Noah's arms around me were the one thing anchoring me to the earth as I left myself cry for the first time all day. Sobs raked their way up my throat and out, burning my soul as the wounded animal sounds rang through the bathroom. It was the loss of Vivi. It was watching Carson almost bleed out in my arms. It was being here in this place, without support. Without friends, without family.
It was everything and nothing. It was grief, and shock, and stress.
My fingers tangled in Noah's wet shirt front, and I lost every single bit of my strength for a few minutes as he held me.
As gently as he could, he sat in the tub with me in his arms, whispering shushing words and rubbing my back as I sobbed like a child.
When my tears tapered off and I quit whimpering like a day-old kitten, I wiped my nose like the lady I was and struggled to look Noah in the eye. It took a few tries, but I managed it.
"If you think I'm going to do you in the shower just because I'm in a vulnerable state and I'm naked, you've got another thing coming."
Noah sputtered before letting out an epic belly laugh as he wrapped his arms around me tighter and hugged me to him. When his mirth petered out, his grip loosened but only slightly.
"Good to see you're back. I was worried there for a minute. And no, sex in the shower only happens in the movies. Anyone who needs so little room to move is either doing it for show or not doing it right at all."
I was ill-prepared for the full-body tingle that hit me at those words. Coupling them with the rough press of his fingertips and the gravel in his voice, I was lucky if my body didn't decide to revolt and attack him on general principle. Maybe to see if he needed all that extra room.
It would be for science.
"Good to know," I muttered as the full force of the reality of me being naked in the shower with this man smacked me upside the head, and I winced. Squeezing my eyes shut, I prayed for a tiny little reprieve. When I didn't magically become clothed, I took matters into my own hands.
"Do you think it would be possible for you to forget that you saw me naked, and we move on with our lives as if I didn't use you like a full-body crying pillow?"
Noah's fingertips pressed into the skin of my hips just enough to grab my attention and make me open my eyes.
Full-body tingles hit me again; only their epicenter was somewhere… lower.
"Oh, okay, umm…" I trailed off, trying to think of an alternative to my utter embarrassment. "Do you think you could pretend you forgot? Just for a little while so I can process my utter humiliation a bit later? When someone isn't trying to kill me."
The blue of Noah's eyes blazed with heat for a moment.
"You've got not one thing to be embarrassed about, Gemini. Not. One. Thing. I've never been more honored to be a shoulder to cry on. The fact that you're naked is just a bonus." His grin was blinding as he set me away from him, and we awkwardly stood up in the shower.
"Later?" I asked, and that one word was comprised of a laundry list of things I wanted from this man. A kiss. Sweaty sex. Getting to know him a little. Maybe all of the above. But it would be after we got to the bottom of this mess and not right now.
"Later," he said with a smile, his gaze never trailing down my body even though I knew he wanted to.
A gentleman. Who knew? In my line of work, gentlemen were few and far between. I dealt with sleazeballs, cheating spouses, murderers, and now dirty cops. A bona fide gentleman was a rarity.
But it did explain the handkerchiefs.
Noah exited the shower and pulled the curtain, the wet slap of his clothes hitting the floor, making the tingles reappear in an epic fashion.
I would not look. I would not look. I would not look.
After two point five seconds, I caved and took a tiny little peek. My eyes met golden skin and an ass so beautiful I could compose sonnets to its glory. If I could write a sonnet, that is. Maybe a limerick. A haiku?
A towel snapped the air with a crack, and my eyes peeled away from Noah's ass with definite reluctance as I realized I'd been caught. I met those blazing blues with equal parts chagrin and lust.
"Later," he said again, like a command or a challenge, I couldn't figure out which. Those eyes, that scorching gaze, scored me down to my very core, and I couldn't figure out what made me tell him later in the first place. My libido was on a runaway train heading towards Fuckitville with no real obstacles in sight.
I broke eye contact for just long enough to shut off the water before I tossed back the curtain altogether. Standing there dripping, I quirked my eyebrow in an almost dare.
Let's see him be a gentleman now.
Noah's fist clenched in the gather of the towel hard enough that I could hear the fabric strain. The tiny terrycloth held together in his strong fingers did little to hide the magnificence of the practically naked man in front of me. He was made of cut muscle and golden skin damp from his clothes and the thick steam that curled in the air like a crooking finger.
Stepping from the shower, I closed the distance between us a fraction. The simple act of me stepping out of the shower seemed to snap Noah's fraying control, and the scant amount of space between us was whittled down to zero. The warmth of his chest brushing mine had me almost shivering in anticipation, but I held still. Noah loomed over me, and I didn't mind one bit.
"What happened to later?" His low growl of a question stole through me, and I had to fight to keep my legs steady.
I rose up on my tiptoes, my lips brushing his as I answered him. "Later is overrated. I've changed my mind. Now is good."
I heard one more creak of his fist in the fabric before his mouth crushed down on mine, our tongues going to war as his rough hands cupped my face, his towel forgotten. The thrill of pushing him past whatever control he had made a brushfire of want break out inside me. A fire that only burned hotter when Noah decided he'd had enough of polite kissing and lifted me so my legs could circle his hips.
The cold press of the wall at my back warred with the scorching heat of Noah's body against mine. His lips broke from mine, which led me to nibble on his neck, gently sinking my teeth into the skin with the single-minded focus of making him moan.
That was until I vaguely heard the pounding at my hotel door. And then my dad's voice filtered through my brain.
"Gemini Marie Perry, if you don't open this door in the next thirty seconds, I'll break it down!"
He'd do it, too. I'd tried to wait him out once as a teenager to my bedroom door's detriment. Groaning, I let my forehead fall to Noah's shoulder, which wasn't at all comfortable since said shoulder was jumping with his laughter.
"That's my dad. I'm going to have to open the door, or he really will break it down. You might want to put on some pants."
Noah grudgingly set me down on my feet, and I moved around him to snag my robe from the door. But I'm evil, so I let my breasts slide across his skin as I did so just to be sure that he'd require a bit more time trying to tame his erection. As I cinched my robe, his growl hit my ears, and I giggled, only giggling harder when the bathroom door closed in a controlled but terse snick.
My mirth died the instant I opened the hotel room door.
Not only was my father there with a look of ravaged grief on his face, but he'd brought Uncle Rich with him. Senior Special Agent-in-Charge Uncle Rich.
I had a feeling I was about to get a boatload of bad news.
And so was Noah.
Thank you for reading this chapter of Seek You Find Me! New episodes will release on the last Tuesday of each month. If you enjoy this story, you should check out the Shelter Me Series.