Botan jerked awake. The sunlight filtered in through the curtains, tearing through the shadows of the morning, the clothes strewn on the floor, and the naked man lying next to her.
It wasn't a dream!
She looked down at herself and couldn't find her sundress. The bright green pattern caught her eye from the rug, but between her and it lay her companion. He lay on his stomach with his head turned away from her. She did not notice his untidy hair; his back was bare, and the covers came to the spot where his rump began. Botan wanted to slide the covers down, but she blushed and looked away.
"What happened last night?" she whispered.
Cards…and Shizuru's booze. What then?
Botan looked under the covers at herself-she was naked. She held the blanket over her breasts, her eyes wide with the realization that she had finally bagged the man she longed for. But did I?
Getting drunk and succumbing to one night's passion is not love, she decided. Botan's panicked eye trailed the muscles of the man beside her. His auburn hair spilled onto her pillow, mixing with her light tresses to make a pretty homage to the color of her eyes.
Botan remembered throwing herself at the laughing Kurama. How foolish she must have looked! If she was lucky, he would not remember either; she knew he had a few to drink, too. The hard part was not waking him up. Kurama groaned.
I have to get out of here.
Botan hoisted her sore legs over the side of the bed and whimpered. She threw her eyes over her shoulder to make sure he was still asleep, then tried again, straining her tender muscles. She must have taken quite a beating last night…Her heart fluttered. Not like this…I'm not this kind of girl.
She steadied herself with the help of the wall and walked with quivering legs to where her dress had been tossed. She slipped her dainty foot into the top of it, then as she lifted the other, pulled the dress against her steady calf to have a large hole to slip the other foot into, but the dress didn't catch on her calf-it was ripped!
Botan nearly fell, but bent and held the nightstand, her head swimming. A warm caress slid from her rump to between her thighs, and she yelped.
Kurama gave a sleepy smile. "Why are you there? Come back to bed."
Botan was hesitant. "You're…Are you drunk?"
"Not at all. Are you?" He chuckled. "Well…still?" Botan's silence disturbed him, and he sat up. "Is everything alright? You have regrets?"
"What? No…yes. I'm not sure."
Kurama moistened his lips and took a sip from the mug on the nightstand. "I have none. You're relentless anyway, but when you've been drinking, you linger somewhere between shameless and demanding."
Botan put her head in her palm. She felt his fingers trace the creases in her skin and brush against her sweetest spot. His finger delved, and Botan threw her head back, tangling her hands in his hair as he touched her. She arced her spine and inhaled, her breasts peering at the ceiling. Kurama was satisfied with himself when the girl came to her end; he removed his hand to pull her into his lap. Botan laid her head on his shoulder as he traced her neck with kisses.
"I don't understand it," she said when she caught her breath.
"What don't you understand?" Kurama's voice was muffled by Botan's neck.
"I must have behaved like a child last night. I can't believe…I'm so ashamed of myself!"
Kurama pulled his lips away and considered her. "You cannot fathom how difficult it's been for me to keep my hands off of you throughout our friendship. I'm happy that you were persistent last night. Your naivety is so strangely appealing." He smiled at her speechlessness, then kissed her to erase her awe.
While Botan was still recovering from her shock, Kurama went on. "You don't remember anything do you? Your confession to me about your feelings? Mine to you?"
She shook her head, and he laughed.
"Let me reiterate: I've had deep and frightening feelings for you since before our stay on Hanging Neck Island. I never thought I could feel this way about anyone. Do you remember any of this?"
She thought for a moment. "I remember you ripping my dress."
"Oh-that. You seemed to like it last night."
"I don't have anything to wear home."
Kurama slid his arms around her waist. "Then don't go home."