Ouch. I let it go because…he’s right. I cringe as I think it. “Don’t tell me you like her.”
“Did I mention that she’s sixteen?” he snaps.
“Just making sure.” I relax a little.
Maybe I’m going about everything the wrong way. Sex is okay to talk about. Sex is not something to fear or to condemn. I just need to find the healthy way to do it. With Lo, of course.
And then, everything will be okay.
* * *
I usually pop a sleeping pill to battle my warring thoughts, but I do as Dr. Banning suggested and stay far away from prescription drugs. Instead, the darkness and quiet begin to open the doors to my suppressed emotions. I curl up in my bed—the ocean waves not enough to rock me to sleep. I end up staring at the empty place beside me, wishing for the warmness of another body.
Being away from Lo for three months is extremely difficult, but over time, it’s become manageable. The part where he returns freaks me out the most. All this anticipation courses through me, and I imagine the moment where he’ll stand in my doorway and gently tell me that we’ll have to break up for good. That he’s moved on, reached a healthy stasis, and figured out that I’m the giant cancer in his life.
I press my forehead to my pillow. Don’t. Cry. I force, but hot tears seep in the creases of my eyes. I take two trained breaths the way Rose showed me.
Lo made me promise to wait for him. Maybe I should have made him promise to return to me. At least to give me a fighting chance.
Ten minutes later, sex invades my mind like a relentless enemy. These feelings will float away with a better high, and my nagging thoughts will tumble and fall. I welcome the urge, too emotionally drained to care about anything other than drifting away from this state. I crawl off my bed and zip open my suitcase, rummaging around the bottom before I find my black travel bag of toys. They’re all the same brand from a luxury line, and it kind of reminds me of Lo’s preference for expensive liquors. Great…
Quickly, I pick a small pink bullet vibrator and hop back on the bed. I wiggle my black cotton panties to my ankles and then slide the device inside. I debate on whether to concentrate on Lo. On one hand, he’s the sexist guy in my spank bank. On the other hand, tears build whenever I imagine his amber-colored eyes staring at me, with his body thrumming on top of mine. I just end up missing him and wishing he was here. In the flesh. Holding me.
I settle on clicking the remote and clearing my mind of everything. I massage my breast underneath my gray cami-tank. Running my finger over my nipple, I pulse my h*ps rhythmically against the device. Heat gathers across my arms and legs, and my body throbs for a strong release. I slide my hand along my stomach, past my belly button and to my swollen and tender spot that aches to be touched. My fingers rub against my clit, causing my h*ps to buck and my breath to catch. Yes.
Please make me come. Please make me come. I chant over and over in my head.
Please. I alternate between rubbing slow and fast and speeding up the vibration of the bullet with my remote.
I turn my head and cry into the pillow. Please. I beg my mind. Lo… Too gone to this hunger to think about the sadness that accompanies his name.
Please. And then my insides writhe, my toes curl, and my head floats, a balloon ready to drift away and pop. I pant heavily and stay still for a little bit. The high begins to leave, and I desperately want to catch it—to bring it back and relive it all over again.
It was too quick, too fleeting, too insignificant to replace the hole in my heart.
So I start again.
An hour later and soaked in sweat, I am in no hurry to stop. Each time I come down from an orgasm, I wait a couple minutes and crave the next one before I start again. I’m dripping and wet and sore and none of those things wills me to quit. I just kind of want to exhaust myself so much that I pass out.
An urgent knock sounds on the door, and my heart drops. I fumble with the remote, trying to turn off the vibrator, but it slips from my fingers and onto the floor. I lean over to grab it without uncovering my lower half with the plush comforter, but as I reach, my fingers brush the remote and knock it underneath the bed. Ohmygod.
“Lily!” Ryke says loudly. “I’m coming in. You better be f**king decent.”
I am not decent. I am not even three-quarters decent. I am semi-freaking-the-fuck-out decent.
“Wait!” I scream back. I have no time to think. I straighten out my tank, covering an exposed breast that somehow popped out. Oh shit. The door opens before I can even search for my underwear beneath the depths of the huge gold comforter. I hug it to my chest and gulp as Ryke walks in.
I try to give him a glare, but my paranoia ruins its full power. Why didn’t I lock my door?!
The bullet vibrator silently buzzes inside of me, and my embarrassment hits a new peak. I never thought that was possible. I catch the distressed look on his face as he runs two nervous hands through his brown hair, a little thicker than Lo’s. I frown at his rare expression. Something has unsettled him.
“What’s wrong?” I ask. Is it Lo? What if something happened in rehab? What if he’s hurt? I straighten up, my pulse hammering.
He crosses his arms over his bare chest and leans his spine against my dresser, slumping forward a little, his eyes darkening. “One of the girls just crawled in my bed.”
Not Lo, but this is still pretty disturbing. “What do you mean?”
“I woke up,” Ryke says angrily, “to a sixteen-year-old groping me.” His fingers go through his brown messy hair again. “I can’t deal with that shit. I trust myself not to do something with a high school girl, but I don’t trust them. I almost got raped, Lily.”
I can’t help but snort.
“It’s not funny,” he says flatly.
“I know. I’m sorry.” But this…was kind of unexpected.
He goes to the Victorian chaise and squishes a pillow in his hands, tossing each one on the floor.
“What are you doing?” I squeak out. He cannot be staying here. I need to pull this vibrator out. I need privacy.
He keeps one of the softest pillows on the head of the chaise. “I’m not going back there.” He lies on his back, wearing no more than a pair of drawstring pants that show a little too much definition in the crotch. Seriously, why do Lo and his brother wear those things to bed? They’re so…sexy…leaving my imagination to roam towards bad, bad places.
He fidgets a little, smashing the pillow to get more comfortable. This can’t be happening.
The vibrations make me lose focus. I can’t just sleep here with this inside me all night. Action must be taken. Even if it will be the most awkward (possibly embarrassing) moment of my whole life.
I manage to reach down under the covers and hook my finger on the string to the vibrator, pulling it out and cupping it in my hand. I can’t leave it on the bed, not when it makes noises, and in the silence of the night I’m too terrified that Ryke may hear and think I intentionally tried to get off with him in the room.
So now comes the hard part, I try to feel around for my panties without being too obvious. When I touch the fabric, I pull them up around my thighs, trying not to wiggle so much. When they’re on, I mumble, “I have to pee.”
I grab the plush comforter that weighs a freaking ton and wrap it around my body like I’ve seen in all the movies. Only when I crawl off the bed, the heavy comforter takes the sheet and an extra blanket underneath it. Basically, I just stripped my bed. Good job, Lily.
I’m not smooth at all. I must look like a snowman wrapped in a cocoon. At least it hides my half-waddle and the vibrator in my left hand. Ryke says nothing about my strange behavior. Maybe he’s fallen asleep from his traumatic event or I’m stealthier than I think.
Then…I face plant.
“You okay?” Ryke looks over.
My cheeks heat, and I roll over like a burnt hotdog, still clenching the vibrator in my palm and stuffing that hand into my blanket. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Ryke sitting up and staring at me like what the hell.
I glare now, propping my elbow on the floor for support. “I’m a sex addict,” I tell him. Saying it feels good. “Maybe you shouldn’t be sleeping in here.”
He rolls his eyes dramatically and plops back against the chaise. “I can handle you. I have a greater chance of getting raped outside this room.”
“You honestly believe they’ll rape you?” He’s being ridiculous.
“She basically already molested me, and guys can get raped too, Lily,” he says. “I thought you had to pee.”
I don’t, but I desperately need to reach the sanctuary of the bathroom. Standing up feels like a chore, so I end up army-crawling with my blanket around me. After I slide into the tiled room, I kick the door closed and stand on my knees to lock it. Then I collapse on my comforter and stare up at the ceiling. I drop the vibrator on the floor and it moves a little on the marble tiles. I should roll it in a towel and stuff it into a drawer, wash my hands, and go back to bed.
I know this.
But I don’t do it.
I feel like I can’t.
In a quick motion, I grab the device and put it back in. The pulsing kicks up my cravings, making all my nerves stand still for a brief moment. I want more. My fingers skim down my belly and slowly descend over my throbbing clit, and I start all over again. A cycle I just can’t seem to quit. I shut my eyes and my breathing quickens. I block out everything from tonight, and I lose myself to pleasure instead of worries and time and even this place. I am nowhere but here.
My body shudders, and I rub harder with mastered urgency. I wantwantwantwantwant. No. I needneedneedneedneed. PLEASE!
A moan escapes my lips, and my eyes flutter back. The sudden, quick release electrifies my insides.
And poofs away within a few seconds. I pull out the vibrator, and lie motionless on the floor. Tears sting my eyes as my actions swim up and infiltrate the sane part of my brain.
What the f**k did I just do?
Dr. Banning flat-out told me that recovering from sex addiction does not mean eliminating all sex. Just the unhealthy kinds. The things that bleed into my daily life, disrupt my routines, and turn me into a compulsive animal. Some addicts can handle self-love. I suddenly realize that I can’t.
My chest hurts as tears spill down my cheeks. I don’t understand why I can’t masturbate like a normal person. Why do I have to take everything to extremes? I press my palms to my eyes and cry harder. The situation feels too big for me. Everything seems too far out of my control.
I haven’t cheated on Lo. I’ve abstained from real sex, but does it even matter anymore? I’m addicted to masturbating. When do I get a break? I know the answer. And the tears pour full force now, my nose running, my eyes burning. This battle is a forever sort of thing.
On my hands and knees, I ditch my comforter and crawl into the bathtub, shivering a little as the air nips by bare legs and arms. Wearing nothing but cotton panties and a tight tank. I sink against the porcelain and clutch my arms to my chest, curling into a ball. I physically try to hold myself together. But I still feel as though I’m breaking apart. Shattering. Into small insignificant pieces.