Till Death Page 1

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CHAPTER 1

The sound of the door wakes me, the slide of glass against rubber disrupting the silence enough to cause my eyes to open. I lie still, trying to decipher what has awoken me. The room is dim, never fully dark, the many windows allowing moonlight to filter through the curtains. Then the door clicks into place, and I stiffen.

I hear the gentle slap of bare feet, and then there is weight on the bed, the mattress adjusting as a figure moves across it. There is a tug on my blankets, a breeze as the fabric is lifted from my skin. Then warmth.

He moves against my back, wrapping an arm around my waist and pulling me tightly. My body slides easily across the fine sheets, ‘til I am solid against his. His skin is so warm, his body so hard, his arm gripping me tightly, a hold that wraps me in a cocoon. I feel the scratch of stubble against my neck, and he burrows his face into my hair. “I’m sorry.”

His whispered voice is so thick, so full of emotion and need. It matches the need in my heart. I need this so bad. I need to be held, be protected, be embraced. He nuzzles the skin on my neck, placing a soft kiss there before continuing. “I just … I couldn’t go to sleep without touching you.”

I arch against him, sliding my legs in between his, fitting my body even tighter into the curves of his. He reacts, his hands traveling, turning, and gripping me until there is not a single place on our bodies that is unconnected. There is nothing for me to say—no words for what is a terrible idea. Words will only ruin this moment. Words mean thought, and I can’t think about what we are doing. I know what I need. I know what I want. And right now, in this one quiet moment, I want to be selfish.

I roll, his hands sliding and tugging to keep me close. I look into his eyes, seeing a desperation in them that matches my own. Then his eyes drop to my mouth, and I am lost. He carries such a hunger for me, his desire typically locked behind a stern, rigid exterior. But here, in the privacy of my bedroom, with Nathan’s room only three or four walls away he releases it; a storm of want, his passion breathtaking in its simplicity. He follows his line of sight, lowering his mouth to mine, his hands pulling my waist to him, a strong leg wrapping around me and drawing me close.

Kissing him is so different than Nathan. Nathan and I have emotional expression in our kisses, our lips able to communicate in ways that we will never be able to verbally. Drew’s kiss is so different. His eyes, his mouth, his touch, his words—they tell me everything I need to know. His kiss is more of a sexual fuel, taking this sweet, needy moment and pouring the kerosene of passion onto it. It starts off slow, the need of us both flickering in our half-asleep states. But it continues, his hands moving quicker, pulling me upright, yanking at the silk of my camisole until it is over my head and I am half na**d before him. He moves to his knees, our kisses frantic, our hands twisting into each other’s hair, tugging and pulling. Then I am pushed back and I feel the slide of silk against skin as my boy shorts take the long journey down my legs and off my body.

He kneels on the bed between my legs, my body na**d before him. He pulls up my legs, placing my feet on his bare chest, his hands running softly along my legs, a look of drugged arousal heavy in his eyes. And there before me, lit by the moonlight, I can’t help but compare them.

He is rugged where Nathan is finely cut, scruffy where Nathan is smooth. They have the same messy hair—hair that is short enough to be professional but long enough to grip in my hand and pull. His chest is covered in a thin layer of dark hair where Nathan’s is smooth, his abs thicker where Nathan’s are thinner, his build stronger, evidencing his strength.

I love the look of my feet on his chest; I love the contrast of my lighter skin against his darker, delicate feet against masculine strength. He leans slightly forward, digging my feet into his pectoral muscles and his hands slide down the inside of my legs, pressing gently out as he moves, my feet sliding off his chest, my breath hitching as my legs fully open, and I am spread eagle before him. His hand gently touches the silken hair that is my core.

“Drew, I …” I stop talking, his fingers sliding along my wet slit, his eyes on mine. Then he lowers his head, moving his hands to my thighs, and his eyes are on nothing but me. My face burns, and I prop myself up, about to protest, my mouth forming the words. Then I see him and stop, my mouth dropping open slightly, the view so carnal I almost moan.

He is examining me, his fingers sliding down my thighs and massaging the skin on either side of my pussy, opening and closing the lips, his warm breath tickling the skin, making every movement of my skin tickle in the most tantalizing way.

He glances up, his eyes black with need. “God, I needed this,” he groans, lowering his hot mouth onto me, my back arching at the shock of his hot, wet mouth, the soft trail of his tongue as it flickers lightly over my clit, his entire mouth working in perfect coordination to bring all of my senses to that spot.

My back hits the sheets, my hands reaching out and fisting fabric, the surrender of my body to him complete, his face buried in my most private place, doing something that is too perfect, his tongue knowing—without instruction—just how gently to sweep over my clit, just how to draw me into his mouth, how to use his entire mouth and not just his tongue. That look on his face, before he buries his mouth on me, is one a recovering alcoholic gives an ice-cold beer. Ravenous need. And it is obvious, from the sounds and expertise that he is showing below, that he loves what he is doing. It is something that I will do with him whenever—holy shit. I am about to come, my back arching, the swell of pleasure interrupting my thought processes, interrupting everything within a half mile radius, so pure and intense, swelling up the hill, small whimpers coming from me as it climbs.

Then, pure silence, my body wracking beneath his mouth, his tongue maintaining the perfect flutter against my small bud of nerves until my breaking point—a point he somehow instinctively knows. As I fall down that hill of pleasure, his tongue gently carries me down, slowly, softening imperceptibly, until I sink into a sea of perfect, post-coital bliss, my world going dark, every sense leaving my body in one perfect moment.

Jello has nothing on my limbs, their loose and pliable movement easily manipulated by his hands. He moves my legs, lifts my torso, and tucks my body underneath the sheets, pulling the soft weight of a down comforter over me. I murmur words of nonsense, trying to follow his movement, his soft chuckle irritating me briefly, my heavy eyes uncooperative. A sigh of relief leaves me when I feel the blanket lift, feel his heat settle in behind me, his arms stealing around my body, his lips gently touching my neck. “Sleep Candace,” he whispers.

I should be offering to take care of him. I should be rolling over, pushing him to his back and dragging those way-too-sexy sweatpants off his hard, muscular hips. But I don’t. I grip his arm tightly across my chest and close my eyes, the relaxation of release bringing sleep to me quickly.

I don’t wake, three hours later, when he leaves my bed, returning to the big glass house and his portion of it. I don’t notice when my alarm sounds; I sleep right through my morning routine and—for the first time in five weeks—don’t dress and wait for Nathan’s beckoning call.

I open my eyes at 9:30 AM to the unfamiliar view of full sunshine against the vaulted rafters. I have not prepared for him, an oversight that went unnoticed; Nathan’s morning schedule one that did not include me. And I wonder, lazily, if this is the beginning of my end.

CHAPTER 2

I feel like I am a cocktail of sorts, different mixers and alcohol being added, the flavor and consistency changing with each new addition.

My first week I was a mix of insecurity and nerves, allowing them to mold me without question, allowing them to create the Jenny which was desired.

Elation was introduced the second week, mixed with a slice of boredom. Everything was so new, so fancy, the feel of shiny plastic in my hand liberating.

The third week the elation had diluted, more shots of boredom added to the mix; the concoction creating the new flavor of inquisitiveness.

Week four added a spike of punishment, my understanding of my situation making my drink very strong, very soon. Despair is a drink best served never.

And now, in week five, I taste the familiar flavor of nerves. Fear of punishment, bitter hatred of my restrictions, the sweet taste of regret mixed with the sour sting of guilt.

I can feel a break coming, my psyche sick of the rollercoaster of emotions it is riding. I can only harness rebellion and self-esteem for so long before my mind is going to say f**k you and kill everyone in the room. It’s only taken me five weeks to realize I can’t be Anna Nicole Smith, unless Anna Nicole was a dominatrix who told the old man what the f**k to do. I am not good at being meek and mild and shutting my mouth. I can feel my body itching, feel my mind pushing against the restraints, testing for weak areas, searching for hidden passageways and loopholes to freedom.

Drew is my best chance at a weak spot. I just need to figure out how to best use him for my escape. But first, I need to figure out what to do with my father.

His health seems to be in a limbo of sorts. He is healing, his color returning, his medication not as life sustaining as it originally was. But his improvement is at a slow pace and is unpredictable in its path. One day he is smiling, the next week I am met by Pam with sober eyes and a tight mouth, his health taking a hard right turn into serious. The problem child was first his immune system, then his kidneys. His vulnerable spots seem to change, having no rhyme or reason in their locations or symptoms. Today is a bad day, in the middle of a bad week. His breath is labored, and he has been nonresponsive all day. His drugs are at a level that keep him one step above comatose, his sleep heavy, his hand limp when I pick it up.

The responsibility for his care weighs heavily on me, slowing down and tripping normal brain functions. I should be able to figure this out. I should be able to have a clear, concise thought process and come up with a plan.

The truth of the matter is, I can avoid any hard lifting of my brain. The gold paved road before me is smooth and well marked.

Separate myself from Drew.

Follow the rules.

Stop asking questions.

Visit with my father and support him in every way possible.

I can live my golden life, squash the ridiculous theories that my mind has been concocting in my spare time, and follow Nathan’s rules. Ride his cock, obey his rules, and deal with the minor items that separate this life and Happily Ever After.

That is the unselfish choice, one that will guarantee my father the level of care that he needs.

I don’t even feel the tears. They slide unannounced down my cheeks, salt paths through expensive foundation. I don’t realize it until I feel a soft hand on my shoulder and look up into Pam’s concerned face, her hand patting gently as she crouches beside me.

Her arms wrap, uninvited around my neck, soft and providing a cushion of unwanted affection. The kind gesture breaks a dam of some sort, and my traitorous body sobs, my own hands reaching around to return the hug. “It’s okay, Mrs. Dumont,” she whispers. “I promise, he’ll get over this little bump.”

I shake my head sadly against the stiff curls of her hair. “Oh, Pam. It’s so much more than that.”

CHAPTER 3

I believe, with all of the rules involved in my life, that my heart should have some. It shouldn’t be allowed to care for a man who is incapable of loving it back. It shouldn’t be allowed to care for a man who puts my father’s well being at risk. And it shouldn’t be allowed to put me in the position of choosing between the two; it shouldn’t fall for more than one man at one time.

My heart, like the rest of my body, doesn’t like to follow rules.

I have no reason to care for Nathan. Outside of sex, he is cold, distant, business-like—a dictator who has constructed this world of rules that I hate. It is the glimpses that have done me in. Nathan in Napa, his soft words, loving glances, thoughtful gestures and carefree smile. The glimpse of compassion when he asks about my father, a hint of sadness in his tone that reminds me of his lack of family. Those glimpses have devastated the walls that I built between my heart and his, rendered me weak, wishy-washy, confusing my mind and soul.

And the sex. The long, hot f**ks that have occurred in every part of the house, no matter who is around, or because of who is around—the raw need which he displays, the fever that burns in his eyes, the possession of his gorgeous face—every session is a new study in two addicts who cannot get enough of each other. I am at the point of needing his body, craving its domination, the slick slide of his c**k in and out, his terse orders as he demands and my body provides.

I have so many questions about him. Why he is so cold. Why he will never allow me in his bed. Why he only reaches for me when he needs sexual satisfaction. Has he ever been in a relationship? Ever been the happy, carefree man that he so convincingly portrays in person?

I used to ask Drew those questions, never receiving a response, only stony silence. Now, due to our affair, I have no one to ask.

Affair. It sounds so dirty. I am a cheating wife. I hear the words and recognize them as truth, but still manage to deny it. Somehow, my mind justifies this twisted f**ked up triangle. I don’t even know if it can be considered a triangle, the three points of us all so badly contorted, our emotions and lives too gnarled to have something so simple as a point.

I think of Drew, in his lonely corner of the triangle, and feel such confusion. The whispered words of Rick play in my mind. “They knew everything about you.” They. Drew included. He is the one who always provides my documentation. He is the one, while I sat and tried to decide whether to sign my life away, urged me forward, spelling out my pathetic life and dire financial situation.

I have shared a bed with the man, cupped his face, had him comfort me, kiss me, f**k me. Yet he has never shared why I am here, why they walked into the Crystal Palace and spoke my name. He has never answered my questions, hinted into my situation, or looked the other way so that I could bend a rule. He is my jailor as much as Nathan. He, like Nathan, seems entitled to sample from my body - but offers nothing in return.

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