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Authors: Layla Hagen

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Coming of Age, #Romance, #Contemporary, #New Adult & College

Lost in Us (9 page)

BOOK: Lost in Us
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For once, I wouldn't mind skipping dessert. Even if it is chocolate.

The second we sit, a waiter appears out of nowhere, wearing an elegant white uniform and a polite, serious expression. I bite my lip, hoping he hasn't caught anything from the earlier scene. My entire face catches fire when I realize that even if he didn't see us, the blonde who led us here surely did. Why else would she have disappeared?

"What do you want to drink?" James asks me, already immersed in the menu.

"Whatever you're having."

The waiter bends to light up the candles, and as the small flames dance in front of my eyes, I can't help thinking of Michael and how we never had a candlelight dinner in our six years together.

James orders a French-sounding wine, chocolate fondue, and something else I don't catch, and the waiter disappears inside. To my astonishment, he returns almost immediately, holding a bottle of wine. He pours generously in both our glasses, then bows courteously and goes inside again. He doesn't reappear this time.

"A toast," James says, holding up his glass.

Our glasses meet in a sweet cling. "To this evening," he says, staring at me intently above the candles and I know he's expecting me to say something, but between the candles and the wine and the kiss I don't know what I could say that would do justice to all the feelings overwhelming me, without sounding like a complete idiot. So I sink my lips into the red liquid without one word.

I grimace a little.

"You don't like it? We can order another one."

"It's fine," I say quickly. "I just don't drink wine very often."

"I see," he chuckles, "only tequila." I blush furiously.

"No, that was a one-time thing because—"

"You wanted to hook up with someone and didn't have the courage?"

"Precisely," I say, keeping my eyes firmly on my plate.

His chuckle turns into full laughter. "In case you were wondering, it worked very well. You looked like you wanted nothing better than to spend the night with me… not exactly talking."

My head shoots up. "Why didn't you ask me to leave with you?"

"I don't usually take advantage of women." He puts his glass on the table, not taking his eyes off me.

"I wasn't
that
drunk," I say.

"No, you were angry and hurt. That's even worse."

I stare at him stunned. Of all inappropriate things I said that night, I don't remember ever mentioning—heck, not even hinting at—Michael.

How could he tell?

"I didn't want you to do something you might regret later. I honestly never thought you'd show up at my parents’ house," he says, shaking his head as if the thought still surprises him. "But I'm glad you did."

"I'm glad too," I say.

"You are?" he asks, his expression unreadable.

"Why would I have called you today if I wasn't?"

"I think we already established the reason for your call," he laughs softly and I'm sure my face is as scarlet as the candles before me.

Two waiters appear on our balcony, each carrying a large tray. I frown as they start unloading.

A bowl of strawberries in front of me, a cup with three scoops of ice cream and a lot of whipped cream in front of James, and a small fondue burner in the middle. I can't help clapping my hands as he puts the fondue over the burner. Hot, liquid chocolate, waiting for me to devour. One strawberry at a time.

"What do you have?" I ask.

"Walnut, caramel and straciatella," James says, already taking a spoonful.

I stick the small fork in a strawberry and dip into the liquid chocolate.

"Oh my God," I say, "this is delicious. Aren't you going to eat anything?"

He shakes his head, taking another spoonful of ice cream. "Not a big fan of chocolate."

"So this is all for me?"

He chuckles. "By all means. We can order more if you want."

"No please, don't tempt me like this."

Two glasses of wine and all the strawberries later, I truly mean it when I declare "This is the best evening ever."

"It's not difficult to make you happy, is it?" James asks.

"Not if there's chocolate involved," I say, scooping the last drops of chocolate with his spoon. "Is your office far from here?"

"You can see it over there actually," he says, pointing to a spot over the trees.

I frown. "I don't see anything." I sway a little as I get up from my chair, and James hurries to steady me.

"Who gets wasted from two glasses of wine?" he says, amused.

"I am not wasted," I say. "I just have balance problems."

"Okay," he says, grabbing me by the waist with one arm, and taking my right hand with the other, pointing up. "There."

And now I do see it. The skyscraper. The top of it, at least.

"Which floor is your office?"

Instead of an answer I get a kiss on my neck. And then another one. I dig my fingers in his hair and turn my head, desperately searching his lips. I find them at the same time his hands slide under my top. I don't know if it's the wine or the chocolate, or my desperate need for him finally overpowering me, but I don't make any move to stop him as his hands go higher and higher, touching my breasts, my nipples. I don't want him to stop. I want him to touch me. All of me. Right here. Right now. He bites my lip and I moan deeply in his mouth.

It's only when one of his hands slides down and unzips my jeans that I come to my senses.

"Not here," I whisper, and for a frozen second, neither of us moves.

Then he grabs my hand. "Fuck, Serena. Let's go." 

 

 

I
sit as far from James as possible in the cab, so the cabbie can keep his eyes only on the road. Neither of us utters one word the entire trip. I jump out as soon as the cab stops in front of the fifty-story high-rise. James pays the driver and joins me a few seconds later. He takes my hand and leads me inside the luxurious building. I wish he'd offer me his arm instead because I still don't feel like I could walk straight.

"Good evening, Mr. Cohen," the tall, middle-aged concierge greets us.

"Daniel." James nods, without one look in his direction.

Our shoes clink loudly on the white marble and it vaguely occurs to me that Daniel must suspect why we're in such a hurry. But any thoughts of shame vanish from my mind when the metal doors of four elevators come into view. In just a few seconds James and I will be alone. Yet when the doors open, my stomach drops in disappointment.

The elevator is not empty. An elderly couple, probably coming from the garage, chat lively over the opera brochure the husband is holding. They fall silent when we enter, and smile politely. James presses the button to the top floor and the elevator swooshes up with nauseating speed. I lean on the back mirror to steady myself, keeping my eyes firmly away from James. He doesn't grant me the same mercy. I feel his gaze over me. Piercing me. Torturing me. Undressing me. I barely acknowledge when the elevator stops and the couple gets out, wishing us a pleasant evening.

The following minutes pass by as if in a dream. Our journey lasts for three more floors, then we step out and James takes a painfully long time to unlock his door.

Finally there's only passion: his lips on my neck, his hands on my bare thighs, and my unskilled attempts at getting rid of his shirt, his jeans, and everything else that stands between his skin and me. We're both completely naked when he lifts me in his arms.

"The bedroom's not that far away," he teases in response to my surprised yelp. I rest my head on his shoulder as he carries me through the darkness, moving my fingers playfully over his chest. He doesn't put me down on the bed, but in front of it, standing with my back to him. I make a move to turn around, but his hands on my hips keep me firmly in place. "I want you like this," he orders. 

"It's not fair, I can't touch you," I whisper, my hands desperately seeking his skin.

He bends me down, and I put my palms on the bed. He runs a finger down my spine, sending waves of cold shivers through me. And then he slams against me. Hard. One desperate moan after another escapes my lips as he thrusts again and again, harder and harder until my whole body succumbs to incontrollable shudders and I'm afraid my knees will give in.

"James, wait," I gasp, and he lifts me with one arm, propping my knees on the bed without me having to ask for it. I straighten up, flattening my back against him, seeking his lips.

"Do you want me to touch you?" he demands in a raspy, low tone as his thrusts become more brutal, his breaths more convulsive.

"Yes," I beg him. "Yes, please."

"Show me how much you want it," he commands. I take his hand from my hip and place it on my damp sex, more aware of my body than ever. And then he starts moving his blessed fingers around in little circles, my nails digging deep in his thigh as my orgasm starts building, making me shake and shudder until relief comes in an explosion that shatters my entire body when he calls my name. 

A burst of laughter awakes me from my near unconscious state. I open my eyes, immediately regretting it. Light. Not a lot of it, but enough to hurt my eyes. The source must be somewhere on the bedside table on the other side of the bed, where James lies, visibly less disheveled than me. And amused.

"What's so funny?" I ask weakly, wondering if I did something wrong earlier.

"This is absolutely the last time I'm going out in public with you when all I want is to make love to you. I've never lost my head like this in public, except at some frat parties, but they don't count."

There are several things about his sentence that make my stomach flip. First, the lovemaking thing. Surely only two people in a relationship talk about lovemaking. It's sex for the rest of us, isn't it? Then there's the never before thing. Of all the hotties he's been with, can there really be a never before for him?

He kisses my forehead and gets up, announcing, "I need a shower. If you want something to wear, take anything from the closet. But I wouldn't mind seeing you run around naked." He winks and slips into the bathroom.

I sit up on an elbow and, for the first time, take in the room. Everything from the white leather bed to the satin sheets covering me and the sleek, gray carpet on the floor reminds me of those storefronts for home decor where the price isn't even listed because it would give passersby without a limitless credit card a heart attack. 

The masterpiece, though, is the glass wall directly opposite the bed, through which the entire city is visible. I get up and walk to the window, admiring the dazzling lights of this never-sleeping city.

It's only when I get goose bumps all over my body that I realize I really do need something to wear. His closet is three times the size of mine, and I begin to randomly open doors, until I find the one I want, with towels and bathrobes. I start taking one of the bathrobes off the hanger, when I notice the shelf above has five folded velvet robes, similar to what Dani was wearing when I first met her, only more masculine. I rise on my toes and reach for the black velvet, but the shelf is so high I can barely touch the soft fabric. I pull at it as best as I can and next thing I know, all five robes land on my head and then drop to the floor with a thump.

Of course they do. I sigh and bend to pick them, when I notice something in between the black and gray velvet. A picture. James is in it. A much younger James, probably no more than eighteen years old. Next to him is a girl whose beauty takes my breath away; chocolate brown curls that frame her perfect face and large, round blue eyes looking at James adoringly.

Two words are written in careful handwriting on the back of the photo.
Always
,
Lara
. I stare at them for a few seconds, then put the photo and four of the robes back on the shelf as best I can.

Just in time too, because James opens the door of the bathroom, declaring proudly, "I'm a completely new person."

"I need to become one, too, or your robe will pay the price for my laziness," I say, forcing myself to smile and attempting to get past him—he's blocking the doorway to the bathroom.

He grabs me by the waist and gives me a quick kiss, then moves out of my way.

"I still think you shouldn't be wearing that," I hear him say before I close the door.

The shower has always been my favorite place to cool my head. And right now, this is exactly what I need. But no amount of water and minty shampoo can erase the burning question from my mind. Who is Lara, and where is she now? I can take a guess as to who she is… or was at least: James's girlfriend. I can also guess where she is now. Or rather, where she isn’t. She's not here. Not with James. Her
always
, like Michael's, turned out to be temporary after all. I wonder if she's the reason behind James's chronic commitment phobia and obvious disdain for his school years. Must be, but instead of feeling jealous or upset, I have a strange sense of elation. Because this means he
can
commit. If he can forget her, which clearly hasn't happened so far.

When I get out of the shower, James is nowhere to be found. I wrap the oversized robe tightly around me and head out of the bedroom, guessing my way through the penthouse. I find him in the living room, wearing shorts and a black T-shirt, staring outside through yet another glass wall, holding a glass of orange juice. He's talking on the phone.

BOOK: Lost in Us
6.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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