Red Dragon Inn
Dreamweaver's Lair => From the Dragon's Mouth => Crash and Burn => Topic started by: Olivia Storm on February 11, 2013, 03:25:56 PM
[size=9]((Contains material of an adult nature.))[/size]
The roof of Luks Condos wasn't ordinarily the place to visit on a cold night, but then, Liv didn't really fear the cold anymore. She had this perpetually warm, handsy fiance who liked to keep the chill away, after all. She couldn't have said exactly how or why they'd ended up on the roof, only that it was proving to be an entertaining way of spending the evening. Lying on her back, she was looking up at the close to unparalleled view of Rhy'Din's unfamiliar constellations, enjoying teasing Johnny. She pointed upward, a soft grin on her face. "That one looks like your backside after you've had a shower."
A rooftop picnic in the middle of winter wasn't exactly the norm for most people, but most people weren't Johnny Storm. He was almost like the postman - weather didn't stop him no matter how inclement, unless it was rain. Water was his one and only nemesis. But tonight, the sky was clear, the air refreshingly cold. He'd spread a blanket out over the roof to make things a little more cozy and had brought along a thermos of hot cocoa, complete with marshmallows. It wouldn't be a problem keeping it warm - or keeping Liv warm - so long as Johnny was there. Johnny was lying close, his arms wrapped around Liv to keep her warm, gazing up at the unfamiliar constellations in the sky over their heads. He nver seemed to grow tired of the view, either of the sky or the woman in his arms.
He screwed his face up as he tried to see what she saw in the random pattern of stars above their heads. "Why does my backside look different after it's had a shower?" he asked curiously, wondering where she saw that.
She laughed quietly, cuddling gently into his arms with a tender smile. "Because, before you go all steamy and dry off, the water droplets cling on and go sparkly," she teased him fondly. Her hand rose to point at another collection of stars. "That one looks like Ben. Sort of."
He arched a brow as he looked back at the stars. "They do?" he asked curiously, never having been told that before. A smirk crossed his face as a thought came to mind. "Maybe we should name that one after me then." He followed her hand, narrowing his eyes as he tried to pick out the same pattern she was seeing in the sky. "Think so? I think it looks sort of like a snowman."
She tilted her head across his shoulder, half squinting to see a snowman where she had previously seen his friend. "It does, doesn't it?" she agreed with a half smile. "I'm never going to get used to looking up at the sky and not recognizing the constellations. It was weird enough in New York when everyone kept trying to tell me that Ursa Major was some kind of drinking implement." She chuckled softly, twisting her head to look up at him. She still hadn't told Johnny what it was Lucy had told her the day that Sue had given birth, uncertain how she could explain it without sounding as confused as she felt. "Johnny ... do you mind it at all? Me being ... well, completely normal?"
To be fair, Ben looked a little like a snowman made of rock, or maybe Johnny just didn't want to think about Ben right now, for some reason. "You mean the Big Dipper?" Johnny asked, hugging her tightly as he noticed her nose was turning pink. He hadn't said much about the birth either, having mixed feelings about it and about his sister's decision to name the baby after their father. He had, in fact, not talked much about it at all. It seemed everyone around them was getting married and having kids but them. Her question pulled him out of his thoughts and back to the present. "Hm?" he asked, furrowing his brows at the unexpected question. "No, of course not. Why would I mind?"
She shifted a little uncomfortably, a gentle frown on her face as she considered where she was going with this. "Well ... would it make any difference if I wasn't quite so boringly normal?" she ventured, hugging her arms about him as they talked. By now, Tony Stark would have received the same package she had downstairs in their apartment; this wasn't something she could keep to herself for much longer without consequences. She didn't want Johnny to think she had lied to him. "I mean, obviously, I'm still boring old human, but, um ... what if my birth parents were something special?"
Johnny might be a little dim at times, but he got the feeling Liv was trying to tell him something, leading up to telling him something, but he wasn't sure what. Whatever it was, she seemed more than a little nervous about it. One of the things Johnny liked best about Liv was the fact that she was so normal and human. She kept his head out of the clouds and kept him grounded. "What are you trying to say, Liv?" he asked, a worried expression on his face, jumping to conclusions, expecting the worst. What was she trying to get at?
She was silent for a long moment, biting hard on her lower lip in that bad habit of hers, lowering her head until her ear rested over his heart. "I know who my birth parents are," she said very quietly. "My mother was Elizabeth Carter. She, um, she died giving birth to us." There was another pause as his shy little fiancee gathered together her courage to tell Johnny exactly what she was getting at. "My father was, um ... He was Howard Stark."
Those were definitely names Johnny knew, if only from his fanboy obsession with Captain America, but to hear her tell him they were her parents was a little more than he could take. He paused a moment as he let that sink in, trying to determine if she was telling him the truth or teasing him, but why would she do that? It wasn't like Liv. Lucy maybe, but not Liv. He was pretty sure this was Liv, not Lucy. He'd learned to tell the difference between them long ago. Anyway, Lucy was in New York with Steve. New York. Johnny's frown deepened. Stark Tower was in New York. He said nothing for a long moment, mulling over the implications of what she was telling him, assuming she was right. Was it Steve who had found out the truth? Why hadn't anyone told him?
"So... that makes you..." He trailed off before he could finish the thought.
"Tony Stark's little sister," she finished the thought for him, the worry radiating from her wildly by now. His long silence had frightened her, terrified that this somehow changed everything, that he wasn't going to forgive her for keeping it to herself for a week, that he'd leave her because of a family connection she'd never even seen in person, much less met. "Johnny? Say something, please."
"Right," he said, feeling a stab of jealousy, though he wasn't quite sure why. Lucy was married to Captain America, and Liv had found out that Ironman was her brother. Their brother. The twins' brother. With those kind of relations, what did they need him for? "Does he know?" he asked, not really sure how he felt about it yet. It didn't really change anything between them, and yet it did.
"He should do. Lucy sent him the files she got from S.H.I.E.L.D." Liv could feel the change in Johnny as they spoke, a strange sense of distance that hadn't been there before she'd spoken. I wish Lucy had never told me, she thought. What was the point of learning the truth about her parents if that information cost her Johnny? He was more important to her than anything, anyone, but somehow just telling him the truth had changed things. "It's up to him if he wants to meet us. I hope he doesn't."
Johnny could almost hear the regret in Liv's voice. He wondered if Sue ever regretted having Johnny for a brother. He knew he could be difficult at times, but unlike Liv and Lucy, he'd known his sister all his life. There was no one he felt closer to than Sue in all the world, save for Liv. Family was family, whether you liked them or not. "You should meet him, Liv. He's your brother."
"Only if he wants to meet us," she said quietly, seeming to fold in on herself all over again as they talked about this. "But I don't want things to change. I'm happy where I am, as I am, with you. I wish Lucy had never told me in the first place." Her arms hugged tighter about him, her face turning to press against his chest. "I didn't mean to keep it a secret. I just didn't know how to tell you."
Despite his own feelings of jealousy and his worries about losing her, deep down he knew that Liv had always wondered about her parents, had always missed having a family. Now, she had plenty of family, but that didn't mean she didn't still need him. He wrapped her tighter in his embrace, as though he was afraid to her go. "What happened? How'd you end up in an orphanage?" he asked, curious about the rest of the story.
It was a sad story, one she had cried over when she'd first read the files herself, one that she didn't really want to revisit. But this was Johnny. If anyone was going to understand, it was him. So slowly, piece by piece, she told him about the affair that had spawned them; the wife that had delivered an ultimatum; the death of their mother; and the religious convictions of the aunt who had abandoned them at the local church. "Apparently, Mr Stark was making plans to come get us when his plane crashed," she told Johnny quietly, her voice thick with unshed tears for the secrets that had shrouded her early life so thoroughly in darkness. "It doesn't make it any better to know that."
He listened quietly as she told him the story of her early life, of things she didn't remember and couldn't have known, hearing the tears in her voice, knowing how all of this must be confusing, at the very least. Neither of them had had a very good childhood, each of them depending on their sole sibling for the love and support they hadn't received from their parents. He couldn't imagine how she was feeling right now, knowing what she now knew. "I'm sorry, Liv," he told her quietly, doing his best to keep his own voice steady. "I don't know what to say. At least, you know now. It's not a mystery anymore." He knew that probably gave her little comfort, but maybe in time, she'd come to understand and accept it.
She nodded silently, hunching as close to him as she could get. It was telling, at least to her, that she hadn't looked for comfort when Lucy had told her the truth. Yet here and now, as she told Johnny, it was him she turned to for that comfort, and it was him who gave it to her. Lucy wasn't her lifeline anymore. It was the warm, special man who lay beside her under the stars, who was teaching her to like herself for who she was with every day that passed them by. "I really spoiled the mood, didn't I?"
"No, I'm glad you told me. I was going to find out sooner or later, and I'd rather hear it from you than someone else." He brushed his too-warm lips against her cheek. It was going to take a little getting used to, but he thought that was probably nothing compared to what she was feeling. "It could be worse. You could have found out you were my sister," he said, trying to add a little levity.
It worked. Liv found herself smiling, the soft snort of laughter chasing away the urge to cry as she lifted her head to look up at him. "That would have been horrible." She shifted up onto on elbow, leaning over him, one hand rising to stroke his cheek tenderly. "It doesn't change anything, Johnny," she promised him, needing him to hear her and believe her. "I love you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. But I don't want you to feel as though you have to stay, if this is too much. I couldn't bear to trap you in any way."
Johnny frowned up at her as she leaned over him, sharing nearly the same worries as her, though from his own point of view. "Don't say that, Liv," he pleaded, struggling to keep his own emotions in check. "I know I'll never be a Steve Rogers or a Tony Stark, but I love you and... I don't want to live without you."
"I don't want a Steve Rogers or a Tony Stark," she told him with a frown, hating that he felt as though the need to compare them was there at all. "I want you. You're all I've wanted for over a year. I couldn't bear my life without you, Johnny. No one will ever compare to you. No one matters as much as you, not in my heart. I wish I knew how to convince you of it. I ... I know I don't have much to offer, but all of it is yours. Everything I am, or have, or will ever be or have. I promise."
"That's all I want, too, Liv. I just want to be with you. Ever since I met you, something changed. I don't know. I can't explain it. It's like I wasn't whole until I met you. You're everything to me. We belong together, Liv. You and me. I'm not gonna let anyone come between us, not even Tony Stark." Though why he'd want to was beyond Johnny, the fear was there, just the same.
She leaned to him, brushing a gentle kiss to his lips in that uniquely Liv way of hers, somehow managing to convey the deepest part of her affection with just that touch. There was still a part of the news that bothered her, something she knew would never truly go away. Something that made her feel insignificant. Her brother was Tony Stark, Ironman. Her brother-in-law was Captain America. Her fiance was the Human Torch. Even her sister was something special, head-hunted by S.H.I.E.L.D. to join their programme almost aggressively. What, then, had gone wrong with Liv? Why wasn't she as important as her sister, her brother? How had she failed to have any kind of significance, when everyone she loved was so very important, so very special? And once it occurred to Johnny how insignificant she was, would he stay with her out of some misplaced sense of obligation, or would he move on, to someone as special as he was, someone who deserved him?
She sighed softly, unable to put this into words, settling her head once again down on Johnny's shoulder. "I love you so much," she whispered. "I just wish I was something more than me, sometimes."
Unaware Liv was struggling with her own fears, Johnny was struggling with insecurities of his own, which weren't very different from Liv's. With Ironman for a brother and Captain America for a brother in law, how could Johnny possibly hope to live up to her expectations? He worried he was bound to disappoint her, bound to pale in comparison. It didn't matter if he was a hero in his own right. He was nothing compared to them. He worried it was only a matter of time before she realized he wasn't good enough.
Not for Ironman's sister, not for Captain America's sister in law. He'd lost girlfriends before once they got tired of him, once they decided they wanted someone more stable, someone who wouldn't fly out the window at the drop of a hat. Right from the start, he'd thought Liv was different. She seemed to understand him like no one ever had before, but that was before she found out she was Tony Stark's sister. She loved him now, but for how long? He shared none of these worries, choosing instead to ask her simply. "If you could be anything you wanted to be, what would you be?"
"Anything?" What a question to ask her. Liv's imagination very rarely stretched itself when it came to her own life. She'd spent so long simply being grateful for what she had that she had never wasted much time on wishes, not until she'd met Johnny. She still couldn't quite believe that wish had come true. "I don't know," she told him quite honestly. "I don't really think about things like that. I know what the answer is if someone asks me if I could have anything I wanted, what would it be? But being anything I wanted ..." She sighed softly, curling close in against him. "I just want to be the person you love. I want to deserve it."
He turned his head to look at her, arching a single brow in obvious surprise. "What makes you think you don't deserve it? If anything, it's me who doesn't deserve you." She hadn't really answered his question, not the way he'd expected her to, anyway. "Livvie," he started, brushing her hair back from her face, his fingers, even without gloves, warm against her skin. "You are the person I love. I've loved you ever since that day in the park. Remember?" He had never really told her when the true turning point had been, when he had started thinking about Lucy less and Liv more, but it had been that day in the park when she'd spent more time listening to him than anyone ever had before when he'd first opened his heart to her and the possibility of what they could be to each other.
There was something so sincere in the way he spoke to her, whenever he told her he loved her. Though she barely believed it most of the time, when faced with Johnny right there, opening his heart, Liv never doubted for a moment that he loved her. She hoped she gave him even a fraction of that feeling. Her lips curved in a soft smile as he reminded her of the disastrous day she had totally failed to pretend to be her own sister, too caught up in the man she'd already fallen for herself. "It's one of my favorite dreams," she told him quietly, brushing the tip of her nose to his. "You never did make me those hot dogs."
"I forgot all about them. All I wanted was for you to love me. It's all I've ever wanted, Liv. Just for someone to understand me and love me for who I am. No one ever did that before until I met you." It was a lot coming from Johnny all at once. He wasn't the type to open up much, to share what he was feeling. He'd spent too many years trying to hide his pain behind the jester's mask. Liv was the one person he didn't have to hide from. His expression changed, turning serious, needing her to believe him, to trust him. "I love you more than anything, Olivia. Please believe me."
"I do believe you, Johnny." She lifted her head, resting her forehead to his as she closed her eyes for a long moment, absorbing him into herself, his warmth, his fears, his confidence, his love, feeling his presence bolster the shuddering foundation of who she was. Soft brown eyes opened to meet his, honest and clear, never once offering him the lie his many past conquests had given him. What he saw in her eyes was the truth as she felt it, and as she said it now. "I love you, more than anything. More than anyone." She paused, knowing what she was about to say was God's honest truth but uncertain if he would believe her. "More than Lucy. You've never let me down, Johnny, and I don't believe you ever will. If all you want is for me to love you, then you have all you want. I loved you before you even knew I existed."
He felt that connection, too, that outpouring of love and trust he had wanted for so long. The admission that she loved him even more than she loved Lucy came as a shock. He knew how much she loved her sister, but he also knew Lucy had sometimes let her down, just as Sue had let him down. Did he love her more than he loved his sister? He couldn't say. His love for Liv was different than anything he'd ever felt before. It burned deep in his soul, and he knew if he ever lost her, it would destroy him. But there was one thing he didn't understand. "I don't understand, Liv. How could you love me before I met you?"
"Not before we met," she explained gently, easing the pad of her thumb tenderly over the high curve of his cheekbone as she smiled his smile for him. "Before you knew I existed, before Lucy told you she had a sister. We met in the Inn briefly ... Do you remember the night you happened to meet Lucy? You went for a walk in the park, and she used the toilets? I was the one who went into the park with you; Lucy was waiting to switch clothes in the loo. I fell for you that night, but I tried so hard to keep it a secret. I didn't want to get in the way."
"That was you?" he asked, arching both brows, wondering now how many times he'd been with Liv when he thought he'd been with Lucy. Had he been with Liv or Lucy when he'd gone to flame and flown off leaving her behind in the snow? Had he been with Liv or Lucy the first time he'd kissed her, when he tried to tell her he was falling for her? He was sure it had been Lucy he'd slept with first, before he'd realized she didn't love him. "You didn't want to get in the way," he repeated, wishing she had gotten in the way a lot sooner than she had.
She winced at the look on his face, guilt perfusing her expression until she couldn't meet his gaze any longer. For Lucy, that month was something she had shrugged off easily; for Liv, the guilt and pain of weeks of pretending were still there. "Nothing ever happened with me," she told him, moving to sit up, curling her knees up to her chest. "I ... I was supposed to play along and be Lucy, but I couldn't. I only pretended to be her twice; that night, and the day I told you what was going on. I wish I'd never agreed to that horrible trick."
"I thought I was falling in love with Lucy, but..." He trailed off. It was all in the past now anyway. Lucy had Steve now, and he had fallen in love with Olivia. None of it really mattered anymore, and yet, in a way, it did. "Lucy never loved me." He still wasn't quite sure what Steve had that he didn't, other than being the greatest hero that had ever lived, but he wasn't sure that mattered either. He wasn't in love with Lucy, and maybe he never had been. It was her sister he loved. He watched as she pulled away from him, knowing she'd get cold before long if he didn't wrap her up in his heat. He listened as she confessed her part in Lucy's plan, a plan he'd thought was cruel, meant to teach him a lesson he didn't really need to learn. "Why'd you fall for me?" he asked, cutting to the heart of the matter, needing to know the answer to this one simple question.
How could she explain that? It was such a simple question, demanding a simple answer that she did not have. But it broke through her self-recriminations, lifting her head to look over her shoulder at him, trying to ignore the chill of the air as she endeavored to give him her answer in a way he might understand.
"I think, maybe at first, it was because you seemed so much like me," she confessed quietly. "You tried so hard to come across as confident and sure of yourself, but every now and then I could see someone else looking out through your eyes. Someone shy and nervous, someone waiting for everything to go wrong, just like I always do. But it wasn't just that. You have such a big heart, Johnny, you care so much. Even when you were with Lucy, you made a place for me. You worried about leaving me out. No one's ever done that for me; Lucy certainly never thought to keep me from isolation. I fell in love with you because you made space for me; you didn't forget that I was there, or make a point of ignoring me or making me feel unwanted. I couldn't tell you exactly when I fell in love with you, Johnny. Just that ... every time I frighten myself now with the thought that you might leave, a little piece of my heart breaks. It's almost as though I can't breathe without you."
Whatever recollected pain Johnny was feeling seemed to evaporate in the face of Liv's explanation. He'd thought they were over this, that they'd put it behind them, but maybe there were some things that still needed saying. Maybe there was still a little healing left to do. "Liv, I'm not gonna leave you," he told her quietly, unable to hide the emotion from his voice. "Look, I... I'm not gonna lie to you. What Lucy did hurt. I thought she cared about me, but she used me. I don't know. Maybe I deserved it. It doesn't really matter now. What I do know is that I'm happy with you, and I... I can't imagine my life without you anymore. Whatever happened before doesn't matter. I never met anyone like you, Liv. No one ever took the time to listen to me the way you do. Not even Sue. I know I'm not perfect. I'll never be Steve Rogers, but I love you more than you can ever imagine, and..." He trailed off as his voice broke, not wanting her to know that he was close to tears.
"Stop it, you stop that right now," she burst out suddenly, twisting about from her curl to crawl over him, straddling his lap, filling his perception with herself as her hands crept to his jaw, soft brown eyes holding the blue of his gaze vehemently. "I don't want you to be Steve Rogers, I don't want you to be anybody but yourself! Johnny, Steve scares me. Why do you keep thinking I want him when I love you, I need you? He couldn't give me even the tiniest fraction of what you give me everyday. Please, sweetheart. It's your turn to believe me. Don't compare yourself to anyone else, even your hero. Because he doesn't hold a candle to you."
Johnny's blue eyes widened as she scolded him, crawling onto his lap and meeting his gaze, her eyes ablaze with passion. He felt the tears coming that would never come before, that he'd tried to hold inside for so long. No one had ever believed in him the way she did, not even his sister, and after a while, he'd even stopped believing in himself. "Then why... why do you keep thinking you don't deserve me, Liv? Don't you see you're doing the same thing?" he asked, desperate to make her understand how much she meant to him. "Don't you understand? I don't want anyone but you, and I want you just the way you are."
"Because you're the only one who's ever seen me and stayed," she confessed, and finally the tears she'd been holding back for his sake spilled free, wetting her cheeks as she sniffed harshly. "And I do understand, I do believe you. It's ... it's just hard. I'm the most insignificant person I know, Johnny, and it just got worse when Lucy told me about our parents. Whatever I feel about that, it won't ever change the way I feel about you. I promise, I'll never mention it again, I'll never even think about it again. I didn't mean to hurt you ..." Her voice trailed off into a squeaky little sob, one hand dropping from his shoulder to cover her mouth and nose, trying to hide the upset from him even when she was right in front of him, trying to protect him from her own confusion and pain in her own clumsy way.
"Livvie, please... Don't do this," he pleaded, tears reflected in his own eyes, partly from his own inner pain and feelings of insecurity, and partly his love and adoration for her, guilt that he'd made her cry. He sat up, arms moving to wrap her in his unnaturally warm embrace, longing to comfort her and take all her pain away. "I don't care if you're Tony Stark's sister," he told her as he held her close, warming her through with his own body heat. "You don't have to have superpowers to be important, Liv. You're important to me. You're more important to me than anyone or anything. How can I make you understand that?"
"I'm trying to," she whimpered softly, cuddling into his embrace, eager for the comfort he offered her where she might have run away from anyone else. "I really am trying. I love you so much." And despite the tears, despite the upset that she had caused with her badly timed confession, she raised her head, pressing her lips to his, telling him the only way she truly knew how without confusion tripping them up.
He wasn't sure what it was about them that they kept stumbling over the issue of not being good enough for each other, of worrying they'd lose each other when they'd both made it more than perfectly clear that they loved each other. Were they both so messed up that they couldn't believe in themselves, and if they couldn't believe in themselves, how could they believe in each other. Didn't she understand how much it hurt to know she thought herself unworthy of him? He returned her kiss, tasting her tears, on the verge of his own, his chest tight with the feeling of trying to hold back for so long. How much should he tell her? How much did she want to know? Or should he just leave well enough alone, like he always had?
He wanted to say something, to tell her they shouldn't talk about it anymore, to agree that they'd never doubt each other again, never doubt each other's love, but he found himself unable to speak, unable to say anything for fear she'd find him out, sense his own pain.
Very slowly, her lips broke from his, her tears stilled as she drew back just far enough to look into his eyes, wiping the salt water from his cheeks before it could evaporate against his skin. Something had changed in her gaze, some new determination making itself known as she drew in a soft breath, licking her lips nervously. "New leaf," she said very softly, her voice almost timid but for the strange sense of purpose that held her tone. "I love you. And I know you love me. So no more second-guessing, I promise. No more looking down on myself. I know it hurts you, and that's the last thing I ever want to do. So I'll stop." Just like that. The decision had been made, and one thing Liv had proved to Johnny over the past year was that once she had made a decision, she kept to it, no matter how difficult it might seem.
Johnny drew a slow breath, really not wanting her to see him like this, wanting to be strong for her, to be what she needed, to give her what she needed from him. He bowed his head a moment as he tried to regain his composure, sniffling with her, realizing they were almost too much alike. "I'm sorry about your parents, Liv. I don't know if it's better to know or not to know. Sometimes I wish..." He broke off again, unsure if he wanted to continue or not. This wasn't about him, after all. It was about her. Why did it seem that everything was connected somehow, or was it just the fact that their lives were so tangled together, it was hard to keep them separate?
He'd heard her promise; he'd heard every word she'd said. He didn't want her to change, not for him. He just wanted her to be herself, to be the Olivia he'd fallen in love with, insecurities and all. He just wanted her to love him and know that he loved her.
As he struggled with his own distress, his own upset, Liv suddenly calmed, aware that she had done even more damage than she had thought with her stupidly thoughtless outburst. They couldn't both be messed up at the same time, that would just make things worse. So she pushed everything she was feeling to one side, everything but the love she had professed so often in the past hour. Her hands moved softly against his cheek and neck, lips touching a gentle kiss to his temple. "Tell me," she whispered tenderly to him. "Baby, you can tell me anything. I'm not going anywhere."
As if her story wasn't bad enough - a mother who had died birthing her and her sister, and a father who had died before he could claim them. The twins had grown up never knowing their parents, never knowing the truth of their birth. Johnny wondered which was harder, knowing or not knowing. His own past was full of shame, but it was a shame that wasn't his own. He shook his head, overcome with the pain of the past. He wasn't sure why the story of her past had triggered his. It was the one secret he'd never told anyone, the only one knowing the truth of it his own sister.
That shake of his head hurt with its implication that he couldn't trust her with something that was buried so deep, but she did her best to keep that jab of rejection hidden. Leaning in closer, she wrapped her arms around him, drawing his head to her shoulder as her fingers stroked with soothing comfort against the nape of his neck. "It's okay," she promised him softly. "You don't have to. Just know I'm here if you need someone to listen."
It wasn't that he didn't trust her, but that the pain went so deep, he wasn't sure he could bear to speak of it again after all those years. He let her draw him in, comforting him the same way he'd tried to comfort her, letting the tears come after all those years. He remembered his sister trying to comfort him when he was a boy, and he'd chosen to deal with it all by rebelling. It was somehow easier that way, to hide behind the mask and not let the world know what he was really feeling. Let them think what they wanted of him and his family. It didn't matter. He wondered what Liv would think if she knew the truth. If anyone would understand, it thought it might be Liv.
"Sometimes..." he started brokenly, his voice muffled against her shoulder. "Sometimes I wish I never knew my parents."
Part of her wanted to shake her head, to deny him the right to feel that way. But that would be a selfish thing to do, urged on by the lack of knowledge that had made her what she was, so insecure and afraid all the time. She had no right to deny him this wish. She couldn't deny him anything, even if she didn't understand. He'd never told her about his own parents, and what little she knew about Sue had been gleaned from Reed, of all people, on the two visits they had made together to New York. "Shhh," she murmured softly to him once again, her fingers still stroking through his hair, slow and gentle, trying to offer him the comfort he seemed to need. "There's nothing wrong with feeling that way, Johnny. Nothing at all."
"I can't remember my mother," he said, his face still buried against her shoulder, tears evaporating on his cheeks almost as quickly as they fell from his eyes. "I've tried. It's all fuzzy... like a dream." He paused a moment, closing his eyes to try and call up her face. Sue had saved some photos, but he hadn't looked at them in years, couldn't bear to look at them. Happier times that he could hardly remember. "I just remember the last time I saw her, she kissed me goodnight and told me to be good, and then she was gone." He drew a shaky breath, pulling away from her so he could wipe a hand across his face.
Liv felt a stab of guilt touch her heart as he spoke, as she looked into his face and saw how shaken he was at even the prospect of sharing this with her. She had spent her lifetime believing herself hard done by never to have known her parents, yet ... how much worse, she now realized, to know them and lose them? Her fingertips drew tenderly against his cheek once again, her expression gently trouble for him as she gave him that unique silence to fill, the silence that wrapped him up and told him that nothing he said would go any further. That she was here, and he could trust her with anything.
Now that he had started the story, he couldn't stop. He needed to finish it, then maybe he could forget it and put it to rest for good. "They were going to dinner... her and my dad... and there was an accident." He shrugged his shoulders as if the rest of the story was obvious without going into the details. "My Dad was a doctor. He tried to save her, but he couldn't. I guess he blamed himself for her death. He became distant, started drinking, gambling." He shrugged again, turning his head to look down at his hands, not wanting her to see his face or the anguish he'd tried to keep buried for nearly twenty years.
But Liv didn't let him look away, just as he'd never let her hide her own pain from him. She knew that sometimes it helped to know that someone else had seen your anguish and hadn't recoiled or walked away. Guiding his face upward with gentle hands, she met his gaze without a flinch, soft, sympathetic eyes absorbing what she saw and heard as she caressed his cheek, still silent in the face of his narrative.
Forced to meet her gaze, he was unable to hide the pain and anguish from his face, blue eyes swimming with tears that didn't get much chance once they spilled over onto his cheeks. The hard part was yet to come, and he wasn't quite sure how he was going to tell her. He supposed he was just going to have to say it. "He wasn't the same after Mom died. It was like... like he died with her." He shrugged again, afraid to tell her the rest, the hesitation obvious.
"I didn't know what was going on. I just knew he wasn't the same. Sue told me later. He'd started drinking, gambling. He owed people money. Bad people. Loan sharks. One of them tried to collect, and my Dad shot him. It didn't seem to matter whether the guy was a crook or not. Murder is murder." Johnny averted his gaze again, even if Liv wouldn't let him turn his head away. "He went to prison and... I never saw him again."
Whatever she had been expecting him to tell her, it hadn't been that. The shock of hearing it from his lips was palpable, leaving her speechless for a long time as he looked away. She had known there was some darkness in his childhood, some reason he hadn't told her anything before, but she never could have imagined it was so terrible. "Oh, sweetheart ..." She breathed out, long and slow, leaning close to rest her forehead against his, her thumbs gently stroking back and forth against his cheeks. "I'm so sorry."
His story, as simple as it was, explained a lot about Johnny - about his refusal to talk about his parents, especially his father, about the shame he felt at the blot on the family name; about his reluctance to kill, even when it seemed justified. About how he thought it would have been easier never to have known his parents, envious of those who had normal families, normal lives; of how he'd devoted his life to protecting people like that, to save other kids from losing their parents the way he'd lost his. And now that he'd told her, he felt empty, as if the telling of it had emptied him of feeling, taking away the pain and the shame and the grief and leaving him feeling lonely.
He was unable to meet her gaze now that she knew, ashamed of his father's crime, of his father's weakness, of his father's betrayal, anger replacing the grief if only momentarily. "We needed him. We needed our father, and he failed us."
Liv touched a gentle kiss to his lips, her hands never stilling their caresses even as her grasp shifted to his neck, back into his hair. "You are not him," she told him, soft but firm. "Circumstances changed him, he made bad choices, and yes, some of that went into making you who you are. But you are so much more than your past, Johnny. As soon as Fate put you in the right position, you stepped up and you took responsibility not just for yourself, but for thousands, millions of people whom you'd never met. You've put yourself in the firing line for all those strangers so many times. Sweetheart, you have every right to be angry. But don't be ashamed of feeling some kind of pity or compassion for him, too. It's not in you to hold onto anger and refuse to forgive, though it could take years." She kissed him again, her own hurts and fears forgotten in the face of his. "I love you just the way you are, regardless of any shame of anger you feel toward your father. Because you're wonderful, just the way you are."
Johnny frowned, the tears gone for now, but the pain ever present. "I don't know if I can ever forgive him, Liv," he admitted sadly, even as she kissed him and tried to chase his hurts away. "I don't know how I feel about him anymore. I've hated him for so long. Felt ashamed of him. Do you know what it feels like to worry that everyone you meet is going to find out your father was in prison?" He shook his head again, as if to answer his own question. "I'm not my father, Liv. I'm never going to be like my father."
"I know." She tried a tiny smile, ducking her head to meet his eyes as he all but repeated what she had told him only moments before. "And you will be a wonderful father yourself, when we get there." She drew him close once again, wrapping her arms around her naturally warm sweetheart in am embrace that promised fidelity and so much more. "I wish I could help you let go."
"I'm sorry," he told her, unsure how the tables had gotten turned, both of them baring their souls it seemed. Though ashamed of his father's crime, it almost felt like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders in the telling of the tale. She had learned his deepest secret and it hadn't scared her away. "You think we'll have a family of our own someday?" he asked, as she drew him close. It seemed everyone around them were getting married and having children but them. It wasn't that he was in a hurry exactly, so much as that he was worried they'd never get their chance.
"Don't be sorry." She pressed a kiss to his neck lovingly, curled as close into him as she could get. She didn't question how things had come full circle, from her confessing something to him making a confession of his own. She was just thankful that they had each other to share these things with, however long it took. Drawing back once again, she smiled at him, nose to nose. "Yes, I do," she said, with a confidence she so rarely showed anyone but him. "I want to have a family with you, Johnny, however it happens. And it will happen."
His arms circled around her as his forehead came to rest against hers, and for the first time in a long time, he felt strangely at peace. "I want that, too, Liv. When we're ready. When you're ready." He brushed his nose against hers affectionately. "Let's promise never to doubt each other again. I love you, Liv. I'm always going to love you, no matter what. I just need you to believe me."
She held his gaze for a long moment, brown locked with blue sharing the faith in him that he needed so much. She had never doubted Johnny; it was easy to make this promise. But she would also keep her own promise, made before his confession, that she would never hurt him with her own insecurities again. "I promise," she whispered fondly from behind a tentative smile, daring to make an edge toward levity. "How did we get to this from your sparkly rear end?"
Johnny smiled, not only at her promise but at the levity in her voice. Whatever crisis had just been averted had only served to bring them closer together, forgotten now amidst smiles and happy tears. "I don't know, but we can backtrack if you want. Should we name that constellation after my *ss?" he asked, with a good-natured grin, blue eyes sparkling like the stars in the sky above them.
She giggled softly, pushing the upset aside as she hugged her arms around him affectionately. "I don't know," his sweet-natured fiancee mused thoughtfully, brushing the tip of her nose to his once again. "I might have to do a little compare and contrast before I can say for certain that it's your arse up there, twinkling in the sky."
"Do you need to take a better look to make sure?" he asked, with a playful smirk, hugging her close against him, his heat radiating into her to keep her warm, even as a few random snowflakes drifted between them. He glanced up at the sky, clouds moving in, threatening to snow and block the stars from view. Snow wasn't a huge problem, unless there was a lot of it, but he wasn't overly fond of rain. He smiled as a few flakes drifted onto her hair and lashes. "You ever catch snowflakes on your tongue?" he asked, a cloud of warm breath on the cold night air.
The look she presented him with at that question told him the answer - she'd never even considered it. Liv's features twisted into a comical little grimace of confusion. "Why on earth would I do that?" she asked through another smile, ignoring the chill in her bare legs in favor of enjoying the heat of the man wrapped around her.
The look on his face was priceless, shocked for a moment that the thought of catching snowflakes on her tongue had never occurred to her in all her years. Had her life been that dismal that the thought had never even occurred to her? The expression faded quickly, replaced with an almost amused smile at the thought of teaching her this very simple and childlike pleasure. "Because you can," he replied, quite seriously, turning her around and wrapping his arms around her waist to pull her up against his chest. "No time like the present," he said, his voice close to her ear.
She giggled at his expression, tweaking the end of his nose between thumb and forefinger before he began to readjust her. More than a little bemused, she let him turn her about, setting her backside on the ground between his thighs as he drew her back against his chest. Her head turned toward the sound of his voice by her ear, her smile ever so slightly incredulous. "Are you sure?"
He laughed again, the dark mood quickly and easily forgotten. "Liv, they're snowflakes. It's just frozen water. They can't hurt you." Him, that was another matter, but so long as he didn't need to burst into flames anytime soon, there was little need to worry. He'd never build a snowman or take part in a snowball fight, unless it was enchanted snow, but catching snowflakes on his tongue was still something he could partake in, even if they did melt as quickly as soon as they hit his tongue. He glanced skyward, watching as the snowflakes seemed to dance and swirl as they made their way to the ground from the heavens. "Watch," he said, sliding closer, tilting his head back and opening his mouth, to wait for some random snowflake to find him.
Liv didn't think she'd ever seen anything so simultaneously ridiculous and endearing in her life as the sight of Johnny Storm with his head tipped back, his mouth open, and his tongue out, waiting for a snowflake to land on the end of said tongue. She couldn't help giggling at the childlike enthusiasm for the simple little game that radiated from him. A little embarrassed, too aware of how silly she looked, she let her head fall back onto his shoulder as she, too, opened her mouth, gazing up as the stars were slowly replaced with cloud and dancing snowflakes fell to meet them.
As it happened, he didn't have to wait long, the swirl of snowflakes thickening, dotting his hair and lashes for a split second before almost immediately turning to water. A few errant flakes found his mouth, tasting like nothing but a brief sensation of cold before melting on his tongue. He remembered catching snowflakes as a boy, in more innocent times before everything had gone haywire.
Despite herself, Liv found that she was laughing as the little frosted flakes scattered over her face, somehow managing to completely miss her mouth even as they clung to her eyelashes and hair. "This is silly!" she giggled, giving up easily to turn her head and watch Johnny with adoring eyes.
He smiled back at her, blue eyes dancing with amusement, thinking she was the most beautiful creature he'd ever laid eyes on, even more so with snowflakes dotting her hair and lashes. "That's what makes it fun!" he told her, encouragingly, wondering if she'd ever had any fun in her life before she'd met him. She'd always seemed so serious, and he was normally anything but. "Close your eyes," he told her, his arms tightening around her waist. "Just let them find you."
It was a sad indictment of her life before Johnny that she was so easily delighted with such simple things. Despite Lucy's best efforts as they were growing up, Liv had always been the serious one, the one who did what had to be done above and beyond what was expected of her, possessed of a need to prove that she had some worth that was all her own. It had left her no time for her own life. Only after she'd met Johnny had she begun to live, and it was purely his influence that had given her that freedom. Still smiling, she did as she was told, closing her eyes as her head fell back against his shoulder once more, her mouth open in the hope of catching a snowflake on her tongue.
Johnny had learned long ago that life was too short, and though his sister had accused him of being reckless, it was not only recklessness that made him live life to the fullest. It was an exuberance for life that had come from the desire to live life to the fullest before it was too late. There was no safety switch when it came to Johnny Storm. He had a reputation for courting danger and pushing himself to his own limits. He used to believe he'd rather burn out than fade away, but ever since meeting Liv, he was learning that life was too precious to throw away. He leaned close to press a warm cheek against hers, as the snowflakes drifted around them, melting as soon as they touched him, a few finding their way to Liv's waiting tongue.
The sensation was something she'd never experienced before - thankfully, Rhy'Din's snow wasn't stuffed full of pollution to give the flakes a bad aftertaste - but feeling snowflakes melt on her tongue paled in comparison to the heat that wrapped about her in the form of a man she would do anything for, a man she loved more than anyone. Slowly, her mouth closed, her cheek teasing against his as her hands closed over his fingers where they lay at her stomach. And some little fragment of the wild child Johnny knew was in there somewhere spoke up. "Have you ever made love in the snow?"
The question took him by surprise, as evidenced by the look on his face, one brow arching upwards, his mouth dropping open for a moment as if he was trying to catch snowflakes again. "Um..." He frowned a little at the question, the answer to which seemed perfectly obvious to him. "No, it would just end in a puddle," he pointed out sadly, though he wasn't sure if she meant in the snow or just while it was snowing.
"But it's not laying," she pointed out in a gentle counter-argument, her eyes opening to meet his gaze with a startlingly suggestive cast to the usually shy softness. "There's no one else here ..." Her hand rose to tenderly run her fingertips down over his cheek as her lips quirked into an inviting smile. "You're not shy, are you, Johnny?"
He still looked thoughtful, worried almost, wondering what exactly she was suggesting. "Pfft," he blew out a breath. "Me? Shy? No! Of course not. I was just... thinking..." he mused, casting a look around, brows furrowed. She was right. There was no one there, but them, and it was highly unlikely anyone on the ground could see that from below.
The hesitation was there, though, enough to bleed into Liv and make her realize just what she was suggesting they do. Color flooded her cheeks, lighting her face up with that familiar blush as she cast her gaze downward, biting hard at her lower lip. "I, I ... well, that is ... it was just a thought, I didn't mean ... well, I did mean ... What I mean is ..." She gave up, closing her eyes and visibly wishing for the ground to swallow her up.
"I know what you meant," Johnny answered quietly, turning her face toward his so that he could just reach the corner of her mouth with his lips. He wasn't sure if she was serious or not about her suggestion, but he was proud of her for being brave enough to ask it of him. "I love you, Olivia," he whispered against her lips, smiling at the girlish blush that he knew was embarrassment.
He had always been able to make her blush in any number of ways, and it didn't seem to be dissipating with time. If anything, there were times when her blushes were more vibrant purely because she knew exactly what he was thinking. As he kissed her, she opened her eyes, the suggestion still there in the soft brown he knew so well as her lips parted, pressing a deeper kiss to his lips as she twisted in his arms. "I love you back," she murmured back to him, unable to resist adding, "you and your sparkly arse."
He snickered against her lips, amused by her remark and countering with something he'd been meaning to say for a long time. "You English... Always adding letters where they aren't needed," he teased, as he broke away from her to lay back against the blanket which was damp with melted snowflakes but wouldn't be for long. "Come here," he told her, letting go of his worries and fears. He'd lived most of his life on the edge. This was nothing in comparison to some of the stunts he'd pulled in the past.
She laughed at his tease, poking at his ribs as he laid himself back, turning herself around completely to lean over him with a wide smile. "You Americans ..." was her equally teasing counter, "always dropping letters for the hell of it." But the teasing had done the trick, easing her away from embarrassment and back into the tentative enjoyment of taking a chance. And this time she was sober.
"How about we drop something else instead?" he asked, waggling his brows up at her, not taking no for an answer. She wanted to make love in the snow, and who was he to deny her this little fantasy? He brushed her hair back from her face, smothering her lips with kisses and muffling any reply she might have made. The time for discussion was over. For this, no words were necessary.
He swallowed up her giggles in response to that silly tease, muffling a tender moan as she struggled to overcome the shyness that wanted to make itself known. There was nothing to be shy about, not here, not now. Never with Johnny. He knew her inside and out; he knew what she could and couldn't do. This, she could do, and he'd taught her to do it well, just the way he liked it. Her shiver had nothing to do with the chill in the air, the flush on her skin only a little influenced by the heat of him and her own fading embarrassment. She could do this, and would, fulfilling a fantasy she'd never had the courage to speak aloud.
So long as she stayed close, she's stay warm, no matter how chilly the air, no matter how heavy the snow. He'd make sure of that and if it got too cold, he'd take her back inside to get warm. There was no need to undress completely anyway. Here, alone with her, there was little need for the blue suit he usually wore beneath his clothes. He was ready and willing to fulfill her every desire, her every fantasy, all for the asking, letting her take the lead and guide the way, following her cues to tell him what she wanted.
It was another side to Liv that had never truly seen the light of day. Sure, under the influence of copious amounts of alcohol, she'd expressed a certain leaning toward a kind of exhibitionism, but there had been no alcohol tonight. This was his girl, proving as much to herself as to him that she could be more than a mouse. She was only a little hesitant as her hands moved over him, as her lips stole kisses that were slow and deep, quick and breathless, drawing him into her with a tender moan she made no attempt to stifle. The risk of being caught seemed to somehow make it more exhilarating, though she knew there was no real risk. Johnny would never let her fall into that sort of situation.
It was a side to Liv that Johnny knew had always been there, trying to make itself known. With his gentle encouragement and endless patience, she was finally starting to emerge from her shell, gaining in confidence, well on her way to reaching her full potential. He couldn't take credit for it all, but he could take credit for being there when she needed him and for helping her along the say, just as she'd helped him. He let her take the lead, his reactions wordlessly communicating his approval, her warmth only adding to his own as they joined together in a lover's embrace, the weather be damned. He encouraged gently with a touch or a kiss or a moan, letting her draw the moment out as long as she wished. He felt lost in her embrace, forgetting everything and everyone else but her. In that moment, it was like no one else existed, but them, making love on a rooftop with stars and snowflakes dancing around them.
What was it Vicki had once told him? The romance comes when you make the effort. Yet loving Johnny was no effort for Liv, even here and now, sharing something so intimate in so open a setting. She'd never loved anyone but him, never been loved by anyone but him, and she never wanted that to change. So slowly it was almost an exquisite kind of torture, he let her guide them both to the peak and back, until she was breathless, trembling, collapsed against his chest in a fit of giggles for the boldness she had finally managed to display. "God, I love you."
Johnny had never given himself enough credit where romance was concerned, always in too much of a hurry to experience one thing after another, to live life as quickly as he could, but he was learning. Liv was teaching him to slow down, that life didn't have to be rushed, that it should be enjoyed one day at a time, one moment at a time. Everything was different with Liv and because of Liv.
Johnny thought he'd known how to live before, but he had realized over the past year that living wasn't just about cheating death. Living was about sharing one's life with someone else, sharing one's heart and soul, and there was no one he'd ever wanted to do that with before until he'd met Liv. Johnny's arms wrapped around her as she collapsed against him and he exhaled a heavy, contented sigh, his fingers combing lovingly through her hair. His heart soared at her declaration of love, and he felt his throat constrict against the threat of happy tears. Words just couldn't express the depth of his feelings. "I love you, too, Livvie," he whispered, struggling to keep the tears from his voice.
"I can't believe I just did that," she admitted in a soft whisper, feeling the judder in his chest as he struggled with his emotions. Raising her head, she leaned over him, stroking her fingers against his cheek once again as his smile lit up her face. "Don't cry, love," she murmured tenderly, a tiny spark of mischief threatening to turn the tender moment into something lighter. "I forbid it."
"I'm-I'm not," he stammered, though he clearly was wavering, not because he was sad, but because every time she told him she loved him, he could hardly believe it. She had told him she loved him, even more than she loved her own sister, and Johnny was starting to understand what should have been obvious all along. Why his mother's death had destroyed his father, why Reed had replaced Johnny as the center of Sue's life, why Lucy's world suddenly revolved around Steve. He understood because he was feeling the same way. Olivia had become the center of his world; there simply was no one he loved more than her. "I'm just so happy. You make me happy."
"So when," she murmured, settling close against him, the lean of her arms on the ground cradling his head as she nipped playfully at the end of his nose, "are you going to marry me?" Soft brown eyes danced with gentle teasing that in no way detracted from the sheer force of adoring love that always spilled from her when they were alone together. "Although it'll be a little weird having initials that show me off as an Ordinance Survey map."
"Or an Operating System," he added with a smirk, showing he knew a little more about technology than he let on. "Right now, your initials stand for some kind of doctor, I think," he said, teasing her back as he reached up to brush the snowflakes from her hair, which almost immediately melted at his touch. "We should go back inside before you catch cold." Or before they got caught, whichever came first. There wasn't much risk of her getting cold so long as she stayed close. Johnny was like a living furnace, generating enough heat to keep them both toasty and warm. He frowned a little at the question, which opened a whole worm can of problems, complicated further by the fact that she was Tony Stark's sister.
She laughed softly, pretending not to see his frown, knowing the complications in mind almost better than he did. "Fine," she sighed exaggeratedly, pushing herself up and off him with a tiny shudder for the belatedly separation of their bodies. Shaking her hair free of snowflakes, she prodded him impishly in the stomach. "You know, it's your turn to confess some kind of fantasy again now," she pointed out through another brilliant blush, as though she had intended to share that particular hope all along.
"One that doesn't involve you in a French maid outfit, you mean?" he asked, smiling up at her with a teasing gleam in his eyes that he hoped would hide the weirdness he was feeling about her new-found brother and the reluctance for her to separate herself from him, even though he had been the one to suggest it. He shrugged up at her, a little embarrassed to share any of his own fantasies, which mostly involved silly things like whipped cream and licorice panties. There was something, but he dismissed it without much thought as being impossible.
Her smile was half playful, half shy as she put her clothing back to rights, unable to keep from giggling a little as they spoke. "Well, I suppose that one all depends on whether or not you'd expect me to do more than just put it on," she told him, rubbing a hand through her hair as she studied his face. There was something in his expression, something very familiar. "You can't be any more embarrassed about it than me, sparky."
"Part of the fun is taking it off," he remarked with a smile, moving to re-adjust his own clothing as he watched her against the backdrop of stars and snowflakes and the lights of the city. "It's just silly, that's all. You'll laugh." He moved to his feet, purposely turning to collect the blanket and thermos in preparation for heading indoors, not wanting her to see the shy expression on his face.
Pushing herself up onto her feet, his shy assumption that she would laugh at him genuinely shocked her. Her hands paused in smoothing down her skirt as she turned to watch him, a gentle frown settling between her brows. "I would never laugh at you, Johnny," she told him softly, drawing her hand down the line of his backbone through his shirt. "You've never laughed at me."
He wasn't quite convinced, though he was wavering on the idea of telling her. He hesitated a moment at her touch before tossing the blanket over one arm and turning to face her. "From Here to Eternity," he said, giving her a clue about his own fantasy. Had he and Steve been watching old movies together? There had been a scene in the movie that had been pretty racy for the time and had become the private fantasy of millions who'd seen it. Apparently, Johnny had been one of them.
Confusion showed on her face for a split second before comprehension dawned. Her expression cleared into a shy smile to match his, that familiar flush coloring her cheeks as she cottoned on to what it was he didn't want to say out loud. "Oh ..." She rose onto her toes, brushing a kiss to his cheek. "I won't forget."
He frowned a little as she brushed a kiss against his cheek, wondering if she understood the implications of his little fantasy. Water might not be his friend, but in a way, that only made his little fantasy that much more appealing, that much more dangerous, that much more unlikely.
Oh, she understood. But she wasn't going to make a fuss, or insist upon fulfilling that fantasy straightaway. They had time, and the opportunity would present itself before the year was out, she was certain of that. Brushing her smile against his lips, she trailed her hand down his arm and into his grasp. "We should take a holiday somewhere hot."
He chuckled at her suggestion, unable to resist commenting on it. "I am somewhere hot," he said against her lips, as her fingers found his. He kissed her again, slowly, languidly, losing himself in the moment, distracted from the chance to discuss a date for the wedding. He would have been happy to run away somewhere and get married, but he didn't want to cheat her of having a big white wedding surrounded by family and friends.
And as much as Liv wanted to be married to him as soon as possible, she was definitely a girly girl. The big white wedding was something she'd dreamed about since she was a child, though she'd never thought she would be in a position to make that dream a reality. All right, so she didn't have many friends; but she had Lucy, and Lucy had Steve, and she had Johnny, who had Sue and Reed and Ben, and Ben had Wanda, and then there were his friends from the Rhy'Din Avengers, and ... Hmm. She might even have a brother by that point. All these thoughts, of course, were chased away by her fiance's kiss which, as warm as he was, melted her all over again, from the inside out.
He lingered against her lips for a moment before slowly breaking away, his own thoughts meandering away from a wedding to thoughts of a more immediate nature. It would happen when it happened, and until then, things would go on as normal. She already had his heart; getting married merely made it official. "Shall we go inside, Miss Broderick? Or is it Miss Stark now?" he asked with a teasing grin, as he linked his fingers with hers and tugged her toward the door.
"Mrs Soon-To-Be-Storm, if you don't mind," was her primly teasing reply, glad he'd found something to smile about in her bombshell. Her fingers squeezed between his as she followed him along, skipping over the roof top toward the door, her heart much lighter now she had shared what had been on her mind. "You know, Lucy keeps threatening to send me edible underwear," she added mildly, deliberately throwing that out there just to see the reaction.
"Soon-To-Be-Storm," Johnny mused with a smirk. "That's a bit long. How about if we just drop it to Storm?" He smiled as he led her from the rooftop to the warmth and security, not to mention luxury, of the condo Liv's boss had been so generous in supplying, halting only once to cough in shock when he heard Liv's very unexpected remark. "Edible underwear?" he exclaimed, loud enough for his voice to echo through the stairwell.
"Johnny!" Right on cue, that blush rose up on her cheeks once again as she slapped him lightly in the stomach, looking around furtively as though anyone might have been lurking just to see and hear them come back inside. "What, you don't like the idea?" she added in a lower tone, braving her blush to meet his gaze boldly.
"I didn't say I didn't like it!" Johnny exclaimed in return, chuckling as she smacked him in the abs, hardly feeling it. "I'm not opposed to food sex or any kind of sex really." He waggled his brows at her, coupled with a silly grin, before continuing on their way down the stairs to the elevator that would take down to their third floor apartment.
"Food sex?" Ah, to be so sheltered and still in a relationship with Johnathan Lowell Spencer Storm. Liv blinked up at her fiance as he led her down the stairs, utterly bemused all over again. "Is that ... I don't think I want anything ... you know ... inserted. Please tell me you don't eat it afterward."
Johnny laughed at Liv's remark, his laughter catchy and once again echoing through the hallway, either unaware or uncaring of who heard him. "No, nothing like that. Want me to show you?" he asked with a mischievous smirk.
"Um ..." She bit her lip, her mouth curving into a smile that was more playful than he might have expected. But then, she did trust him. He'd saved her life; he was hardly going to endanger her with some kind of kinky out-there over the top sex play, was he? And unbidden, the image of licking him clean of chocolate popped into her mind, deepening that blush to a color Johnny would no doubt recognize. She swallowed, dropping her gaze to her feet. "Do I really have to answer that one out loud?"
Johnny leaned forward to press his thumb to the button for the third floor. "Yes!" he replied with a smirk on his face, as they waited for the elevator. "Love in an ele-va-tor, livin' it up when I'm goin' down!" he sung a line of Aerosmith, slightly off-key, back to his usual random self, a waggle of blond brows at his easily embarrassed fiancee.
"Oh god ..." she groaned in mischievous embarrassment, closing her eyes and leaning forward to press her forehead against the cool wall as her fiance sang with far too much enthusiasm for her tastes. And with her eyes closed, she managed to give him the answer he was teasing out of her anyway. "Yes," she muttered. "Yes, please. Happy now?"
"Very," Johnny replied with a smug grin, amused not only at Liv's embarrassment but at her agreement to try something new. He took a lean against the elevator wall, arms crossed against his chest, and gave her the once over with his eyes with a thoughtful, "Hmm," as if he was sizing her up or considering what exactly he wanted to do with her while the elevator counted down the floors. Five, four...
Straightening up, she met his gaze with her own blushing expression, on the verge of giggling once again at the thoughtful look on his face. "What?" she asked him suspiciously, hands coming to rest on her hips as she eyed him right back again. "Dare I ask what you have in mind now?"
He unfolded his arms and leaned forward to hit the button that forced the elevator to come to a stop before it reached their floor, or at least, before the doors opened. Thankfully, it was late and not many people were up and about and using the elevator at the moment. With a mischievous smile on his face, he turned back to her, pressing his hands against the smooth wall to each side of her to corral her against the wall, leaning in to brush too warm lips against her neck. "Why don't you try reading my mind?" he teased.
She blinked as he forced the elevator to stop, opening her mouth to offer up a protest that died into a soft squeak of surprise as she found herself pressed back against the cool wall, hemmed in on all sides by him and his heat. Her mouth worked silently for a moment as his lips brushed against her neck, hands pressing hard to the elevator wall behind her before rising seemingly of their own accord to curl at his sides. "I-I'm not a mind ..." She gasped; it appeared that their sojourn on the roof had only whetted her appetite, not sated it. "... mind-reader." Her lips brushed the rounded curve of his ear, eyes falling closed easily under the unexpected but very welcome onslaught of sensation.
Her reply, which sounded more than a little bit flustered, did very little to discourage his attention, his lips trailing too warm kisses down the side of her neck, pausing every other kiss to respond, breath warm against her skin. "I'm sure..." Kiss. "If you try..." Kiss. "You'll figure it out." Kiss.
Again her hands seemed to move on their own, dropping just far enough to slide up beneath his shirt, smoothing over the gentle burn of his skin as a tiny moan ghosted against his ear. "Johnny ..." That moan became a low groan of mild frustration in the moments before she dipped her own head, nipping softly at the beating pulse in his throat. "Here?" she whispered, surprised at herself for not actually entertaining the thought of saying no.
Johnny's reply came in the form of a muffled moan as Liv did very little to discourage him, just the exact opposite, in fact. His lips moved to find and capture hers, wordlessly answering her question, his heat noticeably rising. Unbeknownst to them both, someone had pushed the button on the elevator from another floor, hence the elevator was moving again. The doors swished open at their floor and closed again before the elevator moved on, coming to a stop again at the lobby. As the doors swished open the second time, there was an audible gasp, followed by a girlish giggle, and the sound of a man clearing his throat.
When Johnny was kissing her, the entire building could have been destroyed by an earthquake and Liv would not have noticed. In comparison with that, a little elevator falling and stopping was nothing. She was so focused on Johnny - the way he tasted, the way he felt, the way he made her feel - that it wasn't until she thought she heard someone clearing their throat that her eyes cracked open enough to find a pair of their neighbors from another floor eying them with varying degrees of amusement and disapproval. Her lips broke from Johnny's fast, fingers drumming on his chest to get his attention as she smiled, forcing herself not to look quite as embarrassed as she felt.
"Hmm?" he murmured as she broke away from his lips, her fingers tapping his chest to further distract him. Realizing suddenly that the elevator had not only come to a halt, but had gone past their floor and had stopped at the lobby, doors opening to a small group of amused onlookers, Johnny merely muttered an unembarrassed, "Oh." He smiled apologetically to the group and slipped aside, fingers tangling with Liv's as he made room for their neighbors. "Sorry, she's a tiger. When she wants it, she wants it now. There's just no stopping her."
As Johnny offered up an apology that earned her interested looks from both sides of the couple that crowded in with them, Liv closed her eyes and tried to disappear, cramming herself tightly in a corner of the elevator. He always managed to come out of these situations with her blushing brightly enough to illuminate London at New Year. "You're going to have to get very lucky if you want to pick up where you left off," she muttered to him, hiding her eyes behind her free hand.
"You love me and you know it." He leaned sideways to whisper near her ear, nodding at the small group that crowded into the elevator, fighting the temptation to show them the little match trick he could do with his fingers, instead humming "Love in an Elevator" in a very off-key voice, which earned him another snicker or two from their neighbors.
Liv's eyes snapped open as she recognized the tune, narrowing warningly as she looked up at her mischievous fiance, much to the amusement of their co-elevator-riders. "Darling?" she said clearly, offering up the kind of sweet smile that promised retribution at some point. "Do you really want a cold shower tonight?"
"Only if you want to take one with me," he countered, waggling his brows at her incorrigibly, hopelessly unable to rein himself in, even if he tried. He'd probably feel horrible later and apologize profusely, but at the moment he was having too much fun making her blush to care. The elevator stopped at their floor finally, probably much to Olivia's relief, and Johnny held out a hand to hold the doors open as they stepped out and onto their floor. "She loves me," he remarked back at their neighbors before tugging Liv out behind him.
Some wicked little part of her woke up with the teasing, and as she was tugged out after him, she showed off her engagement ring to the woman, somehow endeavoring to imply that it wasn't love so much as it was great sex and money. "He bought me an emerald." She squeaked as Johnny pulled her out of the elevator, thumping into his side with a giggle as the elevator continued on its journey.
He turned to face her as she thumped into him, his arms sliding around her waist, snickering in amusement at their little foray in the elevator. "So, what now? Shall I show you the proper use of whipped cream, or were you serious about wanting a shower?" He'd overheard her remark about the ring and hadn't missed the giggle and assumed he wasn't in as deep trouble as he could have been.
"Hmm ..." She looped her own arms around him, pushing up as high as she could to press the tip of her nose to his as her thoughtful expression feigned an actual need to consider these options as she swayed, walking backwards toward their door. "Does it have to be one or the other?"
"No," he replied with a grin as he reached for her hand, falling into step to follow her, drawn to her like metal to a magnet. "We can do both. One after the other," he suggested, which actually made perfect sense since food sex usually proved to be a pretty sticky business.
Giggling, Liv leaned back against the door, her expression almost come-hither before a slightly alarming thought occurred to her. "The whole food sex thing is actually sex, right?" she asked, vaguely worried. "It's not ... I mean, you're not just going to make me blush horrendously and fry an egg on me or something, are you?" And the only place that could possibly be a valid concern was Rhy'Din.
Johnny followed after her, pinning her against the door just as he had in the elevator in hopes of picking up where they'd left off. Her question took him by surprise a moment from the vapid expression on his face and then he broke into laughter. "No, I'm not going to fry any eggs on you, but thanks for the idea!" He leaned in to press his lips against the ticklish place just below her earlobe, whispering between kisses. "Why don't you open the door?"
Whatever she might have said in return was cut off by the sudden resumption of her breathless moans as he went back to teasing her exactly where he knew it would be the most distracting, the most titillating for her. "Uhh ...I mean ... um ..." Her hands slid beneath his shirt once again as she sagged back against the door, her head tilting to offer him even more skin to play with as she fought for a coherent sentence. "Because ... oh, god ... you have the keys ..."
Obviously in a good mood, Johnny couldn't help the continued amusement offered by Liv's unsuspecting remarks, as she played right into his hands. He grinned stupidly as he tilted his head back to look at her. "You're right," he teased, shoving one hand into a pocket to dig out his set of keys, which he then dangled in front of her. "I am a god. A sex god, and I demand a sacrifice!" He dove back in to nuzzle her neck, as he reached around her to fit the key into the lock, growling low.
That verbal tease gave her a moment to get her breath back, resting heavily against the door as she looked up at him from half-masted eyes, dark with the desire he was doing his level best to send sky-high. "A sacrifice, hmm?" She made a half-hearted attempt to grab for the key as she laughed, caught up against him once again as he went back to his devilish work. As the key fitted into the lock, turning with a gentle scrape of metal, she grinned against his neck, and very gently bit him, raising her head to growl back.
Taken completely off guard by the bite, he yipped in surprise, startled by his fiancee's uncharacteristic aggression, which only elevated his already rising temperature. He growled against her neck again, fumbling with the key before finally managing to get the door open, stumbling into their apartment and losing his balance to send them both tumbling to the floor in a tangled mess of arms and legs.
Well, he had teased her about as much as he could get away with, up to and including bringing that blush out by informing their neighbors that she was a tiger. Why not try that out for size? In heels to begin with, she didn't stand a chance of keeping her own balance as Johnny stumbled forward, already on the way down as he began to fall, her arms tightening around him as though she could somehow save them both from the inevitable thump of their landing. The growl erupted into peals of giggles at their less than dignified entrance, but that hardly stopped her from drawing him closer. "Going to put your money where your mouth is, sweetheart?"
He managed to catch himself with a hand as they went down so that when he did finally hit the floor, he didn't crush her with his weight. He kicked a foot out to shut the door as his body pressed against hers, radiating heat of feverish proportions. "What do you have in mind, kitten?" he asked, as she pulled him closer, blue eyes smoldering with desire, putty in her hands for the time being.
"I don't have anything in mind," she confessed through her smile, still a little breathless and not minding it at all. Out of sight of prying eyes and the risk of being caught, the hands that had previously only touched began to peel his shirt from him as she surged up to meet his lips with her own, hungry to taste him, that little growl at the back of her throat. Wild wasn't a word ever associated with Liv, and yet ... there was that wild side, forcing its way into the open to have her wicked way with the man she loved. "Stop thinking," she breathed against his lips, her own arms flailing to get her cardigan off, letting the soft wool bunch beneath her as her hands returned to touch and caress and just barely draw her nails over his skin, testing the waters, so to speak. "Feel."
Sensing her mood and the shared immediacy of her desire, he forgot all about his promise to show her firsthand what food sex was all about, well past the time for teasing, at least as far as he was concerned. Reaching a frenzied desire for gratification, he tugged the sweater from her arms, groaning at the feel of her nails against his skin which sent him into a shudder of gooseflesh, a rarity for a man who was rarely cold. He shut his brain off, only too happy to comply with her request, his hands moving over her to hurriedly divest her of her clothing as he devoured her lips with a hungry passion.
For possibly the first time, she was wearing more than he was, the clumsy pull and push of their hands together divesting each other of the constriction of clothing as they traded kisses that were more than a little wild. She thought she might have heard something rip, but frankly, Liv didn't care. She'd embraced the tiger this time, and judging by the growling, purring moans that tumbled from her lips, it was something Johnny might not be able to put back in the bottle again for a while. Knocking him over onto his back, she bit him again, still gentle but with an urgency that coaxed him to join her as she sat back, tossing aside the yellow satin that had cupped her breasts before dropping back to him once more.
Johnny had always expected that there was a wild side to Liv just waiting to be set free, and once he'd set her free, he had no intentions of stifling that part of her once she'd set it free. What man in his right mind would? He was only too happy to let her play with him, to use him however she wanted or needed to. He rolled with her, finding himself suddenly on his back, eyes dark with desire, body frantic with need, as his lover embraced the wildness that burned at the core of her being. His eyes moved over her, his body flaring to arousal, arching his back when her teeth nudged his flesh once again. "Who are you and what did you do with my girlfriend?" he asked, his hands reaching to tease the breasts that she'd bared before him.
He'd always known just how to touch her, how to guide her, always there to coax her through the bumps of learning how to embrace her sexuality. But this ... this was different. As his hands covered her, she cried aloud, his name spilling from her lips before she muffled herself, falling over him with wriggling limbs to shed what was left of her own clothing, nipping at his throat, the deep definition of his collarbone. She didn't want him to guide her, or sit back and let her take charge. "I think your fiance just took over," she murmured against his lips, rocking herself against his still clothed pelvis, deliberately teasing him in a way she knew he wouldn't be able to stand for long. It was a challenge, and one she found herself desperately hoping he would take.
He groaned as she rocked her hips against his, kindling his desire, heightening his need for her. His eyes rolled back as he let her play his body, tempting and enticing him to an almost feverish pitch. His fingers massaged and teased the soft curve of flesh beneath his hands, his breath growing ragged with every kiss, every grind of her body against his, until he thought he'd go mad with desire. Growling against her lips, he rolled her onto her back, exchanging places, the seduced becoming the seducer. His lips trailed down her body, exploring and tasting and teasing her with mouth and tongue as his fingers traced the soft hills and valleys of her body, parting her legs at last to taste the sweetness of her womanhood and give her a taste of her own medicine.
For the first time, there was no protest from her, no apology that he felt he had to go so far, no suggestion that he didn't have to do this. For the first time, she embraced it as much a part of his desire as of hers. Kitten was proving to be an apt name for her; she writhed and purred and growled, showing her claws in the gentle scrape of her nails over his back and shoulders as he rolled her beneath him, driven higher and higher with mewling desperation under the expert coaxing of his talent and skill and love.
His arousal heightened by her growls and moans, by the scrape of nails against the heat of his skin, he found himself having a hard time controlling his own passion, his pulse roaring in his ears, his temperature rising higher and higher until he almost felt like he might spontaneously combust. Only at that moment did he pull away with an agonized groan, afraid he might lose control and burst into flames. It had only happened once before, long ago before he'd learned how to control his abilities, and he'd been careful ever since to keep himself in check, but there was something about this side of Liv that was slowly but surely breaking past all his usual defenses. He drew a deep breath as he pulled back, just for a moment, just to catch his breath and regain control of the heat that burned deep inside. "Wait..." he hissed, pulling away from her as his hands worked to get his pants off.
She felt the heat rising from him, and even through that choking desperation of passion and need, she heard the warning in his hiss, understanding better than almost anyone that there was a line he needed her never to cross. As he pulled away, she let her hands fall from him, stretched above herself on the cool floor as she watched him, patient despite her impatience, loving through the force of lust.
It was only a moment or two before he was as bare to her as she was to him, but that moment gave him enough time to bring his temperature back into control so that he didn't lose complete control and burst into a spontaneous ball of flames. Only a moment before he was blanketing her with his body and without warning or ceremony, burying himself deeply inside her to staunch the primal heat that was burning between them. He captured her lips, ravaging her mouth, holding nothing back as he moved inside her, rocking his hips back and forth with ever increasing desire.
He swallowed her cry as he came to her, the wildness that had so nearly skirted the edge of real danger only a little muted as she moved with him, holding on tight as waves of unrestrained delight poured from him to her and back again. It had taken almost a year to reach this point, to find that place where she was as abandoned as he was, matching him in that swift, aching rise toward perfect completion in harmony as bodies writhed and tangled together, breath shared and hands clung, until she didn't know where she ended and he began.
Johnny crashed into Liv with sweet abandon, his passion meeting hers, completely lost in the rise and inevitable crest of their concurrent climax. Limbs tangled together, breaths mingled, even their hearts beating in unison as of of one body, one mind, one soul, crying out to the other as though they were lovers lost in a dark stormy sea, finding each other in that final crash and culmination that was part love, part lust. The fever ebbed slowly away, no less passionate than before, but soothed by the frenzied release of their passion. Johnny settled his head close to hers, his kisses more tender, more gentle now that the fire was ebbing away.
Gasping for breath, Liv trembled in the wake of that thunderous coupling, lacking the strength to do more than smile as he traded her kisses for kisses. Her fingers smoothed against his cheek, down over his shoulder, gently stroking against the light scratches she had left behind in her frenzy. "I'm sorry," she murmured, a little bit of mischief still left in her. "I completely distracted you. What was it you wanted to do when we got in?"
He drew a soft breath, feeling content as a cat and wishing they were already snuggled up in bed and not sprawled across the living room floor. "Mmm," he murmured lazily against her ear. If she tried, she could most likely stoke that fire inside him again with little to no effort, but for the moment he was feeling lazy and content utter satiated. "It can wait," he replied sleepily with half-lidded eyes. Whatever had gotten into his Liv and turned her into a minx, he didn't know, but he wasn't going to argue or complain about it.
She inched closer to him, nuzzling a tenderly sleepy smile to his as the last shuddering tremble ebbed from her limbs. Perhaps in the morning she would remember this and feel embarrassed, ashamed of herself for letting go so wildly, but for now, she felt only that deep content of knowing that she had been good for him. "Should I purr again?"
"Mmm, you remember earlier when you asked about my fantasy?" he asked, sliding his arms around her and pulling her close. The hell with the bed. They had everything they needed right here. He'd dragged the blanket inside from the roof, and he didn't have to toss a log in the hearth to get a fire going.
"Mmhmm ..." She rolled into his arms easily, the shyness that might have accompanied lying naked in front of their own front door another time strangely absent in the freeing aftermath of that exhilarating coupling. "I'd check my pockets for a handy beach, but I think we're out of luck. I can't reach my clothes." She grinned up at him, the softly sweet look returning to her face beneath the wild cat he'd inadvertently unleashed.
"I've changed my mind. I think you just fulfilled it." What it was about their latest coupling that had fulfilled some fantasy of his was left unspoken, unless she asked. "Or at least, part of it," he admitted quietly, lost in the afterglow of their love. He turned his head to press a warm loving kiss against her forehead. "I love you, Liv," he told her, his voice soft with tender and heartfelt emotion.
"Part of it?" Her query was soft, the gentler side of her returning finally as she sighed in blissful contentment, wrapped close around him. It hadn't really registered that they weren't in bed yet, the hardness of the floor not bothering her as her fingers stroked tender nonsensical patterns over his chest and side. She smiled as his lips pressed to her forehead, a warm glow filling her at his words. No matter how many times he told her, it never got old. "I love you back."
"Yeah, promise you won't laugh?" he asked, for the second time that evening, betraying the fear and insecurity he tried to hide so well behind the facade of brash overconfidence. His lips moved against her forehead as he spoke, holding her close, reluctant to let her go, even for the short time it would take to get to the bedroom.
She hugged him tighter, choosing not to point out the insecurity that hurt just a little bit in favor of brushing her own lips lovingly against his chest, reveling in the heat that soaked from him to her as they lay together. "Promise."
"Okay, well, umm... You know I like comic books," he started, prefacing his little admission with a brief explanation. It was no secret that Johnny liked reading comic books, as had been evidenced by his obsession with Captain America. "I, uh, have always sort of had a secret crush on Catwoman," he admitted, his face flushing with uncharacteristic embarrassment. There he'd said it. Now she could laugh.
"Really?" No, she didn't laugh, raising her head to look up at him with genuine curiosity. Kitten made sense now, though she was curious as to what it was that made Catwoman one of his fantasies. "What about her is so sexy?" she asked with interest, tucking her hair back behind her ear as she studied his expression with only the faintest hint of a thoughtful smile.
"Are you kidding?!" he exclaimed, giving her a look of shock and doubt that she didn't already know the answer to that question without having to ask. Unfortunately, "She's... hot," was the only explanation he could come up with at a moment's notice.
She bit her lip, unable to keep from giggling at little at his automatic assumption that she would know what made Catwoman so desirable. She had a feeling she might have a vague idea, given that it held a parallel in her own life, but she doubted she could ask him without his making a guess at what she had brewing in her mind. "Is it because she's dangerous?" she asked impishly, teasing a gentle nip against the point of his chin.
"Uh, no..." he started, furrowing his brows in deep thought as he tried to come up with an explanation beyond "hot" for why he and a gazillion other red-blooded and possibly other color-blooded males found Catwoman such a sexpot. "Yes..." he added, changing his mind. "I don't know. Partly maybe. It's just... I mean... It's partly the costume. All that clingy pleather." Or vinyl or whatever the hell her costume was made up of that snugly clung to her every curve. He was getting turned on again just thinking about it.
Liv's eyes lit up for a moment, her unspoken question answered without her even having to hint toward it. Of course the costume was a part of it; hell, Johnny looked good enough to eat in his own uniform, and one of her favorite pastimes was to peel him out of it, after all. It figured that he might find the thought of doing the same to the nebulous Catwoman erotic. "Hmmm ..." she mused teasingly, rising onto her elbows to lean over him, brushing a soft kiss to his lips. "Want me to find you a picture so you two can be alone?"
His gaze shifted to Liv's and he smiled against her softly kissable lips. "No, but if you growl or purr at me again, I won't be responsible for what happens next," he warned, feeling his temperature slowly starting to rise once again, as if his body had a mind of its own. The hell with the French Mail costume. All he wanted to see her in now was form-fitting black leather, cat ears, and high heeled boots. Oh, the mere thought of it was going to drive him mad.
Lucy had once told Liv that the woman all men secretly want is the one who is perfectly sedate by day, but turns into a sex kitten when she takes her glasses off by night. The glasses were certainly well and truly off by now, and Liv was well used to playing with fire. She laughed huskily at Johnny's warning, teasing a deeper kiss from his lips, trailing her mouth to his ear. And growled.
It was hopeless. He was well and truly beaten at his own game, putty in her hands. She could have done anything to him at that moment and he wouldn't have cared. "Mmm," he murmured against her lips again, that growl doing things to him no one had ever done before. "Hurt me, baby," he muttered between kisses, surrendering himself to her and trusting her completely.
The sweet girl he'd asked to marry him would have been horrified by even the prospect of hurting him, but the woman in his arms, the woman finally embracing something more than just the safe road, she laughed against his lips once again and obliged him, drawing a single fingernail down the line of his throat and along his chest. Her teeth bit tenderly at his lower lip with another soft growl before releasing him to purr in a husky tone, "Make me, sparky."
To Johnny's credit, he didn't whimper, but he did shudder as her fingernail teased his flesh, eliciting a moan from his lips and a rekindling of the fire that burned inside him. "Liv..." he breathed, eyes dark with desire and amazement at the sudden change in her. The sweet girl by day was somehow suddenly turning into a vixen by night, more desirable than even her sister Lucy who made no secret about her innermost desires.
She couldn't have told him what had changed. Perhaps it was a part of that new leaf she had turned over. She'd promised not to let her own insecurities and fears get in the way, and suddenly she was bolder for him, daring to push past the good girl he'd shown all the basic moves to in every way possible to try and find out what else they both liked. Urged on by his desire, she rose over him, lips and teeth and hands and nails drawing over his skin, down beneath the hang of his jaw, over the sculpted definition of his chest and stomach. There could be no doubt of where she was going, trailing her dark hair in her wake over his skin as she did her level best to drive him as wild as he drove her on a regular basis.
"Oh, God," he muttered, his eyes falling shut, almost completely at her mercy, as she teased and titilated, pushing him to the very brink of his own limits. In truth, he was in no danger; it was her who was teetering on the edge, so long as he didn't lose complete control. There was something strangely seductive about that danger, like walking a tightrope high above a gorge, one false move and one would fall to their death. This wasn't quite the same kind of danger as that, but it was thrilling and seductive just the same and Johnny wondered just how far Liv would go now that she'd let that part of her free. For now, it was enough just to explore this part of her, this part of themselves, safely with each other. If his moans were any indication of his feelings, she was off to a very good start.
Apparently she'd been talking details with her sister again, or perhaps it was Vicki who'd offered up a new trick to try. Last time she'd engaged in this, it had still been somewhat innocent. This time ... Linda Lovelace suddenly had nothing on Olivia Broderick. And she was still growling as she did it!
"Oh, my God!" Johnny exclaimed, breathlessly as she fulfilled one of many fantasies, his fingers tangled in her hair as he arched his back and writhed against the floor. "God, Livvie, please... don't stop." Don't ever stop, he thought to himself, on the verge of going over the edge yet again, the fire of passion bursting into flames.
If she'd had any doubt that she was doing it right, those were wiped clean away by his reaction. She'd never felt him react like this before, never heard him beg her not to stop her teasing before tonight. And some part of her, that unknown part that was wild and a little bit rough, set off fireworks as his fingers found the tangle of her hair, finding herself more than happy to let him grip as tightly as he needed to. Finally she was beginning to understand why people joked about bondage and spanking. A little bit of pain was apparently just what the doctor ordered.
There was, to be fair, a fine line between pain and pleasure and it took practice and experience to know just how to walk that line without crossing it. This was something they were going to have to explore together, learn together, now that they had discovered it, neither master over the other, equally enjoying the discovery as together they uncovered each other's secrets, known and unknown to each of them. It would be late into the night when they finally succumbed to exhaustion, wrapped in each other's embrace in a tangle of bedsheets and limbs, finally having somehow made it to their bed. It had taken hours to satisfy that burning need once it had been kindled, but they had the rest of their lives to discover each other's secrets. Tonight was only the beginning.
[size=9]((See what happens when you encourage the shy librarian type to open up? :grin: Johnny don't know what's hit him! As always, mega-thankibles to Johnny's player, loads of fun!))[/size]