Authors: Ruby Reid
And that was the last straw.
Alex wrapped his arms around her back and pulled her even tighter against him. Their kiss was fire now, their tongues dueling and their mouth opening wide for the other. Alex felt her hands in his long hair, then at his chest, then at his back, trying to pull him even closer.
As their hands got braver, his hand brushed against the side of her breast and he moved it quickly, not wanting to be too presumptuous. But as soon as he moved it, she grabbed his hand and placed it back where it had been. More than that, she pressed against his hand, instructing him to touch her there.
He obliged and their kiss grew even stronger. She pressed her waist against him and found him hard. Her hand trailed down and stroked lightly. Everything after that was a blur and somewhere in that haze of kisses, gasps, and exploring hands, they ended up sinking to the floor.
Their clothes came off quickly. Alex was barely aware of his shirt landing directly on top of his now-empty plate, as he was too distracted by Amanda’s shirt being pulled over her head. She removed her bra and threw it to the side. It was fast and fairly desperate and urgent, but at the same time there was a passion lying at the center of it all that Alex was not accustomed to.
What happened after that, happened far too quickly as far as Alex was concerned. Yet, although he didn’t last very long, he was able to live with that knowing that Amanda had gotten her climax quickly. He wasn’t sure, but he thought she might have gotten another one near the end.
The final seconds of it were what would stick out in his mind later. She had managed to position herself on top of him near the end and as they both slowed and settled down when Alex was spent, she remained on top of him, sitting up and rocking slightly. She looked down into his eyes and he found her eyes filled with something that was so close to happiness that it scared Alex. But still, he took her in, enjoying the view of her nakedness and the expression of satisfaction on her face.
When it was over, they lay on the floor, saying nothing. They both looked to the ceiling, speechless, trying to figure out just what in the hell had happened.
Oh. My. God.
These three words kept spinning through Amanda’s mind as she lay naked next to the man she had just met the night before. More than that, they were on her kitchen floor. Had she
had sex on a kitchen floor? No, she hadn’t. She figured it was one hell of a way to break a two-year long dry spell.
They lay in silence for just over a minute before she propped herself up on her elbow and looked at him. She wanted to say something, but she didn’t know what. The truth of the matter was that she had not planned on this happening. But when he had come to her when she had been crying and placed his arm around her, she had wanted him to hold her so badly that it had ached. And then once his arms were around her, everything else just simply felt right. There was something in the way he had held her that told her he was attracted to her—something she found hard to believe.
But even as she now looked at him, he was looking at her. His eyes were traveling over her body with an appreciation she had worried she’d never again experience.
“I feel like I should apologize,” she said finally.
“Are you serious?” Alex said. “If anyone needs to apologize, it’s me.”
“I wanted that, though,” she said. “I didn’t know it until it was happening. And I don’t think I wanted it just to get it. I wanted it from
“Because of last night?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I think so.”
She was glad to know that this was the truth. She was beyond satisfied and, truth be told, she could easily go again. But for the life of her, she could not figure out why. Yes, he was attractive. But there was something more than that about Alex that she didn’t understand. She had never given herself away so easily—not in high school, college, or the small span of dating she had done before she had met Stephen.
So what was it, then?
She supposed that was how the female body reacted to a handsome, well-built man with his arms around you after a two year absence of a man.
“Awkward question for you,” Alex said.
“What’s that?” she asked. She stretched a bit, on purpose. She loved the feel of his eyes on her. Before he gave her his awkward question, she watched him eye her breasts and flat stomach.
God, she’s gorgeous,
“What now?” he asked.
She snickered. “I don’t know. There’s no real respectable way to just get up and get dressed, huh?”
“I guess not,” he said. “That being said, is there somewhere I can clean up?”
“Yeah,” she said, sitting up. “The bathroom is down the hall, second door on the right.”
“Thanks,” he said, getting up and collecting his clothes. He laughed a bit when he picked his shirt up off of his plate.
Amanda watched him go, taking her own moment to appreciate his body. He had a very faint six pack in the ab region and his arms were well built and defined. She couldn’t help but compare him to Stephen, whom had been rather skinny but still fairly well built. They were vastly different from one another, which made her feel guilty in a way that made no real sense. But then she saw his shoulders glistening in the kitchen light as he walked towards the hall and that guilt was replaced by a quiver below her waist. She wasn’t a fan of tattoos at all, but the single one on his body—on his upper arm—made her want to trace it with her tongue.
When he was in the bathroom, she stood up and collected her own clothes. She dashed into the bedroom, checked herself in the mirror, and then put her clothes back on. As she primped herself slightly in front of the mirror, she realized that the question Alex had asked her was a tricky and rather sad one.
The simple answer was he would leave and be on the way to Chicago in about two hours. As for her, she had some work to do but, God help her, she already knew her mind would be replaying the scene on the kitchen floor over and over for the next few days. What good would it do to have those two years wiped out by a hugely pleasing romp with a man she found devastatingly hot, only to have him leave immediately afterwards?
Back to the drawing board,
She went back into the kitchen and started cleaning off the table. She was halfway through when Alex came back into the kitchen. Without being asked to do so, he pitched in with cleaning up.
“Are you going to be okay?” he asked her as he washed the frying pan in the sink.
“Yes,” she said. “That was poor impulse control. I thank you for trying to put up a fight.”
“That was pretty difficult,” he said. “I wanted you right away…from that first little kiss.”
“Mmm,” was all she said.
God, I want him again. Right now. This is stupid.
“But we’re okay, right?” he said.
“We are,” she said. “Especially since we won’t see each other after today.”
“That’s what I meant,” Alex said. “I know that some women handle one-time hook ups pretty hard.”
“I knew that’s what it was when I started,” she said. “It’s okay.”
He nodded as he continued to clean. “I have to say…that was the best breakfast I’ve had in quite some time.”
“The food or…?”
“Both,” he said.
They finished washing the dishes in silence, but it was a comfortable silence. For reasons she did not understand, Amanda found herself thinking of the dream she’d had where Alex had been beckoning to her while she stood at Stephen’s grave.
“I should probably go,” he said almost out of nowhere.
The thought of him leaving and her being alone again made her sad, but she hid it very well. She searched for the satisfaction that still lurked in her, anchored by the slight twinge of pain in her back from their time on the floor. It was enough to keep her strong—to keep him from seeing that she did not want him to go.
“Yeah,” she said. “A long day of riding, I guess. How long is it from here to Chicago anyway?”
“Maybe another eight or nine hours,” he said. “As long as we leave by noon, we’ll be okay.”
As if it had all been orchestrated, she suddenly found herself walking him to the door. It happened too fast for her liking and when she reached out to open the door for him, it was like moving underwater. He stood in the opened doorway, the street and the bright morning waiting behind him. He looked gorgeous.
“All of that stuff you were saying before we ended up on the floor,” Alex said, looking at her. “How bad did it get?”
An image of the pills she had nearly taken to end her life flashed in her mind but she shut it down. She wasn’t going to tell him that, especially now that he was on his way out. What sort of guilt might that cause him?
“Not too bad. Just a lot of self pity.”
“Well you have my number now, right?”
“So at any time you need someone to talk to, please call me. Will you do that?”
“Yes, I can do that.”
“Good,” he said.
He leaned in and hugged her. As he did, she thought:
One more kiss, please kiss me, one more time…
But he apparently felt the same lure she did. If they kissed again, it was not going to stop at just a kiss. So he made sure to keep his cheek to hers as they hugged. They squeezed one another tightly and then, just like that, it was over.
“Take care,” he said. “And seriously…call me when you need someone to talk to.”
“I will. You be careful on that bike.”
“I always am,” he said, waving to her as he headed down her sidewalk.
Amanda stood in her doorway and watched him climb onto his bike. They exchanged a wave as he kicked it to life. There was something about seeing him on his motorcycle that made him look different—more defined and proud, perhaps. It was as if he
He started rolling away and when he neared the end of her street, he gave another wave that Amanda could barely see. She returned it and even after he was gone, she stood there staring at the street, wondering what might have been.
Having what he had always known as a One and Done was usually something of a bragging right to Alex. A One and Done was, by definition, very much like a one night stand. It was having sex, knowing you would never see the other person again. Usually, it was designed this way. Given his line of work and his life with The Unknowns, he’d had quite a few One and Dones with his fair share of women. He’d left those encounters feeling satisfied and somewhat fulfilled.
But as he pulled his motorcycle into the hotel parking lot, he didn’t feel that. Sure, he was satisfied; in fact, the sex had been incredible. As he had replayed it in his head on the drive back to the motel, he couldn’t get over the sight of her. From the way Amanda’s hair had fallen over her face when she had climaxed, to the way her breasts had perched perfectly above him for the brief amount of time she had been on top…it was all perfect.
And for the first time, he felt something very much like guilt because of the fact that he was leaving. It was more than the fact that she was in the midst of emotional struggles, but he could not put his finger on why it was bothering him so badly.
He did his best to make it appear as if nothing was bothering him as he walked into the room he and Slim had rented. He found Slim sitting on his bed, dressed and ready for the day. He was flipping through channels on the TV and sipping from a Styrofoam cup of coffee. When Alex entered, Slim looked up and gave him a devilish smile.
“It was that girl you left with last night, wasn’t it?” he asked.
“Yeah, it was,” Alex said.
Usually, at this point, he’d start bragging and give a very explicit and raunchy play-by-play of what had just happened. But he was not about to do that now…much to Slim’s disappointment.
“What?” Slim said. “No details?”
“No, not this time.”
“Come on, now,” Slim said. “I’m getting old and all of that wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am stuff is far behind me. I have to live vicariously through you, you lucky son of a bitch.”
Alex busied himself by straightening up his side of the room and trying to distract himself with going through the single bag he had packed for this trip. “I know all of that,” he said. “You
getting old. But…I can’t. Not this time. She’s dealing with some stuff and just needed someone to talk to. Nothing happened.”
Slim looked at him, confused. Alex was well aware of how soft it made him sound, but he didn’t care. For the first time since joining The Unknowns, he hated the fact that he was supposed to constantly be rough and rugged. In that moment, thinking of Amanda and how she would be locked in his mind during the drive to Chicago, he did not feel tough at all. In fact, he couldn’t remember the last time he had felt so sad and lost.
This is not what I need right now,
“You look pissed,” Slim said.
Alex shook his head. “I’m fine. I just wished I hadn’t got mixed up in her troubles last night. That’s all.”
“Oh, so it was
,” Slim said. “Ha! I saw that dude laying in the parking lot when I left last night. I wondered what happened. Was he attacking her or something?”
“I really don’t want to talk about it,” Alex said, a bit forcefully.
Slim raised his hands in mock surrender. “I hear you loud and clear,” he said. “Excuse the ever-loving hell out of me.”
“You about ready to ride?” Alex asked.
“Always. I figure we might want to give Jameson a call and let him know where we are and when we expect to get to Chicago. What do you think? Eight or so tonight?”
“You want to call him or should I?”
“Apparently I’m in a shitty mood,” Alex said. “Maybe it’s best if you do it.”
“Sure,” Slim said, clearly confused by Alex’s current state of mind.
While Slim picked up his cell phone and dialed Jameson, Alex continued to keep himself busy. He took the keys to the front desk and settled everything up with the clerk. But even through that, he kept seeing Amanda. He saw her crying at the table, he saw her face beneath him, biting her bottom lip as he thrust into her. He heard her sobbing, heard her moaning, saw her grimacing as she cried and smiling awkwardly as she answered the door for him.
What the hell is happening here?
Was it a crush? He hadn’t had one of those since high school. Was it love? He doubted that because he really wasn’t even sure what it was. And besides…he’d been in her presence for a grand total of about four hours. Was that even possible?
He walked slowly back to the room and when he stepped in, Slim was still on the phone, nodding about something. He then said, “Yeah, boss, here he is.”
He held the phone out to Alex. Alex took it, wondering if there was something wrong. Had Slim told Jameson about his attitude this morning? Or, worse yet, had he told Jameson about the creep he had knocked out in the restaurant parking lot last night? If it wasn’t club-approved, any violence that could place them in legal trouble was frowned upon and often punishable by one hell of a beating or expulsion from the club.
Alex gave Slim a perplexed look as he put the phone to his ear. “Hey, Jameson,” he said. “What’s up?”
“I’ve got a special little project I need you to do for me,” Jameson said. “I need it done as soon as you get to Chicago. It’s very important. I only trust a few of the guys to do it, and you’re one of them. The fact that you’re getting to Chicago early is sort of perfect.”
“Sure. What is it?”
“I’m going to text you a phone number later today. When you get into town, I want you to call it. The number is for a man named Marco O’Brien. We’ve done some freelance stuff with him here and there. I need you to hook up with him and then beat the shit out of him. Tell him you want to meet him at Jameson’s Dark Place. He’ll know what you mean. I’ll text you the address. Anyway…meet him there, act all buddy-buddy and then kick his ass. Let him know there’s more coming if he’s not out of Chicago by the time I get there.”
“Can I ask why?” Alex asked.
“You don’t need to know it all,” Jameson said. “All you need to know is that he’s gotten sloppy in his work. A few of our guys are probably going to see some serious jail time next year because of him. I want this asshole to have a very clear message to stay away for a while when we get into town.”
Alex stepped outside of the room and lowered his voice to a whisper as he stood on the motel’s concrete walkway. “Does Slim know about this?”
“Yes. I’ve asked him to be your look-out. I would have asked him to do it, but you’re much more intimidating.”
“You good with all of this, Alex?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Good man. Call me when it’s done. I’ll get those texts to you soon. You guys be careful.”
Jameson ended the call without a goodbye—as he usually did—and left Alex wondering who this Marco O’Brien character was. There were many people that worked behind the scenes with The Unknowns, many of which Alex had never met before. He’d never questioned the way Jameson ran things, though. The man had stuck his neck out for Alex several times and there was a bond between them that was growing more and more every day.
I wonder how Jameson would feel if he knew all of this crap that’s going on in my head about Amanda,
He walked back into the room where Slim had thrown his bag over his shoulder and was heading for the door. “Everything good?” Slim asked.
“Good to go.”
“Sounds like you got some skull-splitting to do tonight, huh?”
“Just another day at work,” Alex said. He hoped the laugh he followed this with, as well as the humor in his voice, sounded genuine. He very badly wanted Slim to forget about the awkward tension they had shared in the room after Slim had asked for details about his morning.
Apparently, Slim bought it. He clapped Alex softly on the back as they closed the door behind them and headed for their bikes at the other end of the parking lot.
“So who is this Marco O’Brien?” Alex asked as he threw a leg over his motorcycle.
“A smalltime killer-for-hire from what I understand,” Slim said.
“Any idea what he did to get on Jameson’s bad side?”
Slim shook his head as he climbed onto his bike. “No, I don’t. And if Jameson isn’t coming forth with the info willingly, I’m not about to start prying.”
Alex nodded and cranked his bike to life. Right away, the feel of it underneath him helped to sooth him a bit. His mind left Amanda for a while as the one familiar thing in his life for the last few years thundered to life beneath him.
After Slim cranked his bike, they looked at each other and nodded. They pulled out onto the road, Alex in front, and headed for the interstate. When they took their exit fifteen minutes later, Alex could not ignore the twinge of pain that stomped on his heart when he once again thought of Amanda and how he would never see her again.
While the money she made by working from home wasn’t always that great, the ability to set her own schedule was a benefit she would never trade for anything. After all, it was the lax schedule that allowed Amanda to do nothing more that lounge on the couch, coffee in hand, staring at the walls and trying to figure out what in the hell had happened in her kitchen.
She went through a whirlwind of emotions—from giddiness to guilt, then to euphoria to shame. She had never done anything so spontaneous. Not even with Stephen. What surprised her the most, though, was the shame and guilt she felt had nothing to do with Stephen. After all, she had gone out looking for companionship so that was essentially her first step away from letting her life with Stephen interfere with the rest of her life.
No, the guilt and shame came from somewhere else. In college, she had known plenty of girls that went to frat parties just to hook up with a guy for one night. The stories they brought back we usually lurid and, if she was honest, had made her pretty hot and bothered. But she had never been that type…not even close.
So the fact that she had succumbed to it made her feel like less of a person. She knew there was no sense in it, but there it was, plain and simple. She wondered if she might feel differently if she knew she’d see Alex again. If he wasn’t going to be nine hours away for the rest of their lives—if, say, he were on the other side of town—and there was a good chance they’d see each other again, she wondered if she’d feel this way.
I’d already be excited about the next time I could see him. And maybe next time, we’d take the time to head to the bedroom. That floor sort of hurt.
She arched at the slight pain in her back, but smiled. She then glanced back to the kitchen and her smile grew even wider.
Shame be damned,
That was nice. And much needed.
Still, there was a growing part of her that felt like she was missing out on something special with Alex. Of course, this could have just been her emotional reaction to getting laid for the first time in two years. But she didn’t think that was it.
“Stop it, girl,” she told herself, finally pushing up from the couch.
She was overthinking this, that’s all. The last twelve hours had been insane to say the least. She had gone from being on the brink of rape or death to making quick and rough love on her kitchen floor. It was like something out of one of those really bad
She went to the kitchen and poured herself another cup of coffee. As she stirred in her half and half and sugar, she looked at the floor, again. She was delightfully surprised that the mere memory of what had happened there less than three hours ago sent a spike of excitement through her—a spike that started directly at the center of a place neglected for far too long.