Staring beyond the crowd of family members, the horizon line of trees and stone markers becomes a blur. People talk to one another around me, but my uncle and I stand in silence. He moves his hand up and down my arm. The warmth feels nice in the cool morning breeze, but I still wish I’d brought a jacket. Matty had already offered his, but I declined.
“You should sit up front,” my uncle whispers to me. I shake my head, finally allowing myself to blink. The trees come back into focus, along with the side entrance to the cemetery where I see Jon walking in alone.
I breathe a sigh of relief, the sight of him bringing both a sense of calm and excitement. I need to be comforted by him. I need to be held by him. I want to be loved by him again.
“How much longer until James’s limo gets here?” I ask Matty.
“Jacks says it shouldn’t be too much longer.”
“I’ll be back in a minute.”
“Where are you–” he begins, but stops as I shrug away from him, moving quickly to the south side of the grounds. I don’t look back, hoping that I’m not drawing attention to myself. Jon meets my eyes, and shifts his direction accordingly. We finally meet among a grouping of oak trees, the shade providing privacy that I’d been hoping for.
“You should be with your family, Olivia,” he whispers in my ear as we hold one another tightly. I inhale lofty breaths, taking in his clean scent, finally ridding my nose of the smell of incense from the church service, if only for a few seconds. The odor lingers on my clothes, and the clothes of everyone in my family. “Are you okay?”
He releases his grasp and moves his hands to my bare forearms, feeling the goosebumps that have arisen in the past minute or so. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m cold, or because I’m so happy to see him again. “I’m fine.” I close my eyes and stand on my tiptoes to touch my lips to his. It should have been a sweet, tender kiss, but it’s obvious he’s missed me as much as I’ve missed him. When I pull away, I glance around him to see if my family is watching. I see the limo finally pulling up, giving them all something else to focus on momentarily.
“We should–” Taking advantage of the secluded cover of trees, I interrupt him, kissing him again, this time allowing my hands to tuck beneath his suit jacket. I scrape my nails down his back. “Mmmmm,” he says, unable to speak but letting me know how it feels. The vibration tickles my lips. He moves his hand from my waist and reaches around, stopping me from continuing the motion. “Not here,” he breathes quickly, finally breaking away. I latch my hands together behind him, though, still holding him as close to me as possible. “God, I’ve missed you,” he says after finally catching his breath.
I never thought I’d survive the past five days without him. The conversations we’d had in infrequent moments of privacy were ones I would rather have had face-to-face. “I’ve missed you, too.” I feel his hands move lower down my back, beyond the hem of my short-sleeved sweater and half-way down my satiny skirt. His thumbs move slowly, gently. I love when he touches me in places no one else has. Pulling his head to mine again, we exchange full, slow kisses, ones that are reminiscent of that night. I’m sure he’s remembering it, too.
“Olivia,” he breathes, pushing me away. “We need to meet up with your family, and you’re going to make this very embarrassing for me.”
“They’re not watching,” I tell him, peeking beyond him once more to make sure I’m telling the truth. After James takes his seat, I see my father standing at the front right side of the casket, holding it somberly with five other men I don’t know well. I recognize a few from various charity events we’ve hosted over the years, but I couldn’t put a name with any of them if I tried.
I look away from the scene, not wanting to let my thoughts linger. My eyes settle on a line of photographers just beyond the cemetery gates. The lenses aren’t pointed at the ceremony, though. They’re pointed at Jon and me. “Yeah, we should probably go,” I suggest, not realizing my heart could pound any faster than it had been when we were sharing our intimate moment. Since seeing the unwelcome onlookers, though, I realize how inappropriately we were both behaving. I glance behind me, wondering if anyone saw where his hands had been. I’m only a little relieved to see no one standing near the side entrance.
©2014 Olivia (Choisie, book 2) Lori L. Otto
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