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I pull back and look into her eyes, resting my forehead against hers. I watch my body rocking against hers. She brings her hands up and frames my face, bringing my eyes back up.

I know she’s close, because she’s panting and moaning each time I thrust home. She leans up, kisses me softly, and then whispers against my lips. “It feels so… so different, Baby.” She moans when I stop thrusting and roll my hips again, hitting that spot inside her that has a surge of wetness coating my dick.

“Yeah, that right there is what it feels like to finally be mine.” And with that, I pull back and give her body what it’s silently begging for.

Not long after she screams my name and clamps down on my dick, the thirst that’s been burning its delicious pain in my balls rushes out as I empty myself inside her body, giving her everything that I have in me.

“DEE…” I groan her name and dig my fingers in the soft skin of her hips, thrust a few more times before pushing in one last time, and roll so her body is laid out over my own. Each of us is breathing rapidly, and her tight walls still grip my dick, begging me not to leave.

“I love you so damn much,” she whispers in my ear.

“I love you, too. Always have and always will.” I can feel her smile against my cheek, and with our arms wrapped tightly around each other and our bodies connected, we both close our eyes, and for the first time in a long time, I sleep with complete peace.

Chapter 19

Peace.

That’s what this kind of love feels like. My mind and heart are working together in complete harmony, and I no longer wake up wishing that I could just disappear. I wake up, and the first thing I do is smile because I have been blessed.

I still have some bad days. Times when I freak out because of some stupid reason, but Beck is always there to remind me that there isn’t a thing in the world he won’t do to keep me safe and happy.

It’s been one week since we had our talk, and since then, we have spent almost every second together locked away in his house so that the world can’t touch us. He called Axel sometime the morning after we let go of everything that was standing between us. I don’t think he’s happy about it, but he still told Beck to take some time off.

Beck left for the office about an hour earlier, and today would mark the first day that we would be apart since he went in for his meeting last week. I brushed him off when he asked me if I needed Maddox to come wait with me.

Truth is, I’m still nervous to be alone, but I know I’ve got to learn to stand on my own two feet without Beck to keep me up. I have to take the steps to rid myself of this fear.

The main reason I don’t want anyone here is because today, I’m calling my parents. Today, I’m finally going to let them know how much they have completely ruined the first twenty plus years of my life. Today, I will put my parents, and every single fucked up issue they have given me, to rest and forever forget that they ever existed.

After eating something light for breakfast, I settle on the back deck with the phone and a cup of whiskey flavored coffee. Yeah, I need all the courage I can get.

I stare at the phone in my hand before I can make my fingers dial the ten numbers to connect me to my parents. When I press the last number and place the phone to my ear, I take a deep breath for strength and get ready.

“Roberts’ residence, this is Collette speaking.”

“Collette, this is Denise Roberts. May I please speak with Annabeth?” I feel the instant need to wash out my mouth when I say my mother’s name. It takes everything inside me to speak normally and keep the snark out of my tone. I really just want to ask Collette if I may speak with the raging bitch of the house.

“One moment, please, Ms. Denise. Let me see if the lady of the house is available for callers.”

She has got to be joking. The lady of the house? What a fucking joke.

By the time I’m finally taken off hold and my mother’s annoyed voice comes over the line, I am about to hang up and just say the hell with it.

“What is it, Denise? I’m in the middle of my bi-weekly massage, so can we make this quick?” I pull back the phone and drop my jaw when her words penetrate. Did I really expect anything different? No. I want to laugh when I realize how unnecessary this call is.

“Well, Mother, I’m so sorry that I interrupted your fucking massage.”

Her gasp comes out, and I can picture her pressing her hand to her chest in shock over her daughter’s ‘disgusting mouth’. “You will watch your mouth when you’re speaking to me.”

“It’s a little too late for mothering, Annabeth, don’t you think?” She starts to speak but I cut her off quickly before I lose my lead on this conversation. “Here’s the thing, you old fucking hag. You might be my mother by birth, but that’s only because I didn’t get to pick the idiots that decided to have sex once, and nine months later, their accident was born. No, I didn’t get to pick then, but I do now. I’ve wanted to say this to you for years, but until recently, I didn’t have what I needed to make this call.”

“You are a filthy, disgusting, piece of shit, and I would have been better off thrown into the system than being raised by you and Davison. I hate you. I’ve hated you for the last thirty-one years of my life, and for once, the thought of telling you that doesn’t send me into a panic. I want you to let Davison know that this will be the last time you ever speak to me. From this day forward, you are dead to me. Do you understand that, Annabeth? Your daughter is dead.”

I take a deep breath and squeeze my eyes shut. My legs are bouncing in place, and I know I’m seconds away from throwing up.

“Well, I think an email would have sufficed here. Goodbye, Denise.” The click of her hanging up the phone causes me to jump. I can’t seem to remove the phone from my ear. The shock that she didn’t even react, not once, when I finally let her know what I think about her, is overwhelming.

I should be sad. Maybe shed a tear or freak out a little, but there is nothing. Nothing, but the heavy weight of the pain that they’ve caused me over the years, as it vanishes from inside of me.

I grab my coffee off the railing and take a long swallow, enjoying the burn of the whiskey mixed with it. When I pull the mug away from my mouth and feel my lips curve into a smile, I know that everything is finally okay. My life is finally perfect, and there isn’t anything that can take this feeling from me.

****

By the time I pull myself off the couch on the back porch, it’s nearing lunchtime. Beck’s already called twice to check on me, and the last time he called I told him he better not call me again. I love him for wanting to make sure that I’m okay, but we both need to start getting back to normal. Our normal. Together.

After a quick lunch, I sit down to start answering emails. I’ve enjoyed my break from work, my forced break, but now it’s time to get back on the wagon, so to speak. The first order of business is to start cleaning shop with the North Carolina branch. I spoke with Chelcie the other day about selling the business and having her move down here to help me run things. I’m ready to stop making work my number one priority, and focus on living my life.

Ring.

“Hey, Chelc, I was just thinking about you.” When I hear her soft sob, the smile on my face vanishes. “Chelcie? What’s wrong?”

“Oh God, Dee. I thought it was over, you know? Things have been so quiet around here, but you… you got a letter today.” She sounds terrified, and all it does is fuel the dread slowly closing in on me.

“Chelcie, what did it say?” I’m pretty proud of myself for sounding a lot calmer than I feel. I take a few deep gulps to calm myself and wait for her to speak.

“There are pictures, Dee. They have pictures of you, and they have pictures of me.”

My heart is beating out of control. Oh my God.

“Was there anything else?” Tears are streaming down my face, and my hands are shaking so badly that I have no idea how I’m able to hold onto the phone.

“There’s a message,” she whispers back.

“And?”

“It said… God, it said that if you don’t deliver Adam or two hundred thousand dollars by the end of the month, they’re going to clear the debt owed in other ways. Dee! What the hell does that mean?!” By the time she finishes, she is sobbing.

I give myself a few minutes to freak out before trying to come up with a fix.

“Chelcie, listen to me. I want you to get your things and go straight home. Lock the door and do not answer for anyone. Pack as much as you can and get down here. I need to call Beck and let him know what’s going on, but I want you here where I know you will be safe.”

She’s silent for so long that I have to pull my phone away to make sure she didn’t disconnect.

“Chelc, do you understand?”

“Yeah, Dee. I’ll be there by tomorrow. Promise me you’re safe?”

“Don’t worry about me. Worry about you. Get down here, Chelcie. Everything’s going to be okay. Make sure you bring everything they mailed you and try not to touch it, okay?”

“I’ll be there.”

I quickly hang up the phone and immediately call Beck. After I fill him in, he tells me to check every door and stay away from the windows. I know he’s worried, but he’s trying to hide it so it doesn’t freak me out.

“I’m okay, Beck. I’m really okay. Just get home okay?” I don’t think I realized until that moment that I’m not as scared as I would have been months ago. I’m worried, but mainly for Chelcie. I know that Beck won’t let anything happen to me, and until she gets down here, I don’t think I’ll be able to stop the feeling that I have no way of controlling what happens here.

I check all the doors and make sure the alarm is active before making my way back upstairs. The only place that I know I’ll feel one hundred percent safe is in Beck’s bed, where I can pull the covers around me and let his scent surround me.

Chapter 20

The second that I hang up with Dee, I gather the rest of the guys in the office so I can fill them in on what’s going on.

“She doesn’t know if there’s more. The letter didn’t come here, which makes me think that he wants her to believe he knows more than he does. There’s a reason he sent it to Chelcie at the office and not here.”

Axel looks around for a second, thinking about all the facts that we have. Which is basically is a whole lot of nothing. “I don’t like this. How is it possible for this Adam shit to hide for this long?”

“We need the letter. Maybe we can pull something off of it. It’s a long shot, but right now, it’s all we have.” Coop sits down and for once doesn’t end a sentence with some smart-ass remark.

We’re all worried. This guy has us all by the balls, and it’s not sitting well with any of us.

“You need to get home to Dee. Let us worry about the shit we can do here.” Maddox pushes off the wall after giving me my marching orders and slams the newly replaced door against the wall in his haste to leave the room.

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