Raveling you, p.14
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       Raveling You, p.14

         Part #2 of Unraveling You series by Jessica Sorensen
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  This is how it’s been between us for the last week. The moment we look at each other, we start making out and are unable to keep our hands off each other. I seriously feel like I have no control over myself anymore, and I’m kind of glad. I love, love, love losing myself in him.

  I always have to be careful, though. Ayden has no problem with touching me, but I can’t even slip my fingers up his shirt without sending him into a panic attack.

  “You guys about ready to go on?” Uncle Ethan’s voice instantly puts a lid on the moment.

  We push apart, our breathing ragged. We turn to the side, and Ayden immediately withdraws his hands from my waist the moment he catches sight of Uncle Ethan’s questioning expression.

  “Um…” Ayden struggles with what to say.

  “You’re on in five.” Uncle Ethan’s attention flicks between the two of us before he hurries off toward the hallway where the rest of the bands are hanging out.

  “Do you think he saw us?” Ayden asks worriedly as he faces me again.

  I shrug. “I’m not sure. It kind of looked like it.”

  “What are we going to do if he did?”

  “I don’t know. He might not say anything to anyone. This is Uncle Ethan we’re talking about. He rarely says anything.”

  “Yeah, but us about to kiss…” Ayden makes a wary face. “I kind of doubt he’ll keep quiet about that.”

  I open my mouth to tell him not to stress about it when Sage and Nolan come strolling up.

  “This is so fucking awesome.” Nolan bounces up and down on the balls of his feet, pumped up.

  Sage leans around me to get a glimpse of the crowd. “Dude, the place is packed.”

  Place.

  Crowds.

  People watching me.

  Watching me sing.

  What if I suck?

  I’m suddenly reminded that I have bigger problems than whether or not Ethan is going to out my and Ayden’s relationship.

  My stomach churns. “I think I’m going to throw up.” I slap my hand across my mouth and push past Ayden, running into the restroom. I lock myself in the stall, drop to my knees, and puke up every ounce of the chicken I ate for dinner.

  My belly is empty by the time I sit down on the floor.

  “I can’t do this,” I mutter. “I really can’t.”

  A moment or two ticks by, then I hear the click of heels on the other side of the stall.

  “Lyric, are you in here?” my mother hisses.

  “Yeah,” I say with a groan. “I think I’m too sick to go on stage, though.”

  She gives the stall door a shake. “Open up. Now.”

  I kneel up and unlatch the door then sit back down. She walks in with a glass half full of wine, and I notice her eyes are a little glazed. She takes one look at me then shuts the stall.

  “You have to do this.” She tears some tissue from off the roll and hands it to me.

  “I know. I know. Or Dad will hate me.” I dab the sides of my mouth and under my eyes then toss the tissue into the toilet.

  “No, because you’ll regret it if you don’t.” She pats the top of my head. “Trust me, your dad will forgive you if you bail. Will he be upset? Probably for a while, but he loves you too much to stay mad at you. But trust me when I say that regret is much harder to get over.”

  “You’re speaking from personal experience, aren’t you?” I stare up at her, the woman who shares the same eyes as me and is probably one of the coolest persons I know. I look up to her for living her dream of becoming an artist.

  She nods. “I am. There’s a lot of stuff I have and haven’t done in the past that I wish I could do differently.”

  I heave a weighted sigh. “Fine, I’ll do it, but only because your pep talk is scaring me.” I get to my feet, and then we exit the stall. I stop by the sink to wash my hands while my mom sets her wineglass down on the counter to fix her lipstick. While she’s not paying attention, I pick it up and take a few swallows.

  “Lyric Scott,” she scolds, but I can tell she’s working hard to be angry. “Don’t ever do that again.”

  “Okay.” I hand the glass back to her as the alcohol swims through my veins. I feel slightly mellower, but not a whole lot. I still manage to exit the bathroom and walk backstage where Sage, Nolan, and Ayden are waiting.

  “You going to be okay?” Ayden asks, brushing my matted hair from my forehead.

  I nod, but don’t say anything as vomit burns at the back of my throat again. “No regrets. No regrets. No regrets,” I chant under my breath.

  “What are you saying?” Sage asks, semi-distracted by the stage.

  “Nothing.” I turn my back to him and keep chanting until we’re called out.

  “This is it,” I whisper to myself. Then I raise my chin, square my shoulders, and march out onto the stage.

  The lights are blinding, the crowd is eagerly cheering, even though they have no clue who we are. I remember all the times I’ve cheered bands on and wonder if this is how any of those singers felt, as if they’d swallowed a thousand butterflies on crack.

  Ayden and Nolan plug their guitars in and do a quick tuning and sound check. Sage does a few warm up beats while I stand in front of the microphone and adjust the height of the stand an unnecessary amount of times.

  Then the strum of a guitar ripples through the amp and floats over the crowd. The entire room silences and people stare at me, waiting to be dazzled by my talent.

  I’m supposed to say something. My dad told me what it was, but I can’t remember.

  “Um… we’re Alyric Bliss,” I murmur into the microphone, and my dad’s words gradually come back to me. “And thanks for coming out. This one’s called ‘Raveling You.’ ”

  Something as easy as a few sentence makes my knees threaten to buckle. I grasp the stand with my sweaty palms as Sage taps his drums. Then the three of them are playing, creating a flawless tune that swirls together and kisses the air. I just hope I don’t fuck it up when I open my mouth.

  The intro is pretty long, so I have to wait a seemingly endless amount of time before I sing, but the moment finally arrives.

  I take a deep breath and part my lips.

  “I never knew it could be like this, never thought such desire was possible, kissing the air from his lungs.” My lips quirk at my slight word variation. “And the heavens rain stars down on us, pieces of shimmering gold around us, pouring warmth all over us. Kiss me until I can no longer breathe. Raveling me up with you until I can hardly think. God, please fucking kiss me before I crumble to pieces.”

  I move back as Ayden’s guitar takes over. I suck in a few breaths, feeling less nervous. My voice is balanced, surprisingly smooth. Although, the next part will test it. The words move fast, and I have to push my voice to a near scream. In practice, I rocked it, but I’m worried now. My throat feels like sand paper after puking.

  I step up to the mic again, grip the stand, and run my fingers through my hair as some guy whistles at me from the crowd. “You make me weak. You make me strong. You make me ache. You make me feel so wrong. You make me burn for just a taste. You make me, make me, so fucking insane!” My voice carries flawlessly over the room.

  And I can’t help myself.

  I smile, realizing this dream of mine just might be possible.

  I create magic for the next forty-five minutes, and by the time we’re finished, I feel like I’m glowing.

  “Thank you!” I shout into the microphone then bounce off stage with the biggest smile plastered on my face.

  My skin is damp, I reek of sweat, and I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time. I hug Sage and Nolan after we make it backstage, and then I throw my arms around Ayden and hug the crap out of him.

  “That was so much fun,” I say, then throw my head back when he lifts me up off the ground and spins me around and around.

  “You were amazing,” he whispers in my ear, sneaking a bite of my earlobe.

  “So were you.” I kiss his cheek, and then he plants
my feet back down on the floor.

  “Who wants to celebrate?” Sage’s pumps a fist into the air, grasping a bottle of champagne.

  “Where’d you get that?” I ask. “Did you steal it from one of the other bands or sneak it out from the bar?”

  “Does it really matter?” He moves to pop the cork, but to no avail, showing his lack of experience with champagne bottles.

  “Dammit, let me go find an opener.” He strolls off, putting swagger in his step as he passes by a few older women batting their eyelashes and grinning at him.

  “Oh, the life of a rock star.” Grinning, I shake my head. “He’s going to be a handful. Isn’t he?”

  “Probably,” Ayden agrees with amusement. “Every band has one, though.”

  “So what do we do now?” My mind promptly conjures up very creative and vivid images.

  “We could exchange our belated Christmas presents,” he suggests. “It might be fun.”

  “I thought we were going to do that later? When we were happy.”

  “You look pretty happy right now.”

  “But what about you?”

  “I’m happy just seeing you happy.” When I hesitate, his brow cocks. “Do you really want to wait even longer? Or are you just procrastinating because you don’t have mine?”

  “I actually do.” Which is the truth. But the present isn’t bought so I’m uncertain how much Ayden will like it. Still, it did come from the heart. “Alright, let’s do this. Hand it over.”

  “I don’t have it with me.” He nods his head at the bar. “But we can go get our moms and head home and I’ll give it to you. Lila’s looking pretty tipsy anyway.”

  I stick out my elbow and he links arms with me. “Sounds like a deal.”

  An hour later, Ayden and I are in my bedroom on my bed with the door open. Music is floating from my stereo and a soft trail of light flows from my lamp. My mom and Aunt Lila are downstairs with Kale, Everson, and Fiona, drunkenly chatting, so loud we can hear them all the way upstairs.

  “They’re trashed,” Ayden remarks as he tosses my present in the air like a baseball. It’s small, about the size of mine, with shiny silver and purple wrapping paper.

  “Not as bad as last New Year’s.” My present for Ayden is secured in the palm of my hand. I’m nervous to give it to him. I don’t know why. Maybe because the gift kind of means something? “Remember how giggly they were. Like two silly teenage girls.”

  “You’re a teenage girl,” Ayden reminds me with a clever grin.

  I smack my forehead with the heel of my hand. “Duh. Thanks for reminding me. I almost forgot.”

  He shakes his head, half grinning. Then he shoves his hand in my direction, presenting his gift. “You open yours first.”

  I snatch the present from him, tear open the paper, and lift the lid from the box. Inside are two leather bands with the words Endlessly Yours engraved on them.

  “You mentioned once that your parents used to have leather bands that said forever on them and how they used to be best friends like us,” he explains as I stare inside the box. “I remember how happy you looked when you told me about it and how you said that one day you were going to be with a guy that would get you something like that. I didn’t want to make them exactly the same, though, so I went with endlessly yours.”

  I’m quiet for a lengthy amount of time, mainly because I’m way too emotionally overwhelmed to speak.

  “You don’t have to wear it if you don’t want to,” he says self-consciously. “Or you can keep them both and give the other to someone else one day.”

  I finally find my voice. “You said ‘how they used to be best friends like us’.”

  “Huh?”

  “Just barely. You said that we used to be friends like how my parents used to be friends.”

  Pink hues his cheeks. “Well, I didn’t really mean it like that. We’re still best friends now, like your parents are, too. I just meant that we were like them in the sense that we used to be friends but now we’re…” He scratches at the back of his neck, glancing at the door like he wants to bolt.

  I place my hand on his arm. “We’re more than friends, Ayden.” When I withdraw my hand, he turns his head and looks at me. I take the bracelets out of the box, slide one on my wrist, then slip the other on his. “And I think this is going to prove it even more.” I hand my present to him.

  He gingerly rips off the paper then opens the tiny box. “We think so alike it’s frightening.” He removes the two faded leather bracelets. Each one is engraved with Forever.

  “Definitely, but I like that we do.”

  He puts the band on his wrist, then his fingers circle my arm and he slips the other bracelet on my wrist. His fingertips are right above my pulse and I wonder if he can feel how rapid my heart is racing. “Endlessly yours forever,” he says, staring at the bracelets together.

  “The ones I gave you were actually my parents,” I say when he doesn’t release my wrist. “My mom gave them to me the other day when I asked her for present ideas. It kind of makes me wonder if she knows about us, since the bracelets are so symbolic to her and my dad’s relationship.”

  “After tonight, I’m pretty sure Ethan might be wondering if something’s up, too.”

  “I hope they don’t know yet.” My gaze flicks to the door then a smile curves at my lips as I lean in. “I like being able to be in my room alone with you still.” I stop when our lips are an inch away. “Thank you for my present.”

  “You’re welcome… And thanks—” He eliminates the space between our mouths, cutting himself off.

  I grab at his shirt and pull him down as I lie back on my bed. Our tongues entwine as our bodies align. Our chests collide, my heart slamming inside my chest and knocking against his unsteady heartbeat. His hands skate across my body, along my curves, the arch of my breast, and my hips, his fingers tremulously as he rocks against me.

  I moan and my fingers form a mind of their own, wandering, wandering, wandering, to the bottom of his shirt. I want to touch him. Savor the feel of his skin, bask in every part of him like he’s doing with me. My fingers delve under the hem, caress his skin, fleetingly relishing his smooth, solid muscles. But then those muscles tauten along with the rest of his body.

  I quickly pull my hands out. “Sorry,” I breathe against his lips.

  “It’s okay.” His voice is raspy, his chest forcefully rising and falling. “Can you just touch me on the outside of my shirt?”

  “Of course.”

  “I’m sorry,” he sputters, battling for oxygen.

  I cup his face between my hands. “Don’t be sorry… You’re perfect… Everything’s perfect.” And I think I might be in love with you.

  The thought strikes me like bolt of lightning. Out of nowhere. So startling that I don’t dare utter it aloud. Too afraid. Of how he’ll react. Of how I’ll react.

  Instead, I just keep kissing him and falling.

  Deeper, deeper, deeper,

  Into another world.

  Where I don’t even know who I am anymore.

  But it’s not a bad thing.

  Just terrifying and confusing.

  My head is so foggy yet clear.

  My heart so alive, so vibrantly beating.

  My body so needy, desperately seeking.

  Him.

  It’s all about him.

  Endlessly his.

  Forever.

  Chapter 15

  Ayden

  The next couple of weeks fly by rather fast. Life begins to return to normal as no more incidents happen with the strange man who broke into the house. The police are still looking for him, but the more days that go by, the less likely it seems that they’ll find him.

  I hardly spend any time alone anymore. Someone is always with me, except for the rare occasion when I’m driving somewhere by myself, like to therapy. The Gregorys had an alarm installed in their home, which shows how worried they are, not just about the break-in, but because I’ve been sleep walking m
ore frequently. I think they worry I’ll wander off in the middle of the night.

  On a positive note, the band is doing pretty fantastic. After our exceptional performance at the opening, Mr. Scott is allowing us to play every other Friday night and wants us to put together some songs to hopefully record in the future months.

 
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