Author Topic: Warming Up  (Read 261 times)

Johnny Storm

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Warming Up
« on: February 17, 2013, 06:07:52 PM »
Vicki's baby shower had been, simultaneously, one of the funniest and most excruciatingly embarrassing gatherings Liv had ever been to. After Johnny's spectacular exit, she should have left straight away, knowing what she knew about what state he was in, but somehow she just couldn't pull herself away for at least another hour. And she took her time getting home, too, arriving on their floor of the apartment building still giggling a little over a few of the juicier comments made in her direction as she'd left the raucous gathering of women at the Grove.

Johnny was and always had been spontaneous, never planning or thinking too far in advance, and though he'd had a rough idea about what he was going to do at Vicki's baby shower, he didn't know what was going to happen until it happened. That sort of thinking made life interesting, but at the same time, could be a little dangerous, at least when it came to flying around the city without his ever-present uniform, especially in inclement weather.

He'd been lucky enough to make it back to the building before the snow had turned to rain, but once he'd arrived, he knew he was in trouble. He couldn't just walk through the lobby engulfed in flames - that would be sure to set the fire alarm off. And it wouldn't do to make an entrance in his birthday suit either. The roof was his best alternative, but when he got there, he found someone had locked the door from the inside, and he had no way in. Soaked and uncharacteristically cold, he'd done his best to find a little shelter and huddle there until the rain stopped or Liv came looking for him, whichever came first.

She'd been expecting to find him outside their door, where a key had been left on the top lintel for him to find and let himself in, if he had need of it. A soft frown touched her brow as she realised he wasn't there, and there wasn't any sign of him inside the apartment either. Looking out the window at the downpour, she wondered where he was for a split second before realising there really was only one place he could be. "Oh God!" Snatching up her keys and his bathrobe, she dashed out of the apartment and into the elevator, bouncing impatiently on her toes as it climbed toward the top floor. Scrambling up one flight of stairs, she slammed into the door to find it locked, and hurriedly unlocked it, pulling the portal open. "Johnny?"

He didn't hear her voice at first, through the ever present din of the downpour, louder somehow from the roof as he waited for it to end. The rain seemed to be coming down in sheets, freezing cold, but not quite cold enough to turn to snow. Snow would have been better. He could have melted the snow, but this freezing downpour of rain seemed to seep into every pour of his body soaking him through, like a sodden campfire. There was no spark, no flame, and dwindling warmth. As c*cky as he was, water was his one true nemesis. "Ov-over here," he replied, struggling to keep his teeth from chattering as he sat curled up in a ball in a corner trying to keep warm, if not dry.

Peering through the rain, Liv let out a yelp when she finally saw him huddled there, knowing his lack of affinity for rain and cold combined. "Oh, sweetheart, I'm sorry!" Forgetting that she'd left her own coat in the apartment below, she scurried out under the freezing, driving rain, reaching down to try and pull him up onto his feet, wrapping the bathrobe around his shoulders. "Come on, the door's open now. Let's get you inside and warmed up." It was a strange echo of the first night they'd spent together; again, Liv was rescuing him from a rainstorm on the roof of their building, but she doubted she was going to be too shy to cuddle up with him as he warmed up this time. "Just a few steps."

He shivered beneath the bathrobe as she helped him to his feet and led him inside, inwardly cursing himself for his stupidity, not for the first or probably the last time in his life. "I'm s-sorry, Livvie," he said through chattering teeth. He knew he'd be right as rain, no pun intended, as soon as he was dry and warmed up, or at least, he hoped so. He hadn't been sick in years, and had no intentions of getting sick now.

"Don't be silly, I'm the one who should be sorry," she frowned, gently leading him down the stairs as her hand rubbed vigorously up and down his back, trying to speed up the warming process. "I shouldn't have stayed at the shower, I should have come straight home. I didn't think anyone would have locked the door up here. I'm so sorry, love."

"It's not-not your fault," he stammered through clenched teeth, huddling beneath the bathrobe and pulling it tightly around him. Unlike most people, he was completely unaccustomed to being cold. He hadn't felt really cold in years - except for these rare occasions when the rain caught him by surprise. "I sh-should hire a weatherman," he remarked, though all he really had to do was turn the television set on for that. With any luck, it wouldn't be long before he warmed up again, but he couldn't be sure. It had taken hours the last time. He wondered if he should talk to Reed about it, see if something could be done so it never happened again.

"Well, it's not your fault either," she told him firmly, glad that the elevator hadn't been called while she'd been up on the roof. While Johnny was shivering, she wasn't exactly in a much better state herself. The downpour truly was pouring down, and though she'd only been on the roof a few minutes, Liv's clothes and hair were dripping. However, she was used to it; more importantly, her body was used to dealing with being cold and the prospect of being warmed up again soon. Guiding him into the lift, she punched their floor button, and turned to wrap him up in her arms, still rubbing vigorously at him over the top of the bathrobe to try and create a little friction he could absorb and make use of.

He leaned into her embrace, glad of it and taking comfort and warmth from her for a change, which seemed both strange and ironic, like their roles had been completely reversed. "I'm s-sorry, L-Livvie," he apologized again. "I'm an idiot." He'd won the ten bucks from Humphrey, but hadn't stuck around long enough to collect, too busy showing off by whooshing out the nearest window without so much as a second thought about his lack of uniform. What clothes he was still wearing, which weren't much, had gone up in flames as soon as he'd turned his flame on, and he'd been too embarrassed to return to Maple Grove in his all together.

"Stop apologising, you silly man," she smiled, brushing her lips against his cheek as the elevator found the third floor once again. Slipping behind him, she laid her hands against his back, steering him out of the lift and along the hallway gently. "It happens to the best of us." The keys jangled in her fingers as she unlocked the door. "Go straight to the bathroom, run a hot bath," she told him firmly. "No arguments. Not all water is out to get you."

He was relieved she wasn't angry with him, but he knew she was wrong. She was just being nice; she was just being Liv. It didn't happen to the best of them - it happened to him. And it only happened to him because he didn't have the good sense to think before he acted. He said nothing of this, berating himself privately, while he shivered in the hallway, waiting for the door to open so he could retreat to the bathroom and thaw out in a hot bath. What he really needed to do was dry out, but before he could do that properly, he needed to raise his body temperature and a hot bath had worked once before. "Are you gonna make me hot cocoa?" he asked, a little chagrined.

"When you're warm, yes," she told him with a gentle chuckle. "Correction, when we're warm. You didn't think you were getting in the bath on your own, did you?" She flashed those soft brown eyes at him with a smile they'd both only recently discovered, the smile that told him no matter what else his little routine at the Grove had done, it had certainly got the attention of her, ahem, wilder side.

Johnny Storm

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Re: Warming Up
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2013, 06:08:32 PM »
His eyes widened and he wondered what she had in mind, wondering if he'd created a monster by encouraging her to get in touch with her wide side, but he wasn't complaining, not by a long shot. "I won't complain if you want to keep me company," he said as he reached for her hand, his own shockingly cold, at least for Johnny.

She drew his hand between her own, toeing out of her shoes to pad in soggy tights toward the bathroom with her chilly fiance in tow. "I didn't think you would," she chuckled softly, releasing him to bend down and set the bath to filling. "But no funny business until you're toasty warm again. How's that for incentive?"

"Yes, ma'am," he said, and would have saluted like his hero Steve, if it didn't mean losing hold of the bathrobe he had hugged tightly around him. "Did you see Miranda blush? I had ten bucks on her blushing." It wasn't a big bet, but ten bucks was ten bucks, and it was the principal of the thing. Cold as he was, his eyes followed her movement appreciatively.

"Ten ... Oh, that explains that, then." Liv laughed, straightening up to begin the business of divesting herself of her soggy clothes. She turned to face him with a soft smile. "Humphrey gave me a handful of coins and told me you'd earned them. I thought it was payment for that little striptease. Which," she added with a blush of her own, "you could have warned me about, you know."

"You would have told me not to do it, and..." He couldn't help but smirk a little, despite his predicament that had been caused by it all. "It was fun," he shrugged his bathrobed shoulders. "Besides, you're the one I go home with... er..." He frowned a little, since they hadn't, in fact, gone home together. "You're the one I come home to."

Despite his bedraggled appearance and the shivers that were still threatening, Liv paused in the middle of stripping herself, stepping close to curl her hands to his cheeks and draw him down into a gentle kiss. "I know for a fact that at least three of those women were green with envy when they worked that one out," she assured him, nipping tenderly at his lower lip. "Get in the bath and warm up, I'll be with you in a sec."

His shivering stilled a little as she drew him into that kiss, which did more to warm him than the bath. Uncharacteristically cold lips kissed her in return, brows lifting curiously, unable to help himself. "Which three?" he asked, able to deduce which three it was most likely not. He frowned as she pulled away from him, if only for a minute. "I don't deserve you."

She laughed, shaking her head. "I'm not telling you that, you'll just have to work it out for yourself." His frown brought a raised brow from her as she reached up to smooth the creases from between his brows. "Don't start," she warned him. "We promised each other, remember? You do deserve me, like I deserve you. And you're still not in the bath," she added with a warm smile, squeezing the cold water from her hair as she turned away to slip her underwear off, finally as naked as he was in the coiling steam.

"Yes, dear," he relented, his frown smoothing out at her soothing reassurance. As much as he didn't like water, the steam from the hot bath felt soothing and he was looking forward to immersing himself in the hot water. He let his eyes move over her admiringly as he stepped out of the robe and handed it to her before turning to climb into the tub and immerse himself in the water, taking a lazy lean back with a relieved sigh.

"Thank you, darling," she countered teasingly as he handed her the robe, dropping it - along with her own clothes - into the laundry basket. She paused, watching him immerse himself in the water with a relieved smile. He might seem indestructible most of the time, but she knew his worst weakness and how frightening he found it when he pushed that little bit too far. "Comfy, sparky?"

"I will be when you join me," he replied, closing his eyes and and letting the heat of the steam and the water seep into his pores and thaw out his bones. Though the water might not get his fire going, it would help raise his temperature so that once he dried off, he could recover on his own. "I shouldn't have gone out the window. That was stupid," he chided himself, though what was done was done.

"Only a little bit stupid," she offered, refusing to lie to him but also refusing to let him wallow too much in a mistake that was over and done with. She perched on the edge of the bath, undecided about getting in with him even after her teasing. He needed the heat more than she did, after all. Her fingertips smoothed over his shoulder and down his arm fondly. "Maybe we should ask Reed whether or not there's a way to make a key that won't melt when you burst into flame."

He frowned up at her, reaching for her hand as she touched his arm, wordlessly asking her to join him. Her mention of Reed brought no smile to his face and did little to solve his problem. So long as he wore his uniform, he didn't have to worry about turning up somewhere naked, but that was only part of the problem. "Where would I put it?" he asked. Even if such a thing were possible, his uniform conformed to his frame, and without any pockets, there was nowhere to keep it safe even if it didn't melt.

One solution did spring to mind, but Liv doubted he'd be particularly happy to put anything there, much less an irregularly edged metal key. The thought made her giggle for a moment, though, as she let him draw her down into the water - a shade too hot for her comfort, but she knew she would adjust in time. As the heat spread a warm flush over her skin, she settled against him, her back to his chest, twisting her head to touch a kiss to his lips. "I don't know," she said aloud. "It was just an idea."

Whether he was getting to know her well enough to read her mind or his own mind just naturally came to the same conclusion, he seemed to have guessed what she was thinking when she giggled. His lips had already thawed a little as his body slowly warmed up, and he slid his arms around her waist to hold her against his chest. "If you're thinking what I think you're thinking, you can forget it. That would be painful!" he said, brushing his lips against the side of her neck.

"That's your influence on me, you know," she laughed softly, smoothing her hands over his arms as he hugged her warmly. "A year ago, that would never have occurred to me." The brush of his lips against her neck were certainly warming, as he well knew, urging the very faintest suggestion of a purr from her throat as her hand rose to caress his cheek. "Warming up, love?"

"That's right. Blame me!" he laughed, relaxing further as his body temperature slowly rose back to what was at least humanly normal. It would take a while before it got to what was normal for him. The little purr in her throat had a different effect on him, one that was more obvious to the woman who was settled against him. "Getting there. You?" he asked, knowing she'd gotten herself nearly as soaked as him chasing after him.

Johnny Storm

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Re: Warming Up
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2013, 06:09:14 PM »
She giggled, cuddling back against him tenderly. "I was nearly warmer than you for a while there," she grinned, laying her head back against his shoulder to brush her lips against the underside of his jaw. "You were pretty bloody sexy this afternoon, you know. Hose and all." Their proximity in the hot water was somehow making her restless, her legs shifting between his in an unconsidered brush of skin to skin as she breathed him in.

He nestled his head against hers, brushing lips against her cheek that were growing warmer by the minute. "She paid me to do it, you know. I didn't do it for free," he admitted. "She..." He trailed off a moment, wondering how she might take this bit of information. "She wants me to do some modeling for her. Some ads for a spring line of clothing or something." He hadn't paid a lot of attention, but it did promise some extra money, and he was still hoping to give Liv not only the wedding she wanted, but the honeymoon, to boot. Money had never been a problem back home, but here, he was trying to be responsible. He wanted to make it on his own and not rely on the charity of their family or friends. "I used to do some endorsements back home. It's almost the same thing really." He said all this while his lips drifted against her bare shoulder, unsure how she'd feel about seeing his face splattered in magazine ads and billboards and on the sides of buses.

Liv smiled as his lips trailed against her skin, uncertain whether she should be pleased or concerned by the hesitant way he shared this little snippet of information with her. "Would you like me to sit down with her and work out the contract?" she asked him gently, assuming he was telling her because she had more experience in sorting these things out, thanks to her time first with Lelah and now with Jon. "If you want to do it, that is. I mean, you should only do because you want to, sweetheart, not because you think you should or out of some kind of misplaced sense of needing to be the breadwinner."

"It's not about being the breadwinner," he said. Not exactly anyway, though it might have been about wanting to earn enough money to afford them both a comfortable lifestyle. Johnny was accustomed to having money, but it wasn't really about that either.  It wasn't long ago that they were just scraping by and living in an apartment that had been provided courtesy of Race. They'd been happy, even if they had been struggling to make ends meet, but why struggle if they didn't have to? "I just  want to be able to buy you nice things and not worry about money. That's all. She said the ads would be tasteful, but if you don't want to see my face on a billboard, I understand."

"Johnny, why would I mind it?" Liv asked him softly, twisting a little to look into his eyes with her gentle expression warm for him. "I admit it, I do get a little jealous when I see other women ogling you and clamoring for your attention, but I trust you. I love you. And, um ... Well, you do like to show off. Who am I to get in the way of that?" It was a sweet sort of tease that flickered through her expression as she spoke, daring him to take her seriously.

He wasn't always good at reading her moods, and today was one of those days. He frowned a little, feeling suddenly defensive. "I don't like to show off!" he exclaimed, frowning when he realized that he kind of did. "Okay, maybe I do a little, but I'm not looking for anyone else! I don't want anyone else. I love you!" It was true - he was a bit of an attention whore, but it was all just harmless fun. If it hadn't been Vicki's baby shower, he probably would never have agreed to it, but hell, Vicki was a close friend and he just couldn't pass up the chance to show off a little.

"Oh, Johnny." She laughed quietly at his sudden defensiveness, twisting about in a tangle of limbs and hot water to settle herself against him, her hands cradling his face as she smiled fondly. "I know you love me," she assured him. "I was teasing you, silly bear. If you want to model for Miranda, then do it. I don't mind, truly." Her lips brushed his tenderly, fingers stroking against his slowly warming skin.

He would have argued further and pointed out the reasons he was considering accepting Miranda's rather generous offer, but she caught his lips before he could say anything more, derailing those thoughts and replacing them with thoughts of a purely physical nature, lips warming against hers, only partially due to the thaw of the hot bath.

Her smile deepened as she felt him responding to her kiss, letting it linger longer than she had intended as her fingers trailed down his throat, leaving her palms in a tender lean against his chest. "You were very sexy today," she murmured to him, figuring he already knew it but wanting to say it anyway. Her lips touched his once again. "For a while there, I wanted to throw everyone out and have my wicked way with you on that living room floor."

He lingered in her kiss as long as she allowed, smiling a little shyly at her compliment and shrugging one shoulder. "Oh, well, um..." He arched a brow as she kissed him again and continued. His sweet, shy Olivia was becoming bolder with each passing day. "You can have your wicked way with me now," he suggested helpfully, looking just a little bit hopeful.

"Sure you're up to it?" she teased playfully, her fingers already easing beneath the water to follow the definition of his abdomen, the grove of his hips she had recently learned was very aptly named the Adonis Belt. "Not still a bit chilly?" Her lips coaxed a smile from him with more kisses, confident tonight more than ever that he was hers.

"I think you're doing a good job of warming me up," he replied, sinking back against the tub with a contented sigh as her fingers traced the grove of his hips from abdomen on down, warming him in ways that had very little to do with his temperature. He reached for her hips to pull her close and settle her against him, whether she was ready or not, dying to be inside her, to feel himself buried in her warmth.

Not quite ready, still Liv never let herself disappoint Johnny, relying on the water they lingered in to ease that joining as she came to him, hiding her face from his by laying her cheek against his jaw as she felt herself wince just a little. But she wasn't stupid enough to expect it all to go smoothly. "Gently," she whispered against his ear, her hand clenched against the edge of the bath as she willed her body to relax from that natural tension in anticipation of pain that didn't quite come.

It wasn't easy holding himself back when his natural instinct was to buck his hips and thrust himself deeply inside her, but he didn't want to cause her pain, only pleasure. "Liv," he whispered, fingers curling against her hips as he went as slowly and as gently as was humanly possible. It wasn't even the sex he was after exactly, though there was the eventual and eagerly anticipated feeling of ecstasy. It was more about the coupling, the joining, the feeling of coming together as one, as close as two people could possibly be. "I love you," he whispered again in an exhaled breath, closing his eyes as his fingers moved over her body, tracing her softly feminine curves and committing them to memory.

Something crackled deep inside her as she felt him pull himself back from instinct to do as she'd asked, her heart melting once more for the man who moved with her in the lapping water. Curled close to him, she drew her head back, her forehead resting against his own as her own eyes closed, breathing him in, letting his presence, his tenderness, envelop her. No one had ever made her feel like this; she was certain no one ever would, and determined that no one would ever touch her the way Johnny did. "Love you back," was breathed lovingly against his lips, stifling a soft moan as she felt her body rise to the challenge, ready for more than gentle if he wanted it.

Johnny Storm

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Re: Warming Up
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2013, 06:11:31 PM »
"Don't ever leave me," he whispered against her lips, a hint of his own insecurities, his own fears even as their bodies joined together as one. He was eager to be married, like Lucy and Steve, like Vicki and Jon, to claim her as his once and for all and give himself to her completely, but he wouldn't push or force the issue, even as afraid to lose her as he was. She'd said yes; at least, that was something. He wasn't sure why he was always in a hurry to make things happen. They were both young and had plenty of time, but he also knew life was too short, and you had to live it while you still had a chance. Sensing her readiness, his hands slid round to take hold of her hips and guide himself deeper, slowly, gently, until they were completely joined, completely as one.

Her eyes snapped open as he whispered to her, almost shocked to hear her own fear in his voice. Gentle hands rose to cup his cheeks, tenderly coaxing him to look into her eyes as she gave him the answer that had yet to change. "Never," she promised him, tenderly sincere, pressing a deep kiss to his lips as he drew her ever closer, shuddering softly in delight. She was as eager as he to be married, to be his entirely, and yet there was still that nagging fear in the back of her mind.

Everyone who'd ever said they loved her had left her at one time or another, even Lucy. But Johnny ... she didn't think Johnny would ever hurt her like that, ever abandon her to her own thoughts and hurts. And though it might seem that she was spinning out the time between now and their wedding day, she was jealously guarding the one dream that had stuck with her throughout her childhood. Johnny wanted to give her a white wedding, and heedlessly unselfish as she was usually, she didn't want to talk him out of it. It didn't matter who came. But the sweet girl in Liv wanted the fairytale, especially since she had found her prince. Of course, unless you went right back to the beginning, no fairytale prince had ever done some of the things Johnny had done with her, but hey ... every fairytale has to grow up sometime, right?

He, too, was afraid of losing her, of her leaving him, like everyone else ever had, starting with his mother, even if they hadn't meant to. None of the girls he'd ever loved had been able to put up with him, had ever really understood him the way that Liv did. He wanted to give her everything, to make that fairytale romance come true, but, like her, there was a small piece of him that feared it wouldn't last. Something or someone would ruin it. Maybe she'd meet someone better or she'd realize he wasn't really what she wanted. Despite these fears, he trusted her, loved her, and hoped nothing and no one would come between them. He had decided to make a leap of faith and take a chance on love, opening his heart to Olivia like he never had to anyone else before. He wanted what Sue and Reed had, what Lucy and Steve had, what Vicki and Jon had, and he wanted it with Liv and no one else.

Strange then, that neither of them could see what everyone else did - that they had that elusive, magical connection, that it was blindingly obvious to anyone who saw them together that they were all but inseparable. Lucy had envied them, until she'd found her own superhero, but Liv had never believed her sister. And yet in Johnny's arms, whether he kissed her, touched her, or just held her, she thought she could almost see it for herself, her whole being focused upon him.

In time, perhaps they'd both see what everyone else saw. Perhaps they'd see how right they were together, how well they fit together, how they completed each other and belonged together. In time perhaps, they'd overcome their fears and find the strength and the trust in each other that they'd never had before. Stronger together than apart, as the old saying goes. In time, perhaps they'd have what everyone else had, what they wanted with all their hearts, if only they could get over their fears and realize what they wanted was right in front of them.

They were on the right path, walking in the right direction, to find that essential truth about themselves and about one another. But so long as they walked together, they'd find that happy ending, one way or another.

((Will these two ever get over their fears and take the final plunge? Stay tuned to find out! As always, massive thanks to Livvie's enormously awesome player! :grin:))