Read Teaching Willow: Session Two Online

Authors: Paige James

Tags: #Romance, #Erotic, #Love, #serial, #teacher, #Forbidden

Teaching Willow: Session Two (4 page)

BOOK: Teaching Willow: Session Two
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“The things you do to me,” he murmurs, his lips gently kissing my neck and shoulder, the space beneath my ear.

I wrap my arms and legs around him, holding him close to me in a moment of emotional honesty and weakness. But I’m too transparent. Even Ebon can feel something in my embrace. He raises his head to look at me, a question in his eyes. “Are you okay?”

“Mmmm, I’m wonderful. I was just thinking about the things I’d like to do to you,” I say with a satisfied grin. He works his eyebrows up and down, obviously believing my words. And why not? I’m becoming very adept at lying. Just what I’d always hoped for as a little girl: to be a world-class liar.

Not.

“Consider my body your playground then,” he teases, biting my lower lip and flexing his hips into mine.

“Well, I may have to explore the playground another time. As it is, I’ll probably be walking with a limp tomorrow.”

Ebon’s lips curve into a smile chock full of masculine pride. “Then my job here is done.”

“So you set out to maim me, is that it?”

“Of all the things I’d like to do to you, maiming you isn’t one of them. Eating you, yes. Fucking you, hell yes. Tying you to my bed and spanking you until you come from the thrill of it, most definitely. But truly hurting you?” His eyes turn soft as he looks down at me, surprising me with his mercurial shift into tenderness. “Never. I would never hurt you.”

I pray that my smile doesn’t falter, because I can’t say the same thing to him. I
am
hurting Ebon. It wasn’t my intention, and certainly not my original design, but nevertheless, I’m hurting him. More and more the longer I continue this charade and drag him into something he would never willingly do. But God help me, I can’t stop. I can’t give him up. Not yet. I need my Ebon fix for as long as I can have it. I’m addicted. Shamelessly, irrevocably addicted.

Addicted and in love.

FIVE- EBON

After taking Sage back to her apartment, I came home and showered. Now, only four hours later, I’m wide awake and writing again.

Damn I’m glad we didn’t say goodbye. She’s just as full of surprises as I always felt like her sister would be. Only I can have Sage. And I plan to. At least a hundred more times, in a hundred new ways.

I’m fighting a hard-on as I write a particularly mouth-watering scene when my phone rings. My first thought is that it would be nice if it were Sage, asking me to come over and help her shower.

My dick jumps to life as I reach for my cell. I frown when I see a number I don’t recognize. That wouldn’t normally alarm me, but what I
do
recognize is the area code. I haven’t spoken to anyone from Nevada in years. Eleven years to be exact. Since before I turned eighteen and moved away to start over.

Hesitantly, I answer. “Hello?”

There’s a long pause before I hear a familiar voice. A voice from my past. “Noah?”

My stomach curls into a knot. My fingers curl into a fist. “I’m sorry. You must have the wrong number.”

I hang up before she can ask any more questions. Within a half a minute, she calls back, but I don’t answer. In fact, as soon as my cell service provider’s offices open up, I’ll see what I can do about blocking her number. But still, that doesn’t make me feel much better. She found me. Somehow, she found me. And if I don’t talk to her eventually, she might come looking for me. And that would be a disaster. My mother can never know where I am. Or find out who the important people in my life are. She has a way of using them against me. She always has.

My first thought, of course, is Sage. Other than her, I’ve been very careful not to make close friends or to get too familiar with anyone on the staff at the college. People know who I am, but only what I allow them to know, what I
want
them to know. But Sage is different. It started with Willow, but now she’s drawing me in. And, as inadvisable as that probably was
because of her sister,
now she’s under my skin.

My mind is already spinning webs of worst possible scenarios. My writing is put aside as I debate the wisdom of continuing things with Sage. If I were smart, and if I were thoughtful and considerate, I would end it with her. For her good as much as mine. She doesn’t need to be splattered with the shit from my past. Nobody does.

********

I have a bitch of a headache by the time my Thursday 404 class is over. I wish I hadn’t posted office hours today, but I did, so I’m stuck at school for at least two more hours. My disposition is getting shittier by the minute.

When I hear a hesitant knock at my door, I barely glance up to see my T.A. hovering in the opening before I look away. I give her a snappy, “What is it?” I’m not in the mood for niceties.

“Mr. Daniels, you have another student who would like to see you.”

“Who is it?” I ask, my eyes still trained, unseeing, on the computer in front of me, on the papers I’m supposed to be grading.

“Willow Masters. I’m not familiar with her, sir, but she says she’s in your Mod Lit class,” McKenzie says in her tiny voice. I look up in surprise at the name she just issued. An alarmed expression overtakes the star-struck one McKenzie usually wears in my presence. Any time I meet her eyes, she gets startled, like I caught her spying on me in the shower or something. Normally, I find it sweetly endearing, kind of like the school-girl crush that it is. But today, I just find it aggravating.

“Well, show her in then.”

I grit my teeth. A visit from Willow is the last thing that I want or need today. I’ve got enough shit to deal with without…

Willow steps into my office, looking over her shoulder as McKenzie closes the door behind her. When she turns back to me, she bites her lip in that shy way that I’ve always loved. It’s not as much that she looks like she’s too nervous to speak; it’s almost as though she’s trying to
prevent
herself from saying…something. The curiosity of what it is, of what goes on behind those guarded eyes is what intrigues the hell out of me.

And, despite my growing attraction to her sister, it still does. And that pisses me off.

“Hello, Willow,” I say casually, only letting my eyes briefly sweep her form-fitting khakis and cap-sleeved shirt before returning to her face. “What can I do for you today?”

She clears her throat as she reaches into her bag, her cheeks blooming with color that makes my teeth ache. She pulls out a manila folder and steps forward to hand it to me. I take it, opening it to glance at the contents. A sheaf of typewritten pages stares back at me. I bite my tongue, preventing a string of explicatives from spilling forth as I give Willow a tight smile.

“You’ve been writing?” I ask. I know the answer. The burning in my gut tells me she has. I’m as drawn to it as I try
not to be
drawn to her.

She nods. “A little.”

She’s so fascinatingly brazen in her writing, yet so innocently insecure about it. It’s that self-doubt that makes me soften toward her, something that I
don’t
need to do, but something I find hard
not to
in most instances.

“A little is better than none, right?”

She nods a second time, her eyes darting up to mine and then away again. “Well, you asked me to bring you more as I made progress …”

“And so I did. Thank you. I’ll read these pages soon.”

“All right. Well, I guess I’ll see you Monday.”

I smile as she backs toward the door. “Monday. Have a nice weekend.”

Her smile is bright and genuine this time. “You, too.”

And then she’s gone. The problem is that she lingers long after she has physically disappeared. Only she doesn’t know it. And I don’t want her to.

I was already toying with the idea of taking Sage somewhere for the weekend. Now my mind is made up. I need to do it now. With my past making an appearance in the present, it’s only a matter of time before I have to end things with her. But I’m not ready yet. Not nearly ready yet.

By the time I leave my office, I’m a man on a mission. I open up my messaging to text Sage before I even get to my car.

(Me) Can you get out of work tomorrow?

I get no immediate response, so I put my phone in my pocket and head home to work on lessons for next week’s classes. I can get that out of the way and be able to enjoy the weekend without having to rush to get home Sunday.

It’s almost two hours later when I get a response from Sage.

(Sage) I think so. I still have some over time to take. Why?

(Me) I want to take you away this weekend. Leave in the morning. You game?

(Sage) Of course I’m game. What kind of a question is that?

I laugh. Just what I wanted to hear.

(Me) Pick you up at 8. Be ready.

(Sage) I’m always ready.

“Oh, you’d better be, sweet thing,” I mumble to myself.

Now, to make reservations…

And try not to get distracted by Willow’s pages…

SIX- WILLOW

When my phone rings later, right as I’m packing a bunch of Sage’s clothes into my own suitcase (since she took all of hers), I leap to answer it, hoping that it’s Ebon saying that he doesn’t want to spend the night without me and that he’s coming over. Even though that would be a logistical nightmare, trying to explain where Willow is all night and the next morning, I still wish it was his voice I hear when I answer.

But it’s not. It’s Tiffany’s.

“Hey, Tiff. What’s up?” I ask lightly.

“Just making sure we’re still on for this weekend.”

I draw a blank. A complete blank. “What’s this weekend?”

“The movies. Remember? Your rain check?”

Damn, damn, damn!

“Oh, god, Tiffany, I’m so sorry! I forgot and I…I made other plans.”

She’s quiet for a few long, tense seconds. “What is it with you lately? Is there something that you’re not telling me? You act like someone who’s started using drugs or something.”

Sometimes I feel that way, like I’m in the Ebon Daniels haze all the time and I never want to leave.

“I’m not on drugs, Tiffany,” I say, exasperated that she’d jump to that conclusion.

“Then what is going on with you? Are you seeing someone?”

“Would it be the end of the world if I was?”

“Of course not, but I would think that’s something you might tell your
friend.”
Her tone is bitter now. Understandably so. It seems my life is nothing but secrets now. Secrets and lies. And evidently my relationship with Tiffany is no different.

“Well, then there’s no reason for you to worry because I’m not.”

“You know, Willow, if you
are
seeing someone and he’s having this effect on you and you’re having to lie to people about him, then something’s wrong. It’s not a good thing. You realize that, right?”

“I told you I’m not seeing anybody. Jesus. What’s with the third degree?” I jump right into defensiveness, hoping it will get her to back off.

“This isn’t the third degree. This is concern. You’re my friend. And something’s going on with you. I’m just worried. That’s all.”

I sigh, my hackles lowering with her tender response. Tiffany
is
my friend. That’s all this is. No reason to get defensive. “There’s no reason for you to be worried, Tiffany. I promise.”

“I just hope you’re not doing something stupid, Willow. Like seeing that teacher you ran into at the play.”

Alarm streaks through my body like a bolt of electricity. Tiffany is more perceptive and observant than I gave her credit for. Not only did she pick up on something from Monday night, but now she’s putting two and two together, no matter how far-fetched it is.

Mainly because, in reality, it’s not far-fetched at all. But I can’t tell her that.

I laugh, pleased when the sound seems genuinely amused and not the least bit strained. “Girl, to be a science geek, you sure do have a big imagination. I told you, he’s dating my sister. What you saw was nothing. Nothing at all.”

“Don’t treat me like I’m stupid. Or blind.
You
didn’t see the way he was looking at you.”

“Ummm, yes, I did. I was there, too. Or are you forgetting that part?”

“I’m not forgetting anything,” she says, her tone ringing in my ears like a warning bell. “I’ll see you Monday, Willow.”

After Tiffany hangs up, even though it
seems
that she let me off the hook, something about her parting comment makes me believe that her words carried a double entendre. I get the impression that Tiffany is
far
from forgetting any of this.

And that worries me.

********

When I hear the faint knock at the door Friday morning, my concern over Tiffany melts away like ice cream on hot asphalt. Even though he’s nearly a half hour early, my smile is light and excited when I open the door to Ebon.

“Good morning,” I say quietly, wishing my cheeks wouldn’t betray me like they do. I feel the heat and I know they’re pink. I’d love to be composed and a little more mysterious around Ebon, but evidently it’s just not in my physical makeup. “Shhhh. Willow’s sleeping,” I tell him, tipping my head toward my own closed bedroom door.

Ebon’s sparkling eyes don’t follow. They remain trained on me, sweeping me from the top of my head, my hair still held up in a ponytail, to my feet, which are still bare as I finish getting ready.

“Good morning to you, beautiful,” he says in a hushed voice, turning toward me rather than passing me to enter the living room. He stops when his chest is brushing mine and I have to tilt my head back to see his face. He wraps his fingers around the base of my ponytail and then winds the tail around his hand. His eyes are hot on mine when he gives it a sharp tug to further tip my head back. Chills break out down my arms as I picture him pulling my hair like this while he’s doing rough and dirty things to my body. “I love this look,” he says, bending to brush his lips over mine. “Fresh. Innocent. Why don’t you bring this casual girl with you this weekend?”

I don’t really know what to think. I’m not even entirely sure I know what he’s asking. “What do you mean this ‘casual girl’?”

Ebon’s other hand is stroking my cheek, rubbing my arm, curving around my waist. It seems to be everywhere at once. And I love it.

“I just mean that you don’t have to worry about bringing fancy clothes or makeup. All I want is you. We don’t even have to leave the bedroom if you don’t want to.”

His voice, the slow way he’s annunciating each word—it’s like the Ebon Daniels drug is kicking in all over again. I’m caught in the foggy world between reality and pure bliss. I cling to the bliss, happily. Unabashedly.

I lean into him, wishing I could absorb him through the contact. “Whatever you’d like this weekend, anything you want, it’s yours.
I’m
yours,” I say softly, honestly. “I just thought you liked the way I look.”

“You’re gorgeous no matter what you do, but this natural beauty is my favorite.” His voice drops and his lips move to my ear where he whispers, “It’s the way you look when I’m fucking you. Sensual. Sexy. A little bit sweet. And a little bit naughty.”

An achy heaviness invades my limbs and my belly. It’s desire. Desire for Ebon. It seems to be a need I battle perpetually.

“Well, I aim to please.” Ebon growls in my ear and I feel his grip tighten around my waist. I love that I can be this free with him, that I can tease him and banter with him. I love being someone else, the liberty that comes with it. It’s like consequences are suspended. Even if it’s only for a little while. “Just let me rearrange my suitcase. It will only take a minute.”

After I replace some of Sage’s nicer clothes with the few things she owns that
I
might wear, Ebon loads my bag into his car and we hit the road.

“Where are we going, by the way?”

“To the beach,” he says vaguely, his lips curved in a wicked grin.

“Good thing I brought a swimsuit then.”

“Well, you didn’t
have to.”

I smile. “Yeah, I think I did. Otherwise I’d be swimming naked.”

“Exactly. Maybe you can accidentally ‘lose’ it. Ya think?”

I lean my head back against the rest as I watch Ebon. His eyes are twinkling, his smile is playful, his expression open. I can smell his soap in the air around me and I can feel the warm sun on my face. The moment is oddly perfect. There is an intimacy between us that’s so easy, so addictive, I wonder briefly what in the world I’m going to do when this is over. How I will survive the loss of this, the loss of
him
.

I could stare at him forever, basking in this simple, heart achingly beautiful flash in time. “I lo—” The words start to tumble right off my tongue—so effortlessly, so sincerely—before I stop them. I jerk my head upright, my eyes widening in alarm.

“What?” Ebon asks, his brow furrowing as his smile fades. “What’s wrong?”

I scramble for a suitable excuse, anything but the truth—that I was getting ready to tell him that I love him. “I was just going to say that I love the thought of swimming naked in the warm ocean with you, but then I realized that we can’t be doing that at a public beach.” I poke my lip out in an exaggerated pout, hoping it sells my impromptu explanation. Ebon’s smile returns and I know it worked. My lie worked. Just as they all have. Because, in my desire to have Ebon to myself in all the ways I’ve wanted him, I’ve become the world’s best deceiver. That’s how I got what I wanted. Not the honest way. No, I got it the wrong way, the criminal way. I stole it.

“Well, if that’s what it takes to give you an enjoyable trip, then I’ll make sure it happens. I mean, I’m the host. I should be bending over backward to give you everything you want, right?” He’s back to teasing me, that dark, sexy light in his eyes again. “Or maybe I should be bending
you
over backward.”

Heat races through me. Like always, everything else—no matter how serious or dangerous or stupid or dishonest—gets burned up in the fire that rages between us. I’m helpless to prevent it. And the worst part is that I don’t even want to.

I lean my head back again, putting troublesome thoughts away in favor of enjoying every nanosecond of my time with Ebon. I embrace the mood, the day, the heat, giving Ebon a coy smile as I flutter my lashes. “If you bend me over, what
will
you do with me?”

“Better yet, what
won’t
I do with you?”

In his eyes is a promise, one I will hold him to. Happily.

The notes of a familiar song drift through the speakers of the radio, further elevating my spirits. I gasp in excitement. “I love this song,” I declare, reaching for the volume knob and turning the music up louder. The tune of
Over the Hills and Far Away
by Led Zeppelin pumps through the speakers. I pick up, right in the middle of the song, and start to sing. I don’t really think about how I’ve never felt happier or more carefree, even though I’ve never felt worse about the type of person that I am, but I feel it. I feel it with every ounce of my being. I’m happy. And in love. And, for a while, I can let that be all that matters.

I laugh when I look over to find Ebon staring at me like I’ve grown a third eye. “What?” I ask, bobbing my head to the beat.

“You like Led Zeppelin?”

I roll my eyes. “I know, I know. It’s far from the popular, socially-acceptable thing, but yes, I really do. I’ve loved them for as long as I can remember. My dad used to listen to them when I was little. S—Willow always hated them, but not me.”

Ebon doesn’t seem to notice the way I stammered over the name, nearly citing Sage as the person who hated Led Zeppelin, which she does. Instead, his expression turns incredulous, but pleased at the same time. “Are you serious?”

I laugh lightly, asking, “Is it really
that
bad?”

Finally he starts to smile again, shaking his head. “No, it’s not bad at all. Do me a favor and open the glove box,” Ebon says. I wonder at the way he’s watching me, but I say nothing.

When I open the compartment, I see a stack of CDs. Old CDs. I pull them out, rifling through them. In total, there are eight. Four of them are classic rock bands. The other four are Led Zeppelin albums.

I turn to look at Ebon, who is smiling broadly now. “Are you kidding me?”

He shakes his head. “I never would’ve figured you for a Zeppelin fan.”

I feel like a kid at the candy store. I know almost every song on every album by heart. I grin over at Ebon. “May I?”

He chuckles. “Hell yeah, you may!”

I pop in
Houses of the Holy
and wait for the music of the first song to start. When it does, I look at Ebon and he looks at me, and something vital happens. I’m not sure what, but I can feel it, just like I can feel the vibrations of the bass rumbling beneath my arm where it rests on the console.

I almost don’t hear Ebon when he speaks. His words are soft and they fill me with both happiness and dread. “I’m so glad I finally found the real you.”

I hold my hand to my ear like I didn’t hear him. He waves me off like it wasn’t important. But I know it was.

We sing together, laugh together, enjoy the day together—all the way to Destin. I know that’s where we’re going because when we’d been on the road for over two hours, I knew we weren’t going to Crystal River.

“Where are you taking me, by the way?” I asked as I changed CDs.

“Destin. Beautiful beaches for a beautiful woman,” he’d answered.

God, how I love the way he talks!

Four and a half hours from the time that we left, Ebon is pulling into the lot outside a beach rental agency. “Be right back,” he says, leaning over to give my lips a peck before exiting the car.

I wear a smile the entire time he’s gone. I can’t seem to help myself. There’s such an easy way between us. Familiar. Relaxed. And, for me, loving. It’s so easy to love Ebon.

When he comes back, he’s jingling keys and whistling like he’s up to something.

“Everything okay?” I ask.

“Everything is perfect,” he replies with a wink that makes me feel damp and anxious.

Another fifteen minutes later, we are parking in the ground level garage of a beach house. I get out and walk to the front of the car, taking in the incredible view of a stretch of white sand beach and turquoise water beyond. “Are you kidding me?”

BOOK: Teaching Willow: Session Two
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