Friday, April 22, 2011

Chapter 19

Annie's lips parted in a silent gasp.  Her heart melted at Richie's whispered declaration, even as her mind rejected it.

Of course he couldn't be serious.  Richie didn't really love her, how could he?  He hardly knew her.  He was just caught up in the moment, in the afterglow of great sex and good weed and this magical, romantic night of music and moonlight.

But still Annie's eyes moistened at the earnestness in Richie's gaze.  It was like he somehow knew that she needed to hear those words, for him to fill the emptiness in her heart that had been there too long.  Even if it was only make-believe.

And Annie could see in his beautiful, soulful eyes what Richie needed from her.

"I love you too, Richie," she lied.

They gazed silently at each other for a long minute before Richie slowly lowered his head.  His lips stroked gently over Annabelle's as he moved his body downward, withdrawing from her.  She whimpered softly as he broke the kiss.

Shifting onto his hip beside Annie, Richie propped himself up on an elbow.  With a tender smile he reached up to caress Annie's cheek as she turned her head to look at him.  "God, Annie... that was great.  Thank you."

"Yeah, it was," she breathed, a little smile curling the corners of her pretty mouth.  "I was beginnin' to wonder if we were ever gonna get there, though."

"What?" Richie's brow arched with surprise.  "Why?'

"Well..."  Annie reached up to finger the silver cross that lay askew against Richie's pec.  "You just seemed like you didn't wanna kiss me at first, then you didn't wanna go any further than that.  Like you were afraid or somethin'."  She smiled coyly, raising her eyes to his.

Richie felt his blush as he smiled sheepishly.  "I... well, I wasn't afraid, exactly... I just..."  He paused, searching for the right words.

Annie waited patiently, watching him.  Again her heart swelled as she saw Richie's vulnerability. In that moment he looked like an uncertain kid of nineteen, struggling to understand his emotions.

Richie swallowed hard and took a deep breath before looking Annie in the eye.  "Annie, you're not just some girl.  Not to me.  You're beautiful and kind and generous..."  Again he stroked her cheek, brushing away a strand of honeyed hair from her face.  "I just didn't want you to think I don't respect you.  'Cause I do.     I didn't want to take advantage of you, make you hate me."

Annie's smile gentled.  "My goodness, that scoldin' I gave you yesterday about your manners really made an impression, huh?"  She chuckled softly.  "Richie, you didn't need to worry about takin' advantage of me.  I can take care of myself just fine, and I woulda let you know if I wasn't happy about the way you were treatin' me.  Besides..."  She raised her hand to tap his nose playfully with her index finger.  "You can't take advantage of somebody who's ready and willin'."

Richie grinned at her confession, a little wave of relief washing over him. So he hadn't read her signals wrong. "I thought maybe... well, I was hoping you felt the same way I did.  I do.  I was just...."  He shrugged as he let his thought trail off.

"You were shy."  Annie grinned back at him.  "And it was sweet.  Really, Richie, it was.  But now...."  She turned onto her side, sliding her arm around Richie's waist as she pressed her bare body to his.  "There's nothin' left to be shy about, is there?"

"No, I guess not."  Richie's lips again found Annie's as he pulled her closer, savoring the feel of her naked body against his.  He felt a stirring in his groin as they shared a long, deep kiss.

"Mmmm...."  Annie purred happily when their lips parted.  "So... what now? A little star-gazin'?"  She dropped her lips to Richie's shoulder and nibbled lightly at his warm skin.

Richie chortled softly.  "If that's what you wanna do."

"As long as you hold me."


Annie pulled back from Richie and gave him a sweet smile.  "You thirsty?  I could use a drink."

"Yeah, that sounds good."  Richie loosened his embrace as Annie pushed herself up onto her hip beside him.  He couldn't stop his grin as he found her firm breasts at his eye-level.  He felt another little surge in his groin as he watched Annie pull a hand through her tousled blonde hair, her beautiful nude body bathed in silvery moonlight.  Now that the sexual tension between them had been broken he wasn't embarrassed to stare.

Annie felt Richie's eyes on her and smiled down at him.  "Like what you see?"

"Yeah.  Very much."

Annie chuckled softly and let her eyes wander down Richie's chest to his groin.  She smirked slightly as she evaluated his manhood, noticing the little twitch it made in response to her gaze.  Yes, he was definitely all she imagined; his snug-fitting jeans hadn't created an illusion.  Nothin' boyish about him there, she thought with a silent snicker.

And Richie certainly knew how to use his endowment.  Though their intimate encounter hadn't lasted long, he had left Annabelle with no doubt about his experience.  When it came to lovemaking Richie was no shy kid of nineteen.  He was definitely all Man.

Next time she'd appreciate his prowess more, when she had better control over her own body.  Annie shivered slightly at that delightful idea, feeling her nipples contract in response.  Next time.

With a little toss of her head Annie chuckled again and pushed herself up onto her knees.  She leaned over Richie's legs, reaching for the remains of the six-pack that sat on the edge of the pickup truck's tailgate.  Annie's breasts brushed against his feet as she stretched, making her giggle.  She heard him laugh, too.

Richie grinned broadly as he watched Annie pull a can of beer from its plastic ring, then settle back into her kneel to pop it open.  He chuckled as he noticed she aimed the can away from her face before pulling the ring, in anticipation of a minor carbonated explosion.

Rolling onto his back, Richie sighed happily.  He let his hands rest on his damp chest as he looked up at the clear night sky.  Millions of stars sparkled across the velvety darkness, winking at him in turn.  Richie smiled gratefully as he realized for the first time in months he felt at peace.

"Wanna drink?"

Richie raised his head to see Annie holding out the can of Budweiser in offering.  He nodded and pushed himself up on an elbow before taking the beverage from her.  He groaned softly as a large swallow of barely-chilly beer slid down his throat.  It tasted good.

Annie giggled softly at Richie's little slurp from the beer can.  She smiled, watching him take several more gulps before handing the half-empty can back to her.  "Thirsty, huh?"

"Parched.  Guess your little game wore me out."  Richie's tease was gentle.  He regarded Annabelle for a moment, his mocha eyes widening in appreciation of her moonlit beauty.  Her womanly curves were shadowed by the night, sliver light glinting off the perspiration that dotted her lovely neck and chest.

Annie sat still, smiling as she felt Richie's loving gaze on her body.  It warmed her soul even as the ocean breeze cooled her skin.  Again she shivered slightly.

"C'mere."  Richie opened his arms, beckoning her to him.

Annie crawled carefully forward, reaching to set the beer can beside the radio on the footlocker before settling beside Richie on the blanket.  With a happy purr she snuggled against his side, sliding an arm across his waist as Richie enfolded her in his embrace.  She nestled her cheek against his chest and sighed.

"This is nice."

"Mmmm hmmm...."  Richie gave Annie a little squeeze, allowing his eyes to drift closed.  He smiled gently as he felt her leg slide forward, twining around his.  He breathed deeply, in and out, relaxing.  His heartbeat evened out as he felt Annie's warm breath on his chest and the quiet rush of the waves filled his ears.  "It's perfect," he whispered.

They lay quietly together, listening to the sounds of the night mingled with the music drifting from the little radio and savoring their post-coital bliss.  Annie chortled softly as she realized now that her arousal had been sated she could feel the effects of her organically-induced buzz.  She reveled in her contentment.  It had been a long time since she had felt this way, so safe and warm and beloved.

As if reading her mind Annie felt Richie's arm's tighten around her. His chest expanded under her cheek as he pulled in, then blew out a deep breath.  "You okay?" he murmured.

"Uh huh."  Annie giggled softly.  "Just mellow."

Richie grinned.  "Me too."  He chortled softly and dropped a kiss against Annie's hair.  "You weren't kidding about Mischief tonight, were you?"

"Nope."  Annie curled her fingertips against Richie's side, tickling him gently.  She giggled at his squirm.  "And if you're gonna do Mischief, you may as well do it up right."

Richie snorted out a laugh at that, then squirmed again at her second tickle.  "Hey! Cut it out!"  His hand moved to his side, stilling her offending fingers.

Richie enfolded Annie's hand in his and pulled it up to rest on his chest.  "Well, I'd say we did it up right.  Honky-tonkin', whiskey-drinkin', grass-smokin'...." He grinned.  "Then a little love-makin' under a big ol' Southern moon."

Annie's musical laugh of agreement warmed Richie's heart.  He squeezed her hand against his chest and kissed the top of her head again.  "Ain't much else left to do, Mischief-wise."

"Oh, I'm sure we can come up with somethin' else," Annie chided playfully.  She sighed happily and turned her face to place a kiss against his chest.  "But not right now.  This feels too good."

"Yeah."  Richie gazed again up at the stars, smiling at the Heavens and silently thanking God for this miraculous night.  After all the shit the Good Lord had put him through the last few months, finally He had given Richie a gift -- an Angel of Mercy to soothe his battered soul.

Richie chuckled quietly to himself.  Or maybe Annie was actually the Devil in Disguise.  Either way, he didn't care.  He was already knee-deep in Sin and he was gonna enjoy every damned minute of it.  He would gladly suffer purgatory in exchange for this perfect night with Annabelle.

"Mmmm...." Annie's purr against his chest drew Richie's attention back from the stars.


"I love this song."

Richie hadn't really been paying attention to the radio, lost in his musings.  But now he focused on the melody wafting on the breeze.

On a dark desert highway
Cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas
Rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance
I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night

There she stood in the doorway
I heard the Mission bell
And I was thinking to myself
This could be Heaven or this could be Hell...

Richie chortled softly; how apt those lyrics were for his train of thought of just a moment ago.  "Yeah, this is a fuckin' amazing tune, Man."  He sighed heavily.  "I always thought just maybe someday.... Someday I'd be able to write a song that good."

"Someday you will," Annie murmured, again pressing her lips against his warm chest.

"No.  I won't."

The pang of regret in Richie's husky reply made Annie raise her head.  She gazed at his handsome face, now masked with sadness.  Dammit, not now, she swore silently.

"Sure you will."  Annie gave Richie a tender smile.  "I saw you up on that stage tonight, I heard you play and sing.  And I saw how the people reacted to you.  Lemme tell ya, Richie -- they're harsh critics, especially to outsiders.  And you won 'em over with your first note."

Annie paused, watching Richie's expression.  His lips curved for a moment into an ironic smile, then it faded as he gave his dark head a little shake.  As she saw hurt flicker in his wide pupils Annie's mind flashed back to that moment back at Ruby Mae's, when Richie had snapped at her.

I'm just not that good!  Okay, Annie?  Get it?

Jesus... was that it?  Had somebody told him he wasn't good enough to be a professional musician?  Was that why he was so reluctant to open up to her about music?

Annie took a breath before she continued.  She so wanted to soothe him, to restore the happy mellow Richie had going just a minute ago.  Until she had opened up her big mouth about that damned Eagles song.

"Richie, you're so talented.  I just know when you get back up to New Jersey and play some more you'll get your break.  Somebody in one of those New York record companies is gonna hear you and..."

"No."  Richie's quiet dissent cut her off.  "That's never gonna happen, Annie."

"Oh Richie, I'm sure it will..."

"No.  It won't."  Richie's voice held a hard edge.

Annie's eyes widened at his tone.  She tensed as a wave of frustration washed over her.

Dammit, ever since she picked Richie up on the side of the road yesterday he had been closed off to her on this topic, evasive of her well-intentioned questions.  She was getting tired of it.  How the Hell was she supposed to help him if he wouldn't talk to her?  Surely after the intimacy they had just shared Richie wasn't afraid to reveal himself to her.

"Oh really?"  Annie tried to keep her voice level, to mask her frustration.  But she could hear a hint of annoyance creep into her question.  "And just what makes you so sure 'bout that?"

'Cause I quit."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chapter 18

Darlin', don't live without you
And your love
If I have
Those golden dreams
Of my yesterdays
I would wrap you
In the Heaven
'Til I'm dyin'
On the Way

Feel like makin'
Feel like makin' love
Feel like makin' love
Feel like makin' love
Feel like makin' love to you

Richie stared at Annie as the chorus crashed around them.  He swallowed hard at the sultry gleam in her sapphire eyes.

"Annie..." he mumbled hoarsely.  "You don't have to..."

"Hush."  Her finger against his lips silenced him.  "Richie.... I want to."

Richie sucked in a breath as her husky confession filled his head.  Wordlessly he nodded as a flush of heat rushed through his body.

Annie moved her finger from Richie's lips, drawing its tip lightly down his chin before dropping her palm against his heaving chest.  She smiled as she gently fingered the little silver cross gleaming against his moist skin.  Then she pulled her hand away.

Her gaze returning to Richie's, Annie pushed herself up on her hip, drawing her legs up to support her.  Her bare knees grazed Richie's denim-clad thighs with the movement, making him gasp softly.  Even that inadvertent, innocent contact sent another surge through his body.

Richie stared as Annie's pretty pink-tipped fingers curled under the hem of her tank top.  Her gaze still locked with his, Annabelle slowly pulled the garment up, baring her flat belly before revealing the creamy lace that covered her breasts.  Richie exhaled shakily as Annie pulled the tank over her head, tossing her blonde hair as she dropped the garment beside her on the old quilt.

Her lips curved into a sultry smile as she watched Richie's eyes lower to her chest.  There was no mistaking his want now.  He was no longer trying to put up a front, to be a gentleman and smother his attraction.  And that excited her even more.

"Richie..."  Annie reached again to his chest, resting her palm momentarily over his heart before curling her fingers to clutch at the damp cotton stretched across his torso.  With a gentle tug she made it clear what she wanted.  Richie jumped to oblige her.

Pushing himself up to sit facing her, Richie reached behind his neck and yanked the tank top up and over his head.  Pulling it free of the dark tangle of his hair, he tossed it aside.  Then he sat quiet, his tanned, bare chest slicked with a sheen of perspiration despite the light breeze wafting in from the water.

Feel like makin' love
Feel like makin' love
Feel like makin' love
Feel like makin' love to you

Annie breathed out, trying to stay calm as her hungry eyes slid over Richie's chest.  He wasn't ripped by any means, but bronzed skin stretched taut over firm, tight muscles.  Thin patches of dark fur scattered across his pectorals, curving around his brown nipples.  Smooth bare skin stretched between the twin swells of his pecs, glistening in the moonlight.  Annie's eyes followed the shiny path lower to the delicious dimple of his navel, half-hidden in the little creases of his abdomen as he sat awkwardly on his hip.

She didn't dare let her gaze drop lower.  Not yet. 

Her smile gentling, Annie again raised her eyes to Richie's.  Her heart skipped a beat at the need blazing in the dark mocha pools.  She tipped her head a little as she reached both hands behind her back and fingered the clasp on her bra.

"Oh God... " Richie breathed hoarsely as her breasts swelled against their cups with her movement.  He could see the dark rosy circles of her nipples through the flimsy lace.  Unconsciously he sucked his lower lip between his teeth and held his breath.

With a soft chuckle Annie released the hooks between her shoulder blades.  Moving one hand to modestly cover her breasts and hold her bra in place, she shrugged the straps over her shoulders, letting them slide down her arms.  Then with a little smirk she lowered her arms, allowing the lacy garment to fall away from her bosom.

Richie gasped softly at the sight of her bare breasts.  He raised a hand, then hesitated.  Again his eyes met hers and his heart flipped.  He smiled, seeing permission in her hopeful gaze.  

But when his hand moved again it was upward, to Annie's cheek. "My God, Annie..." he whispered.  "You're so damned beautiful..."  The word was a sigh against her lips, preceding his kiss.

"Ohhhh.... Richie...."  Annie let herself go, leaning forward to press her chest against his as her hands sought his waist.  The contact of their bare flesh made them groan together with delight.  Lowering his hand from Annie's cheek, Richie braced it against the truck's bed and leaned forward, kissing Annie more hungrily.

Chortling happily deep in her throat, Annie scooted closer to Richie, steadying herself with her arms around his waist.  Then she leaned back, urging him to follow her down onto the quilt.

Richie instinctively followed her lead, leaning with her until they were settled together on their sides.  They continued to kiss, their urgency increasing as the words and crashing drums and guitars crescendoed around them.

Feel like makin' love
Feel like makin' love
Feel like makin' love
Feel like makin' love to you

Annie moaned softly as she felt Richie's hand on her breast, gently cupping the firm globe before his fingers slipped over her nipple's peak.  She turned her head just enough to slide her lips from his and draw in a deep, shuddering breath.  Richie raised his head to look at her, anxious to see what emotion would grace her beautiful features.  He couldn't help but grin when he saw her blissful smile.

Dropping his cheek back to Annie's, he moved his lips to her ear.  "Annie... I want you so much," he whispered.

"I want you too, Richie... but slow.  We got all night."  Annie's sigh in his ear sent a tingle through his heated body.  God, he wanted to take it slow too, to spend the rest of the night making love to her.  But he was so revved up he wasn't sure how long he could last.  The first time, anyway.

He didn't answer, instead turning his lips to her neck.  Richie felt Annie tip her head back as he nuzzled between thick honeyed strands of blossom-scented hair, seeking her warm skin.  God, she tasted good--warm and sweet, with just a little salty tang of sweat.  Richie let out a soft groan as he realized he wanted to lick every inch of her, to fill himself with her taste.

As Richie suckled gently at her neck, his lips inching down toward her shoulder, Annie sighed happily and shifted beside him.  As she rolled onto her back Richie's hand slipped from Annie's breast to brace against the quilt by her side.  His lips never stopped their movement, slipping down to the notch of her throat.

"Oh, Darlin'... you taste so good...." Richie murmured against her skin.  "I bet you taste this good all over, don't you?"  With the lusty question Richie's hand moved to rest on Annie's stomach, his fingers slipping under the waist of her cutoffs.

Annie gasped softly, her hips automatically tipping upward toward his touch.  "I... I don't know," she teased gently.  "Why don't you tell me?"

Richie smiled against her delicious skin, surprised at the little blush he felt heating his cheeks at her veiled invitation.  He certainly had no reservations about eating pussy; in fact, he'd been told he was pretty damned good at it.  And Lord knew he wanted  a taste of Annie.

But first he wanted to revel in the feel and flavor of her flesh quivering under his lips  "Soon," he whispered, just before his lips closed around her nipple.

Annie whimpered softly, her eyes drifting closed as she arched against Richie's mouth.  Her entire body tingled with delight at his touch as her womb throbbed with longing.  Easy... she reminded herself silently.  Slow.  God, it will be SO good...

Richie suckled at Annie's breast for a long moment before levering himself up on his elbow and leaning to capture her other nipple between his lips.  At the same time his fingers tugged at the snap at her waist.  With a quiet pop it came loose, followed by a soft grate of her zipper parting under Richie's deft fingers.

"Oh!"  Annie gasped with delight as she felt Richie's fingers slide inside her panties, reaching for her warmth.  She was already drenched with anticipation; she had barely been able to control herself through their truth-or-dare foreplay.   When Richie's fingertips brushed lightly over her swollen clit she squeaked, biting back a full-fledged moan.  Her hands went to Richie's head, tangling in his thick mane as she fought to hold herself in check.

Sensing her near-loss of control Richie paused, withdrawing his hand from her panties and resting it on her hip.  He raised his head from her breast and smiled.  "You okay?"

"Uh huh..." Annie half-lied.  "Okay" wasn't exactly the word she would use... "fantastic" was more like it.  Or "tortured."  She giggled softly at the last word that sprung to mind.  "I just... I just need to slow down a little bit.  Or it's gonna be a shorter night than I thought."  She grinned at her self-deprecating tease.

"Oh, Darlin', that's just not true."  Richie gave Annie a direct look.  "Not if I have my way."

Annie couldn't stop the little groan from rumbling in her throat at Richie's declaration.  Jesus, just that look and that voice alone could make her orgasm over and over, until she was a quivering, spent mass.  "Good," she managed to rasp out before pulling his mouth down to hers and reaching for his fly.

"Christ..." Richie breathed as he felt Annabelle's hand cup his crotch and squeeze firmly.  His cock surged at the contact, demanding release from its denim prison.

"Richie..." Annie gasped through their kiss.


"Lay back."  She squirmed under him, trying to shift position to improve her reach.

Richie quickly complied, pulling his mouth from hers with a little pang of regret.  But that feeling was quickly replaced as Annie raised herself up on an elbow beside him.  The sight of her beautiful breasts, moist from his mouth and shining in the moonlight, sent a powerful bolt of lust through his groin.

With a deep groan Richie stretched out his legs and let his hands fall limply onto his chest.  He gulped in two deep breaths, trying to calm himself and bracing for what he knew was about to happen.  The last thing he needed to do was cum all over Annie's hand the second she touched him.

Annie took her own deep breath as she let her eyes slide over Richie's glistening torso before stopping on his waist.  She knew he was rock-hard; one little squeeze had told her as much.  And he was big.  There was no doubt about that.  She shivered slightly in anticipation of how good he would feel, sliding inside her.

Pushing herself up a little further on her elbow, Annie moved her hand to Richie's waist.  As he had done to her, she let her palm rest against his belly for a moment before slipping her fingers under the waistband of his jeans.  Her lips parted in a soft gasp of surprise when she felt the smooth skin of his head against her fingertips.

He wasn't wearing any underwear.

Richie grunted softly, his abs contracting under Annie's hand at the contact.  She paused for a moment, turning  her face to look at him.  She smiled when she saw his eyes were squeezed shut and his jaw was clenched; obviously he was trying hard to maintain his control.

But she didn't really feel like helping him with that right now.  Returning her gaze to his waist, Annie pushed her hand further inside Richie's jeans. The sticky warmth of his pre-cum moistened her fingers as she slid her hand down the length of his shaft until finally his head was under her palm.  She paused for a long moment, relishing the feel of him, then slowly withdrew her hand.

When her fingers cleared his waistband Richie exhaled with a rush of breath.   Annie chuckled softly and turned again to look at him.  This time his eyes were half-open and hooded with desire.  "God, Annie..." Richie mumbled hoarsely.

Annie didn't reply. She just dipped her head to place a gentle kiss against his lips before popping open the button on his jeans.  Richie groaned softly against her mouth before she pulled away.  Then she carefully lowered his zipper and pushed aside the two halves of denim.

"Oh, Baby...." Richie groaned as Annie's small hand wrapped around his freed member.  "My God, that feels sooooo gooooood....."

Annie chuckled softly.  "You're so hard," she observed quietly.

"I know..."

Annie giggled out loud at that.  "Sorry.  I didn't mean... I know you've been... um... aroused... all night."  She gave Richie a sympathetic smile.  "I'm sorry."

Richie took another deep breath.  "S'okay." he murmured hoarsely.

Annie looked at Richie's beautiful face and melted.  Suddenly she felt guilty for making him wait, for drawing things out like this.

"Richie... make love to me.  Now."

Annie's hand left Richie's cock and she pushed at his jeans, nudging them down over his hips.  With a ragged breath Richie helped her, raising his hips and shoving the pants down his ass and thighs before curling up to sit and dragging them the rest of the way off his body.

Naked, Richie turned on his hip toward Annabelle.  He pawed at her cutoffs and panties, deftly sliding them down her smooth legs and tossing them onto the pile of his own jeans.

Annie felt herself trembling as she lay on her back, gazing up at Richie.  She couldn't believe how much she wanted him.

Richie hesitated for a moment, his gaze sweeping over Annie's body.  Jesus, she looked so beautiful, her nude body bathed in warm golden moonlight, her honeyed hair fanned out under her head against the ragged old quilt.  In the night's soft glow he could swear he saw a halo encircling her pretty head.

 "Richie... please..."

Silently Richie lowered his body onto Annie's, covering her.  Their sighs mingled at the meeting of their flesh, her soft curves molding against his hard planes.  Annie's thighs slipped apart to allow Richie to settle between them.  His rigid length pressed against her warm mound, throbbing lightly with his pulse.

Richie braced himself on his elbows and gazed down at Annabelle's angelic face.  Her eyes sparkled like sapphires back at him.  "Ready?"


Annabelle drew in a long breath as she felt Richie shift against her, his swollen head probing at her warm entrance.  Then he pushed forward, inching inside her. "Oh!" she gasped out as she felt her walls stretching to surround his girth.

"Are you okay?  I'm not hurting you, am I?"

The worry in Richie's voice sent a pang of guilt through Annie's heart.  She smiled and shook her head.  "No.  I just... just take it slow, okay.  I need a minute... to adjust."  She chuckled softly.

"Okay."  Richie flexed his hips forward again, carefully pushing his cock deeper inside her.  He winced as he felt the telltale tingle in his balls, knowing he wasn't going to last long at this rate.  But he couldn't just go crazy and start pounding her.  He didn't want to hurt her.  And he wanted her to enjoy their lovemaking, not just be a receptacle for his cum.

Annie blew out a long breath, then smiled.  Richie breathed his own sigh of relief as he felt Annie's walls relax a bit around him.  "Better?"

"Yeah," Annie whispered, then leaned up to brush a kiss across Richie's lips.  "Let's go." She slipped her arms around his torso and pulled him down closer to her, reclaiming his lips in a more passionate kiss.

Richie growled softly as he felt Annie shift beneath him, raising her legs to wrap around his waist.  "God, Annie..." he gasped against her mouth.  "It won't... I won't...."

"Shhh.  Come on Richie... Just...."  Annie gasped as he started to move, thrusting gently.  "Oh God!  Oh... Yeah!"  Annabelle felt a wave of tingling heat radiate out from her core.

"Jesus, Richie!" she yelped as she  felt the hard ridge of his head rub hard over her g-spot.  Though he has hardly moving, carefully stroking inside her, their fit was so perfect that she was already about to climax.

"What?  Annie, does it hurt?"  Richie froze again.

Annie's hands dropped to Richie's ass, her fingers digging into his tensed glutes.  "No!" she gasped.  "My God, don't stop!"

The urgency in Annie's plea ignited Richie.  He shoved his hips hard against Annie's, making her yelp out with surprise.  "Christ, Annie..." he growled through clenched teeth.  "I... I can't hold on...."  His body tensed as he tried to hold back his orgasm.

"Richie, come!"  Annie gasped, holding on tight and bracing for her impending explosion.  "God, Richie...please..."  Her eyes squeezed shut as she felt her walls ripple as her climax triggered.

"Oh GOD...." Richie groaned with relief as his orgasm rushed forth, a tidal wave of his desire filling Annie's womb.   "Oh, Annie...."

Despite his own rapture Richie was aware of Annie shuddering under him, caught in the throes of her own desire.  He braced himself up on his elbows so as not to crush her, then looked down at her.

Richie watched, fascinated, as Annie's face contorted with ecstasy, her cheeks flushed a rosy crimson and her lips parted in a silent shriek of pleasure.  Slowly, as her body calmed, her grimace relaxed to a sated smile.  She panted softly, her skin glowing with the sheen of her exertion.

When she opened her eyes Richie's beautiful smile was the first thing that swam into view.  Annabelle's heart clenched at the wonder in his deep chocolate eyes.

Then came his words, in a husky, reverent whisper.

"Annie.... I love you."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Chapter 17

Richie sucked in an audible breath at Annabelle's soft words.  His eyes widened in disbelief.  Had he just heard her right?  She wanted him to.... WHAT?

Annie saw the shock in Richie's expression.  She paused for a moment, watching him, then repeated her words.  "Kiss me, Richie."  Her gentle smile curved into a playful smirk.  "I dare you."

"Uh..."  Richie couldn't move.  Annabelle had just asked him... no, dared him... to do the one thing he had been trying to avoid thinking about all night.  Oh, how he had yearned to touch his lips to hers, to discover how soft they were, how sweet they tasted... but he knew he wouldn't want to stop there.  He would want so, so much more than just a kiss.

He let out a frustrated little sigh.  "Annie..."

Annie raised an eyebrow at Richie's gentle protest.  She knew he wanted to kiss her.  She was positive of it.  The way he looked at her, the way he held her when they danced, the way his heartbeat accelerated in his chest when he smelled her hair when he thought she wasn't paying attention... so why the Hell was he hesitating?

"C'mon, Richie." Annie's voice was more firm than pleading, though inside she was silently begging him to comply.  "You took a Dare.  If you don't do it, I win."

And I definitely lose...  Richie swallowed hard, his gaze fixing on Annie's plump lower lip.  His heart skipped when he realized it was trembling just a tiny bit.  Is she nervous?

Richie felt himself drift forward.  His own lips parted in anticipation as his gaze locked with Annie's, just for a brief moment.  In that split-second Richie saw his desire reflected back at him in sparkling blue pools.  Then his eyes slipped closed as his mouth brushed over hers.

Her lips were perfect, soft and satiny-slick.  They tasted faintly of strawberries, sweet despite a tinge of smoke and beer.  A little breath caught in Richie's throat as he froze, savoring the sensation.  Then he felt Annie's lips slide against his, parting to invite him inside her warm mouth.  A flush of heat swept over Richie's body as he couldn't help but respond.

Gently his tongue nudged forth, tracing the bow of Annie's upper lip before dipping inside to touch hers.  Annie responded with a happy sigh, smiling against the kiss.  She gave Richie's lower lip a little nibble before drawing her head back.

Richie's lids fluttered open and he saw Annabelle looking at him.  She was radiant, her smile brighter than the full moon's golden light.  Her hair stirred in the gentle ocean breeze, little wisps floating in front of her pretty lips, shiny from their kiss.

As he gazed at her Richie became aware of the soft music floating from the little radio.   The song could not have been more perfect for the moment had he picked it himself.

And then she asks me
Do I feel alright?
And I say yes... I feel wonderful tonight

Annie watched Richie's reaction, her heart warming at his expression of wonderment.  After a long moment she spoke, her voice soft and husky.  "See, now?  That wasn't so bad, was it?"

Richie stared back at Annie for a minute, then his face relaxed into a shy smile.  "Uh... no.  I mean... it was... Nice."  Though he could feel his pulse racing Richie felt oddly serene.  He chuckled softly.

"Yeah... nice."  Annabelle continued to smile at Richie as she drifted forward, leaning in a little closer to him.  She paused, her eyes glowing a darker shade of azure.  "Your turn."

Richie swallowed hard, then cleared his throat.  He could feel the warmth radiating from Annie's body despite the light breeze, and her delicate perfume filled his senses.  He couldn't stop a goofy grin from spreading across his face as he gazed back at her.

"Okay.  Truth.... or Dare?"  His brow lifted with the question.

Annie didn't hesitate.  "Dare."

Richie's dick throbbed at the playful tease in her voice as she uttered that single word.  He knew what he wanted to dare Annie to do:  rip open his jeans and grab his cock and relieve the swollen ache that had plagued him for hours.  No, for a full day.

But he couldn't say that.  He couldn't treat her so crassly.

But Jesus, he did want to feel her lips on his again.

"I dare you..."  Richie reached up to brush away a breeze-stirred strand of honey-gold hair from Annie's cheek.  "To kiss me."

Annie smirked coyly as the butterflies in her tummy fluttered madly with delight.  Richie had figured out her little game, and he was willing to play.  But she couldn't resist teasing him a bit more.

"Mmmm.  You sure about that?"

Richie's grin gentled and he gave her an serious look.  "Abso-fucking-lutely."

Annie gazed into Richie's wide brown eyes and melted.  Without a word she leaned forward, raising her face to his.  She sighed blissfully as her lips stroked over Richie's, the contact gentle and electric at the same time.  Reveling in the feel of his warm mouth against hers, Annie scooted closer to Richie as she tilted her head to deepen the kiss.

Richie groaned at the contact between Annie's body and his own.  Her breasts pressed lightly against his chest and she rested a hand on his side as her tongue probed forward into his mouth.  Annie responded to Richie's growl with a happy little purr of her own as she tangled her tongue with his.

Richie felt like he was soaring, floating away on a magic carpet-ride of pleasure.  He couldn't believe this was happening, that Annabelle was sharing this wonderful intimacy with him.  That she let him kiss her.  And she was kissing him back.  Again his hand raised to her cheek, cupping his palm against her soft skin as he reacted to her kiss with his own heightened urgency.

He felt her fingers curl against his side a second before Annie pulled away, parting their lips with a soft gasp and a moist smack.  Richie drew in a shuddering breath, trying to remain calm though his blood was rushing through his veins and his heart was thundering in his chest.  His hand dropped to rest on Annie's bare shoulder as he stared longingly at her.

Annie could see in Richie's eyes what he wanted.  It was what she wanted too.  So Dammit, why wouldn't he make the first move?

Her lips pursed slightly with frustration.  Maybe she was moving too fast, making him uncomfortable.  After all, he was kind of shy.  Richie had seemed a little off-balance during the whole of his stay, a little unsure of himself around her.  It was sweet, but now it was just getting frustrating.

Annie sighed.  Maybe she should back off a little, let Richie mellow out even more.  After all, they had just finished their joint; the drug had hardly had time to take effect.  Maybe if they both relaxed things would happen naturally.

She pulled in a deep breath.  "Okay...."  Annie breathed out before continuing hoarsely.  "Truth or Dare?"

"Uh..."  Richie tried to read Annie's expression, confused by the mixed signals he was now getting.  That kiss... it was clearly a message that she wanted to fool around.  Wasn't it?  But now Annabelle looked like she was a little bit... not mad, exactly, but...

"Richie... what's it gonna be?"

Shit.  "Ummm... Truth."  Richie wasn't sure he was up to whatever Annie's next dare might be.  It was getting harder and harder to control himself.  And if he went too far he would really be up shit creek.  For all he knew Annabelle might leave him out here in the middle of the woods with the snakes if she thought he was trying to take advantage of her.

Annie's gaze dropped to Richie's chest as she silently cursed.  She watched it rise and fall with his deep breaths, evidence of his excitement.  Dammit, maybe she had gone a little too fast, and now he was afraid to make a move.  Jesus, when was she gonna learn to stop pushing and act at least a little bit like a Lady?

Annabelle raised her eyes back to Richie's.  She smiled amusedly when she saw the confusion in his wide-pupiled stare.  Yeah, she obviously needed to back off a little bit.  The poor guy didn't know what to think.

"Okay... Truth.  Hmmm...."  Annie pursed her lips thoughtfully and shifted a little bit, opening a bit of space between her body and Richie's.  She pulled her hand from his side and rested it on her thigh, her fingertips curling against her bare skin in a subtle sign of self-restraint.  Annie knew what she wanted to ask Richie, but she needed to think before she just blurted something out that made him even more uncomfortable.  That seemed to be her special talent, after all.

Richie tried to calm his breathing as he waited for Annie to formulate a question.  God, how he wanted to pull her body against his and mash his mouth down onto hers and continue that fantastic, electric kiss.  But he just couldn't.  He had to stop, to smother this slow burn that was consuming his whole body and threatening to flame into an inferno.

And he had to cool it not just because he was close to losing control, but because obviously Annie's inhibitions were lowered as well.  After all, they were both at least a little bit high.  He didn't want her to do something she would regret.

Richie flashed back to Eddie's earlier comment, when they had shared an honest talk in the garage office.  He could almost hear the mechanic's warm rumbly drawl in his head.  "But I'm just askin' you... whatever happens tonight, or tomorrow, or before you roll outa town here come Monday... just think twice before you break her heart, okay?"  

Richie took another deep breath as he considered Eddie's words.  Think twice before you break her heart... He and Annie had only known each other for a little more than a day, but he felt closer to her than he had ever felt to a girl.  Tonight he wanted her more than he had ever wanted a woman.  And if he wasn't somehow dreaming or imagining or hallucinating what was happening now, she wanted him too.

If he were to give in to desire, to let Annie act on her romantic impulse, they would undoubtedly have quite a night to remember.  Just the way she had kissed him told Richie she would be a confident and capable lover.  Richie felt another urgent twitch in his groin at the thought.

But the problem was, it wouldn't be just about enjoying the moment and the moonlight, about giving over to their mutual attraction and having fantastic sex.  No, Richie couldn't just fuck Annabelle, even if she begged him to.  He cared too much about her to do that.

Richie had always thought he could stick his dick in just about any willing pussy and walk away with no regrets.  He had put more than a few notches on his bedpost back in Jersey practicing that philosophy.  And Lord knows he had done it a couple times in Memphis, gladly accepting the attention of Beale Street Club Girls who were happy to exchange their carnal talents for free drinks and smokes.  And he hadn't felt the least bit guilty about his lothario ways.

But this was so very different.  This was Annabelle.  The sweetest, kindest, most beautiful soul he had ever known.  With her, it wouldn't be sex.  It would be making love.  And that was a risk Richie didn't know if he could take.

"Hey... Richie?  You still here?"  Annie's musical drawl brought him back. Richie shook his head slightly then looked at her, squinting a little as he waited for his gaze to focus on her smile.

"Huh?  Oh, sorry.  Guess I drifted off there a minute."

Annie chuckled softly.  "Gettin' a little more mellow, huh?"

Richie grinned sheepishly.  "Yeah.  Somethin' like that."

"You ready to tell me your Truth?"

Richie took a deep breath, then nodded.  "I guess so.  Go ahead."

"Okay."  Annie looked at Richie for a moment, then gave him a sly smile.  "So, this morning when I woke you up, when you were sleepin' on the sofa...."  She dropped her gaze obviously to Richie's fly, chuckling inwardly at the bulge there before pulling her eyes back up to meet Richie's.  "Were you dreamin' about me?"

Richie's eyes widened as he recalled the state of arousal in which he had awakened, the result of his slumbering fantasy.  And Annie had been right there, telling him it was time to "rise and shine."  Oh fuck... she saw it.  Richie cringed with embarrassment at the realization.  But he had to tell the truth... those were the rules of the game.

"Yeah.  I was."

Annie's pulse jumped at Richie's hoarse confession.  He didn't look away from her, his soulful brown eyes locked with hers.  She gazed back at him, certain her excitement was dancing in her own baby blues.

"I was hopin' you'd say that."  Annie's smile faded and she gave him an earnest look.  "'Cause I didn't get hardly a wink of sleep last night, thinkin' about you out there on my sofa."

Richie's lips parted with an involuntary little gasp.  "Annie... I..."  He didn't know what else to say.  The idea of Annabelle in her bed, tossing and turning and fantasizing about him, was almost too much for him to comprehend.

Annie giggled softly.  "Your turn."  She wanted to keep this little game going, to continue to share these intimate moments and secret confessions with Richie.

Richie took another deep breath, reaching up to drag a hand through his hair as he blew it out.  Jesus, she wasn't letting up.  Annabelle was determined to get all his secrets out tonight... at least about his feelings for her.  Maybe that wasn't such a bad thing.  He snorted softly with his little grin.

"Okay.  Truth or Dare?"

Annie considered the question for a moment, then smiled demurely.  "Dare."

"Hmm.  Thought so. Shit, now I gotta come up with somethin'."  Richie shook his head as he fake-grumbled.  "Damn, Annie.  This game is gettin' too hard."

Annie giggled at his reaction, happy to see the return of his humor.  "Okay, just this one last round then we'll do somethin' else.  Promise."

"Oh, alright."  Richie thought for a moment, trying to come up with a task for Annie that didn't cross his self-imposed line of restraint yet didn't sound totally stupid.  As much as he would love to say "show me your tits" or something equally naughty in keeping with the tone of their flirty little game, Richie knew that would be the end of his self-control.

He frowned as he considered and discarded a couple lame ideas, shaking his head with frustration.  His buzz and the Bob Seger song playing on the radio weren't helping his concentration.

"Christ, Annie... I don't know..."

"Come on, Richie.  It doesn't have to be anything big."  Annie prodded him gently with her words.  She reached out to trace a finger lightly over his forearm as he picked at a fraying patch of fabric on the old quilt.  "Just go with whatever's on your mind."

Richie snorted softly.  "You sure you want me to do that?"

"Yes."  Annie held her breath, wondering if he would really act on the lusty thoughts she was certain were swirling around his head.  The quiet rush of the waves and the gentle patter of the DJ on the radio filled the silence as she watched Richie consider the idea.  She could tell by the little smirk that curved his mouth that his train of thought was right in line with hers.

But he was too much of a gentleman to act on his thoughts.  "Annie... I don't know."  Richie sighed with exasperation.  "I got nothin'.  Can't we just quit this stupid game, just hang out and look at the stars or something?"

Annie chuckled softly.  "Nuh uh.  I'm not letting you off the hook that easy."  She grinned at Richie and pushed herself up more comfortably on her elbow.  "How about we do a little Radio Roulette dare?"

"What the fuck is that?"

Annie laughed.  "It's pretty easy.  Next song that comes on tells you what my dare is."

Richie gave her a confused look.  "Huh?  How's that gonna work?"

Annie rolled her eyes and swept a hand through her hair, tucking it back behind her ear.  "Whatever the song is, it will give you an idea.  Maybe the title or a line or something.  Then that's what my dare is.  To do whatever that song makes you think of."  She giggled.  "See, totally gets you off the hook.  It's all up to Fate."

Richie considered the idea for a second, half-listening to the ad now playing on the radio.  It was a corny idea, but at least he wouldn't have to admit to Annie the dare he really wanted to give her.  "So if it's something like... fuck, I don't know... Boogie Shoes?  Then you gotta get up and dance around?"

Annie giggled again at Richie's simplistic explanation.  "Yeah, that's the general idea.  If that's what the song makes you think of.  But I don't think you're gonna hear that song on this station."

Richie sighed.  "Alright.  Fine by me."  He smirked.  Not that it would necessarily be a bad thing to watch Annie dance for him....   "But this is the last dare, right?  You're not gonna make me do one or anything?"

Annie nodded.  "Promise.  No more games.  We'll just pop open a beer and lay here and listen to music and look at the stars, if that's what you wanna do.   But maybe you'll hold me while we do it...

Richie's smile gentled as he gazed into Annie's glowing blue eyes.  She looked so pretty, so sweet.  He almost felt bad for not wanting to play her little game anymore.  But he wasn't in the mood for games after what she had just revealed to him.  He wanted to do something more romantic.

He reached up to trace his thumb gently across Annie's cheek.  "That sounds nice.  Sorry I'm being a party-pooper."

"You're not."  Annie smiled back at Richie as her skin tingled at the brush of his calloused thumb.  " 'Kay, commercials are almost done.  Remember, whatever the next song is, the first thing it reminds you of... that's my dare."

"Got it."  Propping himself up on his elbow, Richie craned his neck to look at the radio, resting on its perch atop the old footlocker.

Annie closed her eyes and listened, silently praying the next tune on the playlist wouldn't be something crazy like I am the Walrus.  She didn't want to prolong this any further.  "It's all in the hands of Fate now, Richie," she teased gently.

Richie's heart stopped when he heard the first familiar note.  He had strummed that D-G-C chord progression more times than he could count, had belted out that blatantly sexual chorus from many a smoky barroom stage.  Holy Christ, how many times had he queued up this very song in the tape deck when he was hoping to get lucky with some chick in the Impala's back seat?

And now... with Annabelle...

Annie gasped softly when the melody floated through the air.  She didn't even need to hear the lyrics... this was a song she knew well.  She loved Bad Company, and this was one of her favorites.  It was if the Gods of the Radio had heard her silent plea and sent her the perfect song for the moment, a clear answer to the dilemma of Richie's dare.

Fate had chosen well.

She opened her eyes and found Richie staring at her, his lips parted with anticipation and his liquid brown eyes smoldering with desire.  Her gaze locked with his, her bright blue eyes gleaming with excitement.

Baby, when I think about you
I think about Love...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chapter 16

"Wha..." Richie stared at the joint in Annie's hand.  He blinked at it, stunned.  Then a sly grin crept to his lips.  "Where did you get that?"

Annie giggled, giving her head a sassy little toss.  Her eyes sparkled in the moonlight.  "It's a small town, Richie.  People know where to get things."

Richie chortled at her reaction.  He would bet his Impala that Annie had acquired the little hand-rolled cigarette when she slipped into the back room before departing Ruby Mae's.  There were undoubtedly more than a few vices available for indulgence at that place.

"I guess so."

"So... You wanna join me? Or shall I just keep this all to myself?"  Annie gave a little wave with her hand to frame the question.  Her grin widened as she saw Richie's gaze follow the joint's movement.

"Hell Yeah, I'll join you."  Richie laughed softly again, not only at Annie's mischievous expression but at the thought of the effect the marijuana would have on him.  With all that had happened the last few days, with all the disappointment waiting for him in future, he could definitely stand to mellow out for awhile.

"Good."  Annie extended her arm, her pink-tipped fingers daintily spread as she offered the joint to Richie.  "Here.  There are some matches in the glove box."

Richie took the paper twist from Annie's hand and regarded it for a moment.  The joint was well-constructed, tightly rolled so that its contents wouldn't escape when the first flash of flame disintegrated the pinched end of the paper wrapping.  But still, they didn't want to waste any of this little Saturday Night Special.

"You got a roach?"  Richie looked back at Annabelle and saw she was still grinning at him.  His heart skipped a beat at how pretty she looked, leaning back with her hands braced behind her against the truck bed, swinging her long, tanned legs over the tailgate's edge...

Annie's lips pursed thoughtfully.  "Good question.  I'm pretty sure there ain't one with the matches..."  She pushed forward from her lean, twisting her body to look back over her shoulder at the pickup's cab.  "Maybe I got somethin' in the box."  Annie pulled her legs up, bending her knees to raise her bare feet up high enough to clear the tailgate's edge as she shifted sideways on her behind.

Richie felt another surge in his groin as his eyes dropped to Annie's slender, tanned feet resting beside him on the truck's tailgate.  Her toenails were pink too, the same hue of polish as she wore on her fingernails.  Jesus, even her feet were pretty.

"Oh, wait... I know.  Yeah, I got somethin'."  Annie's voice snapped Richie's attention back to the task at hand.  "You get the matches."

"Okay."  Richie nodded and took a step back from the tailgate as Annie moved again, climbing to her feet in the truck bed.  "Gimme a minute.  I gotta take a leak."

Annie giggled as she raised a hand to tuck a breeze-stirred lock of golden hair behind her ear.  " 'Kay.  But you may not wanna wander too far from the sand, 'specially not out near the trees.  All kindsa creatures out there in the night.  The kind that slither."

Richie involuntarily shuddered at the thought of encountering a snake.  "Yeah, I'm not goin' anywhere.  Just around front of the truck."

Annie gave Richie a saucy grin.  "Okay, then.  I promise not to peek."  She playfully covered her eyes with one hand, then spread her fingers so he could see one long-lashed blue eye sparkling back at him.

Richie chortled softly as he felt a blush creep to his cheeks at her tease.  With a little shake of his head Richie tucked the joint securely behind his ear and turned away.  He heard Annie moving around in the truck bed as he took a handful of steps along the side of the old pickup.

When he reached the front he turned his back to Annie and the truck and lowered his zipper.  Richie sighed with relief as he emptied his beer-swollen bladder onto a clump of weedy beach grass at the sand dune's base.  Giving his dick a couple good shakes, he stuffed it carefully back inside his jeans, no easy feat since he was still semi-hard.

Richie took a deep breath and prayed a few hits from the joint would not only relax his mind, but his body as well.  Spending the rest of this night in a state of arousal would be painful.  And Annie wasn't doing anything to make it any easier on him, with her long bare legs and her pretty pink nails and her shiny, soft lips and sparkling blue eyes and tousled honeyed hair...

Richie reached up to scrub his hands over his face, careful not to dislodge the joint from its place behind his ear.  He took a deep breath and slowly blew it out, willing himself to be calm.  It wouldn't be long until he would be chemically mellow.

That thought made Richie grin.  He turned and moved a few steps to tug open the passenger door of the old truck, then leaned in and punched open the glove box.  As Annie predicted there were several matchbooks in the little compartment, along with a crumpled half-empty packet of Marlboros.  Richie chuckled softly.  Apparently Annie had more than one vice.

Grabbing the cigarettes and a book of matches, Richie pushed the glove box and truck door closed in turn.  Then he turned his gaze to the pickup bed and Annie.  Again his dick throbbed with anticipation when he saw what she had done.

While Richie's attention was diverted Annie had turned the truck bed into a little lounge.  She had unrolled the sleeping bag and topped it with the tattered quilt, and moved the radio up to a perch atop the old footlocker.  The Doobie Brothers' It Keeps You Running drifted from the little speakers, the melody mingling with the quiet rush of the waves against the sand.

Annie was back in her place on the tailgate, her legs dangling over the edge and her hair stirring in the breeze as she looked out at the ocean.  Richie chuckled softly as he watched her take a sip from the the half-empty can of Budweiser that had showered him earlier.

He took another deep breath to calm his restless dick, then wandered to the back of the truck.  "Got the matches."  He gave Annie a little smirk.  "And the smokes."

Annie laughed softly, her voice harmonious with the music and the soft ocean sounds.  "Yeah, well.  I have a few bad habits.  I drink, I smoke, I cuss, I hang out at places of ill repute... Good thing I go to Church, huh?" Her eyes twinkled merrily as she smiled at Richie, then they dropped to the silver cross resting against his chest, just above the curved neck of his white tank.

Richie chortled softly as he turned to settle on the tailgate beside Annie.  The old truck groaned slightly as it dipped with his weight.  "Yeah, I guess.  Go confess your sins and you get to do it all over again with a clear conscience, right?"

Annie smiled as she admired Richie's handsome profile in the moonlight.  Butterfly wings fluttered in her stomach as her eyes lingered on the soft curve of his lips.  The Good Lord definitely did something right when he created you...

"Baptists don't confess."  Her gentle drawl was filled with amusement.  "That's a Catholic thing.  We just believe in salvation.  We show up every Sunday, and we occasionally take communion.  That pretty much covers us."

Richie turned his face to hers, a gentle grin stretching his lips.  "Well that's a Hell of a lot easier than what Catholics do.  Not that it really matters to me.  I haven't been to Mass in months.  My Ma would kill me if she knew that."  He chuckled softly, then dropped his gaze to the matches and cigarettes in his hands.  "Though I have a feeling she knows."

"Think she knows you're sittin' here in the moonlight with a girl, drinkin' beer and gettin' ready to smoke a doobie?"  Annie couldn't resist the question, delivered in a gentle tease.

Richie snorted out a laugh at that.  "Naw.  But I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be a surprise to my Old Man."  He looked again at Annie, then laid the cigarettes and matches on the tailgate between them.  He pulled the joint from behind his ear and held it out to Annie.  "You find somethin'?"

"Yeah."  Annie took the cigarette with one hand while reaching behind her with the other.  Richie laughed again when he she pulled a worn black felt cowboy hat onto her lap.  His brown eyes shone with amusement as he watched Annie detach a metal clip from the hat's decorative band, then hold it up for his inspection.  Three leather cords embellished with wooden beads and white and brown feathers dangled from the clip.  The feathers stirred lightly in the breeze.

"Forgot I had this thing.  Got it at the county fair."  Annie carefully clamped the metal alligator clip over one end of the joint, then turned and tossed the hat behind her, into the pickup bed.  It landed with a soft thump against the wooden footlocker.

She giggled again, then smiled shyly as her eyes met Richie's.  "Well, it ain't like I do this a lot.  Smoke weed, I mean.  And I really did buy this thing just because I thought it was pretty."  She gestured toward Richie with the clip in her hand, making the feathers swish with the movement.

Richie nodded.  "Hey, no need to explain to me.  I ain't exactly no angel, neither."  He picked up the matchbook, flipped it open, and tore a match from the strip.  "You ready?"

Annie nodded, then leaned toward Richie.  Richie swallowed hard as he watched Annie's shiny pink lips pucker around the end of the joint, ready to suck in a breath when he ignited the other end.  For a second his mind flashed on the image of Annie's pretty lips encircling his cock.  Richie's hand trembled slightly as it poised over the striker on the matchbook.  Jesus....

Clearing his throat as he shook the image out of his brain, Richie dragged the matchhead against the striker and cupped his hand around the little flash of fire.  He raised the flame to Annie's waiting hand, trying not to notice the reflection of the firelight dancing in her beautiful eyes.  Annie puffed gently as the joint ignited, wisps of smoke curling from the glowing tip of the little cigarette.  Almost immediately the sweet, heavy odor of smoldering marijuana drifted through the night air.

Richie shook out the match and tossed it onto the sand, then watched as Annie worked the joint.  He grinned gently as he watched her draw in a deep breath, then hold it.  She held out the roach to Richie, offering him a hit as she continued to hold the smoke in her lungs, letting it go to work.

Richie heard Annie exhale as he took his own hit off the joint.  Her soft chuckle was music to his ears as he savored the taste of the sweetly-acrid smoke on his tongue and felt it burn in his chest.  Slowly he blew it out, exhaling a long stream of smoke through his mouth and nose as he relaxed.  It only took a minute for him to feel the gentle numbing effect of the drug creeping through his synapses.  His smile broadened.

"Man... that's some good shit."

Annie nodded and chuckled again as she accepted the joint back from Richie.  She held it in her hand for a minute, studying it, enjoying the relaxed sensation rolling over her.  "Yeah.  Like I said, I don't do this a lot, but when I do Charlie always hooks me up good."

"Charlie, huh?"  Richie felt his voice rumble in his chest.  "Friend of yours?"

Annie nodded, raising the joint again to her lips.  This time she took a smaller hit, sipping daintily from the end of the joint before handing it back to Richie.  She paused while she held in, then released the smoke.

"He was a couple years ahead of me in school.  His sister Betsy was in my class, one of my good friends."  Annie giggled.  "You know his Daddy."

"I do?"  Richie's brow arched at her statement.  He had met a lot of people over the course of the day.  He wondered who she meant.  "How?"  He raised the joint to his lips and took another toke.

Annie giggled again and leaned back on her elbows, looking dreamily up at the sky.  She turned her grin to Richie.  "He's fixin' your car."

Richie's eyes widened as he involuntarily choked on the smoke in his lungs. Coughing and sputtering, Richie gasped for breath, the smoke flowing out of his nose and mouth in a gush.  "Wha... What?" he wheezed.  "Eh... Eddie?"

Annie nodded, tossing her head back and laughing out loud at his suprise.  Her merry, melodic voice tugged at Richie's heart as he struggled to regain his breath.  "Yeah, Richie.  Eddie.  Charlie's his oldest boy.  He works at the paper mill now, but even back in high school he always knew where to get stuff."

"Christ."  Richie took a deep breath, regaining his calm.  He was starting to buzz a little now, from the alcohol and from the pot.  "I didn't expect that."

"Why?"  Annie held out her hand to Richie, motioning for him to pass the now half-consumed joint.  " 'Cause Eddie's a good, honest Christian man?  That don't mean Charlie ain't.  He's a good guy too.  Not a stoner or anything, he just has connections, that's all."

She smiled slyly at Richie before raising the joint to hover next to her lips.  "Besides, you said it yourself.  Mama Sambora's Sweet Baby Boy ain't exactly an angel, right?  Especially right this minute."

Richie laughed and nodded slowly at Annie's little dig.  "Yeeeeaahhhhh, ..." he drawled.  "Guess you're right about that."  He considered her comment for a moment, thinking back to his buddies in Jersey.  They had all raised their share of Hell together, breaking a few laws and enjoying more than a few illicit substances along the way.  And every one of his partners in crime were good guys from good families.

Annie watched Richie as he drifted away for a moment.  She wondered fuzzily what he was thinking about.  Whatever it was, it must be good.  He was smiling.  There was no sign of the pain she had seen the other times he had turned introspective.

With a little sigh Annie looked away from Richie and up at the sky.  It was a beautiful summer night, clear and bright and calm.  Thousands of stars twinkled against the velvety blue blanket stretching from horizon to horizon.   She took another little puff from the joint, then offered it back to Richie.

He didn't notice until she gently said his name.  He silently took the clip from her hand and regarded it thoughtfully.

"Richie, come back here."  Annie scooted backwards, swinging her feet up onto the tailgate's edge then wiggling her way back into the truck bed, onto the quilt.  With a little sigh she stretched out on her back, propping herself up on her elbows and grinning down at Richie.

Richie felt his pulse race at the sight of Annie lying there, beckoning to him.  Jesus, she looked beautiful.  Feeling the stirring in his groin, Richie raised the joint for another hit before doing her bidding.

Hastily toeing off his sneakers and letting them fall to the ground beneath the tailgate, Richie climbed up into the truck bed.  He settled beside Annie, careful not to brush the lit end of the dwindling cigarette against the blankets or his skin.

Annie smiled at him before looked skyward again.  "Beautiful, ain't it?"

Richie followed her glance, looking up at the night sky.  "Yeah," he agreed softly.  "That's one of the things I've always liked down here in the South." He carefully leaned back on his elbow, shifting onto his hip.  "I mean, I know it's the same sky, the one I see in Jersey.  But somehow it looks so much bigger from down here.  More wide open."

"Maybe that's just 'cause the country is more wide-open down here," Annie mused.  "Not so many people livin' so close together.  Lots of little towns, like Darien."

"Maybe."  Richie looked at the remnant of the joint, its amber tip now slowly dying.  "Here -- you want the last hit?"

Annie nodded, turning onto her hip to face Richie.  She carefully took the roach from his fingers and raised it to her lips, sucking the last wisps of smoke into her mouth.  Richie watched her wide-eyed, fascinated with the pucker and relaxation of her soft lips.  He unconsciously exhaled along with Annie as she breathed out the last curls of sweet-smelling smoke.

Annie regarded the now-dead butt in her hand.  To be sure it was extinguished she blew lightly on it, stirring the ash but not rekindling an ember.  With a little sigh she turned and reached up to lay the roach clip on the lid of the footlocker, next to the radio.  Richie's gaze followed the motion, then lingered on the stirring feathers that dangled over the side of the wooden box.


Richie's gaze returned to Annabelle at her soft sigh.  It took him a second to focus, and he realized he was now feeling very, very relaxed.  He felt a contented smile curl his lips as he shifted again, stretching out his long legs and leaning more comfortably on his elbow as he lay facing Annie.


Annie fluttered her lashes demurely and giggled.  "What now?  We got beer, and  music, and the beach..."

Richie's smile broadened at the thought of dancing with Annie again, of holding her in his arms and feeling her cheek against his chest.  Wondering what music was on the radio, he tried to focus his fuzzy brain on the sounds coming from the little box.  He squinted and frowned as he tried to make out the familiar words and melody, then sighed with relief when he recognized the music, almost a full minute later.

"Maaaaaannnnn.... this is a great fuckin' song.  I actually seen Bruce do it a bunch of times, back home."  Richie grinned and closed his eyes, his head bobbing gently as his fingers flexed against his leg, fingering out the guitar rhythm to Prove it All Night.

Annie chuckled softly, her heart melting at Richie's endearing little smile as he drifted into the music.  She knew he was feeling as mellow as she was.  But she didn't want to just lay there beside him and listen to the radio all night, until they either passed out or fell asleep.  She wanted to share more than just a happy high with Richie.

"Hey, Richie?"  Annie watched as slowly his eyes fluttered open, his long lashes parting to reveal those beautiful, deep, wide-pupiled pools of chocolate.  "Wanna play a game?"

He chuckled throatily.  "Sure.  What kinda game?"

Annie smirked and shifted to a more comfortable position.  The movement made her slide a little closer to Richie on the old quilt.  "How about.... Truth or Dare?"

Richie's eyes opened wider as he grinned.  "Truth or Dare?  Man, I suck at that game."

Annie giggled girlishly.  "How can you suck at Truth or Dare?  It's easy.  You just answer a question honestly or take a dare.  It ain't fuckin' rocket science."

Richie felt another little charge in his crotch at Annabelle's swear, coupled with a stab of anxiety at the thought of what truths she might ask him to reveal.  He felt closer to her than ever right now, more open and honest, and not just because he was high on grass.  Because he was high on her.

Richie knew Annabelle wanted to know more about him, about what really happened in Memphis.  About his failure as a musician.  But tonight was such a beautiful night, he was feeling so damned good... he just didn't want to go there.  Tonight he just wanted to forget about all the dark shit and enjoy himself.  Enjoy being with Annie.

"C'mon, Richie.... please?"  Annie's soft plea drew his eyes to hers.  When their gazes locked he crumbled.

"Oh... alright.  But just for a little while."  Richie grinned goofily.  Fuck it.  "You go first."

"Okay."  Annie's eyes sparkled merrily as she considered her first move.  "Truth or Dare?"

Richie closed his eyes and grimaced.  He was probably going to regret this.  "Truth."

Annie swore silently.  She was hoping he would say "dare."  She already had one of those figured out.

"Okay.... um.... When and where did you lose your virginity?"

Richie's eyes opened and his brows arched as he grinned at Annie's question.  It wasn't at all what he expected.  "Well, get right to the point, I see?" he teased her gently.  "Okay.... um...."  Richie squinted again as he tried to recall the night he had popped his cherry.   "Let's see.... it was nineteen.... uh... seventy-four, I guess?  Yeah.  I was fifteen.  Summer of '74."

Annie's brows lifted at Richie's statement.  He was fifteen in 1974?  That would make him what, nineteen or twenty now?  Her mind flashed back to their initial encounter yesterday, when she had playfully chided Richie for asking her age.  When she turned the question around on him he said he was twenty-two.

Annie grinned slyly.  Well, well.  Apparently Richie did have some truths to disclose in their little game.  She spoke up, prodding him to continue his answer.  "Okay, 1974... where?  And how did it happen?"

"Hey, you didn't ask for details!" Richie protested playfully.  "Just where and when!"

"I know, but you gotta tell me how it happened, too.  For Christ's sake, Richie.  I'm sure it ain't no secret."  Annie's demand was lightened by the teasing lilt in her voice and her eager grin.

He sighed melodramatically.  "Oh-KAY.  It was summer 1974, in Wildwood.  That's down the Jersey Shore.  Some buddies and me were hangin' out at a beach house, havin' a party with a bunch of guys and girls.  You know, drinking beer, smokin' a little wacky tobacky..."

Richie paused and gave Annie a lopsided grin.  "Anyway, there was this real pretty girl there, long blonde hair, great tits.  She was 17 or 18.  She took me back in the bedroom and gave me my first blowjob, which was fuckin' great.  Then she got me hard again and let me do her."

Annie giggled.  "And was it good?"

"Fuck yeah!"  Richie laughed.  "Shit, any guy will tell you his first time was good.  Especially when you get blown."  He paused again, grinning with the memory.  His cheeks colored lightly as he realized how blunt he was being.  "But I guess honestly I probably wasn't that good.  It all happened pretty fast."

"And the girl?  You still know her?"

"Naw.  Some chick from South Jersey.  She was somebody's cousin's friend, just up to hang at the Shore.  Her name was Julie, I think.  She had a great rack."

Annie chuckled softly at the dreamy expression on Richie's handsome face.  She loved that he got a happy little far-away look when he talked about his friends or his parents or New Jersey.  It was obvious he missed the place, that his torment came not from his home, but from somewhere else.  Something relating to his musical experience.

But she didn't want to try to solve that mystery tonight.  Richie's happiness was just too sweet.  She didn't want to take it from him.  She'd rather let him bask in the good memories, let this night create a new memory that would make him smile when he looked back on it.

"So, you were fifteen, huh?"  Annie repeated the point, wondering if Richie would catch on that she had figured out his fib.

"Yeah."  Richie nodded.  "Just turned.  It was middle of July, right after my birthday."

Annie quickly did the calendar math in her head.  Today was June 30th, so that meant..... Well well.  He's only nineteen.  Annie smirked.  But for nineteen he's quite a Man...

"Okay, I told you the truth.  Now my turn."  Richie pushed himself up a little higher on his elbow, focusing his attention on Annie.  "Truth or Dare?"

Annie considered the question for a moment, then decided.  She would let him warm up a little before challenging him to come up with a dare for her.


"Okay, how did you lose your virginity?"  Richie grinned triumphantly, proud he had turned the tables on her.

Annie tossed back her head as she laughed, then smirked at him.  "Oh, real original question there, Richie."  She giggled again, then answered.  "I was sixteen, it was after the Homecoming Dance, in the back seat of Bobby Gentry's Daddy's Cadillac Coupe de Ville, parked out at Grover's Point."

At Richie's questioning look she added, "That's down South of town, on the Intercoastal Waterway.  Pretty little place, lots of good hiding places for makin' Mischief."  Annie winked at Richie.  "And no, it wasn't that great.  He was a virgin too, and we kinda made a mess of things.  But with time and practice it got better."

Richie chuckled.  "Fair enough."  He smiled at Annie for a minute before prodding her.  "Okay, your turn."

"Truth or Dare, Richie?"

Richie took a dramatic deep breath before answering.  He was actually having fun with this little game, just relaxing out here under the moon and the stars with Annabelle.  She was so pretty and sweet and kind and funny... Richie felt like he could talk to her all night.  But he wanted to make things interesting, see what more "mischief" she might surprise him with.


Annie's eyes widened at his response.  "Oh, really?  Dare?"  She grinned devilishly.  "You sure you wanna do that?"

Richie nodded.  "Uh huh.  Bring it on."  He made a little beckoning gesture with his fingers, inviting her to continue.

Annie stared at Richie for long a moment.  Then her grin faded, softening to a hopeful smile.

"Kiss me."