Chapter Ninety-Eight

After We Fell

chapter ninety-eight




I know exactly what I’m doing to her. I know how much she loves my filthy mouth, and when I look down at her, she doesn’t even bother to conceal it.

    “You’re being such a good girl,” I say with a dark smile, eliciting a moan from her without so much as a touch to her flaming skin.

    “Tell me what you want,” I whisper into her ear. I can practically hear her erratic pulse under her skin. I’m driving her crazy, and I fucking love it.

    “You,” she says, desperately, vaguely.

    “I want it slow. I want you to feel every single moment that you were away from me.”

    I tug on her pajamas and give her a commanding look. Without a word she nods and pulls them down. Then I press my thumb into her thin cotton panties, tearing them from her body. Her eyes are wide and dark, her lips pink and swollen. The force of my movement pulls her into me, and she wraps both of her small hands around my arms, hooking them with her beautiful little fingers.

    “Grab the condom,” she reminds me.

    Fuck, it’s across the hall in the room that no one could have possibly expected me to actually stay in, with Tessa only meters away. Curiously, however, the nightstand was stocked with condoms upon my arrival.

    “You grab the condom.” I playfully fight back, knowing there’s no chance in hell I’m having her scurry across the hallway half dressed. I gently push my hands under her back and unsnap her bra, then slide the black straps down before tossing the whole contraption onto the floor behind us.

    “Cond—” she starts to remind me.

    But her own sharp intake of breath interrupts the thought as I suck on her newly exposed nipples. She’s so sensitive to my touch, and I want to savor every second of her.

    “Shh . . .” I silence her by biting down on the sensitive flesh.

    But after a moment, I do climb to my feet. I don’t waste my time getting dressed. At least I’m wearing boxers; even if I wasn’t, I sure as hell wouldn’t be wasting my time putting clothes on right now.

    I return to the room, four condoms in hand . . . I’m a little ambitious and overprepared, but with the way Tessa is behaving tonight, we may need the entire drawerful.

    “I missed you,” she sweetly remarks, a shy smile covering her face. And then there’s a flash of embarrassment in her eyes when she realizes she’s said the words aloud.

    “And I you,” I reply, which sounds as cheesy as I expected it to.

    Without any further Hallmark statements, I move to join her on the bed again. She’s sitting up, completely topless, with her back against the headboard and her knees slightly bent. She’s completely naked; only the cream satin sheets drape over the top of her thighs, blending in with her creamy skin.

    I have to control myself at the sight. I have to stop myself from literally diving onto the bed, ripping the sheets away from her, and taking what is mine. I want tonight . . . well . . . morning now, to go smoothly, and I don’t want to rush it.

    Smiling, I stare at the woman on the bed. She’s staring back at me, her eyes soft and warm, her cheeks painted a deep pink. When I join her on the bed, eager hands move straight to the lining of my boxers, tugging them down my thighs. Her feet finish the job, and she gathers me in her hand, squeezing gently.

    “Christ,” I hiss, momentarily losing my focus on everything except her touch. She begins to slowly pump, her small wrist twisting slightly as it moves up and down, and I fucking love the way she knows exactly how to touch me. As she lays herself down, her hand keeps a steady rhythm, and I give her the condom, silently instructing her what to do next.

    She bites her lip and quickly obliges. As the latex rolls down me, I silently curse at her, and myself, for never following through with the birth-control plan. The feeling of skin on skin with her is heavenly, and now that I’ve felt it, I crave more and more.

    She’s quick to climb on top of me and straddle my waist, my dick only a breath away from slipping inside her.

    “Wait . . .” I stop her by gently wrapping my hands around her hips and laying her back down beside me on the bed.

    Confusion flashes in her beautiful eyes. “What’s wrong?”

    “Nothing . . . I just want to kiss you a little more first,” I assure her and cup my hand around the nape of her neck to bring her face closer to mine. My mouth covers hers, and I hover over her body, forcing myself to take this slow. With her naked body pressed against mine, I take a moment to appreciate that after all the shit I’ve put her through, she’s still here, she’s always fucking here, and it’s about goddamned time I make it worth her while. I support my weight with one arm and lie on top of her, parting her legs with my knee.

    “I love you . . . so much. You still know that, don’t you?” I ask her between strokes of my tongue over hers.

    She nods, but for a dreadful moment, Zed’s face appears in my mind. His confession of love for my Tessa, and her thankful acceptance of it. “I love you, too,” she had moaned in her sleep. A slow shiver travels through me, and I pause.

    Noticing my hesitation, she pushes her fingers into my unruly hair and takes possession of my mouth with hers.

    “Come back to me,” she begs.

    That’s all it takes.

    Everything fades except for the softness of her body underneath mine, the wetness between her legs as I slowly push into her. The feeling is exquisite. No matter how many times I’ve taken her, it won’t ever be enough.

    “I love you.” She repeats the words. I wrap one arm under her so our bodies are pressed as closely together as possible. I lick my dry lips and bury my head in her neck again, whispering dirty things into her ear and moving to kiss her every time she moans my name.

    I feel the buildup of pressure rising from my spine, igniting every fucking vertebra. Tessa’s fingernails dig into my back, across my shoulder blades, as if she’s reaching for the words inked across my skin. The words meant for her, and only her.

    “I never wish to be parted from you from this day on,” it says. And I’m going to do everything I have to do in order to keep my permanent promise.

    I lean up to look at her. One hand still rests under her back; the other travels up her torso and across both of her breasts, and rests just below her throat.

    “Tell me how it feels,” I say with a grunt. I’m barely holding on to the pleasure that is coursing though me. I want to keep it there for both of us, to make it last longer. I want to create this space that we can both inhabit.

    My movements quicken, and she moves one of her hands down to fist the bedsheets. Every sinful twist of my hips, every violent thrust into her waiting body, intensifies and further seals the power she has over me.

    “So good, Hardin . . . so good . . .” Her voice is thick and hoarse, and I swallow the rest of her moans like the greedy bastard I am. I feel her body begin to go rigid, and I can’t wait any longer. With a soft cry of her name, I spill into the condom with slow and sloppy thrusts before collapsing, barely breathing, next to her.

    I reach over and pull her body to mine, and when I open my eyes, a sheer layer of sweat covers her silky skin, her eyes are open, and she’s staring at the ceiling fan.

    “You okay?” I ask her. I know I was a little rough toward the end, but I also know how much she loves that shit.

    “Yeah, of course.” She leans over to plant a kiss on my bare chest and climbs out of the bed. I groan in disappointment when she pulls her white T-shirt down over her head, covering her body.

    “Here’s your headband.” She smiles, proud of her corny remark, and she tosses the sweat-dampened T-shirt I wrapped around my head in the gym onto the bed. I roll the fabric up and wrap it around my head again just to get a reaction out of her.

    “You don’t like it?” I ask, and she giggles.

    “I do, actually.” Tessa is really putting on a show as she bends down to pick up her black panties from the floor and shimmies them up her thighs. That she isn’t wearing a bra is wonderfully apparent as she shakes her body.

    “Good. It’s easier this way.” I point to the contraption on my head.

    I really need a fucking haircut, but Steph’s friend, a lavender-haired chick named Mads, has always been the one to cut it. My blood begins to boil at the thought of Steph. That stupid fucking . . .

    “Earth to Hardin!” Tessa’s voice brings me out of my hateful thoughts.

    I snap my head up. “Sorry.”

    Back in her pajamas, Tessa snuggles up next to me and, strangely, grabs the remote to the TV and starts flipping around trying to find something to watch. I’m a little dazed, so the cooldown feels comfortable, but after a few minutes I realize she’s sighed quite a few times. And when I look over at her, there’s a deep scowl on her face, like finding a program to watch is more frustrating than it should be.

    “Something wrong?” I ask her.

    “No,” she lies.

    “Tell me now,” I press, and she lets out a quick breath.

    “It’s nothing . . . I’m just a little . . .” Her cheeks flush. “Wound up.”

    “Wound up? You should be anything but wound up after that.” I pull back a little and look at her.

    “I didn’t . . . you know, I—I didn’t,” she stutters. Her shyness never fails to surprise me. One minute she’s moaning into my ear to fuck her harder, faster, deeper, and the next she can’t form a sentence.

    “Spill it,” I demand.

    “I didn’t finish.”

    “What?” I choke. Had I really been that consumed by my own pleasure that I didn’t notice when she didn’t come?

    “You stopped right before . . .” she quietly explains.

    “Why didn’t you say something? Come here, then.” I tug at her shirt to lift it over her head.

    “What are you going to do?” she asks, excitement laced in her tone.

    “Shh . . .” I don’t know what I want to do . . . I want to make love to her again, but I need a little more time to refuel.

    Wait—got it.

    “We’re going to do something that we’ve only done once.” I smirk at her, and her eyes widen. “Because, you know, practice makes perfect.”

    “What’s that?” And just like that, her excitement has been replaced by nervousness.

    I lie back on my elbows and beckon to her to come to me.

    “I don’t get it,” she says.

    “Come here; put your thighs here.” I tap the empty space on both sides of my head.


    “Tessa, come here, and then spread your thighs over my face, so I can get you off right and proper,” I explain slowly and clearly.

    “Oh,” she squeaks. I see the hesitation in her eyes, and I reach over to turn the lamp off. I want her to be as comfortable as possible. Despite the darkness, I can still make out the soft planes of her body, the fullness of her chest, the sexy curve of her hips.

    Tessa removes her panties, and within seconds she’s following my instructions and kneeling over me.

    “This is quite the view I have here,” I tease her, and my vision disappears. She’s pulled my T-shirt down over my eyes.

    “Well, this is much hotter, actually.” I smile against her thighs. She smacks me playfully on the head in response. “Really, though . . . it’s really fucking hot,” I add.

    I hear her laugh in the darkness, and I bring my hands to her hips, guiding her movements. Once my tongue touches her, she begins to move her hips on her own, tugging at my hair and whispering my name until she loses herself in the pleasure I’m giving her.