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Authors: Sasha Marshall

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BOOK: Under the Cornerstone
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Johnny and I found even ground. Through conversations about my life, he came to understand me better than he thought he did. Surprisingly, though, he knew more about how I felt then I knew. I guess he really did always see and know me better than I did. We’ve never broached the topic of the line we crossed twice before he left on tour. I think we both know the other isn’t ready to acknowledge it happened, or the words and feelings it provoked.

They’ve been gone six long months, so I fill my days with yoga, Krav Maga, cooking classes, reading in the park, and freelancing graphic art and mural jobs. I’m still financially comfortable, but I feel free without the suit and corporate ladder to climb. I spend my nights watching television, reading, or hanging out with Sabrina. Sometimes her equally eccentric friends and Carmine join us. I’ve developed a little bit of a crush on him, but Jimmy has issued a threat of murder so I steer clear of putting myself in a situation where something could happen between us. He’s become a good friend though, and I enjoy having a male friend in town since my friends are out traveling the country.

I turn in early knowing tomorrow will be a long day. Johnny, Jimmy, Ryan, and Rich will arrive home sometime early in the morning. They’re playing a Saturday night show at Saul’s Bar. I’m pretty sure it’ll be the biggest party Brooklyn has ever seen. Brooklyn’s sons are coming home. It may only be for two weeks, but I’m glad they’ll get to rest and the city will be happy to see their faces.

 

 

I awake with a start and sit straight up in the bed. My heart is beating out of my chest and my eyes bounce around the dark room in attempt to gather my bearings.

I’m at home.

I hear a banging noise.

What the fuck?

I grab the wooden baseball bat Jimmy gifted me years ago and creep out of bed.

Banging comes again at my front door, “Noely baby! Open up before your neighbors call the cops!” Jimmy’s voice comes through the door.

Bat in hand, my face instantly lights up in a smile. I run to the door and swing it open to find four of the most gorgeous men I’ve ever seen. My best friends.

“Holy fuck! What are you wearing?” Ryan asks.

I look down and see my nipples peeking through a tight, white wife-beater and bare legs sticking out of my little boxer shorts.

“I like this welcome home,” Jimmy adds.

“What you doing with the bat, Noely baby?” Rich asks with a smile.

“Can we go back to what in the fuck she’s wearing?” Johnny asks from behind Jimmy’s huge frame that crowds my door.

“Dibs!” Jimmy says and pulls me into him almost crushing my lungs.

“Fuck no! I called dibs first,” Ryan argues.

“I’m bigger, motherfucker, deal with it!” Jimmy yells and almost bursts my ear drum.

“I can’t breathe,” I croak out and Jimmy instantly set me down.

“Move,” Rich commands and pushes Ryan out of the way.

Rich pulls me into a hug, without crushing my ribs I might add, and whispers into my ear, “Think you could tell me where you bought that getup? I need to go shopping for a friend.”

“Target.”

“I’ll go tomorrow, or today, or whenever the fuck it is,” he says and releases me.

Ryan grabs my elbow, spins me around, and hugs me, “Finally. Just so you know I really did call dibs on you first.” Then he speaks over my shoulder to his brother, “Get your friend a bat too. I think that was part of the appeal.”

I giggle. I hear my door close as Ryan lets me go. I turn to find Johnny. He wears a nervous smile and then after a moment of staring at each other his smile turns into a full-on grin. Johnny opens his arms for me to come to him. I smile like a loon and take a short running start towards him and jump into his arms wrapping my legs around his middle. His arms close tightly around me while I bury my face into his neck.

Is it stupid to realize you miss the way a person smells?

“Fuck, I missed you,” he says, but continues to hold me tightly against him.

I hear the guys shuffle into my kitchen, and as though they were never gone on tour, the refrigerator door opens and the contents are listed off until someone decides what to put together.

I giggle.

“Some things never change,” Johnny laughs with me. “Speaking of which…”

He sets me down and almost has to pry me off his body. I wasn’t quite ready to let go of him. He grabs my right arm and looks at the tattoo for several minutes. He takes in the detail on every part of my arm, and his fingertips trace the lines which cause a tingle to start at the base of my spine. The tingle then travels both up and down my body.

Shit.

“He did a good job,” he mumbles as he takes my hand and spins me around slowly. “Like the getup.”

He spins me back around to face him and looks at my face like he wants to memorize every inch of it. His index finger comes to my nose piercing, he smirks at me, and then touches the stud.

“It looks good on you, Noely baby.”

“Thank you,” I smile up at his blue eyes.

It’s probably stupid that I realize how much I miss the color of his eyes. So blue.

“You look tired,” I touch the bags under his eyes and he leans his face into my touch.

My heart does a fucking cartwheel in my chest, but I pretend not to notice it.

“I am. I needed to see you first, then I need food and sleep,” he says as he pulls me flush to his chest and presses his lips to my forehead in a kiss.

Fuck the tingles. They’re horrible, naughty little things that make my nipples hard and pussy slightly moist. The tingles are the devil.

“Noely baby, I need food!” Ryan shouts from the kitchen.

Johnny pulls his lips from my forehead and gives Ryan a stern voice, “How about keeping it down at four in the morning? You’re going to piss her entire building off.”

I turn around to find Ryan, Rich, and Jimmy giving me puppy dog faces with their bottom lips poked out.

“Food,” Jimmy says in a caveman tone.

“Real food,” Ryan adds.

“Noely food,” Rich continues.

“Which translates to grilled cheese,” Johnny says.

“I’ve got a new recipe,” I offer.

I find three faces looking at me in confusion.

“For grilled fucking cheese?” Jimmy asks.

“Yeah, asshole. For grilled fucking cheese. I’ve been taking cooking classes with Sabrina,” I admit.

His eyebrows raise, “She’s so fucking hot. I’d love to stick it in her cock socket one good time.” Of course he ends this announcement with a thrust of his hips.

“Like I said, some things never change,” Johnny smirks down at me.

“Grilled cheese it is,” I announce and watch their eyes pep up like I just bought each of them a prostitute.

I listen to their banter while I cook a Gouda Grilled Cheese. You’d think after six months on the road together, they’d be tired of each other, but they don’t appear to be. They’re the same. I’m not. They don’t seem to either notice or care which is great.

I add a little pepper, salt, butter, and garlic to the bread before I slap some Gouda on it and throw each one in the frying pan. I brown each side, slice tomatoes and add them, and then cut them into halves. They’re like little boys. Sandwiches must be cut into triangles, not rectangles. They’ve ventured into the living room, turned on the television, and pretend like they don’t know it’s after four in the morning.

I get that devil tingle again and turn to my left to see Johnny standing in the kitchen doorway with his eyes on my body. I need to change panties. I am not supposed to feel like this with him. He is not supposed to affect me like this. I know we’ve done the nasty and all… Twice… but we can pretend it never happened. My brain needs to send this message to the rest of my body.

When he sees my eyes are on him, his eyes snap to mine and he clears his throat, “You’ve been working out?”

“Krav Maga,” I answer.

“It sounds brutal,” he counters.

“It is.”

“You need help?” he asks a little anxiously.

“Can you grab those two plates and deliver the goods to the troops?” I ask and nod to two plates that are ready to go.

He nods, grabs the plates, and leaves my small kitchen. I grab two more plates and follow him with a roll of paper towels. Johnny is handing Ryan and Jimmy a plate when I turn the corner. I hand Rich his plate, which earns me a thanks and a smile. I motion for Johnny to sit and hand him the last plate before I return to the kitchen.

Opening the refrigerator, I grab beers for the guys. As the door closes, I realize I never hesitated to cook for them, but I did it because I wanted to. I wanted to take care of them and it came from my love for them, not out of obligation. It feels damn good. I smirk to myself and pad my way back out to deliver beers. I receive thanks from them all.

“Where’s your food, Noles?” Johnny asks with a frown.

“I’m going to get it,” I answer.

He places his sandwich down on the plate, stands, scoops me up and carries me to my couch. He sets me down beside his seat.

“Don’t move,” he gives me a challenging glare.

“Oh shit. Yeah,” Ryan says and he and Johnny walk into the kitchen.

I look at Rich and Jimmy dumbfounded.

Jimmy licks his fingers like a Neanderthal and talks with his mouth full of food, “We realize you take care of us too fucking much. We let you, which makes us jack legs. It’s bullshit. We’re going to take care of you too, now.”

“You say the prettiest things, Jimmy Boo,” I tell him.

“Jimmy Boo?” he asks.

“I’m Noely Baby, Johnny is Johnny Love and now you’re Jimmy Boo,” I explain.

Rich chokes on his food, “
Jimmy Boo
!”

“What’s the twin’s names?” Jimmy asks.

“It hasn’t come to me yet.”

Ryan and Johnny return with a beer and a plate and hand it to me.
Ryan hits Rich in the back of the head as he passes him to his own seat, “You should’ve stopped eating until she was eating. It’s fucking rude. She cooked for us.”

Rich looks at Ryan with confusion, “What?”

Jimmy, with his mouth still full of food, and imparts him with his knowledges, “Fucking manners.”

Rich still looks confused, “Right.”

I shake my head and laugh, “I missed you guys.”

“We’re not leaving again without you,” Rich says. “Can’t take it again. You’re our sanity.”

“You boys did just fine without me.”

I receive compliments on the sandwiches, and then we all fall into a quiet lull while watching television. Ryan falls asleep first in my oversized chair. Jimmy stretches out on the floor and eventually the elbow that is bent with a hand holding up his head falls. Johnny falls asleep next to me on the couch, and Rich snoozes on the loveseat. I quietly tiptoe around them as I take their shoes off, put pillows under their heads, and place blankets over their bodies.

I slightly wake Johnny when I pull his shoes off and move his legs so he can stretch out on the couch.

His blue eyes slightly part and look up at me.

I smile down at him, “Sleep.”

“I love you, Noely,” he whispers.

“I love you too,” I say and realize both of our words touch somewhere deeper than they ever have before.

He closes his eyes and instantly falls asleep with a peaceful look on his face.

I tiptoe into my bedroom and decide to leave the door open in case one of them needs something. I sigh as I pull the covers over me and try like hell to slow my erratic heart and push Johnny from my thoughts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Twelve

 

 

It’s hot when I wake. So fucking hot. Before I can get my mind to completely wake, I realize I’m drenched in sweat. Something twitches by my foot. Then I hear heavy breathing, sleep breathing. I open my eyes and realize I’m drenched in men in addition to sweat. Not one man. Not two men. Not three men. Four men.

Four men are in my bed. Four gorgeous men are in my bed. Why can’t this be one of those moments in my life when I’m all of sudden like, “Sure, I’ll try a gang bang. It wasn’t on my list, but let’s jot it down really quick so we can cross that sucker right off.” No. This isn’t one of those moments. They’re my friends. Okay, I know Johnny now technically fits into a gray-spaced category yet to be named, but I’m not screwing the rest of them. I know too much about each of them. Fifteen years’ worth of information I can never burn from my brain or retinas. Gross.

I attempt to sit up only to discover Johnny’s arm is thrown across my stomach. I can’t sit up. I follow his tattooed arm up to see blue eyes looking at me.

He smiles and whispers, “They wanted a cuddle.”

I raise my eyebrows, “I see.”

“They missed you. You left us in the living room.”

“I have no idea how you all fit in this bed,” I whisper back.

Johnny and I are on the right side of the bed. Ryan is halfway to the top of my bed that isn’t taken up by Johnny and me. Rich’s head rests on his brother’s calf, and Jimmy’s large body is hanging off the foot of the bed. They all look like it’s the most comfortable they’ve ever been.

“It’s king-sized, yeah?” Johnny continues to whisper.

BOOK: Under the Cornerstone
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ads

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