She recognized the familiar low baritone calling behind her. She turned and faced him. “Yes, sir.”
“Follow me, please? I must speak with you.” Not waiting for an answer, he walked out the door.
Liz followed him outside without question. Since her arrival at Hornchurch, they had barely spoken a word to each other. They trained hard with their own squadrons at opposite sides of the airfield.
Now, here Philip stood a mere breath away. Yet, instead of her childhood friend, she found her superior officer. Liz wanted to jump into his arms and tell him how happy she was to see him after all this time. She rubbed her arms, but it wasn’t the cold making her tremble so. The dark, chilly spring night was quiet.
“Here.” He wrapped her in his jacket, and she felt the warmth heat her body. She could smell his scent, a mixture of soap and musk. An unfamiliar stirring invaded her. Why did she feel so conscious of her body? She walked beside her childhood friend, not her lover. Yet her heart drummed in her chest. Liz took in a silent breath, hoping he didn’t notice her nervousness.
They walked around the corner of the pub, keeping a reasonable distance from one another. She tried swallowing the lump forming in her throat. Never had she felt so conscious of her body. He stopped and stared at her. Looking away, she felt her cheeks warm. She thanked the stars they stood away from the pub lights so he couldn’t see her blush under his stare. Then, without warning, he took her in his arms, holding her against his body. After all this time apart, she finally touched him, felt him, yet couldn’t find the words to tell him how much she missed him.
Liz closed her eyes and thanked the stars for this moment with Philip. Laying her head against his chest, she let him hold her. She remembered the feeling of security whenever he held her in his arms. She held back the threat of tears as all her memories of the times spent with him flowed back.
“Are you warmer?” he asked, not letting her go.
She nodded, tensing, awaiting his kiss without realizing she’d lifted her face in invitation.
“I’ve missed you so much, Liz,” he whispered.
Disappointment washed over her as he kissed her brow, and then stepped back. “I’ve missed you too, Philip.” She looked into his eyes.
“I’m surprised seeing you here of all places.” Smiling, he took her hand and led her to sit on a bench a few feet away.
Smiling back, she felt as though no one in the world existed. Her heart skipped a beat when his warm, muscular thigh brushed against hers. She stared at their hands as his took her smaller one. She had never felt so nervous with Philip, and it frightened her and excited her. “Do you think they’ll let us women fight soon?” she asked, changing her train of thought.
“No news yet.” Holding her hand, he watched her with serious eyes as she remained silent. “Liz. Promise me you’ll take care when they do send you on missions. I know I can’t stop you, so promise me.” Philip’s tone was firm but soft.
Nodding without taking her eyes away from his, she said, “I promise. And you do the same.”
Philip nodded, holding her in silence.
Staring at his tempting lips, wishing he would kiss her, she felt herself melt on the spot. Instead, she felt his hand cup her cheek and his thumb traced her lower lip, leaving a trail of heat. He didn’t kiss her, but the intimate gesture sent waves of warm sensations all over her body. His eyes stared into hers with intensity. Anticipation alerted all her senses.
“Liz.” The low rasp in his voice sent another wave of sensations through her body. Biting her lower lip, she closed her eyes.
Philip sat so close, she could feel his hot breath caressing her cheeks. Her heart jumped in her chest when his lips touched her cheek and the delicate skin near her ear.
“Liz,” he whispered again in her ear. A new sensation centered in the special place in her lower belly. Behind her eyelids, she saw stars, waiting for his next move. Would he kiss her? She didn’t know. His hands kept her warm against the cool air. She felt a bit over warm and unsure of her body. Philip had never touched her in such an intimate way before. His lips lingered near her ear, and his hot breath sent shivers along her skin. Turning her head ever so slowly, she could see intensity in his eyes. He cupped her cheeks and leaned his forehead against hers. Their lips brushed together.
Voices approached in the background, bringing them back to earth. Breaking his embrace, he left Liz breathless.
Quickly, she regained her composure before someone saw them together in their intimate embrace. She glanced at him, and his face didn’t show any trace of emotion.
“I should go,” she said, swallowing hard against the lump in her throat. Tears threatened to leave her eyes. Before he said a word, she removed his jacket from her shoulders and walked toward the camp.
He rose from the bench. “Good night, Liz.”
“Good night,” she said with trembling lips.