Falling
All the King's Horses
Part I: Chapter 8

He knew better than to give in. Even in the thick haze of surprise and delight, he knew that kissing her would only complicate things further. He knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that tasting her lips was going to get them both in more trouble than they could ever hope to dig their way out of.

But he didn’t care.

Instead of stepping back, pulling away and breaking the kiss like he knew he should, he took a tiny step closer and pressed his lips more firmly against hers, allowing himself to be lost in the moment, in her. It was amazingly easy to just lose himself in her. And it all felt unimaginably right.

His lips brushed hers gently, carefully, in a way that only served to make her weaker for him. It was almost as if he was afraid of hurting her, pushing her, scaring her, or… something… His tenderness with her once again amazed her. Pulled her closer to the ledge she was standing on, and the longer this went on, the closer she got to falling. But she couldn’t stop it, and she didn’t want to.

Rafe tried to pull away, he honestly did, but he couldn’t seem to separate himself from her. Breaking one kiss he’d lean down and kiss her again, and again. Gently brushing his lips over hers while trying with everything he was to stop. Again and again, simple little kisses that refused to end. Again and again, then finally he managed to take a step back, then another, until he was standing opposite her with his back pressed into the counter as well.

“I am so…” So what, she thought, halting the words that were coming from her swollen lips. She wasn’t sorry. She wasn’t sorry at all. She wanted to kiss him, so she did, and he obviously wanted to kiss her. And she wanted to kiss him again. Alison pressed her fingertips to her lips, bending her head down to hide a smile. She was in way over her head.

“Yeah,” he managed to say. “Yeah… I mean… you know, me too.”

“Right.” Him too what? She was not apologizing. “I… I um… I probably shouldn’t have done that…” Raising her head, Alison wet her lips. “B-But… you know, I’m not…”

“Don’t, Alison,” he interrupted in almost a whisper. “Just don’t, ok? You… I mean, I know that you… You love Jamal… And that didn’t mean… It didn’t mean anything at all. So… Let’s just forget about it, ok?” Forget about it? Who was he kidding? The last thing in the world he was going to be able to do was forget about it.

“Y-Yeah… I agree… I mean, you're right, I love Jamal. But…”

“No buts. You love Jamal, and all his talk about you ever loving me is just silly. Ok? No hard feelings?” Nope. No hard feelings at all. Just one breaking heart.

No, two breaking hearts. But why? She hadn’t even broken up with Jamal, why was she hurt that Rafe was just ready to forget all about the fact that she kissed him? “No,” Alison whispered. “No hard feelings.” She turned quickly when she felt tears start to prick the back of her eyelids and peeked in the oven to find the cookies done. Taking them out she sighed and grabbed a few of the chocolate chip. “We don’t have the other’s ready.”

“I’m sorry.”

She shrugged. “Don’t apologize, Rafe. It’s like, my fault, you know.” Alison handed him a cookie and walked over toward the sofa. “I’m just crazy like that, I guess. I love Jamal, and I’m kissing another guy. And I’m falling for another guy. No big deal.”

“What?”

Her eyes were wide when she spun around. “What?”

“W-What did you just say?” Rafe asked. “I couldn’t hear you, you were kind of mumbling.”

“Oh… Nothing,” she lied, plastering on a smile. “I was just talking to myself, bad habit, I guess.”

The falseness and nervousness was clear in her voice. “I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

“You didn’t. I kissed you remember?”

He closed his eyes. Yeah, he remembered all right. “That doesn’t matter, Alison. You’re… Do you want me to go? Because I can…”

“Rafe, it’s fine. We… We’re cool. We’re friends.” Once again she continued on her way to the couch. “Friends that just happen to end up locking lips everytime we get to close to each other,” she made sure to whisper the words under her breath, knowing he couldn’t hear her that time. “So anyway,” she said louder, breaking the cookie in her hand and taking a bite.

Rafe sat beside her cautiously. “Anyway, any ideas how to get Lucy to trust Kevin?”

“Short of telling her the truth? That’s going to take a little more thought.”

He chuckled lightly, wiping away a drop of chocolate from her bottom lip with his thumb before he realized what he was doing. “Women are too confusing.”

She laughed with him. “At least you’re man enough to admit it.” Her eyes sparkled, in the light as she continued to smile. “So Kevin’s mystery woman is a good thing and he’s not cheating on her?”

“It’s a very good thing, well, good for Lucy I suppose. He’s not cheating on her, he wouldn’t dream of it.”

“Well, yeah, but is he paying attention to Lucy at all? I mean, he’s busy with his mystery woman, who she thinks he’s sleeping with, and she’s all alone? Does… Are they even really together anymore?”

“I don’t know,” he admitted. “They are, then they aren’t. I managed to make Lucy think Kevin wants to marry her, but Kevin… He’s doing the right thing, his mystery woman is going to make Lucy endlessly happy, you know? But he… He keeps letting his hurt pride get in the way of the love he has for her.”

“He’s still hurt because she slept with Ian.”

“Yes! Which I guess is understandable, but sometimes, you just have to forgive and forget.”

“I forgave Jamal,” she huffed defensively. “I still trust him, even with the woman he cheated on me with living here, and he repays me by saying I’m in love with you and not having enough faith in me to know that I wouldn’t sleep with anyone else while we were still dating.”

“He’s still hurt and confused. It’s not everyday he walks in to find you locking lips with another guy.”

“I thought we agreed not to talk about me and Jamal!”

Rafe raised his eyebrows. “Right. I’m sorry I brought it up.”

“Oh shut up,” she laughed, throwing a pillow in his direction. “So anyway, why don’t you let me talk to Lucy?”

“Well, I won’t stop you if you want to… But why?”

“It’s a girl thing! We’ll chat. I’ll handle Lucy. You just convince Kevin to send her flowers or a note that says he’s thinking about her or something.” Alison watched him for a minute. “Never mind. You’d cheat.”

“I would not!”

“You would so! You’d send the flowers or the note with Kevin’s handwriting!”

“Well now that you mention it, it might work out…”

Alison laughed. “I’ll deal with Kevin.”

“And what am I going to do?”

“Come with me? Or, you know, I have a shift tomorrow afternoon, and Kevin will probably come in, he always seems to, I can just talk to him then?”

“Whatever you want, Alison,” Rafe answered with a smile. “You’re going to drop by and see your grandmother though, right?”

“Yeah, I think I’ll go by in the morning. You’re right, I do miss her. A lot sometimes. I never… My parents were never around much, she’s kind of the only family that I really knew, you know? And it was really hard to lose her. I want to try and get back a little of what we had.”

“Then go for it.” Laughing, he patted the top of her head. “I should get going. I need to drop by and see Lucy sometime tonight, she’s thinking of leaving town and I’ve got to talk her out of it.”

“You know she thinking about leaving town?”

“She told me.”

“Oh! Ok. I was wondering if you could like read minds or something like that. That might be a little too freaky…”

He had to laugh. “Nope, I’m not a mind reader. But with Lucy it’s pretty easy to see what she’s thinking.”

“Yeah, that’s like really true.” She attempted to run a hand through her hair to find it caked. “I need a shower.”

“I’m sorry,” Rafe tried to say with a straight face, only to fail miserably.

“Well you should be!” she huffed, smiling with him. “I need to go see Livvie too and try to straighten everything out with her, cover my tracks so that she doesn’t start thinking that you’re-”

“Livvie knows, Alison. I tried to tell you earlier but I kept getting side tracked. You don’t need to worry about it.”

“Oh… Livvie… She knows? I- I thought I was the only one that knew.”

“Caleb told her. I’d sort of forgotten until you mentioned it, though.”

“Oh, so you… She didn’t find out from you?”

“No. Why?”

Because it made her feel more special when she was the only one that knew and he was her angel. “No reason, I’m just curious.”

“Ok.” Rafe stood up. Taking her hand in his and squeezing it. “I’ve got to get going before Lucy hops on a plane. I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Yeah, of course! If… if we don’t run into each other sooner, I’ve got the lunch shift.”

“Alright.” He grabbed his coat and slipped it on. “Then I guess I’ll see you later.”

Alison stood as well. “Yeah. I’ll see you tomorrow for sure. If you don’t come in I’ll have to hunt you down and tell you how my talk with Kevin went.”

“Yeah, you do that.” He shrugged. “You pretty much know where to find me.”

She placed a kiss on his cheek. “Yeah, I know where to find you, and if not you know where to find me.”

“Right… I hope that all comes out of your hair.” He opened the door, smiling when he turned back around to see her still standing there. “Try not to get into to much trouble.”

“I’ll be good,” she promised to the shutting door. Falling back down on the sofa Alison covered her face and groaned. “What kind of an idiot am I? Come on, Alison, keep your lips off of Rafe!” She pulled her hands away and opened her eyes, hugging a pillow to her chest. “Don’t fall for him, Alison… Don’t do it. Falling in love with Rafe will only end up getting you hurt. So just… stop it.” She nodded. “Yeah. I can do that. I can just… stop. It’ll be easy.” Standing up, her confidence disappeared as quickly as it came. “Yeah right. It’ll be as easy and telling the moon not to rise. What kind of an idiot am I?”


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