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Unraveling You, Page 8

Jessica Sorensen

  “Are you okay?” she asks over her shoulder as she stares at the stage where the band members have started to set up.

  I force my eyelids open. “Yeah, I’m fine. Why?”

  Her shoulders lift as she shrugs. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay after what we heard.”

  My stomach knots as I remember Lila’s suggestion to Ethan about my memories. “I promise I’m fine.” But I’m not sure I am.

  “Okay.” She pulls me tighter against her and remains silent, leaving me to wonder what’s going on in her head. I’m about to be daring and ask her, but then she says, “Man, I’m so going to date a drummer one day.”

  Okay, maybe I don’t want to know what’s going on in her head.

  “You say that now, but next week it’ll be the guy from Danny’s Stop and Go,” I tease. “Then it’ll be the quarterback.”

  She peers over her shoulder at me, the florescent lighting reflecting in her green eyes. “Are you saying I’m flaky?” Her brow arches, challenging me.

  “You do change your mind a lot.”

  “That’s because there’s too many opportunities roaming around in the world. It’s hard to focus on just one.” She rotates back around toward the stage and raises her voice as the drummer starts bashing on the symbols. “You know what we should do!” she shouts as the crowd goes wild. “We should join a band! There’s these two guys from school, Nolan and Sage, who are looking!”

  “I’m not that great at the guitar yet!” I holler as I get bumped from every angle. Breathe. Just breathe. “And what about your issue with stage fright?”

  “I’m going to conquer that fear one day!” She lifts her arms in the air and screams as the singer belts sultry lyrics through the microphone. “And you rock at the guitar! It’s mad crazy how fast you caught on in just a month’s time!”

  “Ethan’s a good teacher!” I shout, but my voice gets swallowed up by the screams, the singing, the bass, the entire scene of being a rock star.

  Lyric gets lost in the rhythm, rocking and bobbing her head. Our bodies are perfectly aligned so every time she sways her hips, her ass rubs against my cock. The sensation is so intense that by the third song, I almost consider bailing.

  But the way she moves.

  Is breathtaking.


  She owns me.

  Makes me feel

  so alive.

  So petrified.

  I can’t breathe.


  Spinning out of control.

  Reckless and wild.

  I want.

  Want. Want.

  Something so


  In the middle of my stream of thoughts, Lyric twirls around. Her eyes are large and glazed over, high on the music. I open my mouth to ask her what’s up, but she glides her palms up my chest then wraps her arms around my neck. My muscles wind tight as she presses her breasts against me. Then, she stands on her tiptoes and places her lips against my ear.

  “Strip me bare, peel me apart, layer by layer, steal my heart,” she sings the lyrics of the song playing. Her voice is soft, not to her full potential, yet it’s the most incredible sound that’s ever graced my ears. I can only imagine what it would sound like if she really sang—striking enough to stop my heart probably. “Let me stand naked in front of you, and pour my secrets out. Unravel me slowly, savoring each part.” She rolls her body against mine and her fingers trace the nape of my neck. “Then let me do the same thing to you. Strip you apart.”

  I start to move with her, even though I have no clue what I’m doing. No fucking idea. All I know is I’m left wanting, wanting, wanting.

  Wanting her.

  Wanting more.

  But I’m too afraid to take it.

  Chapter 7


  I’m a sporadic person. That’s been a given since I first learned how to talk. So when I declare my love for someone, it shouldn’t be that big of a surprise. Yet, it always seems to be with everyone. My parents especially. Whenever I proclaim my love for someone new, they seem shocked, like they half expected me to say someone else.

  Ayden should know better by now, though, since he understands my little quirks better than anyone.

  “I think I’m in love,” I announce to him as I stroll into his bedroom.

  He’s situated on the bed, fiddling with the guitar Ethan bought him for his birthday a few months ago. After a little bit of practice, he’s gotten pretty good at it, enough that he joined a band per my suggestion, and now he’s living out my lifelong dream. But it’s my own damn fault for letting my fear control me.

  He glances up from his guitar as I shut the door, his fingers continuing to pluck the strings. “Who is it this time? The drummer from that concert?” He seems more annoyed than usual.

  Rolling up the paper I brought over with me, I narrow my eyes at him as I flop down onto the mattress on my stomach. “No, not him. And what do you mean ‘this time’?” I prop up on my elbows as the sunlight hits my face through the window. “Are you mocking me, Ayden Gregory, about my frequency in love declarations?”

  He rolls his eyes, lays the guitar aside on the mattress, and brushes strands of his black hair out of his eyes as he relaxes back on the bed. “This is the third time in the last four months you’ve barged into my room and said the exact same thing to me.” I pout out my lip, and he sighs, gathering a guitar pick from the pillow. “Fine, who are you in love with?” He fiddles around with the pick, sketching the tip up and down the scars on the back of his hand.

  I still don’t know where the scars came from. I want to ask him, but any time I even mention Ayden’s life before the Gregorys, he gets squeamish, which makes me question how he’s going to handle the papers I brought over with me. I have to tell him, though. After spending the last few months searching for his brother, I finally stumbled across something, not about his brother, but about his past.

  I kneel up on the bed in front of him. “It’s William Stephington.”

  His face squishes in disgust. “Ew, that jock, steroid freak?”

  “Hey.” I swat his arm. “He’s not a steroid freak.”

  “That’s not what I heard.” He frowns, staring at me undecidedly. “Lyric, I know you might not want to hear this, but I think you should stay away from that guy. And I really think you should talk to him for more than ten minutes before you decide you’re in love with him.”

  “I’ve talked to him quite a few times at school. And besides, I agreed to go out with him tonight.”

  His frown deepens. “Lyric, the guy’s got a reputation for being a …” He deliberates his word choice while staring at a Pink Floyd poster on the ceiling that I gave him for his birthday. “A manwhore douche.”

  “Manwhore douche? Wow, those are some colorful words.”

  “Well, he is.”

  I scrape at my blue fingernail polish, choosing my next words carefully. “Even if he is, it doesn’t matter, because I’m not a douche or a whore. I haven’t even kissed a guy yet.” I hop off the bed. “But that’s going to change tonight.”

  He pulls a face, clearly irritated, which isn’t typical for him. Usually, Ayden is the most agreeable person in the world, always trying to please everyone. “Don’t waste your first kiss on that asshole.”

  “Hey, I’ve been saving my first kiss for over seventeen years now, so trust me when I say that when it happens, it’s not going to be something I do with an asshole.”

  “He’s not the guy who’s going to change your soul, Lyric. Or make you write any better. He’s not the life experience you’re searching for.”

  I sternly point a finger at him. “Hey, I told you all that stuff in confidence.”

  His gaze scans the vacant room with his hands spread out. “Am I telling anyone else? No, I’m just reminding you what you told me—that this isn’t what you want. You’re saving your first kiss for a guy that will make you be able to pour your soul out onto paper, give you something to wri
te about. And I don’t believe that that’s going to be William Stephington.” His face twists with disgust again.

  I fold my arms across my chest, and his gaze flicks to the papers in my hand. “Well, even if he isn’t, maybe it’s time to get this whole kissing thing over with. I mean, I’m seventeen years old, for God’s sake. No one is a virgin kisser at that age. Jesus, Maggie kissed her first guy when she was like fourteen. I had my chance, too, but no, I had to hold on to this crazy idea that kisses were supposed to be all romantic and planned.”

  “It’s not that bad of a concept.”

  “Yes it is. And it’s time for me to grow up.” I pause. “And why are you even lecturing me? I know you kissed a ton of girls before you came here.”

  It’s just a guess, but when he doesn’t deny it, I assume I’m right.

  Grief engraves into his face. “Don’t do that—change your dreams over some guy or belief based on other people. That’s not the Lyric I know and love. Besides, you hardly even know the guy. You’re way too trusting sometimes.”

  I sigh, because he’s got me on that one. “Fine, I’ll reconsider the kiss, but I’m still trusting him enough to go out on the date, because that’s what I do.” I back up for the door, knowing that’s not true. I’ve passed up chance after chance of getting kissed, because my expectations are too high. “You know, if it really bothers you, you could always come with us.”

  “On your date with you?” he says dryly. “Yeah, that sounds like a lot of fun.”

  “No, to the party we’re going to.”

  I know he won’t. He made a commitment to do family movie night tonight, and Ayden hardly goes back on his commitments to the Gregorys, like he thinks he owes them for adopting him or something. Honestly, sometimes I believe that’s exactly what he thinks, which is sad.

  “I have band practice tonight.” He drops the guitar pick onto the pillow and sits up, swinging his feet over the edge of the bed as he stretches his arms over his head. “And then movie night afterward.”

  I try not to stare when his shirt rides up, but it’s always difficult. On top of having a beautiful face, Ayden’s body is ridiculously amazing. Not super muscly or anything, just lean and toned.

  One of my friends, Maggie, asked me how I can stand being friends with him without wanting to “get some of that.” I tell her it’s simple, because I don’t look at him that way. Just as a friend. She looked at me as if I’d grown a third eye, which I had shrugged off. Yeah, Ayden is hot. That’s a huge obvious given. And he’s the best friend I could ever ask for. But I haven’t felt the butterflies around him or the desire to kiss him. I haven’t felt that with anyone yet. Maybe it’s because I set the bar too high, but I’m contemplating lowering it tonight.

  “So what.” I sigh when Ayden finally adjusts his shirt back over his stomach. “Blow off movie night and come after practice is over. Sage and Nolan will probably be there anyway.”

  He pauses. “Where is it at?”

  “Up at Maggie’s house.” I grip the doorknob, feeling upbeat at the idea that he might go. “Are you seriously considering going?”

  He stands up and winds around his bed and over to me. “Yeah, maybe. If Sage and Nolan go there, I might catch a ride with them.”

  “Good.” I have to stand up on my tiptoes to kiss him on the cheek. He flinches, like he always does whenever I touch him, but at least he allows me to. With almost anyone else, he freaks out. The only exception to this being Fiona, and sometimes Lila. “You need to do more fun things in your life, shy boy.”

  “No, I don’t,” he says in all seriousness. “I’m just going to keep an eye on you.”

  I ruffle his hair. “I don’t need a babysitter.”

  “Yeah, you kind of do, and I have an endless list of reasons why. You think too much with your heart, Lyric, and not with your head.”

  “All right, I’ll give you that.” Shooting him one last conniving grin, I open the door and strut out of his room, calling over my shoulder, “See you tonight, babysitter.”

  I halt as I step over the threshold, realizing I still have the papers in my hand. “Oh, wait. There was actually a real reason why I came over here.”

  “You mean other than make another declaration of love,” he jokes as I spin around.

  “Yes, my friend.” Sucking in a huge breath, I hand the papers over. “I found something out about you on the internet.”

  “About me?” The papers crinkle as he unrolls them.

  “Yeah.” I release a deafening breath, worried how this is going to go, but there was no way I could keep something like this from him. “It’s about your tattoo.”

  He glances up from the papers, his grey eyes filled with terror. “I don’t understand.”

  I move around to stand beside to him. “Well, I was typing in random things that I thought might help us figure out stuff about your brother and sister. Then I started typing in homemade tattoos just to see what came up. After scrolling through an assload of images, I found this.” I tap my finger against the paper. “I guess it’s a pretty common thing to do—put tattoos on yourself. But the one you have belongs to some crazy group of people who believe the tattoo represents some kind of soul cleansing thing. I don’t know. It sounds weird to me, but that’s what all the articles say. And I guess they’ve done a lot of bad stuff, too.”

  He stares at the ink staining the paper in his hand. “Like what?”

  “Like … kidnappings and things. You said a couple of months ago that you were taken by people with strange beliefs …” I trail off, hoping he’ll explain more to me. I don’t want to push him.

  His fingers strangle the paper, the edges ruffling. “I wasn’t necessarily taken … I was given away.”

  “By who?”

  “My mother.” His tone is sharp, his eyes cold, lost. He looks like a scared little boy.

  My breath catches in my throat. “She gave you to those people?”

  “Left us with them,” is all he says. He folds up the papers and chucks them on the desk. “I have a bunch of stuff to do before I head to practice.”

  I instantly regret showing him the paper, but there’s not a whole lot that I can do about it now.

  “All right, I’ll see you later maybe.”

  He doesn’t respond, so I leave the room, praying that I didn’t break him.

  Chapter 8


  I have about an hour until date time and should be getting ready, but instead I end up getting distracted with my notebook. A lot of the stuff coming out of me today is strange and mainly centered on my worry for Ayden, but since I still don’t completely understand him or everything he went through, I feel as though my words are lacking. My lyrics usually do.

  Honestly, I’m nowhere near where I want to be in any music area. I’ve yet to decide which instrument I want to focus on, haven’t performed at all, and the idea of performing in front of anyone makes me want to hurl. It gets frustrating. Ayden, who barely talks to anyone, is perfectly fine standing up on stage and playing the guitar, while me, Miss Chatterbox, suffers from stage fright.

  Go. Fucking. Figure.

  About fifteen minutes before date time, I start the process of getting ready, moving slower than usual as I keep glancing out the window toward Ayden’s bedroom. His curtain is shut, so I have no clue what he’s doing.

  Finally, after going through all of my clothes, I end up stealing a thin-strapped black dress from my mother’s closet, and then slip a leather jacket on since it’s fall and sometimes the nights can sometimes get a little breezy. I dab on some kohl eyeliner and pink lip gloss, then top off the look with my favorite pair of boots before I go downstairs to wait for my date.

  I find my dad lounging on the living room sofa, jotting down lyrics in his own notebook. He glances up when I enter.

  “Where are you headed to all dressed up?” he asks, setting the pen and notebook down on the sofa cushion beside him.

  “To a party.” I drop down in the chair acros
s from him and kick my feet up on an antique trunk that acts as a coffee table.

  He puts on his interrogation face. “And where is this party?”

  “At Maggie’s house.” I check my watch. “Mom already went over this with me, Dad.”

  “And who are you going with?” he continues, ignoring my last statement.

  “With a guy from school.”

  “Which one?”

  “Someone you haven’t met yet.” I lower my feet to the floor. “His name’s William Stephington.”