Addicted for Now / Page 21

Page 21

Allison asks me why that is, and I explain my alcohol dependency. Though I give her brief details, not wanting to focus the whole session on me. So I’m glad when Allison directs her next question to Lil.

“How did it make you feel when he told you to stop?”

A long pause strains the air.

Lily is weighing the truth with a lie. It’s what we do. We construct a pleasant story to mask the pain, to soften the hurt. We’re both so good at it that sometimes we even begin to believe the lies. I am terrified to travel down that road again, but it’s an easy one to take.

She opens her mouth and then closes it, unsure.

“It’s okay,” I prod. Even if the truth is ugly and cold, I want to hear it. I’m ready for us to lay everything out until we’re completely bare and exposed. I don’t know how else to make this work.

Allison rewords the question, softening its existence. “It won’t be the first or last time he’s going to tell you to stop. Now is a good time to talk about your reaction to the situation. So how did it make you feel, Lily?”

She only hesitates a second. “Not good.” Her eyes land on her knees, and her shoulders curve forward. She looks small and sad and very, very heartbroken.

A wave of emotions slams into me, and I have trouble picking each one apart.

“And I just…” she stammers. “…I don’t want to be that girl. The one who begs for something she knows she can’t get. It’s like I’m asking a boy I like on a date and he says no, but I don’t listen, and I just keep asking and asking like the answer will be different. I feel…pathetic.”

I don’t ever want to make her feel like that.

“You’re not pathetic, Lil,” I manage to say, my throat swollen. I pull her into my arms and kiss the top of her head. I want to take her pain away, but the irony is that I’ve caused it.

“I think, Lily,” Allison says, “you’re going to have to start understanding that when Lo tells you to stop, it’s not rejection. It’s a form of love. I know that’s hard to grasp, especially since you both have done things completely opposite.”

Lily lets out a short nod. It won’t be easy for her to just believe Dr. Banning’s advice. I have the same problem. Our brains are wired a little differently than everyone else. But I’m willing to ride out this rollercoaster with her—until we’re both free from misery.

“Now let’s talk about your restrictions and the letter I sent home with you,” Allison says.

“We call it the blacklist,” Lily tells her. “But I didn’t read it. I gave it to my sister to give to Lo, and we agreed that it’s better if I don’t know. Now…I’m kind of starting to regret that.” She turns to me. “Do you think I should read it?”

Allison beats me to it. “Actually, Lily, I think it’s a great idea that you haven’t read it. It shows support on Lo’s end and trust on yours. It also gives you a chance to relax about limitations.”

“How am I supposed to relax when all I can think about is what’s been blacklisted?”

“If you do read it, wouldn’t you still be thinking about what sexual activities have been banned?”

Lily’s face falls. “I guess.”

“Why don’t you try this way for a while then,” Allison suggests. She looks to her clock. “The last thing I want to discuss are fears. This relationship is new for the both of you, and I think it would be helpful if you told each other one of your fears by it.”

Lily’s lips snap closed, so I take the opportunity to go first. For her.

“Well…” I say and quickly realize I haven’t thought this through. My fears? I have plenty. Lily cheating. Me, drinking. Both of us f**king up until we can’t see straight. “I’m scared that…”

Lily turns to face me, and I am lost for a minute in her eyes. I suddenly realize that I’m scared of everything. Of losing the only girl I’ve ever loved. Of having her secret voiced to the whole world and watching her disintegrate from the repercussions. She’s already so small and fragile, something like that will kill her, I think.

But Lily and I made a decision not to tell Allison about the threatening texts. It’s too dangerous when we don’t know who’s sending them. And partly, the situation feels new and raw, and talking about it is like pressing on an infected wound.

“Lo,” Allison urges at my silence.

“I’m scared,” I start again, “that there’s going to be a point where you become angry and bitter and resentful every time I tell you to stop, that you realize someone else can give you what you want.”

Lily’s head whips from side to side, like I’m so wrong. That kind of reaction feels good.

“No one else could ever give me what I want,” she breathes. “I only want you.”

I hold onto the words, even if we both know they’re not completely true. She wants to fuck. She wants the high of a cli**x the same way I want to drown in a bottle of bourbon. I want the rush, the flush and the ride to purgatory and back. We are not each other’s first wants and needs. I am second to her. And she is second to me.

I want that to change.

I take her hand and kiss her knuckles, but she doesn’t smile because she knows it’s her turn.

“Lily?” Allison asks.

Lil keeps her eyes on me, and I give her an encouraging smile. “I’m scared,” she says, “that you’re going to hate being on some sort of sex schedule and hate being barred from your own pleasure. It’s not fair to you, and you’ll find someone who will make you feel better than I can.”

My mouth opens in surprise. I didn’t ever think she was worried about that. I didn’t even believe it could be an option. I love her beyond the great sex. “Lil—”

She interjects quickly, throwing up her hands. “What if I can’t ever give you a bl*w j*b?” she asks, a little hysterical now. “I mean, what if that’s on the blacklist? That’s not right, Lo! You have needs too!”

I’m grinning and trying so hard not to laugh. It’s probably shitty that my smile has spread to new proportions, but I can’t help it. Not when she’s freaking out over this.

“This isn’t funny!” she shouts, but her lips start to rise, mimicking mine. “Stop. I’m being serious.”

“I’m sorry.” I can’t even pretend to sound apologetic, nor can I stop smiling. “It’s just cute.” She blushes, and it only makes me want to gather her in my arms and cage her against the couch. To take her right there. She would love that.

“Okay, well…I’m giving you a bl*w j*b after this then,” she demands.

That almost gets me hard. I have to think about something else. Like the fact that Allison is sitting right here. “How about I let you know when I want one,” I rephrase. I’ve read the blacklist, and while it doesn’t exclude bl*w j*bs, it does have certain stipulations. In fact, I think Lily would be genuinely surprised by what it actually says.

Lil narrows her eyes. “You’re just going to keep telling me later until later becomes a year.”

“Within the week,” I say, my eyes lighting up. Only with my girlfriend do I have to basically negotiate her out of giving me head.

Her forehead wrinkles, like it does when she’s thinking hard. After a moment, she looks to me and nods. “Deal.”

Allison pipes in. “That’s good, really good. You two are communicating very well with each other and letting your voices be heard. What I want you both to work on is getting your sex lives to a point where they don’t interfere with relationships, school, jobs, or even daily activities. I know in the past you two had a very active sexual routine.”

Active doesn’t describe what we were doing. When we both were in the lowest of the low, we rarely even left the bedroom. It was an all-consuming affair. Waking up. Drinking. Fucking. Sleeping. Occasionally eating. It was both the best and worst time of my life.

“I think you’re each ready to make a change,” Allison continues. “And that begins now.”

{ 13 }


After my Stats exam, I get another inflammatory text. This time Unknown has become a little more creative and called me a tramp and a cocksucker. It’s a little ironic that I just begged Lo in therapy to let me give him head. But other than that, these texts are starting to unravel me. Whoever said that sticks and stones will break bones but words never hurt have obviously never been teased or insulted.

We’re meeting Connor today to talk about the private investigator’s discoveries. I planned to bring up the new messages with Lo and Connor, but after the Mason incident in the parking deck, I don’t think revealing my texts will do anything other than enrage Lo. And I don’t want him to Hulk Smash anything or drive him to drink. Hopefully Connor has a better lead on the guy and we can figure out what he wants.

I throw my backpack onto my bed and rush to the bathroom, needing to at least fix my hair before we leave. When I swing the door open, I find Lo by the sink, twisting the cap onto a pill bottle. It must be Antabuse. He told me he was taking meds that will make him sick if he drinks alcohol. I’m more proud of him than he knows.

“You ready?” I ask, trying not to make the pills a big deal. I look into the mirror and nearly die at my hair. I pulled an all-nighter to memorize those old exam questions. Taking a shower dropped on my priority list. My hair is greasy and flat and looks kind of gross.

“Just about.” Lo opens the medicine cabinet and grabs a stick of deodorant. I make a bold decision and turn on the sink faucet. Then I lean over the marble edge, trying my best to stick my head in the basin and underneath the surge of water.

“What the hell are you doing?” Lo asks as he simultaneously rolls the stick under his armpits. He’s shirtless, and I really can’t stare too long.

“Washing my hair,” I tell him. I pull some wet strands through my fingers, and I’m about to squirt some hand soap into my palm.

“That’s not shampoo,” Lo says quickly.

“What are you, the soap police? It’ll work.” I reach for the bottle again.

“Wait,” he says. I lift my head up a bit and move some sopping strands out of my face. He fumbles around in the shower and then closes the glass door on his way out, a bottle of Herbal Essence in his clutch. I hold out my hand while twisting my neck to avoid dripping all over the counter.

“You’re going to create a tsunami in here,” he says, pushing me back to the sink. My stomach hits the edge of the counter, and I bend again, losing sight to my wall of hair. Then I feel his hands on my head, rubbing the shampoo into my scalp. Oh.

This feels nice.

His fingers knead in and out, running up and down, and even pressing against the back of my neck. I never thought that a head massage could feel so damn good.

I stifle a moan, but the pleasured noise escapes as soon as he closes the space between us. His body melds right up against my ass. We haven’t done anything except missionary since he returned from rehab, and I’m starting to become paranoid that anal is on that blacklist. I want it. Right now, I think. I’m probably in the minority of girls who enjoy that position. But I like the tightness. It’s a different kind of cli**x, and I can’t deny how much I want it to happen.

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