“Well, that was….”
“Great?” she suggested, taking his hand and letting herself lean on him slightly as they walked backstage. Next time, no heels. “Amazing also works for me.”
“I was going to say loose,” he said, not meeting her eyes. “Almost the same thing. You looked like you were having fun.”
“Which I was. It was so sweet, how excited the girls were.”
Lindsey grinned. “Their faces lit up when they saw I wasn’t alone earlier. I suspect they thought Dave had replaced you with me for the show.”
“And they couldn’t have borne that disappointment,” she replied, laughing. “No shawl, sorry, ladies, but you can have an unused guitar pick.”
It was noisy backstage, all the bustle and motion and nervous energy familiar and dear, though the people were different. Lindsey tugged on her hand and led them to the small room set aside for their use.
“Karen not being here?” he asked, a soft smile on his face. “Did I fuck up with your care, Miss Nicks?”
“A foot rub wouldn’t have gone amiss. Mind you, there’s still time for you to do that so….”
Laughing at the suggestion, he sat down on the couch, pulling her down onto his lap. His fingers were soon making their way to her hair, gently putting it back in order. His touch lingered at the back of her neck and she shifted slightly, trying not to put all her weight on him. She sighed contentedly. It was ridiculously grounding to feel his hands on her, after the adrenalin of being onstage.
Closing her eyes, she allowed herself to relax, to enjoy the way his hands were running up and down her back in slow movements, just hard enough to make it helpful for the back pain. “The foot rub, Mr. Buckingham?”
“Later, milady, later.”
She turned to look at him and what she saw, his stupid half-apologetic expression, made her next words come out a little sharper than she’d intended. “Later when you’re back home with your family and I’m sitting alone in my room with only Sulamith for company, nursing my poor aching feet?”
“Well, when you put it like that…” He paused, let her roll her eyes at him. He was better at that now, allowing her to have her moment. “You’d have to move, though,” he added, putting an arm around her, his left hand coming to rest on top of hers.
She buried her head in his shirt before groaning. God, when had all her flexibility left her? Being old was the very devil.
“So we’ll be staying like this then?”
“You know we will. Shut up,” she said, nipping his neck quickly before making herself more comfortable on his lap. “When do you have to go home, Linds? Tonight?”
“I did tell Kit that I’d be back, yeah. I could always just text -”
She shook her head. “No, if you promised, you promised.” Stevie closed her eyes again, shutting out the weary expression on his face which she knew she’d put there.
“It wasn’t some kind of fucking vow, Stevie. Binding and the rest of it. I can stay if you want me to; you know that.”
Staying out of guilt or pity, her favorite of her Lindsey’s habits… God, she hated it.
She didn’t reply, just dropped a soft kiss on the exposed skin at his neck. He smelled so good.
“I WANT to stay, Stevie.”
And he apparently now had mind-reading abilities.
“Sulamith won’t mind vacating the bed for a night, and letting someone else keep you warm. I promise.”
“And is that a binding vow?” she said, allowing herself to enjoy the moment. She’d not done that enough lately; it was all second-guessing and over-thinking when it came to him and their fucked up relationship.
“I’ll write up the contract right now.” He let his fingers creep under the material of her top, exposing even more of her shoulders. He’d always liked doing that, revealing just a little more skin. Just for him. When he wasn’t ruining her outfits and tearing them off in a rush to get to a bed, of course. Men were predictable, and Lindsey was no exception. His tongue touched the small dint on her arm and she couldn’t stop the shiver that ran through her. He laughed against her. Bastard.
“The foot rub needs to be included.”
“Any kind of rub you want, babe.” He lifted his head up, looked her in the eyes. “I’m staying tonight, okay?”
“Okay,” she agreed softly. “Okay.”
His kiss was nothing special. It wasn’t fireworks and it wasn’t a bolt of lighting. It was no more than a quick press of the lips, natural and unsurprising. It had been a long time since his touch, his kiss, his body had surprised her. And maybe that was how it should be. The comfort of the everyday, or normalcy, was sometimes underrated, she thought in the quieter, more reflective moments. Her younger self would hate that she’d come to that conclusion, but it was nevertheless true.
She kissed him back.