Addicted for Now / Page 30

Page 30


Melissa’s lip twitches. I bet that she’s peeved by the change of plans. She says, “Well this sucks.” Yep, I knew it.

Ryke’s features harden. “You realize that if you went with your volleyball team to Panama City, you’d be sleeping on top of each other in some dingy motel room anyway.”

“I just qualified for the Olympics,” she reminds him. “I’m pretty sure I can afford to rent a condo in Florida.”

Ryke tugs her into his arms and then whispers something soft (and I imagine sexy) into her ear. She sighs exasperatedly, but her shoulders relax.

Connor ushers Lo and me away from them and over to the totem fountain. His voice lowers. “Rose is trying her best, but seriously, we can go anywhere else. The Alps. Canada. Bermuda. We don’t have to stay here if it’s going to make you both uncomfortable.”

Running away from this situation sounds enticing. I’ve never even been to summer camp. And as a girl who likes her privacy and avoids social interaction, I do not take pleasure in the idea of sleeping in one room with five other people for an entire week. Add in my sex addiction status and everything becomes a big pile of this is going to blow.

Lo reaches out and takes my trembling hand in his. His gaze tells me to be strong. “It’s up to you.”

I don’t want to run. I don’t want to put other people out because of my stupid addiction. It’s time to work through this instead of scampering away like a squirrel caught in traffic. “We should stay.”

“Are you sure?” Lo puts his hand on my neck and a breath hitches in my lungs. Maybe we can have sex in the bathroom or…on the beach at night. We can find somewhere to do it surely. It won’t be that bad. I just nod over and over as I try to convince myself.

“Lily,” Connor cuts in, “where did you leave the luggage?”

“With the bellhop…” I turn to look at the place I stood. Which would be right here by Mr. Totem Fountain.

“What bellhop?”

“Um…the one I paid to watch it.” My heart sinks and my palms go clammy.

“You mean the guy you paid to steal it.”

Oh no.

{ 18 }

LILY CALLOWAY

After two hours and a police report later, we come to the conclusion that our bags are officially lost—or rather, stolen.

Lo, Ryke, Melissa and I have to spend one of our vacation days at the U.S. Embassy to replace our passports before we can return home. It’s not by luck that the only two people responsible enough to keep their passports on them were Rose and Connor.

Losing our bags is just another headache, and I’ve apologized so much that my throat has gone sore. Rose is mostly upset that she no longer has all of her clothes and her products and everything that makes her feel comfortable away from home. To make matters worse, our room doesn’t even have a pull-out couch with a bed underneath.

It’s a normal sofa.

And to rectify the situation, Connor called room service to bring up a cot. Ryke offered to sleep on it with Melissa on the couch. But she wore the “I hate this” expression that she had in the lobby. She did not want to be volunteered for the sofa and cot. She planned to cuddle with her somewhat-boyfriend, and that’s unachievable if they’re on separate pieces of furniture.

I can totally understand her frustration right now. Even though I was lucky enough to snag a bed, Connor and Rose’s queen sits not even five feet from ours. It’s not as if I can have a quickie without them noticing. And Melissa would catch us too. The couch faces the beds, and Ryke somehow wedged the cot between both.

It’s as if Ryke Meadows is sleeping at the foot of our mattress. Such an unsettling thought.

The silver lining has to be Rose and Connor. During disaster situations, they’re the two people you want in your squadron—able to think under fire. They both went to the gift shop and bought essentials like toothpaste and toothbrushes. For pajamas, Rose picked out extra-large neon shirts that say I LOVE CANCUN.

When she showed me those, I immediately remembered how this week was supposed to be a big step in her relationship with Connor. She asked him to sleep in the same bed as her, and when we had the three-bedroom suite, her plan didn’t seem as scary. But now that the sleeping arrangements have altered drastically, and everyone will be in clear sight of their bed, she’s more nervous. Tackling this level of their relationship in front of other people is not something she had imagined.

Even in my twenties, I still find sleeping in a bed with a boy a kind of intimate affair. Maybe because it usually coincides with sex for me, but I think Rose can agree that the act is not so friendly.

Darkness blankets the room, but I can still distinguish the outline of bodies. Rose and Connor lie underneath their maroon comforter, facing one another but not touching. They were whispering softly before, but their voices have quieted, leaving the room in an uncomfortable stillness.

I flip over and turn to Lo, his arm wrapped around my waist.

His eyes are already open, and his foot slides against the bareness of my ankle. The silence envelops us and makes me hyperaware of every small noise, my breathing too loud in the quiet. I’m sure Ryke believes all my little movements coincide with me attempting to screw Lo.

But I just…can’t sleep.

Anxiety crawls under my skin like a bed bug. I start playing scenarios in my head of being denied sex over and over. Where I can’t do anything for an entire week. Where I can’t escape to a bedroom to disappear from other people for five minutes. I’m surrounded. Suffocating.

“Lo,” I whisper, trying to be as silent as I can. But my voice sounds like a megaphone in the quiet.

He tugs me closer, and his hands lower to my h*ps and then lower. He cups my butt with one palm and rubs my back in a circular motion with the other.

He tries to be quiet, even as he kisses my lips gently, encouraging me to relax with each one. But his tender kisses do the opposite, building need so deep inside of me. And a horrible part of my brain clouds the reasonable side. I fling my leg over his waist, and then his lips immediately depart from mine. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to touch them again.

After a couple minutes of Lo stroking my hair and watching my breath begin to calm, my eyes grow heavy and I think I’m finally about to drift to sleep.

And then my phone glows and vibrates on the pillow that I’ve abandoned to be closer to Lo. I roll away from him, and he props an elbow on the mattress, worried about me.

“I’m fine,” I whisper and cradle my phone in two panicky hands. I swipe the lock on my cell, and I’m met with a brand new text.

Have fun sucking c*ck in Cancun. – Unknown

I blink a couple times, the brightness from the screen hurting my eyes. Bile rises to my throat as I reread the words. I’m less affected by the “sucking cock” part as I am by the “Cancun” bit.

He knows where I am…

Quickly, I shut it off and swing my legs off the bed. My heart pounds in my chest, and I really just need to think for a second. I try to navigate the room in the dark, but I end up tripping on the end of the cot and fall to my knees.

“Fuck,” Ryke groans. “That was my foot.”

“Sor-ry.” My voice shakes and I pick myself back up, stumbling to the bathroom. I feel a hand on the small of my back as soon as I retreat inside.

Lo closes the door behind us, and I flip on the lights. He squints from the blinding fluorescence, and I splash some water on my face. The bright neon blue Cancun sweatshirt stops at my thighs and feels so hot on my body right now.

“What’s wrong?” Concern laces his voice. I haven’t told him about the texts. I meant to, but every time I’m about to mention it something else comes up.

Tears prick my eyes, and I manage to hand him my phone anyway. I turn back around to the mirror and the sink, not wanting to watch his face as he reads them. This already feels so out of my control. Every breath falls heavy against my chest. I just want to be unsaddled from this anxiety. Is that at all possible?

Yes it is, the bad part of me says.

I’m not wearing any pants or shorts, and my hand just seems to naturally direct itself to my panties. I slip my fingers below the hem while I have an elbow planted on the counter, hunched over with my forehead buried in my arm. Everything feels so, so, so wrong and out of my control and I just want to feel good again.

“Lil,” Lo says behind me. He drops my phone, the cell clattering to the floor. He instinctively grips my arm and presses his chest hard against my back. “Shh, you’re okay, love.”

I want to listen to his voice, but I’m more focused on how that feels, my ass rubbed against him. He removes my fingers from my underwear, and I let him bring both of my hands underneath the warm water. He washes them quietly.

I sniff a little, emotions bubbling, things I really hoped I wouldn’t feel at all on this trip. Guilt, shame—failure. He brushes the tears from my cheeks, and I finally hear his voice.

“We’re going to find this guy. You don’t need to worry about it, Lil.”

“He knows we’re in Cancun…” My voice comes out in a whisper.

Lo spins me around after he dries off my hands. He cups my cheeks and tilts my head a little to meet his eyes. “No one is going to hurt you. I promise.”

I love—more than anything—that he doesn’t bring up the fact that I just touched myself. That I f**ked up in a tiny immeasurable way. He brushes it off, moves on, and makes me feel like I should too.

{ 19 }

LOREN HALE

“Just drink more water.”

That happens to be Ryke’s brilliant advice whenever I tell him that I feel like a car ran over me. This morning is no different. I stand on the patio, the crystal blue beaches in the horizon, but right below lies the congested pool. Sloshed college students splash in the clear waters to the beat of some techno rap remix. Amps sit beneath a white stretched canopy, shaded from the dangerously hot sun. Sometimes a DJ arrives to fuel the crowd’s drunkenness, but right now, the station stays vacant. The leathered skin DJ downs tequila shots at the tiki bar with two girls in G-string bikinis.

It’s definitely Spring Break.

I chug more water, but it doesn’t cure the pounding headache or the exhaustion that aches my muscles. By the time Lily and I went back to bed, it was near three in the morning, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the text and calling my father. I replayed an entire conversation about what I would ask him. How I would frame my words…just to check up on the progress of everything.

“Are you okay?” Ryke asks.

If I say yes, he’ll know I’m lying. So I don’t know why he asks me. “I’ve had hangovers that have felt better than this.” I stretch my arms and legs, loosening up my joints.

Ryke sits on the patio chair and smears cream cheese on the bagel that he ordered from room service. “But this type of pain isn’t accompanied by horrible drunken memories. Consider yourself f**king lucky.”

“Yes, I’m feeling overwhelmingly lucky right now,” I retort bitterly.

“We’ll find that guy,” Ryke tells me. I showed him the texts this morning before Lily woke up. “And then I’m going to put my fist in his f**king face.”


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