Disclaimer: I don't own Victorious
Jade groaned quietly as she stretched her neck muscles and reached back to rub her shoulders gingerly. She ached. Her entire upper body ached. She was quite sure she had pulled something in her lower neck and shoulder region. And she was tired, so incredibly tired. It was late, or early, as midnight had come and gone hours ago…but she couldn't sleep because she was so sore.
"Stupid." She muttered, removing the whistling kettle from the hot stove.
Opening the cupboard door she winced and her muscles screamed in protest as she reached up to grab her chamomile tea and honey from the high cupboard shelf.
With her closet filling up to capacity, she had decided earlier that day to donate some of her old stuff to charity. From heels, to skirts, belts, purses and everything else in between…it had been over flowing with an abundance of clothes. So she had spent the whole day sorting through the stuff and tossing or donating the things she knew she definitely didn't need.
And she had made a lot of progress.
The only problem was the closet was lined with shelves. And somehow throughout the year she had placed boxes- multiple boxes, on the top shelves and had continued to fill those boxes with miscellaneous items of clothing. And those boxes had gotten heavier and heavier, so today when she had attempted to drag them off those shelves she had gotten a nice little surprise at their sheer weight. Of course instead of attempting to empty the boxes while standing on her stepladder so that she could easily pull them down off the shelf, she had struggled and nearly killed herself with them. Which was why she was now in such unbearable pain.
It was kind of pathetic really. She was so awkward, and her muscles weren't used to labor of any kind, that merely moving around a few boxes had injured her.
She just wasn't a huge fan of exercise. Unless you counted dancing. She loved to do that.
Frustrated she blew a breath out and poured the hot water into her favorite mug, watching as the tea began to steep. Closing her eyes, she considered popping a few ibuprofens to help ease her discomfort.
When she heard the apartment door rattle with keys, she glanced over at the clock on the oven. Squinting at the bright neon green numbers.
Beck was home.
She bit her lip as she heard the door swing open. Their relationship had been interesting lately. She had been having quite a bit of fun teasing him. She enjoyed watching the way those dark eyes tried to figure out her every move, her every word, as she clearly and deliberately played little games with him. Not that she was an expert in the tease or flirting department. Every time she let her eyes linger on him, every time she drew out a sentence that could possibly have a double meaning attached to it, her heart pounded and her pulse raced. She was sure he knew that she wasn't as confident or casual as she pretended to be.
He had to know.
In fact, he had caught on to her game quite quickly…and now she wasn't sure what to do.
Now he refused to be the first to look away from her. When she said something that could be taken as suggestive he would merely raise an eyebrow, and stare her down, daring her to follow through with her provocative implications. She felt like the tables had suddenly been turned on her. And if this was a game of cat and mouse she had definitely become the mouse.
As he entered the room she turned stiffly and greeted him with a small smile. He eyed her, a look of surprise playing across his features.
"You're up late." He stated shrugging out of his jacket he tossed it on the kitchen island. Walking past her he grabbed a glass from the kitchen cupboard and stepped over to the sink to fill it up.
"Couldn't sleep." She said softly, glancing down at her mug she took the tea bag out and added some honey to it before slowly turning her body around to face him.
She took in the sight of him in his dark button down and dark jeans. She had thought that this little crush she had developed on him would go away almost as quickly as it came. But she had been wrong. If anything her feelings for him had just gotten stronger. She was enjoying his company more and more. Whether they were just sitting quietly in the living room watching random television, or screaming at each other in anger and frustration over something stupid like whether or not there were good and decent people in the world…she just liked being with him. And her feelings were getting out of control; they were getting strong…scary strong.
She found herself getting lost in the dark depths of those chocolate eyes. She found herself fluffing her hair a bit more than usual when leaving her bedroom. She found herself stopping in at his bar more often than not, just to say hi, or to bring him a late dinner or a coffee from the little cafe he liked just down the street. She had reasoned with herself that most of these things, from the outside looking in, could merely just appear to be things that a good friend would do for another good friend. But she was afraid sooner or later she would be found out.
Maybe he had already discovered her secret.
Maybe he realized her teasing wasn't just teasing, but actual suggestions that she considered acting on and following through with on a daily basis. Her kind acts weren't those of a friend but those of someone considering, hoping, wishing for the possibility of more.
She had gotten herself in deep.
"Why can't you sleep?"
He snapped her out of her thoughts and she felt her face redden slightly, like she had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. Don't be stupid, she told herself silently. Nick had no clue what was on her mind.
"Oh it's silly really…I hurt my neck…or my shoulders…basically this entire region." She indicated to her upper back and couldn't help the small whimper that escaped her lips with the motion.
He narrowed his eyes at her. Concern flitting across his features.
"How did you hurt yourself?" He asked peering closely at her and taking a step toward her.
She would have backed up had it not been for the kitchen island directly behind her. Instead she had to opt for tilting her chin up to him as he closed the small distance between them.
"Oh I had entered a weight lifting competition…I lost." She smirked up at him, feeling silly when he didn't crack a smile and only continued to study her. Unnerved by his silence she told him the truth. "I was lifting some boxes in my closet, trying to clean out my messy closet and I think I just pulled a muscle or something. Like I said it's silly." She shrugged but even that action caused her to cringe.
He sighed, his dark eyes still on her. "It hurts pretty bad?"
She nodded slowly, pulling her gaze away from his. "Yeah, nothing I can't handle though. I just thought maybe some herbal tea would help me to relax so I could eventually fall asleep."
He nodded; she wondered if he knew how his close proximity in the dark and silent apartment made her knees feel slightly weak and her heart pound uncomfortably hard against her chest.
"Have you taken anything for it?" He stepped closer to her, and her breath caught. There was barely any space left between them.
"Um I didn't want to pop any pills…don't want to turn into a junkie you know." She joked lamely.
He raised a brow but remained silent. When he reached out toward her, she flinched away involuntarily and he paused in his actions before picking up a stray lock of her hair. He played with it lightly while briefly considering her.
"What…what are you doing?" She stammered, her eyes flashing to his face.
He smiled, his dark eyes held a glint of amusement and something she wanted to place as desire, but dear God, she couldn't let her foolish mind think that.
Why had she been teasing him for the past few weeks? Why did she think she could get away with a game that was so clearly out of her league? Was he trying to pay her back with teasing of his own? With those longing looks and lingering touches?
"Maybe you have some kinks in there you need to get worked out."
It took a moment for his words to register in her brain. Her eyes shot to the ground as she tried to calm her breathing. Was he going to put his hands on her? Did he want to work out those kinks for her?
He smirked as if reading her mind and tugged gently on her hair, drawing her gaze back to his. "Have you tried to have anyone massage the pain away Jade?"
Oh man, she was in trouble.
"No." Her voice was barely above a whisper.
"Well let me try." He said simply, his warm brown eyes refusing to let her look away.
"Um you know what I think I'm just going to drink my tea and go to bed. Honestly it doesn't hurt that bad anymore and I'm so tired, but thanks for the offer."
She made a move to walk past him, but with his closeness she was unable to get anywhere. Frustrated and unnerved she shot him a wide-eyed glare.
"Beck I'm tired."
"Jade don't be stupid. You're in pain…let me help." He stated in a matter of fact tone, his fingers still playing with the ends of her hair.
She went to protest but before she got the chance, he dropped her hair and placed his hands on the tender spot where her neck met her shoulders and upper back. He looked down at her, an unreadable expression on his face. She found it impossible to break eye contact; instead she released a slow and unsteady breath she hadn't known she'd been holding in. After a moment he began to apply light pressure, moving his hands in a gentle circular motion.
"Ohhh." She whispered closing her eyes as he softly kneaded her skin through the fabric of her shirt. She wished for a moment that she wasn't wearing her soft flannel pajamas. That instead she had a tank top on or something that would have allowed his hands to make direct contact with her skin. But as he continued to rub gentle circles into her back she sighed…this wasn't so bad.
"How about you turn around." His voice was low and surprised her, causing her eyes to snap open and meet his. And what she saw when she looked into them, almost made her mouth go dry with anticipation, excitement, and nerves.
"Why...um why do you want me to turn around?" She asked, almost scowling at the soft raspy sound of her own voice.
He shrugged; he seemed so calm. "It's an awkward position. Turn around so I can massage you better."
She hesitated for a moment, before allowing him to gently turn her so her back was to him. There was something about the position they were in. Something about him standing behind her in the dimly lit kitchen with no one around, putting his hands on her. It made her nervous and giddy all at once. The closeness of their bodies, the way the front of his just barely brushed up against the back of hers…it was so intimate. And maybe, just maybe she had thought, or fantasized, about doing certain things with him in the kitchen; up against the counter, the island, on the kitchen table, against the refrigerator, that made the position they were in all the more unnerving.
When he lifted her heavy hair and drooped it over her shoulder and began to massage her again, squeezing her shoulders and applying more pressure than he had used before, she moaned softly as her muscles both protested and welcomed the feeling.
"Does that hurt?" His voice was barely above a deep whisper but the sound caused her to jump slightly.
"Hmmm what? No…no…it's good. Like…like a good hurt." She stuttered, and then blushed furiously at her words.
A good hurt.
That sounded slightly…provocative.
"Good." Was all he said as he continued to rub her aching muscles.
Slowly, she let her guard down. Slowly she forgot about how intimate their position was. Instead she let him massage away the damage she had done earlier that day, not allowing herself to get embarrassed when a soft moan or whimper would escape her lips when he hit a particularly tender spot. He took his time. He was slow and deliberate, and meticulous. She could tell he was responding to her reactions, and while she knew they were very close to treading in murky waters...she couldn't help but continue to encourage him with soft sighs and nervous laughs.
In the dark kitchen, with only their slightly heavy breathing and the hushed sounds that seemed to echo in the silent apartment…she had to force herself not to let her mind wander back to a different late night activity that could elicit the same sounds.
She didn't know when it happened but suddenly she realized he wasn't massaging her back anymore. Her body was almost completely pressed up against his, and she could feel his head bent down towards her, his breath tickling the back of her neck. His hands had left her shoulders and upper back, and were slowly and purposely running up the sides of her body with a feather light touch. Her eyes opened as her brain registered the change in his actions. She opened her mouth to speak, but as he snaked his hand across her waist and hooked his arm there pulling her body even closer to him all that came out was a barely audible squeak.
His voice, a deep rumble; was going to do her in.
"Yes?" Her body was on fire and she was torn between wanting to turn herself around so that she could properly throw herself in his arms, and running away from him…fast.
"Does your back feel better?"
"Yes." His mouth was near her ear, if she just turned her head slightly, she would be so close to him. She would only have to stretch her neck ever so slightly to press her lips firmly against his.
He was silent for a moment, before gently releasing her waist and turning her back around so that she was facing him. She had to tilt her head back in order to look up at him, as they were so close, and she could barely see his eyes. And maybe that had been better, because when she was able to fully look into them she almost lost her bearings.
Desire was definitely in those dark depths.
It was raw and it was blatant.
She was surprised she didn't throw herself in his arms then and there.
"You sure you feel better?" His hands were playing with the ends of her hair again, and she had to force herself not to let her eyes flutter close.
She nodded. "Tons better."
A lazy smile made its way across his mouth, and her heart stopped…literally stopped beating in her chest as he slowly bent his head toward hers.
He was going to kiss her.
She prepared herself for it, she anticipated it, she welcomed it.
And when his mouth stopped just short of her lips. When he paused and let that lazy smile widen into a grin, she almost screamed in frustration.
"Good." He said, and gave her hair one last light tug, before stepping back from her.
Picking up his jacket from the counter he began to walk in the direction of his bedroom.
"Sleep tight Jade."
Her mouth dropped open and it was all she could do not to pick up her coffee mug and throw it at his retreating figure. When she heard the door to his room open and then close, she let herself slowly drop down onto one of the kitchen stools. Her body was still tingly, and her pulse was still racing.
She was going to get him back.
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