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Ruin Me, Page 12

Jessica Sorensen

"You want to keep going with the mouth foreplay? Or just give in and kiss me like you've wanted to all day?" he challenges. His hands skate underneath my dress, and he grips my ass.

  Cocky little bastard.

  "I agreed to cheer you up." I lick my lips. "So I'm going to cheer you up." Without any warning, I shove him back. He lands with a grunt, but I give him no time to recover as I grab the bottom of his shirt and yank it over his head. Then I drag my fingers down his chest, just rough enough to leave faint red lines on his flesh.

  "Clara," he begins to protest as I flick open the button of his jeans. Over what, I don't know and I don't care.

  I've always been comfortable in bed with Jax, and taking charge never was a problem. Sure, I blush here and there. In fact, my cheeks are heated right now as my fingers delve below his boxers, but I never get embarrassed enough to stop.

  Jax watches me with inquisitiveness written all over his face as I wrap my fingers around his swollen cock.

  "Why are you looking at me like that?" I ask as my thumb skims over the tip of him.

  He inhales a sharp breath through his nose and pleasure ripples through his body. "I'm just..." he struggles for words. "Trying to figure out what's... going on inside... your head." His neck arches as his head tips back against the pillow. "I find you..." He stops talking as I move my hand up and down.

  I shift to the side and let go of his cock, only to tug his jeans lower. Then I return my hand to him and continue to slide my fingers up and down while watching him lose control. Finally, when he looks on the verge of losing it, I dip my head and take him in my mouth like I did the first night we hooked up.

  I don't even know why I did it the first time. Oral sex wasn't something Mack and I explored. But I was buzzed and horny and curious, and Jax pretty much let me do whatever I wanted to him. It made me feel kind of powerful in a life I had no power over.

  A throaty groan escapes his mouth, and I peer up at him through my eyelashes. His Adam's apple bobs up and down as he swallows hard and rakes his fingers through his hair. Moments later, he utters my name and reaches down toward me. Cupping my cheeks, he moves my mouth off him right before his body jerks, and he comes apart. After he finishes and cleans himself up, he pulls up his jeans, reclines against the headboard, and opens his arms.

  "Come here." His brows are dipped in confusion.

  I hesitate at his request. Holding me is so intimate. Something we've never done before. But when his expression starts to plummet, I scoot up to him and rest my head against his chest with my ear right over his heart.

  His pulse is jackhammering, and his skin has a light sheen of sweat, but the warmth of his flesh settles my reservations about cuddling.

  "You didn't have to do that." He drapes an arm over my back and soothingly smoothes his free hand across the back of my head.

  "I know. I wanted to." My eyelids shut as sleep overtakes me.

  And that's how we end up dozing off--in each other's arms with our bodies tangled together. I have no clue where he starts and I end.

  Maybe we start and end together.

  Chapter Thirteen

  Clara

  About an hour later, I wake up from my nap. My head is resting on Jax's chest and my hand is on his bare stomach.

  I push up and glance at the time. "Man, it's late," I mutter, rubbing my eyes.

  Out the window, the moon illuminates from the dark sky and headlights dot the street. Now that it's nighttime, the sleepy little town has woken up.

  "Hey you," Jax says groggily as he slowly wakes up from dreamland. He looks at the alarm clock on the nightstand. "How long have you been awake?"

  "Only a couple of minutes." My belly lets out the hungriest grumble ever.

  His eyes crinkle around the corners as he laughs. "A little bit hungry, are you?"

  My cheeks redden as I nod. "Apparently so."

  He sits up on the bed, kicking the sheet off him. "Let's go feed that bad boy then."

  He changes into a clean shirt while I quickly fix my makeup and put my sandals back on. Then we head out of the room, get into the car, and drive toward the opposite side of town.

  "It's like everyone was sleeping during the day," I comment as I watch a seemingly endless amount of cars and trucks zip up and down the street. "I'm starting to wonder if the whole vampire thing wasn't a joke."

  "It'd probably be better if it wasn't," he says bitterly. "The truth is worse."

  "What's the truth?"

  "That everyone's waking up to get high, drunk, sell drugs, sell themselves. You name the illegal activity and it's probably happening right now."

  Just then, I spot a few women and men passing around a joint on a street corner. By the time we arrive at the restaurant, I've seen two fights, a hooker get into a car, and a man scale a tree like a monkey, which according to Jax is probably because the man's trippin' balls.

  "We can go back to the hotel if you want," he says to me after the car is parked. "I know being out this late in this town is a lot to take in."

  The restaurant doesn't look so terrible. The building structure is stable and freshly painted. Little twinkly lights sparkle in the windows and tulips line the pathway to the entrance door.

  "No, I'm good. This place actually looks nice." I smile, hoping to ease his worries.

  He relaxes a smidgeon but tenses the moment we get out of the car. When we reach the front of the Jeep, he snatches my hand and clutches on tightly.

  "Everything okay?" I ask as we cross the mostly vacant parking lot.

  He edgily peers at the vehicles around us. "Yeah, I'm just thinking about when I came here with my mom. "

  That doesn't really explain his strange behavior.

  "But why do you seem so nervous?" I ask as he opens the door for me. I step inside, and the warm, delicious smell of chicken and biscuits engulfs me.

  "Because we weren't here to eat." He moves up to the hostess desk and tells her a table for two. After she wanders off to go check for available tables, Jax inches closer to me and lowers his voice. "I was about five-years-old. She came here to meet a client of hers. Usually she'd just do her thing in the car, but this time the guy wanted to go to a motel. So she piled me and Avery in this creepy asshole's car." His eyes glaze over as he stares off at the tables. "The thing I remember the most is that it smelled like peanuts and fish, but that's probably because Avery and I had to sit in the damn car for three hours while the two of them went into the room. It was winter and really fucking cold--they didn't even leave the heater on. I kept saying I was cold and begged Avery to go get our mom. She was too afraid to go get her, though, so instead she just hugged me until they finally came out." His brows dip, and then he shakes his head. "I'm sorry. That was totally an inappropriate story for our first date."

  "No, you're fine." I suck back the tears, step in front of him, and catch his gaze. "I think you and I have reached beyond the point of inappropriate stories. We've told each other so much already." The realization of my words strike me deeply, but not in a negative way. "And this is technically our first date, but not really."

  A hint of a smile rises on his lips. "So, what you're saying is our friends with benefits thing was just an excuse? That really the whole time, you were secretly dating me?"

  "You're making it sound like it was a one-sided thing," I muse. "Like it was all me."

  "You know that's not true." His lips dip to my ear, and my shoulder judders. "I think you've known for a really long time that I've wanted us to be together. That I was just playing along with you until you realized how much you liked me." He nips my earlobe, causing my skin to flush with heat.

  "Maybe..." I trail off as the hostess wanders up to us with a cheery smile on her face.

  "Right this way." She motions us to follow her then leads the way to a corner booth.

  Instead of sitting across from me, Jax slides into the seat beside me. The hostess places menus on the table in front of us and starts filling up our glasses with water.

 
"You're really going to sit there?" I ask Jax, opening the menu.

  The hostess gives me a strange look, as if she can't fathom why I'd ask Jax that question.

  "I like being close to you." He flashes the hostess a charismatic grin. "She secretly likes that I'm sitting by her. She just doesn't want to admit it."

  The woman giggles and damn near swoons to the floor. "Your waitress will be over in just a few." She smiles at Jax then blasts me with a death glare before whisking away to the front of the restaurant.

  "Wow, it's like a gift," I remark, skimming over the drinks.

  "What is?

  "The way you charm people."

  A questioning look crosses his face. "Who did I just charm?"

  I elevate my brows. "Are you joking right now?"

  He shakes his head, looking utterly lost. "Nope."

  I scoot closer to him and lower my voice. "The hostess. She just about fainted just from you smiling at her." I discretely point toward the front of the restaurant. "And she hasn't been able to stop staring at us since."

  He gives a blase glance at the front desk then locks his attention back on me. "Are you jealous?"

  I shake my head. "No way."

  "Why not?" He juts out his bottom lip, pouting sexily.

  "You really want me to be one of those girl's that gets jealous simply because her boyfriend smiles at another girl..." My eyes widen as I realize what I just said. My gaze dashes back to the menu and I clear my throat, desperately seeking a subject change. "So, what's good here?" I casually ask as I scan over the list of items on the menu.

  A beat or two goes by. The sound of clinking glasses and chatter fill the uncomfortable silence between us. I wonder what he's thinking. I wonder what the hell I was thinking dropping the b word like that. Boyfriend. Jax isn't my boyfriend. Although it kind of seemed like he offered to play the role after I poured my heart and soul out to him.

  "I'm not sure." He breaks the silence but then pauses again. I peek at him from the corner of my eye. His head is tilted to the side, his eyes on the list of appetizers. "I've only eaten here once. On my ninth birthday."

  Relief washes over me at the subject change. "Who'd you come here with?"

  "Avery." He flips the page of the menu. "We had to ransack the house for change and ride the bus for an hour just to get to this place, but it was probably the best birthday I ever had while I was living here. She even bought me a slice of pie, which was the closest thing to a birthday cake I've ever had." A trace of a smile appears on his lips. "Avery was always good with taking care of me. It's why I've always been so happy to help her out with Mason."

  I tuck my leg under me and rotate sideways in the booth, facing him. "Is she going to be okay when you move out?"

  "She has Tristan now."

  "That's her boyfriend, right? The one who was in the hospital?" I've briefly met Avery, Tristan, and even Mason because I was on call when they came into the emergency room.

  "Yeah, he was protecting her from her ex-husband." He picks up his cup of ice water and takes a sip. "As bad as this is going to sound, I'm glad the fight happened between the two of them because it got her douche bag of an ex-husband into jail where he belongs."

  I didn't know Jax very well back then, but he's told me enough about his life that I know Avery's ex-husband is in jail for assault and drug possession.

  The story hits a halt as the waitress comes to take our orders, and collect our menus. When she leaves, Jax shakes his head.

  "Wow, I'm turning into the worst date ever, sitting here telling you all my depressing stories," he mutters. "I don't know what my problem is, but I feel way off my game."

  "You're fine." I unroll the napkin that's around the silverware. "And it has to be hard being here and remembering everything."

  "No, that's not it. You're making me nervous."

  "Why? What did I do?"

  "You keep saying things that give me hope."

  "I'm sorry." I have no idea what else to say.

  "Don't be sorry. I like it. I just need to get my swagger back."

  A giggle erupts from my lips and he grins along with me. But seconds later, the smile evaporates and a determined look emerges on his face.

  He turns toward me and brings his knee up onto the booth so that it's touching mine. "Tell me something happy."

  I'm thrown by the sudden demand. "Like what?"

  He shrugs. "I don't know. How about a story about your childhood?"

  I can't help but smile. "There's so many stories I don't even know where to start."

  "Tell me about your ninth birthday," he suggests, stirring his straw around in his water.

  "My ninth birthday." I pick at the corners of the napkin. "I think that was the birthday my father took me to the beach. We spent the entire day collecting seashells. We were supposed to stay until sundown, but we had to go home early after I decided I was going to run out into the ocean to catch the magic out of a wave and almost ended up drowning."

  "What? You almost drown because you wanted to catch the magic out of the wave?"

  "Well, on top of having a ridiculously overactive imagination, I also couldn't swim. But I was the kind of kid who didn't show a lot of fear. In fact, I think for a while I actually believed I was immortal."

  "You were okay, though, right?" he asks then shakes his head. "Well, clearly you are since you're here."

  "My father came in after me about two seconds after I barreled in there. He pulled me out, wrapped me in a towel, and yelled at me." I softly laugh as I remember how angry he looked then how guilty he was ten seconds later. "By the time we made it to the car, he was apologizing left and right. He felt so bad for yelling at me, even though he had every right to."

  "He sounds like he was a good dad."

  "He was." My voice is uneven and my eyes burn with tears as I recollect all the great times I had with my dad up until he died. I suck in deep breaths of air, trying to keep the waterworks back.

  He delicately cups my cheek. "You know what I think we should do?"

  "What?" A tear manages to escape and rolls down my cheek.

  "I think for your next birthday we should go to the beach and catch magic in the waves all day. You can swim now, right?"

  Laughing, I wipe the tear away with the back of my hand. "Yes, I can swim now. Although, I still never have figured out how to catch magic in the waves."

  "We'll figure it out," he promises. "Just as long as you promise to let me spend your next birthday with you."

  He's asking me for way more than just a birthday. He knows it. I know it. Part of me wants to bolt out of the booth. But after spending so much time with Jax, learning who he is, and opening up to him, I'm starting to wonder if he'll protect my heart for me.

  "I'll tell you what." My voice is still a little unsteady, but for an entirely different reason. "You can spend my next birthday with me catching magic in the waves if I can spend your next birthday with you, baking you an absurdly awesome cake."

  His brow crooks. "You can bake?"

  "Kind of. My Aunt Nelli's really good at it, so I can get some pointers from her." I playfully bump my shoulder into his. "Don't worry. I promise you'll have an amazing day."

  "I believe you."

  "Good. So is it a deal?"

  "It's a deal." His tongue slides out and wets his lips. "I want to kiss you right now." He doesn't lean in and take the kiss. He waits for me to offer it.

  I nod my head once and the movement is easier than I thought it would be.

  He frees a breath then moves in and touches his lips to mine. The kiss is quick, just a soft caress of lips, a teasing taste, just enough to leave me craving more.

  More kisses.

  More touches.

  More of him.

  Chapter Fourteen

  Jax

  After we leave the restaurant, we return to the motel and spend the next hour kissing until we fall asleep in bed. In the early hours of daybreak, we wake up, get dressed, and hit the streets
to ask around for my mother. But everyone seems about as hesitant as Melinda to divulge anything.

  The day is exhausting, but Clara is a trooper. With each passing hour, I become more grateful she's here with me, not just because she's opening up to me more but because she's been really good at keeping me together. Every time I grow frustrated, she calms me down and forces me to take a break. I think I might be falling in love with her and wish I could get the courage to tell her how I feel, but the time doesn't seem right.

  Still, now that I know more about her, maybe our relationship can move forward now--that the whole friends with benefits deal can come to an end. While she did make the promise to spend our next birthdays together, she still hasn't verbally revoked her friends-with-benefits rules, so all I can do is wait until she decides if she trusts me--if she wants me as more than a fuck buddy.

  Around eight o'clock at night, I peel out of the gas station and cruise toward Neon Madness to see if by chance Marcus has shown up. I'm a little nervous about going straight to the source, but at this point I don't see another option.