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"I heard the crash...then you moving around..." Ellie's voice trailed off.
"I'm all right. Go back to bed." Sully's words sounded harsh, even to his own ears. But they failed to sway her.
"I'm not going anywhere until I can see for myself."
He stood there for a moment, then muttering a curse, he found his boot in the darkness and slipped the blade back in its sheathe. Then he walked to the bedroom and grabbed his jeans off the floor. Pulling them up, he zipped them, but didn't bothering buttoning them. He returned to the door just as a knock sounded again.
"Sully!" He pulled open the door as she spoke again exasperatedly. Propping an arm against the door jamb, he contemplated her through the shadows.
"I just wanted to be sure you're all right. You're having trouble sleeping again, aren't you?"
His brain seemed to have trouble registering her meaning. "Again?"
"Again." Her dark eyes were sincere, filled with anxiety. "I hear you sometimes, pacing around in here during the night. The walls aren't particularly thick, you know." Her words rendered him sufficiently speechless for her to duck under his arm and walk into his apartment.
By the time he'd recovered, she'd gone the few feet into the living room and switched on a lamp. He turned to face her but remained where he was, keeping the door open. She wouldn't be staying long. He couldn't let her.
He was still trying to adjust to the idea of her listening to him, not just tonight, but other nights. He was aware that her bedroom lay just on the other side of the wall in his. He was definitely aware. Many a night he'd lain awake in bed, imagining what she was wearing in hers. Imagining what she'd look like lying beneath him, wearing nothing at all.
"Sorry I woke you. It was nothing." He shrugged. "Just a dream." But she didn't appear to be listening to him. Her eyes went wide with concern.
"Oh, Sully, your poor chest! What happened to you?"
He blinked at her uncomprehendingly, and she crossed to him, laying one soft hand against his skin. He looked down, realizing she was referring to the bruises that were vivid reminders of his trip to Bogota. And then thought faded as sensation crashed over him. His eyes slid half-closed and he watched her, letting himself imagine for an instant what it would be like if she touched him out of desire instead of concern. How she would look touching him just like that as he mounted her, before her touch grew stronger, wilder, as he slipped into her for the first time.
His need for her was as keen as a blade, threatening to slice away the layer civility he'd carefully constructed, leaving his defenses in shambles. He took her wrist in his hand and stepped away.
"You shouldn't be here."
No, she shouldn't be here, in the middle of the night, wearing a silky invitation for a robe, tied hastily around her narrow waist. One quick tug would unfasten it, and only a little urging from his hands would send it slithering down her arms to pool at her feet. She shouldn't be there touching him like that, looking at him like that.
He jammed his fists into his pockets. She shouldn't be here.
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