Unraveled, p.6
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       Unraveled, p.6

         Part #3 of Woodlands series by Jen Frederick
Page 6


  “Hey, Mrs. A. ” A voice called from the end of the hall. “Mark’s asking for you. ”

  Sam jerked upright and pushed away from me. I let her drop to the ground as the words sunk in. Mrs. A as in Mrs. Anderson? I grabbed her left hand and raised it. Sure enough there was a fucking diamond on that hand and it was not a small piece of shit like some of the recruits bought at the local mall. “What the hell is this?” I asked, raising her hand between us. I never, ever cheated. I’d been on the other end of that shitty stick and wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Having discovered that I was making out with a married dude’s lady made me sick.

  “It’s none of your business. ” Her face paled when she saw the ring. Probably afraid that her dirty secret was going to come back to bite her in the ass. She tried to wrench her hand away but I had things to say to her.

  “None of my business, my ass. ” I got up right into her face. “You better hope your man doesn’t come in here tonight because I will not hesitate to fucking tell him that his woman has absolutely no morals. I do not appreciate being dragged into whatever sordid little thing you’ve got going on with your bar patrons. Next time you feel like cheating on your man, consider taking your ring off first. It’s a dead fucking giveaway. ” I flung her hand away as if it was diseased. She might be. My skank of an ex had tried to climb back into my bed with syph between her legs. “Or better yet, just break it off and stop trying to climb every available dick you think might taste good. ”

  I stomped off before Sam could utter whatever excuses she was ready to vomit out. I was furious at her, but even more pissed off at myself. My dick was still as hard as steel, and it was aching from the lack of attention. It wanted me to run back to her, ignore the ring, and just let myself push inside what was probably a juicy pussy. She’d be a good fuck. Cheaters usually are.

  If I’d taken a minute, just one minute, I could’ve easily checked out her ring finger but I was too busy staring at things like her lips and her chest and her ass. I was too busy fantasizing about grabbing that ponytail and wrapping around my hand while she rode me hard. The whole event just reinforced that bar hook ups were a shitty idea. Heck, I don’t think I’d mind sticking my dick in crazy so long as she was up-front and honest, neither of which applied to Sam Anderson.


  SHOCK HAD ME LEANING AGAINST the wall, weak as a kitten. Shock from having an orgasm brought about by activities I hadn’t done since I was a teenager. Shock at being yelled at for cheating. I’d come into the bar as twenty-two-year-old Sam Anderson, widow, bartender, knitter. Now I didn’t know who I was because I’d just nearly screwed a stranger in the storeroom of my place of employment. The first time I’d had sex with Will, I’d been so nervous because I thought his parents would come busting through the doors of the pool house. And now I was wrapping myself around a guy I’d never met before.

  “Mrs A. ?” It was Steve again. He was the only one who called me that here. Like Teresa, Steve had gone to school with Will and me and had started calling me Mrs. A in high school. At the time Will and I had thought it was funny. “You okay?”

  “Yeah. Just fine,” I lied and pushed away from the wall. Smoothing my shorts down and tucking in my shirt, I kept my gaze on the floor, not sure what I’d see in Steve’s eyes.

  “That guy causing you problems? He can be gone in a heartbeat. ”

  “No, we just had a disagreement over…limes. ”

  “Limes?” Steve asked skeptically.

  “Um, right, well, he said I put too many limes in his Corona. He’d only wanted one and I guess I shoved two in there. ” I peeked through my eyelashes to see Steve frowning.

  “Mark asked me to send you up to the VIP lounge. ”

  “Thanks. ” The second floor held a small VIP lounge that Mark usually worked, ensuring all of Adams dads friends were properly served. It meant constant sucking up to old rockers who thought they were still the hottest thing on the billboard charts instead of musicians whose names not one person downstairs other than Adam could name. But I’d rather stroke the ego of these guys for the rest of the night than go downstairs and serve drinks with Gray about ten feet away the whole time. God, maybe I was emotionally fragile.

  "Sweetheart, so glad you’re up here taking care of me tonight," one of the regulars called out.

  I gave him a wry smile because, for once, I was glad to take care of the older set. I was careful to treat them like they were still young and hot lest I hurt their feelings. "Me too, Ollie. Need me to top off that whiskey?”

  "You know it. "

  What I’d just done in the hallway of Gatsby’s was so incredibly out of character, so incredibly dumb—so incredibly good, dammit. I wanted to sit down by Ollie and cry my eyes out. Mark would certainly think twice, maybe even three times, about allowing me to work here if that happened.

  It was like someone else had taken control of my body. I’d never, ever been into public displays of affection and here I was dry humping a stranger. Worse, he was a friend of Adam’s who, for all intents and purposes, was like my boss. Sex wasn’t even that important to me. I didn’t own a vibrator. I rarely ever masturbated. Those urges rarely poked their head into my thought process. Sure, I missed Will and Will’s body, but he’d been gone a lot, and I’d gotten used to being alone even before he’d died. Will had gone to Basic and then off to Alaska for training, and since I hadn’t gone with him, I’d been by myself.

  What I needed was a vibrator. It’d just been so long without any sexual release that a guy who wasn’t even my type could get me off. Heck, Eve could’ve gotten me off in the hallway if she’d been rubbing me right. It was just a normal reaction to long dormant feelings, I told myself. Taking a deep breath, I straightened my shoulders and continued my internal pep talk. It was normal. I’d never have to see this Gray Phillips from San Diego again if I didn’t want. He was visiting and would be going home after the weekend.

  I liked safe and comfortable, not crazy encounters with strangers. New guys and new experiences were all overrated, amazing orgasm aside. I’m sure I could give that to myself. I’d try it tonight in fact. Right when I got home, I’d head for the shower and use the old variable water spray. Upstairs in the tiny VIP lounge, I wrapped myself in the memory of Will and my old friend grief, because even though its heavy weight made it hard to get out of bed in the morning and tried to smother me with memories at night, I had learned how to handle it. Working long hours at the bar on the weekends helped, and I hoped spending every waking minute studying once school started in the fall would have the same numbing effect. Either that or I was going to have to medicate myself with Vicodin and Xanax cocktails like Wills mom. Wed be a pair. But as awful as the grief was, at least I knew how to deal with it. The awkward feelings of attraction toward someone else were strange and unfamiliar and kind of terrifying and I just didn’t need that in my life.



  I WAS STILL STEAMED WHEN I made it back to the table. The band hadn’t reappeared, and all the girls had left. Either dancing to some ABBA shit or going to the bathroom, I guessed.

  “What’s up, hoss?” Noah asked, clearly seeing I was pissed off.

  “Nothing a little liquor won’t cure. ” I picked up a new bottle of beer and drained half of it before setting it down.

  “Someone call you a boot?” Bo wondered. Boot was what we called new Marines or stupid Marines, which were often the same thing.

  "I wish. ” I tried to smile and joke back so I didn’t ruin the evening with a shitty attitude. “I’m not even wearing any gear from the Corps. ”

  "Another reason to get out, buddy. You can stop wearing clothes issued by Uncle Sam. "

  "Thats not even in the top ten reasons why not to re-enlist. "

  "Glad to know youre making a list. " Bo clinked his bottle against mine.

  "The list to get out is always longer than the one to stay in. "

like you already made up your mind. "

  I sucked down my bottle. "Who knows? Maybe. "

  "Do you even need this vacation?”

  "Even if I had made up my mind, I wouldn’t say. Whos going to turn down forty-five days of consecutive leave?"

  Bo laughed as I’d intended. With his attention diverted, I gave myself a mental shake. So I kissed a married woman. It’s not like I knew that going in. Otherwise, it would’ve never happened. I wasn’t going to allow one cheating woman to ruin my time here.

  “Get out then. Come here to Central with us. It’ll be like old times. ”

  "Not everyone has a trust fund to fall back on. "

  Bo smirked. "Dont try that with me, son of a congressman. You arent hurting. "

  "Whats this?" AnnMarie and the rest of the girls had returned. By the looks of their freshly applied makeup, bathroom had been the right call. I tried to warn Bo to keep his mouth shut, but hed already started spilling it all out.

  "Grays dad is the Honorable Phillips from the—what district is it?"

  "Fifth," Noah offered. I closed my eyes in resignation. So much for trying to be anonymous. Whatever advantage Id been trying to achieve through being in entirely different surroundings where no one knew me was lost, but I’d never told Bo and Noah I wanted anonymity so that was on me. I should have went white water rafting in Colorado for a month with a bunch of strangers. I shouldve packed less gear. I shouldve avoided that last conversation with my dad. I should’ve turned away from Sam Anderson’s doe eyes. Lots of should haves.

  Bo knocked me in the shoulder. "Hey, buddy, it can only go up from here. "

  "Thanks, man. " I gave an obligatory laugh and tried to loosen up.

  A few minutes later a rough group of guys showed up. Four of them, varying heights and hair colors, were sporting the same tattooed tough-guy look. They wore sneakers, T-shirts, and chains running from the sagging waistband of their ripped jeans to the wallets stuck in the front pockets. Tattoos covered nearly every inch of bare skin. One of them greeted Adam by knocking his forearm against Adams forearm twice. Lots of civilians gave the military crap for their uniforms but everyone had a uniform. You only had to look around the table to see it. College kids wore the uniform of lazy carelessness. These newcomers’ clothing, hair, and attitudes all indicated they were in the same tribe. Uniforms were everywhere; discipline, however, was not.

  I balanced on my chair lightly and didnt pick up a drink, not wanting to be caught off guard if a fight started. Worse thing about being off base? Not having a weapon at the ready. My trigger finger itched and I scanned the grounds to see what I could use just in case.

  “There’s no danger here. Ease off Marine,” Noah whispered in my ear. I gave him a rueful smile and settled back. Another chair was brought up and the guy who greeted Adam dropped into it while his friends wandered back into the bar. Our waitress brought out a glass filled to the top with a dark lager. Introductions were made around the table although it was clear that they were for my benefit. Most of the table appeared to have met this Tucker Anderson before.

  When I heard his name I tensed up for another reason. Shit, I bet this was Sam’s husband. She had a lot of nerve kissing me in the back hallway when her husband could’ve shown up at anytime.

  "Hows your dick?" Tucker asked Adam. "You laying off the pussy like I told you to?"

  Was Tucker some kind of doctor thatd he be asking about Adams dick all casual like? The rest of the table wanted to know the answer to the question.

  "Thanks for your lack of discretion, buddy. " Adam folded his arms and glared at Tucker.

  Tucker spread his hands innocently in front of him. "Im raising your dating capital. " To the girls at the table, he announced, "Adam got his dick pierced. "

  He wasn’t wrong. Almost before he got out the word “pierced” the entire bar tilted toward Adam. Even Bo and Noahs girls leaned toward Adam with interest in their eyes. The questions came fast.

  "Did it hurt?"

  "What kind?"

  "How does it feel?"

  And from our waitress, "Are you gonna show us?"

  Bo looked at AnnMaries avid curiosity and groaned. "Oh, sunshine, no. You wouldnt do that to little Bo, now would you?"

  AnnMarie nestled back in Bos arms and giggled. "Nah, only because youre not so little. " That was exactly the right line to deliver and Bo laid a kiss on her that raised the temperature of the group about five degrees. My two boys settling down made me feel strange inside, a little empty. It was an unwelcome feeling and I drank the rest of my bottle trying to drown it.

  Tucker abandoned Adam to target Finn next. "Thanks for sending your girlfriends sister by. Shes working out great. "

  "Shes my ex, but thanks. Winters very talented. " Finns voice held an odd oppressive note, like he didnt want to talk about it but Tucker was oblivious.

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