Chapter Ninety-Five

After We Fell

chapter ninety-five




When my name escapes her lips, it comes out on a breath, soft, her tongue caressing the word. As if in saying that one word she’s summed up all of her feelings for me, all of the times I’ve touched her, all of the times she’s proved that she loves me—even if part of me still can’t believe it.

    Tessa walks closer, and I can see the sympathetic look in her eyes. “Why didn’t you just tell me earlier?” she asks.

    I look down and pick at the thick tape wrapped around my hands.

    “It was only a dream. You know something like that would never actually happen,” she says.

    When I look up at her, the pressure in my eyes, in my chest, is unrelenting. “It’s stuck in my head—I can’t stop it from replaying it. He was fucking taunting me the entire time, smirking as he fucked you.”

    Tessa’s small hands quickly move to cover her ears, and she crinkles her nose in displeasure. Then, looking up at me, she drops her arms slowly. “Why do you think you had that dream?”

    “I don’t know, probably because you agreed to let him visit you here.”

    “I didn’t know what else to say, and we were . . . well, we still are, in that weird place,” she mutters.

    “I don’t want him near you. I know it’s fucked up, but I don’t give a shit. Honestly, Zed is the line for me; it will always be that way. No amount of kickboxing will change that. Weird place or not, you are only for me. Not just sexually, but entirely. I can’t stand you being in any sort of emotional relationship with that guy.”

    “He hasn’t been near me since he took me to my mother’s house . . . that night,” she reminds me.

    But the panic burning inside of me doesn’t budge. I look down, breathe in and out deeply to try to calm myself down a little.

    “But”—she takes a step closer, though she remains just out of reach—“if it will make you stop thinking these things, I’ll tell him not to visit.”

    My eyes dart to her beautiful face. “You will?” I expected more of a fight from her.

    “Yes, I will. I don’t want it weighing on you like this.” With nervous eyes, she looks down at my chest and back up to my face.

    “Come here.” I lift one bandaged hand to beckon her.

    Because her feet are moving too slowly, I lean up and grab hold of her arm, wrapping my hand around her elbow to bring her to me more quickly.

    My breathing has yet to return to normal. I have all this adrenaline rushing through my body. I couldn’t help but beat the shit out of that damn bag, but my hands and feet are aching—I still haven’t released all of my anger. There’s something inside my head, just sitting in the back of my mind, nagging at me, not allowing me to release my grudge against Zed.

    That is, until her lips are on mine. She surprises me by pushing her tongue into my mouth and wrapping her small hands into my sweat-soaked hair, tugging hard, pulling the rolled-up T-shirt from around my head and tossing it onto the floor.

    “Tessa . . .” I gently push against her chest and remove my mouth from hers. As I sit down on the weight bench, I see her eyes narrow at me.

    She doesn’t speak as she moves to stand in front of me. “I won’t put up with you rejecting me because of a dream, Hardin. If you don’t want me, then that’s fine, but this is bullshit,” she says through her teeth.

    As twisted as it is, her anger stirs something inside of me, causing my blood to flow straight to my dick. I’ve wanted this woman since the last time I was inside of her, and now here she is, wanting me—and getting frustrated that I’m stopping her from taking what she wants.

    Hearing her come over the phone would never be good enough; I need to feel it.

    A war is being fought within me. With the wild energy still pumping through my veins like fire, I finally say, “I can’t help it, Tessa, I know it doesn’t make sense—”

    “Fuck me, then,” she says, and my mouth falls open. “You should just fuck me until you forget about that dream, because you’re here for one night, and I’ve missed you, but you’re too stuck on imagining me with Zed to even give me the attention that I want.”

    “The attention that you want?” I can’t help the harshness of my tone as I hear her ridiculous and untrue words. She has no idea how many times I’ve fucked my own hand, pretending it was her, imagining her voice in my ear telling me how much she needs me, how much she loves me.

    “Yes, Hardin. That. I. Want.”

    “What is it exactly that you want?” I ask her. Her gaze is hard and slightly unnerving.

    “I want you to spend time with me without obsessing over Zed, I want you to touch me and kiss me without pulling away. That, Hardin, is what I want.” She scowls and places her hands on her hips. “I want you to touch me—only you,” she adds, relaxing her stance by a fraction.

    Her words, reassuring and flattering, begin to push the paranoid thoughts from my mind, and I begin to realize just how stupid this whole ordeal we’re going through really is. She’s mine, not his. He’s sitting alone somewhere, and I’m here with her—and she wants me. I can’t keep my eyes off her pouty lips, her angry glare, the soft curve of her tits just under the thin white T-shirt. The T-shirt that should be, but isn’t, one of mine. Which is another result of my stubbornness.

    Tessa closes the remaining distance between us, and my somewhat shy—yet very fucking is looking at me, expecting a reply as her hand moves to my shoulder and pushes me back just enough for her to climb onto my lap.

    Fuck this. I don’t give a shit about some stupid fucking dream or our stupid fucking rule about distance. All I want is her and me, me and her: Tessa and the mess that is fucking Hardin.

    Her lips find their way to my neck, and my fingertips press into her hips. No matter how many times I imagined it throughout the week, no fantasy will ever compare to her tongue skimming across my damp collarbone and up to that fucking spot just under my ear.

    “Lock the door,” I instruct as her teeth softly sink into my skin and she grinds her hips down against me. I’m rock fucking hard against her ridiculous fluffy fucking pants, and I need

    I ignore the aching throb between my legs as she climbs off me and hurries across the room to do as I said. I don’t waste a goddamn second when she returns. Her pants are pushed down her thighs, and her black panties follow, pooling around her ankles on the padded floor.

    “I’ve been tortured all week, thinking about how you look when you’re like this,” I groan, my eyes drinking in every fucking detail of her half-naked body. “So beautiful,” I say with awe.

    When she pulls her T-shirt over her head, I can’t help but lean forward and kiss the curve of her wide hips. A slow shiver rakes through her, and she reaches behind her back to unclasp her bra.

    Holy fuck. Out of all the times I have made love to her, I can’t remember ever feeling this feverish. Even the times when she woke me up by wrapping her mouth around my cock, I never felt this fucking animalistic.

    I reach for her, taking one of her breasts into my mouth and one in my hand. Her hands move to my shoulders to keep her steady as I pucker my lips around her soft skin.

    “Oh God,” she moans, her nails digging into my shoulder, and I suck harder. “Lower, please.”

    She attempts to guide my head down with a gentle push, so I use my teeth against her, to tease her. I run my fingertips along the underside of both of her breasts, slow and torturous . . . this is what she gets for being so fucking tempting and teasing.

    Her hips move forward, and I slide my body down slightly so that my mouth is at the perfect height to press against the swollen bud of nerve endings between her thighs. With a soft moan, she encourages me to go further, and my lips wrap around her, sucking and savoring the wetness already gathered there. She’s so warm and so fucking sweet.

    “Your fingers haven’t quite satisfied you, have they?” I pull away to ask her. She breathes a deep breath, her blue-gray eyes watching me as I tilt my head and run my tongue along her pubic bone.

    “Don’t tease me,” she whines, tugging at my hair again.

    “Did you touch yourself off again this week, after our chat on the phone?” I taunt her. She squirms and gasps when my tongue lands exactly where she wants it.


    “You’re lying.” I call her out. I can tell by the redness creeping from her neckline to her cheeks and the way her eyes flicker away to the mirrored wall that she’s not telling the truth. She has gotten herself off since our time on the phone . . . and the thought of her lying there, her legs spread open, her fingers moving over herself, her finding such pleasure from what I taught her . . . it makes me groan against her hot skin.

    “Only once,” she lies again.

    “That’s too bad.” I completely pull away from her.

    “Three times, okay?” Tessa admits, embarrassment clear in her voice.

    “What were you thinking about? What was it that made you come?” I ask with a smirk.

    “You, only you.” Her eyes are hopeful, needy.

    Her admission thrills me, and I want to please her now more than ever before. I know that I can make her come in less than a minute using only my tongue, but I don’t want that. With one last kiss to the apex of her thighs, I pull away and stand. Tessa is completely naked, and the mirrors . . . fuck, the mirrors reflect her perfect body all around me, multiplying those luscious curves of hers ten-fold. Her smooth skin surrounds me, making me tug my shorts and boxers down to my ankles with only one hand. I begin to pull at the tape wrapped around my knuckles, but her hand quickly darts out to stop me.

    “No, leave it,” Tessa requests, a flicker of darker lust sparking in her eyes. So she likes the tape . . . or maybe watching me work out . . . or the mirrors . . .

    I do as she says and press my body against hers, my mouth claiming hers, and I pull her down to the padded floor with me.

    Her hands run across my bare chest, and her eyes darken to a smoky gray. “Your body is different now.”

    “I’ve only been working out for a week.” I roll her naked body so that’s she pinned underneath mine.

    “But I can tell . . .” Her tongue runs across her full lips so slowly that I don’t hesitate to press myself against her, letting her know just how fucking hard I am. She’s so smooth and so goddamn wet against me, one small movement, and I’ll finally be inside her.

    Then it hits me.

    “I don’t have a fucking condom in here,” I curse and bury my face in her shoulder.

    She lets out a frustrated groan but presses her nails into me, pulling me closer. “I need you,” she moans, flicking her tongue across my mouth.

    I press against the warm, soaked flesh and slowly fill her.

    “But . . .” I begin to try to remind her of the risks, but her eyes flutter closed, and sensation overwhelms me as I flex my hips to get deeper, as deep inside her as I possibly can.

    “Fuck, I’ve missed you,” I moan. I can’t get over just how fucking warm and soft she feels without the barrier of a condom. All of my common sense has been erased; all the warnings that I’ve given to myself and to her have vanished. I only need a few seconds, a few more thrusts into her eagerly waiting body, and I’ll stop.

    I lift myself by stretching my arms below me, straightening them to gain leverage. I want to look at her while I’m moving in and out of her. Her head is lifted off the padded floor, and she’s staring at the spot where our flushed bodies are connected.

    “Look into the mirror,” I say. I’ll stop after three more . . . okay, four. I can’t help but continue to move as she turns her head to watch us in the mirrored wall. Her body looks so soft and perfect, and fucking clean, compared to the black stains covering mine. We are pure passion personified, devil and angel, and I’ve never been more madly fucking in love with her.

    “I knew you liked watching, even if it’s only by your own self, I fucking knew it.”

    Her fingers press into the bottom of my spine, pulling me closer and deeper, and fuck, I have to stop now, I feel the pressure building from the bottom of my spine to my groin as I reveal one of her kinks. I have to stop . . .

    I slowly pull out of her, letting both of us enjoy the lingering moment of pleasure. Her whines are quickly cut short when my fingers slide into her with ease. “I’m going to make you come now and then take you to your bed,” I promise her, and she smiles a dazed smile before looking back into the mirror, watching me.

    “Quiet, baby, you’ll wake the others,” I whisper against her. I love the noises she makes, the way she moans my name, but the last thing I need is one of the cock-blocking Vances knocking at the door.

    Within seconds, I feel her tighten around my fingers. I nip and suck at the nerve endings above her entrance, and she tugs at my hair, continuing to watch me fuck her with my fingers until she comes, gasping and panting my name repeatedly.