"You've had those dreams before?" he asked, his voice soft.
She could feel his intense stare on her face, but she wouldn't look at him. She thought about how many dreams she'd had. Too late. Sometimes she'd dream for days and days, always the same one, but it would never make sense and when she finally made sense of it, it was too late.
"Yes, I've had dreams before. I hear--voices in my head sometimes, even when I'm not asleep. A lot. Most of my life. But they rarely make any sense. And when they do, I can't always do anything to help," she said quietly. Lifting her eyes to his, she shrugged. "I wanted, just once, for it not be a waste."
"It's not a waste. It's amazing, Kris," Dylan said, his voice just a sigh on the night. "If you aren't able to do anything, it's because you weren't meant to. You saved lives with what you told me. I hope you already knew that, but if you didn't, well, now you do. I just wish I had listened a little better." His face hardened and his eyes glinted like broken glass as he swore roughly, "If I had listened, maybe nobody would have died."
"Nobody had any clue he was going to try what he did." Lifting her glass to her lips, she drank, wetting her dry throat and trying to still her rapidly beating heart. Not too late...for once.
"It's our job to know things like that. We should have known," Dylan said.
"Hell, Dylan," Kris snorted, shaking her head. "I didn't realize you were Superman." Then her eyes slid over to his and she cocked her head, resting her cheek on her fisted hand. "Why do you think they are disappointed in you?"
Dylan shifted against the railing and turned so that he could gaze out at the night. The wind blew his hair back from his face and he lifted one naked shoulder. "Why wouldn't they be? I let them down. When I did actually need them, when I let myself need them, I wouldn't let them come. I wouldn't even let myself call them." He lifted his beer to his lips and drank, draining half the bottle in one long pull.
Kris felt her heart twist at the despondency in his voice, in his face. Sighing, she set her glass down. "Dylan, they aren't disappointed in you. They are damned proud of you--they just hate how thick that skull of yours is. Ranger Dylan, he doesn't need anybody." Suddenly, she noticed the amber bottle he held. Her brows drew together and she demanded, "Where did the beer come from? I didn't notice any beer."
"Shawn brought it up with him when he got here a little while ago," Dylan answered, gesturing to the deck doors. "He just moved it into the fridge in the basement, if you want one, but you probably prefer your white wine."
She lifted her shoulders in a shrug. "I'm fine," she replied. Actually, she wanted that beer pretty bad, but getting up meant passing by Dylan. She wasn't sure she trusted herself just to walk by him yet.
Heaven, had he bothered her like this before? Of course, other than those few minutes months back when he'd come to her apartment, it had been a couple of years since she had seen him last. Kris liked it that way. Dylan had always bothered her, Kris was aware of that. He bothered her to the point that she tried to avoid seeing him whenever she could.
Something about the way he looked at her, that slow, almost lazy smile. Then there had been that kiss... Yeah, that had been disturbing.
Right now, disturbed didn't even cover it.
"How's life for the big editor going?" he asked when she remained in the lounge chair, her long legs drawn up against her chest, arms wrapped around them.
"At the moment, life sucks," Kris replied, startling herself. She hadn't really said that, had she?
"That night giving you some bad moments?"
Lowering her head, she pressed her brow to her knees and silently called herself ten different kinds of fool.
Dylan's voice was gentle as he said, "Baby, it's all right to be afraid. You saved your life that night. The man watching you that night hadn't been paying attention and by the time he caught up with you on his own..." His voice trailed off and Kris slowly lifted her head.
She stared at him coolly, her tone regal as she said, "I'm not afraid of something that is over with."
Dylan cocked a brow at her. "Doesn't bother you that somebody tails you everywhere you go, because he hasn't been caught yet? Raintree isn't making you nuts yet?"
She blinked. "Of course he's making me crazy. Having somebody watch you twenty-four seven would make anybody crazy," she said, gritting her teeth. "Where in the hell is he anyway?"
"He was watching you from the kitchen," Dylan said, flashing her a smile. "Trying to give you a little bit of peace. I told him I'd come out here and pester you. Well, I used the words keep an eye on you. He went on to bed. And I came out here. Would you rather me go get him so he can continue watching you?"
"You can be a royal ass," she said flatly.
"Yeah. So, what kind of lifestyle of the rich and famous are you up to these days?" he asked, jumping from one thing to the next with nary a blink.
She frowned, wetting her lips as she tried to follow his rapid change of subject. "Editing. Just switched companies," she replied.
"To someplace in Louisville?" he asked. "What are you editing? The Courier?"
Irritated, she rolled her eyes. "I'm tired," she said. rising off the lounge in one fluid motion. She was going to bed, damn it. Talking to him was too confusing. It made her head hurt. She was going to go to sleep and she wasn't going to dream of him, or think of him. Even if it meant beating her head against the wall to get him out of it.
"Before you go to sleep, rich girl, there's something I'd like to know," Dylan said, moving and barring her way with his body.
The heat from him reached her through her clothes and the smell of him filled her head while she waited, one brow arched, her bare foot tapping silently against the wood.
"What exactly is it you want to know, slick?" she asked, keeping her voice from shaking through sheer will power alone. Could you die from unrequited lust? she wondered. Was it possible die from this kind of need? If it was, then she was in serious trouble.
It heated her belly, pooled low there, like some kind of animal just waiting to be freed. Like a hot velvet glove, it stroked over her skin, keeping her on edge, waiting, yearning, needing... Damn it, Kris, stop it!
"Just this," he murmured, closing the distance between them with one step.
She felt him winding her hair around his hand, felt him lifting her head. His mouth brushed against hers briefly before he drew back. His face was shadowed, but she knew his eyes were on her. Did he just kiss me? she wondered. Had she fallen asleep and dreamed this?
Hell, she thought wildly, if I am dreaming this, then I'd better make the most of it.