He's not usually a jittery guy. He doesn't fiddle with things when he's anxious, bite his nails or twiddle his thumbs. He doesn't pace. Nathan likes to be still. He figures it's probably a reflex learnt in his childhood, in that time when reckless movement could be so dangerous.
But he's jittery tonight. There's no other word for it. He can't sit still and he finds himself brushing his fingers over everything in his apartment, rough edges, cold steel, anything that should feel like something.
(Of course, it's really not inanimate surfaces he wants to feel. It's the smooth planes of her skin, her lips, her hair, all of her. He craves Audrey's touch in a way he can't even quantify. It's under his skin and in his head and he is so restless for it.)
She promised to come back, and he believes her, but the waiting is hard.
It's late when she knocks on his door and she brushes past him quickly, leaving him grasping at empty air while she sits down on his couch and starts telling him everything she's discovered.
He remains standing, uncertain and hesitant, afraid that if he sits next to her he won't have the patience to hear what she needs to tell him, consumed as he is by the desperate need to feel her again.
But he listens, because it's Audrey and this matters more than his desire for her and when she's done he runs a hand over his face – some gestures never change even when you can't feel anything – and asks her if she's okay.
“I'm fine,” she says, shrugging her shoulders. “I mean, as fine as I ever am. At least I'm getting some answers right? It's a start anyways.”
“Yeah, it's a start,” he replies, still trying to get his head around it all. (And maybe there's a part of him that's also thinking about other things he wants to start.)
“Are you okay?” she asks, looking at him curiously as she stands up and crosses the room to where he's awkwardly loitering by the door still.
“Yeah, I'm fine,” he tells her, trying to calm the storm that's coursing through his body (his useless, numb body) and screaming for him to be close to her.
“Are you sure? Cos you haven't stopped moving since I got here, which really isn't like you. It's kinda freakin' me out Nathan.”
He breathes in and forces himself to be still as he looks at her. “You kissed me,” he says. Because what else can he say? It's the singular thought in his head, and has been since she did it. He doesn't see the point in pretending otherwise.
She bites her lip and breaks eye contact, shifting slightly and he can't be sure but it almost seems like she could be blushing a little bit. He's never seen Audrey Parker blush before.
“Yeah, about that...”
But he doesn't wait for her to finish, just in case it's not what he wants to hear, and so he just blurts out his own truth instead. “I really want to kiss you again.”
She looks at him for a second and the air around him changes, like the very room is holding it's breath, until she speaks, more softly than he's used to from her. “So why don't you?” she says, stepping a little closer to him.
She's not smiling but her eyes are locked to his and he senses her nervousness. It's not fear, or hesitation, or uncertainty – he can tell just by looking at her that it's not those things because he knows her. It's just nerves. The same kind of nerves everyone gets when they know a relationship is about to change.
He feels the smile on his lips and sees the beginning of one on hers. He steps closer to her again, stopping where's there's barely a millimetre between them.
He is still. He is calm.
His fingers brush her collarbone and her eyes close and he kisses her. He's gentle and slow, content to simply breathe her in as his lips move over hers and he curls his fingers around the back of her neck and their bodies still aren't quite touching but her presence is electric and he's surprised to find that touching her like this doesn't actually set him on fire.
(He expected to lose control.)
(Now he starts to lose control.)
She pushes him towards his bedroom and her hands are on his belt, already sliding it out of the loops, but he grips her wrist before she can unbutton his pants and takes a step backwards to put some air between them. (He doesn't let go of her wrist though, can't lose that point of contact with her.)
“What's wrong?” she asks breathlessly.
“I need you to slow down,” he tells her bluntly.
She looks at him with confusion and he can see that she's about to question whether he's changed his mind. He strokes the inside of her wrist softly in an effort to assure her that he wants to be here, that he wants her and isn't backing out.
“It's been a long time, since I felt so much,” he continues slowly, trying not to let his embarrassment show.
“Oh,” she says, understanding registering on her face. And this time he knows she's blushing. It makes him feel a little better so he takes her by the hand and walks her slowly to his bedroom, stopping beside his bed.
Audrey takes a breath, reeling herself in now and locking the hunger she feels for him away for the time being, forcing herself to slow down. Her desire for him is still there, it's just not so...raw.
(In the back of her mind she can't help imagining what it will feel like later, when he's adjusted to her touch and she doesn't have to hold back. It makes her shiver with anticipation.)
She unbuttons his shirt but barely touches his skin and he hesitates for a moment with his fingers at the hem of her singlet but she looks at him, reassuring him with her eyes, til he slides it up over her head and tosses it aside. Audrey unbuttons her own jeans, eyes on his as she kicks them off, so he does the same and soon they're both standing in just their underwear.
Nathan lies down on the bed, stretching out on his side while his eyes remained fixed on Audrey as she unhooks her bra and drops it to the floor.
She lays down beside him and slowly reaches her hand around his back, pulling him closer bit by bit until the length of her body is pressed tightly against his. He gasps at the contact and his eyes close as she moves against him while she presses her lips to the column of his throat, then his jaw, then his mouth. She tastes his lips with her tongue and his hips buck and he slides a hand down her back, pulling her thigh up around his waist.
The feel of her hands on his skin, her breasts pressing into him, her breath hot against his lips, is less jarring now. It's not quite the overwhelming shock it was at first, fading instead into something familiar and blissful. He starts to let go, kissing her harder and revelling in the way she can't catch her breath and moans his name so quietly he almost can't hear it.
Nathan takes control now, without hesitation in his touch, and soon both of them are completely lost in the feel of each other, holding nothing back.
In the middle of the night she's fast asleep and rolls away from him, curled on her side with the sheet pooling at her waist. He stretches out to reach her, resting his hand against her back. It's the kind of touch no one else would even notice, just knuckles softly grazing her skin, but he feels it, feels her, and he wants it never to go away.
By morning she's rolled back into him. With her arm slung around his waist and her face pressed into his shoulder Nathan wakes to the feeling of Audrey Parker.