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Lovely In Her Bones

“But that doesn’t mean I’m ready to move to California. And it doesn’t mean I’m ready to talk about marriage or adopting babies or living together. It just means that I love you.” She licked her lips. “Okay?”

“It’s a very good start,” Dominic murmured. “A good start indeed. Wish we could shag.”

“Me too.”

“Barring that, I could work out my aggressions playing X-box.”

Dana chuckled and smiled at him. “That’d be fine. I’m not sleepy yet.”

“All right.” He kissed her warmly and kept his arm around her shoulders as they went back to his bedroom.

^*^*^*

“I am so kicking your ass,” Dana said, and snatched her control paddle out of his reach when he grabbed for it. “Cheater!”

“This is my best game! How are you beating me on a game you’ve never played before?” He grabbed for her controller again. She rolled away, laughing, and then lay down on the bed, clutching her side.

“Ow,” she said pitifully. “Stop making me laugh.”

“I am unmoved by your bid for sympathy,” Dominic said, but paused the game and lay down on his side next to her and began rubbing her stomach. “Could get right tiresome. ‘Dom, it hurts to laugh . . . Dom, it hurts to breathe . . .'”

“You’re heartless.” She put her hand on top of his.

“Which explains why you turned to me in your time of need,” Dom said airily. He laid his head down next to hers and kissed her crown. “Are you ready to call it a night?”

“No. I think my body clock’s thrown off from sleeping all day.” She was playing with his fingers, tracing and stroking them. Dom closed his eyes.

“Sometime you’ll have to come out here just to play. We could stay up all night and go to this great diner in Venice Beach and watch the sun come up.”

“California faces the wrong direction,” Dana murmured and chuckled when he nibbled her earlobe in retaliation. “Stop that!”

“Why? I like it.”

“Because there’s no point in getting me excited when we can’t do anything, so stop kissing me. Please. After you get back from Honolulu I’ll be ready for sex again, I promise.”

“I’m able to kiss you without expecting sex.”

“Right . . .” She tangled her hands in his hair as he continued kissing her neck.

“I am aware we’re not having sex tonight. It’ll hurt you. I’m aware of that. But I like you and I like kissing you and I’d like to keep on kissing you, please.”

“Mm . . . when you put it that way . . .” Her lips were sweet under his and her hands slowly glided over him.

“I smell bacon,” said a voice in the hallway. Dom groaned and rolled onto his back.

“Welcome home, Orli.”

“Oh, there you are,” Orlando said as he came into the bedroom. “Hello, Dana, are you feeling better?”

“Getting there, thank you.” Her hand had been crawling down Dominic’s stomach: she discreetly pulled it back.

“Why do I smell bacon?” Orlando said as he took off his shoes and lay down at Dom’s other side.

“I made omelettes for dinner,” said Dominic. “Bacon and mushroom.”

Orlando nodded and yawned. “Sounds better than what we had. Terrible sushi at this crowded, loud restaurant . . . and of course there were photographers waiting outside when we left, shouting, ‘Where’s Kate, Orli?’ I should have come home with you. Probably would have had more fun.”

“Poor Orli,” Dom said, shifting around so he could rub Orlando’s head too.

“Mm, thanks, Sblomie. Wotcher playing?”

“Two Towers,” Dom said and Orlando laughed.

“Should have known. Did you beat him, Dana? He’s terrible at it.”

“I beat him.”

“We are paused,” Dominic said with emphasis. “We’re not finished.”

Dana said, “I think it’s time to turn it off. You need some sleep.”

“All I’ve got tomorrow is yoga and some station IDs to film. I can stay up a bit longer. Yoga tomorrow, Orlando?”

“Mm,” Orlando said, nuzzling his head into Dom’s armpit. “Probably should. It makes me feel better.”

“I’ll pass,” Dana murmured.

“Thought you might. All that bending won’t help matters for you. I bet you’ll like it when you feel better, though.”

“Maybe. I prefer running. Or swimming. Swimming’s good.” She nuzzled into Dom’s other armpit and he tightened his arms around both of them. This was nice. This was very good. He’d thought Dana might be uncomfortable with the physical affection between his friends but she hadn’t even looked at him askance since Orlando lay down. He hadn’t found her to be especially uptight, at least not in bed, but it was hard to tell with American girls.

That was why he hadn’t told her everything about him, either.

“Are we still going to the beach on Saturday?” Orlando murmured sleepily. “I’ve missed surfing. And we should call Vig.”

“Want to go to the beach on Saturday?” Dominic asked Dana. “We could get you a sun umbrella and a beach chair.”

“That sounds nice.”

“Vig can’t come,” Dom told Orlando. “He’s got Henry this weekend and they’ve made other plans. I think a baseball game in is the works.”

“Pisser,” Orlando said.

“He did invite us for dinner on Sunday, didn’t I tell you?”

“Probably did, but I’ve decided to stop thinking for the weekend.”

“Dinner on Sunday at Viggo’s,” he told Dana. “And I’m DJing at a club Saturday night.”

“I think I’ll skip that one,” Dana said. “Even if I felt like dancing I have nothing to wear.”

“You could sit in the DJ booth with me, keep me company,” Dominic offered. “I’ll bring you earplugs.”

“Are you sure I won’t cramp your style? Won’t there be pretty girls you’ll want to dance with?”

“Are you questioning my fidelity?” Dom said with mock horror.

“I have no doubts about your fidelity. I just want you to dance if you want to.” Her smile turned angelic and she kissed his nose. “I’ll stay home.”

“As you wish,” he said with a sigh, and added it to his mental list of things to do on her next visit. They would go dancing. Her body sweaty and hot in his arms, moving rhythmically to the music . . . he squeezed his eyes shut and bit his lower lip. Good lord, three more days to get through while being considerate of her injury. He ought to get a medal after this, or at the very least sainthood.

He worked his arms from beneath them and crawled off the bed to turn off the X-box. He left the TV on, though, thinking it might help them all sleep, and crawled back between Orlando and Dana with the remote control. Dana snuggled back against him when he’d got comfortable, lying on her uninjured side and resting her head on his shoulder. She laid her hand on his chest.

“What are you looking for?” she murmured as he flipped channels.

“Dunno . . .” He paused on Jerry Springer but Dana snorted in disapproval, so he kept moving. At this time of night there wasn’t much on: infomercials and religious shows, Springer, anime on the cartoon channel. He liked anime but wasn’t in the mood for it tonight, so he kept moving.

“Don’t you want to watch Orlando on Leno?” Dana murmured when he’d gone through all the channels.

“No,” Orlando said loudly from Dom’s other side. “I hate watching my interviews.”

“We’ve missed it. We could watch the Late Late show, if you want.”

She shook her head. “That’s okay.”

Dom went a few more channels, then paused at a familiar voice. “What the hell?” he said, sitting up, and Orlando raised his head. “Dana? Is this–? You’re on the telly!” She glanced at the television, groaned and pulled the pillow over her head. “That is you, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” Dana said, her voice muffled by the pillow. “Please change it.”

“I want to see,” Orland said, sitting up too. “What show is this?”

“‘Cops,'” Dana said from behind the pillow. “They film police officers on patrol.”

Dom threw the pillow onto the floor. “What were you doing on ‘Cops’? And look at you! You look fantastic. The camera loves you.”

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