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Authors: Leanne Davis

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BOOK: The Years After
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“Cause you’re so tough,” she mumbled, smiling. She was still aware enough to realize she might be slurring just a bit.

His gaze roamed over her face and his expression seemed more tender, or softened, or perhaps it was her beer goggles that made it seem so. “Did you have fun tonight?”

“I think so.”

“I think you’re going to hurt tomorrow. Why don’t we go back to your dorm?”

“Is that an invitation?

“To make sure you get home safely? Yeah.”

He tugged on her hand and pulled her out of the fully raging party. Ally waved at her, but Kylie was nowhere to be seen. “What about your cousins?”

“Ally just waved me off; and Kylie’s probably off with some guy… or maybe, a girl.”

His mouth compressed. “You don’t leave your friends at places like this. That’s when shit happens.”

What was he so worried about? She was surprised that he never once touched the beer or any other substance so easily attainable there. He clearly instructed her to wait right there, before finding both of her cousins. Kylie was so messed up, he had to drag her behind him. She was staggering and groping her way just to stand upright. Her hair was loosened from her ponytail and her makeup was smudged every which way.

“This is why you don’t leave friends. Ally, is fine. I had a conversation with her. This one here, however, is done for the night.”

She followed behind him as he nearly had to carry Kylie. Okay, he was right. She started sobering up a little as they walked down the dark streets and the loud noise faded in the distance behind them. He was semi-carrying Kylie when Olivia finally managed to catch up to him.

“Are you mad at me?”

The question was strange. She’d done nothing wrong. Simply acted her age. Had some fun. Giggled with some other girls. Why would he be mad? It’s not like she went off and did whatever Kylie did to be like her, and stink like she did.

He stopped dead in his tracks. Kylie’s head was lolling against his shoulder, and her arms were looped around his neck. Her face dropped against her chest. He didn’t seem particularly concerned that her cousin was draped over him. He acted more like she was an awkward piece of luggage than the sexual, hot girl most guys thought Kylie to be.

His eyes caught and held her gaze. “I’m not mad at you. I just don’t trust this shit. What would you have done if I weren’t here? Stumble home alone? With Ally? With this one here? Who the hell knows what could happen when you’re in this state? I don’t like the odds on that. I have no interest in being so fucked up for no real reason.”

She tried to puzzle out his personality. “You really don’t drink?”

“I really don’t. I have no interest in being like that.” He jiggled Kylie’s prone body.

“I thought, well, I really thought you’d be a huge partier.”

“Well, I’m not. I go to parties. I just never get like you. Do you know all the shit that can happen?”

He was worried? She shook her head. It was so not what she expected. “So, you’re not mad at me?”

His expression softened. “No. I’m here. But only this time. You don’t even know me. What if I were the kind of guy to take advantage of you? How do you so easily trust that I won’t be? You don’t know, and you don’t have very good judgment right now. You’re naive and come from a sheltered background, so you really can’t trust your judgment. Shit, you probably think I’m a good idea for you. So, no. I don’t trust you.”

He turned and started down the sidewalk. He didn’t trust her? She nearly choked on her own indignation at hearing that. He should have just loosened up. They were college freshmen, for chrissakes, and this was just the start. The fun was about to begin. The only time they ever got to live like that.

Still, Kylie’s prone body being dragged/carried home wasn’t all that sexy, or fun to witness. Maybe he had a few good points.

****

Derek hauled the anorexic train wreck that was somehow related to Olivia, home. He did not get it. Kylie’s gothic, screw-you look, and rude behavior were the antithesis of Olivia. Yet the affection and understanding these two shared, sometimes with only a look, seemed real enough. The thought of sweet, good, innocent, Olivia ever being in Kylie’s condition left his stomach in knots. No. She wasn’t like that. She wasn’t like the losers that he sold the shit too. She was different. She was special. Even if she were currently stumbling behind him and looking around all happy-like.

He just spent the last four hours warning people to stay away from him, and be discreet. He didn’t think Olivia picked up on any of it. She probably just assumed he was well known and liked and quite popular.
As if.
He didn’t have a single friend among them.

Except, possibly her.

Some friend he was. He lifted Kylie into the elevator and pressed the button as Olivia slouched against the opposite wall. He didn’t like seeing her drunk. It was sloppy and typical. She wasn’t meant for that. She was gifted. Unusual. Totally above that high school shit.

She was so above him. He should have deposited her into her room and left her forever. But what if she decided to go to more parties like that? He couldn’t stomach thinking of her being alone at them. Some guy, like him, hurting her, or taking advantage of her. No!
Fuck
. She had no idea how many scumbags, losers, psychos and assholes attended those parties.

Still, he couldn’t just leave her alone like he should have.

She became more giggly and sillier the drunker she got. She hung onto him in ways she never did before. She even kissed his mouth several times. She went ahead of him and dug around in her hoodie, searching for her dorm key, which she finally produced before unlocking the door. He was mostly carrying Kylie now. He set her on her bed and pushed her back. She fell over to her side, facing the wall, and remained completely out.

He turned toward Olivia who was now tugging at her sweatshirt. She finally got it over her head and ungracefully managed to wrestle her arms out of it. His breath caught. Her tank top left her collarbones showing, as well as her long, slim arms. When she turned to the side, her thin, fragile frame was so small, he could have spanned her shoulders with his fingers. Her bra strap peeked out as her hair slid around her chest and back. She giggled and his eyes reluctantly lifted off her. She wasn’t trying to be seductive. She fell back onto her bed when she couldn’t seem to finagle getting her shoe off.

“The room’s moving.”

“It’s not.” He softly chuckled as he squatted down on his haunches and pulled her foot into his hands. After undoing the laces, he pulled the boot off her. They were unfeminine, big laces, that went all the way up to her knees. She swung her other foot toward him and he took off the other boot too. She put her arm over her eyes.

“It really is, Derek. It’s moving all around. Like a rollercoaster.”

“It’s you, sweetheart. It’s all you.”

She turned over on her side so she was facing him. “Derek?”

He was close to her now, and they were at eye level although he still kneeled on the floor. Her tone became strangely serious. “Yeah?”

“I think I really like you.”

His heart did something weird. It shifted in his chest and his lungs felt like they expanded too fast and cut off his air supply. He reached out and cupped her chin in his hand. “Bad idea.” He wasn’t sure she heard him. She closed her eyes and covered his hand. He stared at their clasped hands. She held his as trustingly as a child does a parent’s. In so many ways, and in contrast to him, she was a child. A sweet, clueless, naive child who would have been shocked and horrified to know what he was. But… he could not keep himself away from her.

She opened her eyes and tugged on his arm as an invitation. He hesitated a moment. He should not be doing that. He had no right to. But he did it anyway. He slipped onto her bed next to her and she scooted against his body. His arms settled around her and her head came to rest on his shoulder. She put her arms around his chest and quit moving. She stayed against him until her breathing became regular and she fell asleep.

He’d never lain like that with a girl before.
Never
. Not once had he held a girl in a platonic, almost sisterly way as she slept. But there was nothing sisterly about how he felt. He should have left. She didn’t invite him to stay. It would, no doubt, be awkward and awful in the morning. It would be stupid to stay. As stupid as each time he saw her.

But maybe he could stay with her for a few more minutes. Maybe he could let her warmth radiate through him, touching him, and replacing something dark and evil inside him with her pure trust. Her uncompromised goodness. Her ease in touching him.

Chapter Five

 

DEREK WOKE UP AS the morning light slanted into the room. He lifted his head and let it flop back on the pillow.
Damn it!
He’d fallen asleep with Olivia in his arms, and now it was daylight. There was no sneaking out. He glanced to his side. She slept still, with her butt backed into his crotch and underneath his arm. Sighing, she pushed her body toward him. His cock had already sprung and was hard against her.

He felt her suddenly stiffen and wake up. She pulled her butt away from his hard-on and her entire back stiffened. It hurt. Like he needed her, or needed relief; it was that kind of hurt. Her hair was tangled around his hands and chest.

He pulled her towards him. Knowing he was going to hell anyway, or should be for the life he lived, and always being selfish and cold, how could one nice girl change that? She let him tuck her against him as his hands stayed on her chest and their feet tangled at the end of the bed. She finally turned over to lie flat so he could look into her eyes. They were open and searching his face. Without a word, he leaned down and started kissing her, morning breath and all. Alcohol was still thick on her breath. It should have turned him off, but it didn’t. He pushed his tongue inside her mouth as his hands rubbed up and down her small chest. He didn’t really feel anything, just a bunched-up shirt and the lines of her bra, but the heat of her body nearly singed his hand. He kept doing it over and over because he liked the radiant heat almost more than he wanted to touch her boobs.

His hands followed the contour of her waist before moving down along the outside of her legs. She kissed him just as hard as he kissed her. He felt like pushing her shirt up, and sucking on her nipples before burying the aching stiffness of his hard-on into her simmering softness. He wanted to do it so badly, he started to sweat and had to control his hands, becoming more gentle. He finally lifted his mouth from hers.

Her eyelids fluttered open. His head was still right over hers, and she smiled up at him. Her eyes were big and soft and turned on, yet so innocent. She didn’t realize where his thoughts were. Somehow, he knew she was thinking about this, and not what could happen next.

“Good morning,” she finally whispered.

He couldn’t restrain the smile that tilted the corners of his lips up. He was so turned on, he could have stabbed her with his dick; yet she was smiling so sweetly under him, and completely unaware of his dirty thoughts. And
good morning
was all she had to say about it?

“Good morning,” he whispered back finally. Kylie still slept in the bed that was not eight feet away from them. He was turned so if she did glance over at them, all she’d see was his still clothed back. It was the most innocent encounter he ever had with a girl, and he strangely felt protective of Olivia. He didn’t want anyone seeing them. Or knowing about them.

“Did I do anything embarrassing?”

“You don’t remember stripping naked and propositioning me? I had to redress you, and gentleman that I am, lay you in bed the way you are now.”

Seeing her grin was worth it. He’d have said almost anything just to see her quick, sweet, trusting smile. That wide mouth that inspired such dirty thoughts, and now he only wanted to see her smile. “I don’t remember the proposition. Good to know what a gentleman you are.”

“You feel okay?”

“A little queasy,” she said with grimace. “How can you stand my morning breath?”

“Well enough to stick my tongue down your throat, that’s how.”

She rolled her eyes. “I was being dramatic. You really don’t need to answer that.” He had never had a girl discuss her breath with him. She made a cross-eyed expression before leaning back so they could sit up. “I didn’t think you’d still be here.”

Her insecurity shone in her eyes. He didn’t know why he was still there either. He shrugged his shoulders and ran his hand through his hair. “I had to make sure you didn’t go off and proposition someone else. What kind of guy would I be otherwise?”

She was on her knees and started to cross over him when he snagged her by the waist and kissed her again. She leaned on his shoulders and sighed into his mouth. “Really? I need a toothbrush. I’ll be right back.” Then she smiled, ducked her head, and grabbed a basket of bath accessories, which she took with her.

He rested his elbows on his knees and ran his hands through his hair, rubbing the grit from his eyes. What the hell was he doing? Playing kissy-face on a Sunday morning with some chick? It was so stupid. Such a crock of shit. And so not him. He—

“You carry me home?”

He lifted his head and saw Kylie sitting up. She still looked stoned and pale as she put a hand to her eyes as if the stabbing pain originated there. “Yeah.”

She was silent for a long moment as her black-rimmed eyes caught his. She scowled at him. “Thanks. That was decent of you.”

“You shouldn’t do that shit.”

“What shit?”

He gave her knowing look, but didn’t admit that he sold the shit, so he knew exactly what Kylie McKinley was on. “Just be smarter in the future. Bad things can happen to a girl when she’s on it.”

She shrugged and shook her head as if to wake herself up. “Babysit Olivia. I don’t need your lame advice.”

He waved his hand her direction. “Yeah, you totally seemed like you had all your shit together.”

“Fuck off,” she said, with no real heat in her voice.

“I should,” he muttered more to himself than to her. She tilted her head.

BOOK: The Years After
4.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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