Kept, Page 23Maya Banks
“Look, you can either take me over to his apartment or I’ll get a cab, but either way I’m going,” she said stubbornly.
“I’ll drive you,” he said instantly. “But you might want to think about getting dressed first.”
Hayley glanced down at the shirt Maddox had buttoned for her to keep her from having to pull anything over her head, and she made a face. Then she turned her pleading look at Thane.
“This is embarrassing,” she muttered. “But I don’t have anything but this. And I need help because I can’t lift my arms over my head. Maddox had to help me into one of his shirts and I can’t exactly go anywhere in only his shirt and my underwear. A bra is out.”
Thane looked as if he’d swallowed his tongue and she could swear he paled a little. The look of desperation on his face was almost funny if she hadn’t been so pissed off at her own boneheaded man.
Then he closed his eyes as if praying for deliverance. “I’ll make you a deal,” he said, wincing as he spoke. “I’ll run down to the hotel gift shop and see about getting you some sweats and a decent shirt if you swear never to tell Silas I had to help you get dressed. I like my face just like it is.”
Hayley pursed her lips and glared in his direction. “Wuss. Whatever. Just hurry up before I fall asleep.”
Hayley waved over her shoulder as she stepped off the elevator on Silas’s floor, leaving Thane to ride back down. He’d wanted to walk her to Silas’s door, but she’d refused. She wasn’t leaving without one hell of a fight and she’d rather not air it all out in front of witnesses.
Squaring her jaw, she marched up to Silas’s door and knocked sharply. She winced when she heard a thud, followed by the sound of breaking glass and muffled cursing. Then there was silence. She lifted her hand and knocked more loudly. If she had to stand here knocking all night she’d do it.
Finally she heard the sound of Silas fumbling with the locks, and she held her breath until finally the door opened wide and Silas stood before her, blinking fuzzily. She wrinkled her nose when she caught a whiff of the alcohol that seemed to encompass him.
His face scrunched up in confusion as his bleary-eyed gaze swept over her.
“Princess?” His voice was barely audible as he stared at her in bewilderment. “You’re here.”
She put both hands on her hips and glared at him. “Oh, that’s just great. I came over here to tell you exactly what I think of your noble gesture and how self-sacrificing you are and you’re so drunk you won’t even remember me giving you a piece of my mind in the morning.”
He looked so sad that it was all she could do to stand firm and not wrap her arms around him and hold him close. Then she glanced down to see shards of glass glittering on the floor all around him.
“Silas, you have to be careful. You’re barefooted and there’s broken glass everywhere. Let’s go inside before you fall over.”
He followed her like a lost puppy and when she saw blood smudges on the floor she realized he hadn’t missed all the pieces. Placing a cautious hand on his chest, she eased him around and led him to his couch. His eyes never left her.
“Prop your feet up on the table. I’m going to grab the first-aid kit.”
She was almost to the bathroom when his whispered, “Miss you,” reached her.
After grabbing the kit, she sat on the coffee table and began pulling the tiny slivers from his still-bleeding feet. Once again, his gaze followed her every move. He was treating her as if she were an apparition, afraid if he looked away she might vanish. “Miss you so much,” he whispered again. “All day, all night. All I do is miss you.”
Tears stung her eyes as she blinked to keep them from falling. He was breaking her already-broken heart. She cleared her throat. “I can yell at you later, honey. Let me clean up your feet.” She uncapped the antiseptic. “This is going to hurt. I’m sorry,” she said quietly.
He never flinched as she dabbed the liquid to his cuts.
“Hurts all the time. Didn’t used to. Felt nothing and that wasn’t a bad thing. Then you came along. Felt peace. Felt fuckin’ happy for the first time in my life. Then I fucked it up. Now it hurts. Should, though. I deserve it. Didn’t deserve you. Never did. Knew that but I took you anyway. And brought you into hell with me.”
Hayley lost her battle with the tears as she wrapped his feet in gauze. God, so much pain in his voice. He didn’t know what he was saying and would likely hate himself in the morning if he remembered baring his soul this way. She’d been prepared to yell at him. To stomp around and make her point and then tell him what she thought about him tossing her out for her own good.
She went to the bedroom, grabbed a pillow and brought it back to the couch. “Can you lie down for me, Silas? I need to clean up the broken glass.”
He reclined back onto the pillow, reaching up to trail his fingers down her damp cheek. “Don’t cry, my Hayley. You have to know I’d do anything for you.” He slowly lowered his hand back to his chest, his gaze still locked on her face.
She looked away, no longer able to meet his eyes without succumbing to the temptation to curl into his arms, where she’d finally feel warm and safe again. But she wouldn’t take advantage of him. He might not want her when he sobered up. Not after she’d told him to fuck off, not once, but twice.
By the time she finished sweeping up all the glass, all she heard from Silas’s direction was his light snore. She tossed the glass in the garbage and then picked up one of the comforters and gently covered his unconscious form. Then it was she who trailed fingers down his bristly cheek.
“What am I going to do about you, Silas?” she whispered. “We’re both so miserable. Are we going to keep pushing one another away until it’s too late?”
* * *
The light shining against his lids caused jackhammers to start up in Silas’s head. With a groan, he tried to roll over and almost fell off his . . . couch? Cracking open one eye, he confirmed that yes, he was on his couch. And yes, he had killed the fifth of whiskey in his cabinet. And a second one. He’d been working on his third when the doorbell rang and . . .
Ignoring the pounding in his head, he bolted upright. Hayley had been there. He looked to the right and discovered Hayley was still there. Curled up on the opposite couch with his comforter wrapped around her, raven hair spread across his pillow. His pulse ratcheted up about a hundred more beats per minute. Jesus, but she took his breath away.
Moving as quietly as possible, he eased to his feet and had to bite back a hiss. Fuck. Half the bottle he broke in his rush to get the door open the night before must have been stuck in his feet. When Hayley should have been home resting and tending to her own injuries, she’d been here taking care of his stupid, drunken ass. He wished he could be one of those drunks who had complete amnesia of the previous night, but he had perfect recall. He clearly remembered the tears streaming down her face as she wrapped his feet. He really was the lowest motherfucker to ever walk the planet.
He went to the kitchen and started the coffee, downing some ibuprofen dry. He’d let her sleep as long as she wanted, and then when she was up he’d fix her breakfast and find out why she had come over when she’d made it clear she never wanted to see him again. He frowned. She’d said something about wanting to yell at him. If the pounding in his head ever eased he might be able to figure it out for himself, but he doubted it. Her words and the resolve on her face at their last meeting had made it clear there was nothing he could offer that she would want.
The coffee had just finished brewing when he heard Hayley start to stir. He fixed her a cup just the way she liked it and brought it to her. As she sat up, a grimace crossed her face and her breath hitched.
He set the cup down so quickly, it sloshed up over the rim. Then he reached for her to help her sit up, making sure his hands were as gentle as he could make them.
“Careful.” Realizing how gruff he sounded, he cleared his throat and tried again. “Easy, princess. Do you have your pain medication?�
Slowly adjusting her position, Hayley shook her head. “No. I didn’t think I’d need it.”
Setting the cup near her within easy reach, he went into the bathroom and found the painkillers in his medicine cabinet. Bringing them back, he set them next to her cup. “Take these, baby. I know you don’t like the way they make you groggy, but every movement is causing you pain and I can’t bear to see you hurting.”
She swallowed the pills, then took a sip of coffee before looking back at him. Then she averted her gaze, staring down at her cup.
“I came over here to yell at you and give you a piece of my mind and now . . .”
His heart slammed hard against his chest and he tried so hard to quell the sudden flash of hope that attempted to flutter upward.
“And now what, princess?” he whispered.
Tears filled her eyes and it was all he could do not to haul her into his arms and kiss every single one away.
“I’m so mad at you, Silas,” she said hoarsely.
“Why shouldn’t you be?” he asked bitterly.
“Why didn’t you tell me about Gia? Why didn’t you trust me enough to let me decide whether you were worth the risk? Because you are—were. Why did you never ask me if I thought you were worth everything to me? I would have never left you. Why did you leave me?”
He closed his eyes, his heart hurting so much it felt like he was dying.
“It was never a matter of me not trusting you, princess. It was me I didn’t trust. I failed you over and over. I’ve caused you nothing but pain and misery and I refused to be the reason you died. You deserve so much better than I can ever give you. You’re so beautiful, so precious, so . . . good. Everything I’m not and everything I’m not worthy of.”
Her eyes grew stormy and she scrubbed furiously at her tears as she glared at him.
“Only I get to say who’s worthy of me and my love,” she said fiercely. “You don’t claim that right, Silas. No one does but me. You understand?”
He blinked at her vehemence.
She closed her eyes, pain and sorrow so evident on her pale features.
“How did we come to this, Silas?” she whispered. “How did we go from being so happy, so perfect for one another, to you sitting so far away and me being so afraid to reach for you? Can you promise me that if I reach out, you’ll meet me halfway? That if I take the risk, it’ll be worth it? That you’ll never throw us away again?”
Her voice cracked on the last word and Silas could stand no more. Not meet her halfway? Oh hell no. He was going all the way. She’d never have to make a single damn move again. He was beside her in an instant, pulling her gently onto his lap until she was cradled in his arms, her head resting on his shoulder. He buried his face in her neck and plunged his hand deep into her silken tresses, gathering the strands until they wrapped around his fingers.
“Never, sweet girl,” he whispered against her neck, feeling her pulse beating wildly against his lips. “Never again will you doubt my absolute love and adoration for you. My devotion and commitment to you. You are everything to me, princess. My life, my world, my reason for living. You will never know how sorry I am for the hell I’ve put you through, but if you’ll give me the chance, I’ll spend my life making it up to you.”
He rubbed up and down her back as her tears soaked into his T-shirt.
“Seeing Thane’s sister lying there on the pavement, all I could see in my mind was you. That could’ve happened to you, and I’d rather die than have that happen. I panicked. I just wanted you safe and I thought pushing you away was best. I was wrong, princess. So fucking wrong. You are the best thing that’s ever come into my life and I was a fool to let you go. I love you, Hayley. I thought by watching Drake and Evangeline I knew what love was. But again I was wrong. This feeling . . . God, baby. It’s worth fighting for. Worth dying for. Please give me a chance to prove it.”
Hayley lifted her head and stared deeply into his eyes, and he was humbled by what he saw so clearly reflected in hers. Love. Forgiveness. Understanding.
“I never stopped loving you, Silas. I tried. God knows, I tried. I’m so scared. I’m terrified. But I want to try. But only with you. Always with you. I’ll never love anyone else but you.”
Silas squeezed his eyes shut to hide the betraying tears as Hayley lowered her face to nuzzle his neck this time.
“Living with me won’t be easy.” His voice was gruff again but he didn’t care. “With my control issues, combined with the dangers surrounding my job, you’ll never have a normal life. Are you sure you want to sign up for that?”
“Fuck normal,” she answered with a watery laugh. “What has normal ever brought us anyway?”
“Not a damn thing,” Silas murmured against her lips.
“Fuck,” Silas groaned as Hayley’s mouth closed over his rigid erection once more. “My princess loves my cock.”
Hayley smiled and sent a sultry look upward. “That’s not all I love.”
His eyes softened and the harsh strains of arousal that lined his face disappeared as he reached down to softly caress her cheek. Then, as he continued to stare, a gleam appeared and his eyes glittered with the promise of something guaranteed to make Hayley erupt in a full-body shiver.
“I want my mouth on you,” he said gutturally.
She huffed around his length, allowing it to slide all the way out until just the tip balanced precariously on her lips before she sucked him deep again, eliciting another groan of pleasure from him. He tapped her cheek in warning.
“Either I get your pussy while your mouth’s around my dick, or you lose my dick and I get my mouth on you. Choice is up to you.”
The way she saw it, in either situation she was the clear winner, but she was determined to see her seduction through. Silas allowed her control so seldom, and she wasn’t about to give it up now, even if she had to compromise.
“Oh, all right,” she said with an exaggerated pout.
In about three seconds, her body was yanked up and rotated, her pelvis lowering to his wicked tongue as her knees settled on either side of his head. Oh God, how could she possibly focus on blowing his mind when her mind was currently mush?
She licked and teased as Silas did plenty of licking and teasing of his own, and soon they were both making earthy sounds of intense pleasure as they pleasured each other with their lips and tongues.
She smiled in satisfaction as she took him to the back of her throat. This was all hers. No one had ever given this to him before. Never had he allowed anyone else to pleasure him this way. This . . . like him . . . was all hers, and no one would ever have what was hers again.
His tongue shot out, circling her clit before lapping downward to plunge inside her. She wiggled atop him, breathing through her nose as she tried valiantly to get him off before she went off like a rocket. She could feel his smile of triumph on her most sensitive flesh, and she redoubled her efforts to bring him to completion before she lost all her senses.
Ever since the first time he’d allowed her to love him, to use her mouth on him, it had been like a dam bursting. He seemed ravenous for her mouth and demanded it often. When she woke up in the mornings, he’d guide her head downward, saying without words what he wanted. In the shower, he’d push her to her knees and lose himself in her mouth before yanking her upward and fucking her from behind against the shower wall. And then there were the times when she’d wait for him to come home, on her knees, so she was the first thing he saw when he entered their apartment. He’d stride over, already loosening his fly, before thrusting deeply into her mouth. As much as he loved it, she loved it even more. He’d jokingly said that he’d created a monster. A cock monster.
She closed her eyes, using every bit of her concentration to ward off her impending orgasm so she could force him to his own first. He was close. Very close. Already she could taste the tiny spurts of his pre-cum and feel his hardness swell even larger, signaling his imminent climax.
ning her mouth around him, she sucked him as deeply as she could take him, until her lips wrapped around the very base of his cock. He trembled beneath her and she heard—and felt—his muttered “fuck” between her legs. Determined to get what she wanted, she sucked, lapped and licked, applying firm pressure with her mouth until finally, finally she heard his guttural cry and he arched upward, exploding into her mouth, filling it with his essence.
She was so close to her own orgasm and now that he was coming down from his, he pushed her even harder, and she hurried to reverently cleanse every inch of his cock before she became mindless.
“Give it to me,” he growled.
He gently sucked at her clit, then flicked his tongue over the throbbing bud until her legs quivered uncontrollably. She threw back her head, his name a cry on her lips, and then his tongue stabbed deeply within her. Her orgasm flashed hot, wild, nearly painful in its intensity as she bucked and writhed over his mouth. He held her hips tightly, refusing to allow her to escape the swirls of his tongue.
She slumped down on him, panting softly, her eyes closed as he continued to lick and softly nuzzle her. Then his hands palmed the globes of her ass and caressed before gently lifting her up and rotating her so he held her in his arms, her head pillowed on his shoulder.
He kissed the top of her head and held her closely, possessively, just as he always did, and she sighed in utter contentment.
“Love you,” she whispered.
His entire body tightened and then trembled in reaction. Just as it had every other time she’d said those words over the last two weeks, two glorious weeks they’d spent holed up in Silas’s apartment, completely cut off from the outside world while she’d healed and their relationship had been cemented. He’d spent every moment making it up to her, apologizing, not only in words but in actions, for the pain he’d caused her.
“Love you too, sweet girl,” he said gruffly.
Then he hoisted himself upward and sat up, hauling her with him so she now sat astride his lap, his back resting against the headboard. There was hesitation in his eyes and he looked . . . nervous. Hayley was astounded because Silas never looked nervous.
After a moment, he said, “There’s something I want to ask you, princess.”
For some reason she felt the strong need to reassure him. To remind him he hadn’t lost her, that she loved him and that she wasn’t going anywhere. She put her hand to his cheek and looked at him with all the love in her heart.
“You know you can ask me anything, Silas.”
He gathered her hands between them and then stared into her eyes, and she’d never seen him look so vulnerable and unguarded.
His cell phone rang and Silas swore long and hard. Then he looked at her, apology in his eyes. “I’m sorry, princess. I’ve got to take this. It’s Drake.”
Hayley nodded. “Of course. Should I leave you to talk in private?”
His hold on her hands tightened and suddenly she found herself pressed against his chest as he reached for his phone with his free hand, his other arm wrapped firmly around her.
Well, she guessed that answered that question.
“Yeah,” Silas said into the phone.
There was a brief hesitation and then, “What? Wait—isn’t it too soon?” Once more Silas was silent a moment. “Okay, Hayley and I will be there as soon as possible.”
Silas tossed his phone aside and then turned his worried gaze on Hayley. Dread splintered up her spine and she tried to swallow the large knot forming in her throat. Silas’s gaze immediately softened and became remorseful.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. It’s Evangeline. She’s in labor and Drake’s about to go out of his mind. She’s not due for a bit yet but the doctors have assured him that the baby has an excellent chance of survival at her current gestational age, but they’re attempting to stop her contractions to give the baby as much time as possible in the womb before delivery.”
Hayley fidgeted uncomfortably and sat up, prying herself away from Silas.
“Um, shouldn’t I stay here?”
Silas looked at her like she’d lost her mind.
“Princess, where I go, you go. Period. I’m not leaving you alone until the fucking Vanuccis have been dealt with for good. Hell, even after that I’m not ever going to want you where I can’t see and touch you at all times.”
Hayley’s face burned with embarrassment and shame. “But I thought and said some terrible things about her,” she said in a low voice. She glanced down at her hands, no longer able to look at Silas. “I don’t imagine she or Drake would want me there right now. Only family.”
Silas’s firm hand closed around her chin. “Look at me, baby.”
His voice was soft and sweet, and when she finally found the courage to meet his gaze, his eyes were full of understanding. And love.
“First of all, no one but me knows anything of what you thought or said. I’d never betray you by repeating anything you said. Secondly, had I explained fully about Evangeline in the first place and not put her higher in my priorities than you, then you would have never had cause to think or say the things you did. And thirdly, you are family. My family. My brothers’ family and most definitely Drake and Evangeline’s family. Evangeline will love you. She’s a very sweet woman and about your same age. She’s led an isolated existence since becoming involved with and marrying Drake, and I have no doubt she would welcome having you as a friend. Who couldn’t possibly love you, my darling girl?”
Hayley’s smile was tremulous. “You think so?”