Out of breath, p.63
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       Out of Breath, p.63

         Part #3 of Breathing series by Rebecca Donovan
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Page 64


  I couldn’t catch my breath. I buried my face in his shirt. He was my reason for existing. It was his words that pulled me to the surface. His breath that saved me. And now, his arms that held me within this life, unable to give up. He was my strength, and the love I didn’t have for myself. And I couldn’t live without him any more than he could let me go.

  I pulled my head away from his chest, and he loosened his hold on me. I placed my hand over his damp cheek as he bent towards me, capturing my breath with his. The sudden pressure of his firm lips on mine filled me with an overwhelming surge of affection, rushing through every pore of my body. He kissed me as if his touch could make me whole again. And in that moment, I was convinced that it did.

  I let my mouth linger over hers, needing her to feel how much I meant every word I’d said. I couldn’t let her go, not now, not ever. She gasped at the intensity as my lips continued to slide over hers. She curled her fingers into my hair. My heart thrust at the touch of her warm tongue tasting my lips, teasing my tongue.

  I couldn’t get enough of her, needing to seep into her skin and feel her heart beat within my chest. There was a pounding within me that convinced me that I had. That we were sharing the same pulse. Her fingers trembled as she faltered with the buttons of my shirt. I slid the straps off her shoulders and peeled the dress from her smooth skin. I let her push the shirt off me, sweeping her hands down my chest. The look in her eyes, full of love and fear, held me captive.

  ‘I love you, Emma Thomas,’ I whispered. ‘There’ll never be another second of your life that you don’t know it. ’

  A silent tear trickled out of the corner of her eye and into her hair as she lay against the dark blue cushion. I ran my thumb along her skin, brushing it away.

  A sudden explosion overhead startled us, diverting her attention to the fireworks spreading in the sky. I kept my eyes locked on hers, watching the colours reflect in them. She inhaled at the tickle of my gentle touch as I trailed my fingertips across her stomach.

  I continued down her bare legs, releasing the strap around her heel, letting her sandals fall to the ground. Her breathing deepened as I kissed every inch of her along my return. I unbuttoned my shorts as I continued to make my way back to her soft lips. Her breath faltered when I unclasped her bra, exposing her to the chill of the air.

  She gripped my shoulders as I moved down her body, tasting her skin. Removing the last of our clothes, I pulled back to admire the slopes and curves of her, feeling the emanating heat as I brushed across her inner thigh, her legs shifting slightly with a gasp.

  My pulse quickened as I watched her lips part with her eyes closed, consumed by the sensation of my touch. Even in the dim light, I could see the flush spread from her chest up to her cheeks. I bent down to kiss the colour. She turned her head towards me, and I felt the give of her mouth as her breath panted against my lips. She quivered beneath me, with her back arched ever so slightly. Her eyes blinked open heavily, her beautiful full lips puckering.

  Not taking my eyes off hers, I positioned myself over her. She wrapped her legs behind my thighs, gently guiding me into her. I tensed at the connection as she surrounded me, and all I could feel was her. I buried my face into her neck, kissing it as her head rocked back in pleasure.

  She exhaled, pushing her lips against my shoulder with one hand behind my neck and the other dragging down my back. I tightened my hold on her hip, absorbing every movement, scent and feel of her. I couldn’t remember needing her more than I did at this moment – or her giving more than she was right now.

  As the heat escalated and the demand grew stronger, she inhaled sharply and tilted her hips into me. Her legs trembled as she fought to find her breath. Forced to close my eyes, overcome by the waves that crashed through me, I became lost in the breathless surge and pressed my face into her shoulder, inhaling her sweet scent until I couldn’t hold anything back.

  I lowered beside her and held her, pressing my lips into hair. When I pulled away to look at her, her eyes shone.

  He lay beside me as I nuzzled against him, unable to find my voice. I was overcome with every possible sensation – it was a moment I’d hold on to for the rest of my life.

  We remained in our silent embrace, watching the vibrant sparks drizzling down the night sky. I shivered, and Evan eased away just long enough to get a blanket.

  ‘Are you okay?’ he asked as he held me.

  I turned my head towards him and swept my thumb along his bottom lip, and said, ‘Every breath I breathe is because of you. ’ His eyes flickered, still peering into mine. ‘Even when you weren’t there to save me, you were my reason to breathe. And for that I will always love you. Always. ’

  ‘Emma?’ Evan called to me from within the dark room. I closed the bedroom door, my heart shattered and my body weak.

  He clicked on the bedside lamp. Confusion ran across his face at the sight of me dressed and standing at the end of the bed.

  ‘What time is it?’ he questioned.

  ‘It’s early,’ I told him with a wavering breath.

  ‘Emma, what’s wrong?’ he asked, his face tight with apprehension. ‘What is it?’

  ‘This is the part where I break your heart,’ I whispered. ‘And you finally get to understand why you should hate me. ’

  I ran up the stairs, every muscle tense. I banged on the door.


  A moment later, Jared opened it, rubbing his eyes. Sara sat in the bed behind him, still groggy and half asleep.

  ‘Evan? What’s the matter?’

  I moved past Jared into the room. ‘I need you to call your father. Emma left. ’

  ‘What?!’ She whipped the covers back. ‘What do you mean she left?!’

  ‘She just told me something –’ I had to pause, my stomach filling with acid at just the thought of it. ‘She confessed to something, and I don’t know what to believe. I need to know if it’s true. And your father is the only one I can think of to tell us. ’

  ‘What are you talking about?’ she demanded, her brows pulled together. ‘Where did Emma go?’

  ‘To New York,’ I told her. ‘To find Jonathan. ’ I took a deep breath and proceeded to recount exactly what Emma had finally confided – the last piece of honesty that sliced a wound so deep, I was bleeding out.

  ‘Emma, you’re not making any sense. ’ I pushed the covers off. ‘What haven’t you told me?’ Then I noticed the phone clutched in her hand. ‘The text. ’

  ‘You knew?’ she asked, her eyes flinching slightly. ‘How? I mean … why didn’t you tell me?’

  ‘I thought you’d see it when I returned your phone,’ I explained. ‘I couldn’t bring myself to say anything. I don’t know what happened between you and Jonathan, and why you need to forgive each other, but …’ I stopped and put my hand over my face. ‘I despise him, Em. I honestly regret that you ever met him. ’

  She bowed her head with her eyes closed.

  ‘This is about him, right?’

  She nodded.

  ‘Why did he need to forgive you?’

  ‘Because I hurt him … just like you. I took his trust and used it against him, knowing I’d break him. And I did. ’

  ‘He’s making a phone call,’ Sara told me, interrupting my pacing. ‘I’m sure there’s something more to this. ’

  ‘So she never told you?’ Sara shook her head. ‘She’s kept this to herself for over two years?’ I clenched my jaw and began pacing again.

  ‘Evan, let’s just figure out what really happened first, okay?’

  ‘The night that the guy broke into my house,’ she began, her head still slumped forward, ‘Jonathan did fight him off me. But he beat him so bad, he stopped moving. And when I finally got Jonathan to stop, he didn’t even look human any more. There was blood … everywhere. ’ Her voice faltered and her hands trembled. I remained on the bed next to her, trying to keep my breath even.

  ‘I helped him get rid of the bo
dy afterwards, and we lied to the police to cover it up. ’

  ‘He was dead?’ I questioned. She nodded.

  ‘Jonathan didn’t kill him,’ Sara announced, hanging up the phone over an hour later, exhausted and shaky. ‘He beat the shit out of him, but the dealer was found in that parking lot with a bullet in his head. They ended up matching the gun to another shooting about six months later. I guess there was another douchebag at the bar, and this dealer didn’t exactly have the best reputation. So the douche took it upon himself to shoot him and take off with a trunkful of money and drugs. ’

  ‘She thinks she helped kill him. She thinks she’s an accomplice to his murder. ’

  ‘Is that why he asked you to forgive him, because he killed this guy?’ I asked, every inch of me rigid with anger.

  ‘No,’ she answered, her voice so low it barely made a sound.

  ‘He did kill his family,’ Sara told me, and I clenched my teeth in revulsion. ‘He pleaded guilty to lighting the fire that burned his mother, father and brother in their sleep. The trial was expedited, and he just got sentenced three days ago. My dad said that he was abused by his father pretty bad most of his life and suffered psychological damage. His psychiatrist testified on his behalf, and he ended up being sentenced to twenty years for first-degree manslaughter, required to serve ten. He’s at a medium-security prison in New York. ’

  ‘You knew, and you didn’t do anything?!’ My voice grew louder. ‘You were going to let him get away with it?!’

  ‘I promised. And I know he’d do the same for me. ’

  After a deafening moment of silence, she stood up from the bed.

  ‘Where are you going?’

  ‘I have to find him. I know something bad has happened, and I couldn’t live with myself if I don’t go look for him. I’m sorry, but I have to leave. ’

  Emma had kept Jonathan’s secret to herself as she’d promised she would – until tonight. I thought I hated him before. The rage I felt now was about to incinerate me.

  I sat down on the floor, against the wall, with my hands cradling my head. ‘She knew,’ I murmured. ‘She knew and chose to protect him, to keep his secret. He killed his family, and she didn’t say a word. ’

  ‘Evan,’ Sara implored. I refused to look up.

  ‘What kind of person does that?’

  ‘I’m not the girl you fell in love with. She’s gone. You have to decide if you can still love me. It’s your choice now. ’

  And then she left.

  ‘Sara, you should call her, to tell her about the drug dealer. And where Jonathan is too. ’

  ‘You don’t want to call her?’ she asked.

  ‘I can’t talk to her. ’ I left the room, slamming the door behind me.


  What is Yours

  I PULLED AT MY JEANS AS I SAT AT THE TABLE, waiting for him to enter. My heart was beating so fast, my head was spinning.

  When the doors opened, the entire room shifted in anticipation. I scanned the faces of men in green jumpsuits. Men who I would never want to be in the same room with alone. When I saw Jonathan’s face I stood, and his eyes lit up when he spotted me.