it would snap and fall. With the direction the wind was blowing, if it did break, it would hit the house and the car we sat in.