A Vote for Love got rejected this year. It definitely needs some TLC and revisions before it goes off into slush-pile land again. And, since it does, I’m going to share one of my favorite parts with you.
The world around them was black except for the small path of light from the car’s headlights and brilliantly shining stars from the sky. It was beautiful and somehow comforting to feel so far away from the world.
The rest of the drive was in silence, even as they pulled into the gravel lane that led up to the Kapshaw house, Doug remained silent and Abigail made no attempts to interrupt it. Doug stopped the car in front of the house, turned off the engine, and stepped out of the car. Abigail climbed out and looked at Doug who, instead of walking towards the house, leaned back against the car and looked up at the moon.
It was nearly full, illuminating his face and the sheer frustration in his expression. “I like you, Abby. It’s frustrating to know you think I’m always out to get you when I’m genuinely interested in you.”
Abigail turned her attention to the moon, the stars, and the little patch of white that she supposed was the Milky Way. “I like you too, Doug. But that doesn’t change the fact that-”
“I’m the enemy.” He let out a frustrated breath.
“No,” Abigail countered, walking over to his side of the car. “Not the enemy. I suppose we’ve become friends and I like that. I’m not used to it. There aren’t many people out there who…” Who what? Cared? Tried? Wanted to? “Anyway, the point is certain things are off limits because of the nature of our work. That’s life.”
He turned to her, took her by the shoulders. “That’s foolish.” Moonlight danced on his hair and Abigail felt her stomach jitter when his eyes met hers.
“And one other thing…” His hands moved to her face, and though her instinct was to back away, something kept her locked in place.
“I’m not sure I like the word friend.”
But, he did. And while her mind was screaming at her to push him away, the warm skim of his lips against hers kept her from moving. His hands remained on her face, keeping her gently there as his lips cruised softly over hers.
When he pulled away, Abigail let out a breath. It took a moment for her to regain her senses. But, she didn’t even notice that she still held onto his arms. “Doug, we can’t do this.” It was the desperate truth. God, no matter how badly she wanted to, they just couldn’t.
“Abby, I like you. I want you.”
“Well, I don’t want you.” It was a lie. She knew it and she could see that he knew it as he just smiled at her.
“Yes, really, now-”
This time he jerked her against him, dove his hands into her hair, and there was nothing soft or gentle about it. It was all heat and sizzle, and Abigail was pretty sure she’d never felt quite so… ravished before.
Breathless when he stopped, Abigail could only look up at him.
“You’re awfully pretty in the moonlight, Abby.” He brushed a hand through her hair and part of her wished she could just lean into him, cling for a little while. But it wasn’t possible. This was ill advised and downright idiotic. And it had to stop.
And, maybe she had never ever been kissed quite so… thoroughly, but that really didn’t matter. Career had to come first and he was a possible pit fall. And even though she really didn’t have anything to hide, she knew too much about someone that did.
“Doug, I’m not going to stand here and tell you that I’m not attracted to you.”
“Good,” he put an arm around her shoulder and began walking them towards the house.
“But, we can’t go down this path.”
“You know that. You have to know that. Even if I do trust you, which I don’t-”
“As you’ve well established,” he said, a note of irritation creeping into his voice, his grip on her shoulders tightening just a pinch.
“It’s not a good idea for you either. You’re a journalist. You’re not supposed to get emotionally involved with what you’re writing about. I would think kissing some girl senseless would count as emotionally involved.”
Doug stopped, turned to face her and grinned. “So what you’re saying is, I kissed you senseless.”
Abigail felt the flush spread over her cheeks and was glad the dark kept him from seeing it. “That’s not what I meant and it’s certainly not the point.”
“Well, that’s the point I got.”
“Doug, be serious for a moment. If someone finds out that … well, it looks bad for both of us. We’re not going down this path.”
“I see. You’re putting your foot down?”
“I am,” she replied, taking the steps up onto the porch. “We can’t do this and we won’t. It’s a mistake. So we’ll just forget tonight ever happened. Okay?”
Doug stepped up onto the porch too, a little too close for comfort. Abigail took a step back in retreat, but he boxed her in against the door.
“We don’t have to do this, and if you don’t want to I can’t force you. But, Abby…” He twirled a tendril of hair around his finger and Abigail didn’t even realize she was holding her breath or waiting for him to kiss her again.
“I don’t have to forget it.” He flashed a lightening grin, and then merely just reached behind her and turned the knob to the front door open. “Do you want me to show you to your room?”
“No, I remember how to get there,” Abigail responded, desperately wishing she could sound a little steadier than she actually was.
“All right, night then.”
“Yeah,” Abigail let out a long breath, frowned. “Good night.”