"I'm not trying to solve her problems," he told her with a frown. Not exactly anyway. It was more a matter of just trying to protect her. "I know I have to let go a little. It's just she's the only family I have left and..." He trailed off, leaving the rest unsaid. He was preaching to the choir, after all. If anyone knew what it was like to lose a loved one, it was Ailis. "Anyway, I'm sorry." A cold shower didn't sound particularly inviting, but if they needed him to help out around the house, he was more than willing. "You want me to do it? Hook up the boiler, I mean."
"If you want to, although it can wait." Again, she shrugged one shoulder, this time pushing herself out of her lean, one hand self-consciously smoothing down the edge of the towel about herself as though making sure it hadn't decided to gape open. She wasn't sure why she was feeling shy all of a sudden; after all, she could be fairly certain that her physical form didn't repulse him after their hello. She pointed to the hatch in the ceiling above them. "The tank and piping is up there. We were going to reinforce the beams before setting to work, though."
"We can start to work on that tomorrow then," he said, glancing at the ceiling for a moment before looking back at her. He wasn't sure why he was feeling suddenly awkward when they'd spent part of their afternoon in each other's arms. "I should probably take a shower," he said, gesturing past her to the bathroom, almost wishing he'd caught her before she'd gotten out, but that would be embarrassing if her father or brother found out. He had to get past her to get to the bathroom, and that was going to be a little bit awkward.
She nodded, edging sideways to be out of the way, feeling just as awkward as he was. There was no hiding the flush that traveled over her chilled skin as she brushed past him, or the way her eyes failed to lock to his, distracted by lips or neck until she pulled herself together. "Do you need your pack?" she asked him, drawing in a deep breath as she prepared to back away once again.
"Um, yeah, well..." He trailed off, feeling awkward again. This was silly. They had to get past this awkwardness somehow. He sighed in a bit of frustration, more at himself than anything else. "Ailis, I..." He looked from the bedroom back to her. "Maybe we should talk in private." She was in a towel, after all.
It took a moment for her to focus on what he'd said, distracted by the closeness in the confines of the hallway. Drawing her eyes back to his, she bit her lip, glancing down at herself. "You're probably right." She huffed softly with laughter, bare feet backing her up a couple of steps before she turned to push open the door to the room she, and apparently he, had claimed as theirs.
He hoped she didn't mind that he was sharing a room, but he wasn't really sure. It was one of the many things they needed to discuss and neither seemed very good at that sort of thing. He followed her into the room she'd claimed as her own, reaching around behind him to pull the Berretta out of the back of his pants. He wasn't sure why he'd taken it to dinner with him, more out of habit than need, but better safe than sorry. He'd have to look into getting a holster.
It felt complicated, whatever was going on here, and complicated was something Ailis did not do very well. Still, she thought she might feel a little more confident if she had more than a towel on, pulling the first things to hand out of her own pack. "I can't promise not to yell at you if you're being a stubborn bastard," she told him, more to distract herself as she turned her back, stepping into fresh panties with a creative wriggle to keep her less modest flesh out of sight.
He tried not to watch as she wriggled into clothes, feeling his body reacting to her getting dressed, as much as it did when she was doing the opposite. What the hell was the matter with him? Here she was barely dressed in just a towel and he wanted to talk? He set the Berretta on the bedside table where he had before. It seemed the best place for it. It wasn't like any monsters were going to attack him here, just the monsters that wandered around in his head. "I can't promise not to get pissed if you do," he replied. "I know it's going to take some work. But I'm willing to try." Hell, he was willing to do a lot more than that.
"We can make it work." Admittedly, she sounded a lot more confident than she looked in that moment, given the speed with which she went from dropping the towel to pulling a tank on over her head to cover up. Anyone would think she was scared of him seeing her nude, when it couldn't be further from the truth. Still, satisfied that she was at least decent enough to be comfortable, she turned back to look at him. "There's a lot I don't know about you, John," she admitted quietly. "I don't know how to read you yet. And I have a really quick temper."
"Really?" he asked, a small teasing smirk on his as she turned to face him, his eyes moving appreciatively over her again. "I hadn't noticed." It was hard to keep a lid on the desire that was stirring inside him again, his body thinking for him. "Maybe we should just have sex and get over the awkwardness," he suggested, only half kidding.
"Oh, hadn't you?" Despite the vague aggression in her tone, her eyes were lit with amusement as her hands came to rest on her hips in the face of that tease. His suggestion, whether it was serious or not, brought a gentle ripple of palpable desire flooding through her under his gaze. She'd had it mostly under control during dinner; now they were alone, it was getting difficult to ignore again. "Maybe we should," she mused, paying him back for his teasing smirk with a sweep of her own gaze, hot and wanting, from tip to toe and back again, lingering playfully on his crotch just long enough for him to realize what she was looking at. "Of course, by that reasoning, every time we feel awkward, we should just get naked."
"So long as it's not in front of your father," he agreed with a smirk. Hell with it. They could talk later. She was too desirable to ignore, and he wanted her too much. He made his move, though it seemed a shame to strip her of the clothing she'd just gone to the trouble to put on. His hands came to rest on her waist, a smile on his face. If this was the only way for them to ease the awkwardness between them, so be it. It was tough to take, but he thought he could manage it. He lifted a hand to tip her chin up to meet the crushing kiss from his lips.
The thought of sending the Chief running for the nearest exit by stripping brought a delightfully feminine giggle to her lips, offering up a smile for him to smother with the kiss he crushed to her mouth. She rose up on bare toes, a little more confident this time to touch him as her fingers trailed up over the line of his arms, answering the heat in him with her own, feeling the sense of shyness, of awkwardness, burn away in a burst of breathless desire. Her lips parted from his to release two words that were pretty important at this point, needing to get them out there before she was completely steamrollered with want. "Door," she breathed against his lips, drawing her fingers through his hair, leaving him even more disheveled than she had the last time. "Lock."
He seared a kiss against her lips, his passion equaling hers. He was hoping to be a little quieter this time, but he was no more willing to chance an interruption than she was. The others in the house were going to have to learn to knock first. He kissed her again, as if for good measure, before moving to the door to lock it for the second time that day. "Locked," he confirmed, once he'd turned the lock, wasting no time as he turned back to her and lifted his arms to tug his shirt over his head and toss it aside.
She turned to watch him as he moved away, admiring not for the first time the predatory way he moved, the shift of muscle beneath his shirt as he turned back to her. There was no time wasted waiting for him to be ready for her, either - as his arms rose, she moved to him, her hands finding warm, ready skin as she followed the rise of his shirt with a hungry caress. Her lips touched the hollow of his throat, counting the beat of his pulse for a moment before biting gently, suckling his flesh with tender aggression as her hands swept up his back. That first time had been a consummation of years of longing; it was her turn to show him now what he'd been missing by holding off for so long.
He withheld the groan that was building inside him as her teeth grazed his flesh, hands sliding beneath her shirt and against her skin as he tugged it upwards and over her head, baring her to his touch and sight, arousal flaring. The first time had been quick, a frenzied coupling that barely scratched the surface. If he had anything to say about it, this time would be slow. He wanted to explore her, discover her, memorize every inch of her, slowly learn her so that he knew what made her gasp and groan and sigh, what made her ask for more or plead for release. Whatever she wanted, he'd give it to her and then some.