Addicted for Now / Page 48

Page 48


“Daisy,” Lo says. We head to the parking deck, and Lo has his arm tight around my shoulders.

Her head rises to look at Lo. Her eyes are bloodshot, and Ryke’s shirt is wet with her tears. She’s upset, and I wonder how much she’s going to remember in the morning.

Probably nothing at all.

Maybe that’s good.

Lo hesitates to ask her something.

“What?” she murmurs.

He gives in. “What did you think you were drinking if you didn’t know it was absinthe?”

“Curaçao.”

Ryke readjusts his hold on her, and she rests her cheek on his arm. “How the hell do you know what that is?” he asks.

“A Brazilian model.” Her eyelids flutter a bit, hopefully just out of sleep.

Ryke lets out a low breath. “He sounds like a winner.”

“She was pretty awesome,” Daisy says sadly. And then more silent tears start streaming, her gaze faraway as though she’s lost in a very bad trip.

Lo’s face twists in guilt and hurt. I squeeze his hand, worried that he’s going to be possessed to drink now. Alcohol is not the answer to fix his pain of not finding Daisy sooner, but I’m sure he’s fighting the temptation.

Ryke looks between his brother and my sister, and then his eyes falls to me, and I think he sees a girl who can possibly help his brother rather than send him down that dark road.

I won’t let Lo drink.

I am here for him, just as he is for me. So I turn to Lo and poke his arm. “Did you see Captain America?” I ask.

And his face lights up. He stares down at me as we walk, and the guilt begins to wash away. “Yeah, who the f**k thinks he can fly?”

I smile. I love him. More than sex.

More than anything.

{ 31 }

LILY CALLOWAY

Seven days of abstinence, being surrounded by drunken college students and booze, and we’ve survived. The private jet flies us back to Philly. My panic and worry has subsided into a puddle. After enduring Spring Break in Cancun, the biggest obstacles seem like little hurdles.

Not everyone had a pleasant experience.

Melissa has officially broken up with Ryke. I secretly think she’ll make a hate-shrine of him once we return home. Partly, I’m sure it’s because he welched on his deal to give her mind-blowing sex. But last night at the club was what really cemented her anti-Ryke status. She gave him the classic ultimatum. Me or her. And he chose to protect my sister.

So she isolates herself to a corner chair, flipping through a magazine and wearing earbuds, tuning out the rest of us. I suspect she’ll call a taxi when we land, putting considerable distance between herself and Ryke.

The source of her agitation sits by the window. Ryke plays poker with Daisy. She woke up this morning remembering nothing from the club, and no one had the heart to tell her what happened—that Ryke had to carry her home, that she was crying. I think the truth would have shattered her spirit more than any of us could bear.

And after last night, Lo and I have no say in separating Ryke and Daisy without turning into hypocritical monsters. All we can do is trust them at this point—the same way they’ve tried to trust us with our addictions.

Rose is passed out on the bed in the back cabin, working off her killer hangover. Connor slips in the room every so often to check on her, but right now, he types away on his laptop on a plush seat and table. He’s working on his thesis to graduate with honors.

His diligence reminds me that I have to start memorizing old exam questions for my next Stats test. A task I have been avoiding. While memorizing isn’t as hard as studying (or writing a thesis), it still takes a great toll on my poor brain. Last exam, I thought it might explode from being gorged with numbers.

I flip aimlessly through the channels on the television, sprawled on the couch with Lo. My head rests on his chest and a slow contentedness washes over me. I never thought I’d be able to feel so…still. He tucks a piece of my hair behind my ear, and I feel his warm breath on my forehead. “We made it,” he murmurs.

I smile as he plants a kiss on my temple. Tonight, we’ll be home. Alone again. Free to have sex.

I don’t want Lo to think I’ve been obsessing over it, so I don’t say a word about sex. Even though the thought has crossed my mind. I fantasized a little in the shower this morning, but I tried really hard to just wash and step out. No self-love. And that accomplishment feels sort of good, but I know sex would have made me feel even better.

“You know what tonight means?”

He’s bringing it up?

“Lil.”

“Huh?” I turn my head, my eyes wide with anticipation. If he instigates this conversation then I’ll gladly take part in it.

“Tonight,” he says again. His eyes stay on mine, never leaving. I don’t break our gaze, filled with seven days of need and want and tension. I refuse to stare at his lips or his abs or any other part of him. I want Loren Hale. The man, the lover, the guy who fills me with happiness and bliss. Not just the body.

His hand reaches out and cups my cheek, his thumb skimming slowly over my lips. I wonder if he’s testing me.

I want to pass.

His thumb pulls gently on my bottom lip, and I let out a short, ragged breath. His hand slides down to the back of my neck before he whispers, “I’m going to f**k you.” Oh. God.

Now? No, that can’t be right.

He must sense my confusion because his lips quirk. “Tonight, love.”

“Right.” I nod, flushing from the foolish presumption. I don’t think it would go over well with everyone if he took me right here on the couch. Even the image—of Lo on top of me, of his hardness pressing so deep inside of me—steals the air right from my lungs.

He holds me tighter in his arms and lowers his head to murmur dirty things in my ear. My arousal grows, and he must believe I have the strength to last the whole plane ride and the drive to the house. So he’s tempting me little by little. My peak tonight will be so freakin’ intense when we finally do have sex—the walls will not be able to silence my screams.

I squirm a little, the tension a good kind of tension, the kind where I know I can wait to release it. Months ago, I don’t think I could have. But I’m learning restraint.

I flip through the channels while Lo holds me on his lap. I try to find a movie that won’t put me to sleep or a television show that won’t draw my attention back to Lo’s c*ck or my nefarious thoughts.

Lo rubs my shoulder, and his gaze drifts to his half-brother. “Are you losing?” Lo asks, a smile at the idea. I perk up a little with equal amusement.

Ryke stares at his cards with pinched brows. On the table is a pile of hundred dollar bills, what looks like his Rolex and her hemp bracelet.

“No,” he snaps.

Lo laughs under his breath. “Hey, bro, did you fail remedial math? That watch is worth five times more than that bracelet.”

“Can the peanut gallery please shut the f**k up?” Ryke says. “I’m trying to concentrate here.” He accidentally flashes his cards at Daisy.

She covers her eyes quickly. “I didn’t see anything.”

“Fuck,” he curses, shooting us another glare like we made the fumble. He goes back to concentrating really hard. Brain power must hurt Ryke as much as it does me.

Daisy puts her cards to her lips, trying not to smile too hard. She glances at us. “There’s a diamond in my bracelet, by the way.”

“Well then, I take it back,” Lo says. “Ryke is only half the idiot I thought he was.”

Ryke flips him off.

Daisy says, “You should fold.”

He stares at her for a long moment. “You’re bluffing.”

“I’m not. I saw your cards, remember?”

“You said you didn’t see a f**king thing.”

“I lied.” Oh she is good. I can’t tell if she’s bluffing.

“Fuck it.” Ryke slides off a gold ring from his middle finger and throws it in the pile. “That’s worth two grand.”

Daisy pales a little. She has to match that or fold and then he’ll take what’s in the pot.

“Let me see…hold on a sec.” She searches in her nearby bag.

And Ryke looks a little worried. He thought she was going to fold.

But her face falls. “I don’t have anything worth two thousand, but…” She snatches her journal and scribbles something on a piece of paper. She tosses that into the pile.

“Lo,” Connor calls from the back of the plane, still staring at his laptop. “Can you come here?”

“In a second,” Lo says, entertained, like me, on the poker game.

“Now would be best.” Connor’s voice pitches from its usual steady tone.

Lo sighs and slides out beneath me. “Catch me up when I come back?”

I nod, and he kisses me tenderly on the lips. As he retracts, he has that twinkle in his eye like more later.

Yes.

When he leaves, I prop myself on my knees to try and see the paper in the poker pile. “Read it out loud,” I tell Ryke.

“She’s tossing in her two Ducati Superbikes.” His eyebrow quirks. “I already have a motorcycle, Dais.”

“These are faster than your Honda.” Clearly they have talked “motorcycle” before if she knows what sits outside his apartment.

“Wait,” I interject. Ryke said her two superbikes. That means she already has them. “When did you get a motorcycle? And why would you buy two?”

“A client at a shoot bought them for set decoration, and he gave them to me.”

“He just gave them to you?”

Ryke fingers the piece of paper. “That’s what I said.”

“It was a thank you for doing a good job is all. It doesn’t happen often, but it did then. And now I have two motorcycles begging to be ridden. I’ve only taken the red one out on the road, so I put some miles on it.”

“You don’t have a motorcycle license yet,” he tells her flatly.

“Yeah, I know. But in order to get a license, I have to practice.”

He lets the paper go, and I see a sort of longing for those bikes in his gaze. They must be really nice. “You do realize that these are a lot more than my ring?”

“You don’t have to match me. I’m not trying to up the bid, but it’s really all I have that you could want.”

I glance at the rear of the plane. Lo’s back faces me, but he’s hunched over, his hand to his eyes. Something…something’s really wrong. What happened? Is it his father? I go to stand, but Connor meets my gaze and shakes his head, as though I should sit back down.

I do. He has some sort of power in his assuredness. It’s like Jedi mind control.

But I want to go comfort Lo. My chest hurts just watching the back of him. I bite my nails, catch myself and drop my hand.

“What the hell, let’s do it,” Ryke says.

I turn back to the poker game. Maybe it’ll keep my mind off something horrible. But I’m so antsy that I start scratching my arm. I catch myself doing that too.

“So the motorcycles are fair then?”


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