Addicted for Now / Page 19

Page 19


Her head tilts back, her eyes closed, her hand gripping my wrist so I don’t move. “No,” she breathes.

“You’re a little liar.”

“I’m not.” She gasps as I push deeper, in and out. “Lo,” she cries. Her back begins to arch, trying to drive my fingers further inside.

We need to move this upstairs. I disentangle from her tight clutch and slip my fingers out. “Go upstairs,” I tell her. “Take off all your clothes, lie still on the bed, and I’ll make you feel better.”

She nods wildly, wanting nothing more than for me to take her mind off of what just happened. She opens the door and then hesitates. “Are you not coming with me?”

“I’ll be there in a second.”

“Lo—”

“I just need a minute.”

She glances at the raw skin on my knuckles, and then she nods again and heads into the house. When the door closes behind her, I grab my phone and dial a number.

The line clicks after the third ring. “Hey. How was the first day on the job?”

I can’t speak. I shouldn’t have called him. I’m about to hang up.

“Lo?” Ryke’s voice turns serious. “Hey, talk to me.”

I let out a breath. “Tell me why I shouldn’t.” I pinch my eyes. I want this to end. This torment. These feelings. I want to help Lily without needing something to drown my own thoughts.

“Because one drink isn’t worth what you’ll feel in the morning.”

“That’s not good enough.”

“You’ll puke,” he reminds me. That’s right, I’m on Antabuse. One sip of alcohol and I’ll be sick.

I pause, wondering if I still could test it out. Maybe I could. I grimace. Maybe I couldn’t.

“Because you love Lily more than that.”

And it hits me. I’m here. In the f**king car. Debating about a stupid glass of alcohol when Lily is waiting for me upstairs, fighting her compulsions, probably seconds from touching herself. And I’m supposed to be there to help her say no. To stop her. I’m the guy looking out for her the way Ryke is there for me.

Rose trusted that I would be able to stay sober and help Lily. And this is the one thing I want to do right.

“I have to go,” I say.

“Wait.” His voice pitches. “Do I need to come over? Are you okay?”

“Yeah, don’t come over.”

“Are you sure?”

“Ryke, unless you want to walk in on me f**king my girlfriend, you need to stay at home.”

There’s a long pause, and then, “See you tomorrow?”

“Yep.” We both hang up.

And I step out of the car.

Ready to help Lily. Ready to be there.

Ready to change.

{ 11 }

LILY CALLOWAY

I pace back and forth in the kitchen. I’m a ball of string that needs to be unwound, an anxious mess and a compulsive freak. I didn’t follow Lo’s orders to retreat upstairs to our room and shed my clothes.

I stay right beside the back door, pressing my ear occasionally to the wood, waiting for him, hoping and praying that he’s not doing something bad and dangerous. I bite my nails, listening carefully at the sound of shuffled footsteps.

In the car, he looked like he wanted to sink and drown to the bottom of a dark, cold ocean. And I can’t let him do that. I can’t let him go.

The car door slams.

I peel my ear away and scuttle backwards, not quick enough. The door swings open and Lo catches me right here in the kitchen, disobeying his orders. A horrible, insane part of me wonders if he’ll hate that I care about him, if he’ll reprimand me for it.

I blurt out, “I’m sorry. I was just worried, and you looked upset…” I trail off while he stays stationary near the wall, his cheekbones sharpening. And I imagine what could have happened if he drank, if he did something worse in that garage. If he left me.

For real this time.

The truest deepest part of me suddenly speaks.

“I don’t know how to live without you.” And I shake my head quickly as tears pool. “And I don’t want to know how. I don’t want to find out.”

He is my breath. My soul. My life-force. I have spent forever with him. Being apart is the most unnatural feeling in the world. Three months—I could handle that like a bad itch. Forever without him?

Just kill me now.

He slowly walks to me, and his hand skims my cheek, his eyes never softening, his sharp demeanor never changing. He’s Loren Hale. Ice and whiskey. Powerful and intoxicating.

He’s my very best friend.

His forehead presses to mine, his lips so near. In a low whisper, he says, “You’ll never have to find out, Lil.”

I ache to kiss him, to solidify those words as truth.

His lips nearly brush mine, but he teases, a sliver of space tempting me and causing tension to build between us. His amber eyes flicker to me. “I will never learn how to live without you. I couldn’t f**king bear it.”

I grip his arms, keeping him close. This feels imagined, like a part my fantasies. But I’m touching him, cut muscles, his legs against my legs. I let out a breath. “And what if everyone says we shouldn’t be together—that it’s not right?” Every person has to learn to live alone at some point in their life. Why do we? I always wonder. Because it’s right, my conscience says. But I love him. But you’re co-dependent. But I love him. But it’s not okay.

I want our love to be right.

Why can’t it be right?

“No,” he immediately says, holding my face in two large hands. “If the whole world says living without each other is what we should do, then this will be the last wrong I make.”

Yes.

We connect to each other fully, his lips touching mine in passionate desperation, as though two people are literally trying to pull us apart, as though we’re giving them the middle finger, telling them to f**k off.

Fuck off. I love Loren Hale. I can’t live without him. However silly that may be, it is the undying truth. Even if he was with another girl. Even if we never could touch. I could not live without Lo. He is as much a part of me as the sun is a part of the sky, as the earth is to the universe.

I need him in order to wake up in the morning.

I need him to feel whole.

He clutches my hair, the long kiss stealing my breath. And without warning, he picks me up and throws me over his shoulder. Oh God. His hand grips my ass as he carries me out of the kitchen and up the stairs.

My heart has traveled to my throat.

On the second level, he opens the bedroom door and tosses me roughly on the mattress.

I struggle to catch the air that escapes my lungs, and when I do, I prop my body on my elbows and watch him watch me.

He unzips his jeans, never breaking my gaze. His shirt comes off next, uncovering his defined muscles that beckon me to touch. I undress with the same mastered efficiency, breathing so heavily that my ribs jut out and in with quick succession.

In this moment, I have no desire to touch myself. I want him on me. In me. I can wait for his hands, for his body, for his breath.

So I watch him as he walks to the nightstand, only in black boxer-briefs while I stay completely bare. He opens the drawer.

I sit on my knees, my eyes widening in delighted anticipation.

When he shuts it, my mouth drops a little. “I thought…” you were just getting a condom. “Are those…?” I’m imagining them. This has to be a fantasy. “Where’d you find those?” I would have seen silver handcuffs in our room! I would have jumped for joy and paraded them around like they were a bag of galleons.

He climbs onto the bed, on his knees in front of me, towering over my small frame. His lips lift in a devious smile. “A little black box,” he tells me.

“I need to start opening more boxes,” I say in a breathless whisper. “Are you going to cuff me to you?”

His grin lights up his whole face. “No, love.” And then he lifts me by the waist and sets me closer to our pillows. He clips one cuff around my wrist and then the other to a rung in the headboard.

Ohhh…my…

“Don’t move,” he instructs as he slips off his boxer-briefs. When he lowers his body against mine, I instinctively run my free hand across his shoulder, his bicep, sliding my fingers along his abs towards his cock.

He grabs my hand before I reach the best place. He shakes his head at me once in disapproval, but his lips betray him, rising as he soaks in my eager gaze.

“No touching,” he says, his voice forceful. He climbs off the bed, leaving me cold and alone on the mattress.

“Wait, I won’t—I promise.” Come back.

He disappears into the closet, and I wonder if this is a test that my therapist concocted. Is he supposed to leave me wanting and craving? Am I supposed to overpower this compulsive demon while I am in desperate need?

I’m going to fail.

I already know it.

I bite my lip, weight crashing into me. I stay entirely still, expecting Lo to walk out fully dressed, to wave goodbye and go meet Ryke somewhere. This was all a game to get me to this point, imprisoned on my bed with only one hand for use.

And then he exits.

But he’s nak*d, like before.

He holds a scarf, and I can barely process what this means. My head floats away as the bed rocks, as he edges near me, lifts my other hand and ties my free wrist to the headboard.

I am not as excited as before, mainly because I just freaked out.

When Lo looks back down at me, his smile fades into dark concern. “Hey, Lil…” His thumb skims my cheek. “You’re okay.” He must recognize the fear in my eyes. “I won’t ever desert you, love. Not for a goddamn moment. You’re mine to take care of, you understand?”

His words instantly fill my heart. I nod quickly. “Yes.”

“I’m going to take care of you now. I’m going to fill you so deep that you’re going to wish you could touch me, but you can’t.” Yes. “You’re going to come each time I slip in.” Yes. “You’re going to ask me to stop to catch your breath.” Yes. “I won’t.”

Please.

His hand descends to the spot between my legs, wet and ready. He spreads my legs open with his knees, and his fingers pulse inside of me. I writhe and buck up to try to meet him. But he contains me on the mattress; he softens my jagged, impatient movements with a hand to my hip.

I try to reach forward and run my fingers through his hair, but the silky scarf stops me, and the hard cuff digs into my other wrist. He dictates the position, the speed, the tempo of our love.

He replaces his fingers with his long, thick cock, so big for me, and I cry out, jerking against the restraint. He keeps my legs spread open and bends my knees. When he leans forward to kiss me, his whole c*ck slowly dives into me, no space to breathe.

I let out a staggered moan that turns sharp and needy. His lips hover right over my parted ones, and he rubs the sweaty hair out of my face.

In a low, husky voice, he whispers, “Every inch of me is inside of you.”

“Lo,” I cry. I want to touch him. I want to wrap my arms around his shoulders and never let go.


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