She was still shivering, even after all of the time it took us to get to the safe house. My arms were wrapped around her in the back of the jeep, my body molded to her side so that I was practically cradling her in my arms. She lay her head down on my shoulder, occasionally looking up into my face throughout the car ride, and after about fifteen minutes of driving she seemed to relax into my arms.
It was strange for me, seeing her so docile and complacent. She felt so small, and vulnerable in my embrace, almost delicate. I liked to consider myself the alpha female of any room or city I happened to be in, but Alice had set me straight about that within seconds of meeting me. I may have been kick-ass, but she was the Queen and as the night and the nightmare had worn on, I had become accustomed to her strength. I was even comforted by it, though I never would have admitted that to her.
Seeing her so small, it broke my heart and ignited something inside of me that was fiercely protective and I swore to hold her, to be strong for her, to be the protector, for once.
When we got out of the jeep, it was clear to me that she could stand perfectly well on her own, but I kept my arm around her waist, vigilantly, and she left her head on my shoulder, gratefully.
“I just can’t seem to stay warm,” she breathed out softly, her voice clearly aggravated even though it was soft. I had just finished wrapping a blanket around her shoulders and had begun to rub her arms and back through it when she spoke.
“It’s freezing out, and you were soaked,” I responded, my hands pausing momentarily as I anticipated her telling me to stop, and then continuing when she voiced no objections to what I had been doing. “The cold, it creeps into your bones. I know you’d like to defy the elements,” I went on, pleased to feel her body jerk as she released a short bark of laughter. “But you’re only human.”
“Barely,” she muttered darkly, in response to the last part of my statement. “These cuts and bruises, they won’t be there in the morning.”
She was staring off in front of her moodily.
“I know,” I said, finally ceasing with my rubbing of her arms, my hands falling away from her as I simply sat beside her on the bed. “It doesn’t make you any less human … in the ways that really matter,” I went on, trying not to wince and close my eyes in embarrassment at the words that were coming out of my mouth. Sappy, it was unbelievably sappy and cheesy, exactly the sort of thing I would have rolled my eyes at and made faces about a month before.
She was quiet for a long moment after I spoke, and I imagined that she was turning my statement around and finding it as hokey as I had. I let my mind wander in the silence and I realized I was glad that Alice appeared to be the strong and silent type because I knew that I didn’t want to deal with any smart-ass comebacks.
It was a mistake to let my guard down around her however, because faster than I could process I found myself pushed down onto the bed, Alice leaning over me, straddling my waist, the blanket I had placed around her hanging off of her shoulders like a cape as she stared down at me. I didn’t mean to, or want to, but I was sure that I gaped at her for a moment, an automatic reaction to something happening so quickly and with no warning.
“We’ll have to agree to disagree about that,” she said softly, not moving at all as she spoke, simply staring down at me in the same impassive way.
It took me a moment to remember what we had been talking about.
“Was this supposed to prove something?” I asked meeting her gaze, finally having recovered from the surprise of the attack. “Cause I already knew you were fast,” I continued, not blinking as I held her eyes. “And I suspected you were a top.”
Her lips twitched briefly at my last comment but she didn’t smile, didn’t even come close really, though I knew she was amused by it.
“I’m not scared of you,” I continued as her eyes darted off to the side for a moment, staring at something I was unaware of.
She had been doing that quite a bit since being rescued. It wasn’t something that she had done before, when we were in Raccoon City, and I had been watching her closely then. It was new, and I knew then why she was being so sensitive.
They had tampered with her some more, changed her, again.
“You should be,” she stated calmly.
“Should I?” I asked challengingly.
Her only response was to smile, feral, white teeth shinning in front of me for a long moment. Then, in a flash her face was mere inches away from mine as she once again demonstrated her super human speed, however I wasn’t as surprised by this movement as I had been by her initial one. Instead of jerking back awkwardly or gasping, I simply remained still under her, my heart thumping in my chest as I waited to see what she would do.
She didn’t move for a while, and though it could only have been seconds, it felt like an eternity to me. And then she dipped her head forward so that her nose grazed against the skin of my throat and I felt her chest inflate as she breathed in deeply. The action was animalistic, primal and something else I didn’t want to think about at the moment with Alice on top of me, and my heart thudding so close to her chest. However, as she continued to sniff me, moving up my check and past my jaw until her nose was buried in my hair, I found it very hard not think about how nice it felt to be so close to her, even though I knew it shouldn’t.
“You smell good,” Alice breathed out, lips brushing against my ear as she spoke, the warmth of her breath sending a shiver through my body. “I like it. You smell cozy.”
“Cozy?” I asked, not quite able to help myself.
People had used a lot of words to describe me in the past, but cozy had never been one of them. Apparently I’ve always had a bit of a standoffish personality.
“Mmm,” was all Alice said in response as she removed her nose from my hair.
Then, she promptly began to slide down my body until she was able to comfortably rest her head over my heart.
“It’s getting faster,” she whispered, and I could almost hear the smirk in her voice.
“Adrenaline,” I muttered, beginning to squirm beneath her as I should have done minutes ago.
I was starting to get extremely uncomfortable with our current arrangement, and quite frankly I didn’t feel like giving Alice one more advantage over me.
“Liar,” she murmured quietly, her head remaining peacefully over my breast despite my obvious hint for her to get off. “I have heightened senses, Jill.”
I paused for a moment at the use of my name, and realized that I had never heard Alice say it before. Then what she had actually said hit me.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
She didn’t respond to me however, verbally at least. Instead she lifted her head from my chest and stared down at me for a moment, her eyes roving over my face intensely, almost as if she was studying me, and then they dropped down for a moment to take in what was visible of my torso, which to my great frustration and embarrassment included a heaving bosom.
She moved quickly after that, grabbing my hands, which had been lying limply at my sides, bringing them up so that they were splayed above my head. She pulled my wrists together then, and used her left hand to hold mine down on the mattress.
“What exactly do you think you’re doing?” I asked, not bothering to actually try and break the hold she had on me. I knew that she was stronger than me, far, far stronger – even though we were around the same size – and that trying to out muscle her would be futile.
“I don’t know exactly,” Alice responded looking down at me. Her gaze was as cool and impassive as it had been since we had picked her up, but there was something happening behind her eyes, tiny flashes of emotion were showing through. I could pick up on confusion, but there was also something else there that was burning even brighter.
“Alright, approximate then. Guestimate even,” I said as her free hand began to trail up the side of my body, slowly, almost experimentally as if she couldn’t remember what it felt like to touch another person – a crazy thought considering the way she had been crawling all over me for past fifteen minutes.
“I want to touch you,” she breathed out softly, her eyes on her hand as it continued to move up my side until she was brushing the side of my breast with her fingers. “When I look at you, images flash in my mind, and I want to…” to my surprise, her hips jerked against my stomach when she stopped speaking, and her eyes fluttered shut for a moment, and despite her lack of words, her meaning was more than obvious. “I’ve never felt this way before … that I can remember.”
“About a woman?” I asked as, seemingly unconsciously, her hand moved to cup my breast.
Her lip twitched at the question and I knew she found it amusing, however, much to my relief she didn’t laugh. Instead she shook her head slowly and breathed out, “No, not that,” her words punctuated by her eyes dropping to watch her hand again as her thumb brushed over my nipple. I could feel it stiffen at the touch and shot a bolt of electricity through me even though I still had on the black shirt I had been wearing under my vest.
“What … then?” I asked, my voice catching, much to my annoyance, as she began to massage the breast she had been playing with in earnest. “Can you stop that please?” I asked in a pissy voice.
“I don’t know,” Alice replied looking up at me, smirking slightly. “I hadn’t planned on starting in the first place. I just … can’t help myself,” she continued, though much to my relief she had stopped caressing me. “Besides, you don’t really want me to stop.”
It was a statement not a question.
“How do you know?” I asked defiantly, even though she was quite correct.
Annoying as it was, my body was responding to her touch. I wasn’t surprised really, from the moment she had busted into the church through that stained glass window and taken out those lickers like it was the Monday before garbage day, I had felt an attraction to her. Inappropriate as it had been at the tim,e that attraction had only grown as that awful night had worn on. I had put it aside during the weeks Olivera and I were trying to track her down, but it had come back with a vengeance, and was equally inappropriate – I thought as my mind drifted back to the condition Alice had been in no more than two hours before.
“I can hear your heart beat,” Alice responded in a low voice. “I feel your temperature rising,” she went on her tone sounding almost dreamy as she rested her cheek against mine for a moment. “I can smell your excitement,” she continued lifting her head and looking down at me once more, her hips rocking – perhaps unconsciously, perhaps not.
“Jesus,” I whispered harshly, arching my own hips up into her body before biting my lip as I struggled to control my body’s reaction to her. However, before I could say anything else I felt her lips on my neck, licking and kissing lightly as she moved up towards my jaw, nipping at the skin she found as well now. “Alice.”
“I need you,” she whispered against my skin, almost too softly for me to hear.
“You need release,” I replied, my response not unkind but hardly wooed.
“No, I need *you*,” she insisted pulling back from kissing my skin, straddling me fully once more, looking down at me like some sort of ancient goddess.
“Why?” I refused to look at her.
She didn’t need me. I was just convenient, not the type of girl anyone brought home.
“Because,” Alice said softly, her eyes clouding over in thought.
“I’m here?” I suggested offhand and somewhat unkindly.
“You smell safe.”
I blinked at that. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting to hear and despite myself I found my eyes drifting back up to meet her eyes. They were no longer clouded over with lust, but clear and steady. Her expression was open and honest in a way I had never seen on her before – perhaps on anyone.
“I am,” I told her before I even realized I was speaking, the protectiveness I felt earlier back at full strength.
She smiled then, the expression brief but as beautiful as anything I had ever seen in my life. Then she leaned down and brushed her lips against mine softly, her hand coming back to my breast as I sighed into her mouth.