They watched the
other dancers and Johnny could barely stand it. He wanted to take
Rosemary outside where he’d be alone with her. He’d barely brushed
her lips with his and his sex had sprung to life. Yeah, wouldn’t
Father Anthony love to see proof of that? The good Father would
probably kick him out of the dance so fast his head would spin.
Pulling Rosemary in front of him so they could still watch everyone,
he wrapped his arms around her waist and drew her back against him.
That was safe enough as long as he didn’t move his hips forward. If
he did, his sweet Rose would be in for quite a shock.
After all these years he
finally had her exactly where he wanted her—in his arms. In school
he’d wanted nothing more than to ask her out. But she’d been part of
the preppy group, not the ‘hoods’ as he’d been called back then.
Asking her out would have ruined her, and that’s the last thing he
would have ever done. He respected her too much for that. So he’d
kept with his own. Only now…
Was she really so
unaware of how she affected guys around her? She’d sat behind him in
geography class in high school, and he’d walked out of class with a
major hard-on every day. She hadn’t thought it odd he’d borrowed
pencils from her in class every day? He had to have some excuse to
talk to her, and lame though it was, it had worked. She’d smiled
sweetly as she searched for her pencil bag and handed one to him,
her chocolate brown eyes meeting his. Come to think of it, why in
the world had she had so many pencils on her every day? Had she…?
Could she have…? Nah. She hadn’t liked him. She’d just been polite.
But then, he’d seen her write…
Well, they weren’t in
school anymore, and he didn’t care if he was ‘the boy mothers warned
their daughters about.’ Yeah, he knew his reputation—then and now.
He’d worked hard to uphold it all those years, making a statement
more to his father than himself. But now he wanted something else.
More. He just wasn’t sure what that more was. Yet something told him
Rose fit in that equation somehow.
Hell, wouldn’t Mr.
Tarantino be proud of him? He actually remembered something from
math class. Not that he’d ever really use equations, of course. He
smiled. Couldn’t help it. Rose felt so good in his arms. Just like
she was meant to be there. Yeah, he’d just have to do something
about that. Swaying to the beat of the music, he moved some of her
long, brunette hair aside and bent to kiss her neck. What he really
wanted to do was run his hands through that thick mane of dark hair
and claim her mouth with his. Slow, tantalizing. He’d have her
moaning under his kiss. Make her want more—make her want him.
Why did they have to be
at a CYO? Of all the places to be on a Friday night. If she’d gone
to the Ivy-A-Go-Go with him like he’d wanted, he wouldn’t have to
sneak kisses. No, he’d be all over her. And that probably wouldn’t
be a good thing. He had a feeling if he moved too fast, he’d scare
Rose away. That was the last thing he wanted to do.
With strains of
Goodnight, sweetheart, well it’s time to go…echoing through the
room, everyone gathered their coats or jackets and headed for the
door. He helped Rose on with her gray wool coat, then took her long
red scarf and wrapped it around her neck, letting the ends dangle.
He reached behind her and lifted her hair, making sure none of it
was caught in the scarf. Before she could protest, he clasped her
hand in his and headed outside. The brisk December wind hit them
full in the face and Rose shivered. She tried to pull back when he
reached his car, but he urged her forward so he could open the
passenger side door for her.
“You’re not going to
give me grief about taking you home are you, Rose?” He cast her a
look he knew showed he wouldn’t be taking no for an answer.
“I’ll be fine. I can
take the bus. It’s how I got here.” She dug in her purse, looking
for something, then held up and waved the slip of paper in his face.
“See, I have my bus pass.”
“And I have my car. Much
warmer and much safer at this time of night.” He ignored her further
protests, moved her toward the Impala, helped her and closed the
door. When he walked around to the driver’s side, he stopped and
took a deep breath. “Don’t muck this up, Fortunato. For once, the
stakes are too high.” He opened the car door and slid inside.
Turning the key, he adjusted the heater so Rose could get warm. Then
he turned to face her. “Do you have to head straight home, or can we
go get something to eat? I’m dying for a hamburger and fries. All
that dancing worked up my appetite. Eddie’s Diner is just a few
Rosemary stared out a
window, then frowned. “What about your friends? They won’t want me
He slipped his arm along
the top of the front seat and rested his hand casually on her
shoulder. “In case you haven’t noticed, my friends left a long time
ago.” He chuckled. “The dance wasn’t quite their cup of tea.”
Rosemary shifted in the
seat until she faced him. “But how did they…? I mean, how will
“Get a ride?” he
finished. “I imagine they hooked up with someone after they left
here. I knew when we came they wouldn’t stay. They just thought
they’d get a laugh or two.”
“And why did you stay,
Johnny? Didn’t you just come for a laugh or two, as well?” She swept
her eyes down, clearly not wanting to meet his gaze. Not really
wanting to hear his answer.
“I stayed for the same
reason I came.” Placing a finger under her chin, he tipped her face
up and ran his thumb lightly over her cheek. “I wanted to spend the
evening with you.”
“Why, what?” He slid
closer to her on the seat.
“Why did you want to be
with me? I saw you every day in high school, and you avoided me like
the plague. Why now?”
Johnny embraced her. Ran
his hand up and down her arm. “You were off-limits to me in high
school, Rose. But we aren’t kids anymore. I’m not just the cool guy
with the bad reputation in school and you’re not the lily white
rose. We’re adults now. You graduated a year ago; I’ve owned my own
shop for several years—and I’m going after what I want.” He lowered
his head to her and gently moved his lips over hers. When she didn’t
pull away, he teased and nibbled until she opened for him. Then he
claimed her for his own. His hands moved inside her coat, wrapping
his arms around her so she couldn’t pull back as he deepened the
kiss. Her moan brought him to his senses and he edged back behind
the steering wheel. Smart move, Fortunato. That was really playing
Pulse racing, he shifted
gears and braved a peek at Rosemary. She looked stunned. Okay,
stunned was okay. At least she wasn’t mad. “Come on, let’s go get
that hamburger. Think I want a chocolate malt, too. If I recall
correctly, you love chocolate. You passed chocolate around in class
almost as much as you did notes.”
Leanne L. Burroughs