In Pushing the Limits , high school seniors Echo and Noah couldn’t be more different, but they find themselves united by a common goal: to sneak into their court-ordered social worker’s case files in order to learn the truth about themselves and their families. What they didn’t count on is falling in love.
In this scene, Echo is on a date with another guy, Luke, but she left the movie they were watching when it became too violent, reminding her of her brother who died in Afghanistan. Luke stayed to watch the movie. Once outside of the theatre, Echo ran into Noah and the pair decided to waste time playing pool in the arcade. This was part of the original pool scene, but I had decided it was too early in the story for Echo and Noah to kiss, so I ended up cutting this section of the scene.
Echo let out a long, exasperated sigh. “You don’t know how to make the next shot, do you?”
No and my pride wouldn’t allow me to say so. Echo hopped down from the stool and sauntered over to the table. She looked at the balls and then up at me. “Hit it behind your back.”
“That only happens in movies.”
She wrapped her hand around my pool stick. “Do you mind if I show you how?”
I nodded towards the table and took a step away, but Echo caught my arm. “No. You won’t learn by watching.”
Her cold fingers burned against the skin of my bicep. My heart beat once, twice, then stopped.
Echo’s siren smile returned. “Noah, are you uncomfortable with a girl showing you how to play pool?” She waggled her eyebrows. “Did you have one of those macho fantasies where you leaned your body against mine to show me how to break?”
I opened my mouth to say no, but quickly closed it. Her hand on the pool cue slid down and touched mine when she bent over laughing. My heart restarted, but this time a new tingling sensation pushed through my veins.
She straightened and stifled a few remaining giggles. “Come on. I’ll show you. Anyhow, who’s going to believe that Echo Emerson taught you a pool trick? This will be our dirty little secret.”
I caught the bitterness in her voice when she said her own name. “I’m all about dirty secrets, Echo.”
“I’m sure you are. Okay, put the cue behind your back.”
Feeling like an idiot, I gained a new respect for every girl I ever “taught” how to play pool. I was trapped. If I said no, I’d shut down any progress I’d made with Echo and by letting her do this, I’d feel like a stupid loser.
The moment I saw the excited expectation in her eyes, I sighed. Stupid loser it was. I flipped the cue behind me and every muscle in my body tightened. I looked like a moron.
I expected her to laugh again, though I wouldn’t find it enduring this time. Instead, she stared intently at my hands while biting that full bottom lip.
Her body grazed mine while placing both of her small hands on my biceps. Her slender fingers couldn’t even wrap fully around them. I tried to clear my head in an attempt to make the shot, but I couldn’t. I could only focus on the feel of her soft body, her warmth, and her sweet scent.
“Loosen up, Noah. If you’re going to make the shot, you need to be flexible.”
Her fingers massaged my muscles. She meant to help me relax, but it wasn’t working. Oh, her touch contained magic. It just wasn’t the relaxing type of magic. Her touch turned my nerve endings into exposed electrical wires.
She let go of my biceps and slid her delicate fingers down to my hands. “Hold it just like you would if it was in front of you.” She repositioned my fingers and pushed her body harder against mine to re-angle my aim. I closed my eyes. Damn, she felt good.
“Okay.” She leaned back. “Give it a good crack.”
I opened my eyes and gazed right into her brilliant green ones and smacked the cue ball. Her eyes weren’t on me at all, but on the table. A few seconds later, a thump indicated that the ball had sunk into the far left hand pocket. Her eyes exploded like sparklers and she flashed the smile that owned me. “You did it!”
I dropped the pool cue onto the table, listening to it bounce twice before rolling into the remaining balls, and enveloped her in my arms. Her smile vanished as she swallowed. Her eyes flickered to mine for a brief second before looking at my lips. I held her body close, one arm wrapped around her waist, the fingers of my other hand tunneling into her silky hair. Echo fit perfectly. Her body filling holes I didn’t know existed.
I drew in air and the new oxygen exploded into my lungs, making every cell in my body come alive. My pulse quickened. Her chest rose and fell at a faster rate, causing me to take another breath in an attempt to regulate my own. Her scent was everywhere, cinnamon rolls right out of the oven.
Lowering my head, I hesitated a breath away, fighting against the magnetic pull of her body, her lips. I wanted to remember this moment, this feeling. Never again would I ever kiss another girl without thinking of her, remembering her, feeling her. Echo.
Exactly like I imagined, her luscious lips were soft, full and exerted shy pressure back. I wanted more. I wanted all of her, but she wasn’t that type of girl. I parted my lips and tasted her top lip—delicious sweetness tantalized the tip of my tongue. I suppressed a moan before nibbling on that succulent bottom lip she’d teased me with all evening.
Her hands created a burning path up my arms and around my neck. A single finger stroked the base of my neck, sending a shiver down my spine. More. I needed more. I opened my mouth again and her lips parted slightly, a tentative invitation, but an invitation none the less. I tasted her fully while her tongue hesitantly explored mine.
She deserved better than me and I craved to be the better man. I pressed my lips once more against hers before pulling away.
The right side of her mouth pulled up before she bit her lip and cast her emerald eyes in another direction. A red blush filled her cheeks. I released my hand from her hair and stroked her face. My heart felt heavy, full—ready to explode. This was a new feeling and I never wanted it leave.
The high I was on crashed as a familiar, unwanted voice caught our attention. “What the hell, Echo. I thought you were on a date with me.”