All the rage, p.11
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       All the Rage, p.11

           T. M. Frazier
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  wallpaper took up every available inch of wall space with a matching border that ran through the center, dividing the wall in two.

  “I think you’re perfectly capable of doing that on your own,” I said to Nolan’s reflection in the mirror as I stood in the doorway.

  I’d just finished giving Murray a long overdue bath and I’d come to the realization that he was more grey than black, when Nolan had called to me from the bathroom. I’d found him soaking in the tub I’d scrubbed in order to be cleaner when you stepped out than you were when you stepped in. Nolan’s back was to me against the tile, but in the mirror I could see him clearly, his defined ab muscles disappearing below the water, which was thankfully too soapy to see anything through. Although my eyes still wandered that way.

  “Maybe, but what fun would that be?” Nolan asked, wagging an eyebrow suggestively.

  I turned to leave.

  “No, wait,” he said, and for some reason, I actually listened and stopped. I seemed to be doing that a lot when it came to him. I didn’t like it. Not one bit. I got into all this to have my freedom and there I was taking orders from him, a target of all people.

  I needed to remember where my fucking balls were, and quick.

  “All joking aside, my knee locked up on me and I could use your help,” Nolan said, his voice taking on a more serious tone. “Please,” he added, offering me a small sheepish smile.

  “Fine,” I huffed. Walking over to the tub, I sat on the bath mat and leaned over the edge. Just because he affected me, didn’t mean he needed to know that. We locked eyes and I attempted to keep my gaze on his face. “What do you need me to do?”

  Nolan pointed to his injured leg. His knee bent at an angle, rising up just above the water. “I need you to press down on my leg a little so I can unlock it from this position,” he said.

  “And you can’t do that because…”

  “Because it hurts when I try and do it and I’m not good at inflicting pain on myself.” He met my eyes. “But something tells me you’d be really good at it,” he joked.

  Winner, winner.

  “Well, there’s only one way you’re gonna find out,” I muttered. Nolan chuckled. “Where do you want me to push?

  “Right here,” he said, positioning his hands above his kneecap on both sides of the jagged red scar. I brushed off his hands and placed mine where he’d showed me. In the corner of my eye, I got a glimpse of movement between Nolan’s legs under the water. I pushed down.

  Hard.

  “Fuck!” Nolan cried out as his knee gave under the pressure. I removed my hands. “I thought you were going to at least count to three or something.”

  “Why did you think that?” I asked. “You didn’t say to do that.”

  “ ’Cause it’s the humane thing to do,” he said through gritted teeth. The cords in his neck were tight. I shrugged. “Can you massage it, please? It’s so fucking stiff, it hurts to even move it.” I looked at him skeptically, searching for the joke that always seemed to follow his requests. Instead, he surprised me by saying, “Please, Rage, I don’t want to have to take the pain shit they gave me. I really hate that crap. Guys on the hockey team popped those things like fucking Tic Tacs. Made them sloppy and it hindered their recovery. I don’t want that.” His eyes softened. He covered my hand, which was resting on the side of the tub with his own. I pulled it back but he held on. “I’m still hoping for a miracle here.”

  Reminding myself that no matter what my reaction was to Nolan, I was there under the false pretense of helping him. So helping I would have to do. Again, I placed my hands above his knee, just as he’d shown me and started to slowly massage the area around his scar. He hissed through his teeth at first, but as I felt the stiffness of his strained thigh muscle become softer and more pliable, he let out an approving moan that made my nipples hard. He closed his eyes and rested the back of his head against the tile wall.

  “You know,” I said needing to talk. Needing to say something that would distract me from the stirring I saw yet again just under the water, and only a few inches from where my hands were working over Nolan’s leg. “I hurt my leg once too.”

  Nolan opened his eyes. “Oh yeah? Doing what?”

  “Scooter accident. I crashed my Vespa into a ditch,” I said, offering as much of the truth as I could. I really did crash my Vespa, but it was because of a rookie mistake and the result of being way too close to an explosion, which had been a lot more powerful than I’d anticipated. Blown into a ditch while on my scooter might have been a bit more accurate.

  It was a mistake I never made again.

  “You break it?”

  I shook my head and sat back on my butt. “Nah, she needed a new gas tank and getting the dings out was a pain in the ass. The worst thing was that they don’t make that shade of blue anymore. It’s a classic scooter, so I had to get it matched and I had to have it done three times for them to get it right.”

  “I meant your leg. Did you break your leg?”

  “Oh,” I said. I lifted my leg over the tub’s edge so he could see the side of my thigh and pointed. “Sixteen stitches, though.” Nolan reached out and slowly ran the tips of his fingers over the three faded white scars before dropping his hand back into the water. I sat back up and continued on his leg. Again, he moaned at my touch and I found myself biting the inside of my cheek every time he made a sound.

  “That must have hurt,” Nolan said, seeming genuinely concerned.

  “It wasn’t a big deal, really. I’ve seen worse.”

  I’ve inflicted worse.

  I continued on his leg, although the muscle was now getting tighter, stiffer than it had been before. “I don’t think this is working,” I said, but before I could move my hands away, he clasped his over them.

  “No, it’s fucking working all right,” Nolan said, his voice rough. His eyes heavier than before, a sleepy look on his face as his eyes dipped down to the front of my shirt. I must have leaned into the water because the entire front of my white tank top was soaked. My hard nipples on proud display. I don’t usually get embarrassed, but something about the way he looked at me had my face flushing red and heat creeping up my neck and cheeks.

  I looked to where his large hand had captured my much smaller one. My attentions were suddenly drawn to what I could no longer ignore. His enormous hard-on had surfaced above the water, the tip touching his stomach above his belly button. When his gaze followed mine, it pulsed against the muscles of his chiseled stomach.

  My first instinct was to run. But try as I might, my legs wouldn’t listen to me. Nothing would listen to me. Especially not my eyes which were glued to his cock like it was an animal at the new zoo exhibit. “Like what you see?” Nolan asked, without any traces of smart-ass in his voice. His words drew me out of my gawking and I made a move to jerk my hand from his leg but he only held on tighter. “Here, let you show you something,” he offered. “Trust me,” he said. I didn’t trust him. I didn’t trust anyone. But my eagerness to see what he was about to do—my curiosity—was fed by his strained voice.

  I didn’t answer him, but I stopped pulling on my hand, allowing it to settle back on his thigh. “That’s a good girl,” Nolan said, his words washing over me. The water was warm and the bathroom was small. It was the reason why I told myself that I felt suddenly hot. Flushed. Although the real reason probably had something to do with the fact that Nolan grabbed my wrist and slowly traced it up his thigh, the way he’d started trailing his hand up my leg in the living room the week before. His muscles twitched and strained against my touch as he dragged my fingertips all the way to where his cock stood proudly out of the water.

  Despite having sex with Cody, I’d actually never seen his penis. It had been so dark and all over so fast. I’d zoned out when it all started. Besides having to clean up a mess on my leg, nothing had ever hurt afterward and it was all over so quick, I couldn’t recall a lot of the details.

  Nolan took my hand in his, raised it to his mouth an
d pressed a soft warm kiss to my knuckles, which sent a jolt of electricity up my arm.

  Then he surprised me by dragging it back down his abs. I gasped when he wrapped my fingers around his massive cock. The second my palm came into contact with the soft skin surrounding his hardness, it pulsed again. Nolan hissed between his teeth. Wrapping his hand around mine, he started to stroke himself with my hand. Once up and once down. He groaned as we both watched where our hands were connected with his shaft. A full body convulsion, a tingling inside, drew me back out of whatever haze I was temporarily lost in.

  I can’t do this.

  I tore my hand away and stood. I was almost through the door when Nolan said, “You know what I think? I think you like giving a little bit of that control over to me. I even think you liked it when your little hand was wrapped around my cock.”

  Without turning I said the very first thing that came to mind. “Someone once told me that just because I like something, doesn’t mean I should do it,” I said, repeating Cody’s words from when we were kids.

  I left, closing the bathroom door behind me.

  “Be ready in an hour!” Nolan called through the door, reminding me that he’d said the day before that was taking me out somewhere.

  For the first time I thought there might actually be some truth to Cody’s words after all. Although now I knew it had nothing to do with liking to destroy.

  And everything to do with Nolan Archer.

  Nolan

  I’d been around a lot of different people in my short life. Academics, jocks, bikers, junkies, and all sorts of girls.

  Never anyone like Rage.

  My plan really had been to call her into the bathroom to help me with my knee. My leg was healing, but I’d over estimated how much when I climbed into the tub and the fucker locked up tight on me. It hurt like a car had driven over it, but I’d almost forgotten how much when Rage came in wearing a white tank top and no bra.

  I could barely control how achingly hard I was from the moment she walked in, but when her shirt had gotten wet there was no holding back, and suddenly I was the hardest I’d ever been. When I touched her hand to my cock, I almost exploded right then and there. I knew that after she stood up, I could have made her come back. I could have used her hand to jerk me off, but the way she embarrassed so easily when I was staring at her tits made me realize how much I didn’t want to scare this chick. She was so hesitant. So innocent.

  So fuckable.

  I almost asked her if she’d ever touched a cock before. I wanted to ask her to tell me how she touched herself. Explain to me in great detail what she did to make herself come while I stroked my cock with her tiny hand. As much as it hurt to, I held back. I needed more time to crack through that shell of hers.

  Which is why we had a date.

  She didn’t know it yet, but Rage was about to become mine.

  In every way.

  CHAPTER FOURTEEN

  Rage

  Small waves crashed up against the shore, leaving lines of grey foam behind each time the water slid back into the Gulf. The smell of salt was thick in the humid night air. The breeze was barely enough to rustle a few hairs out of place, but as it grew dark, it brought with it much cooler air that felt great in contrast with how hot it had been that day. The occasional couple holding hands passed by on the water’s edge. I watched as the last of the families packed up their coolers and blankets, wheeling and dragging their beach gear through the sand between the cottages, heading to one of the many pay-to-park car lots.

  I’d been outside on the deck, people watching and leaning against the railing with Murray at my feet, when I heard the sliding glass door open and close and then his heavy steps on the old creaking wood. I felt him standing behind me. He didn’t touch me, but my body was entirely aware of his presence. His heat. He smelled fresh and clean from the shower, and when I turned around I noticed that his hair was still wet, slicked back behind his ears. Although he was wearing his usual dark brown flip-flops, it was the first time I’d seen him in anything other than board shorts. His faded jeans were slung low on his narrow hips, his untucked tight white T-shirt hugged his chest and biceps.

  “Wow,” he said, looking me up and down. I bit my lip and tugged at the hem of my dress. I never traveled with more than what could fit comfortably in my bag, but had managed to trade my usual cut-off shorts for a simple white cotton sundress, which I kept stashed in there. It had a halter neckline, cut low in the front. It hugged the curve of my waist and flared out, stopping a few inches above my knee.

  Nolan cleared his throat. “Come on, I want to show you something,” he said, grabbing my hand and leading me toward the steps.

  Hands.

  Hands are a funny thing. As infants, we are born sucking on our fingers for comfort. As adults, we use them to hold on to one another. To feel. To touch.

  My time with Nolan was making me look at hands as something more than the dirtiest part of humans and the transfer point for disease. When he intertwined our fingers, the thoughts that used to be my first when touched, barely registered at all.

  Cody and Smoke had been the only other people I’d ever been able to touch without cringing, but with them I never felt the jolt the way I did when Nolan touched me. I’d only known him for such a short period of time, and although I knew our arrangement was temporary, I let him hold my hand, telling myself that it was part of the rouse in order to get the information I needed.

  When Murray saw that we were leaving without him, he whined in protest.

  “It’s okay, boy. We’ll be back,” I told him.

  “I’m actually thinking you’re starting to like him,” Nolan teased.

  “That is something I will never confirm nor deny.” How I felt about Murray was still up in the air. Just because I scratched his stomach while we watched TV, took him on daily walks down the beach, bought him an array of different colored sparkling doggy bandanas from the pet section of the grocery store, and baked him specialty muffins for dogs, did not mean I actually liked the drooling little creature with his wonky eyes and dragon breath. (Although, the green toothbrush shaped treats I bought him would help clear that up.)

  Nope, it didn’t mean I liked him. Not one single bit.

  When Nolan started to descend the steps, I reached over the railing and grabbed one of his crutches. I pushed it into his free hand. He rolled his eyes. “Thanks Mom, but the doc said I’m okay to spend a little time crutch free.” He set the crutch back over the railing and continued leading me down the stairs to the sand below.

  “Do you have to drag me everywhere?” I asked, not entirely unhappy at the warmth that spread through my arm as he clasped his big gorilla hand over mine, towing me around like a child with a rag doll. There was something about him holding my hand in his big strong one that I found oddly appealing. As much as I didn’t want to admit it to myself, I found myself looking forward to being his rag doll. “Where are we going?” I added as he led me over to the water’s edge. The idea of entering a natural body of water where I couldn’t see what was lurking underneath the surface made me freeze.

  Nolan gave my hand a tug. “Don’t worry. We’re not going in there,” he assured me. “The sand is harder by the shore. It’s just easier for me to walk down here than it is through the dry sand. I know why you hate the gross pool, but don’t tell me you don’t like the Gulf either.”

  “I like the Gulf, especially the parts where the water turns bright blue and looks like the waters of the Caribbean, but the parts of the beach where the water is darker, and especially at night, it’s not somewhere I want to venture. I just like to be able to see underneath the water,” I explained, ending my little story. “If it’s hard for you to walk out here we could have just walked on the street,” I said, turning back to the cottage, but was stopped short when Nolan didn’t budge and didn’t let go of my hand.

  He shook his head. “Now where would the fun be in that?” he asked, flashing me a wink and his customary big smi
le.

  “We walked up the now empty beach. Nolan kicked off his flip-flops and carried them. I did the same. The cold wet sand squished between my toes. Music playing in the distance floated over the water along with muffled voices and the occasional burst of laughter coming from high up on one of the condo balconies. “Why are you looking at me like that?” Nolan asked.

  “Because your smile is ridiculous.”

  He chuckled and pulled me closer so that my shoulder was almost touching his bicep as we walked. “This smile?” he said, flashing it again, this time crossing his eyes.

  I laughed. “Yeah, that would be the smile in question.”

  “Fuck no, this smile is anything but ridiculous, I mean, have you seen these dimples?” he asked, pointing to his cheek where said dimple was on full display.

  Nolan lifted our hands and guided me to step over a piece of driftwood. “Oh yes, I’ve certainly seen the dimple. In fact, I think it’s the dimple that makes it all the more ridiculous,” I added, looking away so he wouldn’t see my own smile tugging at the corner of my mouth.

  “Well, you might think it’s ridiculous, but I’m positive that if I’d been drafted into the NHL that the sponsors wouldn’t have shared your opinion. You’d probably be seeing this mug all over toothpaste commercials or billboards.” Nolan paused and turned to look over the water. Our walk became silent for a few moments and I knew he was reflecting on his missed opportunity.

  “You know what I would do if I saw you on a billboard?” I asked, trying to pull him out of his thoughts.

  “Swoon?” Nolan asked, and just like that he was back.

  I bit the side of my thumb. “Heck no. I’d climb up with a can
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