Come Together(9)

By: Jessica Hawkins


“I’ve been waiting for this a long fucking time,” he declared. “Sue me if I want nothing more than to lock you in my apartment, throw you on my bed and have you until you beg me to stop.”

His words, aside from knotting my insides with excitement, rang familiar. I remembered he’d said them to me once before. The last time he’d said that, I couldn’t respond the way I’d wanted, so this time I did. “I’ll never beg you to stop,” I told him.

His chest vibrated against me when he growled. He still looked slightly angry, but now his eyes were hungry. “Then we’re in trouble if we expect to have a life outside the bedroom.”

I couldn’t suppress my grin. He was so adorable when he didn’t get what he wanted.

“I’ll give you your space,” he said, “but in exchange, I want the whole weekend.”

I moved my hands back against his hard pecs and nodded. “The weekend.”

He bent his head and kissed me softly on the lips. “You’re amazing. Thank you for today.”

I blew out a breath as my body warmed. I was just getting to see this sweet, romantic side of him, and I liked it a little too much.

“Go back inside,” he said, “or I will kidnap you and take you home now.”

“Okay.” I tried to pull away, but his arms were still locked around me.

“And turn your phone back on. I hate being out of touch.”

“Yes, sir. Talk to you tomorrow.”

He leaned over, gave me another kiss and left.





CHAPTER 3





I HEARD MY NAME IN THE DISTANCE – faintly at first and then again, louder . . . . My eyes flew open to darkness, and I catapulted into a sitting position. “Bill?” I wheezed.

“Shh, sweetie, it’s Gretchen.”

“Oh.”

“Were you having a nightmare?” she whispered.

I closed my eyes and reclined back onto Gretchen’s bed. “Mhm.”

“What about?”

“I don’t remember. I have them about the alley.”

“When Mark Alvarez attacked you? I didn’t know that.”

“Sometimes it’s more like a memory. Alvarez restraining me as he threatens payback for Bill’s involvement in his brother’s trial. But this nightmare was different. Bill was in it.” I jumped when she stroked my shoulder.

“Is there any news about Alvarez?”

“He’s behind bars, and he’s not going anywhere. But it’s hard to forget what his hands felt like on me.”

I woke up several times after that, half-expecting Bill, other times David, but confused when I found Gretchen. I didn’t dream of the alley again.

I lay watching the ceiling as the room brightened with the rising sun. Gretchen stirred eventually, and I turned my head toward her. “I’m worried about Bill.”

She yawned and rubbed her eyes before turning over to face me. “Should I ask Andrew to check on him?”

“Would you? I don’t think Lucy wants to talk to me.”

“Sure. I’ll call on our way to work.”

We got ready together and headed to a café down the street. After we put our in order at the counter, Gretchen called Lucy, who told her that Andrew would go by the apartment. Bill was close with Andrew, Lucy’s husband, so I didn’t mind asking. Lucy didn’t want to speak to me however, and from the way Gretchen stopped mid-sentence, it appeared that Lucy didn’t care to hear about how I was doing.

Gretchen assured me again that Lucy would come around, but I wasn’t so sure. I had stomped on her values, everything she believed in and the vows she and Andrew had just taken. It hurt to think that I had tainted the meaning of love and commitment for her the way my parents had for me. It pained me to realize that I might lose friends in addition to Bill. But even though I was still laden with grief, doubt, fear . . . in some strange way, I felt a certain lightness too.

“So what’re you gonna do about a living situation?” Gretchen asked.

“Trying to get rid of me?”

“You know you can stay at our apartment as long as you want. Like, forever even. My roommates are hardly there anyway.”

“I don’t know if Bill would appreciate my breaking up our marriage for one long sleepover at your place.”

“Touché. So? What are you gonna do?”

I sighed as the barista handed us our drinks. We left the café and started toward the train. “David and I made plans to spend the weekend together, so we’re starting with breakfast tomorrow. I haven’t really thought beyond that. I guess I should start looking for my own place.” The thought made me grimace.

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