A/N: To ensure my sanity after finishing The Madness Underneath, I started extending my favorite scene. The following quotes and characters all belong to Maureen Johnson, despite the fact that she broke my heart into little bits with that ending.
I reached over, and I put my hand against his chest, then I moved closer. I could feel just the very tips of the gentle stubble on his cheek brushing against my skin.
"Rory," he said. But it was a quiet protest, and it went nowhere.
For the first few seconds, he didn't move— he accepted the kiss like you might accept a spoonful of medicine. Then I heard it, a sigh, like he had finally set down a heavy weight.
Our kisses were slow and deliberate at first. His shy lips slowed, and I felt him lean away. I opened my eyes hesitantly. Stephen gazed down at me beneath heavy lids. His lips remained parted ever so slightly. I felt my heart hammer against my ribs. I clenched my hand into a fist, balling up a section of his shirt in the process, but I couldn't actually feel my fingers. The motion seemed to stir him. Stephen leaned down once more, brushing his lips feather light against mine.
I wasn't used to this slow and steady treatment. With Jerome, we had sucked each others' faces so hard it probably seemed to passerby we were engaged in a sort of sensual cannibalism. Stephen was careful and deliberate, stirring a warmth in the pit of my stomach that sent tendrils throughout my body and made me feel weightless.
He pulled away again. There was laughter in his eyes as he caught my silent protest. Stephen moved his hands to my face. He cupped my cheeks in his long, delicate fingers. I'd watched those fingers before as they gripped the wheel of the police car or tapped surreptitiously into his cellphone. Never, never, had I imagined the feel of them on my skin. Never had I realized how much I'd want it.
Stephen tucked a wayward strand of my hair behind my ear, grazing my cheek with his knuckles. Wherever he touched I felt a trail of fire. I could trace his fingerprints on my skin.
He bent down towards me again. Something was different this time. I snaked my arms around his neck, urging him closer to me. He sighed quietly against my lips, and that sound reverberated throughout my whole body. His kisses became more fervent, searching a response with more ferocity. My hands clamped around the nape of his neck, pulling him to me. The force toppled both of us back into the bed. Stephen gasped and pulled up onto his forearms. He was on top of me.
We just looked at each other for a long time. I drank the sight of him in: the pale, angular face, the smoldering eyes, the bloodstained bandage wrapped around his unusually unruly hair. I tentatively outstretched my arm and reached for his head. His eyes gave me permission. I pressed my right palm lightly to the bandage, right where the wound was. He closed his eyes- not in pain, it seemed, but almost in relief. He nuzzled his cheek into my hand. There was so much I wanted to say to him: Thank you for rescuing me. Thank you for watching out for me. Because, when I really thought about it, Stephen had always been there. He had silently protected me from the beginning. Sometimes, what he kept from me drove me nuts, but the rewards of his intimacy were that much greater. I remembered our conversation in the car just before I'd had met the Ripper, how he had told me of his suicide attempt. He had only just met me, and he had trusted me. An unexplainable emotion welled up in my chest. I remembered how terrified I'd been when Newman had injected him with the Insulin, being forced to watch him sink closer and closer to death...
I grasped his shirt and pulled him down, suddenly needing him as I had never before needed anything. Stephen's delighted and surprised intake of breath filled me with unnameable pleasure. He kissed me without restraint, knotting one hand in my hair while the other rubbed my hip. His hands accidentally upturned the hem of my shirt and I immediately froze at the sensation of his bare skin on mine. Stephen was touching me. Stephen was touching my scar.
He must have noticed how quickly uncomfortable I had become because he pulled away, questions literring his eyes. My lips trembled as I tried to form words, tried to tell him not to touch my scar, but he was an Eton boy and horrendously clever to boot. Comprehension dawned on him before I could form a sound.
Instead of pulling away, which is what I fully expected him to do, Stephen bent down again. He pressed his lips to my cheek over and over again, leaving a trail of kisses leading down my neck. He kissed the delicate skin right beneath my jaw, warm, sloppy kisses that turned my body into butter. Suddenly— had he moved?— his lips were on my collarbone, his tongue finding the hollow on my chest below my chin. His mouth was warm and I felt goosebumps erupt all over my body. When he pulled back, I opened my mouth to complain before I saw the look in his eyes.
His fingers traced patterns on my hip bones, toying with the folds of my shirt. He met my gaze and asked me a silent question. I don't exactly remember nodding my head, I only know that I didn't want it to stop. And that's how I got to be lying in a bed with Stephen Dene as he pushed my shirt up to my chest.
I held my breath. He was still Stephen, still a gentleman, and he didn't reveal anything above the ribs. But the bland design of my bra and my nagging paranoia that my breasts were uneven kind of paled in comparison to the huge, arching scar that traversed my belly. My breaths turned shallow, and I watched my pale flesh rise up and down. Stephen extended a shaky, freckled hand and touched my stomach. Slowly, carefully, lovingly, he traced his hands up and down the path of my scar.
It was an intimacy I had never hoped to know, and for a bizarre moment I felt like crying. My lips trembled as Stephen pressed his mouth against my abdomen, making sure to cover each square inch of scar tissue with his lips. My eyes rolled into the back of my head as I eased into the sensation, tracing little patterns with my fingers into his shoulderblades. My mind was full of Stephen, of his lips and his eyes and his warm hands, so maybe that's why I didn't hear Callum before he burst through the door.
"So Thorpe says that- Seriously?"