Timeline: Before second trip to Stockholm
Note: This takes place the night after Steve rescues Kayla from Orpheus and she watches him sleep on the couch. Please forgive problems with the story, the danged heat here in Memphis is keeping me from moving but I also think it’s affecting my brain.
Kayla’s hand reached out and caressed Steve’s head, her fingers threading their way through his hair. His peaceful expression, a direct contradiction to his usual demander when he was conscious, had an unusual effect on her. Not twenty minutes ago she had walked away from Steve, his typical sleazy comments echoing in her ears all the way down the hall to the guest room Shane had set up for her. When Steve was acting like his usual flippant self, it was easy to forget how close she came to losing him, that she believed Orpheus had taken Steve away from her and life.
But Orpheus was wrong. He hadn’t killed Steve, though Roman barely managed to escape the intended fate. When Kayla recognized Steve’s form emerging through the door to her locked room, it wasn’t knowing she was actually rescued that compelled her to launch herself into Steve’s arms, it was the relief that Steve was very much alive and there for her to touch. She hadn’t realized until that very moment how much Steve Johnson meant to her, and if their lives weren’t still very much in danger and time was of the essence, she might have told him so right then and there.
Of course returning to Shane’s after everyone was safely away, other important issues took her mind off of how close she had come to losing him. So much had happened in the last 24 hours and Kayla’s mind was working overtime; she was exhausted yet on overdrive at the same time. She needed to get some sleep but her body wouldn’t let her go to bed until she had a chance to take one last look at Steve again, just one.
All of these thoughts drifted into Kayla’s mind. Her heart swelled with feelings she had managed to deny to herself about Steve, but now she just let it go; let her heart feel what it wanted to. Steve might be able to shake off any feelings he had about how close he had come to death tonight, but Kayla couldn’t and wouldn’t.
His hair beneath her fingers felt much softer than she expected. She had told herself she would just brush it out of his face, but her hand took on a will of its own, and Kayla bit her lip at the sensations running up her hand and through her arm while touching Steve like this. When did hair become so sensual to her?
Deep in thought, Kayla didn’t have time to react as Steve’s eye opened. For a second, she froze, her body tensed with anticipation at what he would make of this scene before him. He glanced at her position in front of him, still wearing the robe Shane had given her. Then as he made direct eye contact with her and opened his mouth, Kayla braced herself for the sure to be smart aleck comment that would follow.
“Come here, Sweetness.”
Steve looked into Kayla’s eyes and held his breath. Up until now he had made light of rescuing her but the truth was he had been scared to death, even after she was safely out of harm’s way. Hearing Orpheus torment her, Steve had said a little prayer hoping she hadn’t been physically abused.
Seeing she was alright sent waves of relief through him, but they didn’t have time to dwell on such things as they had to get out quickly. Now that they were safely away, Steve had fallen back on his flippant manner but underneath he really felt the opposite. Kayla’s eyes told him she was relieved for his safety and he could feel the extra beats his heart was making upon that realization. Still, it was better to keep her at arm’s length; it just wasn’t worth getting too close.
As he slept he dreamed simply of holding her, his unconscious mind allowing him to partake of fantasies in his dreams he dared not to attempt while awake. Now opening his eye, he found her sitting right in front of him and the look on Kayla’s face was unmistakable; she needed him as much as he needed her.
Steve was just as shocked as she was when he opened his mouth and beckoned her to come closer. Without saying a word Kayla allowed him to guide her onto the couch with him; a couch already too small to support his tall frame, much less two people. But neither of them cared for that. Lying down, Kayla was more on top of him than next to him. Words weren’t needed; understanding of the comfort both could give each other was shared silently.
Kayla hadn’t realized she was holding her breath until after she was situated. Trying to keep from gasping, Kayla’s body was aware of Steve’s own underneath hers. Surprisingly, she felt a sense of safety wash through her, making her relax as the exhaustion of the extremely stressful day overcame her. Finally feeling perfectly safe for the first time since Orpheus kidnapped her, Kayla allowed a small smile come across her face as she fell into a sleep.
Steve watched as she fell asleep, telling himself the whole time that Kayla had come to him, and both were just seeking solace in each other. Letting his own body surrender to that exhaustion, a similar smile came across his own features as his body went back to sleep.
Steve felt morning light hit his face and his eye blinked open. Glancing around, he realized he wasn’t home in his cramped one room apartment. He also quickly realized he wasn’t alone either. Moving his hand, he felt the soft contours of Kayla’s body, and his blood quickened as he remembered the evening before.
He had almost lost her.
Swallowing, Steve managed to position himself to gaze down at her; he really couldn’t see her face as her head was turned downward. His hand moved up and lightly touched her hair, something he always was drawn to do no matter what the circumstance. Now she was sleeping peacefully in his arms, as if the night’s events hadn’t happened at all. Steve was relieved he could help her feel safe, what Orpheus could have done to her last night was still running through Steve’s mind, he was shocked he hadn’t had nightmares about it.
Suddenly, a light tickle started around his nose, and realizing a sneeze was coming, Steve did his best to stop it but too late. The movement was enough to wake up Kayla who glanced up with surprise on her face.
“Hi,” she said quietly, actually shyly. She had been only this close to Steve once before, when they were trapped in a box together in Stockholm. However, it was such a tight fit she could hardly look at him directly like she was doing now. His face appeared like he had just woken up and she could feel his hand on her shoulder. All too quickly though, Steve’s face returned to his typical sneer before he returned her morning greetings, obviously trying to be nonchalant.
“I’ve always imagined us like this together, but usually we have less clothes on.”
Kayla knew he was trying to bait her, to get her riled up. Last night, Steve needed to be comforted as much as she did but now that the highs of risking their lives had worn off, he was escaping to his old habits. Normally, Kayla would simply sit up and let him have his way, but something about sleeping all night in his arms, thanking God that Steve had been spared, and seeing the silent look that passed between them last night, Kayla had no intention of getting up. She had no intention of being dragged into a verbal fight with him.
Instead, she lifted her hand and rubbed his cheek.
He was startled and as usual he jumped a bit at her touch. Typically when she caressed his face it was his blind side. He told himself he let her get away with it because he obviously couldn’t see her coming until it was too late. But this time she moved slowly and he watched her hand all the way. And he still jumped at her touch.
His defenses kicked in and he opened his mouth to say something smart but she used her thumb to cover his mouth to shush him. Where did this Kayla come from? She had never been so assertive before. Then again, she had never voluntarily spent the night in his arms on a much too small couch either. It was as if sleeping next to him all night had strengthened her resolve and she wasn’t about to be bullied by him.
For what seemed like eternity they stared at each other, the only noise heard was the sound of hearts pounding in their ears. Steve tried not to do it, but the feeling was too strong, he glanced down at her lips and it was enough to send his body off on a mission of it’s own… he leaned in to kiss her.
Kayla met his kiss, her mouth opening for him. Giving him full access to her, Kayla bit back a moan that almost immediately escaped at the sheer touch of him. For a few minutes they kissed softly but as time went on their bodies began to demand more and Kayla pulled herself up to be more level with him. His arms wrapped around her and Kayla’s hands began exploring the sides of Steve’s body.
Steve knew kissing Kayla would be like nothing he had ever experienced but nothing prepared him for this. All sensible thought left him and as she worked her way up the couch to meet him more, Steve pulled her tightly to him, not wanting to let her go. He shifted in the couch so he could now work his mouth down to her neck. Once his lips left Kayla’s, she slipped out a moan and Steve felt his body harden more at the sound. He spent some time at the nape of her neck while Kayla’s hands were massaging his head.
By now, they were sitting up in the couch with Kayla leaning on the back. Again, Steve shifted and allowed his mouth to return to hers. The kissing had now become much more intense and he wondered briefly if he was actually dreaming. That idea went away as it didn’t take long for reality to come crashing down.
“Get your hands off my sister!”
Steve felt a jerk at his back and was practically thrown off Kayla and across the coffee table. Stunned, Steve’s eye focused onto the very angry image of Roman Brady.
After landing hard against the other side of the room, Steve glared at Roman who was seething. He knew the police captain was angry, angry at finding Steve making out like a teenager with his baby sister, but there was no reason to throw him like a rag doll. Steve prepared himself to run right back at Roman full speed but stopped when he saw his arm in a sling… remembering he would be attacking Kayla’s brother who was injured, hardly something he should do if he wanted to date Kayla.
Who said anything about dating Kayla?
Steve flinched at the question that suddenly popped in his mind; luckily Kayla and Roman were now verbally sparring with each other making Steve refocus his attention on them.
“…and you have no right to act like some Neanderthal who…” Kayla was saying.
Roman interrupted, “Who comes in and protects his sister from a jerk taking advantage.”
“He wasn’t take advantage of me!”
Snorting, Roman turned to face Steve and practically spit as he said, “Oh, believe me, Sis, he was!”
Steve felt his temper rise and began to say something in return but Kayla cut Steve off by grabbing Roman’s arm and whipping him around to face her again. The ice in her voice was unmistakable as she said, “You’re not much of a cop, Roman. If you looked at this and thought he was taking advantage of me.”
Roman gave her a quizzical look, as did Steve, so Kayla went on, “I came into this room of my own accord. I gently woke him. I shared the couch with him last night… get that look off your face, Roman, we only slept! But I started the kissing, which I was greatly enjoying so if anyone was taking advantage of anyone, it was me of him.”
This time, Roman remained silent just as Steve’s mouth dropped open. Kayla’s confession came so easily out of her mouth it stunned both of them… and probably Kayla too, judging by the way she re-tightened her robe . For a long moment, all three stood silently, each afraid to say anything but for all different individual reasons.
It was Shane Donovan who interrupted the silence, “What’s going on here? What…what happened to my Portuguese vase?”
They all turned to the area directly behind Steve where he’d landed. Apparently, he had landed near a table that flipped over and shattered whatever lay on top of it; Steve guessed that must be what Shane was referring to. He glanced back at the ISA agent who now was furious.
“Roman, Steve, I trust that both of you two can keep your tempers under control and not brawl in my living room? Otherwise I will have to… childproof my home if I expect this behavior to continue.” Shane’s tone made Steve laugh. Leave it to Shane to sound all formal and British while the Brady’s simply yell and throw things.
“What’s so funny?” Roman asked glaring at Steve.
“Nothing, man,” Steve said, finally talking to his attacker. “It’s just not a nice way for you to thank your rescuer by breaking his precious artifacts from abroad.”
Annoyed, Roman replied, “I didn’t break it. You did.”
“Because you threw me across the room, and let me say you’re perfectly welcome to try now… but I doubt you can get very far with your one arm.”
“Well, it can still hit your one eye, so I’d be careful what I say…”
“BOTH OF YOU…STOP IT!” Kayla, who had had enough, shouted. Frustrated with the situation as well as extremely embarrassed for her brother to find her in such a position with Steve, she walked back to her room. “I’m going to change. Try not to kill each other while I’m gone.”
Shane watched as both men turned towards each other, clearly set not to follow Kayla’s advice. Shane stepped between them, “Look, I have no idea what is going on between you two but it needs to be put aside. Don’t forget Orpheus is still out there, he still has Marlena and the only way to get her back is to find those damned bonds.”
It took a minute, but both men eventually shrugged Shane’s words and Steve went to go change, choosing to use Shane’s bedroom which was unfortunately in the opposite direction of Kayla’s room.
“Okay, Sweetness, I have got to get going. Roman won’t wait forever on me.”
“Wait a minute,” Kayla said, irritated. Though his back was to her, she could tell Steve was flinching. Since Shane broke up the fight between Steve and her brother, everyone had focused on the matter at hand; finding the bonds and hopefully finding Marlena. It was decided that Steve and Roman would fly back to Stockholm while Kayla and Hope would remain stateside. Hope had gone upstairs and Steve had turned to leave in order to head straight to the airport. With everything happening so fast, there hadn’t been much time to talk about what happened so early that morning.
“You can’t leave until we talk,” Kayla said, her heart beating fiercely.
“Talk about what, Sweetness?” Steve sneered a bit while placing his hands in his jacket’s pockets.
Kayla rolled her eyes; the man was really infuriating sometimes. “Talk about our kiss, Steve!”
Steve took a breath, he hadn’t expected Kayla to come out and bring it up so simply. He still remembered the feel of her body against his, her scent and her lips touching his own. But Roman’s words echoed in his head… and though he could fight with that Brady brother of Kayla’s, he couldn’t argue with his logic. He wasn’t good enough for Kayla and shouldn’t even try to go forward with anything.
“Sweetness, kisses aren’t for talking, they’re for doing.”
“Steve, I’m serious, we need to…”
“You know,” Steve said trying to put as much annoyance in his voice as he could, “that’s your problem. You are serious about this. Too serious. I hate to tell you this, baby, but I’m not.”
“Nope, I’m not.” Steve steeled himself at the look of hurt on Kayla’s face. If he was going to do this, he had to stick to it and not let her get to him. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go meet your older brother who probably is the only other person in this city more serious than you. I’ll catch you later.”
Steve walked out of the loft and shut the door behind him, taking a moment to lean up against it. He hardly felt like he had the strength to go forward and get in the elevator; lying had never felt tougher or more tiring.
Kayla looked at the door, feeling the disappointment within her. However, within that disappointment, was one ray of hope. Steve’s words hurt but she wasn’t entirely convinced he was being truthful. The look on his face when he found her on Orpheus’ yacht told her was more serious about her than he let on, and that didn’t count the look on his face when he woke up last night and pulled her to him so they could sleep together. The problem was… how was she going to convince him of that?
Kayla sat down and closed her eyes. Why couldn’t Steve take a chance with his heart? Why couldn’t he be honest like he was this morning?
A knock on the door got her attention. Standing up, she walked to the door and opened it. It was Steve again, this time carrying yellow roses. Kayla was confused, how did he have enough time to go get those so quickly?
“May I come in?” he asked sheepishly.
Speechless, Kayla turned so Steve would have room to come in. Placing the flowers on the bar, he turned and looked at Kayla. She was about to ask him what he was doing back but his hand cupped her cheek which silenced her.
“I know I don’t have a right to be here, especially after the things I just said,” Steve started, “but I realize now I can’t leave it like that. Not with a lie.”
“A lie?” She was so confused. He was coming back to admit to everything… just like that?
“This trip to Stockholm, it’s going to be dangerous. If I didn’t make it back… I think, I mean, I want to make sure you know…” He had to stop. Kayla’s large eyes were making it hard for him to concentrate.
“Make me know what? Steve, what are you trying to say?” Kayla’s heart had never beaten faster as she waited on him to answer her.
Steve began to explain but words weren’t really his style. He decided the more direct approach was really him. “I’m trying to say this, baby; I’m ready to be this serious about us.” Then he leaned in and gave her a kiss.
Her arms looped around his head and they were in a passion filled embrace. The kissing was becoming intense and Steve couldn’t believe she was as soft then as she was this morning. His hand reached down below her sweater and began reaching up…
“C’mon, Johnson!” Roman said, irritated. “That’s our flight. Let’s go.”
Steve had to shake his head to clear it. He had simply begun starting out imaging what he wanted to say to Kayla but lost himself to it, something he had never been able to do before, especially in broad daylight. Grabbing his lone bag, he picked it up and followed Roman towards the runway, ticket in hand. He was glad he had this Stockholm trip; distance would be the only thing that would keep him away from Kayla.
THE END (Or now, the story picks up like canon)