Denied, p.23
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       Denied, p.23
 

         Part #2 of One Night series by Jodi Ellen Malpas

  I stop laughing immediately. ‘You should laugh more. It—’

  ‘Makes me less intimidating,’ he finishes for me. ‘Yes, you’ve told me. But I think I—’

  ‘Express yourself just fine.’ I reach forward and assist his fumbling fingers with the tiny buttons, then help him slide the white cotton from his shoulders. ‘Perfect,’ I sigh, sitting back to relish my stunning view, watching with lusty eyes as every muscle of his super-perfect torso undulates while he folds his shirt. He places it skilfully in the washing basket and he’s back before me, arms draped limply at his sides, chin dropped, eyes heavy. I soak up his concentrated stare and lift my hands to catch a feel of the harsh stubble that’s darkening his face. I’m allowed to take my time feeling him, my fingers tracing the planes of his jaw, drifting up to the corners of his eyes, and tenderly smoothing over his lids when they close for me. I cherish every part of him with my eyes and touch until I’m working my fingertips down his arms and onto his hands. ‘Let me fix this,’ I say, turning over his hand, revealing knuckles reddened with blood and a little blemishing.

  His eyes open and fall to my fingers threading through his, and his hand flexes in my hold, but he doesn’t wince or hiss with pain. ‘In the shower.’ He shakes me away and takes the hem of my top, working it up my body, forcing me to lift my arms so he can rid me of the material. Then my bra is slowly removed, exposing my modest breasts that feel swollen and heavy under his appreciative, if a little drunken, gaze. My nipples harden to pebbles, tingling sweetly as the pad of his thumb brushes gently over each in turn. ‘Perfect,’ he says, leaning in and planting a chaste kiss on my parted lips. ‘Jump down.’

  I follow through on his soft order and slide from the counter to my feet, kicking my Converse off and taking the initiative to begin on his trousers while he, too, removes his shoes. There’s no rush, each of us happy to take our time undressing the other until we’re both naked. I watch him collect a foil packet from the cupboard, his fingers fiddling clumsily as he slides the condom out, so I step forward and take it from him. I feel comfortable as I sheathe him, feeling his blues burning into my face, and once I’m done, he’s swiftly lifting me to his body with ease. My limbs respond on impulse and coil around him. We’re nothing but skin on skin, heart on heart, need on need. He keeps us to the side of the shower spray while it warms up, and once he’s happy that it’s at a comfortable temperature, he takes us under and stands silently holding me while water rains down and washes away the dirt, the tension, the doubt, the pain.

  ‘Are you comfortable?’ he asks.

  ‘Perfect.’ It’s the only word I can think to use. I smile into his shoulder and pull back, getting his perfect face, all wet and dazzling, into my sight. ‘Can I stay with you tonight?’

  ‘Of course.’

  ‘Thank you.’ I show my appreciation by nibbling at his rough chin.

  ‘It wasn’t really up for discussion,’ he informs me, taking me to the wall and encouraging me to rest my back against it. ‘Too cold?’

  I suck in a shocked breath as the coolness of the mosaic tiles spreads across my back. ‘A little.’ He goes to peel me away but I stiffen, stopping him. ‘No, I’m used to it now.’

  He eyes me doubtfully but doesn’t challenge my little white lie. ‘You’re all slippery and wet,’ he muses, widening his stance and moving his palms to the rear of my thighs. His intentions are clear and longed for, and my hitching breath tells him so. ‘I want to slide myself into your core and bathe in the fulfilment that you reward me with.’

  I wheeze shallow breaths of anticipation. ‘Fulfilment by worshipping.’

  ‘By acceptance,’ he corrects me, rearing back and taking a hold of his arousal. ‘You give me the greatest pleasure by accepting me in my entirety, not just by accepting me into this beautiful body.’

  I’m at serious risk of breaking down on him again, his reverent words immobilising me. ‘There’s nothing more natural to me.’

  ‘My gorgeous, sweet girl.’ He takes my lips as he slips past my swelling folds, pushing deep and high on a strangled groan.

  The instant sensation of his thickness submerged to capacity within me pulls my back straight and I whimper, trying to meet the steady rhythm of his tongue as it seduces my mouth while he holds himself inside me, unmoving, twitching, and groaning.

  ‘Am I hurting you?’

  ‘No.’ I’m adamant, regardless of the fact that there’s mild discomfort.

  ‘Still scope for breaking in?’

  It will determine whether I fuck you hard immediately, or break you in first.

  ‘Always.’ I smile and pull away, resting the back of my head against the wall to lose myself in Miller and his wondrous eyes, rather than savour the attention of his addictive mouth.

  On a subtle nod, he withdraws slowly, making my eyes flutter and my stomach furl, too many gratifying elements attacking me at once – the feel of him, his worshipping, the sight of him, his smell, his attentiveness, and my favourite wayward curl – all giving me glorious, inexorable pleasure. I brace myself for his advance and when it happens, exact and expertly, a shallow cry of gratification gushes past my lips. I pant, refusing to shut my eyes and miss a moment of his face contorting with heady craving. It sharpens his features. I could pass out just at the sight of him.

  ‘How does that feel?’ He chokes the words out and retreats again, slipping out almost all the way before tilting his hips up, sending him plunging on a shaky exhale of breath.

  ‘Good.’ I grasp his shoulders and clench my teeth, soaking up each delicious drive. He’s into his stride now, pumping his hips continuously, each thrust as controlled and measured as the last.

  ‘Just good?’

  ‘Amazing!’ I yelp, catching a dash of friction on my clitoris that sends me wild. ‘Shit!’

  ‘That’s more like it,’ he muses to himself, repeating the move that had me cursing a second before.

  ‘Oh God! Oh shit! Miller!’

  ‘Again?’ he teases, not waiting for the answer he knows I’m going to give, delivering hastily instead.

  I’m out of my mind. His rigorous flow is crippling me, but he’s as controlled as ever, watching me fall apart against him. ‘I need to come,’ I breathe, feeling desperation setting in. I need to release all of the day’s stress and trauma on a satisfied moan, maybe even a scream, as I climax.

  I bear down onto him when his momentum remains slow and defined, bunching his sodden hair in my fingers. The onslaught of pressure is becoming too much to handle and Miller’s expanding and throbbing length buried deep is a massive relief. He’s close, too.

  ‘It feels too good, Olivia.’ His eyes clench shut and his hips judder forward, pushing me a little closer. I’m teetering on the edge, half my body dangling, waiting for the rest to follow and send me into an abyss of exploding stars.

  ‘Please,’ I plead, as always never opposed to begging during these moments. ‘Please, please, please!’

  ‘Bollocks!’ His curse signals his surrender and he pulls back, takes a long, disciplined breath, then fixes me in place with darkening eyes as he surges forward on a harsh shout. ‘Jesus, Olivia!’

  My eyes close as my orgasm takes hold, my head going lax but my body rigid as it strives to cope with the flashes of pressure stabbing harshly at the very tip of my sex. I’m pinned against the tiles, our bodies compressed together, vibrating and slipping, and fitful breathing sings around my fuzzy mind. He’s stealing nibbles and sucks of my throat as I pant up to the ceiling, and my arms refuse to play ball any longer, dropping to my sides, my palms slapping against the wall. The only thing holding me in place is Miller’s body. My world has clicked back into place and is turning steadily on its axis, and an intoxicating cocktail of sweat, sex and alcohol is rife, reminding me that he’s still drunk.

  ‘You okay?’ I wheeze, letting my head drop to bury my nose in his sopping hair. That’s the only action I can muster, leaving my arms hanging lifelessly by my sides.

  He s
hifts and straightens a little, the movement causing his softening length to stroke my inner wall deliciously. ‘How could I not be?’ Pulling his face from my neck, he takes both of my hands and brings them to his lips, pressing them firmly against my knuckles and keeping me pinned to the wall by his body. ‘How could I be anything but blissful when I have you safe in my arms?’

  My sated smile of contentment doesn’t encourage one from Miller. He’s content, too, but I don’t need to hear it. I can see it. ‘I love your drunken bones, Miller Hart.’

  ‘And my drunken bones are deeply fascinated by you, Olivia Taylor.’ He indulges in my mouth for a few blissful moments before gently easing me away from the wall. ‘I didn’t hurt you, did I?’ His lovely face is etched with genuine concern as his wobbly gaze travels all over my wet face.

  I’m quick to reassure him. ‘You were the perfect gentleman.’

  His grin is immediate.

  ‘What?’

  ‘I was just thinking how lovely you look in my shower.’

  ‘You think I look lovely everywhere.’

  ‘Best of all in my bed. Can you stand?’

  I nod and let my legs slide down his body, but my mind starts venturing off in another direction. My hands meet his pecs and I drift down his body while keeping my eyes on him as he watches me. I want to taste him, but my tempting tactics are halted when the tops of my arms are seized and I’m tugged back up to his lips. ‘I get to taste you,’ he mumbles quietly, ravishing me with his lips. My wayward thoughts scatter all over the shower. ‘And you taste out of this world.’ He takes my neck once the wall isn’t supporting us any longer, almost certainly using me for assistance. Then I’m gently guided to the shower’s exit as he slides the condom off. ‘I need to wash my hair.’

  He pushes onward, unconcerned by my concern. ‘We’ll do it in the morning.’

  ‘But it’ll look like I’ve shoved my finger in a plug socket.’ It’s wild enough with the backing of a good conditioner . . . which reminds me. ‘You have very untamed hair, too.’

  ‘So we’ll be untamed together.’ He disposes of the condom and collects a towel, then slowly drags it all over me before taking care of himself.

  ‘How’s your head?’

  I’m gently pushed on, into the bedroom. ‘Fine and dandy,’ he mutters, and I laugh, earning a frown as we reach the bed. ‘Please share what’s got you all giggly.’

  ‘You!’ What else?

  ‘What about me?’

  ‘You saying you’re fine and dandy when you’re clearly not. Headache?’

  ‘Early signs, yes,’ he concedes on a huff, releasing his clasp of me to clutch his head instead.

  I smile and set about removing all of the fancy cushions from his bed and placing them neatly in the designated storage compartment. Then I pull the covers back. ‘Hop in.’ I drag my greedy gaze from his eyes, all the way down the perfection of his lean physique to his perfect feet. They start to pace the carpet towards me, prompting my eyes to climb back up the length of him, reaching those blues as he reaches me. ‘Please,’ I whisper.

  ‘Please what?’

  I’ve forgotten what I’m asking of him. I search my empty head under the observation of knowing, salacious blue eyes and find nothing. ‘I can’t remember,’ I admit.

  Bright white teeth blind me. ‘I believe my sweet girl was bossing me into bed.’

  My lips purse. ‘I wasn’t bossing.’

  ‘I beg to differ,’ he chuckles. ‘I quite like it. After you.’ His arm sweeps in direction of the bed, his gentlemanly manners taking over.

  ‘I should call Nan.’

  His smile drops in an instant. I hate that I can draw those rare beams but just as quickly wipe them away. The result is as if they were never there and they might not ever return. He’s thoughtful for a long moment, struggling to keep his eyes on me. He’s ashamed. ‘Would you be kind enough to enquire if she might be home tomorrow morning?’

  I nod my answer. ‘Get in. I’ll be back as soon as I’ve pacified her.’

  He slips into the sheets and onto his side, his back to me. I shouldn’t feel compassion, but his remorse is strong and so is my hope that Nan will accept what I know will be a sincere apology.

  Finding my top, I wriggle it on and go in search of my bag, getting out my phone and seeing endless missed calls from her already. My guilt surges and I don’t delay calling her right back.

  ‘Olivia! Damn you, child!’

  ‘Nan,’ I breathe, letting my naked bottom hit the chair. My eyes close as I prepare for the rant that I know is coming.

  ‘Are you okay?’ she asks softly.

  I snap my eyes wide open in shock. ‘Yeah.’ The word rolls off my tongue slowly, uncertainty plaguing me. There has to be more than that.

  ‘Is Miller okay?’

  This question stuns me further, my naked bum starting to shift nervously on the chair. ‘He’s okay.’

  ‘I’m glad.’

  ‘Me too.’ It’s all I can think to say. No rant? No prying questions? No demand to walk away? I hear her breathe thoughtfully down the line, a lingering, empty space of unspoken words stretching between us.

  ‘Olivia?’

  ‘I’m here.’

  ‘Sweetheart, those words you whispered to Gregory.’

  I swallow hard. I knew she’d heard but hoped she hadn’t. There’s nothing aged about my grandmother’s acute hearing. Humming my acknowledgement, I sit back in my chair and lay my palm across my forehead, ready to ease the pounding head that’s about to ensue. It’s already working up to a light thudding, just at the thought of explaining those words. ‘What about them?’

  ‘You’re right.’

  My hand drops and I gaze ahead at nothing in particular, confusion replacing the threatening headache. ‘I’m right?’

  ‘Yes,’ she sighs. ‘I’ve told you before, we don’t choose who we fall in love with. Falling in love is special. Holding on to that love, despite circumstances that could destroy it, is even more special. I hope Miller realises how lucky he is to have you, my darling girl.’

  My bottom lip begins to tremble, my throat closing off any words that I’d like to say in return – the most important words being thank you. Thank you for supporting me – for supporting us, when it feels like the whole of London is on a mission to sabotage what we have. Thank you for accepting Miller. Thank you for understanding, even if you don’t know the full truth. Gregory knows what this could do to her. ‘I love you, Nan.’ I swallow hard around my words and the puddles of tears in my eyes start to tumble down my cheeks.

  ‘I love you, too, darling.’ Her voice is even and strong, yet soaked in emotion. ‘Are you staying with Miller tonight?’

  I nod and sniff, just spitting out a ‘yes’ in response.

  ‘Okay. Sleep tight.’

  I smile through my tears and use the sound of her loving tone and her words to gather myself and speak. ‘I won’t let the bedbugs bite.’

  She chuckles, joining me in my fond memories of one of Granddad’s favourite bedtime lines. ‘Get yourself off up those apples and pears,’ she says, reminding me of another.

  ‘Miller lives in an apartment. There are no stairs to the bedroom.’

  ‘Oh, okay.’ She falls silent for a while. ‘Are you cream crackered?’

  ‘Exhausted,’ I confirm on a laugh. ‘I’m going to bed now.’

  ‘Good. Nighty-night.’

  ‘Night, Nan.’ I smile as I cut the call and immediately consider calling back to ask how Gregory is, but stop myself. The ball’s in his court. He knows the deal; he knows I’m going nowhere, and he knows that nothing he can say will change that, especially not now. There’s nothing more I can say and there’s no guarantee he’ll listen. It kills me, but I’m not putting myself in the firing line again. If he wants to talk, then he’ll call. Satisfied with my decision, I make to leave the kitchen but pause at the doorway, my mind wandering to silly places.

  Like the top drawer where I know Miller’s dat
e book to be.

  I try to disregard my bout of irritating curiosity, I really do, but my damn feet take on a mind of their own and I’m standing looking at the drawer before I can convince myself that it’s so very wrong to snoop. It’s not that I don’t trust him, I wholeheartedly do, but I just feel in the dark, unaware and ignorant, and while that’s undoubtedly a good thing, I can’t help the raging inquisitiveness from getting the better of me.

  Curiosity killed the cat. Curiosity killed the cat. Damn curiosity killed the fucking cat.

  I open the drawer, and it’s looking up at me, teasing me . . . tempting me. It’s like a magnet to my hand, drawing me in, pulling me closer, and before I know what’s happened, the leather book is lying in my palms, feeling like a forbidden spell book. Now I just need the pages to miraculously start flapping open, but after staring at it for way too long, it’s still closed. And it should probably stay that way – sealed for ever, never to be looked upon again. History closed.

  But that would be in a world where curiosity doesn’t exist.

  I shift the book in my palms and slowly pull the front cover open, but my eyes don’t home in on the first page. They drift down to the floor, following a square of paper that’s slipped from the
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