All good things come to an end… including naps. Jimmy tried to ignore the drops of water that managed to hit the side of his face beneath the brim of his hat. It worked for a few seconds.

"You can stop now."

The answering laugh told him that she hadn't fallen for his 'gruff tone'. "I just wanted you to wake up."

He pulled his hat from his face and rolled to his side, blinking up into the warm light of the afternoon sun. "Are you done readin' yet?" He turned to look at the book in her hand. The pages she'd finished didn't even amount of half of the tome. "I thought you really wanted to read it."

"I do." She gave him a smile over the top of the book and wiped water from her free hand as she ducked her head down to the pages again.

He waited a few moments, watching her as her eyes moved along the page as she read line after line from the book. He barely noticed when she slid a foot into the pond, but the soft splashes from her toes caught his attention.

He was a man of action by nature, but there was more than a little self-preservation mixed in for good measure. "Is there some reason you wanted to wake me up?"

"Hmm?" Louise looked over the top edge of her book, her expression only half curious. "What did you say?"

"I said." He reached out and circled his fingers around her ankle just above the water. "I thought you wanted me awake."

Her cheeks warmed ever so slightly underneath her widening eyes. "I said that, did I?"

"That's what you said."

"Well," Louise gave him a grin, "you were snoring and it was hard to concentrate." A quick tug teased a little yelp from her lips and she gave the pond a look that bordered on fearful. "Jimmy, you just brought me this book. You're not going to get it wet, are you?"

He couldn't stop the smile that tugged at the corner of his mouth. "A man doesn't like to be ignored."

"Ignored?" She swallowed a little harder than normal and her smile was pulled a little thin. "We've been together all afternoon."

"Together?" Jimmy drawled the word out as he slid his fingers a scant inch up her leg. "I wouldn't say that." His eyes looked up into her face and saw the change in her expression. "I'd say you had your hands and eyes on that book since we got out here."

"Oh… I know… but I just…" her voice seemed to fade away, but Jimmy wasn't sure if it was because she lacked the breath to continue or she couldn't come up with the words.

The water was warm, heated by the summer sun, but the skin along her ankle, the skin he'd just drawn his fingers along, was covered with little bumps. He knew she wasn't cold. "You just… what?"

"Wanted to read it."

"Hmm. Must be real interestin'. What's it about?" He moved his hand up the back of her leg, pausing when his fingers met the swell of muscle beneath the soft curve of her skin.

"I… I can't remember." Her smiled widened and laughter escaped her lips as the color of her cheeks darkened.

"Can't be that good if you don't remember." His eyes narrowed and a muscle in his jaw clenched. "Come 'ere and let me see."

The true meaning of his words dawned on her a moment too late, and it was all she could do not to shriek as his fingers wrapped around the back of her knee and pulled. The green grass around the pond was thick and slid easily. His free arm lifted her onto his lap and held her tight against his chest.

Louise struggled to calm her heart as it beat furiously, fluttering against the pages of the book she still had clutched in her hands.

"Uh, Jimmy?"

He looked up at her, his eyes smiling more than his lips. "Yeah, Lou?"

"How are you going to see my book now?"

Releasing her leg, he drew up his hand to sweep back hair that had fallen from her. He watched the sun play over her skin and admired the warm blush that colored her cheeks. "I got somethin' else I'd rather look at right now."

"Oh."

He couldn't help but feel a little stab of pride that he'd reduced her to that single word. Leaning forward just a few inches he brushed a kiss along her cheek.

A moment later he moved, coming within inches of her lips, as he watched her eyes, darkening from more than just the shadows of the late-afternoon sun. "So," he began as his lips brushed along her other cheek and her fingers tightened on the edge of the book pressed between them, "is this what you had in mind when you wanted to wake me up?"

"No." She ducked her face for a moment, pulling back far enough to lift the book out from between them. Closing it with decisive whoosh -thump she dropped it into the soft cushion of grass beside them. "I like your idea better." She shifted, pushing him down into the grass with smile as his cheeks colored.

Author's Note: Breathtaking Moment - Flushed Cheeks

Author's Note: Thanks to Liz for suffering through beta duty for me

Email Miss Raye

HOME