Authors: Alyson Reynolds
Rhys laughed, but didn’t stop his traveling hands. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say the word fuck. I didn’t even know you knew it.”
“That would be what you need to do.” The sound of ripping fabric filled my ears and I gasped in shock. My panties hung in shreds in his fingers.
“You did not just do that?”
He shrugged and gave me a dimpled grin. “I’ll buy you a new pair.”
I tried not to smile back at him, but something about the way he looked at me made it impossible. “I’ve missed you so much.”
Did I really just blurt that out? Now?
Rhys tugged his boxer briefs down his trim hips and his cock pressed to my entrance. Something about my confession urged him on. He groaned as he leaned back to grab his pants off the floor. I looked at him in a dazed confusion until I saw him hold up a condom between his thumb and pointer finger.
He rolled on the condom quickly and moved back over me. His gaze met mine and he silently asked if I was ready. I nodded once and he was buried inside me. I cried out his name and he dug his face in my neck.
Muffled cries filled the room as he moved inside me. Our lips clashed together and there was a frenzy of tangled limbs. I braced myself with one hand on the headboard as I ran my other hand down through his hair and back up his muscled arms. He lifted my leg over his hip as we turned to our sides.
I grabbed at the sheets as I came closer to the precipice of my orgasm. Each time Rhys’ pubic bone rubbed along my clit I felt the pressure building higher. My mouth dropped open in a silent scream and his hand gripped my breast tighter. As my release hit me I bit down into Rhys’ shoulder. He pumped his hips a few more times before he groaned into my shoulder.
We clung to one another as our breathing came back down to normal. Our bodies were covered in a light sheen of sweat. A beautiful smile covered Rhys face as he started laughing.
“Our sex life as kids was nothing like that.”
I started laughing too. “I don’t think you knew those moves.”
He turned on his back and laid his hand on my leg that was still propped over his hip.
“Holy hell, Shortcake.”
I traced my fingers along his jaw. He captured my fingers in his hand and kissed my palm. This is how our lives should have been, soft moments after amazing sex. I settled my head against his arm and intertwined our fingers. Rhys kissed my forehead and we listened to the silence surrounding us, each wondering if we had just made the best mistake possible.
I woke up with Rhys’ arms wrapped around me the next morning. It was difficult not to stiffen and wake him up. Sleeping with him last night hadn’t been the best decision, but my emotions had been at the surface and I needed to feel something life affirming. After Stephen’s accident, we all realized life was too short to have regrets, but I was still a cautious person. If nothing else, I needed to admit to myself that I missed him.
Rhys stirred beside me and I tried to relax into him so he would go back to sleep.
“Good morning.” His husky voice made me warm in places that needed severe cooling. Just because we had gone there last night didn’t mean we needed to do it again until I figured out where my head was at.
I turned on my side and looked at him. When we were younger, we never had the luxury of waking up next to one another. I had always wondered if he was a morning person, or if he needed a cup of coffee before anyone talked to him.
“How did you sleep?”
He yawned and stretched up, making his stomach muscles tighten under my fingertips. Oh damn. My resolve to slow things down was not going to last long if he did things like that.
“I slept really well for the first time in forever, but I think it’s because I had you next to me.”
Swoon. Why was he not only sexy as hell, but really sweet?
He started laughing as Lucy jumped up on the bed and bounded up to the top. She was so excited we were finally awake and had probably been up for a few hours. She made a beeline for Rhys and licked his cheeks and forehead before he could stop her.
“Dog, you need to stop. I’m going to have to take a shower before my girl is even going to let me kiss her good morning now.”
I stilled next to him.
“What did you just call me?” I whispered.
Rhys sat up and put the puppy in his lap. I tugged the sheets up around me as I moved next to him, leaning back on the headboard, but careful not to touch him.
“Amanda, I didn’t mean to freak you out.” He rubbed his hand down his face in frustration. “I just thought…You know what? Never mind what I thought. I knew you weren’t ready for anything more than friendship and I pushed this.”
“You didn’t start this. I’m the one that pushed things last night, but now I’m just a little overwhelmed. Can I just take a second and process this?”
I ducked my head and felt the tears pricking at my eyes. The last thing I wanted was for Rhys to blame himself. Sexual chemistry and attraction had never been a problem between us. We’d always had it in spades.
“Maybe we just need to take a step back.”
He was up and pulling on clothes before I could blink. His mouth brushed along my forehead and I tried to pull him back to me. He moved back before I could grab his arm. I had hoped to make him breakfast and talk things over.
“I’ll see you soon, Amanda.”
I could see hurt and confusion lurking in his eyes, but instead of facing those things with me, he was pushing me away.
“Why don’t I believe you?”
He grunted in response.
“You just called me Amanda, not Mandi or Shortcake. You’re running again aren’t you?”
I leaned up on my knees so I could stand taller on the bed.
“Seriously? You’re a coward Rhys. Just because I’m nervous about this whole big
going on between us, you think you can use that as an excuse to push me away. Do you regret last night?”
He shook his head sadly. I saw the pain, but it was deeper than he would let me get. It was the same pain he had shielded from me before he had left the last time. Rhys thought he was protecting me, so he was going to leave again. He turned and walked towards the door.
“You’re going to hurt me so much worse than last time.”
I saw his shoulders tense, but he didn’t stop. It took everything in me not to go after him. If he needed to get away I wasn’t going to ask him to stay.
“It’s worse this time because we can both see how real it would be between us.” My voice echoed down the hall.
The sound of the front door closing was my undoing. Hot scalding tears streamed down my face, and I felt my heart shatter in my chest. I leaned back against the headboard and hugged a pillow to my face. Lucy whimpered and curled up next to me, laying her head on my arm.
One thing was true. Rhys had hurt me worse this time because in one night, I realized how wonderful a life with him would be. I had picked up the pieces before, but something told me it would be a million times more difficult this time.
Sweat dripped down between my breasts as I did another rep of twenty with the weights. My personal trainer would be proud that I was taking the initiative to work out on my own, but I was so done with this misery. This type of workout was just a punishment, a way to move past Rhys’ abandonment. I put the weights down and took a long sip from my water bottle. Sometimes kicking the crap out of a heavy bag or lifting weights was the easiest way for me to get through my frustration.
After Rhys left yesterday morning I had a hard time trying to clear my head. It had taken me forever to actually move from my bed. Even after I laid down last night, I tossed and turned, playing our conversations over and over again in my head. Doubt crept in and I wondered if I had known how bad it truly was for him, would I have been able to help? Probably not, but we would never know.
Between Rhys and everything going on with Stephen, my head was a jumbled mess. I planned to stop by the hospital after my workout to check on Stephen. He would be going home soon and I couldn’t be happier for him and Taylor. They would finally be able to move on from all the crap they had put each other through over the past few months.
I glanced around and noticed the frat boy that had been eyeing me had gotten braver. He was at the machine closest to the free weights now. He’d followed me around all morning, but he hadn’t actually said anything. Draping the towel over my shoulders, I decided I would finish out my workout with a quick twenty minute run. I smirked as the guy moved to the treadmill next to me.
He stared for a few minutes and I finally took pity on him. I turned and smiled. I’m sure he was used to girls falling all over themselves to talk to him. He was cute with his blonde hair and dimpled chin. Plus he had the lithe body of a swimmer. The muscled V on his lower stomach was enough to make me drool, but I felt like a dirty old woman doing it.
“I’m Shane,” he said flashing me a quick smile.
I turned the treadmill to a comfortable speed. He fumbled for a minute before the belt started moving. It was hard to take this kid seriously. At most he was twenty-two or twenty-three, and he had to be in college somewhere near here.
“Do you work out here often? I don’t think I’ve seen you before.”
Oh honey, you’re going to need a better pick up line than that.
“Not normally. I typically work out with a personal trainer.”
This kid had to be teasing. He didn’t act like he recognized me, but I had been doing this job for a long time and not much surprised me anymore. I kicked up the speed on the treadmill and he followed suit. He was persistent, I’d give him that.
“So where do you go to school? You look really familiar. Maybe I know you from class?”
I chuckled. “I doubt it.”
He cocked his head to the side. “Are you sure you aren’t in my Econ class?”
“Positive. I’m not a student.”
This guy was dumb as a box of rocks. Or maybe he was just incredibly clueless.
“I’m just baffled about where I know you from then. You’re the type of girl men don’t forget.”
Shane’s buddy was staring at me in awe from the weights. I winked at him. “Go ask your friend over there where you recognize me from. I’m sure he knows. It was nice meeting you, but I’m heading out. If I ever turn into a cougar though, you’ll be on my list.” His mouth dropped open. I tried not to laugh, but a giggle escaped. “You’re adorable. I’ll see you around, Shane.”
As I made my way to the lockers I heard his friend. “That was Amanda Connelly. You know the famous actress?”
“Yeah, and you made a complete idiot of yourself.”
“That explains the cougar comment then.”
I laughed and grabbed my bag. At least the kid had put a bounce in my step. Take that Rhys. It was time for me to go and check in on Taylor and Violet and hopefully I wouldn’t look so pathetic when I got there. With any luck, they would have good news about Stephen and when he would be getting out of the hospital. Right now, I could use all the good news I could get.
I walked into the hospital room and caught Taylor and Stephen in a passionate kiss. I cleared my throat to get their attention. They broke apart quickly. Taylor blushed as she caught sight of me standing just inside the door. Stephen leaned back with a smug look on his face.
“I just came to check in and see how you were doing. Obviously it’s pretty good if you’re able to make out like a teenager.” Stephen chuckled and Taylor shot me a look. I smirked and handed her an iced coffee. “Sorry hospital boy, I don’t have one for you because I didn’t know what they were letting you have yet.”
“It’s fine. I’m going to make Taylor stop for pancakes on the way home when they let me out of here
“Honey, that’s awesome. I know you’re ready to be free from here. You’re starting to run out of room too,” I said, punching back one of the huge helium monstrosities that bounced around my head.
“Taylor and Violet tell me you’ve got a little secret of your own,” Stephen said, smirking.
I glared at Taylor and she shrugged. “He was bored.”
“What happened to hoes before bros and all that shit?” I asked in mock disbelief. “You couldn’t just make out with him some more?”
Stephen grinned. “Give it up, Amanda. We all want to know. Plus I’m bored as hell. I’ll welcome all forms of entertainment right now.”
“It’s entertainment all right,” I mumbled.
Taylor cocked her head. “Maybe we should just leave it alone, Stephen. If she doesn’t want to talk about it, she doesn’t have to.”
I waved her off. “It’s fine. There’s not much to the story anyway. I knew Rhys growing up. He was the last person I expected to see at the hospital that day. It threw me for a loop, but I’m—I was – trying to figure it out.”
“Was?” Stephen asked.
“It’s over. No harm, no foul.”
If only that was the truth, and I didn’t feel like there was a gaping hole in my heart then I would be a happy camper.
“So why was he here with you when I woke up? Looked like a date to me. You wore the hell out of that green dress.”
“It was an apology of sorts. Rhys needed to explain some things and I agreed to let him. He came because I asked him to. I’m sorry if it upset you.”
Taylor butted in, “Amanda, it’s no big deal. It just surprised us.”
“That’s all? I was looking forward to some amazing gossip.” Stephen looked disappointed.
“So why were you guys holding hands when you walked up if that was it?” Taylor asked, suspicion tingeing her voice.