“Sex or sex with him?” He points to the door. “If you really want him, Lily, then go. Have at him. Make him come, make him scream, if that’s what makes you feel better, then do it.”
“Wait,” I say, my head spinning. “Wait, that’s not. No…” I swallow. “It’s not him. It’s just the sex.” I fiddle with my fingers, much more nervous than I’ve ever been with him. This is not pretend. What we’re saying to each other, this is very real. “I’ll start shaking if I don’t find a way to satiate this. It’s like…it’s like there’s something wrong in my head, and the only way to be at ease is to do it. You understand…don’t you?”
He rubs his lips. “Yeah, yeah, I get it.”
I inhale, thinking he’s going to let me go without the added guilt. “So we’re okay then?”
He blinks in confusion. “What?” And then he realizes what I’m asking. “Fuck no, Lily. I’m not saying it’s okay for you to have sex with him.”
My eyes glass. “Why are you doing this to me?!” I scream. “I’ve never once ripped a glass out of your hands. I’m sorry you hate this guy, but there’s no one else. You want me to sleep with the old bartender? He’s my father’s age!” I do have some standards.
He scowls darkly and then touches his chest. “I’m clearly an option, and yet you still can’t ask me. I don’t f**king get it. Am I that revolting to you? You would rather go through withdrawals and bang some a**hole than sleep with me?”
I gape, choked for a response. He wants to sleep with me? “I’m not going to use you like I do these other guys,” I murmur.
“Goddammit, Lily,” he curses. “I am standing here telling you that I want to have sex with you, and you still can’t accept it. Was it that terrible the first time, is that it?”
“What? No…” The first time was wrong, impetuous and rushed. Back then, we were just kids trying to make each other feel better. If we have a second time together, I don’t want it to be like that. “You shouldn’t have sex with me just because I’m withdrawing. We’re friends,” I tell him. “You’re not going to be another name on my list of guys for the week. Okay?”
His nose flares, breathing heavily. And he starts closing the distance between us.
“Lo,” I warn.
“Have you ever thought about it?”
I watch his feet near, my pulse racing.
“Have you ever thought about me inside you?”
I almost stumble back, but he hooks an arm around my waist.
“Have you ever thought about us together?”
I can hardly breathe. “Together?”
“Where I don’t share you with any other man.”
All the time. “Yes.” I keep expecting to wake up.
“If I could be enough to fill you, would you let me?”
I look at him. “Yes.”
“Then let me try,” he says, his hand cupping my face. “Let me try to be enough for you.”
“That’s a big undertaking,” I tell him, my body swelling.
His lips brush mine as he whispers. “I’m big enough to take it.” Oh… “Let me. Help you.” He places my palm over his swim trunks, right on his crotch. Yes.
“I didn’t know you wanted to…you never said anything,” I stumble. My lungs struggle for air, three years of tension bursting.
With a shuffled step, he draws me even closer and then guides me backwards to the bed. “How the hell could you not know?”
“I’m dirty,” I refute, hot tears brimming. “You don’t want me.”
His face twists in pain. “I don’t think that. Neither should you.” His lips graze my neck and then find my ear. “Lil, I want you to ask me. I need you to.”
He presses his forehead to my temple, gently edging me closer to the mattress, his hands tight on my hips. I continue to struggle for breath. I know what he wants now.
He wants this to be real.
So do I.
“Help me,” I say, breathlessly.
He grips the back of my neck, hard, plunging his tongue in my mouth. My legs hit the mattress, and my back slams into the bed. He lifts me up, all while keeping his lips hungrily on mine.
Bottles clatter to the floor, and Lo doesn’t pull away to retrieve them. His hand kneads my breast, my top coming off. I grip his bare back, clutching for support. I try to flip over so I can be on top, but he refuses my demands, keeping my body trapped beneath his weight.
I succumb to his hardness and the way his rough movements dominate my bones. He lifts my leg around his hip but keeps my other on the bed.
I usually take control, pouncing on my prey, but here, every action has equal intensity. My fingers run through his soft hair, and his mouth sucks on my nipple, his tongue swirling around while I buck against him. Oh…
“Lo,” I moan. I can’t do this much longer. He’s too far away. There’s too much distance. “Closer.”
He pulls my arms above my heads, stretching me, and I cry out, my toes curling. “I need you. Please…ahh…” I’m in my zone.
He sheds his shorts, and I try to climb on him again, but he returns to my arms, pulling them once again. He stares deeply into my eyes, his body melding perfectly into mine. “I’m not one of your conquests,” he says in a throaty voice. “I know what you want, and you don’t need to take it. I can give it to you.”
His fingers slide beneath my bikini bottoms, finding the sensitive place. They slip in and out quickly—so fast. I shudder and moan and try to speak but words don’t come. I’ve reverted to caveman talk in grunts and groans and shrieks.
“Stay still,” he orders, stepping off the bed, which rises without his weight. He walks across the room, completely nak*d, and fishes out a few condoms from his suitcase. I drink in his whole body. Even his…wow. That has definitely grown since the last I saw it.
He rips open the condom, climbing back on the bed. Unbearable seconds tick by, and I squirm, impatient.
He smiles and kisses me again, long and hard. Ah…I shudder. And then he fills me. His h*ps grind against mine, and he presses down with each thrust, getting as close as possible. I shut my eyes and turn my head, a natural reaction as I float away with the overwhelming sensation.
He grips my chin, still moving against me, and turns my face to his. “Look at me.”
My eyes snap open, and his words send my body in a tailspin. I cry out. “Lo…” I grip his back tightly for support. “More.”
He pumps, and his amber eyes stay on mine, driving in and out. In and out. Deeper and deeper. I am lost to his scotch-colored irises. In the way he stares into me. No one has ever looked at me like this.
I’m flying into the most blissful feeling in the world.
I never want to come down.
Most nights, I pass out after sex, willing on sleep to avoid any communication with the other guy. As this bliss seeps away, I can’t close my eyes. My head spins from the event, desperately trying to quantify what just happened.
Lo silently climbs off the bed and tugs on a pair of black boxer-briefs over his bare ass. He rescues a fallen bottle of bourbon and a glass from the counter. I tighten the navy sheets to my chest, and he hops on the bed, the mattress bucking underneath me.
More gently, he takes a seat at the foot.
He wants to talk. I suppose I do too. I think it may be where we went wrong the first time.
“Thanks,” I say first.
His eyes flicker from the dark liquid to me. “I didn’t do it all for you, you know?”
He licks his lips. “Where is your head at?”
“I’m confused,” I say truthfully. “I think I’ve been confused for a long time. I haven’t known if you’ve been playing into our lie or if you really mean to touch me the way you do.” Saying that feels really good.
He looks at me deeply. “I’ve wanted to have sex with you again since the first time,” he admits. “But you had all these rules, and I didn’t want to be the clichéd horny guy trying to abuse your addiction. So I was waiting for you to ask me to do it again.”
I frown. Why didn’t I? “I thought it was part of the lie. I thought you were just pretending.” How could I know that he wanted more?
His jaw locks and he shakes his head. “I’ve never pretended, Lil. We’ve been together, even if you thought it was some f**king lie. We just weren’t hav**g s*x.” He stares at his glass. “On bad days, I’d touch you more than I should, I admit. Like when Daisy spent the night, but I was hoping you’d finally open your eyes and realize that I was there. You didn’t have to suffer or go be fulfilled by some other guy. I was right in front of you.”
“I just thought you were teasing me.”
He nods. “I know. It didn’t work how I planned.” He swishes the alcohol in his glass, staring. “I understand your addiction, and I’m only bothered by the other guys when I tempt you to that place. I blame myself for making you aroused, hoping that you’ll finish with me. But you never do, and in the end, some lucky bastard gets what I want. I had everything with you, the good and bad parts of a real relationship, except the sex.” He inhales deeply. “I wanted it, but on your terms.”
“You’ve been waiting around for six years,” I say, staring off. Six years of miscommunication. One of us could have opened up. Instead we let the tension build between us, growing a lie.
“The worst part was hearing you.” He shakes his head. “You know, I’d stay awake, listening to you, wondering if your cries would turn terrified, wondering if some guy decided to take advantage or hurt you. But I can’t…” He pauses on the words.
But I know. “You can’t tell me to stop.” Because it’s hypocritical. He won’t quit drinking, not for me, not for anything.
“Yeah.” He inspects me from a distance, taking in my body language after sex. “How was it for you?”
Amazing. “Do you want a rating or something?” I try to lighten the mood.
His face sharpens, all hard lines, all ice, all Loren Hale. “I’m open to criticism.” He finishes off his drink.
I can’t rate him. He’s literally not quantifiable on any chart. I have never trusted someone to take control and to do it so passionately. “You’re enough,” I tell him, my voice small, “but I can’t lie to you. I worry that in the future, you won’t be. And then what? I’ve never been committed to one guy, Lo. For you, I’d try, but…what if I fail?”
“You’ll still be hav**g s*x,” he says. “You’ll just be having crazy, mind-numbing sex with me. Every day. On your terms. And if you slip up, it’s okay.”
“No,” I immediately refute. “No, it’s not. If we’re together for real, I can’t cheat on you. That’s not okay.” I realize I have to try. No matter what, I have to try to make this work and to find everything I need within Lo. I think it’s possible, but it may be hard sometimes. “I’m going to need you, do you understand?”