I knew what I had to do, of course. I wasn't looking forward to it . . . in fact, my heart had pretty much slipped up into my throat, and my palms had gone suddenly, inexplicably damp.

But what choice did I have? I couldn't let him walk away with all that money. I'd tried reasoning with him, and it hadn't worked. Jesse wouldn't like it, but the truth was, there was no other alternative. If Paul wouldn't give up the money voluntarily, well, I was just going to have to take it from him.

I told myself I had a pretty good chance at succeeding, too. Paul had the box tucked into the inside pocket of his jacket. I'd felt it there when he'd put his arm around me. All I had to do was distract him somehow—a good blow to the solar plexus would probably do the job—then grab the box and chuck it through the closest window. The Gutierrezes would freak, of course, at the sound of the breaking glass, but I highly doubted they'd call the cops . . . not when they found two thousand bucks scattered across the floor.

As plans went, it wasn't one of my best, but it was all I had.

Then . . . I changed my mind.

I called his name.

He turned. The moon chose that moment to slip out from behind the thick veil of clouds overhead, and I could see by its pale light that Paul wore an absurdly hopeful expression. The hopefulness increased as I slowly crossed the grass between us. I suppose he thought for a minute that he'd finally broken me down. Found my weakness. Successfully lured me to the dark side.

And in a way, I guess he had.

The moon again hid in the sanctuary of the thickly blanketed clouds, entrapping the both of us in the night's most vicious darkness.

'I never told you,' I whispered at him, 'how much . . . ' I stood right in front of him, 'I enjoyed . . . ' I slid my arms around him, 'that time . . . ' My hands clenched on his shirt, sliding beneath it, 'when we last did this.'

And with almost effortless grace, I went on my tippy-toes, met his lips, and kissed him.

This came as quite a shock to him. It was, however, a shock he got over almost immediately, as his hands came dominantly down to my lips, pulling me right against him, as he kissed me back with more urgency that I would have ever expected from someone of his composure. As if he was begging me to want him. Pleading with me, using his weapon of choice.

And that, my friends, would have been his very convincing lips.

The chilling night air attacked me from all directions, except from wherever Paul was touching me. His hands moved up my back, bringing me ever so close. So much that I almost backed down from my mission. The chill that the night inspired was blown away by the warmth that Paul provided. His lips cajoled me, enticed me, seduced me. His touch, which I was subjecting myself to, made me shiver more than the coldness of midnight could.

My hands did their wandering, as I tried to reign in the gasps that longed to escape my mouth. Paul was NOT to know that he was pleasuring me in any way. Even though it was.

Really was.

It was SO annoying that someone so corrupt, so mean and heartless, and, you know, stealing-money-from-old-ladies-ish could kiss like that.

The sad truth was, my body reacted to his up against mine in a most torturous way. This burning feeling in me just wanted him to keep giving more warmth, so I wouldn't get frozen from the night. I wanted to keep touching him, keep kissing him. I wanted him. I almost forgot myself, and why I was doing this. In fact, for a moment of sinful indulgence, I DID forget.

Then I was like, 'Oh yeah.'

After my hand had completed its journey into his coat, retrieving the box of money from him, I pulled back quickly, breathing harder than I would have liked.
'Well,' I half-wheezed, 'It's really time I got home – '

'No,' Paul went to say more, but instead he just held onto my wrist with his deadly iron grip, and tugged me back against him.

This, unfortunately, resulted in him discovering the box of two thousand dollars which I'd just stolen from him, which HE'D stolen from Mrs Gutierrez, money which I TOTALLY planned to give back to the people who it had been stolen from originally, aka her grieving family.

A very sick feeling washed over my stomach, when I saw his look change from a sensuous one to a very angry one. 'Oh,' he said, as if he should have known better, 'I see how it is. Well, I gotta say, Suze, that was the best distraction I've had for a long time. But that wasn't very nice of you. In fact, I would consider that as leading me on, you know. And you know some guys, Suze. Once you get them hot, they don't stop.'

The sick feeling get worse. And worse. Like I was going to start hacking up my insides, next chance I got. Because his hands were now back at my hips and in the small of my back. And they were hurting.

'What – '

He plucked the box right back from me in my shock of what he'd said. He still held onto my wrist like it was a lifeline. And then, with eyes like a cat that had just had its tale stepped on, he kicked me feet out from beneath me, and was on top of me, pushing me into the grass with the weight of his body. He shoved my wrists back against the ground, and leaned his head over mine, making my heart pound violently like it had never done before.

And by the feel of it, his heart was pretty much as fast.

The look on his face was what scared me the most, though. A fusion of betrayal, wounded pride, anger, and other things I didn't have a chance of identifying. I could barely breathe because he was on my chest.

'Paul – '

'You were kissing me pretty hard, Suze,' he chided me. 'I mean . . . if I didn't know better,' his eyes glinted, 'I'd say that you were really enjoying that.'

'But you do know better,' I snapped.

'Do I?' he smiled angrily.

My blood chilled even further, having nothing to do with the merciless cold of the night. 'Paul, get off of me – '

But his face had lowered so it lingered over mine. I felt his breath on my nose, hot compared to the iciness that hit every other part of my body that he did not cover, and I could feel his intruding proximity that burnt my face. His lips brushed against my own, causing such a dangerous delight that I could FEEL how wrong and forbidden and illicit it was . . .

. . . making it seem even more tempting.

I shivered at the contact, and my eyes closed themselves by means to protect me from this demonic guy that was enticing me into his darkness.

His fingers pressed into the skin of my wrists possessively, and I winced, trying to pull back as far away from his alluring lips as much as I could.

Well, in theory, I did.

In practice, I moved closer.

Um, Jesse?

So? . . . What about Jesse?

And he was kissing me again. With more of a darkness, a danger, a jealousy, an anger, a competitiveness, a control, a dominance, a pleasure that even I felt electrifying through my body, as it was torn between his heat and the freezing night air.

He was kissing my neck, and I was trying to breathe, but I couldn't, and it was WRONG, and I LOVED IT, and his hand let got of my WRIST, and slid beneath my JACKET, and we were in someone's BACKYARD, and um, EWW.

His lips were addictive. I wanted them to be kissing me, and not stopping. They made me feel so – I don't know. It felt horrible, painful, amazing –


'No – ' I coughed, twisting my head away. He shifted his body so it was lower on me, kissing my throat and making me think twice about my hesitations. 'Paul, don't – you – the two thousand dollars isn't yours – stop that!'

Oh, man.

He did not stop. Probably because he realized that I didn't WANT him to.
'As if,' he said down at me, hovering momentarily over my face again before kissing near my ear and making my teeth clench as I fought NOT to respond.
He was loving how he could make me feel this. He loved it. I felt sick with myself and angry with him. How could I love something that was so immoral, yet it engendered such sensations within me? Feelings that I didn't even feel when I kissed the guy I actually LOVED?

Why was this so wrong? Why was I so wrong?

If this was wrong . . . I didn't even want to be right.

- 8 -

Complete and utter crap, I think.

But you get that. Shrug.

My entry for the Kissing Paul Slater 2 competition on the MCBC. Started off from Twilight, with how I WANTED IT TO GO. Pfft. None of this "punch hottie-li'l-Paulie-in-the-chest crap. I mean, um, RUDE?


Review if you want. I really don't like this that much. Tell me how badly it sucked. Go into detail. Say how you could painfully feel your intelligence just . . .melting away . . .

Disclaimed to Meg Cabot.

Love Lolly.